Now that we’ve been living in Orlando for almost two years and have been to the theme parks many, many times, we want to start enjoying the hotel resort part of Disney World. Since we’re locals, we don’t stay in the hotels and we miss out on a lot of the fun stuff you regular visitors love.
Tonight was Friday night date night! We decided to explore Animal Kingdom Lodge and have dinner at Sanaa. I love animals and the Kilimanjaro Safari at Animal Kingdom is one of my favorite rides, so I was super excited to try this resort.
We drove to the gate of the lodge, told the security officer we were planning on eating on Sanaa, and he let us in. Now, sometimes the guards require you to show your picture ID and dining reservation on your phone, but this man did not. Which was nice. He told us to head over to Kidani Village to dine at Sanaa.
We parked in the self-parking garage, and rode the elevator up to the front entrance of the Kidani Village main building. We went straight out back to the savanna viewing area and immediately saw zebras, wildebeasts, antelopes, ostriches, African crown cranes, rabbits, and more. The viewing area was very peaceful and quiet.
A cast member was on hand to answer questions. We enjoyed the view for several minutes, and then heard the cast member say the giraffes would be coming through soon, and so we stayed even longer to get a glimpse. The giraffes were definitely the stars of the savanna, and all the guests were enraptured.
Since we didn’t have dining reservations, we sat down at the bar of the Sanaa Lounge. We ordered the bread service — 5 different kinds of naan and 9 different sauces. It was good, and pretty filling. (We are big fans of Indian food.) We had fun trying out the different sauces. The jalapeno sauce was my least favorite, but most of the rest were good.
After our appetizer meal, we went outside again. It was dark, but there were night goggles! It was fun to use those to see the animals.
We wanted to see the Animal Kingdom Lodge, so we took the shuttle van over. We went to the lodge’s savanna viewing area and were the only guests out there on a Friday night. My husband and I talked to a super nice cast member from Namibia. (Mingana was her name, I think?) She answered so many questions for us and talked about the animals, her homeland, and real African safaris. She was super friendly. We were lucky to be able to see several giraffe resting in the grass. Did you know that Giraffes only sit down in captivity? In the wild they are always standing up, even for their 30 minutes of daily sleep. It’s much safer for them that way. At 10:00 p.m., Mingana closed the savanna area.
Inside the lodge, we walked around and explored the gift shop. It sells many of the same things as Animal Kingdom that I’m always too hot and tired to look at, so it was a lot of fun to look around. 🙂
Eventually, we took shuttle again back to Kidani where our car was parked and drove home. Such a lovely evening.
Have you visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge or Villas? Have you had meals at Sanaa? Let us know in the comments below!