We’ll pop into Kidani Village here real quick like. Things may seem quiet on the western front, but the May Crowd Calendar has been updated and we’ll be able to take a look at Animal Kingdom Jambo House, Splitsville, Animal Kingdom at night, Portobello, and House of Blues here in the coming days. I’m expecting Disney to release the September 2013 operating schedule on Friday and we should see a lengthy update to the month of June at that same time.
Kidani Village is the Disney-Vacation-Club-only arm of Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Unlike most Vacation Club properties, which are located right next to their host resorts, Kidani is a good ten to fifteen minute walk from Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House. Jambo also houses DVC rooms that are usually more expensive.
Instead of walking, you can hop on any theme park bus and the next stop will be Jambo House. The Downtown Disney bus stops at Jambo House first and then travels to Kidani. It’s a lot easier to take the bus from Kadani to Jambo than it is to travel in reverse. You can request a van transfer from Jambo to Kidani, but that can take even longer if there are people ahead of you.
I mention the ease in visiting Kidani first because my assumption is that most people bypass it completely on their way to Jambo House for a meal or to look around.
The Pembe savanna at Kidani is smaller than Jambo, but most of the same animals are around. The Sunset savanna from Jambo was expanded to stretch all the way over to Kidani when Kidani opened in 2009.
The views at Kidani may be even better.
That’s particularly true after 4pm, when the animals are lured closer to Sanaa for dinner service.
Like Kona Cafe, I think Sanaa is another restaurant on just about everyone’s “under-appreciated restaurants” list. Sanna doesn’t get as much airplay though, so I guess we’ll call it under-appreciated. Menus:
Also like Kona, the prices are incredibly reasonable, especially considering we’re on Disney property. The restaurant is also about as vegetarian-friendly as it gets.
At 5pm, the staff appears out front to open the restaurant.
A blurry shot with the hours. Daily at 4pm, Sanaa conducts a free tour of the restaurant, which culminates in free bread.
Another free tour begins upstairs in the lobby just outside the resort’s store, Johari Treasures.
Johari, located on the lobby level, offers just the basics:
It does have a refillable mug station. As we know, Joffrey’s is replacing Nescafe. But my assumption is that Joffrey’s is a more expensive coffee than Nescafe. I wonder how they’ll work the refillable mug “situation” with Nescafe’s exit. It may be the rationale for a $17.99 Refillable Mug.
There aren’t a lot of prettier, more relaxing spots on property than the second floor of Kidani in the afternoon.
Like Jambo House, most guest rooms overlook the savanna.
Those are all guest buildings in the distance.
Of course, you can also rock the asphalt view.
Similar to Jambo, there’s an area to the rear where anyone can get closer to the savanna. That’s a fire pit with rocking chairs in the middle. The campfire begins nightly at 5:15pm this time of year.
At Kidani, you’re on eye level with the animals.
A look back at one of the lobby level perches.
And the area below.
Marty and Melman on loan from Universal.
As far as I know, okapi are the only animal unique to the Pembe savanna.
There’s probably a unique antelope too. There’s always a unique antelope.
A look back. Sanaa is located on the lower level. The check-in area is basically right through those doors. To access the restaurant from the main entrance, simply walk to the back of the lobby and head down the stairs. If you’re staying at Kidani, at least one meal at Sanaa is a no-brainer. And you may want two. Luckily, you probably won’t need a reservation, especially for lunch. I’ll discuss Animal Kingdom touring a bit more in the theme park post, but I like the idea of visiting the Park from 9am – 1pm, taking a few hours off to tour the resorts and grab lunch, and then a return to the theme park for the last couple of hours when crowds die down again.
There are a ton of activities throughout the day, most of them available to anyone.
The library is mentioned as the location for a couple of the activities. You’ll find it on the lobby level with more chairs outside overlooking the savanna below.
Because Kidani is detached from Jambo House, it offers its own check-in, valet, baggage, and concierge services.
In addition to the unique savanna, Kidani also features its own collection of art. This one is a little cross-eyed for my taste, but I’m no expert.
Like Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, Bay Lake Tower, and the BoardWalk, Kidani has a “Community Hall.”
Here, you’ll find books, board games, coloring, video games, movies, pool, foosball, and other activities.
Individual Playstation 3s set up.
They have binders full of the Xbox Kinect and Wii games that are available. Other activities include painting ceramics, making photo frames, decorating bird houses, and others. There are nominal costs for the art supplies should you wish to partake – generally $2 – $10. When I visited around 5pm, there wasn’t anyone there. My estimation is that the Community Halls aren’t well advertised. In this instance, the Hall is located across from the arcade through what looks like any other door.
Someone may have to correct me, but it’s my understanding that you can drop your 12+ year old(s) off here for as long as you want, unsupervised. I’m not sure of the extent to which they’ll be supervised by cast members. For example, I’m not sure if you can stipulate that the kids are not to leave the Hall. Please post a comment if you have experience.
Speaking of the Arcade, it’s what you might expect. As you look at the Savanna from the lobby, you’ll find both the arcade and Community Hall down the hall on the right.
This is the first time I can remember seeing an Indiana Jones pinball machine. Very adventurous.
Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., and Marios Bros is rare as far as I know.
Haters gonna hate.
So that’s our peek at the Kidani available to anyone. You’ll also find a pool complex, pool bar, and fitness center available to those staying at the resort. For more information, visit http://www.aklresort.com/.