Surrounded by such lush landscaping that you cant see the 1,293 room resort from the road until you are virtually on top of it, the Animal Kingdom is another Disney hit with guests. What strikes you immediately about the Lodge is the distinctive African themed lobby. The lobby sets it apart from any resort or hotel I've ever visited.
Six stories high with a pedestrian bridge at the top it, the lobby immediately sets the theme that you've departed Florida and arrived in Africa. It is so unique that the lobby itself has become an attraction with guests busily walking around snapping photos of its art collection and unique architecture.
Animals, Animals, Animals
Of course the attraction that sets the Animal Kingdom Lodge and its park apart from other Disney properties is of the four-legged variety animals and lots of them - at last count nearly 200. The concept for Disney give people the opportunity to stay in a first class Disney resort and combine that with the ability to look out your hotel room window and view giraffes, zebra and an assortment of other animals that many of us never get to see in our hometowns.
The Disney plan worked perfectly for my family. Immediately upon check-in, my seven year old daughter ran over to the window and opened the sliding doors and went out on the balcony to see what animals could be seen. Nearly directly in front of us was a giraffe lazily munching on the leaves from a tree, and as we watched, a second giraffe walked over and decided to join in. All of this was happening just yards outside of our hotel room window much to the delight of my daughter. If I didnt know any better, I would have thought the entire event was orchestrated just for us.
Opportunities to view animals abound on the 33 acres that surround the resort where the animals roam. Besides virtually every room having a view of a savannah and animals, there are plenty of other places to see and photograph your favorite animals 24 hours a day. Thats right, remember in the hot Florida sun many animals are dormant or move minimally during the day, but at night become much more active. Dont despair, Disney has got you covered. There are organized, guide-led viewing expeditions where you will use night vision (goggles) binoculars to view the animals. The same technology used by the US military in war in Iraq and Afghanistan is giving tourists at the Animal Kingdom Lodge the opportunity to view animals at night. Besides seeing the animals, the night vision binoculars themselves are a unique experience that I recommend all to experience. At various points around the property there are also handy animal identification guides that make it easy to explain to your family exactly what animal you just saw.
Hidden Mickey Mouse(s) in the Animal Kingdom Lodge lobby?
You might have heard rumors about subliminal messages in Disney videos, whether that is true or not I dont know, but according to staff at the Animal Kingdom, Disney designers intentionally hid eight images of Mickey Mouse at various locations in the lobby. One member of the staff pointed out the location of one concealed image of Mickey Mouse, but left the rest for me and my daughter to find. The image we found first was of Mickeys trademark ears carved into stones inside of the lobby. Try and find all eight hidden images of Mickey Mouse with your family.