Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11

Thread: DVC Animal Kingdom Resort Review - January 2015.

  1. #1
    Super Moderator chriskre's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Miami, FL
    Posts
    10,922

    DVC Animal Kingdom Resort Review - January 2015.

    I'm a DVC owner so have stayed at pretty much most of the DVC resorts. AKV is by far at the top of my list for the ambiance and decor. Now having said that I know that this resort is an either you "love it" or you "hate it" kind of place.
    It's dark, yes, but then again, this is supposed to be the "dark continent", so the whole place is dark when the sun goes down.
    That's one thing that I love. You never lose the theme. You get that "on safari" feeling, with a Disney twist of course.
    Many of the employees are from Africa on a 1 year contract and they are eager to share stories of their homelands with you.

    The resort has two sides. Jambo House which is the older section and Kidani Village which is the newer section. Jambo House has a hotel in it and the usual hotel services. Kidani is more like home. You park under your building and can schlep your own luggage and food if you like. The rooms are laid out better for bigger families with the 2 bedroom lock off units having 3 full bathrooms.

    The pools are very nice with zero entry, kiddie pools, hot tubs and pool bars. There is something for everyone. The only gripe I have with AKV is that the pools close at 8pm. Seriously? 8pm? After a long day at the theme parks when you get home at 9 or 10pm you might want to take a dip in the pool or relax those sore muscles in the hot tub but nope, the Disney police will kick your butt out of the pool at 8pm. Not sure why they feel the need to do that. There is plenty of light in the pools all night long. At some of the other Disney resorts, the pools are open until 11pm, so not sure what's up with AKV and their ridiculous pool hours. Are they afraid of an animal stampede? Is Disney just being cheap and not wanting to pay a lifeguard? Who knows, but it sucks.

    We were in Jambo house, which is pre-DVC and part of the old Animal Kingdom hotel. Disney has converted the top two floors of the Jambo House into DVC units. Because this was a conversion, you don't get that 2nd bathroom in the 1 bedrooms. We had a 1 bedroom 1 bath unit with a deep soaker jacuzzi tub/shower combo and a WC (water closet) in the one and only bathroom. The bathroom is huge though, but it's still only one bath, so although the units sleep up to 5 people, they really are best for smaller families of 2-3.

    We had unit 5454 which is on the 5th floor. There are 6 floors so we did have neighbors above us. The top floor is the Concierge level and costs more points and is rarely available to those outside of the home resort priority. I asked the front desk employees what the difference is between that locked floor which needs key access to view and a regular room and the staff weren't even sure, but thought that it was that free snacks and drinks were provided all day. Not sure if it's worth the extra points.

    Our room had a view of the pools and the trees off in the distance. The balconies are great in AK lodge in all the rooms. They run the length of your room and ours had access from the living room and bedrooms. I requested a savannah view as some of the pool rooms have them, but they did not honor my request. Oh well, maybe next time. The rooms have heavy rustic handmade style furniture with hidden Mickeys scattered throughout the room in the rugs, artwork and furniture. The tile work looks hand painted with scenes of the African plains and silhouettes of Simba and his cast of characters.

    The kitchen is a small wall of cabinets and upscale black Kitchenaid appliances set up in an L shape. Not that I am going to do any cooking while at AKV since my favorite restaurant in all of Disney is at Kidani village, Sanaa. Ahhh Sanaa. It's a culinary delight. Now I warn you that you must be an adventuresome eater to enjoy Sanaa because there is lots of spices that we westerners don't use. But once you discover them you will wonder how you ever went this far in life without them. Yes it's that good, if you are a foodie that is. If you are just a meat and potatoes kind of person then skip it and your wallet and pallet will thank you. It's not expensive by Disney standards but is expensive by Orlando standards.

    Mara is another on site quick service cafeteria style restaurant where you can sample a few watered down versions of some of the spices you get in the other AKV restaurants. The African stew is very good with Indian spice influences and jasmine rice. A good sampler to get you started on your food safari. Jiko is amazing too but it's really pricey. We've spent $300 easy on 3 people with wine, appetizers and desert. The chef comes to your table and will make your favorites even if they are no longer on the menu. I love their cauliflower soup which has been discontinued, but the chef has made it for me, by request. I think they are happy when you make special requests. Seems they really want to mix it up a bit and if a guest requests it, well that's all they need to hear. Boma is a buffet style restaurant with some of the same type of fare you find in Sanaa and Boma mixed with kid friendly choices too. Not my favorite place but many people swear by it.

