Disclosure: I was a guest of Disney for the Zootopia press junket. We stayed at the beautiful Animal Kingdom Lodge during out trip.
Present me with the choice between being surrounded by natural beauty, wildlife, and exotic animals – OR – a day shopping, and you might be surprised by my answer, which is why on my recent visit to Walt Disney World during a press event for the new movie Zootopia, I decided NOT to stop at the outlets on my way into Orlando. I was WAY too excited to experience the Savannah. The new dress could wait.
From the moment I stepped into the Jambo House at Animal Kingdom Lodge with it’s massive 6-story lobby and authentic African artifacts, I knew that this was no ordinary theme park hotel, and while the Disney difference makes for a memorable experience, I still had the feeling that I’d find Katherine Hepburn in the lobby.
It’s a Jungle out there
Look out any window and you’ll see them, over 30 species of wildlife roaming the 100 acre savannah of Animal Kingdom. Ask for a room with a view and be greeted by a giraffe walking by as you wake up to the sunrise outside. Look for the large viewing windows and alcoves dotted throughout the resort.
Good night, sleep tight
With a variety of room styles from suites to family rooms, there are plenty of choices of sleep quarters at Animal Kingdom Lodge. All are decorated in authentic looking beautiful carved wooden beds, with African touches of art throughout.
The taste of Africa
The smell wafts up the stairs and through the lobby. The tandoor ovens, roti, and wood burning grill bring the flavors of Africa to your taste buds from Jiko and Boma, both located on the lower level of the Jambo House. Make sure to order a South African wine or beer from their collection with your curried coconut seafood stew.
Rub me the RIGHT way
While not one of the larger spa properties in Walt Disney World, the Zahanati spa does offer massages, which after a long day in the park is a welcome distraction.
Check the front desk or your room for the days activities. Cast members (many from around the world) offer guided tours of the lodge area, interactive cultural programs like the arts and crafts of Africa, and more.
The cool waters
After a hot day in the parks, or to just soak up a little of the sun by the massive Uzima Pool, an 11,000-square-foot watering hole complete with water slide, facing the Uzima Savanna.
Sneak away to the library, located just off of the main lobby for some down time, or if you’d prefer a night time escape, enjoy a rocking chair in front of the crackling fire pit just after sunset.
The Disney Experience
As with all of the Walt Disney World hotels, guest have access to the Magical Express to and from the airport, Walt Disney World transportation system, and extra hours in the park.
Book your room, or get more information at: Animal Kingdom Lodge
Don’t forget that Disney’s Zootopia opens nationwide on March 4th!
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