Reviews of Animal Kingdom Lodge KIDANI Village (Disney Vacation Club)
Reviewed by TeacherManJoe Review Date: 05/31/2022
Rating: (9) Recommended
We were gifted a stay at Kidani Village by a family member who is part of DVC, and holy moley.
Wowowowowow, Animal Kingdom Lodge is breathtaking in a host of ways.
Our room here in Kidani Village was just fantastic. We got a Savannah view, with sights of Zebras and Okapi outside our balcony. The bathroom was immaculate, with a beautiful huge bathtub, an excellent shower, and high quality kitchen and living area as well. As for the resort itself, we largely could NOT have been happier!
Firstly, the obvious: Having a full-on Savannah on property is just mind-blowing. With many of the animals you get to see on the Kilimanjaro Safari in the park, BUT AT A FREAKING RESORT, you’re in for a treat whether you are staying here or just visiting. Add the fact that you have the option (if you’ve got the moolah) to have a Savannah-view room and wake up to Giraffes (my favorite) hanging out near your window and you’ve got a unique experience you won’t find anywhere else. (We don’t personally have the moolah for this, but were given a VERY nice wedding gift of a stay here, and it was breathtaking). Pro-tip: There is a nighttime safari offered here at AKL that is AWESOME if you get the chance. We were gifted this by a cousin during our stay and you get to go around the Savannahs at the lodge with night vision goggles and learn more about the animals up close and personal in a safari vehicle and it was just DOPE!
Next, as if you needed more, the actual theming here is beautiful. From the insanely beautiful lobby, with African art, carvings, and cultural representations throughout (and that bridge!), to the theming inside of the rooms, the theming here is top-notch and up there as the best on property.
Then there is the dining! With two of the better restaurants in all of Disney World (Jiko and Sanaa), as well as a delicious option in Boma as well, the dining at Animal Kingdom Lodge is arguably unrivaled by most other resorts. Whether just coming here to dine at one of these or dining at one as part of a stay at the resort, you get lots of the greatest parts of the resort included in your dining experience.
Now, the ONE reason why I review AKL as a 9 instead of a 10 out of 10 is because of distance. When we stayed here, we were in a room that was quite far from the lobby. As such, to get to the buses each day and back to our room involved quite a long walk. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but after a long day of Disney walking, it definitely was not ideal. Additionally, AKL is pretty far from most of the parks, with the exception of Animal Kingdom of course, and so bud rides to and from the parks were typically 30 minutes or more. Again, not necessarily deal-breaking. However, this was a bit of a bother as people who like to spend as much time in the parks as possible.
All in all though, AKL is a resort that I would consider one of the most unique in Disney, and arguably one of the most unique you will find ANYWHERE. Between the top-notch amenities, the excellent dining, and the beautiful theming throughout, this is a resort well worth the Deluxe price tag if you can afford it (again, even though we cannot normally). The distance, both walking and transportation, does affect the experience just a bit. However, it is not enough to completely ruin what is otherwise a near-perfect resort experience.
As a sidebar: I experienced one of the most beautiful Cast Member “magic moments” in the gift shop here that I have ever seen in Disney or my life in general. I know that these happen every day and all around the parks and resorts, but the fact that I saw it here will always stick with me.
Pros:Simply breathtaking in theming, dining, and the inclusion of a Savannah AT THE RESORT Well worth the premium price tag Top-notch service
Cons:Distance from everything, both walking to the lobby, and bussing to the parks While worth it, this is an expensive resort
Reviewed by Hodsonfamilyof5 Review Date: 03/17/2022
Rating: (10) Recommended
Our home and absolute favorite resort! The staff is amazing and so helpful and I almost cry every time we arrive and I see those lanterns up front. The rooms are beautiful and spacious and you can't beat the extra toilet in a 1 bedroom villa. The master bathroom is HUGE with a water closet. Sana'a is right downstairs. The resort is off the beaten path so you don't have the large crowds in your resort like you do at resorts right by the parks. The animals are amazing to watch in the morning with your coffee. I have offered our family to stay at other resorts and Kindani is always their #1 pick.
Pros:The animals, staff, and food is amazing. Low crowds from the parks. The African artifacts around the resort are interesting and educational. The parking below the resort is the best: a short walk and elevator ride and you're at your room. The pool was just refurbished. The transportation was reliable (bus only).
Cons:It takes a little longer to get to the parks.
