Review: Kidani Village at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas



By Dave Shute

OVERVIEW: KIDANI VILLAGE AT DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM VILLAS FOR FIRST TIME VISITORS

Review - Kidani Village from yourfirstvisit.net

Kidani Village at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas (a Disney Vacation Club resort) is a wonderful place for returning visitors to Walt Disney World to stay.

Review - Kidani Village at Disney's Animal Kingdom LodgeFor typical first-time visitors, I don’t recommend the Disney Vacation Club resorts.

That said, these “DVC” resorts can be a great choice for first time visitors with large families, needing extra sleeping spaces, or looking for a more comfortable place to stay.

Among the Disney Vacation Club resorts, Kidani Village ranks second or third, depending on room type.

THE DISNEY VACATION CLUB RESORTS

You can have a spectacular visit at any Walt Disney World resort. However, this site recommends that typical first time visitors to Walt Disney World avoid the Disney Vacation Club resorts, while noting that these resorts are wonderful for visits after the first. (You can find extensive detail on the DVC resorts here.)

Living Area Kidani Village Living Dining Kitchen from yourfirstvisit.net

The recommendation comes from the simple fact that the distinguishing feature of these resorts–extra space and full kitchens–will not be of much value to first-time visitors following one of the itineraries on this site, as they won’t be used much.

That said, the Disney Vacation Club resorts represent more than 10% of Walt Disney World’s total rooms, and are very appropriate for first time visitors with large families, needing extra sleeping spaces, or looking for a more comfortable place to stay.

Because of this, I’m providing a series of up-to-date reviews.

KIDANI VILLAGE AT DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM VILLAS

Resorts are ranked on this site for first time visitors based first on their kid appeal, and then on their convenience.

On this basis, Kidani Village at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas comes in third overall of the Disney Vacation Club resorts.

(See this for resort rankings.)

However, there’s a little variability here depending on room type and family size.  You’ll find more detail on this below, but the upshot is this:

Zebra Sunset Savanna Kidani Village from yourfirstvisit.net

Kid Appeal. Both of the Disney Vacation Club resorts at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge–Kidani Village and Jambo House–have stunning kid appeal based on the views of wild animals available from the balconies of rooms with savanna views, and from many public areas.

In addition, the Jambo House Villas have a jaw-dropping lobby.

Lobby Kidani Village from yourfirstvisit.net

Kidani Village has its own lobby.  While lovely and charming for adults, it simply does not compare to the kid impact of  Jambo house. (The image is from my December 2013 visit; your Christmas decorations may vary…There’s a view of the lobby windows at the top right of this page.)

Convenience. Both of the Animal Kingdom Lodge DVC properties are incredibly convenient to the Animal Kingdom theme park.  (You cannot walk there, however–buses or driving are the only options.) They are distant from the other three Walt Disney World theme parks.

Just as Jambo House is more kid-appealing, it is–in general–more convenient for first-time visitors than Kidani Village. Kidani’s basic convenience problem is poor access to quick-service dining.

Kidani Village from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

Kidani Village is a separate set of buildings on the Animal Kingdom Lodge campus, and does not have within it a quick service dining establishment.

 

Sunset Savanna Kidani Village from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

Because of the architectural layout–which is designed to maximize the number of rooms with savanna views–it can be more than a mile’s walk to the quick service eatery in the main Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House facility.

That said, some unique room features make Kidani Village a better choice than Jambo House for some first time family visitors–see the summary above, or the details to follow.

OTHER DISTINCTIVE FEATURES OF KIDANI VILLAGE RESORT

One Bedroom Villa Floor Plan Kidani Village from yourfirstvisit.netKidani Village has a number of very strong positives.

