Monday, March 10, 2014

Kilimanjaro Club Level at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Today, my friends, we are travelling to the Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort at Walt Disney World.  I've got our golden ticket to experience this deluxe resort's very deluxe concierge level - the Kilimanjaro Club!


Club concierge is a special way to stay at the deluxe resorts on property - you get to enjoy a gorgeous lounge and all the tasty food offerings served there are included!  I recently posted about the beautiful King Kamehameha Club at the Polynesian Resort, which is quite possibly my favorite Disney club level...but then again, just thinking about the Kilimanjaro Club makes me wonder if it should be ranked number one... :)


The lounge on the sixth floor of Jambo House is lovely - the view over the lobby is stunning, the food is amazing, and there are so many little details that make you feel completely surrounded by an amazing African atmosphere.  But those giraffes are looking at me askance.  "You're getting ahead of yourself, Emma," they're saying.  Let's start at the beginning. :)


When you arrive at the Animal Kingdom Lodge for your club stay, you want to look for one of the curbside cast members in front of the resort.  You could go to the front desk, but the curbside people can take you straight up to the sixth floor...


The elevators will only take you to the sixth floor if you use your room key / MagicBand.  If you had your MagicBands sent to you in the mail, I believe you do still need a cast member to take you up initially - the band won't work in the elevator until you've touched it to your door (at least that's how it has worked at other club levels!).

In the days before MagicBands, your room key was gold (instead of the normal blue) - and even your parking pass was printed on yellow paper instead of white.  It was a little thing, but it really made you feel that much more excited to be staying club.


I always like to step out on the balcony by the elevators on the sixth floor - the view over the foliage out to the Uzima pool can be so pretty!


Just around the corner from the elevators are the check-in/concierge desks.  And just beyond them is the whole lounge...


There are comfy couches, chairs, and tables, a tv and kid's area, and a long curving bar for the food service.  Above you and all around you is the soaring thatch roof of the Lodge and just beyond the balcony you'll find this impressive sight:


The lobby is amazing seen from floor-level but viewed from above, suspended with those giant shield chandeliers, it's even more breathtaking.


Sunrise is my favorite time to be in the lounge, with the golden light streaming down over the lobby!  And just imagine how it would be at the holidays with the giant tree.

 

The whole lounge is so large and spacious, open and airy.  And I absolutely love the pillars - they define the space in such a unique way.


Here's another view from the side...the cast member I accidentally caught in the picture (I think his name
Club concierge cast members (like all cast members) can be somewhat hit or miss, but when they're great they're really great!


Tucked in the corner behind the concierge desks is a fairly new children's area.  See those tv's off to the right?  They have Wii U games available to play!


So many African-inspired details!


Here's the food service area - this lounge somehow feels larger than other lounges.  There are even more tables and chairs tucked in the alcove by the stairs (you can see them to the right near the juice table.

 

Not all the club rooms are on the sixth floor - some of them are on the fifth, but they usually try to put you somewhere where there won't be too long of a walk to the lounge.  From the fifth floor you can take the elevator up or the stairs - there's a really cool gate by the stairs.  Somehow the only photo I could find of it has a silly Yeti photobombing. ;)


When we stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, we take a whole day just to enjoy the resort - to hang out in the room and watch the animals from our balcony, to sit in the lobby and relax, to stroll around Arusha Rock.  When you stay club you can book a special Sunrise and Sunset safari - we've never tried them, we're too busy just enjoy the Lodge...and of course, having some snacks in the lounge...  


YUM.  A Kilimanjaro breakfast is my favorite.  Miamko (aka adventurous awakenings aka breakfast!) runs from 7 to 10:30am.  There are bagels, croissants, and pastries...

 

Those muffins on the left are my favorite - on one visit they had chocolate chip muffins AND double chocolate chip muffins.  That's my kinda breakfast spread. ;)

 

If you're looking for something a little more healthy, there are fruits, oatmeal, and quinoa as well...


I always know I'm at the AKL when I'm having quinoa for breakfast!  It's delicious!


Pineapple Orange Guava Juice fans are in luck - they do have it at the AKL Club!  It's called "jungle juice" here, and they also have just plain pineapple and plain orange juice.  You can mix your POG to your liking...


Here's a video tour of breakfast!


And then there's the coffee machine.  OH, the coffee machine.  The Kilimanjaro club has always had a fancy cappuccino maker.  A few years ago they upgraded it to a keurig, but luckily it still has a dispenser for hot, frothy milk.  My family likes to use this to make a super deluxe hot chocolate: we call it the chococcino.

 

To have a cappuccino or jungle juice?  THAT is the eternal club question!


The Kilimanjaro Club is unique from other disney clubs because they have two afternoon snack offerings.  The first, Vitafunio, goes from 11:30 to 3.  You'll find delicious potato chips and snacks like jelly beans, pretzels, spiced nuts...


All the serving dishes are so neat - I love the beaded inset on that spoon!


