The first hotel we stayed at during our 3 week holiday to Florida was Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. This was a hotel we knew we really wanted to stay at but for us it was expensive and so we only allowed a 2 night stay in our schedule. I was concerned that this wasn’t long enough to enjoy our Savanna view and I was right. Below I will be reviewing Disney’s Animal kingdom lodge. Plus a section regarding club level and a review of our room at the hotel.
How we made savings with our booking to Disney’s Animal Kingdom lodge
Even though the hotel wasn’t full Disney’s UK website was showing little availability. The larger rooms with Savanna view were coming out at around £1,000 a night. At the top of the Disney World website there is an option to change to other Disney websites in other languages. There is also the option to select United States (English).
We selected this option and we actually made both of our Disney accommodation bookings via the American site. Why? Well the rooms were actually a bit cheaper (£100 less on average). Plus we were able to book Club Access and we were still paying less than a standard room on the British site. Now if you want to take advantage of the free dining offer sometimes (rarely) on the UK site then you won’t want to use this method however free dining isn’t an offer that’s around for long. Sadly when it’s been snapped up it also means the UK site has very little availability left. The hotels have a certain amount of rooms for different sites and companies. Once they’re gone they are gone but the hotel isn’t necessarily full.
We only paid roughly $80 extra for the room each night to upgrade to Club Level.
Upon Arrival – Is it any different in Club Level?
I still had to queue at the regular check in desk in the main lobby (Jambo House lobby). The lobby area at Animal Kingdom lodge is huge and very attractive. I would have loved to have had the chance to spend some time sat there with a drink.
The queue was four deep and I think if you have club access there should be a way of announcing your arrival so you can avoid this queue. When I got to the front of the queue we didn’t check in there and instead we were escorted up to the club level 6 floor to check in.
You are only allowed on this floor if you are part of club level and your Disney Magic Band will activate the lift to get up there. We didn’t yet have our bands as we’d booked via the American site and they don’t send American bands to the UK. So it is possible that you may be able to access this level if you already have your bands.
You get to sit in a big comfy chair at a desk while you are checked in. We were given an Animal Kingdom lodge bag with our magic bands, a snack bag, plenty of useful leaflets and our first time badges in (although it wasn’t my first time). You are also welcome to help yourself to complimentary drinks while you check in. We timed it perfectly and the wine o’clock hours were running (between 5pm and 7pm). More on the Kilimanjaro club access later.
What rooms are available with Club Access at Animal Kingdom Lodge?
Most of their club access rooms have views of Arusha Savanna. There is a choice between rooms with 2 Queen Beds, 1 Queen Bed and 1 Bunk Bed and 1 King Bed with 1 Day Bed. They sleep up to 4 adults and there are a few cheaper standard rooms sometimes available with a view of the rooftop or parking. I had tried to request a room with 2 queen beds however you can only ring to request and I can’t ring the USA from our landline. They also have 1 and 2 bedroom suites at Animal Kingdom lodge which also can be available at club access level.
Upon my request they tried their best to provide us with a room with 2 queen beds. However we were given a room with 1 Queen bed and 1 bunk bed, with a Savanna view. I will review our room below and I will review the Savanna view etc. in a separate post.
1 Queen Bed and 1 bunk bed – Room Review – Animal Kingdom Lodge
I was less disappointed than my husband with our room. We had paid more than we would for a 5* hotel in London and I think he was expecting more. I was expecting Disney value for money and I felt that the room was spacious, clean and comfy. It was immaculate and it was cleaned well and thoroughly when we were out.
There was an entrance hall that distanced the beds from the corridor which meant that the room itself was relatively quiet. We rarely heard anyone and I certainly never thought that it was a noisy room. There was a large chest of drawers and a roomy wardrobe with a safe big enough for a laptop.
In the bedroom itself there was a tea and coffee machine with condiments and cups, a large fridge, large TV with satellite channels, table and 2 chairs, bedside tables, 1 queen bed and 1 bunk bed. The bunk bed was safe and had decent sides so I was confident that our four year old was safe on top. The beds and pillows were clean and comfy.
We had a balcony with a small table and two chairs which overlooked our Savanna view. More on this over at –
As an introduction to something a bit different for my husband our twin sinks were out of the actual bathroom in their own little alcove. I thought it was sweet and I loved the wallpaper. He just thought it was odd. The bath was low lying which it turned out all our baths in America were. There was a shower above the bath and the toilet was also in this room. Another thing to get used to in there as boy are American toilet flushes powerful – it’s like being back on a plane!
There were so many complimentary Disney toiletries. I was very impressed.
There is free wifi throughout the resort however coverage does vary. It was fine in our room however we weren’t too far from the main hub of the lodge. That is another advantage with club level as the site is huge. Between Animal Kingdom lodge and Kidani there are 1,293 rooms.
Overall I thought the room was themed well and appropriately. Nothing in the room looked cheap and it was well done and well decorated.
We only saw our room ‘made up’ in the dark hence my slightly dark photos.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Review of the hotel itself
The main hotel is made up of Animal Kingdom lodge and Jambo House where we were and another section called Kidani which is a 10 minute walk or a short drive away on a complimentary shuttle bus. The main hotel is the lodge and the lobby is 10 times the size to that of Kidani’s. We never got to see the pool and play over at Kidani however I have heard that it is more child friendly with a bigger playground and splash areas.