    Wifi is free in all DVC resorts now so bring all your electronics. Parking is by valet or self park. The valet is $20 a day or free with a Handicap placard. Self park is free. When you stay in a Disney hotel or timeshare, you don't pay for parking for the theme parks on either check-in nor check-out days along with your stay, so if you move off-site for a split stay, try to coordinate your theme park visit with your free parking days. I rarely use Disney transport because it's just sooooo slow. I live in FL so always take my car. It's just much faster to drive than it is to use the buses. I will use the boats to Epcot though and the monorail if staying along the monorail line. They aren't fast but they are fun. Much more fun than an ugly old metro style Disney bus.

    Magic bands are now the new thing at Disney and your key is your band so no more of those credit card keys that get demagnetized by your cell phone anymore. The bands are waterproof too, so you don't have to take them off to shower or swim. They also have your name imprinted on them and you can charge up some of the bands with credit privileges while blocking others. You also use the bands to move around the resort gates and for charging privileges at the theme parks. Even your park tickets get loaded on your Magic Bands so no losing tickets either. Fast passes, on the band, building access, on the band, meal plan, on the band. Big Brother Mickey is watching us big time, but they make it so fun it really doesn't bother you much. Also cuts down on the scammers gaining access to the resorts and parking for free. Disney has an app called "My Disney Experience" and you can link all your reservations to the app to keep track of your schedule. Fast passes are on the app too, dining reservations, and virtual maps that are GPS guided and will tell you where you are in relation to where you want to go down to the foot.

    If you are wanting to stay at AKV consider trying out a studio before you plunk down the big bucks for the bigger units. You'll quickly know if this is the resort for you or not. I can't wait to go back again and I just go home!
    Last edited by chriskre; 01-24-2015 at 05:31 PM. Reason: Wrong year in title

  2. #2
    Thanks for the detailed review. This is the one Disney resort I would really love to visit....

  3. #3
    Super Moderator chriskre's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Miami, FL
    Posts
    10,922
    Quote Originally Posted by wackymother View Post
    Thanks for the detailed review. This is the one Disney resort I would really love to visit....
    Go. It's sooooo worth it.
    I've gone many times now and never tire of the place.
    I wish I had purchased my points at AKV so I'd have APR for the value units and points stretch a bit to more frequent stays.
    Hopefully my RCI ongoing will match with a little help from Tink and her pixie dust.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by chriskre View Post
    Go. It's sooooo worth it.
    I've gone many times now and never tire of the place.
    I wish I had purchased my points at AKV so I'd have APR for the value units and points stretch a bit to more frequent stays.
    Hopefully my RCI ongoing will match with a little help from Tink and her pixie dust.
    I'd probably have to rent there--I doubt I would be able to get an exchange at the school-break times when I could go. How much are rentals there?

  5. #5
    Super Moderator chriskre's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Miami, FL
    Posts
    10,922
    Quote Originally Posted by wackymother View Post
    I'd probably have to rent there--I doubt I would be able to get an exchange at the school-break times when I could go. How much are rentals there?
    If you rent from a DVC owner it depends on what dates and how many points you rent.
    There is a DVC points broker who rents to the public here: www.dvcbyrequest.com

    Here are the 2015 cash rates.

    Animal Kingdom Cash Rates 2015.jpg

  6. #6
    Thanks for all this info - we visited CAROL C there one day in a studio and then went down the hall and saw LAURIE in a 1 BD - loved the resort and the animals right there.

    Would love to go sometime....
    7 years of fulltime timesharing, only 6-7 months, now based in Puyallup, WA
    www.ronandjoanjourney@blogspot.com

  7. #7
    Super Moderator chriskre's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Miami, FL
    Posts
    10,922
    Resort map of Animal Kingdom Resort.

    Map Animal Kingdom.jpg

    Animal Kingdom map 2.jpg

  8. #8
    Silver Contributor and supermoderator GrayFal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    24,093
    Quote Originally Posted by wackymother View Post
    I'd probably have to rent there--I doubt I would be able to get an exchange at the school-break times when I could go. How much are rentals there?
    You could get the summer break. But it is HOT.

    Last year for Easter break I did not get thru RCI weeks ....had to use RCI Points for SSR.

  9. #9
    very nice review Chris

  10. #10
    Last year for Easter break I did not get thru RCI weeks .
    Our spring break in 2014 was not Easter---we have the first full week of April off each year. But we did manage a 2BR at BLT. I'm going down with my son this year---the week starts on Easter Sunday, but since it is only two of us we are only doing a 1BR, but we do get to return to OKW. I haven't stayed there in years, but we eat at Olivia's almost every trip. We really like the "island time" vibe at that resort.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •