Grab a Zebra Dome and join us! What is Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge (AKL)? Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge is a deluxe resort hotel adjacent to Disney's Animal Kingdom. It opened April 16, 2001. The Lodge itself is called the Jambo House. Designed by Peter Dominick, of Wilderness Lodge fame, AKL recreates the feel of a South African wildlife reserve lodge. Rooms follow the Kraal African village design, a semicircle concept, offering a view of close to 100 grazing animals and 130 birds on the property and in the private savannas. Like Disney other resorts, AKL has a distinctive theme carried throughout its architecture, landscape and interior designs. As you drive up to the resort, all you see is a small gathering of huts. The incredible size of the resort is hidden from the front, so it will be like driving up to a small safari village. Tell me more about the look and feel of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. The Lodge is 6 stories tall. You enter the expansive lobby on the 3rd floor of the resort. There is a huge picture window which looks out upon 30 acres of land. From here, you can walk out onto an elevated viewing area (Arusha Rock) and enjoy the roaming animals. All three savannas are special areas built specifically for the AKL and are separate from Disney's Animal Kingdom. There are over 100 Sand Live Oak trees and 35,000 shrubs in the savannas. Seeds for many of the plants were supplied from Africa. Throughout the rest of the lobby, there are examples of authentic architecture and design, from thatched ceilings to golden tones reflecting the richness and diversity of an African landscape. Rich wood tones surround a large mud fireplace and natural lighting will celebrate dawn and dusk with features that accentuate spectacular sunrises and sunsets. In the hallways, there are alcoves with glass windows providing savanna overlooks. Next to Animal Kingdom Lodge is Kidani Village (opened May 1, 2009) a Disney Vacation Club Resort. Kidani has it's own parking, restaurant, and pool. It shares the Sunset Savannah with Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House and has it's own savannah (opened fall 2009) called Pembe. What are the savannas like? The Animal Kingdom Lodge has three separate savannas (approximately 10 acres each) that are open 24 hours a day. From left to right the savannas are named: Sunset, Arusha, and Uzima. Each savanna has its own unique look and feel. Not all savannas have all the animals. For instance, ostriches can only be found on the Sunset savanna, zebras are only located on the Arusha savanna, kudu are only found on the Uzima savanna. Giraffes are the only animal found on all three savannas. Each room has an animal viewing guide. You can also pick one up at the front desk. At night, the savannas are illuminated by artificial moonlight as if a full moon were ever present. "Safari Guides" are at the outside viewing areas and can answer your questions about the animals and birds. Altogether, more than 200 mammals and birds of nearly three dozen species populate the 33-acre area. The savannas surround the lodge on three sides. You can view the birds and animals from resort balconies or from several viewing points -- including a landscaped rock outcropping called the Arusha Rock kopje -- 24 hours a day. What types of accommodations are available? The accommodations offered are finished in rich tapestries and vibrant colors. Guest rooms feature jewel tones and hand-carved furnishings. There is even a "Royal Suite" with a domed, hut-like living room fit for a king. The following are the room types and numbers of rooms in each category: Standard View (facing the parking lot) 135 rooms; Pool View 136 rooms; savanna View 724 rooms; Deluxe Pool View 33 rooms; Deluxe savanna View 191 rooms and 55 Concierge rooms. The deluxe rooms are bigger than the standard rooms. There are also Presidential and Vice Presidential suites, as well as five one-bedroom suites and 12 two-bedroom parlor suites. The standard rooms are on floors 1-4 and are 344 square feet. Deluxe rooms are on floors 5 and 6 and are 381 square feet. All rooms have balconies. Some rooms feature one queen-size bed and bunk beds. Some rooms feature an additional dresser. There are 79 king bed rooms, and there are 65 accessible rooms with king bed, roll-in shower, accessible seat for toilet, TDD kit and ADA guide maps. Concierge rooms have either savanna or a pool view. Each room that is not ground level, no matter what the category or view, has a balcony that is long and narrow. The suites are located at the end of the animal trails. From the outside of the Lodge, they are the ones located within the rounded parts of the building, with the curved balconies, topped with thatch. They are located on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th floors. Even the ones below 5th