Thursday, February 19, 2015

Our One Night Stay at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge | Walt Disney World


Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Review

We woke up bright and early (or dark and early at 3:00 AM) on a Saturday morning to fly to Orlando a day before our cruise departure on a Sunday. We wanted to spend our one night pre-cruise stay on Disney property at a spot we've never stayed. Since it was only one night, we decided to try out a deluxe. I haven't stayed at a deluxe since I visited with my family in 2007, and Ashley has never stayed at one. (Spoiler alert: she never wants to stay anywhere else again. I've convinced her we need to stay at all the Disney properties so we have to branch out. :) ) Ashley's favorite park is Animal Kingdom and we've eaten at Boma a few times, so her pick has always been Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge ReviewDisney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Review
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Review
We arrived at the resort (via Disney's Magical Express- our first time using it!) at around 11:00 AM. We marveled at the lobby for a few minutes before lining up to check in- more on that in a moment. The online check-in line was pretty long, with only two stations open for online check in. I wasn't there long before they sent out some Cast Members with tablets to help out with the process. Since we checked in online, they just found our name, gave us our packet, took a cell phone number down and told us to enjoy the lobby until we received a text telling us our room was ready. We were slightly disappointed that the room wasn't ready because we did tell them an arrival time ahead of our arrival via the online check in, but it was very early in the day and if we had somewhere to go, they could store our carry on luggage for us. We lounged in the lobby for a few minutes, took a trip to the gift shop (which we love!) to start spending our money immediately, took a look at the savanna and walked around the pool area. We received a text by about noon, right when we were about to sit down to eat at The Mara, which is the quick service dining. As soon as we were done we found our room.
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Review
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Review
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Review
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Review
Let's talk about how much we loved it, shall we? We've seen the lobby before, but hadn't seen it in the daytime, and hadn't explored any of the other areas of the resort. It was beautiful. Coming from mostly moderate and value resort experiences, this was really a step up for us. The grandiose lobby is breathtaking. The savanna is a great touch. More than anything, we loved the room. It was quite a bit larger than what we are used to and the added touch of the balcony was a welcome change from the lower tier resorts we've stayed at in the past. The balcony was an amazing touch that I really enjoyed. (Perfect selfie lighting, if I do say so myself.) Even though we didn't pay for a savanna view, we caught site of a giraffe and zebra outside of the balcony which was pretty fun. The beds were very comfortable and I thought the decor was perfect. Even the African themed wallpaper in the bathroom was great. Also- GREAT BATHROOM LIGHTING. Makeup, wearers- ya feel me?!
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Review
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Review
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Review
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Review
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Review
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Review
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Review
There are a couple of downsides to this resort that I noted. One was that I wasn't a fan of the quick service location. To be fair- I'm not a fan of most of them. But for lunch, there wasn't many other options for us. We enjoy Boma (full review here) for dinner and hear great things about Jiko, but those are not lunch spots. Since we weren't visiting the parks, it wasn't easy for us to quickly grab lunch anywhere else. The second is that it seems to be quite far away from everything (other than Animal Kingdom.) We took a bus to Downtown Disney at about 9:00 ish and it took us FORTY FIVE minutes to get there. Not including the little bit of time we waited for the bus to arrive. Downtown Disney is currently undergoing construction so there are less bus stops open, but that was a really long bus ride for a very low-crowd time. Our ride back wasn't nearly as long, for the record. Neither of these would deter us from staying here, though, because we're ready to go back :).
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Review
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Review

P.S. The lobby is good for a quick cat nap.

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