Animal Kingdom Lodge Review

We just got back from our latest trip and wanted to share our experience staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Kidani Village.
We booked a short 5 day trip to Disney World and we’re excited to stay savanna view at Kidani Village. We arrived at the resort around 9:30am and immediately hit the parks!! At 3:55pm we received a text stating our room was ready! We went to the front desk to ask for more details about the resort and how to get to our room. They just said, it was located on the 5th floor — all the way at the end and laughed. I was thinking, it must be a good view if were going to be all the way at the end. When we finally arrived to our room, after a fifteen minute walk, we opened the door to see a not so nice view. I wouldn’t even call it a savanna view… it was facing outward towards the woods, with a giant tree in the center of the view and a couple small buildings that looked like they were for maintenance. I wish we took a picture to share with you all, but we were just so disappointed we needed to try to get out of that room!
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We were on the 5th floor, all the way at the end where the red Mickey is located.
We were not happy with the view thinking this is not what we payed for! So I called the front desk and spoke with a women who wasn’t very willing to make a change to the room because she claimed they were fully booked (but it was an off peak time) and basically told me tough luck, some people get that view. This is not the Disney experience I know and have come to love. After talking with her for a few minutes and explaining that we had requested the Sunset Savanna on a lower floor, we were finally able to get switched to a different room. So we walked all the way to the other side of Kidani, hoping that the view was going to be significantly better.
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We were moved to the 2nd floor, on the opposite side of Kidani with Sunset Savanna View.

 

This is what we saw:
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It was breathtaking, beautiful and what we had originally expected! Within 5 minutes of unpacking, we looked out and saw giraffes walking by our room! It was incredible!!

As the week went on, we took breaks from the park to come back and sit on our balcony to enjoy the true savanna view! It was a great experience. The location of the room was perfect and the next time we stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge we will be sure to request the same location. You will notice that in the picture above, the giraffes are right by a tree that has a feeder. So throughout the day the giraffes would always come back to eat and we couldn’t get a better view if we tried! It was awesome.

Lobbies

Throughout our vacation we learned that both the Kidani Village lobby and the Jambo House lobby were about the same distance from our room. So we had multiple options for everything! They offer a complimentary shuttle between Jambo House and Kidani Village that runs every 5-10 minutes. Although for us it was quicker to walk on the path to Jambo House.

Pools

While we were there we went to the two pools on property. The Jambo House pool was our favorite because behind the pool area there were flamingos! I really enjoyed gazing over at the flamingos on our walk from the pool to the jacuzzi.

 

Dining

When we checked in, we weren’t told about any of the dinning options, or where we could refill our Disney mugs — so make sure you ask! We then walked to Jambo House for breakfast at Mara. Mara serves your typical Disney breakfast with a few African surprises. Brad and I ordered the breakfast platter and the egg and bacon croissant sandwich. Again it was your typical delicious Disney breakfast. After having breakfast at Jambo House we walked to the Kidani Village lobby where we met super helpful and amazing Lani! Lani is a DVC employee that works at Animal Kingdom Lodge. She is so knowledgable and had so many good tips and information to offer us. Lani reminded us how awesome and helpful Disney cast members can be. Lani told us that there was a quick service dining option  in Kidani  (for breakfast only). So the next morning we walked down to Sanaa and saw that they did indeed have both a grab and go and quick service options. The quick service option was awesome! You just order at the register and  when your meal is ready, a waiter will bring out your order. Since it is a quick service style breakfast, you can choose any table available. What is awesome about breakfast at Sanna is all the windows around the restaurant face the Savanna! So be sure to look out for the zebras, giraffes and an ostrich while you eat! We both had the breakfast platters and they were great. The eggs are made to order, so I got over-easy and Brad got scrambled. It was definitely a good value for breakfast. We also brought our mugs to fill up with coffee, and got a water for the drink that came with the meal (we did the quick service dining plan this trip).
We only had quick service breakfast at Animal Kingdom Lodge this trip, in the past we’ve ate at Boma and loved it. It’s a great buffet style option but is a little costly when not on the table service dining plan.
There are a few other dining options that are available, like Sanaa 9for lunch and dinner, and Jiko’s but we didn’t try them this trip. We did hear from another couple that Sanaa’s lounge area has the full lunch and dinner menu but also has happy hour prices and specials for their appetizers. The couple we talked with said they highly recommend it, so maybe next time we will check it out.

 

Buses

So to put it simply, we didn’t have good luck with the buses during our trip. On the first day, we waited over half an hour for a bus to Animal Kingdom. Typically the buses run every 20 minutes, so we must have just missed one and it ended up just taking longer than expected.
On the second day, we had breakfast and got to the bus stop at 8:20, because we wanted to get to Hollywood Studios for park opening. Since it is only a 10 minute drive we definitely thought we would have enough time to make it. I guess we were wrong! We waited over an hour for a bus to Hollywood Studios. I personally think that it’s unacceptable to be waiting over an hour for a bus, during the parks opening hours. No one was able to tell us why the bus wasn’t coming or where it was. We tried to be hopeful and wait but after an hour, we decided to go talk to someone at the front desk. They offered to get us a cab to the park. Thankfully they paid for that, but still we didn’t end up getting into the park until 45 minutes after it opened. So when we arrived at Hollywood Studios we complained to guest services about our bus experience. Guess services then issued us a fast pass for Rockin’ Rollercoaster because that was the ride we were trying to go on at park opening. I feel bad for everyone else who were waiting for the bus when we left. I hope everyone was able to arrive at Hollywood Studios to enjoy the rest of their morning.
The rest of the trip we were so worried about the bus schedules we ended up just taking an Uber everywhere. Uber wasn’t too expensive. Each Uber ride we took varied between  $6-$8. I feel that the buses come more frequent when you are at a non DVC resort such as Pop Century or Allstar Sports, which is crazy! I truly hope they improve the bus system at the Animal Kingdom Lodge for everyone that stays there in the future.

Overall

We recommend this as a great place to stay, but would suggest to be prepared to wait for the buses. When we go back to Animal Kingdom Lodge, we plan on renting a car so that we don’t have to wait for the buses. Also, remember to be very specific when reserving your room and continuing to call and make sure that you are getting the location that you requested.

We suggest you request to stay on the right side of Kidani Village in the second building from the end with Sunset Savanna view on the second floor. Its a perfect location to go to both Kidani Village lobby and Jambo House lobby which gives you a lot more options and it has a wonderful view with a lot of very lively animals.

And remember, if you don’t get what you asked for or are unhappy — speak up! No one knows you have concerns unless you speak with them. They will just sprinkle some pixie dust and magically everything will be made right!


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