We finished our six resort split stay in July with the final two nights at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas- Jambo House. This trip was originally only eight nights, but because we snagged a Value Studio at Jambo House, we turned it into ten! Before I get into anything else, I want to point out that as part of the phased re-opening of Walt Disney World, the hotel side at Jambo House was closed, as were all the restaurants and the gift shop. Basically, only the DVC villas were available, as well as the pool. I will purposely not rate some categories for this reason but will still expand on our experiences.
As with most resorts, the check-in process was simple. We had already checked in online and received our room push notifications on the My Disney Experience app. Because we had booked a value studio, we knew what to expect. We had gotten upgrades at the previous two resorts, but those were pure luck. We were fine to see that we were assigned one of the two value studios with a parking lot view. It was a good reminder to us that when you play roulette with the view, sometimes, that’s what you get. This room gets as low as 7 points a night on the 2021 point charts, so the value is definitely the key here. We received our room at 11:26 am while we were at Magic Kingdom and decided to head to the lodge and check out the room.
Rating: Very Satisfied
Service and Cast Members
If I had one thought about Jambo House during this trip, the word “ghost town” comes to mind. Basically, it was deserted. The lobby was empty (which was a great photo opportunity), the shops and dining were closed, and there were very few cast members around. There were a few at the front desk and a few cleaning in the lobby. While I’m not going to rate this category since we didn’t speak directly to any cast members during our stay, we appreciated their presence if we needed something. The positives about it being so empty were how quiet and peaceful it was. Anyone who spends enough time here knows it can become a zoo and not just because of the animals. Many day guests usually flock to the lodge for dining, so it was surreal to see it so tranquil.
Lobby and Common Areas
Animal Kingdom Villas is our first DVC home resort. It is also where we own the bulk of our points. There are multiple reasons that I love owning here, such as the great point value, the theming, and the ability to choose from two resorts at 11-months out. However, my favorite reason to own here is the first access to Jambo House. Many don’t realize that when you take away the large inventory of Kidani Village’s 492 villas, Jambo House is one of the smallest DVC units on property, coming in at a total of 216 potential villas. In comparison, the hard-to-get-into Beach Club Villas have 282 villas. This means that scoring that 7-month reservation at Jambo House might not be as easy as you think. Between the two, Jambo House is our favorite. One of the main factors here is the lobby. I feel so immersed when I walk into Jambo House. Most DVC resort lobbies (except Wilderness Lodge and Grand Floridian) pale compared to Jambo House’s grandeur. Add to that the three savanna overlooks, which we enjoyed exploring, and Jambo House is a wonderful place to stay. Regardless that a majority of things were closed, the lobby was as beautiful as ever.
Rating: Very Satisfied
Like all of the resorts we stayed at this trip, Jambo House met our expectations for cleanliness. Despite only a small portion being open, we still see cast members actively cleaning the common areas. Overall, the condition of the resort is great. The hotel side recently completed a renovation; the pool was fairly recently refurbished, and I know last year we saw some work being done on the exterior. Overall, Jambo House looks to be in great shape.
Rating: Very Satisfied
There is not a whole lot to say here. The room appeared very clean and smelled fresh. The new cleaning procedures were noticeable in all of our stays throughout the trip and here was no different.
Rating: Very Satisfied
Before I get into the decor, I wanted to touch on the size of this room. For a value studio, these rooms are still a decent size at 316 square feet. This is the smallest Deluxe Studio on property, but only 22-23 sq. ft. short of Copper Creek and Bay Lake Deluxe Studios, respectively, and 96 sq. ft. larger than Riviera’s Tower Studios. I will be honest in terms of decor that I hope that Animal Kingdom Villas sees a refurbishment soon. I’m not sure when it had one last, and I know there are some resorts in line first. I would love to see something similar to what they did on the hotel side. My unpopular opinion is that the wood-look floors are better and easier to clean and don’t show as much wear as carpet, and I would love to see that carry-over into the Villas. I would also enjoy some updated furniture similar to what we see in Copper Creek with clean lines that serve its purpose without taking up a ton of space. I find the furniture at Animal Kingdom Villas to be large and clunky. Aside from that, the room sizes are great, the furniture is still in pretty decent condition with very few scratches, and the artwork and little hints of The Lion King are a nice Disney touch. The exterior of the resort is beautiful, and the balconies are very nice as well.
It would be unfair for me to rank this category. Walt Disney World was (and still is) in their initial reopening phase. Everything at Jambo House, aside from the pool, was closed for us. Typically, this place is a mecca of awesome dining. We dined at Sanaa in Kidani Village for this visit, which is always a great choice, but we also drove through McDonald’s drive-through on a night that we wanted something quick and easy. I hope that before too long, Jambo House can be restored to its former glory as the dining hot spot it has always been.
