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View Full Version : Kidani trip report and tips


Lesley
06-08-2009, 08:26 PM
We've been back for a bit over a week from our trip to WDW. We spent a week offsite at Windsor Hills (when we weren't sloshing through the torrential downpours....our splash pool overflowed several times leaving a couple of inches of water on the patio...thank goodness it was several inches below the sliding doors!) and then moved to a 1BR standard view at Kidani. We're a family of 5 (kids are 14, 9 and 5), so we wanted to try the new layouts at Kidani and see how they worked for us.

First of all, I have to say that Kidani is beautiful. I love the more intimate feel of the common areas compared to Jambo House. I'd say Jambo House has grandeur, and Kidani has intimacy. It was interesting to have the parking under the building- much more convenient for the most part, as compared to the lots at resorts like BWV, BCV, WL and even Jambo. We enjoyed the pool and the Uwanja Camp area. The small slide in the pool was ideal for my 5yo and my 9yo loved the big one. My dh was dangerous with the water spray guns in the kids' area (my apologies to the child he hit full in the face with the spray....it really wasn't intentional!). There were plenty of places to view the savannah even though we didn't have a savannah view villa. Anytime we'd walk anywhere within the building it was wonderful...surrounded by art and animals. Our villa was on the 3rd floor overlooking the bus stop. We still had signs on our balcony that we were not to throw anything from the balcony for the protection of the animals- which gave us several days worth of joking about throwing food to the people waiting for the bus. We loved the 2 bathroom layout, and the kids went through negotiations about who would get to sleep on the chair alone rather than on the pull out with a sibling. My dh and I actually got to sleep alone a couple nights! The whirlpool tub in the master is smaller than the ones at the other resorts- but the more rectangular rather than oval shape was more comfortable. In fact, it was the most comfortable whirlpool tub I've been in (can't say I have loads of experience, but we've been to most of the DVC resorts). I liked the kitchen layout better than at the other resorts...more of a galley style. It seemed a better use of space. I have to say that even after moving from a very nice 3br townhouse, our 1br villa was more comfortable and felt more like home.

My girls and I had lunch at Sanaa one day. I suggest listening well to the waiter's suggestions. If you're accustomed to Indian food, it's not entirely what you expect. The mango lassi was more of a mango smoothie...not at all like all the Indian restaurants here at home serve. The paneer cheese with spinach (ie. saag paneer) was also not what I expected and was really bland. Our waiter was wonderful and let me switch it out for another selection- and I went with his recommendation of the shrimp in green curry. The shrimp was excellent. The chicken in red curry was good, but I've had better at home. I do wish you could get the breads individually instead of as part of the bread service. The naan was good, as was the paneer paratha (but it contains red onions, so I couldn't eat more than a bite or two without facing severe stomach pain later). I wished I could have just ordered a side of naan rather than having to pay for the whole bread service- it was good, but I really just wanted the naan. The chai cream dessert was delicious and light.

Now for the few things that didn't work so well for us. I guess because the resort is new they don't seem to have adequate signage to help you get where you're going. We had a hard time finding the pathway to Jambo House, maybe partially because we expected to be able to follow the building to the end and take a covered pathway to the other building. But there weren't any signs pointing us in any other direction either. With all the rain we had the previous week, we weren't entirely thrilled with the completely exposed and quite long walkway. We were expecting it to be more like WL, where the pathway is clearly marked and covered. Also, there is no DDP counter service at Kidani....Mara is quite a haul for a bite to eat. Bus service was just okay...we had a few lengthy waits and arrived half an hour late for dinner one evening (even having given ourselves more than an hour travel time). We would have driven, but didn't want to lose our parking space. Self parking seemed barely sufficient and you were pretty much out of luck if you tried to get parking in the evening. Because of those things, if I were to stay at Kidani in the future I would plan to eat more in the villa- there's a SuperTarget and a Publix barely 5 minutes away (turn R onto Sherberth Rd as you leave the resort, R onto Black Lake Rd. right before you reach 192, and this will drop you onto 192 about one traffic light away from both stores. Turn R onto 192- Publix is on the right, SuperTarget is on the left. We found SuperTarget to be less crowded.) I'd also plan to do more of my own driving and use the valet parking. Not sure why we didn't this time....we just didn't really consider it until the last day...and then we had a good parking spot. My only criticisms of the villa are fairly minor. I don't think there was enough cabinet space in the kitchen....there's nearly a complete absence of upper cabinets. That could make it challenging if you're doing a good deal of cooking. Also, there didn't seem to be sufficient lighting throughout the villa. It was fine with the drapes open, but with them closed and all the lights on it was still pretty dim. The only other complaint is the complete lack of decor in the master bath's toilet room. Typically there's art or *something* to look at while you're in there taking care of business. There was absolutely nothing. It definitely inspired you to get out quickly...because it had the feel of a utility closet. It was kind of visually jarring after the beautiful main room of the bath.

