Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

I arrived in Orlando, Florida early Tuesday morning for Disney's Dreamers Academy hosted by Steve Harvey and Essence magazine. As usual, I waited until the last minute to pack for my 6-day trip and never made it to bed that night. I was exhausted. But my excitement for the events ahead - rides and attractions, celebrity appearances, and motivational speaking - suppressed my desire to catch up on some much needed rest.

The journey from the airport to the Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge was seamless thanks to the complimentary transportation service known as Disney's Magical Express. The moment I stepped foot off the bus, grabbed my luggage and headed toward the entrance of the hotel, I felt the magic in the air. Disney is known for being the "happiest place on Earth" and from the looks and sound of the things, I was certainly going to experience just that.

I waited in line to check-in. I opted to arrive early in the morning in hopes that I could settle into my room before the day's events. The lobby of Animal Kingdom was inviting, beautifully crafted, and enormous. The African decor was authentic and interesting. I could have easily walked around to soak up all the artistic displays consuming the lobby. Instead, I waited patiently on a couch until my room became available. I was surrounded by subtle chatter, eager children, and sounds of the safari. Oddly enough, they all seem to be soothing. Perhaps I was too excited to recognize the all chaos.

I felt as though I was in a museum instead of a hotel.

I was given a special package after checking in. It contained important information as well as perks for my Disney experience. There was a FastPass, a 7-day Park Hopper ticket, and several meal vouchers to enjoy during my stay. Disney will also provide a button to any guest that is celebrating a specific event - engagement, family reunion, and in my case, a first visit. I was also given a media pass which gave me access to back entry ways normally reserved for cast members (Disney employees). It was also used to identify and define my role during all the events.

Some of the amenities and services at the lodge include (taken from the Disney website):

  • Cable TV with Disney Programming
  • High-speed Internet access
  • Refrigerator
  • Hairdryer
  • Safe
  • Iron and Iron Board
  • Coffee Maker
  • Pack 'n Play Playard
  • DVD Player 
  • Room Service
  • Massage and Fitness Center
  • Babysitting and Child Services
  • Laundry Facilities
    This deluxe resort lives up to its name. Animal Kingdom Lodge is home to over 30 species of wildlife that occupy the 43-acre wildlife preserve. At any given moment you may catch a giraffe or zebra walking by. I had the perfect view of my balcony.  It was almost unbelievable to watch. For an even closer view, make reservations for the Wanyama Safari.

    Disney's Animal Kingdom lodge is an attraction within itself. It is a great place for the family to stay. Children will be in awe of the animal life in their backyard. And for some reason if  a child becomes bored with animal-watching, there is a 24-hour arcade, 24-hour playground, and an outdoor pool.

    Don't forget to grab a bite to eat while you are at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. You can choose from fine-dining to family-style dining to meet your needs. I visited The Mara several times while at the lodge. The food is affordable and prepared quickly.

    Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge proved to be a wonderful place to stay. The rooms are spacious, the lobby is beautiful, and the ambiance is soothing. If you are in for a walk, or view, on the wild side this is the hotel you definitely want to choose. And if you are lucky enough as I was, you may just meet a new friend in the lobby.

    Pictured here with Tami from Talking with Tami (photo courtesy of Tami)
    Disclosure: I received a complimentary stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge thanks to Disney. There was no monetary compensation for writing this post. Staying here for 6 days was compensation enough. The views and opinions expressed are my own and do not reflect those of the sponsor.

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