Skip to Content

Kidani Village vs Jambo House at Animal Kingdom Lodge

Here’s a detailed comparison between Kidani Village and Jambo House at Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge so you can decide where to stay on your next trip!


There is SO much we love about Animal Kingdom Lodge. But it’s a huge property and can be confusing on your first visit. 

What first-time visitors usually don’t know is that Animal Kingdom Lodge is made up of two distinct properties – Jambo House and Kidani Village.

In this post, I’ll compare Kidani Village vs Jambo House to identify the pros and cons of each to help you decide where to stay. 

Animal Kingdom Lodge Basics

Animal Kingdom Lodge Sign. Jambo House vs. Kidani Village

Animal Kingdom Lodge (AKL) opened in 2001 and is located near the Animal Kingdom theme park. It is a Deluxe Resort that is set on an actual 33-acre wildlife preserve.

In 2009, a second property, Kidani Village, opened adjacent to the original Animal Kingdom Lodge.

The original Animal Kingdom Lodge was renamed “Jambo House” to differentiate it from the new property. 

Both hotels comprise Animal Kingdom Lodge, which is regularly listed in the top ten family resorts in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine. 

Thanks to Disney’s world-class hospitality and outstanding amenities, you will have a fantastic experience at either resort.

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge map - Kidani Village vs Jambo House

You can walk to one property from the other or there is a shuttle bus between them if you don’t want to do any additional walking. 

In my experience, it takes about 10 minutes to walk from the Jambo House lobby to the Kidani Village lobby. The path is marked with signs and easy to find.

Now I’ll compare Kidani Village vs Jambo House looking at the rooms, dining, and amenities found at both resorts.

But first, know that guests staying at Jambo House and Kidani Village can use the amenities at BOTH locations.

That gives you a lot of options!

Kidani Village vs Jambo House Rooms


Jambo House Bunkbed Room

Jambo House Bunkbed Room – Photo Credit

There are two distinct room types at AKL – regular hotel rooms and Disney Vacation Club villas. Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is Disney’s version of a timeshare and you don’t have to be a member to stay in these rooms. 

In this section, I’ll explain the differences between these room types, go into more detail about the many room options, and compare costs.

Jambo House Rooms

Bed at animal kingdom lodge

Jambo House contains a huge variety of room types, thanks to the fact that some of its rooms were transitioned into DVC villa rooms around 2009.

Several types of room views vary in price – Standard View (view of a rooftop or parking area), Pool View, and Savanna View.

Alternatively, there are several different DVC room types at Jambo House.

Studio Villas (which sleep four) are about 375 sq. feet and feature a queen bed and a full-size sleeper sofa.

Kitchenette in a Studio Villa

Kitchenette in a Studio Villa

They also feature a small kitchenette with a microwave, sink, toaster, mini fridge, and cabinets with some food preparation items.

In other ways, they are similar to the regular resort rooms – including beautiful artwork and the wildlife preserve theme running throughout all of the details of the room.

I always recommend renting DVC points for stays in these rooms – click here to learn how.

Kidani Village Studio Villa Bathroom

There are also one-bedroom, two-bedroom and Grand villas available at AKL Jambo House.

One-bedroom and up villas feature a fully furnished kitchen (including a stove, full refrigerator, dishwasher, etc,) living room with a full-size pull-out couch, dining area, a separate bedroom with a king bed, and washer and dryer. Note that the master bath does NOT have a separate tub and shower like the villas at Kidani Village. 

One important note on staying in the DVC villas at Jambo House: They are very popular and there are far fewer here than at Kidani Village. So you must plan WELL in advance of your trip to secure these rooms.

Kidani Village Rooms

Living/Dining Room Area in a Two Bedroom Villa, Kidani Village vs Jambo House

Living/Dining Room Area in a Two Bedroom Villa

Now there are a few subtle differences between villa rooms at Kidani Village as compared to Jambo House.

Kidani Village contains just DVC villas and all of the rooms are slightly larger than their counterparts at Jambo House.