We loved having enough sleeping space and the second bathroom for our family of 5. While a 2br will probably become more comfortable as our kids get older, this really worked well for us and is a more comfortable option than fitting 5 in an older style 1br (even when we had one child under 3)...particularly because of the extra bathroom. I love that the BLT villas will have a similar layout.

Speaking of which, we viewed the villas and my dh is ready to call our guide- though I had to remind him that it's not in the budget until I'm working again (gee I hate being the grownup!!!!). The decor of the BLT villas is very nice- my aesthetic generally doesn't lean to modern decor, but I found the rooms pleasant and I think they would be a fun getaway. My dh loves it- he does tend to like a more modern and even industrial feel (though he couldn't actually tell you that!). He's also all about the location, though I think I actually prefer the Epcot resort area (I'm campaigning to shop for a BCV resale once we're ready for more points....but I can't really argue with BLT either). The models definitely gave me the feel of when I stayed at the Contemporary in the 70's with my grandparents. The treehouse villas also look amazing. I hope to give one a try one day.

That's pretty much it...I'd be happy to answer any Kidani questions, or ones about the BLT models.

oakmanner
06-08-2009, 08:33 PM
Nice TR thanks for taking the time to post.

lizziepooh
06-08-2009, 10:02 PM
Were there any luggage carts in the parking area to help get things to your room?

twinklebug
06-08-2009, 10:53 PM
First of all, I have to say that Kidani is beautiful. I love the more intimate feel of the common areas compared to Jambo House. I'd say Jambo House has grandeur, and Kidani has intimacy.
Exactly what I'd expect of a DVC :thumbsup2 People compare the lobbies of Jambo and Kidani & complain how small and non-impressive Kidanis is, but they forget the comparison of say VWL to WL. It's supposed to be intimate - you're "home" - OK, an impressive one, but still.

My dh was dangerous with the water spray guns in the kids' area (my apologies to the child he hit full in the face with the spray....it really wasn't intentional!).If you can't stand the heat - stay out of the kitchen! Or in this case, the water play area :rotfl:

I guess because the resort is new they don't seem to have adequate signage to help you get where you're going. We had a hard time finding the pathway to Jambo House, maybe partially because we expected to be able to follow the building to the end and take a covered pathway to the other building. But there weren't any signs pointing us in any other direction either. maybe a GPS would help ... I'm the worst person in the world for directions, I could get lost in the bathroom.

With all the rain we had the previous week, we weren't entirely thrilled with the completely exposed and quite long walkway. We were expecting it to be more like WL, where the pathway is clearly marked and covered. Also, there is no DDP counter service at Kidani....Mara is quite a haul for a bite to eat.
I think these two items will be what bothers me most. The covered walkway more than the dining area. I don't mind the rain once I'm at the park but not on the way to or off of the bus.

there's a SuperTarget and a Publix barely 5 minutes away (turn R onto Sherberth Rd as you leave the resort, R onto Black Lake Rd. right before you reach 192, and this will drop you onto 192 about one traffic light away from both stores. Turn R onto 192- Publix is on the right, SuperTarget is on the left. We found SuperTarget to be less crowded.)
Yea! Directions ... now for my GPS...

The only other complaint is the complete lack of decor in the master bath's toilet room. Typically there's art or *something* to look at while you're in there taking care of business. There was absolutely nothing. It definitely inspired you to get out quickly...because it had the feel of a utility closet. It was kind of visually jarring after the beautiful main room of the bath. :lmao:

jerseygal
06-09-2009, 01:36 PM
Uwanja Camp and the Pool sound really nice!

I'm a pool person, so I love a real nice pool setting! I personally love, love Stormalong Bay! I hope 2010, we will love Kidani pool as much as Stormalong Bay!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for all the details!!!! You sound like your family had a FABULOUS TIME!:cool1::cool1:

Any thoughts on a good location for Standard Studio? I know that there will be no view of Savannah obviously, but what would be a good request for proximity to lobby/busses without having to walk too far? Also, good proximity to path to Jambo House?

Appreciate any input you may have on Standard Studio locations for request? Want a "quiet" room location, but at the same time don't want to really walk a far way inside the building before even getting down to the lobby/bus loading areas!

Thanks so much for any suggestions!:yay::yay::yay::yay::yay::dance3::danc e3:

ead79
06-09-2009, 02:03 PM
The only other complaint is the complete lack of decor in the master bath's toilet room. Typically there's art or *something* to look at while you're in there taking care of business. There was absolutely nothing. It definitely inspired you to get out quickly...because it had the feel of a utility closet. It was kind of visually jarring after the beautiful main room of the bath.

