Overview: What is Animal Kingdom Lodge?
Animal Kingdom Lodge (AKL) is a Disney World Deluxe Resort hotel. It is located near Orlando, FL and opened in 2001. What makes is unique is that the hotel is set on an actual 33-acre wildlife preserve!
In 2009, a second property, Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village, opened adjacent to the original Animal Kingdom Lodge. The Lodge was renamed “Jambo House” to differentiate it from the new property. This section only contains Disney Vacation Club villas (more on those soon).
Both hotels comprise Animal Kingdom Lodge in its entirety, which is regularly listed in the top ten family resorts in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine. In 2011, AKL also earned AAA Four-Diamond status.
Animal Kingdom Lodge Review: Rooms
There are two distinct room types at AKL – regular hotel rooms and DVC Villa rooms.
In this section, I’ll explain the differences between these room types, go into more detail about the many room options, and compare costs.
Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House has a mixture of standard hotel rooms and Disney Vacation Club villas.
A standard hotel room at Jambo House is around 350 square feet and contains two queen beds, or one queen and a set of bunk beds. It has a standard bath with two sinks, a little coffee maker, mini-fridge, table with two chairs, and a balcony.
There are several types of room views which vary in price – Standard View (view of a rooftop or parking area), Pool View, and Savanna View.
The rack rate for Standard View rooms in the fall season (read why that’s my favorite time of year to travel to Disney World here) is $479 (including tax).
However, Disney always has a discount available as long as you book a few months in advance. The discount for Deluxe resorts is usually around 30%, plus if you book on Orbitz you can get an additional 15% off these prices. These are super expensive rooms, in my opinion. Keep reading to learn how to stay at AKL for far less!
Alternatively, there are several different Disney Vacation Club (DVC) villas at Jambo House and Kidani Village. DVC is Disney’s version of a timeshare, but you don’t have to be a DVC owner to stay in these rooms.
Studio Villas (which sleep four) are about 375 sq. feet and feature a queen bed and a full-size sleeper sofa. They also feature a small kitchenette with a microwave, sink, toaster, mini fridge and cabinets with some food preparation items.
In other ways, they are similar to the regular resort rooms – including beautiful artwork and the wildlife preserve theme running throughout all of the details of the room.
There are also one, two, and three-bedroom villas AKL Jambo House.
One bedroom villas feature a fully furnished kitchen (including a stove, full refrigerator, dishwasher, etc,) living room with a full-size pull-out couch, dining area, separate bedroom with a king bed, washer and dryer, and bathroom with a huge spa tub and tiled shower area.
Two bedroom villas are 1,175 sq. ft. and have two bathrooms (at Jambo House) or three bathrooms (Kidani Village). They sleep up to 8 people. I have stayed in one of these two bedroom villas at Kidani Village and they are spectacular!
Booking with a travel agent
If you want to stay at AKL and take advantage of a package with a dining plan, then I strongly suggest booking with an experienced no-fee Disney travel agent. The reason is that a good travel agent will automatically apply any new discounts to your package and save you money on your trip!
When you book with Disney you will have to monitor their discounts and call to ask any new deals to be applied to your package. A travel agent will do this for you and your final amount due will decrease if any new deal is released.
I recommend Destinations in Florida to all of my readers because I think they are the best Disney-focused travel agency out there. You can get a free no-obligation quote for your trip here.
As far as cost goes, I always recommend renting DVC points for stays in these rooms, and in the fall season a standard room would cost between $150 -$180 per night. These rooms have a pool view or partial Savannah view. Rooms that guarantee a full Savannah view will be about $50 more per night.
Can you use both pools at Animal Kingdom?
Is Animal Kingdom Lodge pool heated?
How late is animal kingdom pool open?
Does Animal Kingdom Lodge have a waterslide?