The new Kidani Village at the Walt Disney World Resort’s Animal Kingdom is a home run. Built as a component of the Disney Vacation Club, the property’s accommodations, which range from studios to three-bedrooms, are meant for residential use.
Large bedrooms at Kidani Village have custommade African-style furnishings
Our One-Bedroom Suite #7216 was fit for any luxury traveler; it has two full bathrooms (the one off the bedroom is extremely luxe with a huge Jacuzzi-style bathtub, spacious shower with a seating area, rain shower head, double sinks and separate water closet).
Rooms at the resort offer stunning views of African animals roaming about in a natural habitat
The living room and bedroom are large with plenty of storage space; making the suite even better is the double balcony. The crowning touch is the custom-made furnishings that evoke an African vibe.
But Kidani Village is not just about the room—what’s happening outside is the main event. That’s because the resort is situated on the savannah that Disney built for its Animal Kingdom Lodge. This savannah is real, as its denizens are African animals—just outside our balcony, we saw giraffes, Ankole cattle, Roan antelope, zebra and wildebeest, to name a few.
The best time to view the animals is around 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.—just when they’re starting to wonder what’s for dinner. One evening, we were mesmerized by the giant Roan antelope dozing in front of our balcony and the emus grazing to its left; but we were stunned when we turned slightly to our left and saw five giraffes standing about (one was a baby). Moments later, we saw two giraffes directly in front of us, affectionately sniffing each other’s heads.
As for Kidani Village, other features include Sanaa, a table-service restaurant, whose floor-to-ceiling windows provide dramatic views of the wildlife. The cuisine is designed as “African cooking with Indian flavors;” there’s also a great cocktail lounge serving African-inspired mojitos (and more). For kids, there’s the Samawati Springs Pool, a zero-depth entry pool with a 128-foot slide and two whirlpool spas. Uwanja Camp has three separate programs—for kids four or younger, those aged five to seven and those eight and older.
When we checked out of Kidani Village we were delighted to find we could check in for our flight at Orlando International Airport (MCO); the best part was handing over our luggage with the assurance that we’d be able to pick it up at New York’s JFK. It was also convenient to store our bags with the bell desk and head over to the parks to see what was new there—including the American Idol attraction at the 1,000-seat Hollywood Studios, which allows guests to mimic the television show experience by auditioning and performing—and being voted on—by the audience.
For guests commemorating milestones at the resort, Disney has created a tool for travel agents to customize itineraries for their clients at www.disneyparks.com. The program is also available for Disneyland Resort in California.