  • It is one of only a few Disney Vacation Club resorts that can fit 5 people in a One-bedroom villa, or 9 into a Two-Bedroom.  (See this for more on large families, and this for more on beds and sleeping spaces at Walt Disney World resorts.)
  • Along with Jambo House, it uniquely presents savanna views of animals roaming.
  • Changes it reflects to the recent layout of the typical Disney Vacation Club villas makes it among the most livable of DVC one bedroom villas.
    • The kitchen/dining/living room area has been both widened and deepened.
    • This space has been used to add both a second full bath to One-bedroom villas, and enough living space in the living room that it can be used even if the fold-out sleeper sofa is being used.
    • (These features carry over to two bedroom villas as well.)

Compare the Kidani Village’s One-Bedroom Villa floorplan (above) with that of a similar villa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa (below).

(Click the images to enlarge them.)

One Bedroom Villa Floor Plan Disney's Saratoga Springs from yourfirstvisit.netKidani Village also has some distinctive negatives, mostly already notedits distance from theme parks other than the Animal Kingdom, and its distance from quick service dining in Jambo House.

BEST AND WORST ROOMS AT KIDANI VILLAGE

For those seeking an Animal Kingdom Lodge Disney Vacation Club experience, for most room types, Jambo House is a better choice than Kidani Village.

  • Studio rooms: Prefer Jambo House, because of the stunning lobby and better access to quick service dining
  • One-bedroom Villas: Prefer Kidani Village, for a much more livable floorplan, with extra size and a bath for each sleeping space
  • Two-bedroom Villas:
    • Families that can fit into two queens in one bedroom, and a king in a second, should prefer Jambo House for its lobby and dining flexibility
    • Families that need to use the sleeper sofa and/or sleeper chair in the combined living/dining/kitchen space should prefer Kidani Village for its extra size and third bath
  • Grand Villas: Prefer Jambo House for more square footage, the kid appeal of the lobby, and more convenient dining

Kidani Village from yourfirstvisit.net (800x507)

If you do reserve Kidani Village, request a savanna view room on the third or fourth floor (these floors provides the best views).

  • If quick service dining is also an issue for you,  ask for a savanna view room near the Jambo House. Specifically, ask for a room near the Zazu elevator.  (The best of these are even numbered rooms 7338-7346 on the third floor, and 7438-7452 on the fourth floor.)
  • If quick service dining is not an issue,  request a savanna view room between the lobby and the elevator most convenient to the pool–the Rafiki elevator.  Even numbered rooms 7614-7622 on the third floor, and 7814-7820 on the fourth floor, are the best of these.

Map of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge from yourfirstvisit.net
The first map shows all of the Animal Kingdom Lodge complex–Kidani Village in on the left. Note how far the most distant Kidani rooms are from the center of Jambo House.

Map of Kidani Village at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas

The second map is Kidani Village itself. As always on this site, click the images to enlarge them.

BEST FOR:

Larger families, families seeking a bit of extra privacy or more beds, families looking for a more comfortable place to stay, families looking for particularly kid-appealing space.

WORST FOR:

Families on a budget, families looking for a particularly convenient place to stay.

PHOTO TOUR OF A TWO BEDROOM VILLA AT KIDANI VILLAGE

This review continues here!

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2 comments

1 Kaylene { 08.31.14 at 10:02 am }

Thank you for this review. Your timing couldn’t be any better. We are getting ready to rent DVC points for our Spring Break stay. We are traveling during a very busy week. We have been to WDW before and stayed at the WL pres week 2013 and CBR thanksgiving 2013. We are excited to stay at the AKL in a studio Savannah view. We have been trying to decide between Jambo vs Kidani. I like how convenient Jambo sounds but will the pool area be better at Kidani? We will be renting a car, if that makes any difference.

2 Dave { 09.03.14 at 7:50 am }

Kaylene, even with the car I’d do Jambo. The distance of the parking from the rooms gives little value to the car on the ground of AKL itself (that is for getting back and forth to Jambo from Kidani), and the pool difference–in my judgment–is not enough to overweigh all the other stuff Jambo offers.

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