The studio villas are the same except that Kidani rooms have only one sink in the bathroom.

The one-bedroom villas have a second full bathroom just inside the entrance to the room. This might make a huge difference for some families!

Also, there are “dedicated” two-bedroom villas At Kidani Village, which have two queen beds in the second bedroom, as opposed to the queen bed plus sleeper sofa found in the regular (know as “lock off”) two-bedroom villas.

One other note about Kidani Village… this place is huge. If you are in the rooms farthest from the lobby, it takes A LOT of walking to get anywhere. This is a common complaint I hear in the elevators. That said, be sure to request a room close to the lobby at check-in!

kidani village vs jambo house bathroom

So to summarize, if you are looking for a standard hotel room (particularly one with bunk beds), then Jambo House is the place for you.

If you are looking for more home-like accommodations or rooms for a larger group, I suggest renting points and staying in a DVC villa in either Kidani Village or Jambo House.


A Standard View Balcony, comparing Jambo House vs Kidani Village views

A Standard View Balcony

One more question that I am often asked – should you spend the extra money on a savanna view room?

That depends on how much time you will spend in your room and how badly you want to see the animals.

There are many public viewing locations around the resort, so you can check out the animals there. However, there is something magical about watching animals while you drink your morning coffee or an evening cocktail.

My family has mostly stayed in standard-view rooms and had a partial savanna view on several occasions. So it is really up to your family if it would be worth the extra cost for a full savanna view, or if you’d rather use that money on some other part of your vacation.

Kidani Village vs Jambo House Wildlife Viewing

animals at animal kingdom lodge

The amenity that makes AKL unique among all other Disney hotels is the savanna, of course!

There are four different savannas at AKL,  with Kidani and Jambo sharing the main Sunset Savanna. More than 200 mammals and birds representing almost 40 species live there, and different animals can be found in different savannas.

The savannas are the actual homes of the animals who live there and they are open 24 hours. AKL is even accredited by the American Zoological Association (AZA), which ensures quality of care for the animals.

giraffes at animal kingdom lodge

The main viewing area for animals at Jambo House is called Arusha Rock. It is fun to explore and you can usually find a “Safari Guide” around the area who is happy to answer questions and tell you more about the animals.

Most often the guides are from Africa and are on a cultural exchange at AKL for some time. 

Viewing Animals, Jambo House vs Kidani Village

Zebra at Animal Kingdom Lodge

There is also a fire pit surrounded by rocking chairs in the Arusha Rock area. You can roast complimentary marshmallows and listen to campfire tales from African Cultural Ambassadors (read about all of the free resort activities at AKL in this post).

You can also use special night vision goggles to view the animals at night during the early evening hours at Arusha Rock.

Animal viewing areas Jambo House vs Kidani Village

There are several areas on the second floor of the resort near the lobby where you can view animals, too.

They contain rocking chairs and offer views from a little higher up, which is often better for picture-taking.

Walkway to Animal Viewing Area at Kidani Village

Walkway to Animal Viewing Area at Kidani Village

There is a similar animal viewing area at Kidani Village, complete with Safari Guides, binoculars, and a fire pit.

I have always seen more animals at the Kidani Village viewing areas. The animals are a lot closer than at Jambo House and I have seen a wider variety of animals.

It seems like the Imagineers learned from Jambo House and years later improved upon the animal viewing experience when they designed Kidani Village.

Also, don’t forget about your special animals at home while you are viewing the amazing animals at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Whenever I travel, I leave my many pets in the hands of a verified pet sitter I find through Trusted Housesitters. There is no charge for pet sitters beyond the membership fee, and my readers save 25% on any plan with the promo code FRUGALSOUTH25. I know it sounds too good to be true but I promise it is the real deal – learn more about Trusted Housesitters here!

Kidani Village vs Jambo House Pools

Pool areas, Jambo House vs Kidani Village

Morning at the Jambo House Pool

The pool areas at both resorts are nothing short of spectacular.

