Lately, it feels that many members of the DVC Fan Facebook Group have asked if they should choose Kidani Village or Jambo House for a stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas. It’s an excellent question and always elicits a large range of opinions. There is so much to love about both lodges, but when it comes to deciding which is the best fit, there are many things to consider. I thought it would be helpful to create a list of the advantages to each of these Disney Vacation Club resorts so that next time you’re asking yourself which one, you’ll be well-equipped to make an informed decision.

Kidani Village

Kidani Village is the true Disney Vacation Club resort of Animal Kingdom Villas. Inside the traditional horseshoe architecture, you’ll find that Kidani does not house typical hotel rooms. Instead, it is made up entirely of villas. Here you will find Deluxe Studios, One and Two Bedroom Villas, and Three Bedroom Grand Villas. The lobby at Kidani is smaller and more intimate, but the massive room inventory leaves many opportunities to snag a reservation here. Let’s dive into the reasons you may want to choose Kidani Village for an upcoming stay.

Overlook at Kidani Village

Larger Rooms: The difference in square footage between Kidani and Jambo House rooms can vary. At Jambo House, studios range from 316-365 sq. ft. depending on room category and location within the resort. Whereas, Kidani’s studios are all listed as a solid 366 sq. ft. The gap becomes more prominent as you move to larger villas. For example, Kidani One-Bedroom Villas are anywhere from 87-178 sq. ft. larger than those at Jambo House, and Kidani Two-Bedroom Villas have 98-228 sq. ft. more space. Kidani rooms are always larger except for the Three-Bedroom Grand Villas at Jambo House that are 148 sq. ft. more than Kidani’s.

Kidani Village Studio

More Bathrooms:  Not only do the Studios here offer a much larger bathroom space, One-Bedroom and larger units give guests an extra bathroom when compared to Jambo House. For example, One-Bedroom Villas have two bathrooms, and Two-Bedroom Villas have three.

Dedicated Two Bedrooms: Unlike Jambo House, Kidani Village has the option between Two-Bedroom Lock-offs or Dedicated Two-Bedroom Villas. For some families, a dedicated villa is valuable for the extra queen-sized bed instead of another sleeper sofa.

Two Story Grand Villas: This can be a pro or con depending on your family needs, but a two-story Grand Villa means two stories of balconies and a beautiful two-story window. It should also be noted that Kidani has both standard and savanna view Grand Villas, whereas Jambo House only has savanna. The standard view allows you to have a Grand Villa for fewer points.

Kid-Friendly Pool: Between the two, Kidani has a more kid-friendly pool. Inside the Samawati Springs Pool, you’ll find a 128-foot water slide, zero-depth-entry, and the Uwanja Camp- a water playground with three different zones.

Covered Parking: Unlike any DVC or Disney resort, Kidani Village offers guests a covered parking garage located underneath the resort. This is great if you want to protect your car from the elements or keep it from getting super hot in the Florida sun.

Best Savanna Views: While I don’t have any evidence to support the hypothesis that savanna views are better at Kidani, it is my personal experience that they are. Kidani has two savannas, The Pembe and the Sunset Savanna. The Pembe is a smaller savanna in the front of the resort with smaller animals, including the rare Okapi. The Sunset Savanna is the main savanna. Even though it is shared with Jambo House, we have experienced some of the best animal encounters on the Sunset Savanna closest to Kidani. The animal, especially giraffes, seem to really enjoy hanging out near the Kidani building. Add to this the fact that the rooms at Kidani begin on the 2nd floor so that you can get a pretty close room to the animals.

Giraffes on the Sunset Savanna near Kidani Village lobby.

Sanaa: The more I visit Disney, the higher up Sanaa has climbed on my restaurant favorites list. I would place it in my top five right now. I love the food and atmosphere. It’s also the only restaurant on the property with a savanna view. It’s also ground level to the savanna, making it even more spectacular.

Sanaa Indian bread service is one of my favorite appetizers on property.

