Take a mini-safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

It was a stretch for me to fully envision the concept of a hotel built within a re-created African savanna – until we stepped foot into the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Though I had read about guests taking morning coffee on their balconies while watching the animals amble, I still expected the savannas to be less accessible to the curious public. Gladly, this is not the case. The animals are on display for all to admire from beautiful vantage points around this majestic resort.

Enveloping the deluxe units of Jambo House and the DVC Kidani Village are four painstakingly maintained savannas totaling over 40 acres. These are the habitat of more than 200 exotic birds and animals. In order to see the greatest variety of creatures, you’ll want to visit the specially designated savanna overlooks sprinkled throughout the property. We took our own mini-safari with the kids this past March.

MH AKL savannasTo assist with an authentic experience, guides — mostly from Africa themselves — are stationed at the overlooks to answer questions about the animals or provide interesting facts. Our 7-year-old daughter, for example, wanted to know where the original homes for the giraffes and gazelles had been. It comforted her to know that many had been born right in the Walt Disney World Resort (within the nearby Animal Kingdom Theme Park). Our 2-year-old found it fascinating to find a flock of flamingos only steps away from the swimming pool.

Feel free to explore at your own pace, keeping with the unhurried, natural ambience of the resort. The animals and architecture alone make the Animal Kingdom Lodge a worthwhile stop on your tour plan.

Location: Find the Uzima, Arusha, Sunset and Pembe Savannas on the grounds of the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Walt Disney World Resort.

Touring Tip: If you’re visiting the Animal Kingdom Lodge as a day guest to see the savannas, grab a map from the front desk.

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