Friday, February 7, 2014

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge-A Closer Look Inside


Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is a deluxe resort hotel adjacent to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It opened April 16, 2001. The lodge itself is called the Jambo House. Designed by Peter Dominick, of Wilderness Lodge Fame. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge was designed to feel of a South African wildlife reserve lodge. Rooms follow the Kraal African village design, a semicircle concept, offering a view of close to 100 grazing animals and 130 birds on the property and in the private savannas.
As you drive up to Disney’s Animal Kingdom you will see a small gathering of huts. The incredible size of the resort is hidden from the front, giving you the feeling of a true Krall African village. 

Animal Kingdom Lobby ©Disney

The Lodge is 6 stories tall. You enter the expansive lobby on the 3rd floor of the resort.  There is a huge picture window which looks out upon 30 acres of land. From here, you can walk out onto an elevated viewing area of Arusha Rock and enjoy the roaming animals. 

There are three savannas, Sunset, Uzima, and Arusha, these savannas are special areas built specifically for the Animal Kingdom Lodge and are separate from Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  There are over 100 Sand Live Oak trees and 35,000 shrubs in the savannas. Seeds from many of the plants were supplied from Africa. 

Throughout the rest of the lobby, there are examples of authentic architecture and design, from thatched ceilings to golden tones reflecting the richness and diversity of an African landscape. Rich wood tones surround a large mud fireplace and natural lighting will celebrate dawn and dusk with features that accentuate spectacular sunrise and sunsets. 

In the hallways, there are alcoves with glass windows providing savanna overlooks.

Next to Animal Kingdom Lodge is Kidani Village, a Disney Vacation Club Resort. Kidani has it’s own parking, restaurant, and pool. It shares the Sunset Savannah with Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House and it’s own savannah called Pembe. 

Type of Accommodations
1st floor Balcony Savanna View ©Disney

The accommodations offered are finished in rich tapestries and vibrant colors. Guest rooms feature jewel tones and hand-carved furnishings. There is even a “Royal Suite” with a domed, hut-like living room fit for a king.
The following are the room: Stand View (facing the parking lot); Pool View Rooms; Savanna View; Deluxe Pool View; Deluxe Savanna View. The deluxe rooms are bigger than the standard rooms. There are also Presidential and Vice Presidential suites, as well as five one-bedroom suites and 12 two-bedroom parlor suites.

The standard rooms are on floors 1-4 and are 344 square feet. Deluxe rooms are on floors 5 and 6 and are 381 square feet. All rooms have balconies.

Some rooms feature on queen-size bed and bunk beds. Some rooms feature an additional dresser. There are 79 king bed rooms, and there are 65 accessible rooms with king bed, roll-in shower, accessible seat for toilet, TDD kit and ADA guide maps.

Concierge rooms have either savanna or a pool view.

Each room that is not ground level, no matter what the category or view, has a balcony that is long and narrow. 

The suites are located at the end of the animal trails. From the outside of the Lodge, they are the ones located within the rounded parts of the building, with the curved balconies, topped with thatch. They are located on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th floors. Even the ones below the 5th floor still have concierge access.
All rooms have a small safe in the closet to store valuables. It’s big enough for your plane tickets, cash/travelers checks and maybe some jewelry, but not much more. For storing larger valuables inquire at the front desk. In addition, you’ll also find a hairdryer, small coffee maker with packets of coffee and tea, iron and ironing board, a crib, and a small refrigerator. Valet parking, voice mail, complimentary Wi-Fi and room service are also available.

The Savanna
The Savanna
The Animal Kingdom Lodge has three separate savannas (approximately 10 acres each) that are open 24 hours a day. The three savannas names are: Sunset, Arusha, and Uzima. 

Each savanna has its own unique look and feel. Not all savannas have all the animals. For instance, ostriches can only be found on the Sunset savanna, zebras are only located on the Arusha savanna, kudu are only found on the Uzima savanna. Giraffes are the only animal found on all three savannas.
At night, the savannas are illuminated by artificial moonlight as if a full moon was present. ““Safari Guides” are at the outside viewing areas and can answer your questions about the animals and birds.
Altogether, more than 200 mammals and birds of nearly three dozen species populate the 33-acre area. The savannas surround the lodge on three sides. You can view the birds and animals from resort balconies or from several viewing points—including a landscaped rock outcropping called the Arusha Rock—open 24 hours a day.

