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Dine with an Animal Specialist at Animal Kingdom Lodge

Experiences and travel provided by Disneynature & Disney Parks. As always, all opinions stated in Dine with an Animal Specialist at Animal Kingdom Lodge are all my own.

Last week while I was in Florida for the Monkey Kingdom Event, I had the opportunity to visit Animal Kingdom Lodge and speak with the Animal Operations Manager, Greg Peccie. Greg is responsible for the day to day operations of the oversight of the animals in the resort as well as serving as an Executive Committee member for the resort.

Greg was born in Oregon and remembers the family trips that sparked his love for the outdoors. He grew up in North Carolina and it was the unique geography of the state that furthered his love for the outdoors. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 2004 with a Biology degree and the deep desire to make a difference.

He began his zoo career with an internship at White Oak Conservation Center in North Florida, which then turned in to a full time job. From there he served a short time at the Forth Worth Zoo before moving on to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 1998. His true passion for hoofed animals brought him to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge as a member of the opening team in 2000.

Learn more about how you can Dine with an Animal Specialist at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Although we have been to Disney a couple times before, we’ve never had the opportunity to stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. While we were waiting for our reservation time to Dine with an Animal Specialist at Saana, we were able to explore a little portion of the property surrounding the restaurant.

There are four separate savannas, 46 acres of land, and 250 animals representing 30 different species. Most rooms (75%-80%) have views of the safari. Can you imagine waking up and having your morning coffee on the balcony watching the zebras and giraffes? I imagine it’s a pretty incredible experience.

Learn more about how you can Dine with an Animal Specialist at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Animal Kingdom Lodge is a destination in itself. With so much to see and do, you really don’t have to leave the Lodge (although the parks are pretty magical too). But Animal Kingdom Lodge just isn’t for people staying on property. Guests are free to visit, explore and encounter a cultural experience with the employees who are here on a 12-month Visa.

Learn more about how you can Dine with an Animal Specialist at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Dine with an Animal Specialist

You can also experience “an untamed lunch” when you Dine with an Animal Specialist at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This is an interactive experience with an Animal Specialist that will sit with you as you experience a 4-course meal at Sanaa. While you enjoy a four-course feast, you can learn about the animals right outside the windows.

Learn more about how you can Dine with an Animal Specialist at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.

The feast includes an Indian-style bread service, a selection of refreshing salads, slow-cooked meats and desserts. There are options for meat lovers, vegans and vegetarians alike, while the smaller people at the table can choose from child-size portions of the adult options or familiar favorites on the kids menu. After the meal, the Animal Specialist will guide you into a secured area for an up-close encounter with the radiated tortoises, one of the most endangered animals cared for at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Dining with an Animal Specialist is a personal and intimate experience which is limited to 12 guests. Guests must be at least eight years of age to participate. The cost for children under 10 is $29; the cost for everyone else (10+) is $49. It’s also important to note that the price of Dining with an Animal Specialist includes a $5.00 contribution to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.

Celebrate Earth Day with Disneynature's Monkey Kingdom with this fun family guide.

While the animals in Disney’s Animal Kingdom are safe and secure, that isn’t the case for animals all around the world whose natural habitat is in danger. I love that Disneynature films helped protect coral reef in the Bahamas, planted three million trees in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, protected 65,000 acres of savanna in Kenya, and protected nearly 130,000 acres of wild chimpanzee habitat. You can do your part simply by watching Disneynature films during opening week. Go see Monkey Kingdom. It’s in theaters now!

About Crystal

Crystal Reagan, the owner and founder of SimplyBeingMommy.com lives in Small Town, Texas with her husband and 3 children. Crystal and her website have been featured on local and national news stations including Channel 2 Houston and ABC News. She has also appeared on BetterTV as a Mommy Expert for VTech.


  1. 1

    That is truly spectacular. Just spending the day their is fantastic by itself, but to have a room with a view of the habitats? Amazing.

  2. 2
    Catherine S says:

    This is a great resort. It would be really neat to dine with an Animal Specialist. I will have to look into this next time we go over to Disney.

  3. 3

    This is the second time I learned that Disney has a Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund. I never really heard about this before. would absolutely love to spend a week or two at that location and really learn all they have to offer about all the animals. And yes, I would love to wake up to the site of Giraffes outside my window!

  4. 5

    I think it would be fun to have a career in zoology, or taking care of certain wildlife animals. Seems adventurous.

  5. 6

    The lodge looks absolutely beautful and so unique. I really love Indian food so dining with a specialist sounds especially awesome.

  6. 7

    That looks like an amazing place to stay! The experience as a whole sounds amazing.

  7. 8

    This is something that would excite my daughter to no end! She will be going to college to study veterinarian medicine in a few years, and getting to pick a specialists brain at Disney would be pure heaven for her!

  8. 9

    I hadn’t heard of this before but wow, it sounds like an amazing experience. I’d love to do this when my kids are a bit older.

  9. 10

    Wow! You can actually get some great info while you stuff your face! Nice!

  10. 11

    I don’t know how entertaining the animal expert would be, but I know that from what I see the food looks totally awesome! That’s enough for me!

  11. 12
    Danielle K says:

    Animal Kingdom is my favorite Disney park. Would love to have this experience and the food looks amazing!

  12. 13

    This entire experience just looks like it was amazing! Since Animal Kingdom is my favorite Disney park I’m a little green with envy at all the extra special things you got to do;-)

  13. 14

    I haven’t been to the Animal Kingdom since they first opened, so I guess it’s time to visit again. I’m sure my kids will love it.

  14. 15

    How amazing. I’ve never been to animal Kingdom but I’ve been hearing so much about it! This is truly awesome!

  15. 16

    That is such a cool experience. Not too many people can say they have dined with the animals.

  16. 17

    Wow, how neat! Dining with an Animal Specialist sounds fancy!

  17. 18

    That looks like an amazing place to stay out. The movie looks great too.

  18. 19

    I have always wanted to go to Animal Kingdom! It looks like such an adventure!

  19. 20

    I didn’t know that they had rare animals there too. What a great experience, and I love the variety on the menu. It’s nice that they considered those who don’t eat meat too. 🙂

  20. 21
    katrina g says:

    I can’t wait to see this movie. it looks awesome!!!!

  21. 22

    We’ve never stayed in Animal Kingdom. I’m putting this on our next trip to do list. It looks amazing

  22. 23
    Debbie Denny says:

    That sounds like an awesome experience. Going to see the movie.

  23. 24

    My two boys would love this place! That movie is something to look forward to! 🙂

  24. 25

    I will definitely have to try an untamed lunch next time we’re in Disney World. It looks awesome! I had no idea they did this.

  25. 26

    The Animal Kingdom Lodge looks and sounds like a great experience! I hope to take my family one day!

  26. 27

    What an awesome experience. Disney really things of everything!

  27. 28

    This lodge looks AMAZING! My daughter loves animals, she would go nuts visit this place!

  28. 29

    This is such a neat and personal Disney experience! My son would have a million animal questions for him!

  29. 30

    Looks like a real jungle and a great place to go!

  30. 31
    Ann Bacciaglia says:

    I would love to dine with an animal specialist. I could learn so much from them. This is such a great idea.

  31. 32

    Wow what an amazing experience. That is one place that is very high on my must visit list

  32. 33

    How fun is this? What a cool experience!

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