Sunday, August 6, 2017

A Week at Animal Kingdom Lodge

Last week Scott and I vacationed at Dinsey World and spent a week at Animal Kingdom Lodge.  We had a room in the main building, Jambo House, and sprung for a Savannah view room. Having a Savannah view room means that you have a balcony that overlooks one of the Savannahs where the animals roam. Not all rooms have that view.  I apologize in advance that this post is longer than what I usually write.  I will be including details that may help someone who might be planning their own trip to AKL.

Disney Deluxe resort

As we were en route, I got a text that said our room was ready. It was on the 4th floor. I looked at the resort map that they had sent me and saw that this room was pretty far from the main area.  There was a number to call if I wanted to switch rooms. Since we were about an hour or so from arriving, I called the lodge and told them to go ahead and release that room and that I would wait for a room on the third floor (which was my first choice). They told me that would not be a problem and they should have one ready for when we arrived.

The lobby as you check in.

A little over an hour later we arrived at the lodge.  The entire atmosphere, including the music that was playing when we arrive, made us feel as if we were immersed in a real African village. It reminded me of that movie Blended with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Have you seen it?

The lobby walking down to the Arusha Savannah.

When we checked in at the lobby, there was a room ready, but it was not the third floor room that we were told we we be able to have.  Apparently they had to check and see if that room was ready and they didn't have anybody to check on it yet. They said it would be a little while.  I was pretty set on having a third floor room because I've read that the views from there are the best. We decided that it wouldn't be a problem for us to wait. So we did. We went to get lunch and by the time we were done we got another text saying our third floor room was ready.

When we got to the room we were stunned.  We were met by an industrial sized fan because the room had been flooded. We walked in and water just gushed from the carpet. I said to Scott  "I don't think we are suppose to be in here".

A view of the balcony rooms facing the Savannah. 

Even though there was a fan in the room, it looked as if it was going to take at least a day or two for it to dry out. I called down to the front desk and told them. This room had a great view, but I knew we couldn't stay here . The lady at the front desk apologized and gave us each 3 more fast passes to use the following day (Fast passes are passes that let you get in a faster line for attractions and rides). Against my better judgement, I agreed to take one of the rooms on the 4th floor. It was close to the lobby so I thought it would be fine. It was overlooking the Sunset Savannah.


A standard balcony on all floors.

When we got to the room on the 4th floor Scott and I both went right to the balcony and looked at our view. We looked at each other with a bit of disappointment on our faces.  You've got to understand that I am not one to complain and Scott is definitely not one to make waves, but he looked at me and said, "go ahead", meaning, go ahead and call and asked to be moved if I wanted to.  We were now in a corner room which meant we could only see that one section of the Savannah not the entire view and to make it worse, we were on the 4th floor so really we could only see the tops of the trees. We had paid extra for the Savannah view and by golly we wanted a good view.  Unfortunately there were no other rooms available for this night but the lady said there was a great 3rd floor room available the next day and that we could move to that. That was great.

When we first got to this 4th floor room Scott's magic band did not work to open the door, but mine did. We had to go to the lobby and get that reset. When we returned to the room, Scott's band worked but now mine did not. I refused to go down to the lobby again with one more problem. I didn't want to be known as a problem guest, but since we had Disney tickets and charging privileges linked to my band Scott convinced me to go get it taken care of.  While I was at the lobby, the concierge  fixed the problem, and then gave Scott and I each 2 more fast passes. We now have 5 free fast passes plus the three that we started with.  This is awesome for us but in reality we never ended up using them.

All the pictures I took from our room turned out dark.

The next day we did check into the third floor Savannah view room with no problem. it overlooked the Arusha Savannah, which is the main one, and the room was just perfect.  Both our magic bands worked and things went smooth from here on out.  The view from our balcony was amazing.


View from our balcony on the third floor.

The room was 3519.  There was a watering hole in front that animals came to drink out of and there was a giraffe feeding station on the tree in front of us.




We saw giraffes, zebras, impalas, and several other animals that I do not recall the names of. Also, there were varieties of large birds.  It is important to note that the third floor is actually the main floor that the lobby is on.




The closer you get to the lobby (regardless of floor), the more you can hear the African music from out on your balcony. That adds a nice touch.

