As you probably know I was in Disney for 4 days celebrating the release of Zootopia which is going to be in theaters March 4th 2016. We stayed at the Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and OMG! it was amazing! When we went in 2006 we stayed off property in a time share. It didn’t make for the best vacay because we had to drive everywhere but we figured it was cheaper. I really did not know how wrong we were until I stayed here over the weekend. Staying on property in one of the resorts is the best decision you could make. Don’t worry, I will tell you why and of course I have a lot of photos!
Disney’s Magical Express
I can’t believe how much easier Disney’s Magical Express made this trip. It is available at select resorts and I am telling you that it is a service you need. Not only will they pick up you up from the airport but they will even get your bags. All you have to do is get off your plane and head down to the magical express. Now, it can take a couple of hours for your bag to reach the resort so you want to make sure you have everything you need in your carry-on but this service to me is invaluable. Most people that are going to Disney needs to check a bag and with Magical Express you don’t need to pick that bag up from the baggage claim, yay! That means you can start your vacation a lot sooner.
As if that wasn’t enough they take care of everything for you. When you are ready to leave you can check your luggage right at the resort and they will also deliver your ticket. That means two things- one you don’t have to see those bags again until you reach your final destination and two- you can bypass check in at the airport and just head to security. It was so much easier not having to do all that and it is good thing I had this service because security was a nightmare. It took me almost an hour to get through and if I would have had to check-in I would have missed my flight.
Even if you don’t check bags, etc, the service is great because you have transportation to and from the airport. You can’t beat that!
Extra Magic Hours
Another great reason to stay on property at one of the resorts is extra magic hours.
Extra Magic Hours offer a rare and unique opportunity to enjoy additional time in Walt Disney World parks—above and beyond the standard operating schedule—at no extra charge. This special perk is offered to Guests of select Walt Disney World Resort hotels.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
There are so many resorts you can choose to stay at, so why should you stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge? Well, I have the answers to that! First of all, it is gorgeous! I mean really, really gorgeous. I was simply amazed when I walked in. It has all of these amazing fixtures that just scream magical.
When you walk in there is a sign that says “Welcome Home”. You really do feel like you are at home here. It is the best feeling. I highly suggest getting a Savanna view so you can wake up to the animals. Honestly, nothing is more exciting and relaxing to waking up to this outside your window:
It was so exciting and made the trip very, very special! The rooms are quite comfortable and you have everything you need right there. I had two queen beds, a fridge, large screen TV, phone, and the bathroom had a bath tub, as well as a double sink. The only complaint I had was the lighting. It just seemed kind of dark, especially for putting makeup on. I also had an iron, ironing board, and hair dryer. Really it is a home away from home.
When you walk around the inside of the resort they have a lot of things to look at. The art was simply stunning and I loved all of the artifacts in the hallways.
I will admit the walk to the rooms can be kind of long, especially after walking in the park all day. I am so glad they had all of the decorations to look at while you are walking so you can keep your mind occupied and off your feet 🙂
The outside was just as gorgeous as the inside. Honestly if I keep posting pictures you are going to be here all day, so I made a video of some pictures I took of the property. Then we will get to something everyone loves, food!!
Lovely View, Lovely Interior, Where is the food?
I am glad you asked! Animal Kingdom Lodge has some great places to eat at. The have Jiko, Sanaa, Boma, and Mara. Also, there are snacks available at the interior bar. If you eat there, get the breads and spreads. It’s delicious!
I unfortunately did not get to eat at Sanaa or Jiko but did get to check out the The Mara and Boma Flavors of Africa. The Mara is a quick service dining experience that is cheaper on the budget but not taste. It is your usual quick service food with a twist. Most entrees were 12 dollars or less. My first day there I got the cheeseburger with fries, it was excellent!
You can view the menu HERE. Also, you really shouldn’t pass up the specialty cupcakes. They are very delicious. I had the Red Velvet one the last day I was there and it was sooo good!
Boma Flavors of Africa is amazing and I am so glad I made the decision to eat there! I didn’t have lunch or dinner, so I can’t comment on those however the breakfast was really good. Unfortunately I was kind of in a hurry so I didn’t get any pictures of the food 🙁 But my recommendations are:
Corn Beef Hash- you really must try this. It is a sweet cornbread with corned beef. I honestly thought I wouldn’t like it but it was actually really good.
French Toast Bread Pudding- Omg, I love french toast but this was like the most AMAZING french toast I have ever had. I have to make this at home. Also, don’t forget the warm pecan praline sauce on top. Divine!
The papa was excellent and they offer usual fare like eggs, omelets, hash browns, pastries, and kids food. You can view the menu HERE.
Things to Do
Sometimes you need a break from the parks and the Animal Kingdom Lodge has plenty of things for you to do! If you have little ones they can play at Simba’s Playhouse while you lounge around the pool. You can roast marshmallows by the open pit fire, take a look at all the art around the hotel, or take in a movie under the stars. They also have daily activities that are listed on the sheet you will find in your room. I really wished I could have done some of the culinary things. They sounded like so much fun!
One thing I would highly recommend is taking the Wanyama Safari. I saw a group doing it from my window and it looked so awesome to be so close to the animals. I really wanted to do it but the schedule didn’t mesh with mine. However, when I go back it is the first on the list!
The pool is amazing and a must do. It has a slide for the kiddies. They also have two hot tubs. I sure could have used on of them the second night I was there. My legs were crying! My Mom told me to pack my bathing suit but I didn’t listen.
All in all it was a wonderful stay and I highly recommend this resort. It is far enough away that you can really relax after a long day at the parks but close enough that you can get to everything, including Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney).
Of course none of this wouldn’t be possible without Zootopia! Make sure you check it out on March 4th 2016 and watch this space for my review. I can tell you though, your whole family will love it!!
More Information about Zootopia:
The modern mammal metropolis of Zootopia is a city like no other. Comprised of habitat neighborhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown, it’s a melting pot where animals from every environment live together—a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything. But when rookie Officer Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin) arrives, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn’t so easy. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case, even if it means partnering with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman), to solve the mystery. Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Zootopia,” a comedy-adventure directed by Byron Howard (“Tangled,” “Bolt”) and Rich Moore (“Wreck-It Ralph,” “The Simpsons”) and co-directed by Jared Bush (“Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero”), opens in theaters on March 4, 2016.
*** A special thank you to Ricoh Imaging for sending me the Pentax K-3 to use on my trip!