20+ FREE Things to do at Animal Kingdom Lodge

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We are celebrating our 10 year anniversary as Disney Vacation Club Members. Becoming a member was not something we ever thought we’d be interested in doing, but it really is a great fit for our family. Plus, with Animal Kingdom Lodge as our home, it’s the best of both worlds. Our entire family loves it, and we especially love all the FREE things to do at Animal Kingdom Lodge. 

Standing on 5th floor lobby bridge at Animal Kingdom Lodge

When we first became Disney Vacation Club Members, we were also annual passholders. Therefore, we spent a lot of time in the parks all through the year. So, during many of our beginning stays at Animal Kingdom Lodge, we did resort only. As a result, we explored so much of the resort, and got to see all it has to offer. 

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Exploring the Resort: FREE Things to do at Animal Kingdom Lodge

Can I Visit Animal Kingdom Lodge and Walk Around?

First, you may be wondering if anyone can walk around the resort. If you are staying at either Jambo House or Kidani Village, then you are easily able to walk around the resort. Plus there is a shuttle between each end. Those staying at other Disney resorts, or off property, to park at the resort, you must have dining reservations. Without dining reservations, you can either take a bus from a Disney theme park or Disney Springs. Or get dropped off by Uber, Lyft, or taxi.  

1. Educational Exhibits

Walt Disney World Resorts are all about the immersive experience, based on the theme of each resort. But one thing that sets Animal Kingdom Lodge apart from all the others, education. You can literally walk around the resort for hours reading all about life in Africa. Throughout hallways are large displays on all different topics. 

Wildlife footprints at Animal Kingdom Lodge

Sometimes in the lobby they will have additional tables set up with more educational things on display. Like these wildlife footprints. Workers are there to answer questions too.

What Animals can you see at Animal Kingdom Lodge?

Is Animal Kingdom Lodge in the park?

The Animal Kingdom Lodge is not inside the Animal Kingdom theme park, but it does border it. Therefore, the behind the scenes where they take care of the animals is accessible for Disney to have Savanna wildlife at both the resort and park. Many animals from Kilimanjaro Safari, are also on the savannas at both Jambo House and Kidani Village. 

Arusha Rock Savanna Overlook is located at Jambo House, straight through the lobby, down the stairs, and out the doors. This is the main public savanna overlook. You will find boards and interactive displays to learn about the wildlife on the savanna. Plus, there is usually guides to answer any questions you may have. 

Often you can catch both zebra and giraffe on the Arusha Overlook. 

Red River Hog at Animal Kingdom Resort savanna

Pembe Savanna Overlook is at Kidani Village, by the pool. But there’s also a main savanna overlook through the lobby. We’ve actually only stayed at Kidani Village once. 

If you would like to know all the animals you can see on the savannas, you can find the Animal Kingdom Lodge spotting guide HERE

3. Relax on the Overlook

Spend some time just relaxing on your balcony, even if you don’t have savanna view. Or, if you prefer to be watching the animals, there are several seating areas with rocking chairs where you can relax. Maybe even read a book. 

Animal Kingdom Lodge Experiences

4. Off the Path 

At Kidani Village Pemba Savanna you can learn from the guides several times daily. You can get the times from the activities guide at the check in desk. More of the great educational fun. 

5. Animal Enrichment

This is probably the most fun thing to do at the resort. My girls still talk about preparing interactive objects and puzzle feeders for the animals. Currently they are doing this on Saturdays and Sundays. These are the feeders they put out on the savannas for the animals. 

6. Coloring in Lobby

Not sure if they have people come out and do this with the kids anymore, but you can definitely just do it on your own. All you need is plain paper and crayons. You can create rubbing designs on your paper from the beautiful metal designs in the floor of the lobby. There are several of them. My girls really enjoyed this too.

7. Wood Working Demonstrations

Just inside the main entrance, to the right, and by the marketplace, there are a couple chairs. Daily you can catch an artist out there creating wood designs. 

8. Find Hidden Mickeys

Hidden Mickey

If you’ve never looked for Hidden Mickeys, it’s another great way for kids to pass the time, and even get a little competitive. This one is found on the metal leaves that cover the stairway on the Arusha Overlook. If you really enjoy Hidden Mickeys, my girls used to use this book.

