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A Cultural Adventure at Animal Kingdom Lodge in Walt Disney World

For a lot Disney fans the question of staying on or off property is a no brainer. Staying on property in one of Disney’s heavily themed resorts really provides guests with an immersive experience beyond what a regular hotel can offer. This experience of course comes with a heftier price tag most of the time but the extras that it comes with can be well worth it. Just taking into account the extra magic hours, free parking at the theme parks, and beautiful grounds can really present a good argument for why you should consider spending the extra cash to stay in the “bubble”.

 

 

As a frequent visitor throughout the last 30 years or so I have stayed at almost every Disney resort, and obviously several times at my favorites. Ever since it opened I had been dying to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge but it never seemed to workout for various reasons. After years of staring at online photos of the Savannah rooms, visiting the restaurants while staying at other Disney resorts, and strolling the lobby in awe after a day in the Animal Kingdom park I finally had this opportunity to enjoy a stay there with my family.

Animal Kingdom Lodge was everything I imagined it would be and more from the second we walked in. Our room was amazing and the view of the savannah was something out of a Kenyan safari. The added bonus was when I found out about all the extras the resort offered to its guests while reading the in room literature on my first morning there. This hotel truly provides a full African cultural experience for little to no extra cost for the whole family. It was incredible! They have four categories of activities listed on their weekly recreation calendar. They are as follows; Cultural Immersion, Culinary Exploration, Animal Programs and Wildlife Discoveries, and Poolside Recreation.  After reading what they had to offer I decided to skip my preplanned fatspasses and not really worry about using our park hopper ticket for that day, I wanted to see what was in store for us on our resort adventure. It was such a wonderful and unique experience that it’s well worth not booking that extra day park ticket.

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Cultural Immersion Activities:

There are so many activities scheduled throughout the day in this category that cover all age ranges. For the little ones they offer things such as African Face Painting, Medallion Rubbing, African drum lessons, and a Primal Parade where kids can join in and show off their inner animal side. Adults also have several activities that are both fun and allow guests to learn about the beautiful and historically rich African culture. You can spend an hour taking an African Journey in which cultural representatives share personal stories about their life in Africa. There is also a Cultural Tour of Sanaa. This allows guests the opportunity to learn the inspiration behind one of Walt Disney World’s top resort restaurants. If you truly want to understand how this amazing resort came about then should make some time for the the Africa- Inspired, Disney Designed tour. Led by one of the resort’s knowledgeable cultural representatives, you get to learn all about the story behind the incredible design of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Did I mention all of these activities are free?

Culinary Exploration:

This is another activity group that can be exciting for the whole family. While most parents have dealt with their share of trials and tribulations of picky eaters, Disney has found a way to make culinary activities exciting for all ages. For the younger set they can enjoy activities like cookie decorating or miniature cake decorating. Allowing them to create their own sweet treats will be an unforgettable experience and great photo opportunity. For adults they offer such activities such as wine tasting, a culinary tour of Jiko: The Cooking Place, and the ultimate experience of dining with animal specialists. In the latter you will get to enjoy a four course meal which is truly a pleasure for the senses as well as learning all about the animals that inhabit the Savanna.

Animal Programs and Wildlife Discoveries:

The hands on activities in this category are something that you can’t experience anywhere else outside of Africa. Also, kids love collecting the beads they get for participating in some of these programs. They are given a free necklace and get to add different beads at each stop. One of the best activities in my opinion is animal tracking. It teaches children how to use their observational skills to look for clues on how scientists track animals in the wild. Some other great activities include matching wildlife to their vocalizations in a game called Have you Heard.There is Bio Blocks which will educate its participants on what biodiversity will make up a strong African ecosystem. There is also a very hands on activity called Animal Enrichment which helps animal experts as they prepare to present interactive objects to the animals of the Savanna.

Poolside Recreation:

Enjoy a refreshing day at the beautiful and exotic pools of Animal Kingdom Lodge! Like most resorts on Disney property, the pool is the place to be in the afternoon. There are so many activities offered at little to no cost. This particular resort serves up such exciting offerings such as Disney Trivia, Win it in a Minute challenges, Mickey Tie-dye, and of course the classic nightly movies on the beach.

There is so much to enjoy at this resort that you can spend a day or two just on their free or minimal cost offerings. That makes splurging on this deluxe option a little more justifiable. You can skip park tickets and and the whole family will still have just as much fun. Have you and your family enjoyed some of these activities that this beautiful resort has to offer? Would you recommend it to other travelers?

About Kelly Osterman

Kelly has been obsessed with all things Disney since her first trip at 4 years old. It's been over 30 years now and that passion has only grown. Kelly is an accomplished liquor industry employee for 13 years including things such as bartending, promotions, consulting in new openings and is also a published recipe writer. She lives on the Jersey shore and while she's not local she still visits several times a year because she wants her family to "grow up Disney" as she has herself. After 60 plus trips to Walt Disney World she always tries to make each experience different both for her children and herself. Her motto is "it's for the kids but the adults should have a little fun too".