It is really simple to get from Animal Kingdom lodge to Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. Next to the hotel there is a series of bus stops. There are signs telling you which stop goes to which theme park. We never had to wait more than 6 minutes for a bus to Animal Kingdom and as you are so close it’s just a short drive away. The buses are complimentary and worth doing as they drop you off much closer than if you were to park the car. (parking will no longer be free to guests, they will be charging for this later this year…ouch!).
The main draw for us to the hotel was the fact that they have African animals on the Savanna’s around the hotel grounds which can be seen from Savanna view rooms plus look outs etc. We also wanted to be staying close to Animal Kingdom when we visited the actual park as it is the only hotel nearby.
Kidani has villas and studios which are more expensive than the rooms at the main hotel. However the main hotel also has villas called Jambo House villas and these are very expensive. Our club level room with 1 queen and 1 bunk bed was only slightly cheaper than a 1 bedroom studio at Kidani.
I loved the main area at Animal Kingdom lodge. The theme was spot on and it’s worth taking some time out to walk around and explore.
There is a nice playground for the kids at Animal kingdom lodge. Jamie was content to spend some time here. This is next to the main hotels smaller Savanna, Uzima. More on that in my post about our Savanna view
The pool looked big and was supposedly heated. Sadly we didn’t have time to dip our toes. They had plenty of lifeguards, sun loungers and there was even a slide.
Although we had access to food, for most of the day with club access, we decided to pay extra and eat our first breakfast in the main hotel. We chose to eat at Boma, you can also eat breakfast at The Mara. At Kidani you can have breakfast at Sanaa.
Boma is a large buffet restaurant. You have a dedicated waiter or waitress who was incredibly friendly, informative and great at topping up our special juice. It turned out she was actually English and moved to the USA some 15 years ago. We found this quite a lot at Disney. I think a lot of people go to Disney and end up wanting to work at Disney. We paid $25 per adult and $14 for Jamie. This is a lot of money for breakfast and as we didn’t have a Disney dining plan in place there is no way that we could have afforded many more.
The choice however was abundant. There was hot and cold food such as omelettes, bacon, pancakes, waffles, hand-carved ham and turkey, corned beef hash, oatmeal and more. Plus fresh fruit, yoghurts, pastries, cakes, meats, cheeses and again so much more. We had as much as we could manage.
Throughout the two accommodation sections that make up Animal Kingdom Lodge they have a large and varied activity calendar. You can immerse yourself in African culture or learn all about the animals that roam around the Savannas. You will be given a schedule which states the times of the activities, a brief description and where to find it. The kids aren’t left out as there’s also a whole heap of recreational activities for them as well. There are campfires in the evenings and you can purchase a S’more kit. I wish we’d bought one as the combination of chocolate, biscuit and marshmallow sounds amazing.
Club Level Access – Was it worth it?
If you are on a Disney dining plan you do not need club access. We weren’t so for us it was nice to be a shorter walk away from all the main facilities. I wouldn’t say we managed to get our moneys worth out of what was on offer. However had we been there for more than two nights and actually had the chance to settle in I’m sure we would have done.
There is not a huge amount of tables in club access but this was never an issue. There is a large TV that either plays Disney films or is showing opening times etc. of all the Disney World parks.
There is a fridge with cold soft drinks that you can help yourself to whenever you want. We would often go and grab a couple of cans of diet coke and lemonade and take them back to the room for later. They sometimes changed the other drinks in the fridge but there was usually a milk or milkshake plus juices and yoghurts. Water wasn’t available in bottles however they did have spring water in a large water dispenser which we filled our bottles from.
The concierge team from the club are available to you from 7am to 10pm and can arrange anything that you may need arranging. Although we had to use the concierge down in the lobby when it came to arranging for our bags to be moved to Fort Wilderness cabins for us. (At no additional cost).
Coffee and assorted juices are available from 6:30am.
7:00am until 1030am the breakfast type food is put out such as cereal, fresh fruit and pastries. We ate breakfast here one morning and we all managed to fill up well.
Then there is a gap for an hour and from 11:30am until 3pm they put out a selection of snacks and other drinks. At 3pm until 4:30pm they change to afternoon tea with a variety of teas and assorted baked treats.
There is a gap for half an hour and then they bring out wines and hors d’oeuvres between 5pm and 7pm. We were quite full that day and returned as close to 7pm as possible. Sadly we were too late even before 7pm and they were already putting the food away. They allowed me to grab a few bite to eat for Jamie before they took them away. There was a lot going back and it was a shame they were so keen to take it away.
Finally between 8pm and 10pm they bring out desserts and premium cordials. You do not have to pay for any of the food or drinks available at club level. They are all part of the package that you have already paid for.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Review | Club Level | Room Review
For even more of a feel of the hotel here’s a short video that I made of clips from around Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Thank you for reading my review. I hope that you will find it useful. If you are off to Disney World anytime soon enjoy and remember that I am very jealous. ha! I hope that you will subscribe my monthly newsletter to keep up to date? Or keep in touch on social media. We are very active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Why not pin this post for later? Simply click on the image below and maybe give us a follow as well.