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The sun rises above the savannah and the earth starts to move. In the distance, giraffe begin to browse the tall trees in search of a morning meal. As a sacred ibis stretches its wings to welcome the day, Thomson’s gazelles kick up their heels in a playful daily ritual. Not far away atop a rustic balcony, a family sips morning coffee and has a front row seat on this quiet rite of nature.

Until now, the only place this could happen was a wildlife reserve in Africa. Now, guests at Walt Disney World Resort can recreate this experience every day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

The 1,293-room deluxe resort, which opened April 2001, showcases the wonder and romance of Africa, from the hand-carved furnishings and the gourmet cuisine served in its three restaurants to the splendor of a 33-acre savannah around the resort where animals roam freely.

 Namukelekile!: Welcome All of You! 

The entrance to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, featuring lush foliage, leads to the thatched-roofed main lobby. The lodge’s shape -- resembling a horseshoe -- is based on the traditional kraal (pronounced “crawl”), or corral, a design used in African villages to keep homes and livestock safe from harm.

At night, incandescent lighting twinkles, resembling fireflies and soft-glowing campfires. Just outside the lobby, an elevated kopje, or rock outcropping, puts guests within 15 feet of the animals, and gives an extraordinary, near-panoramic view of the animal reserve.

 A World of Amenities 

Famous Disney service and deluxe amenities combine to create an unforgettable adventure at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. The resort features a 9,000-square-foot, themed feature pool -- which offers a poolside view of the savannah -- as well as two bubbling spas. Featured for the younger set: a children’s activity center, pool and play area.

 A Culinary Journey 

The resort’s restaurants will recreate the flavors of Africa, As the world gets smaller, we have the opportunity to be a trend-setter, borrowing flavors from many of the 53 countries in the continent of Africa . . . fruits from Kenya, spices from North Africa, basic products, bold flavors.

The resort’s signature restaurant is Jiko-The Cooking Place, where Chef Serge Burckel melds cuisines from around the globe, harmoniously combining ingredients from different cultures: banana leaf-steamed Chilean sea bass with asparagus puree, mushrooms and apples; oven-baked garlic chicken tagine with grapefruit, olives and herbs; a whole roasted papaya stuffed with spicy minced beef. Appetizers are equally imaginative, like foie gras dumplings with lentil broth and dried fruits, or maize tamales with truffle oil, herbs and spices. Jiko is Swahili for “cooking place.”

Boma-Flavors of Africa is the name of the family “marketplace” restaurant featuring an exhibit kitchen with a wood-burning grill and rotisserie. Boma in Swahili is “an open, natural space that provides a safe and sheltered place in the bush.” The 270-seat restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner. Two other dining locations at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: The Mara and Victoria Falls.

 24-Hour Animal Viewing Opportunities 

he savannah is home to more than 200 mammals and birds representing a cross-section of the African palette -- greater kudu, Grant’s zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, impala, marabou stork to name a few. Thirty percent of the mammal species are Walt Disney World-exclusive to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. The hoofstock and birds roam freely on the savannah where resort guests may enjoy 24-hour viewing opportunities.

 A Celebration of Culture 

Reflecting the romance and beauty of African culture, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge features an extensive collection of museum-quality art, with more than 200 pieces in guestrooms and public spaces.

The centerpiece of the resort’s collection is the Igbo Ijele (pronounced e-bo e-gelay) mask, featured in the lobby. The Ijele, created by the Igbo people of Africa, is a massive creation that towers more than 16 feet tall and is eight feet in width. In Africa, the mask signifies an important event or celebration and makes rare appearances. No other Ijele, which is the largest mask in tropical Africa, is known to exist outside of Igbo land.

 The No Pixie-Dust Zone 

This was our first visit to the Animal Kingdom Lodge(2006) and its all about the animals! The Animal Kingdom Lodge is a very unique resort for me because Im fence sitting honestly with my opinion of it. First, the animals do nothing for me but my daughter (who was 2 at the time) liked the animals but wasnt really sure about them. Second...I really dislike the dependence of this resort on BUSES!!!You have to get on a bus to do ANYTHING!!!!Going to Animal Kingdom...Bus! Going to anywhere...Bus! While the buses seemd to be prompt on our visit, I still hate them. Enough whining about buses.

So was there anything good about this resort? ABSOLUTLY!!! At night, the resort was simply amazing with the warm glow of lights fickering as it illuminates the resort. The bond fire out back give an especially warm, gentle glow to the area around us in the evening night. I have never been to africa but I bet it felt like this on the savannah. In the evenings, there are no animals to see but stories to be heard and marshmellows to roast. I bet in the late fall, it must be amazing with the cool breezes rolling in. This visit was during the christmas holidays and while the pools were heated, there was no way I was going to get into the pools. We didnt spend much time in the pool area but the pool looked rather large and seemed well themed with the typical waterslide.

During this stay, we were only there a few days and we didnt get to experience everything that the resort had to offer especially dining. With that being said, I have looked at the menus and the food seemed to be too "exotic" for me. Anywho...we stayed on the 3rd floor with a savannah view. The rooms were themed to the african savannah with bug netting over your bed, a flat screen TV but typically darker lighting than other resorts especially in the evening again, its all about the animals. It was kinda cool to see the animals from my sofa as I watched TV but the novelty wore off after a while.

 Resort Info 

PO Box 10,000
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Phone: (407) W-DISNEY
Fax: (407) W-DISNEY

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 Current Rack Rates 
Room Type:
Weekday Rate, Weekends Slightly Higher

Regular Season:  $325.00
Peak Season:  $390.00
Value Season:  $265.00
Holiday Season:  $470.00




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