Swahili for necklace, Kidani promises to be the jewel of the Walt Disney World resorts. From the moment you walk up to the resort, you are immediately greeted with a sense of what the resort is about: a beautiful style with such intricacies that it could be said that even the details have details.
For those who don’t know already, Kidani Village is considered half of Animal Kingdom Lodge. The original portion of the resort is now known as Jambo House. While the common areas of Kidani are smaller than those of Jambo, they are infinitely more impressive.
Kidani is built around several themes, one of which is proverbs. The proverbs are accompanied by butterflies with the first greeting you as you approach the entrance: Proverbs are like butterflies – some are caught, some fly away. The resort features over 40 proverbs in all spread throughout the resort including one attributed to Walt Disney himself. Wherever possible, the proverbs are themed to their location. I’m told the resort is working on compiling a list of all of the proverbs.
Of course in addition to the proverbs, the resort has its share of Hidden Mickeys. Some of the ones in Sanaa are featured in our review posted earlier. I even managed to find a couple of my own in the resort (aside from the carpet which is the same as Jambo’s).
Enter the lobby and you are immediately immersed in beauty and art. According to resort cast members, Animal Kingdom Lodge owns the second largest collection of African art in the world, with over 800 pieces between the two resorts. Cast members also make it a point to note that the art is there for guests to experience. With exception to a few items, the artwork is unprotected so that guests are able to touch it.
The first items you’ll encounter are asante watches. These are gold, non-functional watches that symbolize wealth and power. A large clock in the asante style is also displayed here. The clock was crafted in Africa, commissioned by Disney (a not-so-hidden Mickey clues you in).
Other artwork in the lobby symbolizes that of the harvest season, including a beautiful statuette of a plow right in the middle. Other harvest related items decorate the wall that announces the resort’s gift shop, Johari Treasures.
The almost-U-shaped quiet room known as the Library is patterned after a Cameroon palace. The room is decorated with earthy tones in a masculine style. The room offers lounging, a fireplace and a view of the savanna. Royalty oriented art fills the room. There are also two tapestries which feature the names of several hundred DVC members.
Community Hall offers a pool table, a Nintendo Wii and other gaming stations (there are Wii competitions held daily) as well as plenty of low-tech forms of entertainment. A closet full of board games are available for guests to check out to take back to their rooms if they wish as well as sports equipment. The common area also features a balcony overlooking the savanna.
Directly across from Community Hall is the resort’s arcade, Safari So Good, which offers the standard fare for video game entertainment.
Of course art displays (and proverbs) can be found throughout the resort. By the intricately detailed elevator (both the doors and the interior), you’ll find themed displays of art (eight in all). The elevators speak as they arrive between floors, although a guest did rightfully point out that the buttons in the elevator are labeled only with numbers – no L or any other key words that help orient you – not an incredibly huge deal however.
The lower level which is accessible either by elevator or by stairs is where one will find the resort’s table service location and only eatery, Sanaa, along with more art work and proverbs. Also on the lower level is the resort’s common savanna viewing area. An animal guide is on staff to assist guests with any questions they may have. The area also features a fire pit with chairs surrounding it. Also to be found on the lower level is a set of the most gorgeous restrooms I’ve personally ever seen (although I admittedly lead a sheltered life). Make it a point to check them out, even if you don’t need to make use of them (even the cultural representative who lead the resort tour so advised).
Then it’s back upstairs and out the lobby to find the walking path to the resort’s gym and pool area. The resort features a very large zero-entry pool with multiple simple water slides. The real treat however is the huge splash area playground next to the pool where guests can choose to have all sorts of doodads and gadgets spray them with water or take it upon themselves to soak others courtesy of several water canons. The play area also features its own water slide. In the afternoon, cast members hold a pool party for the younger guests.
The resort offers several free activities, all of which are listed for both Kidani Village and Jambo House. The resort’s equivalent of Jambo’s lobby art tour is called Africa by Design and is held daily. Cultural representatives lead guests on a small tour of the resort, commencing in the lobby area and ending downstairs in the resort’s savanna viewing area. The tour highlights the art and elements that inspired the design of the resort. To take the tour, meet the guides in the back of the lobby near the staircase at the scheduled time.
Below you’ll find a series of photos of the resort which I hope you’ll enjoy. All photos are © Stitch Kingdom and may only be reproduced providing full credit is given along with a proper link to the site. In addition, the watermark may not be removed.
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