Reviewed by Bonn Review Date: 03/10/2022
Rating: (6) Not Recommended
Would not stay here again
Pros:Nice outdoor area, highly rated restaurant
Cons:Thin, thin, thin walls. I heard the people in the room next to me. I didn’t pay for the safari view, and heard music and cars a lot in the middle of the night. I have stayed at Grand Floridian, Boardwalk, Caribbean, Coronado Springs, and the campground over the years. Always felt the Disney Magic at those. Not here.
Reviewed by magicallymorgan Review Date: 02/21/2022
Rating: (10) Recommended
Stayed here for the first time on our last trip and wow, this resort is beautiful! Love the theming throughout the hotel - the lobby is breathtaking, even in comparison to the grandeur of Jambo House. So many great places to sit and watch the animals in the savannas and just relax. Also, all of the food here is amazing!
Pros:Beautiful theming, great view of animals, many good food options nearby at Jambo House
Cons:Far away from everything but DAK
Reviewed by OrangeFigment Review Date: 02/07/2022
Rating: (9) Recommended
I surprised my wife for her 30th birthday with a stay in a 1 bedroom savannah view room. I had requested a room close to the lobby, which pro tip, really cut down on our walk back from the bus stop at the end of the day. The room was gorgeous. We both loved the small Lion King touches in the room. Much better than the unfortunate Incredibles explosion that happened to the Contemporary. Also, the jacuzzi tub you get in the 1 bedroom is a great thing to take advantage of after a long park day. Compared to other resorts we have stayed at Kidani village felt like a much calmer and quieter experience. It feels like a museum compared to something like the main tower at the Contemporary when Chef Mickey's is open.
If you have the money to stay in a savannah view room, DO IT! There is nothing quite like waking up on a resort day, sitting on your balcony, and watching zebras, giraffes, and so many more animals walk right by you to have their breakfast. Another thing people might not take advantage of are the cast members. They were a wealth of knowledge on the animals and we were able to learn so much from them.
Unfortunately, Kidani is a bit of a hike from Jambo House, which is where most of your dining and shopping options are at Animal Kingdom Lodge. There is a complementary shuttle that picks up in front of Kidani's lobby to take you to Jambo House, but if you are in a rush to make a reservation at Boma or Jiko that can still impact your day. Johari Treasures at Kidani is small, but if you are looking for your zebra dome fix they can fulfill that for you. Zawadi Marketplace is much larger and will have more AKL specific merch if that is what you are looking for. You should also try to fit Sanaa and their bread service into your day. It is a great place to eat and you are able to see the animals on the savannah while you eat. The biggest downside is probably that you are limited to just buses out at AKL, so just be aware of that. Don't show up expecting to jump on the monorail or skyliner.
Pros:ANIMALS, quieter than other choices
Cons:Distance from Jambo House, transportation
Reviewed by Anonymous Review Date: 01/22/2022
Rating: (6) Not Recommended
I wouldn’t stay here again. My partner and I booked a 1BR Savannah View for two nights only because we decided to extend our trip before we had even arrived and that was all that was available. Before arriving we had spent three nights at Wilderness Lodge King Bed Club Level and five nights at Beach Club Water View (unfortunately the club level was closed due to Covid) and I highly recommend both resorts and Beach Club has been my go to resort since I was a child. Upon arriving I was warned by my parents and DFB that kidani was spread out and could be a haul but when we grabbed our bags from bell services we decided to carry them ourselves which was a mistake. We were located on the third floor in room 7763 which is about a half mile from the resort lobby and while I’m not averse to walking it makes everything from refilling your mug to the end of the night walk a burden. And that room wasn’t even the furthest you could be from the lobby. The closest quick service is located in Jambo house and is roughly a mile away from our room and while you could get pool food that wasn’t much better. I know most people choose villas to cook their own food but for my partner and I who prefer eat out on vacation this was a big enough hurdle that it required careful consideration on if it was worth it. The room itself was nice, spread out and good for a family. Appliances were standard, nothing fancy and the large bathroom with jacuzzi tub was a plus. The Savannah view however was severely disappointing. Our room was located next to two Savannah’s so we were looking at a gated fence with a small zoo enclosure to our right and a large fenced in access road running behind it. The view was more fitting a local park zoo and was quite depressing. I’ve always found zoos depressing and appreciated Disney’s efforts to simulate natural environments and go the extra mile in caring for their animals. This view shattered that impression. While I’m sure the road was necessary and the animals are well cared for this view was more fencing than animals and it was offensive they sold this as a Savannah room. The one animal that would appear was one sad Zebra who would eat hay placed on a piece of particle board. Not quite the natural environment touted by Disney unless restrictive Fencing and plywood occurring naturally in Africa and I’m unaware. I know some people next door were thrilled with this view and my loud complaining on the phone to may have put a damper on things but they should demand more of Disney, especially when paying that much. I heard the rooms there are around $900-$1200 depending on season and for the folks who save for years just to take their family on a once in a lifetime trip only to get this view should be upset as well as those who bought into DVC only to get a store brand Jambo house. Side note - the buses never bother me and I feel they’re very quick but the buses didn’t seem as frequent as they are at other resorts, not really a problem just an observation.
