Disney's newest resort, the Art of Animation, is a whole new breed of Disney resort in that it offers not only standard value rooms, but also family suites! This is great for large families and for those on a budget.
As with every Disney Resort, the Art of Animation has a theme which is, of course, animation! This resort focuses on four popular Disney films which include The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Cars; and as you walk the grounds, or even into your room, you will feel like you are right in the middle of these films yourself!
The Art of Animation also offers a new, advanced food court. The menu offers items that are a far cry from the standard theme park fare of burgers and fries as they offer healthy dishes and those that you can tailor to your own tastes.
Even if you are not staying at the Art of Animation Resort, we encourage you to visit during your Disney World vacation! The lobby décor, consisting of a lobby long ode to the concept process of animated characters, is truly something to see; and all of the larger than life décor around the resort make great photo ops. Plus, kids will have a blast exploring these immersive areas featuring their favorite characters!
The lobby of the Art of Animation is covered with concept art from the Disney films represented at this resort. It's a lot of fun to look for your favorites and see what they looked like in the early development stages; and this area is also great for pictures too!
Opposite the wall of concept art is the colorful check-in area! Disney claims that the check-in process here is more personal and advanced that at other Disney resorts.
Take a look at some close-ups of the concept art adorning the lobby walls! Simba looks a bit different here, doesn't he?
Art of Animation's food court, known as The Landscape of Flavors, offers different seating areas reflecting the different represented films. This is the Lion King themed area which displays art work from the film, as well as a leafy green canopy light!
Here's the grab n' go section of The Landscape of Flavors! Lots of variety!
This is the Finding Nemo themed dining section of the Landscape of Flavors. It looks out over the Finding Nemo pool area and features an ocean themed light overhead!
Are you ready to venture into Radiator Springs?
This section is full of fun and details! First of all, the sidewalk is a winding road featuring roadside advertisements, as well as the same foliage and rockwork you would see on Route 66. Plus, as you explore, you will find some life-size characters from Cars waiting to see you, including Mater!
Ready to splash? The Cars pool is themed after the Cozy Cone and even offers Cozy Cone cabanas for guests!
Look who we found! It's Lightning McQueen himself! Check out the details on this character, such as the "Lightyear" tires and the variety of racing stickers.
Unlike other Disney Value Resorts, the Art of Animation resort rooms are located in indoor halls instead of opening to the outdoors. There is also artwork from the represented Disney movie adorning the hall walls too.
This staircase showcases Finding Nemo's famous sea gulls! "Mine! Mine! Mine!" We especially like the star fish detail.
Ready to ride the East Australian Current, dude? The Finding Nemo section of this resort really wouldn't be complete without Crush, would it?
The Big Blue Pool is the definitely the primary pool area of this resort and it's state of the art! Unlike other pools, the Big Blue Pool has underwater speakers that play music and even Finding Nemo character voices underwater! There is also an attached play and splash area nearby showcasing an anemone containing Marlin and Nemo and other characters.
Here they are! Now you can say that you found Nemo!
Here is what you will find in the resort hallways as you head towards your room. Even the room numbers and light fixtures keep up with the theme!
Before you leave or head out to the parks, be sure to drop by the resort gift shop to pick up a unique Art of Animation pin or souvenir! Also, be sure to look up! The décor above is meant to represent paint jars used in animation!
Disney World's resorts are a must for us when we visit WDW as they offer not only comfort and luxury, but plenty of Disney magic too! In fact, we always set aside a few hours during our Disney vacations to resort hop, to visit the different Disney resorts to check out their enjoy the different themes, see the scenery and decor, and to take advantage of the resorts' dining and shopping! It's also fun to discover some magical extras that the resorts have to offer, especially when you have kids in tow!
In today's post, we are going to share a few of our favorite magical resort extras with you so that you can find them for yourself on your next WDW vacation!
Lawn Mower Tree-The story behind this Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground extra is that the tree grew around an old pushmower that was left next to it; and while difficult to see in the picture, pieces of the mower are still visible at the base of the tree today! Kids are sure to get a kick of it, so keep your eyes open for this extra!
Bubbling Spring-Towards the back of Wilderness Lodge's lobby, you can find a bubbling spring which is spanned by a bridge. From this spring, a small creek begins which proceeds to flow under the large, floor to ceiling windows to outside which eventually runs into the resort's swimming pool! Young and old alike will delight in seeing a running creek in this gorgeous resort's lobby!
