Jambo! I recently had the pleasure of a one-of-a-kind stay at the Walt Disney World Resort and want share what made it so very unique, unlike any other Resort experience on property. While it wasn’t all lions, and tigers, and bears (oh my), it was giraffes, zebras, white-bearded wildebeests, and more!
Hands down—the biggest draw to staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge at the Walt Disney World Resort, are the three vast Savannas (grassy plains) that are home to more than 200 mammals and birds of about 35 different species. The Sunset, Arusha, and Uzima Savannas all host a unique collection of animals exclusively, though the beloved giraffes can be found on all three.
If you are lucky enough to reserve a Savanna View Room and stay as a guest at this Resort, it means that at any moment, you can step out onto your balcony and see nature in all of its glory. In each room at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, you can find a Wildlife Spotting Guide that provides an illustration and some information on the animals that you may see during your stay. My family couldn’t wait to wake up each morning or return to our room balcony to discover which animals that we could check off of the list from our Arusha Savanna View Room.
While I wasn’t convinced when I originally booked the reservation, that view is most definitely worth the premium price. But no worries if you are not a guest at the Lodge,
anyone can pick up one of these spotting guides at the front desk and take in the views of the Savannas from several premium viewing points throughout the resort, inside and outside, at no cost. Often, you will find Safari Guide Cast Members outdoors to answer any questions that you may have regarding the animals, their care, or about the Savannas.
Speaking of the animals, some species you will see are: Giraffes, Zebras, Anikole Cattle, Bongos, Blesboks, Elands, Greater Kudus, Impala, Gazelles, Waterbucks, Red River Hogs, and White-bearded Wildebeests.
There are also a wide variety of beautiful birds such as: Abyssinian Ground Hornbills, Blue Cranes, East African Crowned Cranes, Flamingos, Marabou Storks, Ostriches, Pink-backed Pelicans, and Ruppel's Griffon Vultures.
Because the Savannas are actually HOME to these animals, viewing is available 24-hours a day. The artificial moonlight that perpetually illuminates the Savannas at night make it possible to see those nocturnal species as well. Making that experience even cooler are the complimentary night vision goggles available to use from sundown until 9:30 PM at the Uzima Overlook at Jambo House, or the Kidani Overlook at Kidani Village Villas, for viewing the animals with ease after dark.
If you want to take the nighttime experience to the next level, there is the Starlight Safari Tour from 10:00 PM – 11:00 PM. For $75 per person (guests age 8 and above), you’ll hop into an open-air safari vehicle, equipped with night vision goggles, and get the best view of about 30 species in their natural habitat during this one-hour excursion. A portion of the tour price is donated to the Disney Conservation Fund.
While all guests are welcome to come to the Savannas to see the animals, they are not allowed to feed or touch them. You may sometimes catch Safari Guides cleaning and prepping a Savanna with food while the animals are removed for a few hours each day. One Savanna will be unavailable for about two hours each day for maintenance.
If you do plan to stay, or simply visit, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge during your vacation, I recommend packing a set of binoculars for the best animal viewing experience. Kufurahia (Enjoy)!