Pros:Clean Space, Large bathroom, Subtle Lion King decor
Cons:Long walk to get anywhere, Small mostly cage “savannah”
Reviewed by PegP Review Date: 01/05/2022
Rating: (9) Recommended
We absolutely love AKL Kidani. You just can't beat the ambience. You can see animals many of the windows, & a savannah view is definitely worth the extra money. There's nothing like waking up in the morning and seeing zebras and giraffes out your window. And the lobby is breathtaking.
Pros:Very peaceful & relaxing ambience. Can sit and watch giraffes, zebras, and other animals from the viewing area or your room (with a savannah view). The lobby is breathtaking. Between Jambo House & Kidani, AKL has the largest display of African art outside of Africa. Zebra domes! Yes, you can buy zebra domes in the gift shop at Kidani!
Cons:The buses. AKL is far from the parks, except for Animal Kingdom. The buses to Disney Springs are the worst. There's not really any place to eat at Kidani. You have to take a shuttle over to Jambo House or a bus to Disney Springs.
Reviewed by Anonymous Review Date: 10/04/2021
Rating: (8) Not Recommended
A friend and I stayed here from 9/20 to 9/25 in a 2 bedroom/3 bath Villa on the 3rd floor. We were actually expecting my son and his family to join us, which is the reason that I booked the larger Villa, but unfortunately due to work obligations, they weren\\'t able to join us. We are not DVC owners, but we were able to rent the points for a fantastic deal!! I felt bad that my son couldn\\'t join us because this was his dream resort. As many people have stated, the lobby is gorgeous, but much smaller and more personal than Animal Kingdom Jambo.
On my past trips to Disney we have stayed at Fort Wilderness Cabins a few times with my husband and when my 4 children were younger (Loved, Loved, Loved the cabins!!!), came back again in 2017 for the first time in many years with my son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren and stayed at Art of Animation 3 separate times in a family suite and got very spoiled with the 2 bathrooms and since I had become an annual pass holder, I came back one Fall with a friend and stayed at All Star Movies. Was a little hesitant on that Value resort, but for $798 for 7 days at the end of September, it was a steal!! And I actually very much enjoyed my stay there. Many pools available to swim in, as well as the fact that I could refill my refillable cup all night long at the food court stations. When I am at Disneyworld, I am so excited that I sleep very few hours, so being able to refill my cup at any time was very nice. I also was able to do that at AoA. There was another year our family came down and stayed at a gorgeous golf resort outside of Disney, and although it was an amazing resort and our room was like a mansion, I very much Ed missed being in that Disney bubble, I missed chitchatting with other Disney fans in the pool/bar areas and so I would never suggest anyone to stay off property because it is just not the same...no matter how fancy of a place. Absolutely not the same experience as staying on Disney property. So don\\'t do it!!!
I mention all of the above so that I can be helpful on giving you my perspective on staying at this deluxe Disney resort. So that you realize that I have mostly stayed value resort, although FW cabins are considered moderate and AoA suites are really more than just Value resorts. And I may have tempted fate when I told my friend that we should have no problem getting right into our room although we arrived at 11am. I was wrong. This was the first time I have ever arrived at Disney and had to wait for room. And in the past, when we drove down, we would arrive at 5 or 6 in the morning and our room was always ready! Even with a 3pm check in. I also didn\\'t feel the excitement from the people working at the front desk as I normally feel, but I realize these are different times with Covid and they probably had a shortage of staff, so they weren\\'t super perky and helpful, but they were very nice, but I get it!! And I did my best to understand that that they were probably tired and putting in long hours. But I had gotten off a plane from Ohio, wearing long sleeves,and I was ready to change clothes! But we walked around the resort as we waited for room to be ready, found the pool area, found an amazing pool bartender that suggested a drink that wasn\\'t on the menu( Hakuna Colava), walked back to Savannah area to watch the animals and a very helpful young man answered all of our questions about the animals, back to air conditioned lobby, just waiting for room to be ready. I went up to front desk around 3:30 to inquire about room, mentioned I was a bit disappointed that we only found 1 not very large pool( I am used to numerous pools at other resorts), she was helpful, got on phone, our room was almost ready, being inspected. So we waited...