Torch Lighting Ceremony-In the evening at the Polynesian Resort, a fire dancer from the resort's Spirit of Aloha Polynesian Luau lights the torches around the outside of the resort while also performing some impressive tricks! It's free, authentic entertainment and only adds to the Polynesian's immersive theme!
Concept Art-In the lobby of Disney's newest resort, the Art of Animation, you will find the walls covered with concept art of Disney characters from The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Cars, and Finding Nemo! What is concept art? It's early drawings and sketches that Disney animators drew when designing Disney characters! Some characters look very much like what we know them to be today, but others do not! It's fun to get to see a look at the design process, and it's also a great spot for a photo op! Plus, parents will be happy in that their kids will be entertained while they check-in!
Orchestra & Pianist-At certain times throughout the day, especially in the evening, you will find an orchestra or a pianist playing in the lobby of the elegant Grand Floridian Resort. The orchestra is usually located on a floor above the lobby; and the pianist usually plays on the beautiful piano on the lobby floor; but both play classic Disney songs such as "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes," "A Whole New World," "Beauty and the Beast," and more! Sometimes guests dance with one another in the lobby!
Tile Floors-Also when visiting the Grand Floridian, be sure to look down! The beautiful tile floors feature images of popular Disney characters and even the Grand Floridian's logo! It's a blast, especially for kids, to hunt for the next character as they make their way through the resort. Just make to sure to look up every now and again too!
Pop Century Shadowboxes-Lining the lobby walls at the Pop Century Resort are a number of shadowboxes displaying the pop culture from past decades! In the 50's boxes, you will find poodle skirts, records, saddle shoes, and MIckey Mouse Club memorabilia! In the 60's, look for Beach Boy records and items from the Space Race; and in the 90's box, you will see Power Rangers, GameBoys, Beanie Babies, and even Blues Clues items! These shadowboxes not only set the stage for the Pop Century theme of this resort, they are also a great way to keep the kids happy when checking in; and all ages will truly enjoy finding items that they remember or used to own in these boxes. It's a great way for the whole family to connect and share!
Wildlife Viewing Areas-At Animal Kingdom Lodge's Jambo House and Kidani Village, you will find a variety of areas where you can view the live African wildlife roaming freely just outside! This is better than any zoo and it's free! You can watch the animals from a balcony above, or through the large glass windows located throughout the resort, or in special areas outside where knowledgeable Cast Members are there to answer your questions! Plus, at night, complimentary night vision goggles are available so you can watch the animals in the dark!
Andy's Room-At Disney's All-Star Movies Resort, there are larger than life Disney characters almost everywhere you look; but in the Toy Story section of the resort, Imagineer's have created a massive replica of Andy's room from the Toy Story films to make you truly feel like a toy! Enter through the gigantic door, and you will find yourself surrounded by Toy Story characters, a giant checkerboard, and a huge Buzz and Woody! Look up to see cutouts of the Green Army men on the roof too! With all of the photo ops here, it could be a great place to visit with your kids, especially if they're big Toy Story fans!
Have you enjoyed some of these magical Disney Resort extras on your trips? Would you? Let us know!
One of the most interesting resort areas on property belongs to Disney's Yacht and Beach Club and the Boardwalk. We have to admit, we are especially fond of the Yacht and Beach Club!
Why is this space so interesting you might ask? It is situated between Epcot and Hollywood Studios! This arrangement offers a lot of perks and more bang for your buck; and today, we are going to list a few in our Five Reasons to Stay at the Yacht and Beach Club! Ready? Here we go!
5. View-The Yacht and Beach Club is gorgeous all by itself with it's fresh and airy, blue and white nautical theme; but it's waterfront location featuring a view of the glittering, lit Boarwalk across the water at night is gorgeous and truly makes you feel like you're enjoying an old fashioned beach vacation! Plus, you can also see a portion of Spaceship Earth from your resort, as well as the Illuminations fireworks at night!
4. Pool-Yacht and Beach Club's pool, Stormalong Bay, is amazing! It's the best pool on property as it is more like a waterpark than a standard resort pool. It features a sand bottom, varying depths, a lazy room, and this awesome slide made out of the mast of this shipwreck! It actually spans the walkway between the water and the pool!
3. Perks-The Yach and Beach Club's location offers a variety of perks. For instance, you are so close to the Boardwalk that you can enjoy its entertainment, dining, and shopping whenever you like! You can also enjoy the backdoor exit into Epcot which leads rigt into World Showcase; and it's also only a short walk away.
