Hey there friends! I'm back again with some more Disney fun. This time we are exploring a bit more of the DVC offerings at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. I am so thankful to be working with David's Vacation Club Rentals again as they make the process so seamless and magical for everyone.
October is such a beautiful time of year to visit Orlando and what better way to celebrate the Fall offerings than with a nice girl's staycation at one of my favorite resorts on Disney property. If you are unfamiliar with David's and what they offer check out my last blog post which gives more details about their services and how they can help you plan out your next stay at a DVC resort. But for now lets get into...
My Top 5 Reasons to Stay at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge || DVC Edition
I have now stayed at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge a total of 5 times and I feel like I finally have a good idea of why this resort is so popular amongst the Disney Fans. Not only do you get that Disney magic that comes with staying on property, but this resort transports you straight to the African Savanna where you will wake up with live animals each day of your stay. Capturing the essence of a lodge in the African savanna, this resort is the perfect blend of nature and architecture.
1. Exquisite African Dining:
There are 3 table service restaurants, 1 quick service, 3 Lounges, and a pool bar on property spread out amongst the two buildings of the lodge. (Kidani Village and Jambo House)
Sanaa, located at Kidani Village is a full service restaurant offering unique African dishes with an Indian-inspired flare. They also offer more exotic choices like a lamb kefta (same as the burger but with lamb), shrimp with green curry sauce, and a fish-of-the-day with curry broth. Lunch and dinner menus vary throughout the seasons. Sanaa is known for their bread service and I am hoping to try it on my next stay.
Jiko - The Cooking Place is the signature dining establishment in Jambo House. They have a fairly extensive and exotic menu including flatbreads, wild boar tenderloin, seared duck breast, and wild striped bass, as well as the typical fare including seared salmon, beef short ribs and a filet mignon. The menu changes every so often so if you don't see one of your favorite items listed, don't hesitate to ask your server if it can still be made. (Reservations are strongly recommended.) During our stay (10/17/22-10/19/22) this was not open.
Boma 'Flavors of Africa is a buffet-style restaurant at Jambo House that serves breakfast and dinner with a wide selection of main dishes and sides that are sure to please everyone in your group. The meat selection includes a salmon dish as well as roasted chicken and a carving station serving up fresh-cut strip loin (New York strip). Also on the buffet is a salad station, various soups including an incredible and unique peanut soup, pasta, rice, couscous, and a dessert station. (Reservations are strongly recommended.) I have eaten both breakfast and dinner here and have loved both.
The Mara is the resort's quick-service food court that serves some basics along with a few surprises. You can still get the typical burger or chicken nuggets, but they also serve some really great sandwiches and flatbreads. They also offer a number of quick options from the cooler; pre-made sandwiches, salads, and fruit bowls, as well as a few dessert options. At The Mara, you can eat inside or take your food out to one of the tables near the pool. We had breakfast here and I tried the French toast bread pudding. I wanted to love it but I am not a big fan of raisins. If you are though, I recommend trying this out as it is a very unique dish and it was fun to pour the icing on. You can also purchase zebra domes from the coolers in both The Mara and Johari Treasures, the small store in the lobby of Kidani Village.
The Victoria Falls Lounge is one of the most intimate you'll find at any Disney resort. It opens daily at 4:00pm and features specialty coffees and teas in addition to being a full-service bar. They also have a small dining menu for shareable tapa type dishes as well.
One thing to note before you book a reservation at all three, is that we noticed a lot of the dishes were duplicated throughout the restaurants. For instance, The "vegetable pizza" at The Mara is nearly identical to the Kalamata Olive flatbread appetizer at Jiko. The little dessert known as "Zebra Domes" are served on the buffet at Boma, in the coolers at the Mara, and were on the menu at Jiko. Even though a lot of the dishes seem to overlap, there are still plenty of unique dishes at each restaurant. I highly recommend reading through the menu and choosing the one that calls most to your tastebuds before booking.
2. Savanna Animals are right outside your room
Throughout the day you have the chance to spot zebras, giraffes, antelopes, elks, kudus, gazelles, wildebeests, and exotic birds right at the resort. For the best views of the free roaming wildlife, I recommend booking a Savanna View room. There are also common areas on the grounds where you can view the Savanna from different vantage points. I personally love the rocking chairs that provide a great spot to not only enjoy the view of animals but also provide amazing shade from the FL sun. I find myself hanging out in these spots a lot when I'm at the Lodge.