Between the two resorts, you’ll find two zero-entry pools, three water slides, four hot tubs, two pool bars, three kiddie pools, and an interactive water playground.

jambo house pool

While the pool at Jambo House is bigger, the waterslide and water play area at Kidani Village is better. 

What’s great about a stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge is that you can enjoy BOTH pools!

We spend at least a few days just visiting the pools on each of our stays at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Hot tub at Jambo House

Hot tub at Jambo House

Jambo House features a large zero-entry pool with a 67-foot-long water slide. There are two hot tubs around the pool area, one in a bamboo grove and the other right next to an animal viewing area.

There is also a (rather uninspired) kiddie pool. You can order drinks from the Uzima Springs poolside bar (I suggest the Safari Amber beer and the Mango Margarita).

Towels and kids’ life jackets are provided at the pool. You are allowed to bring your own toys into the pool, as long as they aren’t too big.

playground Jambo House vs Kidani Village

You’ll find a nice playground and a few more animal-viewing spots in the Jambo House pool area as well. I’ve seen cast members wiping down the playground equipment with disinfectant each morning. Only at Disney World.

Kidani Village - Samawati Springs Pool

Kidani Village – Samawati Springs Pool

Kidani Village has a zero-entry pool that is about half the size of the Jambo House pool. However, the main water slide is 128 feet long and really fun!

There is also a kiddie-sized water slide that empties into the main pool. Our little one has loved it since age one. You’ll find two nice-sized hot tubs in the pool area as well.

interactive water play area

The large interactive water play area at Kidani Village is called Uwanja Camp and it is amazing.

There are a few shallow kiddie pools, water blasters, buckets that periodically dump water, a playground area, and more.

I feel like there is something for toddlers through teenagers in this area. Here are a few more pictures:

kidani village vs jambo house pool

play area

kiddie waterfall and pool

Overall, we enjoy both pool areas tremendously and especially enjoy the ability to go to both pools during our stay.

I tend to favor the Kidani Village pool over the Jambo House pool due to the awesome water slide and water play area, especially if you have older kids who will get the most out of these features.

But one of my favorite spots in the world is the Jambo House hot tub by the animals, so there’s that. 😉

Kidani Village vs Jambo House Dining

table at Sanaa at Kidani Village. Dining Kidani Village vs Jambo House

Sanaa at Kidani Village

I can’t believe I made it this long without writing about the incredible dining at Animal Kingdom Lodge!

Between the two properties, there are four restaurants, two lounges, and the pool bars I already mentioned. In my experience, they are all excellent. Here’s a quick summary:

  • Boma – Flavors of Africa – a buffet at Jambo House that serves breakfast and dinner. Outstanding quality and selection. Though the food is African-inspired and you’ll find some dishes you’ve never heard of, the food appeals to a standard American palate. One of my top three restaurants at Disney World.
  • Sanaa – a table service restaurant at Kidani Village that serves African-inspired food with some Indian influence. Open for breakfast (fast casual), lunch, and dinner (table service). Gorgeous design and theming and the only restaurant from which you can view animals while you dine. One of the more adventurous menus at Disney World, though you’ll find a standard strip steak and chicken entree.
Appetizer at Jiko

Appetizer at Jiko

  • Jiko – The Cooking Place – a high-end (Signature) table service restaurant at Jambo House open for dinner only. Boasts wood-burning ovens, seasonal menus, and the largest selection of South African wines outside of Africa. Pricey, but the quality and flavors will knock your socks off. I like to make a meal out of the extensive appetizer menu and enjoy a glass of South African wine. A special dining experience.
  • The Mara – a quick service restaurant at Jambo House that is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Opens for coffee and pastries at 6 a.m. Great food at reasonable prices (for Disney World). My favorites are the African Stew, Butternut Squash soup, and Zebra Domes for dessert.
poolside cupcake

Enjoy a cupcake from the Mara poolside

You’ll find a lounge at Jambo House or Kidani Village. Victoria Falls Lounge is found on the second floor of Jambo House, below the lobby and above Boma. It is a great place to grab a drink and relax.

