Through DVC Shop Confirmed reservations, I booked a one-night reservation at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort. Living in Orlando, I call these kinds of trips “staycations” because instead of going to the Disney Parks during my stay, I only spend my trip at the actual hotel to take advantage of all the hotel offerings.
When arriving at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, we got the notification that our Deluxe Studio Standard View Room was ready. Instead of going to the front desk, we could go directly to the room and use the My Disney Experience App, which gave us our room number and access to open our room door without needing to pick up a physical room key. Once we entered the room, we did a room tour and checked out all the details.
One of the first things that caught our attention was the balcony! Even though it wasn’t a savanna room, we still had a beautiful view of the property grounds and a view of the pool. The weather was perfect for spending some time out there and reading a book to relax. Our room had a kitchenette, which was perfect because we had brought snacks and drinks to enjoy throughout the day and to bring to the pool in the evening. Our room had a queen-sized bed and a pull-out couch, accommodating four people to sleep overnight. The room had wooden and tile detail accents featuring similar artwork in The Lion King.
The Art and Animals
While exploring the hotel, there is so much to see. There are balconies lining different hallways, showing Savanah views where you could see animals such as zebras and giraffes roaming around the property. Once we got to the lobby, we enjoyed looking at the different artwork and live wood carvings Cast Members were showcasing. All the artwork featured plaques going over the history and heritage of the pieces showcased throughout the lobby.
After going downstairs in the main lobby, which led to a location with perfect views of the animals. There are rocking chairs and even a bonfire where activities occur, such as making smores, and Cast Members give guests binoculars for a closer look at the amazing animals. Additionally, as you get closer to the animal viewing areas, a Cast Member is stationed there to teach you about the animals you see and the importance of conservation.
Later in the evening, we dine at Jiko, the signature dining option located next to Sanaa. Here we enjoyed the oak-grilled filet mignon and the bobotie mac & cheese. The restaurant’s ambiance was splendid, and so were the cocktail options. While dining here, you feel transported and forget you’re even on Disney property! Afterward, instead of having dessert at the restaurant, we went to The Mara the hotel’s quick service, and got Zebra Domes. If you aren’t familiar with these chocolate and vanilla mousse desserts, it’s a must-try and a staple of Animal Kingdom Lodge. After dinner, we took advantage of the pool still being open after sunset and used the hot tub.
Before checking out the next day, we took the time to explore the rest of the animal-viewing trails the hotel offered and even used the walking path to visit Jambo House. The path is a great way to start your day and I would suggest it for a jog or run for those looking for some exercise outside the job while staying at either one of these hotels. We stopped by the pool before making our final exit because right along the edge is where you can find the flamingos, which were a little hard to see at night.
Overall I recommend staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge, whether two adults or a family with little ones. The hotel offers entertainment without even going into the theme parks. With the animals on the property, it’s as if the zoo is brought to your home! Make sure to check out discounted available reservations on our site DVC Shop.