Public Lanai on third floor.

Even if you don't have a Savannah view room,  there are plenty of public spaces to view the animals. You can see them in certain locations outside the resort and then there are public lanais set up in the resort.


Part of the Arusha Savannah.

When we would go explore the Arusha Savannah from ground level, they would have an African Safari guide there. We talked with the guide for about an hour about the animals and life in Tanzania, where he was from. He only had two more days left to work at Disney before he went home to his job as a Safari guide.

There are three restaurants in Jambo House and they are all located on the ground level in the right wing. This is the wing we were in so it was so easy to come out of our room, go to the elevator and just go down 2 floors.  We ate at the Mara for lunch on the day we got there and then two other times for dinner we brought food back to our room so we could eat on our balcony while watching the animals.  They had a good variety of food there and there was an African stew that we had more than once.


There is also a large gift shop, a pool, several hot tubs and a fitness center at this resort and it seemed like there were always some sort of children's activity going on.


This was my first time staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. it is beautiful in it's own right and really feels like you are somewhere in the Serengeti.  However, we both agreed that it just didn't feel "Disney-ish" to us. Which of course could be a good thing for some people.   It is not as bright and cheery like some other resorts we stayed in. It exudes more of a feeling of relaxation which was definitely okay for us! But after having stayed at most of the other Disney resorts already, I thought it was time to try Animal Kingdom. It was definitely a wonderful experience and am glad we gave it a try.  -M


We are linking up with Holly and Tricia and their guest host for their weekly wrap!


37 comments:

  1. My guess is I'd love it -- remember, I said I want to go on a photo safari, LOL! And not being Disney-ish would probably be a good thing for us.

    When the keys (or whatever) don't work it's always a pain -- and it seems to happen a lot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The front desk people actually said that is one problem they often have at this resort is with the magic bands not working in the doors.

      A photo Safari would be awesome! We did take the Kilamanjaro Safari the next day and saw so many more animals than we ever did when we took it before!

      Delete
  2. What a wonderful place to stay for a week! I love all of your photos, especially of the giraffes :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. When we go to Disney World, we always stay at Shades of Green (due to our military affiliation), so we've never seen the inside of any of the other resorts. The view from your balcony was nice! All of the animals are so beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When we stayed at the Grand Floridian we would have to share a shuttle bus with guests staying at Shades of Green so I've only been able to see the outside of it. It is in a great area and the grounds are lovely. Is it a nice resort inside?

      Delete
    2. Oh yes...very nice...lots of Disney decorations, etc. They also offer deals on different tickets to various sights & attractions and have probably a lot of the same perks as the other hotels (like early admission to the parks on certain days).

      Delete
  4. What a cool hotel! It does have a very different look and feel from the usual Disney hotels but a nice change of pace. Looks like you had a wonderful time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it is very different but not in a bad way.

      Delete
  5. I would have definitely complained about the view for sure especially since you paid extra for it. I can see how it did not feel as Disney as other resorts but looks like a beautiful vacation

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was definitely more calming than some other resorts but then again I guess that has to do with all the animals around!

      Delete
  6. I have family friends who love to stay there when they're at Disney. Both their kids are grown, and while they love Disney, they also love that the hotel has such a relaxing vibe. I"d love to see the animals and see them roam about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was great to be able to see the animals right from our room!

      Delete
  7. Looks like my kind of place to stay. I'm not a Disney fanatic, but this looks very relaxing and all those animals would be fun to see.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was definitely fun watching the animals from our balcony. We got to see them eat every day.

      Delete
  8. What a not-great start to your vacation - I'm glad it didn't sour you on the whole place! Not-Disneyish sounds pretty good to me; but then I'm that Universal Studios-loving weirdo, LOL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We really didn't let the little mishap bother us because I knew Disney would make it right. They are in the "magic" business ya know?....lol

      Delete
  9. Sounds like a great time after a rocky start. I can see how this resort is less "Disney" to be more "authentic" with the animal kingdom vibe. I'm glad you stuck up for yourselves and got the better view. I can see now what a difference it made.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! The new view was definitely worth waiting till the next day to get.

