Kidani Village, opened in 2009, is the little brother of Jambo House, at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Jambo House was initially all hotel rooms before the demand for Disney Vacation Club (DVC) rooms expanded two of their floors to DVC suites and Kidani Village was built, comprised of entirely all DVC rooms.
I have previously stayed at Jambo House before Kidani Village and fell in love with it – the majestic lobby, the aromas from Boma and Jiko, the wide savannahs and the feeling of being in another world, far away from Fast Passes and Dole Whips. But I digress and daydream of better days at Jambo House. But then again, that was pre-kids.
Kidani Village is a beautiful resort but it lacks something. Kidani is a scaled down version of Jambo House. Everything is smaller -the entrance, lobby, gift shop, pool, savannahs. The beautiful windows are there but lack the majestic feeling Jambo House has. Although Kidani has its own sit-down restaurant, Sanaa, aromatic spices were missing in the lobby.
The savannah viewing areas are smaller but still lovely; we often saw five zebras roaming around (among other animals). The savannah can be viewed from Sanaa, indoor/outdoor sitting areas on the lobby floor and from large hallway windows. There is also a smaller fire pit at the main viewing area.
The pool at Kidani, while smaller than Jambo House, is less crowded and boasts an awesome play area. While guests of Kidani have the option to use the pool at Jambo House, it’s a 10-15 minute walk. After one visit to the very crowded noisy pool at Jambo House, we designated Kidani’s pool as our go-to. Although my daughter, 15 months, was hesitant to play in the kiddie area, it is a fun option for children with in-ground water fountains, a mini waterfall and water cannons.
The accommodations at Kidani in a Studio are not very different than your average room at a moderate or value resort. The differences were a small kitchenette with microwave, fridge and sink, and a pull-out sofa and bed as opposed to two beds. The rooms are neat, clean and in the theme of being in Animal Kingdom with hidden Mickeys scattered throughout.
My major gripes about Kidani are the lack of a quick-service eatery and it’s proximity to everything. As previously mentioned, there is one table-service restaurant on-site that serves lunch and dinner. If you want a quick service meal you will need to hike it over to Jambo to Mara, which is great but not conveniently located for Kidani guests. If you plan on staying at Kidani I would recommend having groceries delivered to skip the trip to Mara and save on spending at the parks.
With the exception of Animal Kingdom (a quick 5-minute bus ride), all of the parks are between 20-30 minutes away. Add that onto your waiting time for a bus with a screaming baby and a bus ride becomes miserable. With our need to head back to our resort for a mid-afternoon break, we must be closer to the parks next time.
Overall, it is still a beautiful resort and I much rather be there than in New Jersey waiting for snow! However, due to the lack of quick service dining and distance to the parks we would probably not stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge again.
Danielle Netta is the newest addition to WDW Hints! Danielle is a new DVC member who has been traveling to Walt Disney World since the 70s! She previously was a regular writer for DisneyWorldTrivia.com and has a been a featured writer for AllEarsNet.com. Danielle dreams of one day being a Jungle Cruise Skipper!