2. Theme-The Yacht and Beach Club are actually two sister resorts under one banner. The Yacht Club has a white facade catering to the dark woods and brass trimmings. Definitely nautical. However, the Beach Club features a blue facade with a light, pastel palette and sea themed accents. Regardless of what style you prefer, the whole family is sure to enjoy the breezy, seashore feel of this resort that may give the impression that you are staying on the ocean as opposed to the middle of Florida. Now you get the best of both in Florida in one place!
1. Maximize Your Time-With the Yacht and Beach Club's convenient location, you can really maximize your vacation time! Many guests are attracted to the other deluxe resort's quick access to the Magic Kingdom, but this resort offers quick access to TWO parks! With Epcot being only a short walk away, and Hollywood Studios a quick boat ride away, you only have to wait for those buses if you plan on visiting Downtown Disney, Animal Kingdom, the waterparks, or Magic Kingdom. Or, you could always use Epcot's Monorail to get to the Magic Kingdom if you wish!
Opinions on the Yacht and Beach Club? Would you stay here? Share with us!
Port Orleans Riverside is our favorite moderate resort and one of our all-time favorite WDW resorts of them all! But why? What sets this resort apart from the other moderates?
1. Food Court-Port Orleans Riverside's food court is huge and is housed inside of what appears to be an old mill with lots of open space and high, beamed ceilings. The food court also sits on the water and through the window you can see a large water wheel turning outside. This food court also is one of the best in our opinion. We especially enjoy the pasta station where you build your own hearty helping of pasta!
2. Theme-Port Orleans Riverside takes you back in time to the old South or the world of Tom Sawyer. The atmosphere is quaint, comfortable, charming, and classy. We always feel at ease and right at home here.
3. Setting-Port Orleans Riverside sits on the banks of a river which continues to flow through the grounds, so your walk to your room is like something out of postcard. The main part of the resort is situated on the water and the buildings reflect that grand, old fashioned theme. At certain times of day, you may even find a horse and buggy taking guests for a ride!
4. Options-Port Orleans Riverside is unique in that it offers several different room options. For example, there are two outdoor wings of rooms. One section offers rooms tucked in the woods with a more rustic, bayou flavor reflected in the charming log beds and cozy color palette. The other option offers rooms in old, Southern mansions with a more refined air. Port Orleans Riverside also boasts a new theme room option, the Royal Guest Rooms, which are decorated with a royal, Disney theme which includes items and decor from Disney films and the Disney princesses! Port Orleans Riverside has one final option and that is its sister resort, Port Orleans French Quarter. This resort is located next door; and so if you would like to explore it or sample it's dining options, you can with ease!
5. Dining-We have already raved about the food court, which is awesome, but we haven't mentioned the resort's table service restaurant: Boatwrights! This table service restaurant is often overlooked because it's at a moderate resort, but don't let that fool you! We consider it to be hidden gem! The restaurant is themed after a ship builder's shop and features the skeleton of a boat overhead, along with a builder's tools all on the wall. There's also a fireplace nearby too. The menu here reflects some of the South's most famous dishes, many of which you can't find on property, such as "real" Sweet Tea, porkchops, red beans and rice, collard greens, Jambalaya, Crawfish, Pecan Pie, French Onion Soup, and awesome Banana Foster!
6. Quality-Out of all the moderate resorts at WDW that we have visited, Port Orleans Riverside offers the highest quality in our opinion. The service is excellent, the grounds neat, the theme and atmosphere are a delight, and the dining is excellent!
So are you a fan of Port Orleans Riverside? Is this resort on your to-do list? Let us know!
Walt Disney World offers three types of resorts: Value, Moderate, and Deluxe. Each of these categories offers a home away from home for guests all in the heart of the Disney magic; however, they definitely have their differences.
Today, we are going to focus on the differences between a value resort room and a deluxe resort room because, after all, isn't everyone always curious about what their room will be like once they make their reservation?
Or if the price of a deluxe is really worth it compared to a value?
So obviously a deluxe room is going to be a little more luxurious than a value resort room since you do pay more for a deluxe; but there are other differences, the "little things," which can make a big impact on your vacation. Such as...
