We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in July, and it was fun for almost every minute. There are a few things you might not know from the brochures.
First, the "Animal Kingdom Lodge" is more-or-less broken up into two separate hotels. The main one is the "Jambo House", which features the larger lobby, the larger pool, and what seems to be the larger restaurants. At the "Kidani Village", on the other hand, even though the pool is smaller, it is much nicer.
The pool at the Kidani features a splash pad for kids to run around in, including a waterfall that kids seem to find hilarious, even though it is only in about four inches of water at the bottom. The slide at the Kidani seems to be about twice as tall, and the movie set-up is much, much, nicer.
If you don't know about the movie set-up, this is something that Disney provides at several of their resorts. At 9pm or so, they set up a movie screen around the pool area and show some kind of Disney or Pixar movie for families to watch around the pool.
At Kidani, the screen was easy to see, and the speakers were easy to hear from many different angles. At Jambo, the screen was nearly impossible to see unless you were directly in front of it, and the sound was very poor quality. Even sitting directly in front of the movie screen, I only heard one out of every three our four words. From a few feet further back, my son gave up within a few seconds and went back to what he was doing.
There are a lot of other easy-to-spot differences as well. At Kidani, there seemed to be a wider variety of animals that got much closer, and the "night vision" time seemed to be working in better conditions. Even though there is a shuttle that runs back and forth between the two buildings (about a mile apart), the amenities made it clear who were the second-class citizens.
It doesn't matter much, because at Disney, you usually have to pay extra for each upgrade. (If one motel is nicer than another, you can bet that the nicer one costs more.) But if the splash pad and outdoor movie are high on your list, you might want to spend the extra cash. I think the Kidani Village is only available through the Vacation Club, but most everyone knows how to get access to that.
I can't tell you about the kid's activities, because we stayed busy the whole time, but both of the hotels offered some kind of kids program.
I can't tell you about all the restaurants, but I can tell you about Boma, which is one of my favorite restaurants anywhere. But I can also tell you that it is not for everyone. The buffet features a lot of unusual sauces, soups and salads. If you are the kind of person who never tries anything new, you might not like Boma. On the other hand, if you see three different sauces to choose from, and always try all three, then odds are that you will like Boma.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Step into the heart of Africa at this magnificent Resort hotel. Inspired by the traditional African kraal, the horseshoe-curved design provides spectacular views of 4 lush savannas that over 200 hoofed animals and birds call home. Delight in dazzling pool areas, exciting animal programs and one of the largest collections of African art in the United States as you experience your own African safari adventure with a touch of Disney magic. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Animal Kingdom Florida
- Disneys Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Disney Animal Kingdom Resort
- Disney Animal Kingdom Hotel
- Animal Kingdom Lodge Disney
- Animal Kingdom Lodge Orlando
- Animal Kingdom Hotel Disney
- Disneys Animal Kingdom Hotel
- Animal Kingdom Hotel Florida