Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village – Worth the splurge?

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What's it like to stay in a $930 per night room at Disney World – besides expensive? Here's my full review of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village. Is it worth the splurge? Keep reading. 

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village – Worth the splurge?

Savanna View Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Image credit: Jill Robbins.

Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of Disney's deluxe resorts. Disney World has three resort levels – value, moderate, and deluxe. Read the breakdown here.

Two sections: Jambo House and Kidani Village

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge is divided into two sections: Jambo House and Kidani Village. Jambo House is the main hotel building and Kidani Village houses the Disney Vacation Club villas, which nonmembers can also book.  DVC villas have more space and enhanced amenities, such as split bathrooms, kitchen and laundry facilities, and more. Villas provide a more homelike environment than a hotel room. 

Walking between Jambo House and Kidani Village takes 10 to 20 minutes, depending on where your room is located. I've stayed at this resort four times and transportation between Jambo House and Kidani Village fluctuates. I've seen a dedicated shuttle between the two properties and I've also seen instructions at the bus bays directing guests to board a park bus that will get them from point A to point B. The staff at either resort will be able to direct you on how to get between Jambo House and Kidani Village if you don't want to walk. 

The lobby of Jambo House is truly majestic. The African theme is carried throughout the property but the Jambo House Lobby is larger than life. The Kidani Village Lobby decor mirrors Jambo House but the space itself is smaller and not as impressive. 

Kidani Village's lobby is a mini version of Jambo House. There's a gift shop directly off both lobbies. The Jambo House gift shop is much larger.
The indoor balconies and this bridge that goes across the lobby at Jambo House offer great views.
The exterior of Kidani Village

The whole resort is built around savannas that house animals like giraffes, zebras, and several species of deer and birds. The property is also home to several Okapi but they are more challenging to see because they're shy and they're housed in more remote areas of the savanna. You can inquire at the resort about special tours, both free and paid. The Senses of Africa Breakfast was outstanding and gave us plenty of time to see these rare animals up close. 

Fun picture spot!

Read more: The difference between Disney's value, moderate, and deluxe resorts.

The floor-to-ceiling windows at the rear of Jambo House lead out to the savannas.
Both lobbies have comfortable seating and a television playing cartoons. There's also a community room at Kidani Village that has cartoons, video games, a pool table, crafts, and more.

The location isn't ideal for visiting parks besides Animal Kingdom

The resort, which is located next to the Animal Kingdom theme park, is relatively far from the other parks. Plus, it's the only deluxe resort that doesn't offer an additional mode of Disney transportation beyond buses. Other resorts offer resort-to-park transportation via the Monorail, SkyLiner, or one of Disney's watercraft but if you stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge, it's the bus or nothing. 

The silver lining is there's plenty to do at the resort itself — making it an ideal choice for multigenerational groups where not everyone is theme-park focused.  The resort has two pools with pool bars and splash pads, game arcades, dining, gift shops, and organized activities, such as crafts and movies. There are also various tours of the property available. Resort activities rotate so check the schedule of activities when you arrive. 

If you're going to be doing all the long park days, I would reconsider staying here. It's expensive and if you're not going to be at the resort to appreciate it, spend your money elsewhere.

Our one-bedroom deluxe villa with a savanna view cost $928 a night

We booked a one-bedroom villa — which had a bedroom with a king bed and an en suite bathroom with jetted tub and separate shower. The couch in the living room converted into a bed and the main room had a separate full bath, which I've not found in any one-bedroom deluxe villa aside from Animal Kingdom Lodge. I love not having to share a bathroom with my kids. There's also a full kitchen stocked with basic cookware and dishes and a washer/dryer. The balcony overlooking the savanna had entrances from both the living room and the bedroom.

Seeing giraffes strolling by our room was very cool.

We had lots of room to spread out and we loved the savanna views. One of the big reasons to book this resort if you're taking a break from the park is to see the animals from your room balcony. All the animals will eventually come by but if you're busy in the parks, you'll miss it. 

Our spacious villa had a full kitchen. The couch makes a double bed and the chair made an additional bed. There's bar seating as well as a table that will seat four.

I'm a Disney Vacation Club member, so I purchase a set number of points each year that can be used at Disney Resorts, and that's how I paid for our villa. But the dollar cost per night is about $928. Your mileage will vary based on the time of year.  A standard room (two queen beds) with a savanna view goes for $678, on average. This is basically the same as any old hotel room with some lovely views and African-themed decor. Standard or pool-view rooms are cheaper, but the savanna views are 90% of the draw for us. I wouldn't pay the hefty rate to look at a pool or parking lot.

Our king bedroom was very comfortable. I love the Lion King touches on the headboard.

If you do opt for a cheaper room (non-savanna view) you can still see the animals from various viewing points around the property. 

Our master bathroom was huge. We also had a separate bathroom off the main living area, which I've not seen in any other one-bedroom villas. This is one of the reasons Animal Kingdom Lodge is our favorite resort to stay with our kids.

Sampling flavorful African- and Asian-inspired cuisine was the best part of our stay.

The food at Animal Kingdom Lodge is excellent but you need to be a little bit of an adventurous eater to appreciate things fully.  The “chicken fingers only” crowd can be accommodated but the menus are geared toward those who are willing to try new flavors. If you enjoy new food experiences, the scene here is unbeatable.

Boma is a buffet restaurant serving breakfast and dinner. It's a popular spot and always busy so make reservations.
The signature dessert at Boma is Zebra Domes. You can also buy them in the marketplace/gift shops at both Jambo House and Kidani Village.

The main Jambo House building houses Boma – Flavors of Africa, a buffet serving breakfast and dinner; Jiko – The Cooking Place, one of Disney's upscale dining experiences; and quick-service/grab-and-go options at Mara. The pool bar also serves food and the gift shop has a variety of snack food, and grab-and-go options. 

The burger at Sanaa is a little adventurous – it has spiced mustard, and goat cheese, and is served with seasoned chips.

The sleeper hit at Animal Kingdom Lodge is Sanaa at Kidani Village, the only restaurant at Walt Disney World with a savanna view. The mid-priced lunch and dinner menus are inspired by African and Indian cuisines. The food is delicious, especially its famous bread service with several dipping sauces, but the real wow factor is the view of the animals and grounds. 

Don't sleep on the bread service. It is the absolute best food at Disney World.

The Victoria Falls Lounge is open daily from 4:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. and overlooks Boma.

We're big fans of Boma breakfast. It has African-inspired breakfast dishes, fruit, pastries, yogurt parfaits, and the best thing? They have Simba waffles in addition to Mickey waffles.

One of the main draws of Animal kingdom lodge kidani village is the animals

The same is true for Jambo House. Opportunities for animal viewing are endless. There are several viewing areas around the resort with an animal expert always nearby to answer questions.

We did a guided viewing of the more remote Pembe Savanna, where we were treated to views of two okapis. If you are interested in doing this free tour, ask the front desk about availability.) We were told okapis can be too shy and elusive to be comfortable in the main savannas with the other animals, and it was a gift to observe them.

The elusive okapi, which is a relative of the giraffe
I always love watching the giraffes.

Was Animal kingdom lodge kidani Village worth it? For me, yes.

“Worth it” is relative. This is an expensive resort, probably one of the higher-priced resorts at Disney World. That said, I say staying at this resort – provided you get the savanna view and not the parking lot view – is worth the extra money. I've stayed in a handful of Disney's deluxe-level resorts and this remains my favorite. 

There are two pools at Animal Kingdom Lodge – one at Kidani Village and one at Jambo House. Pictured here, is Jambo House.

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