5 Things I Learned About Animal Kingdom Lodge
As a part of the Money Kingdom Event we had the opportunity to visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge when we had lunch at Sanaa. I’ll be sharing about that next week. While having lunch we had the opportunity to sit down with Animal Specialist Greg Peccie, DAKL Animal Operations Manager. Although we only had a brief time with him I learned quite a few things about Animal Kingdom Lodge and I’d like to share some of what I learned with you.
Animal Kingdom Lodge has over 200 hundred animals at the resort and they are separate from the animals at Animal Kingdom. These animals are in the care of Greg and his team of castmates. At the lodge there are four savannah areas that’s spread across forty-three acres of land. That’s lots of space for all the animals to walk around. There’s so much to do and see at the lodge, here’s 5 things I learned about Animal Kingdom Lodge.
1. Cultural Immersion
The lodge offers a variety of cultural programs to fully immerse guests into various African inspired experiences. When guests check in they receive a recreation calendar with all the activities for the month. April’s list of cultural activities start at 9:30 AM and runs until 8:30 each night. They have a long list of great activities like Pin Trading with King Pin, African Face Painting, African Folktales, Cultural Safari and the nights end with the Primal Parade at the Zawadi Marketplace. So if you are at guest at the lodge be sure to check the calendar for events for your family.
2. Animal Programs and Wildlife Discoveries
Greg shared with us that the savannah guides are usually interns from Africa. He stated that this really gives guests an authentic experience. They share about their different countries and really give guests a unique experience. You can meet a guide and learn about their African culture at several places round the lodge including Jambo House: Arusha Rock & Uzima Overlooks; Kidani Village: Pembe & Kidani Rock Overlooks. Staying at the lodge gives guests the opportunity to get some great views of the animals. You can even participate in a Night Vision Animal Viewing after sundown until 9:30.
3. Culinary Exploration
Guests can dine with amazing views of the savannah, looking at the animals while dining on first class meals. We ate at Sanaa while visiting the Animal Kingdom Lodge. From my table I could see the Giraffe, Zebras and Opaki during the entire meal. They also offer guests to opportunity to dine with an animal expert (like we did with Greg Peccie) for $49 per adult and $29 per child (ages 3-9). You get a four course meal with interacting with the expert and learning about the animals in their care. They offer cake and cookie decorating opportunities at different restaurants at the lodge. Talk about a great dining experience.
4. Poolside Recreation Activities
Sometimes you just want to relax and lounge at the pool and at Animal Kingdom Lodge you can do that in style. The Uzima Springs Pool by Jambo House is a massive beach like pool with a sixty-seven foot slide. There’s also a bar and lounge that offers refreshments and snacks. In addition to lounging you can also participate in free and paid activities poolside. Activities change daily and differ based on which pool you and your family visit during your stay.
As you can imagine it just wouldn’t be Disney without something extremely magical, leaving you with life long memories. That’s where the safari’s come into play. Guests have two options at Animal Kingdom Lodge. You can participate in a Night Safari; join one of the lodge’s animal programs cast members on a night time African game drive through the savannah. All guests will have use of night vision goggles to make the most of their viewing experience. Plus a portion of the tour price will be donated to Disney’s Worldwide Conservation Fund. The night safari tour costs $70 and is recommended for ages 8 and older.
Another safari is the Wanyama Safari which is limited to twelve guests. Available daily only to Guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House and Kidani Village, this 90-minute tour presents a unique vantage point for observing exotic animals. Each excursion is limited to just 12 Guests—so you can truly anticipate a personalized tour with an experienced guide! After a pre-safari reception with the chefs and a cultural representative from Jiko – The Cooking Place, climb aboard a safari vehicle and get ready for spectacular sights as you embark on an authentic recreation of an African afternoon game drive, spread out across 46 acres of savanna.
About Monkey Kingdom:
Life is an adventure for Maya, the clever and resourceful blonde-bobbed monkey in “Monkey Kingdom,” Disneynature’s new feature film set among ancient ruins in the storied jungles of South Asia. Maya’s world is forever changed when she welcomes her son, Kip, into her complicated extended family. Like all families, Maya’s has more than its share of colorful personalities—and she’s determined to give her son a leg up in the world. When their longtime home at Castle Rock is taken over by powerful neighboring monkeys, Maya’s whole family retreats, and she uses her street smarts and ingenuity to uncover untapped resources amidst strange new creatures and unsettling surroundings. Ultimately, they will all have to work together to reclaim Castle Rock, where Maya can hopefully realize her dreams for her son’s future.
Monkey Kingdom is now playing everywhere. Check out trailer from the film and take your family to see it, I promise you’ll enjoy it. You can also read my review of Monkey Kingdom and my interview with Disneynature Ambassador Dr Sanjayan.