Having just returned from a nine day family trip to Disney World, staying at Kidani Village I wanted to share my opinion about the resort. We drive to Disney from the northeast, we typically hit traffic in the major cities along the way, however this trip we hit five minutes of traffic and that was it. Although we tried to compensate for this we still got to Kidani really early our first day. I wasn’t surprised that they did not have a room ready for us on arrival, but in Disney fashion the Castmembers were great. They provided us with the usual hotel information, however in addition to that we were given a few extras when we checked in. I asked where the nearest bathroom was to freshen up a bit and as a result I was directed to the fitness center, “Survival of the Fittest”. Unique to this resort (which I think is a great idea being someone who drives to and from Disney World) there is a full locker room with showers, soap and shampoo. This is where those extras I spoke about came in, since we were still all packed and didn’t use bell service until our room was ready, the Castmember at check in gave us tooth brushes and toothpaste kits, towels, soaps and shampoos to use because she couldn’t remember if towels and soap were provided. It was great to be able to shower on arrival and before we started our first day (do to the fact I am one of the those people that showers before I go outside to do yard work this was huge). Once I was checked in and showered, I was more awake to appreciate the lobby. Since I walked in before the sun came up and it was still night time hours, it was very dark. However this all changed when the sun came up and it was bustling with activity. The rustic design was great with the African theme. There were many pieces of artwork on display. For example, there was a table in front of you as you walk in the resort on the table was a set of watches in a glass case. These watches did not tell time though, they were solid gold decorative watches. These watches are replicas of the watches worn by the leaders of African tribes as a sign of power and stature. To the left of it was another African time piece however this had more of a Disney flare to it with the hidden Mickey on it (it still looked nice though). Not just in the lobby, but throughout the resort there were many different types of African art, head dresses, shoes, carvings and even shields on each of the doors to the guest rooms. Each one of these pieces had a short description of what the item was and what it symbolized.
Another fantastic feature are all of the programs offered at the resort. As with the other resorts there are poolside games, s’mores and evening movies. In Addition to those types of entertainment, this hotel offers much more, like cultural immersion, culinary exploration and animal programs. There are many different animal programs, from 8:30am-9pm there are savanna guides to answer questions, they were very informative and knew a lot about the animals. At 11:30am there was an animal enrichment program where the experts introduce new interactive activities to the animals. At 5:30 Bio Blocks starts which is a great look into the African culture and helps us to understand the bio diversity that makes a strong African Ecosystem. From sundown until 9:30pm night vision is offered to observe the animals behavior as they settle in for the night. For guests 8 and over there is also a night safari/ African game drive through the Savannah that costs $70 per person.
The cultural programs are conducted by Castmembers from Africa who share their cultures. African Wonders is a kids matching game to help them better understand the African culture. A cultural tour of Sanaa will help you understand the the culture behind the restaurant and why it is set up in the way it is. There is also a tour about the resort called African Inspired, Disney Designed led by a cultural representative. This experience takes you through the resort showcasing the African culture in a way that only Disney can do. The Drum Cafe is an interactive experience for kids to play African drums. This experience starts with the cultural representatives explaining the proper way to hold the drums and a game where the kids repeat what they are playing. After that, each of the kids creates their own music and everybody repeats it. The African Journey is presented as a personal tale from a Castmember from Africa telling how Africa is from their point of view.
The only Culinary Exploration activity offered at Sanaa is Dining with an Animal Specialist. The cost is $49 for adults and $29 for kids 3-9 but is recommend for kids 8 and above. This is a four course meal where you can interact with the animal experts in a more intimate atmosphere.
The pool area was great! There were many different facets to it, a portion for zero entry, a decent size water slide, a hot tub and plenty of room for swimming. Next to the pool is a splash and soak area that is great for little ones. In this area there are water guns, waterfalls, a slide, a bucket dump and a play ground. There is also a pool bar that had many different beers available and just about any drink you can concoct. You can also find a resort mug filling station here to.
The resort also has a small store in the lobby. Here you can find a refillable mug station and store with a small assortment of groceries. There are also a few souvenirs here including DVC merchandise.
The only draw back we found to the resort was the lack of quick service food. At the pool there is a small menu of sandwiches which was fine, the only problem was that they stopped serving food at 6pm. However, you can always use the room service option.
Other concerns I had about the resort were quickly dispelled. Since my family had never stayed here I read as much as I could about the resort and listened to podcasts that talked about the resort. After listening and reading I was worried about the bus ride and the size of the rooms. I was shocked about how big the two bedroom was. There were three full bathrooms which was very useful. The master bedroom and bath were huge. Another thing I found that was misrepresented was the savannah view rooms. From the podcasts I listened to and the articles I read about the resort, a savannah view was a must. This I found to be untrue. Sure it would have been neat, but not needed. We opted for a longer stay and no savannah view. Out our balcony there was definitely no view, however practically across the hall from our room and throughout the resort were large picture windows to view the animals. In addition, there were public balconies and viewing areas that were never crowded and there were always animals to see. The bus service which I was more concerned about was not an issue. It took the bus about fifteen to twenty minutes to get to the Magic Kingdom which was the farthest away. With the new displays at the bus stop you always knew when the next bus would arrive.
Overall, the resort was great, my family and I can’t wait to stay there again. Next time we visit we will be sure to leave a day just to explore the resort. We were able to experience many of the resort offerings, but there were a few we feel we missed out on.
Next week I will give a trip report on the parks and restaurants. Please leave a comment on here, like us on Facebook at Disneyhelp or follow us on Twitter @Disneyhelp.