Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
Bringing the Disney magic to the safari lodge experience, the Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of the most distinct of the theme park resorts, where a room with a view means sightings of African wildlife. The Jambo House main building has a thatched roof and a grand lobby with a mud fireplace and soaring columns. Cultural representatives from countries including Botswana, Namibia, and Kenya lead regular free tours of the resort, explaining how they have incorporated details of African art, cuisine, and natural history, and kids can decorate cookies and have their faces painted. Guest rooms have carved wooden furniture and private balconies; families can book rooms with bunk beds. Savannah-view rooms are well worth the splurge to see zebra and giraffes up close as you drink your morning coffee. The 10,000-square foot Uzima pool has a waterslide, kids’ wading area, and two hot tubs, though it’s scheduled to close for refurbishments in late 2018. Guests can use the Samawati Springs pool, which is half the size but has a bigger waterslide and a playground. Dining options include Boma’s market-style buffet of carving stations and flavors from 50 African nations, fine-dining African-meets-Mediterranean cuisine and South African wines at Jiko, and Indian-influenced dishes at Sanaa at the Animal Kingdom Villas. The Lodge and Villas are connected to the rest of Walt Disney World and the Orlando Airport by complimentary bus transportation.
By Meg Nesterov, AFAR Local Expert