Size: Value Rooms are naturally smaller than deluxe rooms.This is especially true when it comes to the resort room bathrooms. However, a larger room size is now offered at Disney's newest value resort, The Art of Animation, if you book a family suite. Now, in a value room, a family of four will be a little cramped, but it is manageable and can be done. We have squeezed in two adults and two teens and survived rather well on several ocassions. Although, deluxe rooms have quite a bit more space and usually feature a small balcony too.
Decor: All Disney resort rooms follow their resort theme; however, value resorts tend to feature a more basic decor than deluxe resort rooms. Value resort rooms, such as at the All-Stars and Pop Century, usually have a themed bedspread and a poster and wall paper border representing the theme of their resort section. Kids and kids at heart are sure to enjoy hunting for hidden mickeys around the room too! The theme of the rooms has really been kicked up a notch at the new Art of Animation resort as the decor is meant to make guests feel as if they're in a Disney animated movie! But keep in mind the bright colors and design is meant to appeal more to kids than adults.
Deluxe rooms definitely go the extra mile when it comes to decor; and while it adds to the experience, many guests may find that it's not worth the extra price, especially since guests usually spend most of their time at the parks and not in their rooms. An example of the above and beyond decor at deluxes would be the log furniture and carved headboards at Wilderness Lodge or the draped, mosquito netting and gorgeous bedding at Animal Kingdom Lodge or the beautiful seashell light fixtures and pastel pallete at the Beach Club! Deluxe rooms also carry their resort themes into the bathrooms with decorative sconces, mirrors, and even decorative tiles in the shower!
Bathrooms: Deluxe resort bathrooms feature a vanity area with two sinks! Married couples and families with teens can rejoice! Lastly, many deluxe bathrooms have a small, separate room for the toilet, separate from the spacious vanity and shower/bathtub, which is great for privacy.
Now value resort bathrooms are very different. First of all, there's only one sink and the vanity area is only separated from the bedroom by a moveable curtain. Also, the toilet and bathtube/shower are in one small room; and while it's manageable, it's definitely tight quarters.
Location: Value resort rooms are located in themed sections which are spread out across the resort property, all separate from the lobby and food court. Therefore, you will have to walk outside to get to and from your room and to the bus stops and lobby. On the other hand, most, but not all, deluxe resorts house their rooms in the same building as the lobby, so you may not have to walk out in the elements to get to a bite to eat or hop aboard a bus. This is a major benefit for families with kids or for those who struggle with walking long distances.
Extras: Mini-fridges and Wi-Fi are now availabe at Value resorts, as well as at Deluxes. Deluxe resorts also offer more storage space and extra personal care products, as well as an iPod dock on the night stand. Lastly, both resort categories leave towel animals for guests; but the best are at deluxes. Usually a Mickey shaped towel creation is left on the bed when you first check-in!
Other Notes: Some may notice that there is a difference in the thickness of the walls between value and deluxe rooms; but this typically isn't a huge issue. An issue that is, however, is the poor water pressure at values. We can definitely testify to this as it can be difficult to even rinse out your toothbrush at times.
As you can see, there are quite a few differences between deluxe and value resort rooms. Whether these differences are important or will have an impact on your vacation strictly depends on you and your family. For example, we think that families with young children will greatly benefit from a deluxe room due to the extra amenities, space, and location; however, for families with school-age kids or teens, who may easily spend all day at the parks, the extras at a deluxe may be wasted as they may not take advantage of them. It simply depends what is important to you.
So now that you have seen the contrasts, perhaps you can more easily make a decision about which resort category is right for you! So tell us, what do you think? Do you think these differences are a big deal? Will they influence w
This past summer, we stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge's Kidani Village for this time! We had heard Disney regulars raving about their experiences at Animal Kingdom Lodge for years; but we are usually faithful to our favorites: Port Orleans Riverside and WIlderness Lodge. But when we got a great deal on a room at Kidani Village, we decided to take the plunge and experience a whole new resort; but what really put us over the edge was the chance to stay at one of Animal Kingdom's famed Savannah view rooms.
Animal Kingdom Lodge's savannah view rooms are available at both Jambo House and Kidani Village; and these rooms are famous for their clear views of the savannahs where live African wildlife roams freely throughout the day! Everyone enjoys a room with a view, but it was a whole new experience having a view that changes!
It was fun to venture out onto the balcony first thing in the morning to see which animals were out and about, or to be watching television and to look up to see giraffes walking by!