The following animals can be seen in at least one of the three Animal Kingdom Lodge Savannas:

Anikole Cattle, Bongo, Blesbok, Eland, Grant’s Zebra, Greater Kudu, Impala, Reticulated Giraffe, Thomson’s Gazelle, Waterbuck, Red River Hogs, and White-Bearded Wildebeest.

Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Blue Crane, East African Crownded Crane, Greater Glamingo, Marabou Stork, Ostrich, Pink-Backed Pelican, and Ruppel’s Griffon Vulture

You are not permitted to touch or feed the animals.

Animal Kingdom Lodge Concierge 
Bunk beds ©Disney

Animal Kingdom Lodge concierge guest rooms are located on part of floor 5 and all of 6. The actual lounge and staff are located on the 6th floor. The concierge rooms are identical to the deluxe rooms in terms of size and amenities. You cannot book a specific concierge view…they are either a pool view or Sunset or Arusha savanna view. For some odd reason, the lounge was not built with a savanna view and instead opens to the lobby on the 6th floor. 

The lounge is large, and you are severed some unique snacks and even South African wines. 

A unique adventure can be booked when staying at the concierge level (for an additional fee). The Sunrise Safari Breakfast Adventure is available on Sundays and Thursday. You meet in the concierge lounge, then depart from the lodge to Animal kingdom at 7:30 am. The tour, along the Kilimanjaro Safari ride path in Animal Kingdom, last about 45 minutes and includes multiple stops so that you can stand up and take pictures. Each of the animals along the way are described in great detail, since there is plenty of time. After the Safari, you go to Pizzafari for a breakfast buffet, which includes both standard American and African items. Each person also gets a FASTPASS to Kilimanjaro Safari to experience in “the regular way.” The entire experience is approximately 2 hours. 

Restaurants at the Animal Kingdom Lodge

The restaurants offer a blend of African, Malaysian, Indian, Chinese and French cuisine with a dash of English served with a hint of classical flair. The menu reflects the perfect blend of sweet and savory international tastes. 

Jiko Restaurant ©Disney ­­­
Jiko-is a casual restaurant, serving dinner that features a taste of Africa in an atmosphere shaped by local traditions and customs. Focusing on simpler, lighter cuisine, it retains the spirit and refinement of a great restaurant while concentrating on the basics of cooking, with an emphasis on the freshest of products. The design represents an abstract view of Africa, with twin wood-burning ovens as the restaurant’s icon. 

Boma- A very popular family restaurant open for breakfast and dinner that captures the flavors of Africa and the essence of a vibrant life in the African marketplace. Served buffet style provides guests the ability to savor the African experience, which has multicultural influences. The restaurant showcases an exhibit kitchen, wood-burning grill and rotisserie. The dining areas are under thatched roofs. 

Sanaa-Experience the art of African cooking with Indian flavors, as exotic animals roam the Sunset Savanna before you. Enjoy a family-friendly feast with savory slow-cooked meats, zesty salads and vegetarian specialties. The atmosphere evokes a traditional spice market, as the decor is handcrafted wares under the graceful branches of an acaia tree.  

The Animal Kingdom also has a quick service restaurant called Mara, and a lounge called Victoria Falls, as well as a poolside bar.

Recreation at Animal Kingdom lodge

The Animal Kingdom Lodge offers guest a program of all the actives going on with the animals while you are on property. Outside, at the Arusha Rock, there is nightly African storytelling next to Ogun’s Fire pit. The Zawadi Marketplace is the retail shop but even it is something to see as the shop celebrates the romantic and adventuresome spirit of Africa through the stories and cultures represented in its merchandise. 
Uzima Springs Pool ©Disney

 Animal Kingdom Lodge has a themed pool, a wading pool, and two outdoor spas.
The Uzima Springs pool is the largest on Disney property, over 11,000 square feet. It is also a “Zero-Depth Entry” pool, meaning there is an entrance without steps. It has a 67-foot long slide and a kiddy wade pool area. The pool is opened 24 hours a day but the lifeguards go off duty at 10 pm, and they close the slide area. 

Commuting Times to the Park
Magic Kingdom                 36 minutes
Epcot                                  29 minutes
Hollywood Studios            26 minutes
Animal Kingdom               10 minutes

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