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Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge - Disney World

Reviews summary

4
Good
8092 reviews
Brilliant
4921
Good
1988
Average
724
Poor
307
Awful
152

17 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog

Loved Every Minute

5
Brilliant
by
Reviewed 26th November 2009

"I Would Highly Reccomend This Hotel It Is Brilliant And The Restuaraunts Are Fantastic Espesially The Jiko It Is A Great Experiance With The Pool And Arcades The Mara It A gOod Quick Resturant It Recommend it And The Busses To The Park Are Free It Is A 5 To 20 Minue Drive, :):)"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 25th November 2009

disney animal kingdom lodge warning for ...

1
Awful
by
Reviewed 2nd October 2008

"disney animal kingdom lodge warning for others do not stay at the animal kingdom lodge we left after one night there is building works on going until spring 09 and the hotel are not letting people know when they book or when they check in and they refuse to give your money back, instead of the view of animals as promised we have jcb`s diggers and lots of workmen....and three very upset small children... "

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 2nd October 2008

Overall this is the perfect place on Dis...

4
Good
by
Reviewed 21st May 2008

"Overall this is the perfect place on Disney property to stay if you do not want to be in the hustle and bustle of the madness of Disney. This was my first trip to Disney but I did get to visit most of the other hotels as I booked lots of other hotels for dining (something I would strongly suggest you research and book before you go to save being disappointed at eating quick service meals only), and have to say that AKL is a very impressive hotel on first impressions.... However... I agree with a previous reviewer that it is just the same as 'a very small zoo' and once you have seen the animals, you have seen them. I was also not able to have a Savannah view room due to popularity, even though I had booked one and they wanted an extra $500 per night to be upgraded to a suite (which I declined). I soon got over my disappointment at not having a Savannah room and wasnt there enough to benefit from a savannah view room anyway. If you plan on sitting on your balcony all day every day then maybe you would!!! The food was a bit spicy for my husband but should have thought about that before booking an African themed hotel!! One person has commented on the colour of the pool water - it is supposed to look like that. It is supposed to be a tropical oasis so the floor is coloured green to give the impression of swimming in a lake or river. As above, if you want a proper sit down breakfast in the morning you will need to book Boma for every day to avoid disappointment as the walk in wait can be about 90 mins otherwise. Shop is quite big and sells all the little bits and bobs you forget like toothpaste and sun cream etc. Never had a problem getting a lounger by the pool. Even had waiter service by the pool. Try the blue glowtinis!!! Travelling around can be a bit time consuming by bus service as its so far away but after all... you are on holiday...whats the rush! I am not a snob but due to the price of the accommodation you do tend to get nice refined families there as opposed to the large families with screaming kids. Concierge services were all very good at reception. Very knowledgeable. Check in fairly fast and gave me all the information i needed. Room was cleaned daily. Towels and toiletries refreshed every day. House keeping very friendly. Came home one afternoon to find the tv on and the childrens bears propped up at the end of one of the beds with the remote control to look as if they had been watching tv whilst we were out. Very effective. My daughter loved it! Arline in the Mara very helpful to 1st time guests with dining plan. Lovely lady. Be nice to her she only gets 1 day off per week. Most of the staff are of African origin. Can sometimes be a bit of a language barrier but never had a problem that couldnt be resolved. Lifeguards at the pool all very vigilant. Several times saw one jump in to rescue little kiddies. Towels always stocked up and available at pool side (take these to water parks with you else you'll have to pay $1 for your towels there)... Life jackets in short supply by the pool side though. People seem to bag them in the morning and hide them next to their sun loungers even when their kids are not using them! Look out for the resident duck who has just had ducklings and takes them for a swim in the pool every morning! All in all lovely location, quiet and relaxing. Will not be going back as a lot to pay when you can go to Port Orleans French Quarter for 1/2 the price and from what I have been told, the same service. "

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 21st May 2008

This was our first visit to Disney World...

