Fan Stories, Reviews, and Photos

Reader Memories and AKL Fan Stories

Our reader memories and reviews page has been updated with favorite fan memories from Animal Kingdom Lodge! Contact Us to add yours to the list!

Simply walking into the Animal Kingdom Lodge for the first time is a special memory held by many.

“Seeing the excitement in my husband’s face as we pulled outside the lodge as it was a complete surprise to him that we were staying. When we entered the room and pulled back the curtains, all the animals were there grazing, which was amazing.”

“Walking into the lobby and remembering my jaw dropping at how spectacular the place is!” -Karen C.

“Walking into the lobby. Simply amazing.” LaTasha H.

“The smell when you first walk in. It is a mix between Boma and the fireplace.” -Eric V.

“The minute my husband and I walked in and saw the beautiful lobby. And when our room wasn’t ready yet the very nice lady at the desk gave us complimentary concierge service for our entire stay! She even walked us to the elevator and showed us how to use the card. I love Disney!” – Adrianne S.

“The smell of the wood burning and the anticipation of taking our grandkids for the first time in November.” – Darlene G.

“Darlene you are SO right! That’s what I like the best. The smell of the wood burning mixed in with the smell of the food at Boma!” – Denise P.

“Seeing the lobby for the first time…..and especially drinking coffee on our balcony each owning as the animals strolled by.” -Suzanne D.

“The first time we walked in and my husband and I saw the huge Christmas tree in the lobby.” – Carolyn A.

The animals on Animal Kingdom Lodge’s savannas have provided plenty of memories for our readers.

“Our first visit was last September. I dragged my husband kicking and screaming, he had no desire to “stand in lines at Disney”. I figured since it was our first and last trip that we would do it upright and stay at AKL. When we checked into our room and went out on the balcony, the giraffes were right there. I was so excited, I could not speak in sentences, I was running in circles trying to find a camera. I felt like a small child, I was so excited. When my husband saw my excitement and the giraffes he was the one that decided a return visit was a must and that it would be for 2 weeks.

We just returned from a 2 week stay and are now planning our 3rd trip next December. We are hooked on AKL and cannot imagine staying anywhere else. I love the giraffes and to see them so close is just breath taking. It is truly magical!!!!” – Jeanne C.

“Sitting on our balcony watching the animals with my son.” – Dianna Z.

“Coming back to our savanna-side room after eating at Boma and being able to hear the zebra herd munching on the grass right under our balcony- and then seeing a couple get into a little bucking skirmish. It was just wonderful.” – Stacey H.

“The animals outside of your window.” -Madison P.

“Sitting in the big rocking chairs at the end of a long day, watching the giraffes and sipping orange juice and vodka…ahh good times and good memories.” -Jennifer S.

“Just sitting on our balcony, drinking morning coffee, and watching the savanna animals……” – Tara P.

“The big giant spider in between 2 trees on the way to the bus stops.” -Rosy M.

“The safari that we just took here tonight through all four savannas!” -Kristen S.

“The giraffe named Jay who never came over near our room during the day but slept outside our room every night.” LaTasha H.

“Night vision goggles to spy on the animals.” -Wayne H.

“Learning the route the giraffes on my savanna view had for finding their food every day and watching out for the weird couple that always had their two creepy marionette-looking dolls with them everywhere they went. – Bridget P. (author’s note: marionettes would creep us out too!)

“My 2 girls’ amazement at seeing giraffe and zebras right outside their room.” -Steve K.

Many readers also cite special experiences as memories they cherish from Animal Kingdom Lodge.

“My wedding reception at Jiko was AMAZING. They took such great care of us and our guests. My second fav is getting engaged on the savanna.” -Dawn D.

“My kids just past Christmas running towards the gigantic Christmas tree at the lobby …because…Santa Mouse left a tiny gift for them under the tree …the look in their eyes…priceless …will be there again in 127 days …our paradise…” -Tatiana D.

“Playing Haunted Mansion Clue in the Kilimanjaro Club.” – Catherine V.

“Sitting on the balcony rocking my youngest to sleep on my 40th birthday. Having the privilege of serving as the 3rd shift duty manager one night and watching the Lodge “wake up” in the morning.” – Gray D.

