Animal Kingdom Lodge – Why We Love It (and you will too!)

A year ago our family was considering which resort we would call home for 10 days.   We knew we wanted to treat ourselves so we looked at both moderate and deluxe resorts.   We usually stay at Moderate Resorts for longer trips and Value Resorts during shorter trips.  This trip however was a really important one because we were celebrating the adoption of our son.  In the end we decided it was worth the extra expense to book a deluxe resort.

After looking at the multitude of features that each deluxe resort offered, we really wanted our choice to reflect what our 4 year old son would enjoy most.  Our son loves pools, castles, trains,  and animals.  That narrowed things down pretty quickly for us.

It all came down to Polynesian Village or Animal Kingdom Lodge.   Talk about a tough choice!  As much as we wanted to try Polynesian Village,  we knew our son might not remember the experiences of staying there as much as staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge.  The memory of waking up each morning with giraffes roaming outside your bedroom window probably would have more staying power.  That fact plus the higher price point made choosing Animal Kingdom Lodge a cinch.

Animal Kingdom Lodge

Boy are we glad we chose Animal Kingdom Lodge!  This place is truly magical.   From the moment you arrive you ARE in Africa.

Animal Kingdom Lodge has two sections.   The main building is called Jambo House and contains all the accommodations for regular (non-DVC) guests with some accommodations set aside exclusively for DVC (Disney Vacation Club) guests.  A short 10 minute walk down the road is Kidani Village.   Kidani Village is exclusively set aside for DVC guests although all Animal Kingdom Lodge guest are welcome to enjoy the pool at Kidani Village.

Animal Kingdom Lodge Map
Click the map for a larger view.
Jambo House

The lobby at Jambo House is absolutely gorgeous.   The structure that is Jambo House is six stories tall.  When you enter the lobby you’re actually on the third floor and you’re eyes are immediately drawn skyward at the enormous light fixtures that adorn the cathedral like ceilings.   Your eyes then gaze to the back of the lobby to an enormous picture window with views of 30-acres of savanna.  The window spans the height and width of the lobby.

There’s all kinds of great places to sit and relax.   The lobby even features an indoor fire-pit.

If you’re an early riser,  the lobby is a particularly nice place to sit and relax with a hot cup of coffee or tea.

It’s quiet and sunrise is a great way to really appreciate all the fine details.


The halls that lead to the rooms are located at each corner off the lobby and are quite long.  The rooms are beautifully adorned with African touches.   The style is not over the top and done in a way that makes you feel like you’re home.

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Magical Tip: When you check in ask for a room that is closer to the lobby.  Also ask if there are any partial Savanna views available.  Sometimes they may accommodate you at no additional charge. 

The Pool

Animal Kingdom Lodge has two pools each with its own personality. One is located at Jambo House while the other is found at Kidani Villiage.

Uzima Pool – The Uzima pool at Jambo House is the largest pool and features beach entry access and a pool slide.  The pool is 11,000 square-feet and is located near the Uzima Savannah.

The pool area includes two whirlpools,  a wading pool for your little ones, and a playground.  Nearby you’ll find access to the fitness center, The Mara (quick service dining), and an arcade.

Kidani Village

The lobby at Kidani Village is much smaller and intimate compared to Jambo House.   When you enter you get the sense that you’re entering an African outpost.

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The Pool

Samawati Springs Pool The pool at Kidani Village is very intimate.  It’s nestled off to the left side of the main entrance of Kidani Village with a backdrop of a wetland in the distance.   This pool is smaller than Uzima Pool at Jambo House.  It is 4,700-square-feet compared to Uzima’s 11,000-square-feet.  Be that as it may, this pool is highly entertaining for kids of all ages.  While both pools feature a water slide,  the Samawati Springs water slide was our favorite.   It’s a legit water park slide which is a great thrill!


The Savannahs

The savannahs can be seen from many points across the resort.   Of course having a view from your room is an amazing experience but there are also other vantage points which are equally if not more grand.

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The room corridors have many “breaks” where glass has been installed so one can stop and gaze upon the savanna.  Outside there are many viewing areas as well.

At Animal Kingdom Lodge you are wrapped up in a blanket full of African ambiance and wildlife all around.  Animal Kingdom Lodge is a must do experience for anyone looking for that truly unique experience only Disney can provide.

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