If you’re wondering if Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge has a playground…the answer is YES!
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the Animal Kingdom Lodge playground. The playground is called the Hakuna Matata Playground. Our aim is to offer the most comprehensive review.
If you’re like us, whether or not a Disney resort has a playground can be a deciding factor in picking a Disney resort. We were surprised to learn that most Disney World resorts do not have a playground! For the resorts that do have playgrounds, there is very limited information to be found anywhere about them before you arrive.
The Animal Kingdom Lodge playground is located near the right front corner of the swimming pool area, just next to the flamingo pond. It’s within the red circle in the map above.
The flamingos are not the most active animals, but they are fun to walk the little one over to check out on the way to or from the playground.
We visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge playground in both 2021 and 2022. The playground is officially called the Hakuna Matata Playground. We took our 3 year old. The sign containing the rules near the entrance says “This play area is for the enjoyment of children ages 2-5”.
As you’ll see below, the various equipment seems to be appropriate for those ages with proper supervision of the younger ones of course!
Our 3 year old got a lot of enjoyment out of the playground. However, use parental discretion on whether or not this playground is suitable for your child. There are some fairly high, open ledges that could be very dangerous for young children. Our 3 year old knows to steer clear of these, but younger children may need to be more closely supervised.
There is a lot of room around the playground equipment to run around and play. The playground isn’t really visible from outside of the play area which makes it a must that parents must be within the perimeter to supervise children. A few uniquely designed benches also surround the structures making seated supervision easy. Our favorite bench is this colorful crocodile shaped one.
One great feature of the playground at Animal Kingdom Lodge is that it’s mostly shaded. The Florida sun can be brutal, so this is a nice relief.
There’s also a drinking fountain near the entrance. However, you’re also really close to the quick-service restaurant “Mara”, so we often grab drinks or snacks before coming to the playground.
The Animal Kingdom Lodge playground, (aka the Hakuna Matata playground), has a host of play equipment for the little ones to use. Here is a breakdown:
The play equipment is spread out across the play area with two separate large structures and several standalone individual pieces as seen in the images below.
There is a rotating crank on a pole. Though there is no obvious purpose, kids still seem to have fun freely rotating it.
The freestanding xylophone does not have any sort of attached mallet, but children make do hitting it with bare hands or trying to find sticks to use.
Below are some more activities at the Animal Kingdom Lodge playground. Kids can spin the large beads. There’s also a few maze boards both attached to the main play structures and freestanding. They feature a generic mouse figure (not Mickey) and camper. Kids must use their finger to successfully lead the mouse to the cheese or the camper to the campsite.
There is also a play steering wheel and gear shift on the outside of one of the structures. It’s placed below a strange design of an airplane and a bird character.
We were expecting more incorporation of Disney characters instead of these generic ones. This is definitely a missed opportunity!
The Animal Kingdom Lodge (Hakuna Matata Playground) is not a bad playground. It is generally clean and well kept. Our biggest complaint is that is does not have any sort of Disney flair to it. The structures and equipment are typical of public park parts and not what we expect when we imagine a playground on a Disney property (especially at a “Deluxe” resort).
The playground is by no means a “destination” when at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. If your days are packed, then you may want to skip this playground (if your child will let you). Your time at the resort may be better spent at the pool or looking at the animals.
However, for some families like ours, we always end up at this playground. Our child loves playgrounds and could spend hours here.
We love that the Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of the very few resorts with a playground, but just wish it had a little more Disney magic!