“The first sunrise from our balcony at Kidani Village and my son’s friendship with one of the lifeguards at Kidani. he has remembered my son on each visit we’ve made so far!” -Tom D.

“Sitting by the fire at night.” -Gerilyn C.

“Two: the first visit, opening the drapes and seeing giraffes outside our window and second, dinner at Boma on my birthday when they wrote, “Happy Birthday Jean” around the edge of my dessert plate and signed a card for me!” – Jean M.

“Celebrating our fifth anniversary. Eating free Anniversary dessert from Jiko. Relaxing by the pool, exercising in the extremely nice fitness center. EVERYTHING!” -Matt R.

Many shared memories they have of dining at Boma or Jiko!

“I like how the restaurants won’t let you use straws.” -Maddie B. (author’s note: straws are back at AKL, but they’re paper!)

“Chef TJ’s good meals at Boma Restaurant…..” -Keneilwe L.

“Eating at Jiko, the tasting menu.” -Kathryn M.

“Getting fried Oreos prepared by TJ at Boma. Working at the Mara for the College Program had its perks!” – Ashley W.

“Escaping the heat to relax in the cool, dark lobby, then eat at Boma or Jiko and rub the wood carving at the door on your way out.” -Michelle P.

More readers shared a virtual grab bag of many of their favorite memories. Read on…

“Many…laying on the couches in the lobby and watching cartoons after the pool, eating at Boma and Jiko, seeing the animals from our window, learning about South Africa from a native giving a talk, playing with the rain sticks each time I go into the gift shop, sitting on rocking chairs on balconies during the winter with my pook.” – Lynda P.

“Seeing the artist’s renderings and then finally seeing it come into fruition! Going to Zawadi and then waiting for the buses to go to the parks, Staying Concierge for the first time surprising my parents and doing the safari’s. Staying in the Jambo Grand Villa which was AWESOME! Eating at Boma and The Mara. Seeing the animals on the Savanna. Staying at Kidani for the first time. Walking across the suspension bridge. Smelling the aromas of the restaurants. Hearing the swoosh of the doors when you walk in and feeling the cool air. Walking from Jambo to Kidani on a beautiful evening.” – Cynthia G.

“Stayed there a couple of months after my mom passed away. It was so serene watching the giraffes outside our window. I went to Zawadi and bought the 7-foot wooden giraffe that stood in the entryway and had it shipped home. I’ve named him Zawadi and he stands behind me in my facebook profile photo. LOVE AKL! The kids and I are going back NEXT weekend! I already have Boma reservations. Can’t wait.” -Denise P.

“Waking up every morning to go look out our doors and see the giraffes, the TV area in the lobby with the old time classics, the welcome home sign, the pool area, the staff that was just great. There’s was one man in the Photo Pass department up front that we spoke to every night, he was so nice and funny with the kids! How I miss that place.” -Eddy A.

“Savanna view room, the relaxing pool, Boma, and that well-themed lobby (and for that matter the entire resort). Loved the African music around the resort. My 2-year-old loved the rubber duck race in the kiddie pool.” Mike D.

Still many other readers are looking forward to their next – or very first visit, and can’t hide their excitement!

“The memories we will be making there in 65 days and counting!!” -Lolita K.

“Don’t know yet. Will tell you in a couple of weeks ;-)” -Sally P.

“We haven’t made it yet… Next month we take our two-year old, staying at Kidani Village!” -Allen P.

Cynthia Graham reviews her stay at the Kidani Village Grand Villa.

You know we’re huge fans of Disney resorts, and AKL holds so many wonderful memories for us. If you feel the same and have photos of your great experiences at AKL, or stories and reviews about your time there, send them to us at [email protected]. They’ll be helpful for folks trying to decide whether or not to book their vacation at AKL, as well as give us veterans some ideas for new activities and experiences to try! We’d be glad to send you a return e-mail to let you know when your photo and/or review has been placed online.

ALSO, YOU CAN HELP US! We’re lacking photos of Jambo House rooms, and will also need as many photos as possible of Kidani Village when it opens (we probably won’t get back to Disney World at least until Winter). If you can help, send your photos to [email protected]. Be sure to tell us how you’d like to be referenced in the copyright!