Review of Club Level at Animal Kingdom Lodge

In this post, we review the Kilimanjaro Club, the Club Level offering at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. If this is the first post of ours you’re reading, there might be two others you’re interested in. First, we have separately reviewed Animal Kingdom Lodge. If you’re looking for information about the hotel generally, you’ll need to read that post.

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Second—and maybe more importantly—we have an entirely separate post covering the ins and outs of Club Level at Walt Disney World. If you’re wondering about the details of whats included, whether it’s worth it, and just how we evaluate it broadly, you’ll want to check out that post. This post focuses specifically on the Kilimanjaro Club Lounge at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Booking Kilimanjaro Club

Club Level is a special room designation at all the the deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World that includes a variety of perks. If you’re interested in reading about Club Level at the other deluxe resorts, we have reviews here (links open in new tabs):

We booked our Savanna View Club Level room through our choice Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, Lauren Quirk of Enchanted Escapes Travel. We paid $497.82 per night on an Annual Passholder offer rate. The rack rate for the room was $664 per night, which meant our offer rate was about 25% off.

Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of the trickier hotels to really place a price tag on Club Level. Rooms at Animal Kingdom Lodge start at $388 in 2019. Club Level rooms start at $650, meaning the premium could be measured at $262 per night. But the base Club Level rooms are Savanna View.

Since many people are paying for the Savanna View rooms regardless, it might make sense to measure the upgrade cost from there. Savanna View rooms start at $559—meaning the Club Level premium is only $91, which is a steal!

When room deals are available, that premium can get closer to $60. Given that Animal Kingdom Lodge is a bit isolated, Club Level is a good chance to experience something new, and maybe to try a Disney resort day to save on ticket costs.

Animal Kingdom Lodge Club Level Check-In

We arrived at Animal Kingdom Lodge at around 11AM on our check-in day. There was no line to check in, and the desk staff pretty quickly took down all our information (by some sort of technical glitch, our reservation was not properly linked to our MDE account).

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Since we’d previously stayed at the Kilimanjaro Club and our room was ready, we just went straight to the room rather than asking to go to / be taken to the Club Level concierge. If you have business with the concierge (like you want to make some reservations or need FastPass+ help), you’ll probably just want to tell the front desk staff you’re there for Club Level check in so they take you straight up.

Even though we’d been checked in, I made sure to stop by the Club Level concierge when I got to the lounge, and I’m glad I did! They actually had a nice little welcome package for us that included a small (edible) gift and the welcome letter.

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Animal Kingdom Lodge CLUB LEVEL PERKS

Again, our post on Club Level at Walt Disney World more generally is a better place to get a sense of the value of Club Level. Briefly though, by staying Club Level at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, you’ll get:

  • access to a lounge (The Kilimanjaro Club Lounge) with five small food and beverage servings throughout the day

  • access to a dedicated concierge staff, including by phone and text

  • the ability to purchase extra FastPass+ reservations for $50 per person per day (restrictions apply)

The first of these is really the most important, and it’s what we focus most on in this review.

The Animal Kingdom Lodge Club - The Kilimanjaro Club

The Animal Kingdom Lodge club lounge is the Kilimanjaro Club, located on the sixth floor of Jambo House, overlooking the lobby.

Access to the lounge is restricted to Club Level guests, who have to touch their Magic Band in the elevator to access the sixth floor.

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There is a desk at the front of the lounge staffed by two club level concierges from 7AM to 10PM.

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The lounge is basically one big room broken into two sections. The main section has seating for about 34 people, a television that plays a selection of Disney movies (a break from other lounges that tend to show television), and the serving area.

A second section is behind the concierge desk and has seating for about 12 and its own television, typically playing children’s programming. There are a few small seats for kids in that area, too.

There’s a small area off the lounge with seating for four, including outlets and USB ports.

Like the rest of Animal Kingdom Lodge, details permeate the Kilimanjaro Club. I wouldn’t suggest these will blow anyone away, but its nice to see a lounge that keeps up with the quality of the rest of a great hotel.

There is a fridge stocked with soda and milk, dispensers with juice, lemonade, tea, and water, a coffee machine, a Nespresso machine, and beer and wine on request. There are also cordials available to pour yourself during the "Evening Indulgences" service.

The first time we were at Kilimanjaro Club it was holiday season, and we were pleasantly surprised with how empty the lounge regularly was. Well, people must have been reading our positive reviews, because our most recent visit was during “off-season” and the lounge was packed much of the day.

It’s possible Club Level has become more popular; it’s also possible Disney has expanded the room count for this option. After all, they can always take any Savanna View room and designate it Club Level if they want. I asked a CM, and she said the crowds weren’t unusual, but were probably above average because of the cool weather.

The location of the lounge is a mixed bag. The view overlooking the Animal Kingdom Lodge lobby is stunning, and it’s great to be able to walk over there and spot any action going on.