5
Brilliant
by
Reviewed 30th July 2007

"This was our first visit to Disney World and it could not have been more magical. If I had to use one word that would describe Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge it would have to be Fantastic. We had the Disney Dining Plan added to our trip which was great, as we didn't need to worry about keeping our money for food separate from our spending money. It’s a great idea and would recommended it to anyone. As soon as I set foot inside the lobby, I didn't feel like I was in Florida, I felt like I was in Africa. The staff were really friendly and always happy to help. The restaurants were lovely, Boma (buffet) had something for everyone, Mara (Counter service) was great for breakfast, lunch and dinner if you are on the go and Jiko was great for a special meal. There was a fire that was lit in the evenings which had rocking chairs all around was a great place to relax after walking around the parks all day. The theme of Africa was also carried into the rooms; from African themed wallpaper to huge wooden carved beds that were so comfortable that you really could re charge your batteries ready for the next day. If you are thinking of visiting Walt Disney World, I would recommend travelling in December. Not only is the weather good but you get to see Disney working its magic ready for Christmas; you must get tickets for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party held in Magic Kingdom where the park is open until midnight for around 1000 people and select attractions are open throughout. There is a Christmas parade that is on only during the party and not at any other time throughout the day and the special firework show that is just spectacular and breathtaking. I really can’t wait to go back - already going back next year and trying to squeeze in another trip at the end of this year. If you can go - GO."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 30th July 2007

WOW! That’s the quickest way to descri...

5
Brilliant
by
Reviewed 19th August 2006

"WOW! That’s the quickest way to describe Animal Kingdom Lodge. I’d recommend you try and get there at least once in your life, especially if you have kids. Mrs A Husselbee’s review below gives a great idea of what to expect, and there’s not really much more I can add. Although I would definitely stress the point that you should buy a refill cup as soon as you visit the Mara restaurant, great value for money. As well as the Mara we ate in the Boma restaurant, which is buffet style. The food has an African theme, but the selections were amazing, from the carvery right through to the deserts. We counted 19 different deserts on offer! It’s advisable to book for the Boma, as there were always queues in the evening. The layout of the hotel is massive, to give the most views of the Savannahs, and it is quite a trek to your room if you’re at the far ends. You really have to remember to take everything with you first trip, or it can be a 20 minute wait while someone runs back to the room! I’ve included the walk from reception to our room in my video, which gives you an idea of just how big the hotel is. We were facing the sunrise Savannah, and lots of the animals were fed in this area, it’s just unbelievable how close they are. You find yourself stepping out onto the balcony for a minute, and you’re still there half an hour later. Again, there’s some clips from our balcony in the video. This is an ideal base for those with kids, as the non-Park days when you stay at the hotel will be just as fun, and the kids won’t get bored! "

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 19th August 2006

Hotel was wonderful and really added to ...

5
Brilliant
by
Reviewed 24th July 2006

"Hotel was wonderful and really added to the whole Disney experience. We stayed in a savannah view room, and struggled to leave the room, as it was such a joy to watch all of the animals wandering past the balcony, the children loved sitting out there after dark also. Sharing a room with the kids, can be a little stressful though as we walked miles and miles, kids often become tired and tetchy and there is no where to escape to as you are in a family room. "

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 24th July 2006

An impressive hotel set in it's own grou...

4
Good
by
Reviewed 5th May 2006

"An impressive hotel set in it's own grounds, with 3 restaurants, a good sized pool with life-guards, toddler pool and giraffes, zebras, flamingos- what more could you want? Check in was a bit of a wait but we got there eventually! Don't forget a credit card with a decent limit on it - your card is linked to your room key and can be used to pay for all Disneyland purchases including food and all purchases from the parks are delivered to the hotel which saves struggling with lots of cuddly toys. Our room was on the 5th floor over-looking the front of the hotel with an excellent view of the car-park! but because of the excellent glazing we were not disturbed by any noise. The room was a decent size for 2 adults and 2 small children with a double sink in the bathroom which was handy. Very clean throughout and there was maid service daily. The housekeeping service was excellent with a same day laundry service provided at a small charge. The food was filling and there were 3 eating places to suit all pockets. The Mara was a fast food joint which did serve some healthy options - look out for the free oranges, apples and bananas! It was the cheapest place to eat in the hotel and there was no need to book a table. A top tip is to buy a cup when you first visit the Mara- $11.95 I think they were and once this had been purchased all the soft/hot drinks were free. The staff were excellent and very good with children. Didn't use the Boma (mid-price, reservations required) or the Jiko (serves dinner, reservations, most expensive). The pool was a good size with life-guards on duty. However, after seeing ducks use it as a loo we were a little put off! The toddler pool was very small and was in a different area to the main pool which could be problematic if you have kids of varying ages. Loads of activities for the kids (with an African/Conservation theme) - parental supervision needed. Notice board details everything that's going on. Now to the best bit - the animals! 3 Savannahs staffed by knowledgeable, enthusiastic and very friendly guides from the African Continent. They were happy to take the time and chat about anything and everything! and they also lead the kids activities. We visited the Savannahs at all hours and saw all types of animal behaviour - totally absorbing and our youngest formed a strong bond with the flamingos! The night-vision goggles were amazing although we had quite a wait to use them on a few nights but it was worth it. The bar in the hotel was small and a getting a table wasn't always possible but the pool bar was ok for a quick beer in the evenings. The hotel shop sold the usual range of Disney merchandise and some basics – sun cream, postage stamps, snacks etc. Plus there was a large selection of African musical instruments which the children could play with for as they wanted. Good job the shop sold headache tablets too! Transportation to the parks is provided by buses and they run every 20 minutes from the hotel. To go further afield, go to the valet service to order taxis - which are reasonably priced. All in all, I usually find something to complain about when on holiday, but with this hotel even I was stumped and we are thinking about going back next year so it must be good!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 5th May 2006