      Delete
  10. I'm so glad you didn't let all those glitches ruin your vacation! That sure would have made me mad. Looks like it was so beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'd like this resort! Watching the animals from your balcony sounds amazing. The most glitches we've had at a Disney resort were at Grand Floridian!

    ReplyDelete
  12. What a frustrating way to start your trip, but it really sounds like it worked out well in the long run. You had great views of the animals, but I agree, it doesn't look like it has the usual "Disney" feel to it.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Bummer about all the problems but I'm glad you got a room with that pretty view in the end. Too bad you ended up not using the Fast Passes.

    ReplyDelete
  14. So sorry for all the craziness that started off your trip! I'm glad you finally got a room on the third floor like you wanted. We've stayed at a KL once in the past and although it is a beautiful resort, we didn't care for the darkness of the rooms… It was hard to see anything! I bet it was really nice being able to eat dinner out on your balcony! What a cool view!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Such a great time. My inlaws stayed there and loved it. I always just stay at home :-) but wis I had an excuse to go to a Disney hotel.

    ReplyDelete
  16. When my sister and I did Princess this year, we had dinner at one of the restaurants at the Animal Kingdom Lodge...what a gorgeous place! I would love to stay there one day, but it is SO expensive! I'm glad you had a nice time and got your room situation worked out!

    Not being super bright and "Disney" is probably part of the appeal for me lol!

    ReplyDelete
  17. The place looks really amazing, even though you had a very frustrating room situation. It is too expensive to just settle though! It was right to wait for what you wanted ;)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Does Disney always take so long to give out a room? It sucks that they made you wait!

    The view of the room are amazing! Did you have a good time?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Glad you ended up with a room with a great view. if you reserved one & didnt get it, that'd really not be cool.
    I'd just sit & watch giraffe's all day long <3

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm glad you gave it a try too, because ya never know, right? I get very frustrated when things go wrong at hotel check in. Especially when key passes don't work. It's nice you got something for it though. At least they tried!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'm almost reluctant to admit that I've never been to Disney World at all.... and I'm really okay with that. Having all boys, they never really seemed to want to go. We did take them to Universal Studios a couple of times and to Disney Land once while vacationing in California.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Animal Kingdom Lodge?!? AH so cool! We've been talking about our first family trip to Disney, but we have to wait a few years before our daughter is old enough to actually enjoy it.

    ReplyDelete
  23. We stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge once for my 25th birthday weekend splurge and then as family in one of the two bedroom suites. While it was very nice and we loved the savanna views, I wasn't super impressed with the rooms. My favorite rooms at Disney have been at Coronado Springs and I wonder if that's because they cater to more business travelers with the convention center there.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Wow! Sounds like you got off to a rough start. Sorry about that. :( We tried to secure AKL through a DVC rental for our next trip, but couldn't get in! So we're staying at Port Orleans Riverside. But we still made breakfast reservations for Boma, so I'm excited about that! I appreciate your detailed review. It's so helpful!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I was wondering where your giraffe photo was from on Instagram! This looks really cool, but I see what you mean about it not being as "Disney." It does look a little more low key, which could be nice on a specific type of trip. There's a place kind of like this (but much smaller) in Ohio called The Wilds we went to for our anniversary. It was pretty cool.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I enjoyed seeing your pictures from Disney! I've never stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge but I bet that would truly be awesome! I'm glad you were persistent to get the room with the view you wanted! Boy did you have an awesome view too!
    See I would be more drawn to the whole non-Disney vibe of this resort. It may not be for everyone but be perfect for us! Thanks for this review!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I own DVC at AKL and I love it so much! The restaurants are amazing (Boma, Jiko and Sanaa-which is my favorite restaurant in all of WDW) and I love seeing the animals. I love how relaxing it is and also love the disney touches in the room (the baby Simba in the kitchen/kitchenettes in the DVC room is my favorite)

    It is so interesting you had issues with your keys as when I was there in June, we had issues as well! It's good to know that it is a common program

    ReplyDelete

Fairytales and Fitness is a personal blog authored and edited by us, Meranda and Lacey. The thoughts expressed here represent only our own and are not meant to be taken as professional advice. Please note that our thoughts and opinions change from time to time. We consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind in an ever changing society. Any thoughts and opinions expressed within our out-of-date posts may not be the same, nor even similar, to those we may express today.