Victoria Falls Lounge at Jambo House

Victoria Falls Lounge at Jambo House

There is also a lounge at Kidani Village, found just inside the entrance to Sanaa. It has some nice cozy seating and is a little tucked away from the bustle of the restaurant. It boasts an impressive wine list featuring African wines.

When comparing the dining options at Jambo House and Kidani Village, Jambo House stands out as the clear winner. I think the biggest drawback of Kidani Village is that it doesn’t have a quick-service restaurant.

We like having access to breakfast at the Mara at Jambo House, which opens at 6 a.m. (we are early risers). Sanaa now offers a “fast casual” breakfast from 7:00 to 10:00 a.m. every day. This is a much-needed offering – check out the menu here.

I think all three restaurants at Jambo House are some of the best in all of Disney World. They are not to be missed if you are staying at AKL, and are even worth a trip to the Lodge to eat if you are staying elsewhere!

Jambo House vs Kidani Village Fitness Centers & Spa

Kidani Village Fitness Center

Kidani Village Fitness Center

For those of you who like to work out on vacation (we do – weird, right?), you’ll find fitness centers at both resorts. Jambo House has a large fitness center with treadmills, ellipticals, free weights, weight training machines, and more.

The fitness center at Kidani Village is noticeably smaller with fewer options. My husband prefers the larger fitness center at Jambo House, but they both fit my needs just fine.

You can also book massage and spa treatments at the Zahanati Spa at Jambo House, located adjacent to the fitness center. I find the prices here to be outrageous so I save my money for a massage at home.

But if you want to indulge and spa treatments are your thing, you’ll find them at Jambo House.

Gift Shops & Arcade

Zawadi Marketplace

Zawadi Marketplace – Photo Credit:

Jambo House features Zawadi Marketplace, a huge store that functions as both a gift shop and a general store. It has everything from sunscreen to t-shirts to basic groceries. You can buy gallons of milk for not much more than you’d pay at home (thank you for not gouging us on milk, Disney) and groceries for making basic meals.

The gift shop at Kidani Village is about one-tenth the size of Jambo House’s, though you’ll still find all of the same basic groceries there. If you are looking for souvenirs, you are way better off walking over to Jambo House.

You will find a big arcade at Jambo House near the pool area. There’s a hard-to-find arcade at Kidani Village next to the library down a hallway from the lobby. 

Lobbies and Design

Jambo House Lobby vs Kidani Village lobby

Jambo House Lobby

It’s kind of a good thing that pictures don’t do these places justice. There is nothing like experiencing the Jambo House lobby in person for the first time – I remember it took my breath away.

The towering ceilings, light fixtures, four-story glass window that looks out onto the savanna… there is truly a majestic feel to the place.

Kidani Village Lobby, Kidani Village vs Jambo House

Kidani Village Lobby

Kidani Village’s lobby is equally gorgeous but scaled down from the Jambo House lobby.

In both lobbies, you’ll find check-in desks and concierge.

Overall, Kidani Village has a more home-like feel to it, while Jambo House is more impressive and grand. This might influence your decision about where to stay as well, depending on what you are looking for.

african art

In the lobby and throughout the resorts you’ll find genuine African art on display.

This is another of my favorite parts of visiting these resorts. It is almost like visiting an art museum to boot!

These resorts hold one of the largest collections of African art in the world outside of Africa. Take some time to notice the artwork when you walk to and from your room and even stroll around the resort to see all that’s there.

A Few More Thoughts

I have neglected to mention the outstanding hospitality and service ethic of the Cast Members at these resorts.

We have stayed there many times (seven at the time I write this) and we have only had excellent interactions with folks there. On many occasions, they have gone out of their way to help us out, from soothing a sick kid to changing travel plans.

This is one area where Disney excels and something that keeps us coming back year after year.

Both resorts offer in-room babysitting services for ages six months through twelve years old starting at $18 per hour.