The outdoor areas have informational signage to teach you about the animals in the savanna and there are knowledgeable cast members on hand to answer your questions.
At Jambo House there are several viewing spots at the far end of the lobby. There are also areas surrounding the pool where you will find flamingos, zebras and more. I love that things are spread out because it makes for a really fun time exploring all of the different locations. Kidani Village has a significantly smaller lobby but it still provides excellent views of their savanna as well.
3. The Rooms are Themed Perfectly to the Resort
For this particular stay we had the pleasure of being placed in a 1 bedroom Savanna View room at Kidani Village. This was my first time staying at Kidani and I will say I definitely prefer Jambo House if I were to choose between the two.
Standard and Savannah One Bedroom Villas Sleep Five
1 Bedroom with a King Bed
1 Queen Sleeper Sofa
1 Twin Pull Down Bed- chair
All One Bedroom Villas Have:
Full Kitchen including dishwasher, stove, coffee maker, and microwave
Full bathroom including tub
Laundry with washer and dryer
Because the resort is shaped in a "U-shape" I found that navigating through the hallways was tiresome and long-winded. We just so happened to have a room located at the farthest end of the resort (Kidani) and we honestly felt like we did more walking in the hallways than anything. If you can request anything while checking in I recommend being close to the lobby.
Overall, I thought the room was amazing. The bed was large and comfortable, the couch provided even more places to sleep and with the two rooms there was plenty of privacy for groups getting ready for a fun day at the parks. I also loved the fact that the bathrooms both had a tub and shower. The master had a large jacuzzi soaker tub and a larger than life shower which are always a major plus after coming home from a long park day. I know the number one thing I love to do is take a nice hot shower and relax.
Another perk was the amenities within the room itself. There was a full sized kitchen with refrigerator, dishwasher, coffee maker, and microwave as well as a full washer and dryer right inside your room. If we were staying for a few more days this would have come in clutch. If you are staying on property in a room with a washer and dryer my tip is to pack light and just do laundry: that way you make some extra room for those last minute souvenirs!
David's Vacation Club rentals makes it super easy to rent out points so that you two can stay in a room you've always dreamed of. Click here to check out their rental process.
4. Loads of Amenities, you'll never have to leave
There is so much to see and do at this resort. The pool is one of my favorite Disney pools second only to The Yacht and Beach Club resort. The only thing I wish the pool had was more lounge chairs located within the pool area and not outside the gated area.
At Kidani Village there is a full service fitness center equipped for both strength training and weight training. The Community Hall is where you can find ping pong, tennis, basketball, and shuffleboard equipment. Here you also have access to the grills.
At the Uwanja Camp you can climb elevated-rope bridges, dash through geyser jets, or relax in the waterfall lagoon or beneath the shade of the camp cabanas in this village playground themed as an animal observation site — Uwanja means “play area.”
If you are a runner like me and are training for your next run Disney race there are plenty of trails for both walking and jogging alongside the resort connecting Jambo House to Kidani Village. Shopping is one of my all time favorite things to do at the resort and the Zawardi Marketplace will not let you down.
This shop is located at Jambo House and features everything you would need on your next Disney vacation. This store provides ears, pins, apparel, home decor, and snacks sprinkled amongst the authentic African carvings, planters, art, and more. The Johari Treasures store is located at Kidani Village in the lobby and has a little bit of everything you need to make your stay perfect!
Outside by the pool at Jambo House there is also a super fun playground for the kids as well as an arcade full of fun games and prizes.
5. When renting DVC points you still get full access to all of the DVC perks
When you rent DVC points, complimentary self-parking is included at your resort and the theme parks.
When you rent DVC points, you can link the reservation right to your My Disney Experience account because it's booked in your name.
You receive all of the same on-property perks, like Early Theme Park Entry as any other guest staying at WDW.
Disney is currently offering Extended Evening Hours at their WDW parks for guests staying at Deluxe resorts, and guests who rent DVC points are eligible to stay late after the park closes on those nights!
Guests can save up to 30-50% when they book with David's; this is compared to booking the same room directly from Disney Central Reservations.
Use of all of the DVC amenities such as the pool, community hall, etc.
Overall we had an AMAZING trip and that is all because booking with David's was a dream come true! If you would like to book with David's click here to get started!