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“Love Animal Kingdom Lodge but prefer Jambo House”

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Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas - Kidani Village
Certificate of Excellence
Baltimore, Maryland
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Love Animal Kingdom Lodge but prefer Jambo House”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 26, 2011

Don't let my title discourage you from the start until I explain. This was my family's 10th + trip to Disney. This year my husband and I decided to invite our 21 & 18 yo daughter's boyfriend's along, to make the vacation more enjoyable for everyone! Our party consisted of my husband, myself, our two daughters, our 15 yo son, my mother-in-law, and the two boyfriends - 8 people. We looked at many different room options for our large family but in the end decided we wanted to be together. Kidani Village was the perfect match.

With such a large group (we came in on 3 different flights at different times) the Magical Express was wonderful for our oldest daughter, her boyfriend and my mother-in-law. Five
of us got to Kidani early on our first day, we were greeted by a wonderful staff who was more than willing to store our luggage and then deliver it to our room when it was ready.
The staff also told us that they would call us as soon our room was ready and when the
Magical Express had picked up our family members at the airport. This really impressed me
because we had never used the Magical Express before and I have read so many horror
stories online about it. The only complaint that my family had about the Magical Express
was that it made so many stops. To me this is minimal - it saves the cost of a taxi, rental
car, picking up luggage, etc. Additionally, I don't see how there could be a Magical bus for
each hotel, that just seems excessive. I will also tell you that my 21yo daughter & her
boyfriend's flight # and time was changed three times the day before departure. We had to
go to the concierge to make sure that they were scheduled for the correct Magical Express
departure. There were so many mix-ups with the airline and Magical Express that the
concierge assured me that she would stay (she was getting ready to leave for the day) until
the problem was resolved and if it didn't get resolved correctly with Magical Express she told me the hotel would have a car take them to the airport. This again truly impressed me -
this staff member was willing to stay late to resolve a problem instead of passing it on to
someone else. After 2.5 hours I was called on my cell phone by the concierge to tell me
that everything was confirmed. She also provided me with the name of the Saturday concierge who she had already given all of the information to in case we had any issues, as she would not be working the next day. Incidentally, she called me on my cell phone on her day of to make sure that my daughter had gotten to the airport as planned - WOW!

Ok, now for the reason that I like the Jambo House better. My family and I stayed at the
Jambo house in July 2009. We stayed in a Savannah viewing room (we had not requested
it, but were surprised when we opened the curtains to see all of the wonder and
amazement). The main lobby is unlike any I have seen before! I truly felt like I was in
Africa and learned so much about the many different people, cultures and various
languages spoken in Africa. Having just worked with a person from Nigeria I thought I knew
a lot, but I was so wrong!

The convenience store at Kidani is very small, it offers the basics. Several times I asked if
they had certain items and was told I could find these at the Jambo convenience store. The
walk to Jambo wasn't far or you could take the bus, but it is not "convenient". Additionally, there are no quick food areas at Kidani, just one restaurant. I understand this is due to the fact that Animal Kingdom Lodge is one complete resort with two separate buildings. The
pool at Jambo is bigger but both are very nice. The lobby at Kidani is very small and
doesn't give you the same feel as Jambo. Don't get me wrong, Kidani is WONDERFUL, but
overall I feel that Jambo is SUPERB and I would stay at Jambo over Kidani just for the
ambiance and convenience! Animal Kingdom Lodge is DEFINATELY the place to stay in
WDW!

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank DisneyFrequentFlier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Indianapolis, IN
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 23, 2011

Disney exceeded our expectations with this African-themed resort. We stayed at Kidani Village by purchasing someone's DVC points. There are pros and cons to staying at the larger Jambo House at Animal Kingdom and the smaller Kidani Village. Regardless, the Animal Kingdom Resort is superb!
If you are skeptical about the frequency of animals (either from your room or numerous observation areas), don't worry. There was never a moment that we didn't see exotic animals in the savannah. When I jogged at 6am there were animals. When I took my son to the arcade at midnight there were animals to see. We even used nightvision provided by one of the workers from Africa who is available to answer questions about the savannah.
My 8 year old was fascinated with the animals and was telling us about the Elund, Ankole Cattle, Red River Hog, and Thompson Gazelles. Our only regret is that we spent so much time at the Theme Parks. We could have spent 2 whole days at the resort. They have cultural kids activities going on throughout the day, plus awesome pools, basketball/tennis courts, and a Community Room with a Wii, Pool Table, and games.

Animal Kingdom Lodge is worth the splurge and I would recommend this resort to anyone.

