Last week I was in Orlando for the Monkey Kingdom event. While there I had the opportunity to sit down with Greg Peccie, DAKL Animal Operations Manager, to chat about the Animal Kingdom Lodge at Walt Disney World. I had never been to Animal Kingdom Lodge before so this was a fun treat and it was amazing. As I sat and chatted with Greg, I realized that the reason the property is so successful is because they have people like Greg, who have such a passion for everything that Animal Kingdom Lodge stands for.
One of the first things Greg talked about was also the most confusing but the most important thing at the Animal Kingdom Lodge (and other Disney resorts), which was the activities calendar. On one sheet of paper you can see what is happening and when. You will see when they are going to have coloring t-shirts or the DJ party at the pool. Whatever activities they have going on, you will find on this paper, I know as a parent I like to keep my kids having fun, and Disney makes it easy to see what’s going on with their activities calendar.
Animal Kingdom Lodge is absolutely stunning, as I walked out on a wood walkway I noticed all the rooms overlooking the savannah. Which means when you stay at Animal Kingdom, you will be seeing some amazing animals!
The animals aren’t the only thing that will have you feeling like you have escaped to a place outside of Florida. Animal Kingdom Lodge has culture reps. Culture reps, called Savannah guides, are there from Africa on a 12-month visa to share their culture and knowledge about animals. So, not only are you getting this awesome experience staying at the lodge, you are really getting immersed into the African culture, which is what Disney wants.
At Animal Kingdom lodge, they want your stay to be a very cultural experience! Animal Kingdom Lodge is all about adventure and I loved the setting. I loved hearing how passionate Greg was about the lodge and the animals. When you stay at the lodge, if you really want to learn and immerse yourself, they offer a program called “Dine With Animal Specialists – An Untamed Lunch at SANAA“. This program is available even if are not staying at the resort and costs $49 for adults (10 and up) and $20 for children (3-9). Though it is so much information, I would go with older children who will sit still!
The lodge has over 30 species of African wildlife, including zebras, giraffes, gazelles, kudu and flamingos. Identify each species with a Wildlife Field Guide (found in your Guest Room, with extras available from the Lobby Concierge):
Greg is so passionate to make sure people really immerse themselves into learning while they are on vacation. He loves that he gets to balance having a really cool resort but they are also a zoo. Kids and parents can have a blast laying by the pool or partaking in the activities and then turn around and be educated! I am definitely hoping to take my family to visit Animal Kingdom in the future!
About Animal Kingdom Lodge
Step into the heart of Africa at this magnificent Resort hotel. Inspired by the traditional African kraal, the horseshoe-curved design provides spectacular views of 4 lush savannas that over 200 hoofed animals and birds call home. Delight in dazzling pool areas, exciting animal programs and one of the largest collections of African art in the United States as you experience your own African safari adventure with a touch of Disney magic.
Because I had the chance to chat with Greg, as part of the Monkey Kingdom event, I want to encourage you to head to theaters to see Monkey Kingdom. It’s playing nationwide, so it’s a great time to go see an awesome movie, see my review here! Get to know Maya and Kip in the trailer:
Life is an adventure for Maya, the clever and resourceful blonde-bobbed monkey in “Monkey Kingdom,” Disneynature’s new feature film set among ancient ruins in the storied jungles of South Asia. Maya’s world is forever changed when she welcomes her son, Kip, into her complicated extended family. Like all families, Maya’s has more than its share of colorful personalities—and she’s determined to give her son a leg up in the world. When their longtime home at Castle Rock is taken over by powerful neighboring monkeys, Maya’s whole family is forced to relocate, where she uses her street smarts and ingenuity to lead them to untapped resources amidst strange new creatures and unsettling surroundings. Ultimately, they will all have to work together to reclaim Castle Rock, where Maya can hopefully realize her dreams for her son’s future. Featuring a rich cast of characters, including a mischievous mongoose, simple-minded langur monkeys, predatory leopards and monitor lizards, “Monkey Kingdom” is directed by Mark Linfield (“Chimpanzee,” “Earth”) and co-directed by Alastair Fothergill (“Chimpanzee,” “Bears”). With music from award-winning composer Harry Gregson-Williams (“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” “Shrek” movies), Disneynature’s eighth True Life Adventure—the follow-up to 2014’s “Bears”
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