A Disney-fied take on an African safari experience, the Animal Kingdom Lodge feels like a trip around the world. The thatched-roof main building follows the theme in the grand lobby, where a mud fireplace meets soaring wood columns. Guest rooms are outfitted with carved-wood furniture and private balconies; some have bunk beds perfect for families, but the savannah-view rooms are worth the splurge for the chance to see zebras and giraffes up close as you sip your morning coffee. You have your choice of watering holes: the 10,000-square-foot Uzima pool has a waterslide, wading area, and two hot tubs, while the Samawati Springs pool, though half the size, has an even bigger waterslide and adjoining playground. Dining options are appropriately over-the-top. At Boma, the market-style buffet features carving stations and flavors from 50 African nations; Jiko pairs a Mediterranean-inspired menu and sub-Saharan flavors with South African wines. Cultural representatives from countries including Botswana, Namibia, and Kenya lead free tours of the resort, pointing out details of the continent’s art, cuisine, and natural history in its design. But nothing is as far-flung as it seems—the Lodge and villas are connected to the rest of Walt Disney World and the Orlando Airport by complimentary bus transportation.

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Nearby highlights
Inspired by turn-of-the-century national park lodges, Disney's Wilderness Lodge combines rustic charm with a contemporary flair on the shore of Bay Lake at Walt Disney World Resort. The 727-room hideaway features a spectacular six-story lobby, replete with teepee-topped chandeliers, totem poles, an 82-foot-tall stone fireplace and a bubbling hot spring that expands outside the building into a roaring waterfall. Walt Disney World Resort is located in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Disney)
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
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