Be advised that this Resort is far away from Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and especially Magic Kingdom. Upon boarding a Disey Bus to Magic Kingdom, the trip was nearly 25 minutes (that includes stopping at Jambo House). You will spend more time on buses than if you stayed closer (example: BeachClub, Boardwalk, Wilderness Lodge, Contemporary, Polynesian, etc) but as long as you know that upfront, the benefits of Animal Kingdom Lodge outweigh the transportation issue.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank FamilyVacationers83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
111 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 18, 2011

First let me talk about the hotel. The Kidani is a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) property, and we were lucky enough to not only get a nice double room, but one with a savannah view. My wife and I took my daughter and son-in-law, with our two grandkids, Sarah (6) and Nick (1), and I wanted Sarah to be able to wake up and see giraffes and zebra off the balcony at breakfast. This worked out very well, the animals were out there often and there are a variety. One thing I have to comment on - many people who have written reviews on the Kidani have complained about the distance from the farthest rooms to the lobby/bus stop. Some people said it was a 10-15 minute walk, some complained that they were so tired from walking it ruined their time at Disney. I recommend they get off the couch more often and walk. I timed the walk from our room to the lobby - 2 minutes at a leisurely pace with two small kids in tow. If you are not prepared for some long walks and time on your feet, DON'T COME TO DISNEY!
Anyway, the breakfast buffet at the nearby Jambo House, a short walk from the Kidani, is excellent.
Since the Kidani is off in the corner of Disney, no monorail or boat ride to the Kingdom or Epcot, all buses which run (for the most part) frequently, although at the end of a long day it can seem like it takes forever for the bus to YOUR hotel to arrive.
The Kidani itself is very nice, rooms are spacious and comfortable, and the housekeeping staff very efficient. The rooms have full kitchen, and this worked well for keeping baby formula, drinks and snacks back at the room. Also have washer and dryer in room, very handy.
As for Disney, it seems the rumors about service becoming an issue are true. For the most part I encountered very helpful and friendly staff, but all you need is one inattentive waiter to aggravate you and the night can turn sour. A waiter at the Italian restaurant in the Magic Kingdom timed the dinner poorly, arrived with basket of bread at the end of dinner, disappeared for long periods, while a family at a nearby table had no concept of controlling their idiot children, not one of our better meals.On the positive side, we arrived at the Bibbidy Boppity Boutique and found we would need a 6 month reservation to get Sarah in, my wife was a little upset and mentioned this to a cast member at a nearby store. The cast member promptly got on the phone and we had a reservation for the end of the week, worked out well and showed that some staff really do go out of their way to help. Then there was the boat pilot that left us on the dock, in the rain, shouting to us that we had missed the boat (which was just being untied as we ran up). And you have the bus driver who had no one else aboard who went off his route to get us back quicker.
I have a theory that with the increase in guests and hotels on property, they have increased staff to the point where you are more likely to run into the (relatively) few jerks on staff.
Overall, we had a really nice time.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank M0rgoth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Coral Springs, Florida
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 16, 2011

Let me begin by saying this hotel is very nice, the room didn't let us down, it had everything we needed and then some. It was nice having a dishwasher, washer and drier, full stove with oven, etc available. This is specially true when you are traveling with little ones. However I was severely dissapointed with the service. It was horrific. Let me walk you through our 3 day stay. First day: we checked in at noon (although we knew our room wouldn't be available until 4 but we wanted to get the chjeck in done so we could go to the parks). They took at least 45 minutes to get us checked in and although I had called multiple times in the past months to make sure I'd have a crib in the room it seemed as though this was the first they heard of it so they ended up assigning us a pack and play. They told us they would text me the room number to my cell during the day and gave me my keys. ot back to the hotel that night, not text. Went to the front desk, it seemed our room was not even ready yet (mind you we had checked in at noon and it was about 8 pm when we went back). Finally we get to our room, ordered dinner. They said it'd be 45 minutes. An hour and a half went by, no dinner. Meanwhile, two very small, hungry children in my room. Had to give them some baby food jars that fortunuately had in the diaper bag plus some fruits and snacks we had. After almost two hours we called to inquire on the status of our food and they said it'd be ready soon - no apologies thank you very much - and we said, you guys told us it'd be 45 minutes and it's been almost two hours, they just replied: I know. Day 2: realized the walls in the room are so thin, you can hear everything in the other rooms, including when they are pushing the buttons in the microwave. Unreal. It was lovely seeing the animals out in the balcony though. Went to parks, came back. Room had not been cleaned. Had to spend a good part of the afternoon cleaning the room (otherwise safety issues with my two toddlers), doing dishes and laundry. I guess that's why they say 'welcome home' because I did as much work there as I do in my house. They should have left me a tip. At about 7 pm reported the room not being cleaned and that we were out of coffee (answer was ok, and again no apologies!). Got some coffee, but room was never cleaned. Day 3: Left in the morning, aside for the conveniences of the room inside and the nice view of the animals, don't know if we'll be back. We've stayed in teh value resorts before (All Stars, etc) and were treated way better there than in Kidani.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank YCG73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maple Valley, Washington
Level Contributor
13 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 13, 2011