This room option only amped up our resort experience and added a whole new dimension to our vacation; and if you are considering booking an Animal Kingdom Lodge resort room with a savannah room, we encourage you to look at our pics for a glimpse of what's like!
We had three giraffes that would come by several times a day at Kidani Village. Disney comes around and puts food up in the trees or on the ground to draw the animals to those spots.
Here is a view of the other rooms from our balcony. As you can see, the building curves so animals are NOT always in clear view or in view at all. But don't be concerned, you will see animals at some point during the day from your room.
Zebras! Tip: bring binoculars with you so you can watch the animals that are farther away!
This is one of our favorite shots! The giraffes were definitely our favorites to watch.
We saw two or three ostriches on the savannah at Kidani Village. The trail and objects at the bottom of the picture are a type of barrier preventing the animals from getting to close to the resort rooms.
In our room we found a free wildlife field guide showing all the animals you can find at Kidani Village. While we didn't see all of these from our savannah view room, we did seem them from the lobby and through the huge windows in the resort hallways.
If you have ever stayed at an Animal Kingdom Lodge with a savanna view room, please share your experiences with us and our readers in a comment!
Many Disney guests don't realize that they are allowed to visit other Disney resorts, even if they are not staying there themselves. Disney resorts, especially at the deluxe level, offer magical experiences, incredible decor, and unique themes, along with a heavy dose of pixie dust; and the practice of visiting these resorts is known as "resort hopping."
So let's say you're at WDW, and you only have a small window of time to do a little resort hopping in addition to seeing the best of the parks. Which resorts do you visit?
We can help you answer that! We have listed the Disney resorts that we definitely recommend you visit during visit to WDW, as well as what you need to see when you drop by.
Wilderness Lodge-Our personal favorite resort, Wilderness Lodge, was inspired by the National Park lodges in the American Northwest. You really have to see this place for yourself. The cavernous lobby is massive, constructed from carved wood and logs, and decorated with historical artifacts and western motifs.
What You Must See:
-Bubbling Spring and Bridge-A spring bubbles up in the middle of the lobby and then runs under the lobby's large windows and out into the pool. A bridge spans the spring and is a great spot for pictures!
-Teepee Chandeliers-Look up to see massive chandeliers shaped like teepees hanging from the ceiling! Venture up to the upper floors to get a closer look.
-Grand Canyon Fireplace-In the lobby, take some time to enjoy a fireplace which features layers meant to replicate the layers of the Grand Canyon. Rocking chairs are situated in front the fireplace, a great cozy spot to kick back and watch the flames.
-Geyser-Outside, past the pool, check out the geyser which shoots water up into the air every hour!
-The Villas at Wilderness Lodge Lobby-Wilderness Lodge's DVC villas feature their own small lobby, along with a game room displaying Walt's passion for trains.
-Dining-Wilderness Lodge is home to two great restaurants: the signature Artist Point and the wild, western Whispering Canyon. Both are unique, offer popular and tasty menus, and are some of the best Disney dining spots.
Grand Floridian-Disney's flagship resort is an obvious choice due to it's gorgeous, Victorian lobby, monorail access, massive grounds, Magic Kingdom locale, and dining and shopping options!
What You Must See:
-Orchestra/Pianist-When you stop by the lobby, particularly in the evening, a pianist or the orchestra may be playing some classic Disney songs. Some guests dance or just sit back and enjoy the music.
-Shopping-This resort has the most shops of any WDW resort, and our favorites are the Basin and Summer Lace!
-Tile Floor-As you walk through this beautiful lobby, look down from time to time to see Disney characters in the tile designs on the floor!
-The Grounds-The exterior of the resort is just as beautiful as its interior. Take some time to stroll about the grounds and down by the beach.
-Dining-The Grand Floridian has the most restaurants of any WDW resort! Victoria and Albert's is WDW's most decorated restaurant, but you can also enjoy more fine dining at Narcoosees and Citricos. If you're looking for characters, consider 1900 Park Fare for either breakfast or dinner, or for something light and delicious, the Grand Floridian Cafe!
Animal Kingdom Lodge-This resort features two separate parts: Jambo House and Kidani Village. If you are on a time limit, we suggest just dropping by Jambo House because it offers the most impressive lobby! This massive, lofty lobby features decor and architecture that you might find in Africa.
What You Must See:
-Chandeliers-Animal Kingdom Lodge's chandeliers are huge and made out of African tribal masks!
-Animals-Venture down the staircase at the far end of the lobby and head outdoors to see live African wildlife roaming about freely!
