If you’re considering spending a Disney Resort Day anywhere, make it at Animal Kingdom Lodge. With more than you can imagine, you may actually need a few days here to get it all in. Even better, with enough activities and programs to occupy the kids, you may actually get the resort vacation you’ve been craving. We adore staying at the resort when the parks are busy. And staying at a Disney Deluxe resort comes with oh-so-many perks!
Things to do at Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort
On a recent visit to Animal Kingdom Lodge to hunt down the cupcake at the Mara, we walked past the event board sign. WOW! There is a ton going on at this resort. Hidden near the lower floor bathrooms near Boma, you can see the full lineup of activities, crafts, and programs happening at Animal Kingdom Lodge. True, there are regular activities that happen all the time, and special activities throughout the day. Even better news is that most of these are absolutely FREE!
- Animal Tracking
- Meet the Savanna Guide
- Scavenger Hunt
- Animal Enrichment
- Medallion Rubbing
- Cookie Decorating
- Face Painting
- Matching Games
- Art Tour
- S’mores and Campfire
- Animal Night Viewing
- Movies at the Pool
Of course some will require reservations regardless of a fee or not. And of course staying in all day will still require food. But, all in all, it should still be cheaper than a day in that parks for your family. So how do we spend a whole day at Animal Kingdom Lodge? Even if you’re not “staying” at the lodge you can still enjoy a day here.
Activities at Animal Kingdom Lodge Schedule
Breakfast: Start your day with the brunch at Boma. Nothing really beats this all you care to enjoy buffet breakfast. With the best varieties of foods and even some breakfast desserts in the offerings, you will love this substantial breakfast to start your day in. Check out the Boma menu.
10am: Depending on where you’re staying or what you want to do you can take on some Animal Tracking at the Kidani Village- Pembe Savanna overlook or Bio Blocks at the Arusha Savanna overlook.
Anytime 10-6pm: Head to the Pembe Overlook at Kidani Village to meet a Savanna guide. This is by far one of our favorite experiences. You get to chat with the cast member, learn about African culture and learn about the animals. Definitely worth your time!
11:30am: At both Kidani Village and Jambo House you can help with Animal Enrichment. In an effort to provide experiences for the animals they would encounter in the wild, you can help Animal Experts create interactive enrichment pieces for the animals on the Savanna. Think cardboard boxes with food hidden inside that the animals can forage.
12pm: Medallion rubbing takes place in the Jambo House lobby daily and is a great way to interact with the cast members and learn. Seasonally, you’ll find other activities here as well.
As the sun heats up the day, now is the time to head to a light lunch and pool time.
Lunch: The Mara in Jambo House is your best bet for a budget-friendly lunch that has both the basic and eclectic lunch offerings. The official quick-service restaurant of Animal Kingdom Lodge you can sit in or outside, and head to the pool afterwards. They also offer a new themed cupcake daily! So be sure to check out the pastry case.
1pm: The Pool Party is all about fun music and extra games. Stay a little afterwards for Disney Bingo and/or trivia! A perfect way to soak up the sun while the kids have fun.
1-2pm: Not up for the pool or rather stay inside. Head to Boma for some cookie decorating.
2pm: You can head to the gift shop for pin trading or face painting in the Jambo House Lobby.
3:30pm: Learn all about the African wonders in a fun matching game in Jambo Lobby OR head to Sanaa at Kidani Village for cookie decorating.
4pm: Stay in Kidani Village for the Art Tour to learn about the amazing art at Animal Kingdom Lodge
530pm: Head to the Campfire to chat with the cast members and watch the animals.
Dinner: Sanaa gets you an amazing African inspired meal and a view of animals on the savanna. If you’re looking for something fancier you can try Jiko, but Sanaa has the naan bread service. Your choice.
7pm: After dinner head to the Palace Library in Kidani Village for some African Drum lessons
8pm: Night Viewing takes place at both Jambo House and Kidani Village, so wherever you decide to end your evening be sure to get some time in watching how the animals behavior changes when it gets dark.
9pm: Movie Time! At Animal Kingdom Lodge the evening movies happen under the stars at the pool.
Family Activities at Animal Kingdom Lodge
For whole family fun there are several things always happening. Just like many of the Disney Resorts, an activity calendar is viable from the concierge. Be sure to grab one if you’re hoping to spend the day in.
- Pool Parties: You can count on a variety of activities all day at the pools at both Kidani Village and Jambo House. The main pool parties usually happen around at 1 pm, so grab a recreation guide if you’re up staying at the resort for the day.
- Safari Scavenger Hunt: Pick up your scavenger hunt sheet at the desk if there isn’t one already available in your room.
- Evening Campfire Nightly starting around 5 or 530 pm you can enjoy s’mores and learn about the wildlife roving the savanna.
- Movie Night: Our favorite way to end evenings at Walt Disney World is grab some cocoa and head to the lawn or pool for the evening outdoor movie showing. The movies are different each night so grab the guide to see what’s on.
Special Programs at Animal Kingdom Lodge
At Animal Kingdom Lodge events are split up into several groups depending on what you’re in the mood for.
- Cultural Immersion: Medallion Rubbing, stamp crafts, African music and stories all await as activities you can take part in during your resort day.
- Animal Programs and Wildlife Discoveries: From meeting a savanna guide, to wildlife tracking and games, the animal programs are offered by cast members at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Our favorite activity is helping with the animal enrichment pieces that are made daily for the animals in the savanna.
- Culinary Exploration: You can head to Boma for cookie decorating, mini cake decorating at Sanaa and a culinary tour at Jiko! All for free.
- Animal Adventures: These programs are for a fee and need reservations but include opportunities to dine with the animal specialists and go on “safari.”
Restaurants at Animal Kingdom Lodge
Along with the fabulous resort rooms, that actually make you feel like you’re at a resort, you can also count on top-notch dining. In fact, it was originally the food that brought us here! The buffet at Boma, the Potjie and Bread Service at Sanaa and the desserts at The Mara are all reasons to revel in your day away from the parks and live it up in style at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Here’s the lineup of where you’ll find which restaurants
At Kidani Village
- Sanaa: One of our favorite restaurants, you can order classic African potjie here and watch animals on the savanna.
At Jambo House
- Boma: The best brunch you’ve ever had will be at Boma! With a major selection of options at budget prices, what’s not to like?
- The Mara: Home to the Lion King Simba Coffee Art Latte, and specialty cupcakes we make a trip to see, The Mara is the quick-service restaurant at Animal Kingdom Lodge and a great place to break for lunch.
- Jiko The Cooking Place: A 2-credit Signature Dining experience, Jiko: A Cooking Place is all about eclectic dining. Very fancy. Be sure to check the Jiko menu before you visit.
Animal Kingdom Lodge for a Day
So there you have it. Check out our Resort Hopping Guide if you can’t warrant a whole vacation at Animal Kingdom Lodge but wouldn’t mind staying a day or two. You can also check out our Animal Kingdom Lodge Review here. You can also enjoy many of these activities without being a guest of the resort at all!
To see the current Recreation and Activities Calendar for Animal Kingdom Lodge check with the concierge at the front desk.
Rochelle Mariah is a writer, designer and photographer with an MLIS in Information Science and a B.S. in Arch and Design. Determined to make Planning a DIY Disney Vacation easier she makes lots of lists and drinks lots of coffee. When not designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's watching old movies and planning the holidays. She has been traveling to Disney destinations since 2010.