Christmas at Walt Disney World is such a magical time to visit. Even the resorts get in on the festivities. And Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of our favorites! Read on to see everything happening at Animal Kingdom Lodge for Christmastime.
Christmas at Walt Disney World
With Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Festival of Holidays at EPCOT, the Merry Menagerie at Animal Kingdom and Sunset Season’s Greetings at Hollywood Studios, there’s no shortage of fun to be had! But if you’re looking to slow down and take a break from the crowds, we recommend visiting the resorts during the holidays. Not only are they free to visit, but they each offer something unique. It’s a great way to break up your time a little bit from the chaos of the Parks.
Christmas at Animal Kingdom Lodge
The atmosphere at Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of our favorites. We love staying here when we have the chance. And we love that it actually feels like vacation! At Christmastime, it gets even better. With a huge icon tree, life sized gingerbread display, fun treats and festive touches all over, this is one of our favorite resorts to visit during the holiday season.
The Christmas Tree at Jambo House
Animal Kingdom Lodge is lucky enough to have two large Christmas trees! The icon tree, located at the main building, Jambo House, is probably one of our favorites in all of Walt Disney World property. The tree has a warm color scheme, matching the vibe of the resort. Decorated in beautifully themed ornaments and bows, this tree stands tall in the lobby for all to admire. It’s really a must see! And one we try to visit every year.
The lobby does get busy though. With guests actually staying there, and guests visiting to either see the resort, or eat at one of the Lodge’s restaurants, it can get very crowded. If you’re hoping to get a good picture with no people we recommend going a little earlier, or going a couple of hours after the lunch rush before the dinner rush starts.
The Christmas Tree at Kidani Village
The second tree is located at Kidani Village. And though nowhere as grand as the tree at Jambo House, it’s still a nice touch for those staying there or visiting to eat at Sanaa. It’s located near the elevator, so if you’re hoping to get a photo with no people in it, you may need to be patient! You can take the walking path at Animal Kingdom Lodge or take the bus to get to Kidani Village from Jambo House.
The Gingerbread Display at Animal Kingdom Lodge
Animal Kingdom Lodge even has its own gingerbread display. Ginger-affe and Debra the zebra are both life-sized displays of a baby giraffe and baby zebra respectively. They are super cute and a must-see if you’re heading to Animal Kingdom Lodge for the holidays!
Holiday Snacks at Animal Kingdom Lodge
There is no shortage of holiday fare at Animal Kingdom Lodge! Just another reason this is one of our top resorts to stay at during Christmas. Jiko- The Cooking Place offers a holiday feast Dec 24-31, complete with bone-in rib eye and potatoes. And Sanaa is one of the places you can get a Christmas dinner on Dec 25th. Both restaurants highly recommend reservations. So if you’re planning a holiday trip to Walt Disney World, try to book these as soon as possible!
Holiday snacks can also be found throughout Animal Kingdom Lodge. The Mara is one of our favorite places to grab snacks. They always have delicious and unique options! Mobile order is your best bet when it comes to eating here. But if you’re just on the lookout for snacks, feel free to head straight to the Bakery Case or coolers to see what’s available. Some of their holiday snacks sell out fairly quickly. So if you’re able to get there a little earlier, you have a better chance of getting one. This is especially true on weekends when the resorts tend to get quote crowded!
Holiday Activities at Animal Kingdom Lodge
Throughout Animal Kingdom Lodge, there are always lots of things to do. Even if you’re not staying here, you can still Visit Animal Kingdom Lodge for the Day. And if you want something festive, just check out the activities board. When we were there, they offered a Wild About Painting Class, with a holiday theme, and a Make Your Own Holiday Tumbler activity available. Both of these activities cost extra. But is a great way to add in some holiday fun while at the resort. Generally, these can be booked through My Disney Experience. But you can always ask for help from the staff if you’re not seeing where to book them!
In addition to holiday crafts, Movies Under the Stars usually has a holiday movie or two playing during the week. Just be sure to check the movie schedule board, which is located in the front lobby and near The Mara.
Holiday Merchandise at Animal Kingdom Lodge
Want to get a little holiday shopping in? Stop by Zawadi Marketplace for holiday merch and other fun Animal Kingdom-themed items. This is one of our favorite gift shops on Disney property, as it always has fun and unique things you won’t find anywhere else. They even carry handmade items from time to time. Perfect for a one-of-a-kind gift! This gift shop is super easy to get to and is right at the front of Jambo House. You technically don’t even have to enter the Lodge to get here as it has its own entrance from the outside.
How to get to Animal Kingdom Lodge
The easiest way to get to Animal Kingdom Lodge is by taking the bus from Animal Kingdom. It’s about a 5-minute bus ride, so you never really have to wait too long to get a bus. Alternatively, you can drive or take an Uber. But just be aware that Disney has been a lot stricter lately in regard to who can park at the deluxe resorts. And you may get denied entry unless you have a dining reservation. So keep that in mind. A simple, I just want to see the holiday decorations, may or may not work depending on who is working the gate that day.
Have you visited Animal Kingdom Lodge during the holidays? We just love it! No matter how you celebrate this season, we hope it’s a happy one for you!
Melanie Renee is a photographer, writer, designer and mom. Visiting Disney destinations since 2010, she is also an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. When she's not creating her next coffee recipe, or designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's seeking beautiful sunsets and planning her next trip .