Savanna View at Animal Kingdom Lodge | Is it Worth the Extra?

Savanna View at Animal Kingdom Lodge | Is it Worth the Extra?

The special thing about Animal Kingdom Lodge at Disney World is that they have Savanna’s at the back of the hotels where they have African animals roaming around. So if you are thinking of staying there a view from your room overlooking the animals can certainly be something you’d like to have. Disney knows this and charge extra for this. A fair amount extra! We knew we wanted a Savanna view at Animal kingdom lodge because wasn’t that the point of staying there?. So we chose a room that we could just about afford that had this. If the room you are booking doesn’t mention Savanna view then it won’t have a view of it. Today I’m discussing if I think that it’s worth the extra cost and what animals did we see during our stay.

If you’d like to find out more about our stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge and if you’d like to see and hear more about our room please check out this link.

Oh and the UK website spells it ‘Savannah’ and the American site spells it ‘Savanna’ so I’m using Savanna in my post (sorry to my fellow Brits).

 

What was our Savanna View Like at Animal Kingdom Lodge?

We had a view over the Arusha Savanna at Animal Kingdom lodge. Jambo House, the main part of Animal Kingdom Lodge, seems to have the two smallest Savanna’s – Arusha and Uzima. However, some of the rooms at Jambo house overlook the larger Sunset Savanna that is also part of the Kidani section of Animal Kingdom Lodge. On the map, Arusha and Uzima look connected however when we were speaking to a guide about the lack of animals he advised us to head over to Uzima as the animals would be out there.

There is also Pembe at Kidani which may or may not be connected.

Map of Animal Kingdom Lodge. To the left is Kidani and to the right is Jambo house. There is a shuttle between the two.
Savanna View at Animal Kingdom Lodge | Is it Worth the Extra?
View to the left of our balcony – Arusha Savanna
Savanna View at Animal Kingdom Lodge | Is it Worth the Extra?
View, zoomed in slightly, directly in front of our balcony – can you spot the zebra?

In our room, there was a leaflet detailing all the animals that can be spotted on the Animal Kingdom Lodge Savannah’s. There are even boxes to check off what you spot. 

One of the pages from the leaflet, in the room, detailing the animals
On our balcony

The balcony was safe for kids and had two chairs and a small table. I was most concerned he’d drop something down there as the animals can roam right below you. It was also private and you couldn’t see the people next to you.

When we arrived for our first evening at the hotel it was dark. However, we could make out quite a few deer just below our balcony. This left us very excited for the morning. When we got up there was little to be seen. We saw a ranger putting out some food for them to eat so we waited and we waited and still, we could only really see a few birds and not a lot else. A giraffe wandered over at one point in the distance but soon headed away from view. We had purposefully taken the morning to be at the hotel so that we could enjoy our Savanna view. This was not looking promising.

 

Savanna Access for other guests and visitors

I noticed a ranger down by the main viewing area of Arusha, which everyone can access. I decided that it was time to go exploring and ask some questions. Jamie and I headed on down and it was a really pleasant spot, once you exited the main lobby doors, on the Savanna side. There were signs to read detailing the animals and there was a lovely piece of water with some rather unusual birds there. (well unusual for us).

Savanna View at Animal Kingdom Lodge | Is it Worth the Extra?
The Arusha Savanna viewing areas for anyone visiting or staying at the hotel
These birds were right by the viewing point at the back end of Jambo House lobby

I hadn’t realised that these birds were native to Florida as we ended up seeing many more on our three week holiday.

Jamie and I down at the main viewing point

When we spoke to the ranger he said that the animals were indoors today for their health checks by the vet. He recommended that we head on over to the Uzima Savanna near the pool as there should be animals out there. We were informed that they would be out by 11 am however this was when we were heading to Kidani for our booked in lunch at Sanaa.

We popped back to get Mark and headed for a look at Uzima. Jamie had a play on the playground there and just by here there was a small pond with flamingos. Which was certainly good to see. The Savanna view just past here is a little restricted and we couldn’t see much. There were a few animals in the distance, nothing I could photograph.

Flamingos over by the children’s playground and Uzima Savanna

 

What did we see in the end during our stay?

When we got up the next day we were hoping to spot a few more animals before we headed to the Animal kingdom for the day. We’d arrived late back the day before and had seen a few giraffe and zebra before it got too dark. But again they were a long way from us and hard to see, especially because of the trees. Sadly there wasn’t much up in the morning either. We saw one or two giraffes, deer and zebra from our balcony including some vultures.

We saw many more animals over at Kidani when we visited there for our lunch at Sanaa. I thought the Savanna at Kidani was more open and more attractive to the eye. I have later realised that some of the Jambo house rooms also overlook this Savanna.

 

Was it worth the extra for a view of the Savanna?

For us personally, I’d say no. But I can imagine that we were very unlucky only really having our spare time at the hotel when our animals to see were actually seeing the vet. The man on the balcony next to us was clearly very cross and was telling someone on the phone that he had paid extra to see the animals and where were they. We were inclined to agree. For us, we were mostly paying for a view that wasn’t a roof, car park or pool and honestly it was a much nicer view. Yes, we didn’t see many animals but yes it was a nice view and well we didn’t see nothing at all. It just wasn’t quite what we had imagined it to be, or indeed hoped.

This was the best photo that I could manage and I’ve seriously zoomed in on it

To be honest we saw more by walking out of the main doors and heading to the main viewing points for everyone, both at Jambo house and Kidani. If I had the choice now after seeing what we saw I would choose to stay in a 1 bedroom suite over at Kidani with a Savanna view. You have the lovely Sanaa restaurant to eat at and there is still a pool and playground on site for the kids. Plus if you want to visit Jambo house you can hop on a free and very frequent courtesy bus. Again I wish I’d known that they had these before we went.

I would also allow a 3+ night stay just so that there’s a day spare for proper animal spotting and a swim in their pools. I think it would leave you feeling less disappointed if you happen to be as unlucky as us.

The more open Savanna at Kidani


Savanna View at Animal Kingdom Lodge | Is it Worth the Extra?

I hope you enjoyed my review and will find it useful. Please pop a comment below if you’ve ever stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We’d love to hear about your stay.

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Savanna View at Animal Kingdom Lodge | Is it Worth the Extra?

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