10 Amazing Things About Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge & Kidani Villas

There is no other resort on Walt Disney World property that can match the experience you can have at Animal Kingdom Lodge and Animal Kingdom Villas-Kidani. The main building is called the Jambo House and it opened mid-April, 2001. Here are 10 amazing things that we just can’t get enough of at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge!


10. Sports Amenities

The Sports Amenities include an Arcade, Basketball, Children’s Activity Centers, Pool Tables, Shuffleboard, Tennis and the Survival of the Fittest Fitness Center found in the Villas at Kidani Village. There are plenty of opportunities here to stay in shape during your vacation.

9. The Atmosphere

This thatched roof resort with its hand-carved column is impressive from the first sight! When you come through the front doors you enter into what appears to be a four-story lobby. You are actually entering on the third floor of the resort. You may want to sit in one of the large comfortable hand-carved chairs as you take it all in. Several times a day you can hear African drum music performed live. The thatch roof connects with large beams and wood poles lashed together. There is a large mud fireplace and huge floor to ceiling windows on the far end that looks out onto the Savanna. The Kidani Villas lobby has real African artifacts and similar structures but not as big and open as the main lobby. There is a lobby gift shop and grab ‘n go items available at The Mara.

8. The Lounges

There are several lounges across this vast property, beginning at the top with Cape Town Lounge and Wine Bar adjacent to Jiko where you can sit in a smaller room enjoying a bottle of wine or even order from the Jiko menu in this cozier dining room. Victoria Falls Lounge sits above Boma and the waterfall that cascades down to the Boma entrance. Enjoy African beers and wines as well as international cocktails with light snacks. There is a fire pit outside that you may enjoy on cooler evenings. The Sanaa Lounge is adjacent to the Sanaa Restaurant. The Sanaa lounge offers African appetizers and a nice list of beers, wine and cocktails. There are two pool bars to enhance your vacation slow down efforts. The Uzima Springs Pool Bar sits beneath a large thatched roof structure that offers African beer, Wine, Sangria, sandwiches, snacks and other frozen drinks. Maji Pool Bar has a nice selection of draft beers, one of which has become a true guest favorite: Safari Amber. Draft beer also comes by the pitcher in this quiet pool bar area. There is some food service that includes salads, sandwiches, snacks, desserts, and fruit choices. While enjoying a nice beverage at Animal Kingdom Lodge you can also enjoy views of the magnificent animals that surround the resort.

7. Disney Vacation Club Property

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas in Kidani Village are just stunning. This is a Disney Vacation Club property but if they have accommodations available regular guests can enjoy them. Choose from Deluxe Studios that sleep up to four adults, 1-bedroom Villas that sleep up to five adults, 2-bedroom Villas that sleep up to 9 adults. The amenities include small kitchens with a toaster, microwave, coffee maker, wet bar and refrigerator. Add a more luxurious bathroom, granite bar with stools, larger refrigerator, full stove and oven, and larger sink with accommodation’s larger than the Deluxe Studio. The outer building offers views of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. DVD players, hair dryers, in-room safe, and iron and ironing board are of course standard. This resort will feel like “home” as soon as you walk in. Caution: you may not want to leave!

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6. Activities for Children

The activities for children are some of the very best at Walt Disney World and include the arcade, nightly Disney Movies Under the Stars, playgrounds, two large swimming pools, kiddie pools, water play areas, and Community Hall. Animal Kingdom Lodge has one of the best to offer on those “rainy days” that hit central Florida. The Community Hall at the Villas give your family an opportunity to play together a variety of games, make crafts, watch TV and even check-out books or DVD’s from a library section.

5. Spectacular Swimming Pools 

The Uzima pool that is 11,000-square feet in size, offers zero-entry and a 67-foot long water slide. Enjoy a drink at the pool bar or a dip in the hot tub at the end of a long evening. Enjoy both the Uzima Pool and the Samawati Springs Pools. The Samawati Springs pool is located at the Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas-Kidani! They have a 128-foot waterslide, zero entry, and 4,700 square feet of water fun. This area provides additional water play areas by age in the Departure Zone.

4. The Animals!

30 species of wild African Animals surround you! Wake up, look out your window and you will find animals such as giraffes, zebras, gazelles, kudu, or flamingos. What other resort includes a Wildlife Field Guide in their resort room? This resort provides an array of special experiences for its guests. Start with that Field Guide and look for each species. During the after-dark hours visit the lobby for a pair of night vision binoculars to see where the animals look like and where they go. Guests of the resort can sign up for a special program led by a Disney Animal Specialist. For the ultimate in animal encounters reserve your space in the Wanyama Safari & Dinner available only to Animal Kingdom Lodge and Kidani Villas. The animal experiences and multiple course dinner are truly special.

