Animal Kingdom Lodge is an amazing resort that allows you to embrace the African culture, animals and people in ways that many of us would never have the opportunity to enjoy!
It has a special flair of Disney & if you are a Lion King fan, you will LOVE the special "extras"- but don't worry if you see a special kind of mouse in certain places...you'll love it!
By staying in this resort, you have the opportunity to have African animals right outside your room with your own private observation.
I'll go over some of the FREE events that I participated in: "Medallion Rubbing" was an activity that I truly enjoyed more than I thought I would. The medallion just inside the entryway actually represents the shape of the continent: Africa. There are 54 countries in Africa. The areas of the medallion show the animals, plants and interesting things about their culture that you exist in that area. I would have never known without speaking with Cast Members: Erny (from Botswana) and Mandisa (from South Africa) told me about their villages and even autographed their artwork for me.
In fact, Erny explained that the area of the Medallion that represents his country is a monkey getting his food out of a termite mound. I learned so much about his culture and truly enjoyed speaking with him. Erny is here until August 2013 and he's also an excellent cultural drummer...This took place at Boma Flavors of Africa Restaurant. Check your activities guide - but you can choose from a Giraffe, Hippo or Rhino to decorate. You get to choose your FREE cookie & have icing, M&M's, Gummi Bears and other things to decorate your animal. Neo, from Botswana truly seemed to enjoy our decorating. Even though I'm almost 40 with no kids, it looked like a 5-year-old decorated my giraffe...I had a blast! You can eat your cookie after decorating or they have covers to preserve your decorated cookie for later. You can see my paintbrush & masterpiece to realize that you don't have to be very good...just have FUN!
I also enjoyed learning about Flamingo & Pelican eating habits. This was done in the area behind the pool at Jambo House. Mandeli & Irene taught us that Flamingos are flexible birds that sleep on 1 leg & like to tuck their head under their wing when they are sound asleep. Flamingos are pink because they eat shrimp & we had the opportunity to practice how they comb the shrimp and drain the water in their beak before eating their meal.
And don't worry if you don't have kids. As you can see, I was the only single adult in the circle & had no problems having fun! The Cast Members are wonderful and informative.
The Pelicans were really interesting: their pouch holds 3 gallons of water. Pelicans take one fish at a time & have muscles in their pouch to squeeze out the water so they are not too full of water to take one fish at a time for their meal. If they take in a lot of water, they'd be too full to eat their fish. I will never look at these birds the same after learning these valuable lessons. The key to our activity was "Do Not Litter" and "Conserve Water" to save our fine feathered friends who feed on the fish.
One thing that I cannot stress enough is to talk to the Cast Members! I have met wonderful people from Botswana, Durban, South Africa, Uganda and totally immersed myself into a world that I would have never known.
You can also book a special Safari if you stay at this resort. Wanyama Safari is for any guest and includes a dinner at Jiko - The Cooking Place. There is also a Sunrise Safari for Concierge Level guests. Reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance.
We were there on a chilly day and found out that at 45 degrees, they bring in Giraffe, Red River Hogs, Okapi & Tortoise. Those breeds don't like the cold temperatures.
My favorite animals to watch from our room is the "Somali Wild Ass" - they are a mix between Donkey & Zebra, but more related to the Zebra. Look at the stripes on their legs, but how much they resemble a Donkey - very cool new animal! And they were so fun to watch playing!