Today I got the confirmation…Pete and I will be staying for 5 nights and 7 days at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge! I am so very excited about this! I wasn’t sure if we were going to be able to switch our reservations and I had pretty much let my heart settle on the Wilderness Lodge. While I do want to one day stay at the Wilderness Lodge, this is our wedding and I wanted it super special! The Animal Kingdom boasts the biggest pool on Walt Disney World Property and the Animals are right there. It is going to be great! I need to call all of our vendors; Flowers, Photographers, Transportation Company…They all need to know of the change. Actually I may email some of them now! EKKK! This is so wonderful. What a great Saturday!
Here are few facts about our Hotel:
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is a deluxe resort hotel adjacent to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It opened April 16, 2001. Designed by Peter Dominick, of Wilderness Lodge fame, AKL recreates the feel of a South African wildlife reserve lodge. Rooms follow the Kraal African village design, a semicircle concept, offering a view of close to 100 grazing animals and 130 birds on the property and in the private savannas. Like Disney other resorts, AKL has a distinctive theme carried throughout its architecture, landscape and interior designs. As you drive up to the resort, all you see is a small gathering of huts. The incredible size of the resort is hidden from the front, so it will be like driving up to a small safari village.
Tell me more about the look and feel of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
The Lodge is 6 stories tall. You enter the expansive lobby on the 3rd floor of the resort. There is a huge picture window which looks out upon 30 acres of land. From here, you can walk out onto an elevated viewing area (Arusha Rock) and enjoy the roaming animals.
All three savannas are special areas built specifically for the AKL and are separate from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. There are over 100 Sand Live Oak trees and 35,000 shrubs in the savannas. Seeds for many of the plants were supplied from Africa.
Throughout the rest of the lobby, there are examples of authentic architecture and design, from thatched ceilings to golden tones reflecting the richness and diversity of an African landscape. Rich wood tones surround a large mud fireplace and natural lighting will celebrate dawn and dusk with features that accentuate spectacular sunrises and sunsets.
In the hallways, there are alcoves with glass windows providing savanna overlooks.
What are the savannas like?
There are three separate savannas (approximately 10 acres each) that are open 24 hours a day. Each savanna is closed daily for approximately two hours for cleaning and handling animals, in shifts. There will always be at least two savannas open at all times. From left to right the savannas are named: Sunset, Arusha, and Uzima.
Each savanna has its own unique look and feel. Not all savannas have all the animals. For instance, ostriches can only be found on the Sunset savanna, zebras are only located on the Arusha savanna, kudu are only found on the Uzima savanna. Giraffes are the only animal found on all three savannas.
Each room has an animal viewing guide. You can also pick one up at the front desk.
At night, the savannas are illuminated by artificial moonlight as if a full moon were ever present.
“Safari Guides” are at the outside viewing areas and can answer your questions about the animals and birds.
Altogether, more than 200 mammals and birds of nearly three dozen species populate the 33-acre area. The savannas surround the lodge on three sides. You can view the birds and animals from resort balconies or from several viewing points — including a landscaped rock outcropping called the Arusha Rock kopje — 24 hours a day.
Are the animals and birds on the savannas 24 hours a day? Where do they sleep?
The savannas are the actual home for the animals and birds. All animals inhabiting the savanna return periodically to an on-site animal care facility for feeding and routine care. Many of the species browse, as well, on savanna plantings that are part of their everyday diet and are continually replenished by horticulturists.The animals sleep on the savannas, although they are generally much further back and therefore you can’t see them sleep.
What animals and birds might I see on the savannas?
The following animals may be found on at least one of the three Animal Kingdom Lodge Savannas:
Anikole Cattle, Bongo, Blesbok, Eland, Grant’s Zebra, Greater Kudu, Impala, Reticulated Giraffe, Thomson’s Gazelle, Waterbuck, and White-Bearded Wildebeest.
Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Blue Crane, East African Crowned Crane, Greater Flamingo, Marabou Stork, Ostrich, Pink-Backed Pelican, and Ruppel’s Griffon Vulture.
Where did the animals come from?
NO, you may not touch or feed the animals. If you attempt to do so, you risk expulsion from the resort.
