One of the best things blogging full time has provided me with is … TIME! I recently went to Orlando with my mom and Annie for a week to attend the BlogHer Conference. Because I work from home or wherever really) I was able to add on a few days to this trip to spend some quality mother-daughter time exploring the best of Orlando! (Which we all know is Disney, duh!!) It was an unforgettable trip and I’m so thankful we were able to do it together!
Our stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge was purely magical, as is anything Disney really. I mean, it’s not every day that you wake up to a giraffe outside your window! Today I’m taking y’all on a safari adventure while sharing our stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge resort hotel.
While a true African safari & stay in the savannah is high on my bucket list, visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge was certainly the next best thing. (Especially with a five-month old in tow!) The resort hotel was created to transport guests to the far away region with amenities such as award-winning restaurants, a sparkling swimming pool (complete with a water slide) all while real-life animals frolick away in the distance.
Guests can either stay at two of the properties on the resort, Jambo House or Kidani Village. We stayed in Jambo House which is the larger of the two. Disney puts their magic sparkle on every single piece of their properties and Jambo House was no different. The lobby, restaurants, hotel rooms and even the bathrooms evoked the spirit of Africa with each and every cultural detail.
Our hotel room was complete with faux mosquito nets, reminiscent of what you would probably find in a real African lodge. The details of the room were intricate and on theme. Check out that fabulous headboard! The shower curtain even had a tribal print, complete with hidden Mickeys throughout.
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The real show stopper in our guest room though was the balcony. Not long after we checked in did we spot a giraffe a mere forty feet from our balcony door! We were already flipping out about the fact that we had just arrived at Disney World in general, and then to spot a giraffe saying hello was purely icing on the cake! The balconies at Jambo House look out to the lodge’s own lush savanna. It was really more like an open zoo with all of the animals sharing one large space. But for a moment or two I let myself pretend that it wasn’t a zoo at all, and that we were in fact deep in the wild!
That is … until we made our way to the pool and were ready to order pina coladas! (Fun fact, the “cultural representative” – which is what the employees were referred to at the resort – that snapped this photo ended up being the brother to one of my mom’s friends! Small world, huh!?)
We spent the first afternoon of our stay in Orlando swimming away and relaxing at the pool. I will admit, you don’t get to really “relax” at the pool when you have a five-month old. I’m constantly worrying about if she has enough sunscreen, if her eyes are shaded, if she is too hot or too cold, or if she’s hungry. Mom life I suppose! It may not be totally relaxing but it was still tons of fun!
And style blogger that I am, I can’t continue any further without a snap of what I wore! This black cover up and off the shoulder one-piece have gone everywhere with me this summer. The cover-up is easy to throw on and go and I love that this green one piece is oh-so-flattering to so many body types too!
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After our swim, and a stroll past the flamingos, we made our way to dinner at Kidani Village. A bonfire was lit and guests were out and about trying to spot the animals.
Which really wasn’t too hard. 😉 This was definitely not that kind of zoo where you go to and have to hunt for the animals. The zebra, giraffes, impalas, and gazelle were out in full force.
The three of us had dinner that night at Sanaa, one of the resort’s themed-dining restaurants. Annie actually slept next to us in her car seat throughout the entire dinner, so it kind of felt like I was on a dinner date with just my mom! We wanted to be adventurous so chose the Indian Bread Service that came with nine different sauces for dipping. Some were SO spicy and some were so delicious I could have taken them home with me. For our main course, we tried the Braaivleis, which was a sample of three different meats and grilled accompaniments. I loved that we were able to try so many different things from a far away land! 🙂
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We decided to stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge because it was one of the Disney resorts that offered so much, you almost wouldn’t even need to go to the parks to complete your stay. But of course, not being able to resist the parks, we did go to Epcot & Animal Kingdom the next morning. Both were just a short bus ride away from our hotel. However in true Disney fashion, once arriving at the parks we felt as if we were worlds away from all reality. I guess that’s what the magic is of Disney after all!
Stay tuned, because later this week I’ll be sharing our trip to the parks along with a ton of my tips on how to do Disney with a baby! And as always, thanks for stopping by! I’m now off to call my mom and reminisce on our trip … because looking through these photos have me oh-so-nostalgic!