Don’t leave the resort.
Disney has so much to offer and the resorts are no exception. The Drennons are firm believers that you can’t do it all in one trip. We try to slow down and really enjoy the experiences in front of us. If you are spending the money on one of these resorts, you owe it to yourself to take some time to appreciate more than the lobby, If you missed parts one and two go back and give them a read.
Part 3: Animal Kingdom Lodge
This resort has it all: amazing dining options, fantastic pools, loads of activities, giraffes.
I highly recommend this resort for all ages. It feels a little far away from everything else in Walt Disney World but we were ok with that and think you may be too. We stayed two nights and three whole days and never left the resort.
Animal Kingdom Lodge and Kidani Village are located right next door to each other. The activities I am going to be referring to took place at either one of these resorts. There is a courtesy van that travels between the resorts continually, making it easy to bounce back and forth.
Both resorts have a pool with a water slide and hot tubs scattered around the lush landscape. Kidani Village has a wonderful water playground area for kids of all sizes called Uwanja Camp. This area has small slides and water cannons and a special splash area for the smallest guests. Just like at other Disney resorts, there are also a host of poolside activities for the kids to enjoy.
The Animal Kingdom resorts have one of the neatest activities we have seen yet at a Disney resort: “beaded activities.” There are several activities that earn you a bead at these resorts. Check the resort schedule to find out which activities earn you a bead. It takes a little bit of planning if you want to gather all the beads. We spent more time than I wanted hopping back and forth between the resorts and still weren’t able to earn all the beads. Beaded activities included learning about flamingos, the ecosystem, and African geography and history. A highlight for us was learning how to play drums and rain sticks in a lobby alcove. The music of the drums resonating through the immense lobby is quite captivating. The boys, however, really enjoyed the activity where you searched for clues that animals of the Savannah had left behind. Think footprints and scat. In case you aren’t a nerd like me, scat is animal dung. (You see the appeal for little boys).
Also, make sure you check out the night-vision goggles in the evening (not a beaded activity). You can view the animals via these goggles at the main observation area. The boys really got a kick out of it and we did too. How often do you get to use night vision?
For those that love pin trading, you can stop by the gift shop and trade with “King Pin.” He is amazing and so knowledgeable about each pin. He had a mountain of pins to trade with and a “mystery bag.” You could choose to blindly pick a pin out of the bag which was a hit with my boys. Prepare to wait because he takes his time with each guest and he was very popular. His appearance was listed on the resort activity schedule.
There were two activities that involved food that we participated in: cookie and cake decorating, both of which were free activities. Arrive early because there was quite a line, especially for the super cute cake decorating. (Free Cake!) FOOD ALLERGY TIPS: we wanted to have both boys participate, so we arrived early. For both activities, the staff was amazing when I asked about allergies. Be patient as they may have to do a little legwork to find you an alternative and find out what toppings/ decorations you can use. Both times the CMs were able to produce cookies from a company called Enjoy Life Foods. These products are free of the top 8 allergens. Also, you can purchase cookies to bring from the gift shop in the resort. There is a line of Disney snacks called Snacks with Character. These products are also produced by Enjoy Life Foods.
More Adult-Oriented Activities:
(We were able to spend some adult time on this trip due to the kids club, set to close this summer 2018. A moment of silence for the kids club.)
You can learn a lot from the cultural ambassadors throughout the resort. There are several opportunities to engage with the representatives about their respective countries. They have cultural presentations and activities throughout the resorts. We were able to watch a presentation about South Africa. We learned all about the many regions, languages, and activities the country has to offer. Mr. Drennon had to be dragged away; he could have chatted the night away with every representative he met.
There are also some extra paid activities you can participate in here. You can take a tour of Jiko, participate in wine tasting, or participate in a special nighttime safari at the resort. The Animal Kingdom has the largest collection and selection of African wines in the United States. There are so many great dining and drink choices at this resort. We enjoyed a drink at Victoria Falls Lounge and grabbed a bite at the bar at Jiko (no reservation needed). Try the wild boar tenderloin. You can thank me later.
Room with a View:
We stayed in a savanna view room. It was completely amazing to drink my coffee in my pjs while I watched giraffes roll by. However, I have seen that some of the standard rooms can give you a peek at the animals or savanna. Plus, there are plenty of viewing areas for you to watch the animals if that is your goal. This is truly a place to relax and enjoy a fantastic Disney resort. If staying here is not in your budget, consider a day trip just to visit. It is a great place to enjoy lunch and, remember, they give out free cake.
From the restaurants to the amazing views, this resort can’t be beaten. It’s probably our favorite resort to have a relaxing resort stay vacation. The cast members and cultural representatives are so kind and so willing to spend time speaking with you. From adults to kids this is a great resort to stay for the length of your trip or to visit for the day.
Let CJ help you plan your amazing stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Send him an email at email@example.com.
Thanks to @apopkapete for the use of his pictures in this article.