A parade goes through the lobby

A parade goes through the lobby

The downside is that Animal Kingdom Lodge is a very active place. If you’re looking for a quiet lounge—well there isn’t really one in Disney World, but I digress—this isn’t the one for you. Noise from lobby activities, from music to parades—yes, parades—carries strongly into the lounge.

Service at the Kilimanjaro Club

We were really happy with the service at Kilimanjaro Club, especially given how busy it was. Alcohol (beer, wine, champagne) is placed out during the twilight serving, but we were also waited on a few times, which we really appreciated.

They don’t leave the standard alcohol out during desserts, which is a bit strange and did result in a small crowd building up by the Cast Member door to request beer and wine. As always, staff are happy to assist you in any way possible if you ask.

The staff were impressively proactive at keeping the lounge clean during servings. Given how busy it gets (over 100% capacity by seat count), things could easily get out of hand if staff weren’t always in motion. But they were—constantly checking tables to dishes to be cleared.

There’s also a pretty obvious space for dirty dishes—a nook just above the fridge—for guests who wish to clear their tables themselves. You might think this is a small thing, but when dozens of guests have no idea where to put dirty dishes, things can really spiral. It was good to see cleanliness in high priority.

Beyond that, we found the staff much more outgoing than last time we visited Kilimanjaro Club. As we noted in our Club Level overview post, some prominent commentators think Disney is making a conscious effort to improve its Club Level services, and our recent visit to Kilimanjaro Club reflect this. It was never bad, but even this quality lounge has elevated its service.

We received a planning letter in our room (a nice touch at several Club Levels), but there was some technical issue with our MDE linking. If I really wanted to go down a rabbit hole I would have chatted with the desk about this, but MDE is in awful shape and I didn’t want to waste my time.

We found the concierges helpful when we needed help, but they were often busier than the front desk as there were only two of them. They did get us a taxi voucher to Animal Kingdom when we needed to get there before buses ran for Backstage Tales.

A treat like this is important, given that Animal Kingdom Lodge is the deluxe resort with the most limited transit options. The staff was generally kind, but definitely played favorites with where their attention went (which was fine on the days when we made an effort).

Food Offerings At The Kilimanjaro Club

There are five food offerings throughout the day: Macheo (sunrise offerings at 6:30AM), Miamko (7AM to 10:30AM), Vitafunio (snacks from 11:30AM to 3PM), Chai (tea from 3PM to 4:30PM), Kisikusiku (twilight offerings from 5PM to 7PM), and Rehema (evening indulgences from 8PM to 10PM).

One of the unique things we experiences at Kilimanjaro Club was the use of a small screen to display messages, including the full serving menus! I’m throwing the pictures of each menu in at the end of the galleries below.

Macheo — Sunrise Offerings (Coffee) 6:30AM to 7:00AM

This is just a coffee half-hour and when some elements of breakfast may be rolled out.

Miamko — Adventurous Awakenings (Breakfast) 7:00AM to 10:30AM

Vitafunio — Safari Snacks 11:30AM to 3:00PM

The afternoon serving includes one salad and two soups/stews, which mean it could serve as a small lunch. This is one of the more impressive afternoon servings at Disney's club lounges.

Chai — Afternoon Tea 3:00PM to 4:30PM

This is a mini-serving, also done at the Royal Palm Club in Grand Floridian. I don’t really understand its purpose, other than to add an item to the serving list.

Kisikusiku — Twilight Offerings (Appetizers) 5:00PM to 7:00PM

The twilight serving at Kilimanjaro Club is one of the best servings at Walt Disney World. There are breads, charcuterie, and a deep rotating menu with various meat dishes, stews, and something for the little ones.

Rehema — Evening Indulgences (Desserts & Cordials) 8:00PM to 10:00PM

Like The Atrium Club at Contemporary, Kilimanjaro had relatively limited dessert selections. Thinking about it, I do wonder if this is a budgetary decision. If so, they’ve made the right choice by putting their resources into the afternoon and twilight courses. Having a few desserts to finish the night is plenty.

Closing Thoughts About Kilimanjaro Club level

Upgrading from Savanna View to Club Level usually costs around $75 to $150 per day. For a couple, this is usually worth it. For a family of four willing to take advantage of the offerings, it is definitely worth it.

I expect we’ll be back to the Kilimanjaro Club, but I also have mixed feelings. On our most recent visit, the lounge was way too busy for our liking. But honestly, I get it. From a service and food perspective, the lounge is amazing—easily one of the best on property. And of course, the views from the guests’ rooms are some of the best on property. (And keep in mind, this experience is only a three-day sample size.)

So, until Disney increases the price gap between Savanna View and Club Level, or cuts down on the room count, I imagine the lounge will remain popular. And, until they do so, we’ll be like everyone else and upgrade from Savanna View to Club Level, because it’s definitely a worthy upgrade.

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