Dad's Review of the Animal Kingdom Resort
Dad spent a whole 20 hours at the Animal Kingdom Resort and here is his stellar review of one of the most unique resorts in America.
What a great concept. Put animals right outside your window and sell your hotels rooms for a premium price. And while you're at it make sure all the rooms have balconies. Yep, a knockout.
Waiting for Dad in the room
Even before I got to the Animal Kingdom Lodge I was confused. The resort is a disjointed conglomerate of condo and hotel. It's hard to figure out just what part is hotel and what part is villa. (Read how Dad demystifies the resort.)
My reservation was for a Savanna View Studio Villa in the Jambo House portion of the resort (which also houses the hotel). I made this reservation through a process called renting points from a Disney Vacation Club owner. (Dad talks about the nerve-wracking process of renting points.)
The Animal Kingdom Resort - Jambo House was Dad's home for the 20 hours or so he was in Orlando on his whirlwind trip. My impressions of the resort included that it was huge. Large. Everything was bigß. The lobby was enormous. The fire pit in the lobby (with an operating fire when the temperature was around 80 outside) was big.
The I walked to my room. And I walked. And I walked. I tried to pace off how far it was from the lobby to the elevator, but lost count. It had to be about 5 miles. (OK, maybe only about 600 feet or so, but that's still a long way.) Finally I reached the elevator. Up to the 5th floor (DVC floor) and then I walked about another 2 miles to my room. I've got to say, all this walking would get real old with sore feet after a day in the parks.
The first thing I did was to go exploring. I went out to the pool. OK, it's a pool. Water surrounded by concrete. Neat looking slide, but nothing special. I did notice that Disney provides life jackets (even baby ones) for the kiddos. How nice of them.
Next I went over to the Savanna. This is what I paid the big bucks for. I talked to a nice girl from a little country inside South Africa (you'll have to buy the book to see more about that). She said the animals had gone to the other side for a while (the story of my trip). I saw some birds. No giraffes or other animals.
About 5 hours later I got into my room (long story) at the Animal Kingdom Resort. It was disappointing right off the bat, because I thought, wrongly it turned out, I had rented a one bedroom and it was a studio. I was greeted by a cute little towel animal on the bed. Nice touch.
The room was dark. Most hotel rooms are these days, but the curtains were closed. Now why on earth in a Savanna View room would you have the curtains closed for arriving guests? First thing I did was to go over and open the curtains and step out onto the balcony. Hey, animals. I'll run grab the camera out of the car and take some pictures. Big mistake.
When I came back the animals had moved over to the other side of the hotel.
Even though the room was billed as a studio villa, it was a pretty standard hotel room. There was a refrigerator (which I dumped my Diet Dr. Peppers in) a microwave, a sink and a couple of dishes. The bathroom was underwhelming.
Where are the Animals?
My biggest disappointment was not seeing any animals. I did see a bunch of birds, but no giraffe's or any other animals with 4 legs. Some of that was because of my timing, but I sat on my balcony from 6:00 am to 8:00 am and no animals. Lots of preparation, but no animals. Disappointing.
The Animals I Saw
This was the only kind of animals I saw
Location, Location, Location
My biggest problem with the Animal Kingdom Resort is it's location. It's not close to anything. Yes, if you're lucky, you can get to the Magic Kingdom in 20 minutes (did that). If you aren't it can take an hour to get back to your hotel after a long day at the parks (did that too). If this resort was located between the Magic Kingdom and Epcot on the monorail, Disney could double the inflated prices they charge.
If you stay here, you need a car. Period.
PS. Disney has added a resort parking fee for those parking onsite.
Dad's Bottom Line
I'm not a fan of the Animal Kingdom Resort. It's way too big. It's too dark. It's way too remote. Yes, the animals are neat, if you see them. No, I wouldn't go back.