Disney's Animal Kingdom DVC villas are divided into two different buildings known as Kidani and Jambo. As such, they have the unique
distinction of having two sets of completely different experiences built into them. We will tackle this by focusing first on the
things that are the same about these buildings and then we will discus the differences.
Both resorts feature a boomerang shape setup, with the inside facing an animal habitat (SAVANNA VIEW) where you can watch nature unfold on a wide open vista.
Savanna view rooms all offer balconies so you can wake up to amazing sights and sit with your coffee as the giraffes stroll by. It is an experience
and well worth the up-charge. All other rooms (STANDARD VIEW) feature views of the parking lots or pool areas. We should add that the STANDARD VIEW experience has its
fair share of animal experiences as well. The hallways all have views of the savanna area and there are tons of common sitting areas to enjoy the animals from
vantage points all over the resorts, especially the lobby areas. At night, make sure to check out the firepit in the center of the savanna where Disney provides
guests with free night vision goggles to do some fun zoological spying.
ITS ALL CONNECTED:
Unlike many DVC facilities, Animal Kingdom is more like a HOTEL then a village. There are two main wings that both connect with a
richly African themed lobby. As such, these are great resorts to visit if you have mobility problems or want to do very little walking. Go in a straight line and you
will pretty much get to where you want to be. Mobility impaired guests may enjoy Kidani better than Jambo as all of their parking is directly below the building rather
than spread out.
FAR FAR AWAY:
Animal Kingdom exists on the farthest point (resort wise) from the Disney themeparks (excluding of course Animal Kingdom park itself). You
are about 20 minutes drive away from MK, ECPOT and Hollywood Studios, as well as Disney Springs and the water parks. As such, we recommend this resort
for those with cars, because if you add the bus waits to that drive time, you will loose a significant chunk of time in transport.
Both resorts have zero entry, modern pools of high quality with the one at Kidani being slightly smaller, however, Kidani has a smaller crowd so it
evens out nicely. Ample kiddie splash areas are also provided. Jambo's pool area is a bit more open, with Kidani's being the more shaded of the two.
DVC OR NON-DVC:
Ok now we get to the differences. The Animal Kingdom villas were built in two phases. Jambo was the first to be constructed and
a large portion of it was built for normal hotel guests, not DVC guests, with a number of their rooms being DVC conversions. Kidani was built to be a DVC exclusive facility. You will therefore find Kidani
to be quieter on average, with a more members-only feel. The lobby is also a little smaller and compact, but that does offer a homey feel.
Kidani's rooms, built once again for the DVC program, are larger in comparison to their counterpart with a second bathroom in the one bedroom villas. They both
offer a dark wood motif that makes you feel like you are in a cabin.
This is the biggie. Although Jambo has plenty of food choices, Kidani has very few with NO QUICKSERVICE location. It is much like Old Key West in this
respect. There is an inter-resort shuttle to get you between the two facilities; however, when staying at Kidani, expect to eat off property most of the
time, which is what a lot of people do anyway.
Value and availability
: All Animal Kingdom Villa units are high on the value scale. You get a ton of room for the money. In fact, we would go
so far as to say Disney underpriced these resorts when they launched, a mistake they are not able to correct due to Disney Vacation Club rules.
Availability in recent years is becoming tighter with Jambo almost always harder to get then Kidani. If you are late to the
party, you WILL BE in Kidani, so bear that in mind mentally when planning a rental.
Distance to parks
: Animal Kingdom park is right next door. Everything else, look for a min of 20 min transport time. Only bus transport is
available here so the paid Minnie car service might be a good alternative.
Larger rooms make stays with larger parties easier, with Kidani offering much more room.
. To take advantage of the best animal opportunities avoid January as the animals need to stay in their enclosures during
the worst weather. For even more reviews check out this youtube video