Even living less than two hours from Disney World, I am amazed at how huge it is, and how much there is that I have not seen. Last year we celebrated my birthday at Jiko, which is part of the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Little did we know there was so much more to do and see. As part of the Monkey Kingdom event, I was able to spend some time at Animal Kingdom Lodge.
All the resorts in Walt Disney World are awesome. They all have fabulous amenities and calendars chock full of things to do. Animal Kingdom Lodge has that and more! After spending some time with Greg Peccie, the operations manager and animal curator at Animal Kingdom Lodge, I was truly blown away at all this resort offers.
5 Things that Surprised me about Animal Kingdom Lodge
1) I was so surprised to learn Animal Kingdom Lodge has Savannah Guides who are actually from Africa, some who are living in Orlando on a 12 month Visa, just to be part of the education team at Animal Kingdom Lodge. When you are learning about the culture of Africa from these very knowledgeable Guides, you are really learning from someone who has experienced Africa first hand.
2) When children take part in the Animal programs and Wildlife Discoveries, they get a bead for each activity. The beads are turned into a "String of Memories."
3) Animal Kingdom, home to more than 200 hoofed animals and birds, is actually accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Greg Peccie, curator of Animal Programs at Animal Kingdom Lodge, is passionate about the animals at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Though they report to Animal Kingdom, Animal Kingdom Lodge is really a separate zoo all on their own. When Greg talks about the animals and how the steps Animal Kingdom is taking in conservation is helping them, you can see why he has chosen to work with Disney.
4) The Team at Animal Kingdom Lodge recently performed an artificial insemination on a Nyala Antelope. Greg Peccie said when they need to bring new genes into the population, he would rather go to Africa with a cooler than an animal. It makes perfect sense. My cat gets stressed going up the street to the vet. I can't imagine the stress it puts on an animal to make that trip!
Greg explained there are only 50 Hartmann's Mountain Zebras in the United States, and Animal Kingdom has nine. At one point these beautiful animals were endangered, but as of now, they are considered vulnerable, a step up from endangered. That means your grandchildren just might be able to see a living breathing Hartmann's Mountain Zebra, instead of just looking at a picture in a book or online. I don't know about you, but I think that is pretty awesome.
5) It's easy to focus on the animals when visiting Animal Kingdom Lodge, but another thing that surprised me is the award-winning food at the restaurants.
You'll have a lot of choices with seven restaurants:
Cape Town Lounge and Wine Bar is also available for appetizers or a full Jiko meal if you don't mind eating at the bar, and Victoria Falls Lounge is open for drinks. We had an incredible lunch at Sanaa. This was just an appetizer!
There's so much to more to Animal Kingdom Lodge than I can cover here, like their 11,000 square foot pool and amazing supervised children's activity center. I guess you'll have to visit and experience it for yourself! While you're visiting Animal Kingdom, you might want to check out the Backstage Tales Tour, too! It's awesome!
You'll find Animal Kingdom Lodge at 2901 Osceola Parkway in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. I'd love to hear about your experience when you visit. Please come back and share in the comments below!
By the way, if you are an animal lover, don't miss Monkey Kingdom, in theaters now! Check out the most recent featurette!