Jambo House

Despite all the great reasons to choose Kidani Village, Jambo House has my heart. There is just something about the original Animal Kingdom Lodge that never ceases to draw me in. Jambo House is primarily a Disney hotel, with DVC added to a previous hotel portion. It has a lot smaller room inventory than Kidani Village (fewer DVC units than Beach Club even), so you might be wondering why anyone would pick Jambo House over Kidani Village. Here are some thoughts on what makes Jambo House so magical.

Exterior back of Jambo House

Grandeur: If I had a dollar for every time I told someone Jambo House is grand and gorgeous, I could pay my dues for next year.  I can’t help it. It’s just that impressive when you enter. There are only two other resorts on property that hold a candle to it. This multi-story lobby is amazing all year long, but especially at Christmas. It has a way of drawing you into the African theming so that you want to stay there forever.

It’s hard to beat this magnificent lobby.
Jambo House lobby at Christmas

Larger Pool: We actually prefer the Uzima Springs Pool at Jambo House. This is probably because we are childless adults. The pool doesn’t have a splash area, and the water slide is smaller. However, it is much larger-11,000 sq ft compared to Kidani’s 4,700. It’s also more wide and open. I really love the foliage surrounding the pool, where you may actually find bananas hanging over your lounge chair (or are they plantains?).

The Uzima Springs Pool has plenty of space.
Bananas at Jambo House pool area

Value & Club Level: These two Jambo House booking categories aren’t always accessible for everyone and book up quickly by Animal Kingdom owners. Despite that, even non-owners can get lucky. We have been fortunate to score a value villa three times, and the point savings are well worth it. The Kilimanjaro Club is the only way to access club level with DVC points, and it is also well worth the points if you can snag it (during normal operating times).

More Savannas and Overlooks: There are three decent sized savannas at Jambo House: Sunset Savanna, Arusha Savanna, and Uzima Savanna. All three savannas have giraffes, and each also has its own overlook. Let’s not forget about the cool flamingos between the pool and savanna. There are a lot of animals to explore at Jambo House.

Jambo House flamingos

The Great Value of Standard Views: Every single standard view at Jambo House is either a pool view or a partial savanna view. There are no parking lot views when you book standard (value rooms have a small chance of parking lot views). This is much different than Kidani, which has a large amount of parking lot facing standard views.

Jambo House standard view overlooking the pool.

Single Story Grand Villas: If you’re not a fan of steps, all of the Grand Villas at Jambo House are a single-story design. It should also be noted here the balconies are huge when compared to the Kidani Grand Villas. All Grand Villas at Jambo House are savanna view. They also have four bathrooms, just as Kidani’s do.

Dining and shopping: When we’re not in the initial reopening phase for Disney and things (hopefully) return to some form of normal, Jambo House has some of the best dining on property. I would argue that The Mara is one of the best DVC resort quick-service restaurants. It has a great menu and ample seating. There is also the popular and well-loved Boma and Jiko. Add to this lounges/pool bars, and there are many dining options for guests staying here. The Zawadi Marketplace is one of the largest hotel gift shops on property and has a great variety of souvenirs and even food.

Great Bus Stop: I say this all the time, and I’m sure it sounds crazy to rate a bus stop. However, Jambo House has my favorite bus stop area in all of Disney World. It’s large, there are a decent amount of benches, and it’s well covered and remains covered all the way to the lodge entrance. I realize this is because transportation is all busses, but no resort is immune to needing busses, and all main bus stop areas should be this nice (I’m looking at you, Polynesian).

High DVC Floor: This may not be an advantage to everyone, but it is to us. Since Jambo House is primarily a hotel, all the DVC units (except for the club level on the 6th) are located on the 5th floor. I love this because my number one request when booking any DVC room is to be on a high floor. This may not bode well for you if you want to be a lot closer to the animals, but I always feel like I can see more of the savanna from my balcony up high.