3. Resort Rooms

The resort rooms are exceptional. Guests who stay in a Walt Disney World Deluxe Resort expects a certain level of service and décor. Animal Kingdom Lodge will not disappoint you. The rooms could not be any cozier and they provide that cooling relaxing haven you seek at the end of a busy day in the parks. In fact you may find yourself retreating to your room and skipping a park altogether. The standard room overs your choice of two queen sized beds or one queen and a bunk bed, or one king-size bed and a day bed. These choices give you the opportunity to choose the beds that fit your party. The beds are covered with comfortable white linens with a splash of dark red, orange, and tan in the coverlet and accent pillows. The beds are carved wood that matches the dresser/TV stand, table and chairs, mirror and daybed (if you chose that room configuration). There is a ceiling fan, large curtains at the sliders to the balcony. The light fixtures and draped mosquito netting add to the ambience of the room. There is a small refrigerator in each room and a coffee maker. The bunk beds are twin-size versions of the larger bed in the room with their own lighting. The clock radio will help keep you on schedule. The ceramic bath/shower area has colorful accent tiles and special lighting with makeup mirrors and upscale bathroom necessities. There are several styles and views for you to choose from. Maybe you need a two-bedroom Club level suite that gives you the ultimate in care and comfortable bedrooms, living room, dining room and kitchenettes. The 2-bedroom suite can sleep 8 adults. Where else can you walk out onto your balcony and observe the giraffes, zebras, and other wild animals?

2. Dine with Animal Specialists

Perhaps you want to take a step up in your dining experience and reserve a Dine with Animal Specialists Sanaa lunch. While enjoying a 4-course lunch a Disney Animal Specialist will teach you about the animals, their care, research about them, and conservation efforts by the Walt Disney Company. This lunch is limited to 12 guests. Following lunch you will accompany the Animal Specialist outside to a featured animal encounter. Your purchase includes a $5.00 donation to the Walt Disney Conservation Fund. Guests must be at least 8 years old and anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years old.

1. Excellent Dining Options

You will find a variety of dining choices an award-winning dishes. Jiko-The Cooking Place is a Disney Signature Dining location. The flavors of Africa provide the backdrop to this dining experience that will tantalize all your senses. When you see the dining room you could be entering just as “sunset” begins. The lighting provides a palette of gold, orange and red hues to provide the colors of an African sunset. Watch the chefs in the open-air kitchen prepare your food. After dinner take a leisurely walk outside to see the animals, or get a pair of night vision binoculars to see the animals in a different light. The presentation of your meal will please your eyes. Moving on you will experience the smell of the spices as the food is prepared, and a bit from the wood-burning ovens. Being a Signature Restaurant you do have a dress code so here you are in some of your best vacation wardrobe, enjoying the comfortable dining room that you scored a reservation for 180-days ahead. Now we come to “taste”-don’t miss trying the Jiko Wine Flight and selection of cheeses. For your meal you may select from steak, seafood, chicken, vegan, vegetarian dishes prepared in a traditional African way. The combination of fresh ingredients and spices produce a unique dish that will delight your taste buds. The menu changes seasonally also to keep the dishes fresh. Let’s explore some more dining by visiting Boma- Flavors of Africa. You will notice the lengths the Disney Imagineers went to in providing a space that appears to be a busy marketplace in Africa. You sit under colorful rugs hanging from the ceiling or you may find yourself under a thatched roof canopy. Take in the view through the floor to ceiling windows. The tantalizing dinner buffet includes American food and African-inspired dishes to please everyone in your party. On the African dish side you can sample dishes from 50-different African countries. You will see chefs preparing dishes in the open kitchen and have meat carved to your specifications at the carving stations. Boma is a big favorite dining destination so get your reservations early in your vacation planning process. Boma also serves a breakfast buffet that is sure to please even the hungriest guest. Sanaa is known for having East African dishes in a spice market setting. Indian breads and a trio of accompaniments to dip your bread in starts your meal. Select slow-cooked meats or a sampler platter to enjoy for your meal. Beverages both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions give you plenty of choices to pair with your meal. African Starr Mojito is a big guest favorite, also sold at the Dawa Bar in Animal Kingdom Park. Through the windows you may spot several wild animals and birds in the savanna outside. The Mara is the resort’s quick service location. It is named after a Kenyan river that flows beneath a jungle canopy, and the Imagineers have done a great job creating this themed food court. It is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and has plenty of snacks to full meals, and even African wines and handcrafts for sale. Enjoy hand-carved meat sandwiches, falafel sandwiches, roasted chicken, or go for the delicious African stew. If you want to try a Zebra Dome desert but don’t want to pay the high price of Boma, you can pick them up here.

About Cassie

Cassie L. I am a lifelong Disney fan. I attended Walt Disney World in 1971, and was there during the opening week of EPCOT, and have visited the Disney Parks for than 30 times. I have had the privilege of visiting Disneyland as a child, and then again with my children. My family recently moved from the northeastern United States to the Walt Disney World area. I now have cast members in my family and enjoy hearing the magical stories at the end of a shift. I love visiting all of the parks and getting to try more Disney food and being able to share it with you to help you plan your own magical day at Disney.