We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. It is one of the deluxe resorts, but is also one of the least expensive. I visited several of the other more expensive deluxe resorts and the only thing about them is they're a little closer to Disney. I'd rather stay here with the animals and amazing staff and ride a bus 10 minutes longer! One evening we stood around a bonfire while a guy from Victoria Falls in Africa shared stories about his country, and about all the animals that are attracted to Victoria Falls. The sounds of the crashing water filled his town, and when he moved to the US he couldn't sleep because it was too quiet.
The real Victoria Falls in Zambia
The lobby was gorgeous, and right outside were zebras, giraffes, ostriches, and more
When we booked the room, we didn't have what they call a "savanna view". But when checking in, we asked for a free upgrade and got a partial savanna view. I really didn't expect such a wonderful room with great views of the animals. There was a huge bird building its nest right in front of our patio.
Here's a good little secret tip - when in Animal Kingdom, get a table in the sun room at Yak &Yeti restaurant about 15 minutes before the parade starts. You won't have to battle the crowds, and you'll have a beautiful view of the parade eating delish and reasonably priced food! I had a sushi appetizer for $10.
I faced my fears of roller coasters and rode this one - the first since I was in second grade!
Dinner at Sanaa. The food is really unique and not just "dialed in" I really expected Disney to be a lot more cheesy. I've traveled all over the world but I was so impressed with the attention to detail in the parks, the food, the staff, and the hotels.
Tao's ready to eat at Yak & Yeti!
Gorgeous tigers in Animal Kingdom
Disney does an amazing job capturing the essence of countries a world away. If you can't get to them, Disney is the second best place to experience the feel of travelling internationally. I've been to some of the places Disney replicated, and was so impressed with the authenticity achieved.
Safari at Disney if you can't go to Africa!