Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: Is it Worth it?

Is Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge worth it? Yes. For most of us who have stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge, the answer is as simple as that. The hotel is gorgeous and offers a unique appeal, unlike any other Disney World Resort.

A while back, I was sitting in the lobby of the resort enjoying my afternoon. I couldn’t help but overhear the enthusiasm of a family who had come over to the lodge to kill a little time before they left on a cruise.

“We’re staying here next time,” said the father to his wife and child. And if you overheard the way he said it, you couldn’t help but smile. He was genuinely expressing the kind of feeling you want to get when you visit Walt Disney World.

That feeling includes a mix of happy and positive overwhelm served with a side of magic. And when you walk through the doors of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, it’s easy to be blown away.

The lobby of the resort is tremendous and echoing. There are plenty of sitting areas, and the overall lighting provides a warm glow.

One of the things I enjoy about staying here is that the hotel is always so calm and inviting. You’ll feel immediate relief from the hot Florida weather as soon as you step foot inside. The lobby is truly an oasis.

Not only that, the lobby doubles as a museum of sorts. There are different displays of art and cultural exhibits placed as conversation pieces throughout the area. Additionally, you’ll find art displays in the hallways and other locations throughout the hotel.

All of the displays offer some sort of educational explanation of the art that’s on display. For instance, there’s an authentic mask display located down one of the hallways off the lobby. Below is a picture of the sign that provides information for each mask.

I don’t know about you, but I find these kinds of things interesting. One of these days, I’m going to find the time to do an art tour of the resort. Animal Kingdom Lodge has more than 380 pieces of art, making it the most extensive African art collection outside of Africa.

So if you enjoy museums, history, and anthropology, Animal Kingdom Lodge is definitely worth it for you. You’ll probably be surprised at what all this “theme park hotel” has to offer that has nothing to do with a theme park.

So we’ve covered the lobby and discussed some art. But what else does the hotel have going for it? Well, dining. Oh my goodness, the dining at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is out of this world good.

First, there’s Sanaa down at Kidani Village. Sanaa is where you get the popular bread service that everyone raves about. Here’s a photo of our last order.

Related: Sanaa Review with Bread Service

And then there’s Boma, Flavors of Africa. Also known as one of the best breakfasts at Disney World.

Related: Boma Breakfast Buffet Review

And that’s not even mentioning Jiko, The Cooking Place, which comes in as one of our top five signature dining restaurants at Disney World. Unfortunately, they haven’t re-opened yet, but that will hopefully change as we head into 2022.

Additionally, I must mention The Mara, which ranks as one of the best counter service dining restaurants at the Disney Resorts. The Mara has distinctive menu items that you won’t find anywhere else.

Oh, and you can pick up zebra domes in the cooler at The Mara too! Yes, they are worth it!

You might think that I mentioned many “bests” when it comes to dining at this resort. But it’s the truth. While some alternatives might have one or two restaurants worthy of a meal, the Animal Kingdom Lodge has several.

After all that dining, you might be wondering what else could this resort possibly have to make it worth a stay here? The answer, recreation. The Animal Kingdom Lodge has one of the most beautiful pools around.

Related: The Pools at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

There’s a water slide, kiddie pool, and multiple whirlpool spas around this sizeable outdoor space. In addition, the layout of this area is highly convenient.

Right off the pool, you’ll find access to large restrooms with showers and changing areas. In addition, there are lockers for your items.

Furthermore, The Mara (counter service) and Uzima Springs Pool bar are positioned around the pool area. And the arcade and fitness center are both a few steps away from the pool as well.

You’ll want to spend at least one whole resort day here during your trip.

Lastly, there’s one other item that’s mandatory to consider when trying to decide if the Animal Kingdom Lodge is worth it to you? It should come as no surprise that the animals on the savanna are the number one thing that makes this resort so unique.

Four different savannas make up a 43-acre wildlife preserve. Combined, they contain over 200 different animals and 130 birds. That’s a lot of animals.

On any given day, you might see animals like giraffes, wildebeests, or even zebras grazing in the distance.

Do you need a savanna view room to enjoy these views of the animals? Thankfully, no. However, it is a nice upgrade, although not necessary.

There are multiple public viewing areas around the resort. Some of these viewing areas are located off the lobby. Another viewing area sits back behind the Uzima Springs Pool.

Additionally, the hallways have large windows and even outdoor decks where you can sit and enjoy the views.

Take the time to roam the resort and look for these private areas. You’ll probably forget that you’re on a Disney vacation.

While I could go on and on about Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not it’s worth it for your next vacation. For me, the answer will always be yes.

And for the record, the resort ranks on our site as the best deluxe resort at Disney World. For those who know me, you know a hotel has to exceed my standards to give it such a high ranking.

My favorite resort is Disney’s Beach and Yacht Club. But Animal Kingdom Lodge is an extremely close second. And it has a few things going for it that my favorite resort doesn’t, so I had to rank it higher.

As for negatives, every resort has them. The main problem I’ve encountered at this resort is its bus service. Often, I have found the bus service lacking.

Slow bus service is a common complaint here and has been an unresolved issue for quite some time. However, the buses to Animal Kingdom Park usually run frequently since it’s located nearby.

It’s the other parks and destinations that you have to worry about. Unfortunately, Animal Kingdom Lodge is not within walking distance to a theme park, like some of the other deluxe hotels.

For more information, you might enjoy some of our other reviews:

What are your thoughts? Have you stayed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge yet? Do you think it’s worth it to plan a stay here? Leave a comment below and let me know.

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