1. Deluxe Resort/Deluxe Villa Resort
The distinction for what exactly defines a Deluxe Resort versus a Deluxe Villa Resort can at times get a little hazy, especially since accompanying Deluxe Villa offerings can be found right on location of a given Disney Deluxe Resort, sharing the premises with that resort’s Deluxe hotel arrangements. It’s usually just a matter of distinguishing between those often more spacious accommodations that are of a club level offering (with club level services and added exclusive perks) versus those of more standard room sizes and resort-wide amenities.
But in most cases the resort-wide amenities deemed “standard” at a Deluxe are still excellent elite upgrades when compared to those at Value and Moderate Resorts. While theming and other notable attributes make any Disney Resort, it’s no secret that Deluxe Resorts go all in, taking it to the max with more versatile options and offerings in just about every category, from onsite dining choices to resort recreations, activities, and other extras.
--Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge/Animal Kingdom Villas:
For this all-in-one resort, we are going to address both distinctions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in one ranking—that of a Deluxe Resort (Animal Kingdom Lodge) and a Deluxe Villa Resort (Animal Kingdom Villas). Whichever room preference you book, one thing’s for sure—Disney’s Animal Kingdom makes for a wild stay. If you’re the ultimate fan of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park then staying in this accompanying resort will enhance your overall adventurous vacation experience.
From spacious surrounding savanna grasslands to stunning décor and a motif design taken from that of a traditional African kraal, there’s plenty to leave you in awe at this resort. But perhaps the most stunning quality of all rests in the fact that more than 200 resident animals make their permanent home here. These include such wonders as zebras, gazelles, giraffes, and a whole host of other exotic land species and birds alike. And on that note, in getting back to room distinctions, many such dwellings even offer up stunning views overlooking the savannas and all the grazing great and small creatures alike.
There are various options for accommodations available depending on your travel party’s personal needs and preferences. Standard rooms are anything but, and can sleep anywhere between two and four adults based on whether you opt for a two-queen or one-king setup. Then there are also several suites available ranging from one, two, or more bedrooms with club level access. You can even enjoy three-bedroom grand villa accommodations with savanna views and room to sleep up to 12 at Animal Kingdom Villas, which is divided into two sections—Kidani Village and Jambo House. One and two-bedroom villas are also excellent choices. Additionally, for those who have the means, more elite and exoteric accommodations that can be found onsite include the Royal Asante Presidential Suite and the Royal Kuba Vice Presidential Suite.
Wherever you so choose to stay at within Disney’s Animal Kingdom, know that you’re in for a whole host of spectacular experiences. Onsite recreations are seemingly limitless, with delightful diversions ranging in everything from swimming to arcades, campfire activities to Movies Under the Stars, the fabulous Hakuna Matata Playground to various sports courts, and even onsite fitness centers like Survival of the Fittest at Kidani Village along with fitness combined with spa and massage services at Zahanati Massage & Fitness Center.
As for the swimming mentioned earlier, get your fill with two delightful zero-depth entry watering holes—the refreshing oasis of the 11,000 square-foot Uzima Springs Pool and the lively Samawati Springs Pool, which spans 4,7000 square feet, 118,138 gallons, and even features a fantastic 128-foot waterslide. There are plenty of other onsite extras to pursue in addition to all the aforementioned, including the delightful artistic undertaking Wild About Painting on Wednesdays and Saturdays or the opportunity to “Dine with an Animal Specialist” for a special reserved meal.
Speaking of food, Animal Kingdom Lodge is also where you’ll find some of the most highly top-rated cuisine choices in all of Walt Disney World. While the resort’s main food court The Mara offers up profuse and plentiful possibilities around the clock, a host of other dining possibilities can be found in everything from quick-service casual options to more elaborate distinctions. Savor and explore new cultural cuisine choices from regional Africa, or stick with familiar favorites—it’s your decision. There are several famed dining experiences to enjoy at this resort, including Disney World’s renowned Jiko—The Cooking Place. At this signature restaurant you can experience stellar fusion cuisine classics inspired by African, Indian, and Mediterranean traditions.
A flavorful and memorable meal in and of itself, your experience can be even more memorable if you opt for the Wanyama Safari Dinner Package—which pairs mealtime with a privately-led 90-minute safari tour of the resort’s surrounding savanna lands and all its resident animals. Jiko also offers private wine tasting experiences to those ages 21 and older. Sanaa is another great suggestion, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily with large surrounding windows that allot excellent up close and personal views of the roaming resident animals.
Sanaa is also where the previously mentioned Dine with Animal Specialists events take place (by reservation only). Boma is a bountiful buffet option sporting myriad medleys of mealtime favorites for breakfast and dinner. From popular well-known favorites and traditional African fusions alike, you can’t go wrong dining here. Additionally you will find various light eats and great refresher spots from among several onsite pool bars and lounges.
Staying onsite in the center of all the magic at a Walt Disney World Resort is one of the best decisions you can make—after your initial decision to take a Walt Disney World vacation in the first place, of course. And as you can see, there are so many options on where to stay in consideration to your personal budget and other preferences. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park truly is a remarkable place to visit, and each accompanying nearby resort is also remarkable in its own one-of-a-kind way.