Animal Kingdom Lodge
It doesn’t seem right to lump them together. To simplify things I’ve decided to focus on what Animal Kingdom Lodge as a whole has to offer with Dining, Entertainment, and, Cultural Exchange/ learning programs.
This article is going to be in Q&A format just to make it a little bit easier to cover the resort.
In two future articles we will talk about our accommodations and give an overall review of Jambo House and Kidani Village separately. Trust me all, this is really the best way to do it. Otherwise you would have a five page article to read. Let’s be real here…who has time to do that?!!!
Important things to know About Animal Kingdom Lodge
- This is also a Disney Vacation Club Resort.
Jambo House has both regular resort rooms and houses a small portion of Disney Vacation Club rooms.
Kidani Village is solely Disney Vacation Club. This doesn’t mean that you cant pay Disney cash to stay at Kidani Village, you absolutely can. It just means that you need to know what type of room you want to book. All rooms at Kidani Village will come with a small kitchenette, at minimum having a microwave, sink, and refrigerator. Click here to learn more about Disney Vacation Club.
- There is transportation between the two buildings. A shuttle runs about every 10 minutes. This can be found in the same spot where you would be dropped off by magical express. IT IS NOT WITH THE PARK BUSES. There is also a walking path you can take. It’ roughly a quarter of a mile.
- Kidani Village does not have a quick service location. Mara is the only quick service at Animal Kingdom Lodge.
- Sanaa does serve breakfast at Kidani Village with grab and go or sit down items.
What are the main differences between Jambo House and Kidani Village?
When Disney advertises Animal Kingdom Lodge they are usually talking about Jambo House. The majority of the dining options are located at Jambo House. In general, it’s much larger and grander than Kidani Village. Not to say that Jambo House is better, it just has more to offer in the way of dining, shopping and activities.
Kidani is very much a Disney Vacation Club property. The lobby is small and intimate. The gift shop, likewise, does not focus on souvenirs. The exception is Disney Vacation Club merchandise and some stuffed animals. This is where you go to buy snacks, refill drinks, get medications, ect..
Restaurants at Animal Kingdom Lodge
Mara is the quick service location for both buildings and is located at Jambo House. Luckily there is a shuttle that does run between Jambo House and Kidani village about every ten to fifteen minutes. For the sake of full disclosure I’m going to let you guys know about a conversation that we had with one of the shuttle drivers.
During our stay the buses for Magical Express and Disney Cruise Line were blocking where the shuttle needs to park to pick up guests. We were very surprised to see the employee for the DCL bus joke with the Magical Express driver about making the shuttle driver go around again. They did not do a loop and come back to us, they returned to Kidani Village and we had to wait another fifteen minutes to be picked up.
It took us thirty minutes to make it back to Kidani Village. Fortunately this only happened to us the once. However, the shuttle driver did let us know that this is a somewhat common occurrence happening a few times a week. Personally for us it wasn’t too big of a deal but we could see it being a major annoyance to someone with mobility issues that needs to rely on the internal bus system.
Boma is a buffet style restaurant also located at Jambo house. African influenced dishes are the focus here. This is a very popular restaurant so we recommend booking a reservation 180 days in advance. For more in-depth knowledge about the restaurant check out or Breakfast and Dinner Reviews.
Jiko is the signature restaurant at Jambo House. We have not yet had the luck to dine here but it is on our Disney Dining Bucket List. We have heard nothing but amazing reviews.
Sanaa is located at Kidani Village and is a wonderful place to grab lunch or dinner so you can look out at the Safari and see the animals! Where else on Disney property can you enjoy a meal and catch a glimpse of a Giraffe! For more details about Sanaa please continue over to our review here.
Cultural Experiences at Animal Kingdom Lodge
It amazes me that Disney doesn’t advertise this aspect of Animal Kingdom Lodge way more! At the hotel there is an activities board, and I’m very serious about this, you need to check it out!
First and foremost are the animal specialist! Children can complete a series of activities with the animal specialists and earn beads to make a pretty cool souvenir necklace. This is a great way to spend an education and fun packed day at the resort. (Check the activity board for details or feel free to ask the front desk)
Drum Circles are a big deal here. They have three outstanding musicians who explain what African music means and how the sounds are influenced by nature. Kaitlyn went to one of these and had a lot of fun!!! As a bit of a warning to the parents, some of the cast members are a bit more uptight than others. Some are fine with toddlers being loud and wanting to play but once we had to leave a drum circle because the main drummer was getting more than a little annoyed that Kaitlyn was having a hard time sitting still. He even scolded a seven year old who was way to tempted by the instruments. (This is an amazing education opportunity and even the adults learned a lot).
Food Tastings will occasionally happen at Boma or Jiko. Again you have to check that activity list in the lobby. This is a great way to give some of the food a try if you are unsure about committing yourself to a full meal with exotic cuisine.
Wood Carving happens nightly at Jambo house by the main entrance. This is so cool to watch. In a matter of minutes the wood carver is able to make something beautiful and unique. We’ve seen him pick out children who are watching him and carve their faces into staffs. Pretty neat experience for the little ones.
This is just a quick list of what is available for entertainment between the two buildings. For a much more in-depth look come back to see the individual review for Kindani Village and Jambo House.
At Animal Kingdom Lodge there are two pools, one at each building. Both pool areas have pool bars.
There is also a playground at Jambo House located by the Flamingos Pen.
Each property has Savannah overlooks, which is probably the easiest way to spend a lot of time.
There are also arcades located in both buildings as well as a gym.
Make sure to check back to see what exactly is available at each location in upcoming articles.