I cracked up when I read this part of your review! I had the exact same reaction to our bathroom at Jambo when we stayed there last December. I mean, would a small framed print really kill them? It was so stark in there! It's not like I need entertainment or anything, but it does seem like a closet.

Lesley
06-09-2009, 02:57 PM
We had a nice trip and I really liked Kidani, but it definitely wasn't one of our best. Personal issues mostly....kids not with the program much of the time, etc... I'm coming to believe that taking 3 kids on a vacation isn't a vacation for mom.....at least if mom has any desires other than swimming. I did get to do a lot of reading, but I don't exactly go to WDW to get reading time. I think for a while we'll be keeping it closer to home and going to the beach.

There really are not that many standard views at Kidani- they are mostly near the lobby. The rest of the "beads of the necklace" only have rooms on the savannah side. I'm not sure if there's a "pool view" category at Kidani (been a while since I made the reservation) but if there is, that would mean pretty much all the standard views are somewhat near the bus stop/lobby- a fairly convenient location. Now that I think about it, I belive there are rooms on both sides of the building on the pool side of the resort- most will face the new savannah when its finished. We didn't really hear any noise from the bus stop in our 3rd floor room, but if that concerns you I'd request an upper floor.

Oh, and the bus stops are covered and there's only a very short walk to them from the lobby (even less from the side door by the busses). But the walkway to Jambo just continues from the bus stop area in front of the building until you get to the Jambo parking lot, then continues along the parking lot. Seemed like an afterthought rather than a planned walkway. You can take the elevator down to the furthest parking area under the building and catch the walkway there, but its not marked at all except for the road signs outside. I can't say a GPS would help.... I mean, you can see the Jambo House and walk in that direction, but you're never sure if you're going to hit a dead end of landscaping until you've done it. Like I said...no signs at all. My dh used his iPhone a lot on this trip though. It was particularly fun for watching the weather satellite in attempts to avoid the rain.

The pool is definitely not Stormalong Bay- it's smaller than the pool over at Jambo, but if I remember correctly I think the slide at Kidani is better (not like the slide at SB though...not that I'd even try THAT slide) and they have the small slide, much like the one that's at the entry to the big slide at SB. It has both a spot with steps to enter the pool and a zero entry section. My youngest actually prefers the steps. The Uwanja Camp area is nice though...very much like a mini-version of what a lot of water parks have. I am a big fan of the Beach Club Villas and I don't think the pool has quite the same draw (and the location isn't nearly as nice)...but all in all AKV is just a different animal :laughing: and wonderful in its own way. I can see having a much more relaxed vacation here- and I think if I were to stay again I'd want to get a savannah view.

Oh, and no luggage carts. I think if you want that sort of thing you'll want to valet park and use bell services. I wish we had. It would have been well worth it.

Eyore4Ever149
06-09-2009, 05:08 PM
Thanks for the trip report. I found this really helpful.
Im in the process of trying to decide where I want to book next year's vacation and I was tempted by the Animal Kingdom theme, but I will have a 1yr old and a 4yr old and Im not in to cooking on vacation and while I think this resort has some fabulous features I think I will choose something like BCV that has more dining options close by. I will be ruling out the Treehouse villas for the same reason.

I also thought the rooms (based on photos on the disney site) were very dark looking- and kind of cold (I saw tile in the main living area)
Perhaps in another 5 years when my kids are older....OR if I ever get to go on a romantic trip for 2 with no kids.:rotfl:

goofydad99
06-09-2009, 07:27 PM
We had a nice trip and I really liked Kidani, but it definitely wasn't one of our best. Personal issues mostly....kids not with the program much of the time, etc... I'm coming to believe that taking 3 kids on a vacation isn't a vacation for mom.....at least if mom has any desires other than swimming. I did get to do a lot of reading, but I don't exactly go to WDW to get reading time.

:confused3 Do we have the same three children? I felt the same frustration this trip. I finally just went to the MK and other things by myself. :headache:

***big sigh***

gpaddlefoot
06-09-2009, 07:30 PM
Thanks for your report.:yay: We're trying to decide which villa to stay at in June 2010. DD(18), DS(20) and DW are leaning to Kidani. It sounds very nice. We were thinking of 2BR savanna view. We were planning on driving to parks and was wondering if parking is so limited that when we return we won't have a place to park. Is it that bad?:confused3 Neither of my kids mind walking as they both are long distance runners but I still don't want to park forever away from villa. Also, is it that hard to find someone to rent points from?:confused3 Thanks for any info 12 months and counting.:yay::yay: