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Top Pros & Cons for Staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge at Walt Disney World

Exotic adventures await guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, a deluxe resort located near Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. The resort is made up of two distinct areas, Jambo House and Kidani Village. Both sides of the resort participate in the Disney Vacation Club, and a wide range of accommodations are available, ranging from a standard hotel room to an expansive 3-bedroom villa. Step inside either lobby and be prepared to be amazed at the African architecture and artwork that greets guests. There is much more to this resort than first impressions, so consider these benefits and drawbacks before deciding if this is the right Disney resort for you!

1. PRO – Wildlife Encounters

There is nothing else like waking up and pulling back the curtains to see a giraffe peacefully munching its breakfast right below your balcony. More than 30 species of magnificent African animals live on the savannah, ensuring that your view will different all the time.

2. PRO – First-Class Dining

It’s hard to choose a restaurant with the many options available at Animal Kingdom Lodge. The resort entices guests with Boma, an African-inspired buffet, signature dining at Jiko-The Cooking Place, and floor-to-ceiling animal viewing at Sanaa. Two lounges give guests the opportunity for a before or after dinner cocktail.

3. PRO – Sparkling Pools

Both the Uzima Springs pool at Jambo House and the Samawati Springs Pool at Kidani Village let guests cool off at a beautiful pool oasis surrounded by lush palms. Both pools feature zero entry, fun water slides, and daily poolside activities. Younger guests will love Uwanja Camp, a unique water play area at Kidani Village.

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4. PRO – Location, Location, Location

Staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge puts you in close proximity only to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. Traveling to the other theme parks is going to take longer, and the only transportation options are bus or driving yourself via car.

5. CON – Quick Bites

If you’re staying at Kidani Village, your options for quick bites to eat are very limited. Johari Treasures, the small gift shop, offers groceries, breakfast items, and souvenirs. During the day, the Maji Pool Bar serves a limited selection of flatbreads, salads, and drinks. Guests will have to walk over to the Jambo House to take advantage of the Mara, the only true counter-service restaurant.

6. CON – Animal Restrictions

In order to keep the savanna wildlife safe, Animal Kingdom Lodge doesn’t allow balloons into guest rooms or anywhere on the property. If you bring back that irresistible Mickey Mouse balloon from a park, cast members will hold it at the front desk for you until your stay is over. Plastic straws are also not permitted on property for the same reason. Keep in mind too that surveillance cameras keep an eye on guest balconies to ensure that items are not dropped onto the animal areas.

7. CON – Resort Layout

The resort is arranged around the savanna areas in a semicircle design. Guests staying in the outermost sections of the building will have a long walk back to the lobby and main resort areas, which is a real drawback at the end of a long day in the parks with tired feet!

8. PRO – Activities

If your family is taking a break from the parks and plans on relaxing at the resort, there are plenty of unique activities to fill an entire day. Check out the Wildlife Field Guide in your room and see how many animals you can identify from your balcony or one of the many guest viewing areas. Try your hand at African crafts or cooking workshops. Participate in the animal programs or the resort safari to learn more about the savanna inhabitants. There are also fun nighttime activities, including animal spotting using night vision goggles and storytelling around a bonfire.

About Melissa Fegely

I have been a professional writer for over 18 years with degrees in Biology and English. I am a lifelong Disney fan and a Disney Vacation Club member of over nine years. Having visited Walt Disney World several times growing up, I really caught the Disney bug after many trips with my husband. Now I am happily addicted to taking our son to Walt Disney World as often as possible and watching him experience the magic and Mickey Bars as he grows up. Traveling to Walt Disney World twice a year, I enjoy attending the Flower and Garden festival held in the spring and strolling around the World Showcase, as well as exploring all of the hidden gems that all four parks have to offer. I love helping my family and friends plan their next Disney trips based on my experiences. I also enjoy reading, swimming, traveling, and cheering for the Pittsburgh Steelers. I grew up in Southwestern Pennsylvania, attended Shippensburg University, and current live in suburban Philadelphia with my husband, son, and two cats.