floor still have concierge access. In addition the Lodge also has some Disney Vacation Club villas. Can you explain more about the different views and room types? Floors 1-2-3-4 have Standard Rooms with one of 3 views: Standard, Pool or savanna. The rooms can be configured with 2 Queens; 1 Queen and Bunk Beds; King Bed with Daybed; Handicapped Accessible with King Bed and Daybed. Floors 5-6 have Deluxe rooms. Concierge rooms are the same as the Deluxe rooms. These have one of 2 views: Pool or savanna. The rooms can be configured as either 2 Queens; 1 Queen and Bunk Beds; King Bed and Daybed; Handicapped Accessible with King Bed and Daybed. The 6th Floor is exclusively Concierge. The best way to understand the various views is to compare them to the seating in a theater or stadium. For example, I would equate a savanna view room to the orchestra and box seats: you have a close and personal view of the event, in which you are totally immersed in the action and sometimes even feel like they are playing just for you. The pool view rooms are similar to the mezzanine or club level: you still have good seating, but you are not as close to the action and are much more aware of your surroundings. And standard view rooms? They would be akin to the upper, upper deck, or the back of the highest balcony. You are there and can enjoy the experience, but you are much further removed both emotionally and physically. As of June 1, 2007, all Disney resorts and guest rooms are now smoke free. There are designated outdoor smoking areas. Check the resort map or with a Cast Member for locations. What type of amenities are offered? The rooms have a small safe in the closet to store valuables. It's big enough for your plane tickets, cash/travelers checks and maybe some jewelry, but not much more. For storing larger valuables inquire at the front desk. In addition, you'll also find a hairdryer, small coffee maker with packets of coffee and tea, iron and ironing board, a crib, and a small refrigerator. Valet parking, voice mail, and room service are also available. Walt Disney World Resort made complimentary Wi-Fi service available in all of its hotels as of March 2012. Walt Disney World has converted their room keys and admission tickets from plastic cards to MagicBands, flexible plastic wristbands, resembling a watch or bracelet, that use Radio Frequency (RF) technology. Your MagicBand is linked to your My Disney Experience (MDE) account (http://allears.net/tp/my-magic-plus.htm) and acts as your Disney resort room key. Simply touch the Mickey symbol on your MagicBand to the RFID reader near your room door to gain entry. Read about using MagicBands for park admission, FastPass+ and more here: http://allears.net/tp/magic-bands.htm. How does Check-in work? Online Check-in is available 10 days prior to your stay. Look for the special Online Check-in line at the resort's front desk. Check-in is at 3pm. Upon arrival head to the front desk to check-in. Rooms are generally not available until 3pm. Early check-in allows you to leave luggage with bell services, get your Magic Bands (if you don't already have them) and head off to the parks or relax around the resort. You will be given a phone number to call periodically to see if your room is ready. When you call in, answer a few questions. You will then be given your room number and your Magic Band will open your door! OR -- Text alerts are also available, just provide a cell phone number to the front desk cast member. Check-out time is 11am. Express Check-out is available to all guests paying with a credit card, arrange for this service at check-in. A detailed hotel bill is delivered to your door by 7am. If the bill is correct you simply leave. Your Magic Band serves as a Disney souvenir. Late Check-out of noon can be requested without additional cost (very limited availability). If you need Late Check-out, request it at Check-In and as soon as possible the morning of check out (the number of eligible rooms are limited). Resort Airline Check-In Service at your Disney resort is only available if you are flying domestically (includes Puerto Rico) on specific airlines It is a complimentary (free) service and allows you to check your luggage. AKL's concierge guest rooms are located on part of floor 5 and all of 6. The actual lounge and staff are located on the 6th floor. The concierge rooms are identical to the deluxe rooms in terms of size and amenities (with a few extra). You can not book a specific concierge view... they are either a pool view or Sunset or Arusha savanna view. For some odd reason, the lounge was not built with a savanna view and instead opens to the lobby on the 6th floor. The lounge is wonderful, large and the food quite good. You also have a selection of South African wines to try as well. The Cast Members can assist you in dining, entertainment or just about any Disney plans you might want to make.