-Zebra Domes-While African cuisine isn't really are thing, even though other Disney regulars rave about the restaurant, Boma, we think the biggest dining draw at this resort is Zebra Domes. This sweet, custard-like desert bears Zebra stripes and is one of the tastiest desserts at WDW! You can find them for a great price and in a to-go container at The Mara quick service spot.
-Bridge-Over the lobby, stretching from one side of a floor to another, is a bridge that you can walk across! It's a great spot to take pics and makes you feel adventurous!
Art of Animation-This is Disney's newest resort, and even though it's not a deluxe, it's ability to transport you into scenes from either Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid make it a must-see on your trip. This is especially true if you have kids!
What You Must See:
-Lobby-The Art of Animation's lobby displays concept art from Disney films, as well as a retro chandelier featuring sketches from Disney films.
-Cars Wing-The most impressive wing of this resort, in our opinion, is the Car's wing which really looks like Radiator Springs from the film. There are lifesize models of the Cars characters around every corner, along with the familiar landmarks and telephone poles!
Beach Club-This resort captures the casual elegance of vintage, seaside resorts with it's gorgeous blue exterior, sea shell accents, and famous sand bottom pool: Stormalong Bay! Also, across the water, the resort features a view of the Boardwalk which is especially picturesque at night with the Illuminations fireworks exploding nearby.
What You Must See:
-The Grounds-The Beach Club is so gorgeous that you definitely should walk around when you visit! Also be sure to stroll around the pool area to take in the fun and the giant slide made out of a shipwreck and fallen ship's mast!
-Beaches and Cream-This resort's old fashioned soda shop features special sweet treats, including a giant sundae served in a sink!
-The View-We enjoy visiting here at night to see the Boardwalk lit up at across the water; and maybe to watch a movie on the resort's beach under the stars?
Do you enjoy resort hopping? Are these resort's on your "resort hopping" to-do list?
In addition to Disney World's four theme parks, two water parks, and a shopping district, the Walt Disney World Resort also offers a vast variety of resorts with diffferent budgets, themes, and pixie dust for you to enjoy!
Walt Disney World resorts are categorized into three groups: Deluxe, Moderate, and Value.
Today, we are focusing on Disney World's deluxe resorts! These are the most expensive and luxurious, but are usually well worth it as they offer amazing, immersive experiences, as well as some serious perks.
Many Disney guests take time out of their Disney vacations to "resort hop" to these deluxe resorts to see their breathtaking lobbies, visit their restaurants, enjoy their picturesque locations, and just to experience another piece of Disney magic.
So if you are trying to decide which Disney Deluxe Resort you should choose on your Disney vacation, then check out our opinions of the pros and cons of the Disney deluxes!
Grand Floridian: 5 Glass Slippers
Contemporary: 3.5 Glass Slippers
Polynesian: 3.5 Glass Slippers
Wilderness Lodge: 5 Glass Slippers
Yacht and Beach Club: 4.5 Glass Slippers
Boardwalk Inn: 3.5 Glass Slippers
Saratoga Springs: 2.5 Glass Slippers
Animal Kingdom Lodge:
5 Glass Slippers
most luxurious resort, beautiful surroundings, most dining options, monorail access, wedding pavilion
prime location, view of the Magic Kingdom, monorail access
prime location, monorail access, tropical experience, popular dining
amazing lobby, fun theme, exclusive bus transportation
walking distance from Epcot, fun theme, prime location, Stormalong Bay pool, lots of activities
walking distance from Epcot, prime location, variety of restaurants and entertainment
new, close access to Dowtown Disney
great theme, beautiful lobby, view of wildlife, close access to Animal Kingom, two resort houses to choose from
price tag, shared bus transportation with other deluxe resorts
cold theme, lack of personality, shared bus transportation with other deluxe resorts
dated, dark, shared bus transportation with other deluxe resorts
no monorail, smaller rooms
lack of counter service dining, small lobby
lots of noise and activity, not exclusive, lack of counter service dining
lack of good dining, cold theme and personality, large and confusing grounds
isolated from other parks, two resort houses to commute between
Have you decided which deluxe is right for you? Which one is your favorite? Share with us and our readers with a comment!
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge is a popular Disney deluxe resort and one of the most unique resorts ever! At Animal Kingdom Lodge, you will feel as if you have been transported to Africa due to the architecture, dining, and decor; and in addition to that, live African widlife roam just outside the resort windows and even some of the resort rooms!