Pools & Recreation
While there wasn’t much recreation during the reopening phase, the pool at Jambo House has always been one of my favorites on property. Even though the pool seemed like the place to be for anyone staying at Jambo House, it’s huge and offers ample space to socially distance. We spent a few hours with an entire corner to ourselves where we could swim laps, and it’s hard not to be satisfied with that.
Rating: Very Satisfied
I won’t rate this category since we had a rental car, but we have stayed at Jambo House multiple times and used Disney transportation. One of the drawbacks here is location and transportation, but I truly have never felt like we have waited long for busses or that the bus rides take long to get to the parks. Besides, I think Jambo House has the best bus stop of all the DVC Resorts. It’s a huge space with ample coverage from the weather and plenty of benches to sit. If it is raining when you’re dropped off at home, you will be covered for your entire walk back to the lobby.
Value for the Points
There is a reason that the Value Studios are so hard to get even at the 11-month mark, and it’s because they are an amazing value for the points. As I had mentioned above, this room can be as low as 7 points a night in 2021. Even without the value villas, the point charts for all of Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House are wonderful. Standard Studios start at just 10 points and night, and Savanna Studios start at 13. You can really expand your trip when the points are this low. Plus, the savanna view is one of the best balcony views on the property, whereas you pay a lot more points for premium views at other resorts.
Rating: Very Satisfied
I would completely still stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House with the existing conditions. It was quiet and peaceful and still as beautiful as ever. The animals are still on the savanna, and the value is still there. However, I can’t wait to see it fully open again, and I look forward to the next time I can wake up in the morning and wander down to breakfast at Boma or grab some lunch at The Mara.
Missed some of the earlier stops on our six resort split stay? Check them out here!
*Please note that this resort review was conducted during Walt Disney World’s initial reopening period. We ask that you take into consideration that any negative impacts may be a result of situations surrounding the ongoing pandemic, and may not accurately represent the resort once it has fully reopened.
6 thoughts on “The Six Resort Split Stay – Animal Kingdom Villas Jambo House”
Just got back from a three split stay ending in Kidani Village. It was our first stay at AKV so we opted for the Savannah view. We were told everything at Jambo was closed except for the pool. We did a couple of meals at Sanaa and a park day at AK.
Being owners at Boardwalk and being used to easy park access to both Epcot and Hollywood has spoiled us.
Despite the wonderful theming and balcony breakfast with the giraffes and zebras, AKV is so far from the rest of WDW that we probably will not opt for that resort in the future.
I laughed when you praised the Jambo House Bus Stop. Because on our last stay there, I told my Wife I thought the Jambo House Bus Stop was the best Resort Bus Stop on WDW property. Her response was something along the line of “Who in God’s name ranks bus stops?”
Well…..glad to know I’m in great company.😄
Hahahaha, It’s totally the best bus stop and I completely rank them! Poly has the worst. We should compare notes, lol.
Animal Kingdom Jambo Villas had a refurb and new decor quite recently, maybe a year if that. I’m surprised you didn’t know that. I think the new rooms look quite different, and lost a lot of the beautiful African decor that was there. Just look at room photos from your last stay and see—there is A LOT different, not for the better. The wallpaper had maps of African countries and people and animals, the hand-carved furniture looked very authentic, as did the mosquito netting by the bed, special and unique lamps. The drapes were special too. Are you sure you have stayed there before? Doesn’t sound like it if you don’t see the huge difference.
Hi Julia – The refurb at Jambo House was actually only for the hotel rooms. The DVC villas were not refurbished as part of this. The last work done on the DVC rooms was a soft goods refurbishment in 2016.
Well that is what I thought. But your room photos show the map wallpaper in the bathroom is gone, different drapes, light colored walls in the bedroom, the mosquito netting from the bed is gone, different headboard and background around the bed. 5 ft. tall lamp in corner by table and chairs, squeezed in by the drapes is gone, 5 colorful pillows on the sofa also gone(not sleeping pillows, decorating pillows for patterns and color), etc. The bed cover was beautiful and added African patterns and added to the African lodge feel, and more pillows on the bed. For sanitary reasons, I imagine most people are glad to see the bed cover, pillows and runner gone, and the mosquito netting too, but they added a lot to the room, and the African theme.
If all that was changed in 2016, I guess it has been much longer than I realized since I stayed there, and that certainly covered a lot of things for “soft goods”, although some of it may have been done in preparation for post-Covid shutdown. (especially removing all the pillows) But removing wallpaper? Is changing drapes “soft goods”? Is “soft goods” lightening the walls and basically everything except changing out the furniture?
And yes, they do have the best bus stop.
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