Animal Kingdom Lodge Activities

9. Community Hall and Simba’s Activity Center

Community Hall at Kidani Village

At both Jambo House and Kidani Village there is an activity center where kids can color, do crafts and play games. 

Outdoor Recreation at Animal Kingdom Lodge

10. Hakuna Matata Playground by Uzima Pool

The only playground is at Jambo House, by the pool. 

Does Animal Kingdom Lodge Have a Pool?

11. Swimming

Uzima Pool at Jambo House

Actually, there are two pools. Both Kidani Village and Jambo House each have a pool with large slides, toddler areas, hot tubs, and more.  

12. Poolside Activities: FREE Things to do at Animal Kingdom Lodge 

Another favorite of our girls. Whenever we spent time at the pool, they were always joining in the dancing and games. Kids can even win some prizes. 

13. Educational Games

January visits will have some cold days. So instead of swimming, our girls would play educational games by the pool. Learning about ecosystems, and how they can make a difference in the world around them. 

Animal Kingdom Lodge Walking trails

14. Walking

15. Running

With lots of property around, and a walkway from Jambo House to Kidani Village, there are a couple different places you can walk or go for a run. 

Animal Kingdom Lodge Things to do 

16. Tennis

17. Basketball

18. Shuffleboard

Located between both main entrances, you can either bring your own equipment, or grab some from the activities desk. 

19. Sunrise/Sunset

Depending on which way your balcony is facing, you can catch some very beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Or from any of the public overlook areas too. 

Things to do at Night

20. S’mores and Campfire

Making S'mores at Animal Kingdom Lodge

At sundown each night you can head down for a campfire. Bring your own s’mores supplies to make yourself some snacks. 

Night Safari and Night Vision Googles

21. Starlight Safari – Night Vision

Take a look at the animals on the savanna after dark with night vision googles. Daily at the Kidani Sunset Overlook.

22. Movies Under the Stars

Nightly Disney movies are shown under the stars and rotates between Jambo House and Kidani Village. Movies switch monthly, so check the activities guide. 

If you are staying at another Disney resort, you can get the movie schedules by calling (407) 939-2273. **Movies and entertainment are subject to cancellation or change without notice, and are weather permitting.

23. Sitting by the Lobby Fireplace

Lobby fire pit at Animal Kingdom Lodge

To unwind at night, grab a seat around the fireplace in the lobby. This was perfect for our visits in January and cool weather. Adults can even grab a cocktail from Victoria Falls Lounge first.

Does Animal Kingdom Lodge Have a Gym?

24. Work out at the Gym

Lastly, if you don’t want to lost momentum on your exercise progress, take some time in the gym. 

Tour of Animal Kingdom Lodge Video    

If you’d like to see a tour of Jambo House and our room, here’s a video from our January 2020 visit. 

How far is Animal Kingdom Lodge From the Parks?

This all depends on which park you are coming from. Animal Kingdom Park is right next door, so that’s a quick drive. The other three parks are pretty close to each other, so depending on traffic, about a 10 -15 minute drive. 

How far is Animal Kingdom Lodge From Disney Springs?

Disney Springs is at the east end of Walt Disney World Property, and the Lodge is at the west of of the property. So, they are as far away as you can get. It’s about a 20 minute drive. 

Animal Kingdom Lodge Map

Animal Kingdom Lodge Map

A map showing how large the resort property is.

Final Thoughts on FREE Things to do at Animal Kingdom Lodge

Which Animal Kingdom Resort is Better?

As you can see, there’s a lot to do at both resorts, but we personally prefer Jambo House because of the grand lobby, lounge access, and pool location. 

Why Stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge?

Is it Worth Staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge?

If you, or your kids love animals, and hands on learning activities, then this resort is the best place for your family to stay. Being at the edge of Walt Disney World property, it just seems so much quieter. The views can leave you speechless. In our opinion, it is totally worth staying. 

Can I stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge if I’m not a Disney Vacation Club Member?

