Kidani Village at Animal Kingdom Lodge

In December we stayed at the new Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village for the first time, and I’ve been meaning to post a follow-up of what I thought about it. There were a lot of things that I liked, but also several things that I didn’t.

Since I have lots of photos of the room, I’m going to start with some of the things that aren’t so photo-intensive – and also start with the “negatives”.

Pembe Savanna – this was the savanna view we had, which is on the “back side” of the resort. It’s a lot narrower (especially where our room was) and doesn’t have as many animals as the Sunset Savanna – I was very disappointed in how few animals we saw from our room. Next time I will request an even-numbered room – those look out onto the Sunset Savanna.

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Internet access – though it was free for us as DVC members, the network connection was in the Master Bedroom and NOT out in the living area as it is at most of the other resorts. That was very inconvenient for us since there were nights when I was up late blogging and Lee wanted to go to bed. I wish they would go wireless like they do at the Disneyland resorts. Next time we’ll have to bring our own (much longer) network cable, I guess.

Air Conditioning – This was really annoying. There is a vent on the ceiling right inside the doorway to the room, and it was CONSTANTLY blowing cold air – it’s on a building-wide system and you can’t turn it off. So it always seemed cold in our room – we actually had to turn the heat on! The maintenance people came to our room one morning because they were changing A/C filters and we asked about it – they seemed pretty frustrated about it, too. All they could do for us was close off the vent a little bit, which helped, but did not get rid of the problem.

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Motion-activated fans – these were in the bathrooms and the toilet room and were also annoying since they made a fair bit of noise. You sure couldn’t sneak to the bathroom in the middle of the night!

Parking – Since Kidani is so large and spread out it was nice to be able to park under the building and relatively close to our room. But there’s only one entrance/exit to the parking, and if your room was on the far end of the building like ours was, it was quite a long and circuitous road to get there. There did seem to be another exit about halfway, but it was blocked off for some reason. The garage is divided into sections named after Lion King characters (Timon, Pumbaa, Simba, etc.). The cast members at check-in really need to tell you what section you should park in, otherwise you can end up a LONG way away from your room. There’s a place on the room key envelope where that info is supposed to be provided but the CM who checked us in didn’t fill it in.

Dining – There is NO quick-service option (especially for breakfast) at Kidani, and the “store” is woefully small with a very poor selection. Yes, you can take the bus over to Jambo House and go to Mara, but that’s quite a ways to go (and could be quite a wait for the bus). Lee walked it one morning, and even at his pace it took 13 minutes to go one way (of course from our room it took five minutes just to get to the lobby!). Sanaa is really good, though, and we really enjoyed our meal there – we will definitely eat there again, and we hope the menu stays as varied and interesting as it is and doesn’t get “dumbed down” as we’ve seen at other WDW restaurants.

The Lobby – I really loved the lobby at Kidani. It feels like a scaled-down version of the one at the main Animal Kingdom Lodge, but it also seems more inviting and cozy. I really liked the glass torch lights. And the Library room was a nice place to hang out, too.

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The rooms are beautiful and large – we stayed in a one bedroom villa, and it was very comfortable – I could easily stay there for several weeks or months and feel quite at home! I did find them to be a little bit dark, though – which fits in with the theme, but I prefer something brighter. And it took us a long time to figure out the light switches! Many of the lamps had their own switch, and in some cases the switch was on the *cord* and not on the lamp itself. In the dark the night we arrived those were very hard to find.

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I LOVED the master bathroom – it was HUGE!!! I would especially love to have the big walk-in shower at home…

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On very cool thing about the one bedroom villas is that they have two full bathrooms, and the second bathroom was very nice, also.

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All of the detail in the decor was really amazing – the designers out-did themselves this time.

There were Lion King characters carved into the furniture:

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And also painted on the murals in the master bathroom:

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And even woven into the curtains!

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Lee noticed that the legs on the dining room table had hooves like a giraffe.

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And here’s the back of one of the chairs out on the balcony:

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There were lots of other interesting decor details, too – I liked the ostrich egg in the lamp.

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One interesting thing at Kidani: there were quotations painted on walls all over the building – one cast member told us that there were 40. I think we saw 10 or 12 of them – given the size of the building it would take a long time to roam the hallways and viewing areas and track them all down. Might be a good rainy day activity, though!

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Jambo House vs. Kidani

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Hmm…I’ve stayed at both now…and they both have their stronger/weaker points. The rooms are a lot nicer at Kidani, since they were built as DVC Villas to begin with, and are not converted hotel rooms like Jambo House. But there’s a lot more dining options at Jambo House, and it doesn’t seem to be spread out quite as much. I also think that any of the savanna views at Jambo House are better than the Pembe Savanna (but Arusha or Sunset savannas at Jambo are equivalent to Sunset Savanna at Kidani). Parking is more convenient at Kidani – once you get there. 🙂 I think the lack of dining at Kidani is a big problem – I don’t think most DVC members cook while on vacation, but still, it’s nice to have ready access to some grab-and-go type items for breakfast or a quick snack, and that’s just not available at Kidani.