About 15 minutes later I received text that our room was ready, we were very excited! On 3rd floor, room 7746. Well.......that Trek to our room once we got off elevator took FOREVER!!! I mean FOREVER!!! I timed it one night. It was a 4 minute Trek....and we both walk fast, so that was a bit disturbing.
As for the room.....it was amazing! And HUGE!! So much closer space! Dresser space! Plenty of hook ups for phones, etc....Bathrooms were amazing! We only used 2 out of the 3 bathrooms. So much space in the bathrooms!!! Nice to have the washer and dryer. Kitchen was fully stocked with what we needed. We bought bagels and cream cheese from gift shop for late night snacks. Coffee was a Mr coffee with plenty of supplies( not Keurig). Balcony was AMAZING!!!! 3 lengths long ( master bedroom, living area, 2nd bedroom), plenty of animals outside at all times. That part was pretty impressive!!! Loved just watching the animals! At night, it was hard to really see, but you could hear them clashing their horns together, etc..... Very nice experience.
I notice that alot of people don\\'t seem to like time spent on the buses. But to me, that is all a part of the Disneyworld experience, so for me, transportation is just a part of the experience. Whether it\\'s a chance to get to know people, fellow Disney Lovers, I have never actually timed how long it gets from here to there because I enjoy the experience so much...and the people that I meet. You are not always going to be able to meet people, some people just like to stay quiet on the voyage to whatever park we are going to, but if you just ask questions, people open up. We are on this adventure together. And we all love Disney, so the transportation is all a part of my excitement. It doesn\\'t matter to me how long it gets from here to there.
Now....with all that being said, you probably want to know my actual take on Animal Kingdom Kidani.
Honestly, I met some amazing other Disney lovers around pool areas( both Kidani and Jambo), but as I told my son, I never want to go back there. If you are looking for a nice large room, this is a good place. But if you have walked the parks all day long and dread getting dropped off at your resort because you know it will be a quarter if a mile hike down long boring corridors/hallways, this isn\\'t your place The value resorts may be large, but at least the hike back to you room isnt boring.
And need I mention the gift shop that closes early? ( Can\\'t refill your refillable cup). Even by the Pool I waited one morning to be able to fill my cup but they didn\\'t open the drink station until 10am!I will still be on the lookout for other deluxe 2 bedroom/2 bathroom resorts at Disney to stay at. I am looking more towards Boardwalk or Beach Club since they are in the middle of Epcot and HS. I am really happy that I was able to at least experience Animal Kingdom Kidani. Met some wonderful people, mist DVC owners so I was able to hear their thoughts, which was helpful, but I will probably never stay here again unless it is close to FREE. my son will be disappointed, he actually Already bus because I have already told him I don\\'t plan on going back to Kidani
Pros:Savannah view, many animals
Cons:Longggggghh Trek to room after spending all day in parks, forget trying to refill your refillable mugs because small gift shop never opens early enough and is closed once you get \\'home\\'.
Reviewed by PJgrrl10 Review Date: 07/18/2021
Rating: (9) Recommended
This resort is our home away from home. We love the authentic African ambiance and, of course, the amazing savannahs. Sanaa is an amazing plus to this resort. The restaurant's food is delicious and the view of the savannah is breathtaking. Jambo House is just a walk or shuttle ride away, too! Jambo's restaurants are must dos for our family, Boma and Jiko are tremendous.
Pros:The ambiance, the beautiful animals, the top-notch cast member interactions, the food, the pool area, and did I mention the food?
Cons:Magic Kingdom is almost a 30 minute bus ride away. In fact, other than Animal Kingdom, theme parks aren't super convenient. My family loves the feeling of being out of the hustle and bustle of busier areas but some may find the commutes to the theme parks annoying. This is the only reason this resort is not a 10!
Reviewed by Anonymous Review Date: 06/21/2021
Rating: (4) Not Recommended
5 star prices for a 2 star motel room