Yes, you can stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge even if you’re not a vacation club member. The best, and most cost efficient way to stay at any Disney Vacation Club resort is through a rental agency. As an affiliate, I can assure you that David’s Vacation Club Rentals is the largest and most trusted source of Disney Vacation Club Rentals in the world and many have saved THOUSANDS of dollars on their Disney vacations and you can too. No Membership is required. Start saving NOW at David’s Vacation Club Rentals.

Our other favorite place to stay on Walt Disney World property is Fort Wilderness Campground. Check out our:

25 FREE Things to do at Fort Wilderness

Copper Creek Villas at Wilderness Lodge

Review of Disney’s Hilton Head Resort

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26 thoughts on “20+ FREE Things to do at Animal Kingdom Lodge

  • January 31, 2022 at 7:22 pm

    I love Animal Kingdom and finding free things at Disney is always a plus!

    • February 24, 2022 at 10:32 am

      I agree! Free things to do at Disney are always a plus.

  • January 31, 2022 at 10:49 pm

    Congrats on your 10-year anniversary as Disney Vacation Club Members. And love your guide to all the free things you can do at Animal Kingdom Lodge. So fun!

    • February 24, 2022 at 10:32 am

      Thank you!! Hardly seems that long. Happy you enjoyed our guide to Animal Kingdom Lodge.

  • February 2, 2022 at 4:57 am

    Wow! I never knew there were so many free things to do at Animal Kingdom Lodge! I’m sure my kids would love the educational exhibits and crafts. I would love to stay here one day and wake up to the safari animals outside my window.

    • February 24, 2022 at 10:31 am

      Your kids would for sure love it. So much education, and perfect for homeschoolers.

  • February 2, 2022 at 11:20 am

    Animal Kingdom has so much that we have not yet explored. We would love to stay in this park at some point!

    • February 24, 2022 at 10:30 am

      Yes! There is still things we have not explored either. It’s what keeps us coming back for more.

  • February 4, 2022 at 1:47 pm

    I love Animal Kingdom so I know I would love Animal Kingdom Lodge. So many cool (and free) things to do! Thanks for this guide!

    • February 24, 2022 at 10:29 am

      Same for our family. Nature and animals are at the center of things we like to do. Happy the guide is helpful.

  • February 4, 2022 at 5:25 pm

    Plenty of great information and great ideas for things to do as a family. Most families enjoy “free” when on vacation.

    • February 24, 2022 at 10:29 am

      So true! And there is so much FREE, if you just look for it.

  • February 4, 2022 at 5:40 pm

    Wow! This makes me so excited for my first trip in a few weeks!

    • February 24, 2022 at 10:28 am

      Yay!! I cannot wait to hear all about it.

  • February 4, 2022 at 9:23 pm

    Lots to do at Animal Kingdom Lodge! Thanks for sharing.

    • February 24, 2022 at 10:28 am

      You are welcome!! Happy to share all the things there are to do at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

  • February 5, 2022 at 10:11 am

    This September we are doing an Animal Kingdom and Epcot parks trip. I was trying to decide if we would pop over to Animal Kingdom Lodge just to see if we wanted to stay someday. Great list!

    • February 24, 2022 at 10:27 am

      You definitely should pop over there! I think your family would love to stay there.

  • February 5, 2022 at 11:01 am

    These are really awesome things to do! And it’s even more awesome because it’s free.

    • February 24, 2022 at 10:23 am

      Right?? FREE things to do are great!

  • February 7, 2022 at 8:33 am

    This sounds like a great place to spend family time!

    • February 24, 2022 at 10:26 am

      It’s for sure on the top of our list. So family friendly!

  • February 7, 2022 at 12:05 pm

    I would love to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge and see the animals when I wake up. What a super cool experience. I love how all the activities also center around fun and learning about the African Safari.

    • February 24, 2022 at 10:24 am

      That is the best thing about Disney, the theming. They incorporate so much education all around.

  • February 11, 2022 at 7:30 am

    Thanks for sharing! Animal Kingdom Lodge offers a variety of activities

    • February 24, 2022 at 10:22 am

      You are welcome! Happy it was helpful to show all this resort has to offer.

Comments are closed.