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Animal Kingdom Lodge Safaris | Review, Tips & Guide

Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of the most unique hotels in the world set alongside an African animal habitat complete with safaris available to the public!

Two very different safari options are available at Animal Kingdom Lodge and this guide is here to breakdown what you can expect from both experiences as well as our thoughts on if either is worth making the trip to Animal Kingdom Lodge for!

Topics We'll Cover About Safaris at Animal Kingdom Lodge:

  • Starlight Safari at Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Self-Guided Animal Kingdom Lodge Safari

 Jambo House Sign

Starlight Safari at Animal Kingdom Lodge

One of the coolest experiences in all of Walt Disney World is the Starlight Safari at Animal Kingdom Lodge, especially if you're an animal lover!

The Starlight Safari is a special tour offered at Animal Kingdom Lodge for an additional fee that takes place twice a day (usually once in the early evening and then much later in the evening), most days of the week.

You'll board an open-air truck that will take you across the multiple acres of land at Animal Kingdom Lodge to spot the 20+ species of animals you can find roaming the property. 

Zebra Eating at Animal Kingdom Lodge

If you have any concerns about seeing animals this late at night, it's helpful to know the animals are actually quite active in the evenings, so you'll see plenty of them roaming the grounds.

You'll also be given special night-vision goggles to use throughout the safari to help you spot some animals who might be hiding! The goggles are actually incredible pieces of technology and make animal spotting very easy to do.

The first time we used these goggles we were surprised at just how crisp and clear we were able to see the animals roaming throughout Animal Kingdom Lodge even though it was quite dark outside!

Zebra With Night Vision

If you're interested in the Starlight Safari then we recommend booking early - it's an extremely popular experience and often sells out months in advance.

While you may sometimes be able to find 1-2 spots available last minute, it's nearly impossible to find something for a family of 3 or more without a couple of months of advance notice. 

You'll also want to plan for the additional expense - the Starlight Safari isn't free and will run anywhere between $75-$90 per person depending on the day of the week and time of year you book. Weekends and peak travel seasons (like holidays, spring break, and summer) are going to be more expensive than weekdays!

The Starlight Safari is perfect for someone who wants a unique experience watching animals in an environment unlike anywhere else. 

Multiple Animals Eating

While there are ways to see animals for free at Animal Kingdom Lodge, and a 30-minute safari is included with admission to Animal Kingdom, the Starlight Safari is a more intimate guided experience and takes much later than anything you'll find at Animal Kingdom.

We think adults and couples are going to get the most value out of this experience as kids have a bit more trouble seeing the animals and overall won't appreciate the experience to the same degree as adults. 

If you're interested in the safari, love seeing exotic animals, and looking for something a bit out of the ordinary, then we recommend making that reservation for the Starlight Safari as early as possible!

Animal Kingdom Lodge Overlook Area

Self-Guided Animal Kingdom Lodge Safari

If paying extra for a safari experience isn't in the budget, then you'll be happy to know there is a self-guided safari experience at Animal Kingdom Lodge as well!

The best part is... it's 100% free! 

Animal Habitats at Animal Kingdom Lodge

Across both the Jambo House and Kidani Village areas of Animal Kingdom Lodge there are nearly a dozen overlooks and three main viewing areas which you can spot different animals from. 

At the different overlooks and animal viewing areas you'll find informational panels that tell you what animals you can find in the areas around you, as well as some general facts and background on the different species. 

Just some of the animals you may see throughout the Animal Kingdom Lodge grounds include:

  • Zebras
  • Giraffes
  • Ostriches
  • Wildebeast
  • Gazelle
  • Flamingos
  • Storks
  • Impalas
  • Ankole Cattle
  • Waterbucks
  • Vultures
  • Tortises

Below we've included a snapshot of many of the different areas you can spot animals from at the Animal Kingdom Lodge! 

Animal Kingdom Lodge Animal Viewing Areas

Occasionally, Disney will have animal spotting maps available as well at the front desk. On these maps you'll be provided a full list of animals that call Animal Kingdom Lodge their home!

Whether you're staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge during your Disney vacation, or just stopping in for a meal, enjoying the animals casually or as part of a self-guided safari is one of our favorite activities! 



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