I know this is a favorite for some. Tell me what your favorite things at the resort. Thinking of a split stay where we would have three afternoons to explore this resort. We would do a Savannah view—
So, we visited there last year when we had an ADR at Boma. Afterwards, we walked around and absolutely fell in love with the place. We had some great conversations with the cast members from Africa. It was great. The place is beautiful!
We’ll be staying there this Christmas, and we can’t wait!
AKL probably pulls off its theme better than any other Disney hotel. It permeates every facet of the resort, down to the Africa cultural representatives that seem to be everywhere and always happy to tell stories and answer questions. The overall ambiance is much like AK, which is not unusual since AKL is its own separate animal habitat, research, and training activity. The difference is most notable at night. AKL is much darker and quieter at night on account of the animal habitat.
Savanna rooms are neat, but not required in order to see animals. There are viewing areas everywhere and AKL standard view rooms are some of the lowest priced deluxe rooms on WDW property. There are three exceptional table service restaurants on site as well as a very good quick service (speaking of The Mara at Jambo House, not sure about qs at Kidani Village). I don’t use the pools, but the pool at Jambo House gets high marks in every review I’ve read.
Disney transportation to anywhere but AK can be slower than other resorts. Oddly enough, the last time we stayed there it was AK trans that was slow while everything else was pretty good. Either way, the remoteness of AKL relative to the other hotels will cause transportation to feel slower to some degree or another. Transportation is really the only thing I consistently hear or read complaints about. For my part it’s never been a problem, but then again I’m a fan of the freedom and lack of responsibility I get from using Disney trans so I’m pretty forgiving.
Hope this helps.
I have stayed at AKL many times. Although I have stayed in a savannah view room in the past (DVC and CL), if given the choice- I would book a standard view and use the TP room fax. T seems has if some resorts have a higher success rate for the fax requests, and AKL is one of them.
When you walk into the lobby you can smell the food cooking in Boma. The smell of the lobby is my favorite wdw smell. The Mara is a great quick service, with many unique choices. There is seating inside and out near the pool. There is a large restroom near the Mara with showers. The pool is large, with a decent slide, and I have never had a hard time finding a chair. There is a fitness center.
Jiko is my favorite signature restaurant. Victoria Falls has a limited menu, but is a nice bar/lounge.
It is about a 15-20 minute walk to Kidani, or you can take the shuttle. Kidani has a splash area for kids.
I strongly disagree with any negative comments about the buses. I have timed buses from most deluxes. From the Poly to HS it was a 28 minute bus ride (stops at other resorts). I have never timed a bus ride to any park from AKL at more than 26 minutes (once to MK).
The CMs at the animal viewing areas are great! I have also had many positive interactions at all of the restaurants, stores, and mousekeeping. Sometimes, you will find other CMs may not be as helpful.
Thanks everyone for the info!
One reason would be the restaurants. I don’t think we would eat there if we didn’t stay. And they sound awesome.
They are ! Sanaa is at Kidani, and for lunch it has the most amazing view, but it is always a great place to eat too.
I LOVE AKL! We have stayed there four times now and I hope to stay a million more. We have enjoyed pool, savanna, and standard view (x2). I would actually advocate for you to save some vacation dollars and opt for a standard view; there are so many beautiful places from which to see the animals that IMO the (significant!) added expense of paying for the savanna room is just not worth it. If you want a partial savanna room, @PrincipalTinker has some great room ideas for you. I have some great options for pool and standard view, particularly if you want to be exceptionally close to the bus stop.
Be sure to take it ALL in. There is more to do here than at most resorts, including some cultural experiences for you and littles (if there are any littles traveling with you). The dining options here are top notch as well, and the pool is amazing.
Sometimes you will hear that transportation is sub-par here, but I disagree; we’ve only had one occasion in four stays where we had any kind of a wait for the buses. They don’t share buses with other resorts, so you head directly to your destination once the bus leaves the AKL property (a quick stop at Kidani, as Kidani and Jambo are on the same property). You are a mere 5 minutes from AK and not more than 20 from any other location. Don’t let the naysayers get you down.
And it smells amazing, too!
This is great thank you!! It sounds like a special place!
Another AKL fan here. I also suggest a standard view room, we had a wonderful view this April of many animals. Jiko was fantastic!
I’ll echo what the others have said.
The activity sheet for this one resort is pretty much as long as for all the other WDW resorts put together.
The art on display at both Jambo and Kidani is the biggest collection of African art anywhere in the US. They have regular tours in Jambo through the day, led by their CMs.
They have a number of “bead activities” - where kids can earn a bead for each one they participate in. Lots of craft type stuff. In the evening at Jambo they have a drumming parade from the lobby down a couple of floors and back up, open to kids and adults. We were having a drink in Victoria Falls Lounge (one of the best on WDW property) it was so much fun to watch; loud but it didn’t bother us at all - it was great.
Ther is a tour of the kitchens on, I think, a Wednesday afternoon, plus the Starlight Safari and a wine tasting tour. The last two are bookable in advance and paid events. The kitchen tour I think might be a sign-up on the day, hopefully someone can confirm that.
Both Kidani and Jambo have an “outlook” with a fire in the evenings. You can go out and watch the animals. They have night vision goggles for anyone to use there. Be aware these get put away around 10:30pm. The Kidani one is right outside Sanaa; incidentally Sanaa have a small lounge where you can order from the main restaurant menu.
The two pools are great. Jambo’s is bigger, maybe the biggest except for AoA. Kidani’s has a really nice play area for kids, lots and lots of greenery around it, and a better slide IMO. Gym is near the pool at Kidani, not sure if Jambo has it’s own. Oh, and Kidani’s pool has the only viewing spot for one of the Savannah’s, where the red river hogs are.
Kidani also has a community hall, which is where we had the movies. Free popcorn and juice for the kids, even my 16 year old! Plus activities through the day.
The CMs at the Savannah’s, and those who do the art tours are amazing. They are so happy to chat about the animals, their home country (they all come from 3 or 4 countries - South Africa and Botswana are the two I recall). They also “man” the tiger and gorilla trails at AK.
As for the rooms. Kidani is all DVC. And the 1 beds and bigger have the extra bathroom and a sleeper chair. I’d like to try Jambo, but those make all the difference to us! But it’s an easy 10 minute walk, albeit not scenic. Or a shuttle bus if you don’t want to walk.
Thanks for your reply! Sounds like the perfect resort to spend time in!
@Nickysyme reminded me that we should share the link to the activity calendar! This link is updated monthly:
Thanks! I need this for my trip!
Jambo does in fact have its own fitness center.