Which Part of Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas is better to stay in? 5

One of the recent questions posed by Grammy Grumpy in the Owning The Magic forum, the place to ask questions about the Disney Vacation Club on the PassPorter message boards, looked at the Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas, and whether it’s better to stay in Jambo House or Kidani Village.

The amazing lobby of Jambo House

I’ll say here that my view on this one is straightforward. To me, Jambo is head, and shoulders above Kidani. The reason I say that is simple, and I think some of that is to do with history. To me, Jambo will always be the real home of Animal Kingdom Lodge, probably because it was there first. I’ve never forgotten walking into that lobby for the first time, and being completely wowed by it. My eyes went up to the ceiling, and I was immediately impressed with what I saw. Everything in here was just stunning, and I was transported to a far away, magical place instantly. To me, it was a magical moment, and that’s what Disney is all about, isn’t it?

Kidani Village's lobby

Somehow, when I walked into Kidani for the first time, on its day of opening, as I was fortunate enough to be at Disney for that, it just didn’t have that much of an impact on me. Sure, I loved the drive up to it, as it helped to heighten the anticipation, just as Walt intended when the Magic Kingdom was first created. And the “welcome home” instantly made me feel at home, as a Disney Vacation Club Member, but it didn’t have the magnitude of Jambo House. For some people, that means it’s more intimate, but I felt that was a bit of a disappointment.

That continued when I explored one of the rooms that a friend was staying in. My goodness, what a hike I had in front of me to reach it! I had no concept of how far I would have to walk to get there from the lobby. It felt like it went on forever. Perhaps we’ve just lucked out at Jambo House, but I don’t ever remember experiencing such a lengthy walk over there.

I also felt as if Kidani was lacking facilities, compared to Jambo. Sure, it’s home to the wonderful Sanaa, but a second restaurant here wouldn’t go amiss for a foodie like me! I also found the shop there, Johari Treasures, a bit on the small side, compared to the magnificent offerings available in the lobby of Jambo House.

The Uwanja camp water play area - perfect for youngsters!

But let’s not be totally biased here. There is a lot that Kidani Village has going for it over Jambo House. The Samawati Springs swimming pool area, complete with an amazing water play area (Uwanja Camp) for younger members of the family, is really something, although personally I’d prefer it to be situated elsewhere, as I hate the idea of having to go through the lobby to get to it.

There’s certainly plenty to do at Kidani, with shuffleboard, basketball, and tennis courts, along with the wonderfully named Survival of the Fitness centre. That’s what you’d expect from a Disney Vacation Club resort, as I’d guess Members perhaps tend to spend longer at their resort than other guests, as they visit Disney more often than most other people.

The bigger studios at Kidani Village

Accommodations over in Kidani Village are significantly bigger than their cousins in Jambo House. Whatever the type of accommodation you choose, it will be the third biggest at Walt Disney World, behind the BoardWalk, and Old Key West, giving you lots of additional space. If you’re planning on getting the maximum number of people into a studio, one- or two-bedroom villa, or a Grand Villa, then that’s good to know.

Side view of the roof tops at Jambo House

So there’s plenty to think about whenever you’re staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas, with benefits to both Jambo House, and Kidani Village. You already know which my favorite is-so how about you?

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What Do You Think?

5 thoughts on “Which Part of Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas is better to stay in?

  • Lazanya

    Thanks Cheryl! I’m wanting to stay at AKLV for a future trip and was struggling to decided on Jambo or Kidani. I’ve never stayed at AKLV, so I’m not familiar with where to stay. This info really helps my decision!

  • Jan

    My daughter and her housemates stayed on our points in a 1BR villa at Jambo House this March. They loved being close to everything! Boma, the fire pit outdoors, the pool, the store, and that wonderful lobby were all nearby.

  • JulFromMD

    It really really depends on what you are looking for. Having stayed several times at both places, unless I’m staying Club level at Jambo (which is exceptional in its own right), I prefer Kidani. The noise is much less than it is at Jambo, so it provides for a more relaxing getaway. Since we tend to drive, parking is much better at Kidani (shorter walk to the car, and covered from the Florida sun or any “liquid sunshine”). We’ve traveled with kids (ours and others), and have really enjoyed the activities at Kidani–it seems that the pool party is better, and the free marshmallow roast at Kidani was tons of fun. Because we try to stay on the pool side, we don’t have to worry about walking through the lobby to get to the pool, but just go through the shaded underground parking and use the back entrance to the pool. Community Hall is a huge plus to Kidani as well, and I don’t know if Jambo does the DVD rentals that Kidani does, but that is a great added bonus. Although the room service at both locations is good, there are more unique offerings for Kidani’s room service (the paneer and spinach omelet for breakfast, the tandoori offerings at lunch/dinner, and the chai cream were all stand-outs on our last visit). That being said, I have no problem whatsoever staying at Jambo…any visit to the Animal Kingdom Lodge area is a good one in my view, and those hotels are my view for tops on property. 🙂

  • Goofyboysmama

    Great article! The only thing I would add is that the 1 bedroom villas at Kidani have 2 separate full bathrooms. We enjoyed our last trip having 3 boys being able to have the separate bathrooms and space (it’s huge!) The boys LOVED the Samawati Springs pool and Uwanja Camp – it was hard to get them to get out of the pool so we could go to the parks, lol.

    I think if you’ve never been to AKL, you should stay at Jambo House just because of it’s sheer beauty, wow factor, and dining choices. I think Kidani is great for the size of the rooms, the pool, you get to board the buses before it stops at Jambo House, and Sanaa is one of the best places I’ve ever eaten.