In the third of my series on Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Resorts at Walt Disney World (WDW), I’m covering the Villas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (AKL). This resort, though it may be a bus ride to all four of the Parks, is definitely worth a visit (or two or three). Animal Kingdom Lodge offers DVC villas in Jambo House, which also has hotel rooms. Kidani Village is all DVC villas. It is one of our DVC “homes”. We love Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas so much that we have stayed here without visiting a park. Check out my article here. Here are my five reasons that the Villas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge are a wonderful place to stay.
The theming at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Villas is the best of any WDW Resort, in my humble opinion. The collection of African art is one of the larger in the United States. Cast Members from many different areas of Africa are eager to tell you about their countries. There are four savannas offering views of 30 species of African wildlife, including zebras, giraffes, gazelles, kudu and flamingos. Pick up a Wildlife Field Guide from the Lobby Concierge and see how many you can spot. You can also learn more about African animals and ecosystems in fun programs led by Animal Specialists. At night, head to Arusha Rock which overlooks one of the savannas. There are night vision binoculars to use.
At Jambo House, the Uzima Pool is an 11,000-square-foot pool with a great waterslide and zero-depth entry point similar to that of a natural watering hole. There is also a children’s wading pool and 2 whirlpool spas. At Kidani Village, the Samawati Springs Pool also offers a thrilling waterslide, 2 whirlpool spas and Uwanja Camp – a water playground with squirting Venus flytraps, a rope bridge, water cannons and more.
3. Special Safaris
Guests of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge & Villas can enjoy special safaris that take place on the savannas at the Resort and you can only take them if you are staying Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. The Wanyama Safari and Dinner offers up-close animal encounters followed by a multi-course, South African feast. We enjoyed the Wanyama Safari so much that we have done it twice already. For more detail, check out my article here. Lisa S. took a nighttime safari and wrote all about it here.
There are three wonderful table service restaurants, Jiko – the Cooking Place, Boma, the Flavors of Africa, and Sanaa. Jiko and Boma are located in Jambo House while Sanaa is in Kidani Village. Jiko – the Cooking Place is a fine/signature dining option offering a delicious blend of traditional African, Indian and Mediterranean cuisine. Jiko also has the largest selection of African wines outside of Africa. DIStracted writer Claudette E. wrote about her experience at Jiko. Boma is a table service/buffet, which my fellow DIStracted writer/editor Lisa M. recently reviewed. It features African-style food along with American classics, offering something for everyone. As Lisa said in her review “If you are on the fence about booking a dining reservation at Boma, take my advice and do it! Our group included a couple of picky eaters and even they walked away from the restaurant fully satisfied. Every single person in our eleven person group agreed that Boma received a big two thumbs up.” Sanaa is a table service restaurant where diners experience “the art of African cooking with Indian flavors” surrounded by African art and remarkable views of the resort’s Sunset Savanna. Fellow DIStracted writer Danielle M. reviewed Sanaa last year. There are also quick service meals available at both pools as well as at The Mara in Jambo House.
5. Club Level
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas is the only DVC resort that offers Club (concierge) Level and it’s a great way to spoil yourself. Club Level Guests receive:
- Secured key access to the club-level lounge, serving refreshments 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily
- Pre-arrival Walt Disney World Resort itinerary planning
- Evening turndown service
- Access to Concierge service at the Kiliminjaro Club
DIStracted Tip: Keep in mind that more DVC points are needed to stay Club Level. There is also a very limited number of villas available at the Club Level so book them early!
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