Safety of both the guests and the animals is very important. As an in-room notice states: “To assist the animal care staff in maintaining the health and safety of the animals, please do not feed them or drop items into the habitats. Also, please do not attempt to approach or cross the barriers designed for guest and animal safety. If any guest attempts to harm the animals or their habitats, they will be immediately asked to leave the resort. During your stay you may notice cameras in and around the savannas. These cameras are for the protection and safety of our animals. For privacy, please close your drapes.”
What types of accommodations are available?
The accommodations offered are finished in rich tapestries and vibrant colors. Guest rooms feature jewel tones and hand-carved furnishings. There is even a “Royal Suite” with a domed, hut-like living room fit for a king.The following are the room types and numbers of rooms in each category: Standard View (facing the parking lot) 135 rooms; Pool View 136 rooms; savanna View 724 rooms; Deluxe Pool View 33 rooms; Deluxe savanna View 191 rooms and 55 Concierge rooms. The deluxe rooms are bigger than the standard rooms. There are also Presidential and Vice Presidential suites, as well as five one-bedroom suites and 12 two-bedroom parlor suites.
The standard rooms are on floors 1-4 and are 344 square feet. Deluxe rooms are on floors 5 and 6 and are 381 square feet. All rooms have balconies.
Some rooms feature one queen-size bed and bunk beds. Some rooms feature an additional dresser. There are 79 king bed rooms, and there are 65 accessible rooms with king bed, roll-in shower, accessible seat for toilet, TDD kit and ADA guide maps.
Concierge rooms have either savanna or a pool view.
Each room that is not ground level, no matter what the category or view, has a balcony that is long and narrow.
The suites are located at the end of the animal trails. From the outside of the Lodge, they are the ones located within the rounded parts of the building, with the curved balconies, topped with thatch. They are located on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th floors. Even the ones below 5th floor still have concierge access.
Can you explain more about the different views and room types?
Floors 1-2-3-4 have Standard Rooms with one of 3 views: Standard, Pool or savanna. The rooms can be configured with 2 Queens; 1 Queen and Bunk Beds; King Bed with Daybed; Handicapped Accessible with King Bed and Daybed.
Floors 5-6 have Deluxe rooms. Concierge rooms are the same as the Deluxe rooms. These have one of 2 views: Pool or savanna. The rooms can be configured as either 2 Queens; 1 Queen and Bunk Beds; King Bed and Daybed; Handicapped Accessible with King Bed and Daybed. The 6th Floor is exclusively Concierge.
The best way to understand the various views is to compare them to the seating in a theater or stadium. For example, I would equate a savanna view room to the orchestra and box seats: you have a close and personal view of the event, in which you are totally immersed in the action and sometimes even feel like they are playing just for you. The pool view rooms are similar to the mezzanine or club level: you still have good seating, but you are not as close to the action and are much more aware of your surroundings. And standard view rooms? They would be akin to the upper, upper deck, or the back of the highest balcony. You are there and can enjoy the experience, but you are much further removed both emotionally and physically.
What type of amenities are offered?
The rooms have a small safe in the closet to store valuables. It’s big enough for your plane tickets, cash/travelers checks and maybe some jewelry, but not much more. For storing larger valuables inquire at the front desk. In addition, you’ll also find a hairdryer, small coffee maker with packets of coffee and tea, iron and ironing board, a crib, and a small refrigerator. Valet parking, voice mail, and room service are also available.
Is it better to be out on the wings vs near the lobby area for views of the savanna? Does the configuration take into consideration sunrise and sunset angles for picture taking? Are views better as you go up in floors?
There is a Sunset savanna and also a Sunset savanna viewing room/balcony that is open to everyone. It was designed specifically for viewing at sunset. The balconies are all decent size so that a tripod will fit out there for photo taking.
On the lower floors you are closer to the animals, on the upper floors you have more of an expansive view…different people will prefer one over the other and it will differ.
The savannas are designed for viewing from a variety of locations. At any given time, one view may be better or worse than another. The Animal Staff are out several times during the day to leave food and treats for the animals. They scatter them all over so that the animals will visit lots of different areas in the savanna.