We spent 2 weeks at this hotel in June t...

5
Brilliant
by
Reviewed 24th November 2005

"We spent 2 weeks at this hotel in June this year and I would recommend it without reservation. We took 2 children aged 3 and 11 and nothing was too much trouble for the staff. Our room overlooked the wild animals. The only slightly negative thing was that although it is classed as a deluxe resort the room was not very large, however it was kept spotless by the housekeeping staff. The food was excellent. Regular transport to the Disney theme parks. We did not have our own transport but there was a courtesy phone in the hotel so we could arrange transport with Mears to all the other Orlando theme parks. Would go back again but would avoid June - very wet!. "

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 24th November 2005

What an Experience

4
Good
by
Reviewed 26th October 2012

"I recently had an assignment to visit and review a hotel for a travel education program I am doing. I chose to visit the Animal Kingdom Lodge and adored it. The only reason I rated it a four and not a five is because its location makes transportation a little more slow and difficult and that is the only bad thing I can say about it, though it is perfect for those who are in no rush to see things and enjoy seclusion. The review I wrote for my class is as follows: Upon receiving this assignment of doing a hotel inspection and familiarization tour, I became overjoyed. My family and I were already packed for our annual Disney vacation, and this would give me a chance to visit a hotel that I wasnt familiar with. My family and I have always stayed at the Polynesian, due to its proximity to the monorail and transportation and ticket center, and its excellent concierge service. Although I have never stayed anywhere else, I have visited most of Disneys hotels for dinners and to view the rooms. A few years ago, Disney opened the Animal Kingdom Lodge, and I hadnt been over to see it yet. Its a superior class hotel, like the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Yacht and Beach Club and a small handful of other Disney properties that offer deluxe accommodation and concierge service. In addition, we were already slotted to dine there at the acclaimed restaurant, Jiko. My concierge called over for me and set me up an appointment to visit the lodge the same day as we were to dine there. He said they were more than receptive and would be pleased to have me visit. The Animal Kingdom Lodge, is Disneys most isolated resort, as it is about two miles from any of the parks, the nearest being the most recent, Animal Kingdom. It lures guests that a like quiet and seclusion from the bustle of the massive resort town. The main attraction, of course, is the Animals. Dozens of species straight out of Africa roam freely about the Savannah, offering guests views from balconies, outdoor viewing stations and the majority of the guestrooms. Although interaction with the animals is not allowed due to safety reasons for both the animals and the guests, the simple idea of sleeping in the middle of a game reserve in the middle of Florida is enough to satisfy any wild animal fan. Imagine sitting up all night on a private balcony watching Giraffes and Zebra wander by. Upon arrival, we walked into their massive lobby, which displayed African art from numerous tribes and small living areas that represented the meeting areas of select tribes. The majority of the employees are actually from these different tribes, and can be located around the lobby and savannah to answer questions for guests and enhance the authenticity of the experience. I was greeted at the front desk by Mintaka, who instantly called a guide for me and provided me with lots of brochures and information about the lodge, including a booklet explaining the art around the lodge. The most impressive piece was the Ijele Mask, towering 16 feet in the lobby and weighing 240 pounds. The Igbo people regard the ability to dance without dropping this elaborately decorated mask, a sign of overt strength and good fortune will come to those who can successfully complete the dance. I had a few minutes to stroll around the lobby, reading about the different artifacts before being greeted by Brooke, a lovely intern who gave me the tour. She was a communications major, about my age whom was going to be spending the next few months working at the lodge. The Animal Kingdom Lodge didnt have a set familiarization tour, but she was glad to show me whatever I needed. First, we went outside to the main viewing area for the savannah. She introduced me to two guides who answered my questions about the animals and the care for them and what guests ask most about. All around me I could see Ankole Cattle, Greater Kudus, Reticulated Giraffe, Wildebeest, Pink-Backed Pelican and other animals rare to this part of the earth. Brooke told me the there is an Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, a black funny looking bird, that chases the food trucks when they run through and it is always a spectacle. From there, she took me to two different rooms. First was the standard view which ranges from $199-$324 depending on the season. Over the years I have learned that at most Disney Hotels, the rooms will most all be alike, and what determines the price is oftroom was decently spacious, colorful, with two queen beds and a small balcony, all the modern amenities, and of course, hidden Mickeys, but it faced the parking lot, which in a way defeats the purpose of staying at this resort, though allows people who cant afford a more expensive room to enjoy it also. Then