Laura Gilbreath is a native of San Diego, CA. She has been making the trek up Interstate 5 to Disneyland since she was a small child and terrified of talking tikis and hitchhiking ghosts. She and her husband Lee enjoy trips to Disneyland and Walt Disney World, as well as sailings on the Disney Cruise Line.

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11 Replies to “Kidani Village at Animal Kingdom Lodge”

  1. Hi Laura,
    Thanks for the blog! My family and friends will be staying in a 2BR Savannah View in August so reading your blog has continued our excitement. I appreciated you talking about the positive and negative about the resort. I do not see it as sweating the small stuff but rather as giving a heads up as to what to expect. None of the things mentioned would change our plans to stay there but they do prepare me ahead of time to for instance bring our wireless router with us. While a bathroom fan may not be enough to stir the average adult it could be enough to wake up a light sleeping little one. And knowing that I can request a view to include the animals I’m expecting to see off my balcony is invaluable. We like doing breakfast in and make use of our grocery delivery from gardengrocer.com so I’m not really concerned with the lack of counter service restaurants but if we didn’t do that it would be good to know ahead of time so that there were no false expectations and no surprises and we could plan accordingly. Thanks for taking the time to write your experience. Looking forward to an amazing trip!

    Laura replies: Thank you so much for your comments, Laura – and have a WONDERFUL trip!!!

  2. I have to say, I feel a lot of this is nitpicking. I mean, it’s a brand new extension that most people won’t stay at unless they are DVC members. They will almost certainly create a quick service restaurant there over the next couple years. Also, wireless is available in their lobby and the library. My husband used it in the library a couple nights while I slept (we only had a studio so there was no living room). I didn’t really mind the Pembe Savannah view, because I LOVE Okapis and was excited to be on the side where I could view them. It’s a really beautiful resort, and the bathroom fans didn’t bother me in the slightest. I didn’t think they were loud at all.

  3. I appreciate your full review, but found that it dotes on rather inane complaints of subjective disagreement over in-room trivialities while completely ignoring amenities such as the pool and the AMAZING proximity to giraffes, zebras, and ostrich etc. that you get when you stay there. This is not meant to scathe, but rather prod for greater detail on what most visitors are there to experience. Life is full of the trivial, and I think this resort should be celebrated for what it does offer.

  4. We also stayed there in dec, we had that same view when we checked in, I called and asked for a different room, it took a little while but they were able to get us a new one on the sunset side, they even text me on my cell when it was ready as we had gone to lunch. I agreed with everything you said but you forgot to mention how high the beds were, my kids could not climb in by themselves. Also the 2 bedroom suite does not have enough seating in the living room, we had to pull the chairs from the bedrooms out.

  5. The quick serve options at Kadini definately need improvement. I have been told that you are able to get “sandwiches” at the pool bar but that doesn’t help for breakfast. For the size of the resort I’m really suprised they didn’t consider this when it was built. We stayed there in May and I see that since that time they have redone (improved) the bus stop area. Since May was a very rainy month (or the week we were there)you were soaking wet by the time you made it to the bus. I see that they have now covered the walkway and more of the bus stops themselves.
    Sanaa has definately turned into one of our favorite Disney restraunts. There is a server by the name of Kim that is outstanding. She really knows what is happening!!!

  6. Cast Members are told not to put down names, room numbers, or any personal information on the room key envelopes, just FYI.

  7. Hi Laura,

    I travel with a portable wifi base station. I used it on my last DVC visit and it worked fine. I plug it in to the jack on the wall and power then up to ten people can connect to it using password protection.

    Laura replies: That sounds like a really good idea – thanks!

  8. The second bathroom is brilliant! Why didn’t they think of it sooner! We had a similar setup in a one-bedroom at Bay Lake Tower last summer; made mornings run a lot smoother.

    Thanks for another great report!
    -Lori.

    Laura replies: They seem to have gone with that on all the newest resorts – Kidani, Grand Californian, Bay Lake Tower.

  9. Enjoyed your blog. We stayed in a studio at Kidani in November and one complaint I would agree with you on is the vent on the ceiling. The vent in the studio blew the cold air right on the Kitchenette are. Thankfully I am tall enough and closed the vent. Other than that are room was great.

  10. Really enjoyed your blog this morning. My wife and I stayed with our daughter and her family 12/5-12/13 in a two bedroom at Kidani with the Sunset view and it was excellent. We agree that Kidani could certainly use a quick service restaurant.

    Laura replies: Thanks Terry – glad you enjoyed the blog!

  11. Hi, Laura,
    I just couldn’t let one of your comments pass about Kidani Village — that you hope they don’t dumb-down Sanaa. Too late! By the time you visited in December, they had already made several items less spicy! Several of the curry dishes hardly taste of curry compared to when Sanaa first opened. The good news is, if you ask for it, they’ll add more spice as they prepare the food. Of course, most people won’t know to ask in advance.

    Laura replies: Thanks for the tip!