Coffee from the 5th floor at Jambo House.

If you have digested all this information and still can’t decide, my advice is to try both and see which lodge feels best for you and your family. Sometimes, it’s hard to know how you will feel until you experience a resort for yourself. Both have amazing theming and wonderful savanna views. You really can’t go wrong with either choice. Let us know your thoughts in the comments. Do you have a favorite Animal Kingdom Lodge? What are the best amenities that set your favorite apart?

Looking for a Jambo House or Kidani vacation in the near future? Check out some of the amazing deals available through Dreams Unlimited Travel and our partners at DVC Rental Store!

Amy Krieger

Amy loves all things Disney from the theme parks and resorts to the beloved films. She and her husband, Paul, are originally from Wheeling, West Virginia. They now live in Central Florida with their two fur kids, Odie the greyhound and Hermes the Spanish galgo. As Disney Vacation Club members and Disney World Annual Passholders, they visit Disney World and other Disney properties as often as possible. Full time, Amy is the Manager of Loan Origination for Monera Financial, a World of DVC company where she helps buyers finance DVC contracts. Amy and Paul own DVC at some of their favorite resorts: BoardWalk, Grand Floridian, Animal Kingdom, Polynesian, and Grand Californian.

8 thoughts on “DVC Mashup: Kidani Village VS Jambo House

  • We’re longtime owners at the Beach Club, but Kidani is our second favorite DVC resort to stay at. Here are 3 more reasons why we love Kidani so much:

    1. First on and first off the bus. Since Kidani shares the bus with Jambo, this difference can make the difference between having a seat and standing. It also means you’re home sooner after a long day at the parks.

    2. Poolside food service at Kidani is from Sanaa. Honestly, it’s the best poolside food service I’ve ever had at any of the Disney resorts. Same great Sanaa quality – in your lounge chair!

    3. Jambo House is right next door, so if you want to eat at Boma or Jiko, it’s a short walk or bus ride over (remember the 1st on, 1st off rule), which means you can have your big room at Kidani and eat at Jiko too. 🙂

    • Thank you for these! I forgot to mention about the first bus stop being Kidani and that can be a huge difference. These are all awesome additions.

  • Very well thought out, complete and accurate article Amy! The animal Kingdom Lodge is it’s not only my home resort but my favorite resort.

  • Nicely done, Amy. Super thorough and has me excited for a future stay at either!

  • We stayed at Kidani in December 2019, and while we enjoyed the experience a few drawbacks: 1) some of the rooms are insanely far from the lobby, we were often exhausted before we got to the bus, 2) the rooms are pretty but need a refresh, particularly the bathroom which looked kind of beat, 3) while friendly, the cleaning staff left a lot to be desired. Our room was dirty when we arrive (greasy hand prints all over the sliding doors) and when our little one had an accident I had to request new bedding three times over the course of 5 hours. However, I agree that the Savannah views are incredible, Sanaa is great, the covered parking is really a nice touch, and the lobby is intimate. We also enjoyed the community hall which had nice activities for the kids on rainy days or when killing some time. Overall I give it a B – probably would not stay there again unless I had to but I did enjoy the experience.

  • I’ve stayed at both a couple times, and as usual, I agree with everything you said. Kidani has a lot of great things going for it, but Jambo is my place. It just has a special magic.
    And I mentioned to you before that I agree Jambo House has far away the best bus stop on Walt Disney World property. Only a true WDW nut would appreciate that.

  • Great stuff! Very thorough. I love it. I did not know about the multi-bathroom 1 bedrooms at Kidani. Thinking about grabbing one of these AK options when everything opens back up but wasn’t sure which one. This helped me decide. Going with Kidani. But wait, I like the dining at Jambo. Heck, I don’t know. Split Stay!

  • I’ve stayed in savannah view on both sides and liked them both for different reasons. I really enjoyed your summary and comparison – thank you. When I can finally visit again I will come back and read this again as it’s really useful.

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