To date (and likely forever), Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is my ABSOLUTE favorite resort on property. Now I haven’t had the opportunity to stay at all of the Disney resorts yet, but come on now..who could pass up giraffes right outside their window!?! Plus it is the closest I’ve come to a trip to Africa so far in my life.
Jesse and I have stayed at both locations on the Animal Kingdom Resort property, Jambo House which is the main resort location and Kidani Village which is the Disney Vacation Club resort.
Our very first time staying at a Disney World resort was at Kidani Village for our honeymoon. I went into that trip thinking it would be our 1 special occasion to stay at a Disney resort and then we would continue to stay off site like I did growing up…but I was wrong (Disney resorts advocate right here)!
Kidani Village (and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge in general) is AMAZING! It is the Disney Vacation Club resort at Animal Kingdom Lodge so the rooms vary from those in Jambo House.
When we stayed at Kidani, we had a savanna view deluxe studio room. Which means we had a queen size bed, a pull out couch, a kitchenette (mini fridge, sink, toaster, coffee maker, paper cups and plates, plastic utensils and a bottle of dish soap with a sponge), a balcony overlooking the savanna, and a bathroom area with a separate toilet room. I love the studios because then we also have a sitting area (to watch TV or put my shoes on) since we do not currently need the second bed.
On our trip to Jambo House we stayed in a standard room with savanna views. So instead of a pull out couch, we had 2 beds, a bathroom with double sinks and a separate shower/toilet area, and only a mini fridge instead of the entire kitchenette.
With Jambo House being the larger, main building, this is where you will find most of the dining options such as Jiko and Boma. The Mara is also at Jambo House, which is the quick service restaurant right off the amazing Uzima pool. There is also a pool over at Kidani called the Samawati Springs pool, but we have never used this pool since we typically head to Jambo House for lunch and shopping. Speaking of shopping, there is a small gift shop over at Kidani Village (which is also where the drink refill station is at for Kidani); however, Jambo House has the amazing and very large Zawadi Marketplace (where I tend to spend a lot of money…)
Even though it seems we will always end up at Jambo House no matter which part of the resort we stay in, there are some perks to Kidani. 1 reason is that Kidani Village seems to be quieter. Due to the shape of the buildings and location of the savannas, you will always be using the main entrance through the lobby at Jambo House. At Kidani, you can use multiple entrances down the length of the building. Which brings us to our 2nd perk. Since Kidani only has the savanna on the back side of the building, there is parking down the front of the building, so you can choose the closest elevator entrance to your room and save your feet after a long day in the park. At Jambo House you will have 1 large parking lot to the main entrance (so if your room is at the end of the building, you have an awfully long hike). Obviously this walking difference will vary if you do not have a car. Animal Kingdom Lodge only has bus transportation (or Minnie Vans) so you will have to walk to the bus stop ( which is just to the right of each buildings main entrance).
The theming of this resort is top notch and literally transfers you right from central Florida to the African savanna! If you choose to not book a savanna view room (which is not required to make this resort amazing) you will have PLENTY of options to see the animals living on the savanna, whether you are just walking down the hallways or exploring the amazing views and educational signage on the observation decks of both lobbies.
I am certainly a sucker for the savanna view rooms because it is the most relaxing part of a Disney World vacation to relax on the balcony before starting my day and after returning from the parks, and when there is such spectacular views it is hard to resist! But I will tell you both myself and my sister have experienced minimal to zero animal sightings from some of our savanna view rooms. On one particular trip my sister and her family saw more animals from their standard view room balcony than we did from our savanna view. So it all just depends on your luck and where the animals travel on the savanna for the day.
Overall, I absolutely recommend Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (both Kidani or Jambo House)! Although I love many of the Disney World resorts, Animal Kingdom Lodge will likely remain my favorite due to my specific taste in theming. I can’t wait to take my little one on his first trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge!
Let me know what you love (or don’t love) about Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge! And if you are interested in saving some money, the head over to my renting Disney Vacation Club points post!