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Jambo! Our Stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

I would have to say that the best kind of surprises out there are the ones that happen so suddenly you don’t even have time to process it. After our stressful month, someone contacted us the gift of a Resort night at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. I was SOOOO excited that I planned on surprising all of them this past Sunday. Unfortunately I couldn’t keep it from Craig because I was so excited, and thus began the planning to surprise the kids.

We enjoyed Magic Kingdom and Epcot on Sunday, then told the kids that Dave Drumheller wanted to say hello while he was staying at AK Lodge.  They were ok with it, but tired from our Park time. Craig took them to the savannah overlook and I told them I would be looking for Dave in the lobby. Poor hubby had to keep them busy while I checked in as quickly as I could. They let me upgrade to Savannah view for free, so I took it and with room keys in hand, I went to find the family.

I walked out to them and told them I couldn’t find Dave, but instead I found room keys for the evening. The kids FREAKED OUT! What people may not know is that this was our dream Resort to stay at, that one day we had hoped to stay there and soak up all the animal goodness out of it.  It was so great to see the smiles on the girls faces, and it made my heart jump with joy to see their happiness.

We were on the 5th floor, and had the most amazing view. What I had always dreamed of, the balcony view, the animals grazing below, and the peace of it all was EXACLTY what it was.  We went swimming right away, which was very relaxing, and then enjoyed a Mara meal that we bought and brought back to the room. I enjoyed the chicken and African stew, and we of course had to buy some zebra domes for dessert.

After we ate, we decided to head down to the scenic overlook. We roasted marshmallows while zebras played just feet away from us. We spent a brief moment at the campfire, but decided to enjoy one of the public balconies for awhile. We each had our own rocking chair and had a good laugh while making up conversations that we thought the animals were having.  We had lots of animals to watch, and it was great to see the sun set while we enjoyed the view.

We then headed down to the pool area for a walk, and found the movie starting for the evening. I have never seen “Lilo and Stitch” so we stayed to enjoy it, which was hilarious to try and focus on since we were night next to the Flamingo pool which was VERY loud and noisy.  It was neat to be laying under the stars, knowing we were lucky enough to be staying there that night.

We headed back up to the room, and enjoyed the view and the quiet on the balcony before heading to bed. The kids slept on the pull out couch, and we had a nice size bed. We had brought our fans from home which helped everyone sleep better. It’s always funny to have us all sleeping in the same room because we giggle quite a bit before finally falling asleep.  We planned on getting up for the sun rise, but we were all pretty pooped, and decided to sleep in.

Now I wanted to give my perspective of what it is like to be a local turned tourist for a day. First, it was AWESOME to have the vacation feel again, I had forgotten what that was like.  When you live here, it becomes second nature to head to the Parks.  But actually STAYING at the Resort was just like being on vacation once again. We were excited, we were giddy, and we ate and shopped like we had never been there before. I had been in the Lodge before, but being there as a guest was a completely different story. Seems obvious, but it was just very different. We made sure to experience everything we could of the Resort, and that was always our goal. It was amazing, and thank you again to our gifter.  We would definitely stay there again, it was a true adventure for this family.


  1. So glad you and your family got to enjoy a great stay-cation at AKL. You’re a wonderful person and certainly deserve it. Hopefully it helped ease the pain of the crazy car incident.


  2. That is my favorite resort and then wilderness lodge. We have been fortunate enough to have stayed there twice on the conceirge floor – which was amazing. We were suppose to stay there in October -but you know the story behind that. 😉 I am very happy for you Amy you deserve nothing but the best. Love you girl!


  3. Your “vacation” at AKL sounds wonderful!!! Just what you needed – what a great surprise and welcome break! You are blessed!


  4. That’s cool! My dream stay will be at Contemporary. Since my first visit to Walt Disney World, I’ve always thought that it was so cool that the Monorail ran THROUGH the resort! 🙂


  5. How funny!!! I’m sure you know by now that’s where we’re staying – on the 5th floor I mean!! Wouldn’t it have been a riot to have run into each other in the hall or at the pool or something!!! LOL. Wow! So glad you had a great visit! xoxoxo


  6. What a fun adventure! You all definitely deserved to have this relaxing stay at one of Disney’s finest Resorts. Thanks for sharing your stories and photos with us!


  7. Wow! What a great surprise gift! I loved that you surprised the kids too. I would love to stay at the AK Lodge. We have visited it and it is amazing! I love all the animals and the lobby. And the pool looked so awesome. I’m glad you guys had a much needed “vacation”! The zebra domes look good…I need to put that on my list of things to try next visit.


  8. Love it! AKL is a very special place to me and my husband. We honeymooned there in April 2009 after not having been to WDW since 2006, with the only other resort we had ever stayed in being Port Orleans.

    I credit AKL and our wonderful honeymoon with my falling in love with Disney as an adult. We visited WDW twice more before moving here last summer, but haven’t stayed at AKL since — and hope to again soon, even just for a night as you did.


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