she brought me to a Savannah View Room ($275-$410 or $350-$515 for a deluxe), which was pretty much the same as the standard but the balcony offered tremendous views of Giraffe and Zebra that would be munching on trees and strolling 24 hours a day. I was amazed at just a how authentic it all seemed and how happy all the animals looked. I told Brooke that I was mainly interested in comparing the concierge services and seeing how it was run, so she took me up to the concierge level. The Polynesian and Floridian have separate buildings, but the lodge has the top floor and rooms on the 5th floor opposed to making it completely separate. It is accessed by a key that only allows the elevator to stop on that floor. I sat down at the Concierge Desk with Brooke and Pricilla-Marie, one of the AK Lodges devoted concierges and she informed me more of their services. She gave me a pamphlet of their hors doeuvres schedule for the day and the activities they have planned for children and guests. She also gave me a checklist of the animals that gives their names, identifying features and unique behaviors to watch for. Like the other Concierge services around Disney, they do vacation planning, tending to any tickets, priority seating, tours, transport or dinner arrangements youd like both before and upon arrival. If needed, they will also help you plan a full itinerary before you even leave home. The one bad thing was most rooms on the 6th floor, their devoted floor, offer no view of the Savannah, but to compensate, rooms were available on the 5th floor with full Savannah views and access to the concierge lounge. The standard concierge room costs $425-$610 based on the season but one-two bedroom suites, a Vice Presidential and a Presidential suite are also available to VIPs and larger parties. Most of there services are the same as any of the Disney concierges but with an African twist. The hors doeuvres are samples from their two best restaurants Boma and Jiko and vastly differ from the Asian twists at the Poly or the English twists at the Floridian. The best part about using the Animal Kingdom Lodge concierge is a special safari and breakfast for concierge guests only. They get a private open vehicle ride at the Animal Kingdom, well before the park opens so the guests get brilliant views of waking and feeding animals and see a lot of what other park gue by a breakfast at the Tusker House Restaurant for a buffet breakfast and chat with the animal hosts. This bonus feature is one of the coolest things in Walt Disney World, at least in my opinion. I also learned that the Animal Kingdom Lodge stole many of the concierge workers from the Polynesian so I had the chance to see and converse with a few people I had known in previous years.After leaving the concierge floor, Brooke took me around a few of the different trails. The lodge is divided into four trails, or long wings of hotel rooms that are named for the animals most featured in their view. There is the Ostrich, Zebra, Giraffe and Greater Kudu trail. Each room door is adorned with a wooden shield, which males in African tribes are given based on the strength, personality traits or rankings, and the shield determines the man, much like cars in Los Angeles. Along the corridors are different balconies and viewing areas that offer alternate views of the animals and every once in awhile we would come across glass encased artifacts such as masks, musical instruments, and tools of various tribes and some info about the tribes. It was truly amazing. When we got back to the lobby, I thanked Brooke profusely for the tour and wished her luck on her internship. She asked me to send the lodge a copy of my review, and I then went to find my family for dinner. I found them outside by the massively sprawling and beautiful pool that is right by the flamingo viewing area. We entered the glass doors to Jiko, the Animal Kingdom Lodges premiere gourmet restaurant, which also offers the most extensive and best selection of African wines in the U.S. We split a series of appetizers including cinnamon beef spring rolls with banana sauce, a duck firecracker roll, a delicious soup and marinated lobster claw. Our main dishes included a curried lamb, which was exceptionally tender, bonefish, a rare fish that is much like lobster in taste and texture and filet in a red wine sauce with African spices. The meal was exceptional and the service just as good. Their desert menu was to die for, but we were all too full from the bounty we had just inhaled. We are all big fine dining fans, and none of us had a single complaint. We were even seated at the best table in the house, right next to the window looking out at a Zen like fountain and the beautifully reflective pool.Before leaving, my parents, my boyfriend and I all stepped outside for a final view of the Savannah at night. A large fire burned for families to sit around, and the Lodges simulated moonlight made for perfect animal viewing while not subtracting from the natural feel of night. It was breathtaking. The towering lodge with its thatched roof and Sun City-esque structure in the moonlight was something I will never forget and I am so glad I had the chance to see it in full. I would highly recommend this resort to animal lovers, serenity seekers, adventurous families and just about anyone looking for a truly unique experience that doesnt require a passport, visa and shots. Animal Kingdom Lodge is a great addition to the Disney Resort collection and certainly deserves its place in Travel and Leisures Top 500 Hotels."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 9th March 2003

