Friday, June 10, 2016

Disney World 2016: Arrival Day and Animal Kingdom Lodge Review

We left from Indianapolis bright and early in the morning at 7:00, took two flights and made it to Orlando around 1:30 pm.

The girls were good travelers, especially considering how early we had to get up.  They played a few games of Spot It at the airport in Minnesota while waiting for our second plane.
Isla slept on Daniel for most of the first flight.

And she spent most of the second flight doing addition problems.  The girl just loves to add! 

After getting off the plane, we headed downstairs to Disney's Magical Express.  Disney took care of getting our bags for us and having them delivered to our resort room.  All we had to do was get on the bus!  Here are Audrey and I on the bus, excited for our trip to begin and excited for our first look at Animal Kingdom Lodge!

We did a split stay for this trip, staying the first 3 nights at Animal Kingdom Lodge-Kidani Village and the last 4 nights at Coronado Springs Resort.

For the Animal Kingdom Lodge rooms, we rented points through the DVC Rental Store.  It was such an easy process, and everything went smoothly.  I would most definitely rent points through them again, and I would most definitely stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge-Kidani Village again.  Renting points is a great way to save money at the Disney Deluxe resorts and saved us 50-60% off Disney prices!  And now that I have stayed at a deluxe resort, it is going to be hard to go back to the values and moderates!

Animal Kingdom Lodge has two parts...Jambo House and Kidani Village.  We stayed at Kidani.  Kidani Village is newer and a little smaller, and it's all Disney Vacation Club villas.  The two parts of the Lodge are about a half mile apart, and there is a shuttle that runs between the two to make it quicker to go from place to place. 

The theming, designed to resemble an African village, throughout both of Animal Kingdom Lodge resorts is outstanding.   I LOVED everything about Kidani Village.  Everything was nice...from the lobby to the rooms to the bus stops.    I liked the quieter feel in Kidani Village.  As we were coming back to the resort one night, I commented on how peaceful it was.  After a day full of craziness and people in the parks, it was so relaxing to come home to Kidani. 

Here is the main lobby for Kidani.
Kidani Village lobby view from the savanna behind it:
 It's a little detail, but the bus stops at Kidani were so nice.  Much nicer than any other resort bus stop we have seen yet.  I loved that they had an individual bus stop for each park, rather than all the parks together at one stop, like most of the other resorts do.  It just added to the sense of peace and calm that was prevalent around the whole resort.
Here's the main lobby at Jambo House, which is even bigger and more impressive!
Jambo House lobby, view from the savanna behind it:
The most exciting and unique thing about Animal Kingdom Lodge is the animals that they have on property.  There are several different savannas around the property that are home to all kinds of animals...giraffe, zebras, antelope, ostriches and many more!  Many of the rooms on property (but not ours) overlook the savannas, so that you can look outside your room and see animals.  Even though our room didn't have that view, there were still plenty of places to see animals around the resort!  

There was almost always a zebra and giraffe in view somewhere, so I ended up with lots of zebra and giraffe pictures!
At the main savanna at Kidani.  There was a giraffe behind us, but it walked out of view by the time we took a picture!
There were windows around the elevator waiting areas, so every time we went on the elevator to or from our room, the girls first wanted to stop and see the animals.  These guys were outside the elevator windows a lot, but I can't remember what they were called.

Our room at Kidani was a standard studio villa.  Standard means that we did not have a view of the savanna.  Instead we had a view of the lobby roof, and below, the bell services luggage storage area.  Not that beautiful, but for the price we paid, I was happy with it!  We were super close to the lobby, which made for quick walks back to our room each day.  A good thing after we spent each day walking 6-7 miles around the parks.
Views from our room

Our studio villa had a queen sized bed and a sleeper sofa.  The girls got stuck with the sleeper sofa.  They don't seem to mind sleeping on a pull out couch, and I liked being able to fold up their bed during the day.  It made the room feel more spacious.

A few more pics from around the room.  There was a good amount of storage space with a dresser, an armoire and a closet.
A peek at part of the bathroom.

Since this was considered a villa, we also had a kitchenette with a mini fridge, sink, microwave, toaster and coffee maker.  Disney supplied some paper products like plate, bowls, and paper towels.  I had groceries delivered to the resort from Garden Grocer.  I ordered bottled water, some other drinks, breakfast food, snacks and some fruit.  It wasn't cheap for the groceries/delivery, but it was cheaper than eating breakfast and buying bottled water from Disney every day!  And since we didn't have our own car, it was also cheaper than renting a car and driving to buy groceries ourselves.

The pool at Kidani village was great.  We absolutely loved it, and it was really never that crowded.  It had a good sized water slide, which was Audrey's favorite thing.
Go Audrey!

Kidani also had a really fun splash pad/playground area.  

The pool at Jambo House, which we checked out one day, was bigger.  And much more crowded!
The Jambo pool also had a water slide.  But it was quite a bit shorter than the slide at Kidani.  We all preferred the pool area at Kidani over this one.

Back to our arrival day!  We got checked in, looked around at the animals and our room, and immediately went to the pool.  After we were done swimming, they were doing a campfire and roasting marshmallows (many Disney resorts do this).  So, of course, we had to stop and roast a marshmallow...or two!

On our way back to the room, we stopped one more time to look at the animals on the main savanna near the lobby.  Isla was in a goofy mood and was posing for pictures, even with lots of other people around.  I was hoping that this would be a good omen for the trip, and that she would be willing to pose for pictures the whole time.  Not quite!  But we take what we can get with her.

We were in bed by 8:00 this night.  After getting up at 4:30 am to catch our flight and with an early morning wake up call for breakfast at Magic Kingdom the next day, a good night's sleep sounded like the best way to start our vacation!

Next up:  our first day at Magic Kingdom!  (part 1 and part 2)


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