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March 31

March 31, 2001 – The Animal Kingdom Lodge Opens for Annual Passholders


“Step into the heart of Africa at this magnificent Resort hotel.”

On March 31, 2001, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge opened for a special open house exclusively for Walt Disney World Annual Passholders, weeks before its official opening on April 16. The hotel, as do many other attractions and resorts, has an intriguing backstory: the lodge is based on a traditional African kraal, and was built on the top of an extinct volcano. Keeping with the theme of the park, the resort has many animals inhabiting the nearby savannah plains, including wildebeest and giraffes. The hotel has almost 1,300 rooms in six stories, and three restaurants: Jiko, Boma, and Mara.

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