You'll also find the classic club cookies - they serve these at virtually every Disney club lounge in the afternoon.  Somehow they taste like Disney. :)


From 3pm to 4pm, the snacks change out to Chai - afternoon tea!  There are brownies, rice crispy treats, scones, jams, and devonshire cream.  If you do need something to supplement your lunch, you could always go down to Boma for cookie decorating.  Or you could grab a cupcake from the Mara...


Chocolate butterfinger.  MMmmmm.  Although I guess you could always buy some real food at the Mara too.


Sometimes it's fun to have desserts for lunch when you're on vacation though. :)


Speaking of sweets, you may find some chocolate giraffes wander into your room during your stay.  Most of the resort club levels have some kind of little chocolate they deliver to the rooms of club guests.


Kisikusiku, the evening offerings, come out from 5 to 7pm.  They are SO beautifully presented, and there are so many delicious, exotic flavors.  Like Goat Cheese Peppadw Creme Brulee.  Who ever heard of such a thing??


Here are salmon pot stickers and turkey bobotie.  You feel like you're at BOMA with all the crazy names and dishes!


Some African wines...

 

There are always cold cans of pop and milks in the fridge.


There's a very colorful table just for the kids as well!  Those ham and cheese rolls were SO tasty.


Oh yes.  I'd say the Kilimanjaro appetizers make a lovely dinner. :)

 

Even while you're munching, there are so many pretty details to notice - like the way the napkins are tied up.  And you may find the dishes at dinner magically appearing from a secret door in the wall!


I love the way the lamps above the food area are hanging from tribal spears!


If you have any space in your stomach after a long day of Jambo House snacking and relaxing, you could sample some of the desserts out at Rehema from 8 to 10pm.


A little banana trifle and a chococcino to send you off to sleep?  Sounds good to me! :)

Have you ever stayed at the Kilimanjaro Club?  What do you think of all the exotic food offerings?  Share your thoughts in the comments!

17 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh - this sounds SO awesome! My mouth is watering!

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  2. Thanks for this! We are staying here the first week of June and I am getting so excited for my first Club Level stay.

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  3. I'm so glad I ran into your blog and YouTube videos! There's hardly any recent information regarding the club level at the AKL. I'm celebrating an upcoming 5 year anniversary celebration, but our budget just doesn't allow for us to stay for 6 days 5 nights at the AKL, especially at club level. I would love to experience this hotel and its wonders atleast once. From your experience, do you think it'd be worth staying at the Kilimanjaro Club Level for just one night? Of course in no way am I trying to have you plan a vacation, but I would really appreciate any input you might have. My plan was to stay atleast one night at the club level and then move over to the Caribbean or POP resort.

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    1. My family does one-night stays at club level resorts all the time! We try to arrive early on our check-in day to eat breakfast and enjoy the lounge (even if the room's not ready yet), and then we leave later the next day. You have to be out of your room by 11 am, but your room key works on the lounge and you're welcome to hang out in the lounge and enjoy the snacks all the way up until midnight on your check-out day. Hope you have an amazing trip!

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    2. Our family has stayed at AKL last 2 years however not club level--just to be clear all of this food is INCLUDED in your club level cost up front? right?

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    3. Yes, the food service in the lounge detailed in this post is included with the cost of your club level room. Some of the dishes offered do change each day (you might have muffins one morning instead of croissants etc).

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    4. We are considering becoming DVC members of a different resort, but want to stay at AKL. We have 6 kids and need a 2 bedroom villa....If we book Kilimanjaro Club Concierge all that food is INCLUDED for all 8 of us, everyday we are there??? So, basically, we don't need a meal plan?

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  4. Never got chocolate and our room was very very far away from the lounge not impressed..we're not DVC members those are the only rooms up on the 6th and 5th floor will not ne staying here again at club level waste of money this time round

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  5. Oh man, sounds amazing! But all of your pictures are broken :-(

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    1. Maybe try a different computer/network? I've loaded the page on different networks & computers and the photos are coming up for me.

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  6. Hi do you know how to contact club concierge by email prior to arriving to assist with advance planning. Thanks for all info on AKL

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  7. Thank you Emma for such a great blog post. I love your youtube channel as well. We are staying club level next month for 10 days. Watching your videos and reading your blog helped me decide on this resort. Looking forward to more posts from you.

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  8. I really found your Club Level videos helpful in choosing AKL. Thanks

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  9. With all this food included in the club level, do you think we will still need the full Disney dining plan?

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  10. When we're staying club we often just have one light meal for lunch and then eat the rest of the day at the club, so I would save the dining plan for some night when you're not staying club. At least for us, dining plan plus the club food would just be too much - we wouldn't be able to eat it all! ;)

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  11. The castmember you caught in your photo? That's Sam! He is absolutely AMAZING!!!!

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  12. wow looks amazing i've just booked this for 19 nights next summer so glad i did any tips on room location and need a bunkbed room.

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