My family and I have been to many resorts and this one by far is the best we have visited. From the minute you step off the bus you will feel like you have been trasported to an African safari paradise. Drummers playing native music greet you into the breathtaking lobby. The staff is very helpful and show that they genuinely care about you and your vacation. The rooms are well equipped and comfortable. Look for the Disney carvings in the furniture and the Disney themed details in the furnishings. A safari view room is defintely worthwhile, as you are constantly reminded of where you are and why you came to this wonderful place. The pool at Kidani is the best, it has the kid's water play park and two fun water slides that even me and my husband enjoyed. Kidani village does not play second fiddle to the main lodge. The main lodge is easily accessible if you wish to visit Boma, their premier restaurant but the pool at the main lodge is not worth the trip. Boma is pricey but a memorable experience. I like to close my eyes and imagine we are back there, it is really that great.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank MapleValleyRealtor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Campbell, California
Level Contributor
35 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 10, 2011

We stayed in a stunningly beautiful room at the Kidani Village. To wake up in the morning and see giraffes, zebras, exotic birds and cattle roaming below my deck was an experience I will never forget. Thank you, Disney!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank creichmuth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level Contributor
140 reviews
63 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 148 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 5, 2011

Staying at Disney is expensive but we decided to splurge as we (very early 30s professionals) were introducing my inlaws to our crazy Disney infatuation. We got a 2 BR / 3 bathroom villa and for only $460 (40% off promo rate) per night through Disney. The Magical Express free transportation was very organized and efficient. The hotel was superb - saw lots of animals outside our savanna room balcony (mostly in AM and near sundown). Sanaa was fantastic for dinner as was Boma brunch buffet. We also booked and ate at the superb Kouzzina on the Boardwalk, Hacienda de San Angel at Epcot (superb view in any part of the restaurant of the fireworks), and was even able to reserve the Tomorrowland Terrace Wishes Dessert Buffet (at Magic Kingdom) - all online prior to our trip.

The rooms were very nice, as was the kitchen with everything we needed. They happily brought us robes, a tea kettle, another luggage rack, and extra coffee at our request. Also, I was expecting a package and it appeared in our room one night without my asking about it at the front desk. The safe in the bathroom closet was useful. The master bath with shower and jacuzzi was fantastic. The toilet is incredible - FWOOSH! Scary at first but very powerful. Nice amenities. The front desk was helpful. The gift shop had everything we needed, including a 2L (1gallon) milk for $3 that lasted the week. (We brought a box of cereal or had parfaits from Earl of Sandwich for breakfast.) In general, the Animal Kingdom Lodge and Villas are African themed and a bit dark for ambiance. They are very appealing to an older crowd. Pool was nice as were the hot tubs. Our room was on the side of the pool and we easily accessed it down 1 elevator and through the parking lot. Room 7724. If you have mobility issues, ask for a room close to the lobby or elevators.

The shuttles to Disney parks and Downtown Disney (doesn't start til 8:30am) are great but they always end up taking a while, which is the case for all shuttle services at any hotel. We love Earl of Sandwich for a quick and cheap bite at Downtown Disney.

Well worth the extra money. PS there are hidden mickeys in the carpets, bedspread, and ... well, you'll have to do the rest of the hunting all over Disney!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank yvrgirlToronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas - Kidani Village

Property: Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas - Kidani Village
Address: 3701 Osceola Pkwy, Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, FL 32830-8445
Location: United States > Florida > Central Florida > Orlando
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 18 Specialty Lodging in Orlando
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas - Kidani Village 4*
Number of rooms: 493
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Escape on your own African safari adventure at this magnificent resort hotel. Inspired by the traditional African kraal, the horseshoe-curved design offers exquisite views of lush savannas-where over 30 species of African wildlife freely roam. Delight in dazzling pool areas, exciting animal programs and all the comforts of home in our spacious studios and multi-bedroom villas. ... more   less 
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Disney`s Animal Kingdom Villas - Kidani Village Hotel Orlando

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