Love the AKL and would go back again

5
Brilliant
by
Reviewed 18th October 2012

"I must say I'm surprised as some of the negative reviews here. This resort is beautifully themed in every way. The decor, the food, the animals, the art, the lobby the activities are all African. I'm not sure why someone who is not interested in the African theme would want to stay in a themed hotel like this. The rooms are dimly lit. After all, the attraction is viewing the animals and brightly lit rooms over the Savana would impact viewing. If you like to read before bed like we do, and "itty bitty book lite" is definately required. I've eaten in Boma twice and loved it. There are so many different dishes to choose from you're bound to find several that you like. The African wine is also very nice and I've tried several. Go with a empty stomach and time so you can really enjoy all the goodies. The biggest treat is being able to see the animals right outside your window. They are fed in a manner that makes sure they make a trip around the whole savana, ensuring good views for everyone. I didn't smell any bad smells as alluded to in the reviews and we spent a lot of time on the balcony. The only slight negative was the cost of room service breakfast. My husband and I decided that spending time watching the animals was worth the room service cost, but boy our second breakfast cost over $50. We both thought that was a bit much for breakfast! One of the neatest things was the constant activity in the Lodge. Almost every hour there was something you could do... Cookie decorating, art tours, culinary tours. Our favorite was in the evening at 8:30 - The Cultural Safari. In a very comfortable library like room off the lobby a person from Africa talks about their home country. We spent time with a young man from Zimbabwe. There is nothing like interacting with someone from a given country to really get a picture of what life is like there. I highly recommend this hotel, however go knowing that it won't be cheap. For those of you "middle classers" like my husband and I, this is not a hotel you'll stay at every time you go to Disney. However, once every year or so is a real treat!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 4th March 2003

Never Again

1
Awful
by
Reviewed 25th November 2012

"Walking into the front lobby is magnificent, but that's where it ends. My husband and I stayed at the lodge in Jan. 2003. We had a deluxe suite overlooking the savannah. The only thing deluxe about it was the price. The room was dark and dreary, the decor depressing, and barely enough room for the two of us, although it's listed as sleeping 5. The smell from the animals is so bad that you cannot enjoy the balcony, so that's a waste. We were surprised to learn that the lodge is not part of the Animal Kingdom Theme Park, and the animals that are visible from the rooms belong to the lodge. Since the lodge is not connected by monorail to the park, your only options are to drive or wait for the lodge bus that runs about every half hour to take you over. We ate at Boma's and the food was so bad we had it taken off our bill. The Mara, which is a mini-mart, sells domestic beer for $5.00 a can. Most of the food and wine is all African, so unless you really like the stuff, you need to make plans to go off premise for every meal. The lounge, Victoria Falls, is more of an upstairs waiting area than a lounge. Nothing to rave about. There is really nothing much to do at the lodge and your to far away for convienence. Disney is truly a wonderful place to visit, but stick to the Magic Kingdom and avoid this one. A real expensive dissapointment."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 27th February 2003

Don't Waste Your Money

1
Awful
by
Reviewed 12th December 2012

"This was just a nightmare from the moment we arrived. I expect bad service if I'm staying in a cheapie, but not in a place that cost us over $250 per night. The room looked barely cleaned when we arrived, so bad I wouldn't even let my kids walk barefoot and it reeked of someone's meal from the day before. Throughout our 3-day stay, we found the service ethic to be just "ho hum" throughout. People giving AKL such high reviews must not be used to better accommodations. If I could rate it less than "1", I surely would."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 13th February 2003
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