Staying on safari

Ok, you’re going to have to keep your eyes peeled at this resort. You don’t want to miss ANYTHING while you’re here. And I’m going to help you see as much as I can, so stay close!

Animal Kingdom Lodge is the resort that is the freshest in my memory, having stayed there in June 2011 with my family for a special college graduation trip. It, unlike the last three I’ve written about, is one of the deluxe resorts at Disney World. I like to consider Wilderness Lodge its older brother, which is also a ridiculously nice place to see (I’ve visited there, and I would certainly love to stay there someday. But that’s for another blog post).

At Animal Kingdom Lodge, there are two different areas you can stay at: Jambo House (of which I’ll be talking about) and Kidani Village (which actually has rooms that act more like apartments). I could take the time to talk about the rooms and how we stayed in a room with bunk beds (although I might along the way), but I’m going to focus on the really important aspect of the resort: the fire pits.

Ok, I’m joking, although the fire pits are pretty awesome and very useful if it’s a cold night, or even if it’s not. I found the one in the lobby particularly nice when we came back to the resort late at night, and the air conditioning was BLASTING through the lobby. I get cold very easily, so the fire pit was a nice place to warm my exposed legs and arms after wearing shorts and a tank top in the Florida heat. It ended up being my favorite place in the lobby. There’s also one outside near the savannah if you want to enjoy the fire outside with the animals.

When you first enter the lobby, it’s a grand entrance into a big, high-ceilinged room as African drums beat down by the buffet restaurant Boma and the cast members greet you. The gift shop is to your immediate right, like any good Disney resort, but, if you look up as you walk in the lobby, you can see a bridge crossing from one side of the hotel to the other for guests to cross and take in a bird’s eye view. It looks like a typical rickety bridge that you would think of on an African trek, but, of course, caring much more about safety, it is far from rickety and is rather stable and a nice place to look at the resort and lobby from a different, higher viewpoint.

One neat room arrangement that we took advantage of was the bunk beds instead of one of the typical queen beds in a room. It’s probably really great for kids, but my brother and I are adults, and we both really seemed to like the unique opportunity. I had never slept on a top bunk before (or a bottom bunk, for that matter), and it was actually fun to finally get the opportunity. The scariest thing is coming down the bunk since it has such a tiny ladder and you have to be very careful going up and down, but that’s just me. But I really enjoyed the experience overall.

Now for the animals. They’re what you came for, aren’t they? Yeah, you can’t go there and avoid the animals walking around the savannah. And why would you want to? It’s always a surprise to see who’s out at any given hour. And I mean that. Sometimes, we came in at 2 AM, and there were animals grazing about. Though we had a pool view room, there is no lack of viewing spots to see the savannah. Giraffes, zebras, wildebeest… They’re everywhere. All you need to do is walk outside on the hotel’s grounds or around the hotel’s hallways, and you’re bound to see some animals. The resort even provides a guide in your room so that you know what species you’re looking at and to make sure you can catch every animal species that lives there. I can’t tell you how many pictures I took just of giraffes. And you can get pretty close to them, considering. They are fenced in, but there never is a problem of seeing them. Animals abound. And look for the flamingos by the pool. They’re a bit hidden, but it’s a nice find when you look.

I would stay here again in a heartbeat. The views are beautiful, the rooms are unique, and the animals are magnificent. And make sure to take a trip over to Kidani Village. It’s worth a slight detour just to see it.

Well, that’s pretty much my review of hotels, at least of those I’ve personally stayed at over the years. What’s my next topic going to be? Why don’t YOU decide that? Send me a suggestion of something you’d like me to discuss, and I’ll do my best to address your question. Drop me a line!

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