While there is so much to see at AKL, let's take a short walk to see just a glimpse of what this beautiful, adventurous resort has to offer!
View of the lobby window from outside! The view from inside looks out onto the savanna.
Staircase in front of the window leading up to the lobby's main floor.
Isn't the bridge cool? It offers a great view too!
View of the lobby from under the bridge. Be sure to notice the shield chandeliers and the high ceilings!
Fire pit and seating area just outside the lobby and near the animal viewing areas!
Balcony just off the lobby where you can see wildlife. It's a fine example of the architecure you will find at AKL!
Uzima pool! It's zero-entry and one of the largest at WDW.
Pelicans at one of the animal viewing areas just off the lobby.
Dinner time for the giraffes! They are some of my favorite animals to watch at this resort.
On our last trip to WDW, we stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge's Kidani Village in a DVC Studio Villa!
It quickly became apparent that staying at Kidani offers a different experience than a stay at Jambo House.
First of all, for those of you who don't know, Animal Kingdom Lodge has two separate sections: Jambo House and Kidani Village.
Jambo House is the largest of the two and features the resort's main lobby, as well as a majority of the resort's restaurants. This resort is also home to a variety of standard rooms and DVC Villas.
Kidani Village is about a 10 minute walk from Jambo House. It has its own lobby and popular restaurant, Sanaa, as well as its own pool and splash area for the kids. It offers only DVC Villas and a home away from home for Disney guests.
But with those two options, how do you know which one to choose?
Today we are going to discuss the pros and cons of staying at Kidani Village to help you determine if it's right for you!
Transportation: At Kidani Village, the buses pick up and drop off guests first! So if you're heading to the Magic Kingdom, you will be picked up before heading to Jambo House; and when you're ready to go home, you will be dropped off first.
Quiet: Kidani Village seems much quieter and more private than Jambo House; and it offers more of a private atmosphere.
Villa Options: If you are a DVC member, or you're looking to rent DVC points, Kidani Village offers the most villa options: studios, one and two bedrooms, and grand villas.
Laundry: Most DVC Villas have their own laundry units, which is definitely a luxury and a money-saver. However, for the studio villas which do not, there is a laundry room near the lobby which guests can use for free!
Recreation: At Kidani Village, you can make yourself at home and work on your game! Enjoy the barbecue pavilion, basketball court, and shuffleboard court with complimentary equipment on request! Also, kids are sure to enjoy the Uwanja Camp, a splash area with spitting snakes, a tipping bucket, slides and more!
Lobby: While Kidani Village has its own beautiful lobby, it does pale in comparison to Jambo House's cavernous lobby with it's high ceiling, chandeliers, and tons of space to explore.
Room Variety: While Kidani Village offers only DVC Villas, Jambo House offers standard rooms and two types of villas.
Location: Kidani Village is about a ten minute walk away from Jambo House; and if you want to ride, there are shuttle vans going back and forth, or you can hop aboard a park bus as it will stop there next. Therefore, if you want to eat somewhere besides Sanaa or your own Villa kitchen, you have some traveling to do.
Dining: Except for Sanaa and the groceries at Johari, the gift shop, Kidani Village has no other restaurants.
Shopping: Kidani Village has its own gift shop selling some Animal Kingdom souvenirs, DVC products, pins, and groceries; however, it is much smaller in comparison to Jambo House's gift shop.
Distance: While some walking may be required to reach your room at Jambo House, this is definitely a possibility at Kidani Village. The resort is laid out like two half circles laying side by side. Therefore, if your room is located at the far end of a half circle, you have a long walk to reach the lobby at the center. Fortunately, you get to walk indoors with views of the animals; but for those with little ones or elderly family members, this could definitely be a problem.
Kidani Village's lobby window overlooking the savanna.
One of the covered balconies near the lobby overlooking the savanna.
So is Kidani Village right for you?
In our opinion, we recommend Kidani Village for couples or families who wish to be independent, who are staying for a long time, or who want to cook for themselves.
However, we would not recommend Kidani Village for older couples, or families traveling with elderly family members, or families who aren't interested in cooking while on vacation and are looking for less hassle.
However, even if Kidani Village doesn't quite fit your bill, it's quality, excellence, and experience are sure to please! During our stay, we were very much impressed and rate this resort near the top of our list, even if there were a few downsides.