On the far western edge of Walt Disney World, sits Animal Kingdom Lodge, a Deluxe resort hotel themed after the African savannah. The animals roaming the four savannahs around the resort property are hardly a secret. Neither are the savannah view rooms that allow guests to watch the animals from their own deck. But here some aspects about Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge that you might not know.
10. Looks Like a Village Outside
As you walk or drive up to the main lobby, you might think it looks a little small and unimpressive. That’s because the thatched roof appears low hung (the hillside and forced perspective make the rood seem lower than it is). The roof heights combined with the small fires and torches are themed to look like a village amidst the savannah. When the sun goes down, the theming truly comes to life and the firelights adds incredible ambiance.
9. Art Collection
Everywhere and anywhere you look in Animal Kingdom Lodge (and I mean everywhere!) you’ll find artwork. Disney partnered with traditional artists in Africa to accumulate the largest collection of African art in the United States. Look for sculptures, shields, and paintings all around the resort. Find them in the lobby, restaurants, hallways and hotel rooms!
8. Dining Options
Jambo House is home to a variety of dining options, from lounges to counter service, to signature dining. Victoria Falls is a lounge where guests can stop in for a drink and a nosh. The Mara is the counter service option at Animal Kingdom Lodge (and you can get the famous Zebra Domes without an Advanced Dining Reservation there!). Boma is a buffet popular for breakfast, soup, and Zebra Domes. Jiko: The Cooking Place is a signature dining restaurant. Advanced Dining Reservations are recommended for Boma and Jiko.
7. Wine Collection
Jiko is home to the largest collection of South African wines outside of South Africa. Every Wednesday, Jiko hosts a tour of its wines where guests get to sample a trio of wines and cheeses, and learn about the varieties available. Reservations are recommended for the tour, and all guests must be at least 21 years old to attend.
6. Disney Vacation Club
Kidani Village, a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) dedicated building opened in 2009, but Jambo House has DVC rooms as well. Guests can stay in a Studio, 1, 2, one 3 bedroom villas in Jambo House. Staying in Jambo’s DVC rooms puts you closer to the counter service restaurant and to Boma, both popular choices for families.
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5. Cookie Decorating
Stop by Boma at 1:00pm for an out of the box activity! Adults and kids alike can decorate a sugar cookie animal (usually a giraffe or hippo) the frostings and little candies provided. Cookie decorating is a free activity for all guests!
4. Night Vision Goggles
The various lookout points into the savannahs around the resort are so much fun to visit during the day, but maybe even more fun at night. Check out the observation area directly behind the lobby after sunset and you’ll find Cast Members with night vision goggles. Even adults will love how much you can see through the binoculars. It’s definitely a unique way to cap off a day in the parks.
3. Sense of Africa
Experience Animal Kingdom Lodge on a deeper level with the Sense of Africa tour. Start your three and a half hour tour with breakfast in Boma before setting off in a safari truck to learn about the resort’s architecture and see the backstage areas for the animal caretakers. Note that closed toe shoes are required to enter the backstage areas, no flip flops allowed! Reservations are highly recommended, and tours take place Tuesday through Saturday.
2. Cultural Representatives
You’ll find Cast Members stationed all around the resort to help guests learn about African history, animals, and culture. These Cultural Representatives host various activities to get you involved.
1. Wanyama Safari
This is a truly special tour that’s open to only 12 guests at time, meaning you get a personalized experience. Start off with a pre-tour reception at Jiko before setting out on a recreation of an African game drive. Normal dress code for Jiko diners applies to those participating in the Wanyama Safari. Beginning in 2017, the Wanyama Safari will be open to any Walt Disney World guest, not just those staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, as is currently the case.
Have you ever stayed in Animal Kingdom Lodge? What’s your favorite thing about Jambo House? Let us know!