Kidani Village vs Jambo House Pros & Cons

A stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge is a special experience, regardless of where you stay. As promised, here is a list of the pros and cons of each resort, to help you decide which one might be right for your family:

Jambo House


  • More dining options, including a quick service location that serves breakfast
  • Better amenities, such as a larger pool, larger gift shop, arcade, and childcare center
  • Spectacular lobby and an impressive feel


  • Expensive standard hotel rooms
  • Popularity makes it difficult to book DVC Villa rooms

Kidani Village


  • Slightly larger rooms with an extra bathroom in the One- and Two-Bedroom Villas
  • Fun interactive water playground
  • Better public animal viewing opportunities
  • An intimate, homey feel


  • Limited options for breakfast and no quick-service dining
  • No arcade, childcare center, or spa, and much smaller gift shop
  • Huge and spread out – can take a while to get to the lobby from certain rooms

Well, I hope all of this gives you a good idea of what to expect in a visit to Animal Kingdom Lodge and decide if Jambo House or Kidani Village might be a better fit for your family.

If you want even more details about Animal Kindom Lodge pool, rooms, and dining, check out this review. 

Any questions about Animal Kingdom Lodge? Please comment below.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Tony Rios

Sunday 23rd of April 2023

Great information! I will keep following you =]

Suzanne Raley

Thursday 1st of July 2021

Thank you for this wonderfully inclusive review of these properties. My husband and I are planning to take our family to WDW in early December 2022 and are considering booking at one of the AKL properties. One of the reasons AKL is being considering (besides traveling with grandchildren) is they supposedly offer 3-bedroom accommodations, yet you don't mention them. Are you aware if that option is still being offered? Also, what other properties do you recommend that offer 3 bedroom villas? Thanks!


Sunday 4th of July 2021

Hi Suzanne! Yes, there are 3 bedroom Grand Villas at AKL. They are also found at some of the other DVC resorts: Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, Bay Lake Tower, Boardwalk, Copper Creek (Wilderness Lodge), Grand Floridian, and Riviera.

Katha Santhiago

Tuesday 9th of March 2021

Hi! Im planning on going in September with my then 2.5 yo and think the AKL would be great. I have a silly question, if you don't get a Savanah view can you still see the animals easily on the property or is it 100% worth it and needed to get the Savanah view to get that magical feeling of the animals? Also, would you recommend this over the Bay Tower contemporary? TIA!


Tuesday 9th of March 2021

Hi! First, there are plenty of public viewing areas where you can see the animals. So no, it's definitely not necessary to have a savanna view to soak up all of the magic! Second, I prefer AKL to Bay Lake Tower unless you plan on spending many days at Magic Kingdom. Being able to walk over to MK from the Contemporary is completely incredible.

Ana Reyes

Saturday 11th of January 2020

Thank you for the review! Si if we book an AKL hotel room with standard view will be assigned to Jambo House for sure?


Saturday 11th of January 2020

Hi Ana! You actually book the two properties separately. So you can either book a Jambo House standard view room or a Kidani Village standard view room. Hope that makes sense!


Wednesday 27th of November 2019

Hey there we just stayed in a 2bedroom at Kidani and You listed as a con that kidani doesn't have an arcade. I wanted to clarify that Kidandi does have an arcade its directly across the hall from kids activity center. on the 2nd floor to the right off the lobby. We actually prefer it to the arcade at Jambo as its normally less crowded. Another thing for people to take into account is parking, Kidani has a great underground parking garage so your car stays out of the direct sun. We walked over to Jambo daily and and I felt Kidani was quieter in general amongst the 2 hotels -- lots of non hotel guest go to Jambo and crowd the lobby and the walk around the grounds


Friday 6th of December 2019

Thanks for this input, Christina! I remember seeing the arcade last year and thinking " oh I need to update my post" and then of course forgot. It's updated now! I always fly to Disney world so I don't think much about parking but you are right - the parking garage at Kidani is pretty nice. Thanks again.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Privacy Policy | Disclosure Policy | Contact Me