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Old 05-06-2009, 12:30 AM   #1
lugnut33
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Kidani Village Rocked! Our Trip Report

It had been a long time since my wife and I took a vacation by ourselves without the kids (two girls 11&8). I felt like as we headed into our 17th year of being married it was time to reconnect and enjoy a little time to ourselves. Plus, our anniversary and my wife's birthday are 2 weeks apart (tough on the wallet) so I had to do something special.

We bought a loaded DVC contact (Saratoga) last August and made a ressie for the Tree House Villas for Aug. 09. Well, I couldn't wait that long so I had my wife ask if she could get a couple of personal days from work and do a weekend getaway.

She could, so I called Member Services that day (end of Feb.) and made a ressie at Kidani for May 1 (opening day) through May 4. I waitlisted for a Savanna view room and it came through a couple of weeks later. I was amazed I secured a reservation for the grand opening. I was also amazed that I was able to get a plane flight out of O'hare (Chicago) for $189 RT with American, but we had to fly out on April 30 to get the good fare. That meant making a ressie for one night cheap, which ended up being the Radisson in Celebration (that place is plain worn out and beds are like rocks, definitely not recommended). I was also able to rent a Dodge Charger SRX for $10 a day, which is less than the cost of stroller rental at WDW.

Finally the day arrived for us to take off. I picked up my wife right from work and off to O'hare we went. Got to the airport and noticed that our flight was taking off from gate L8, which was appropriate because it was delayed for an hour. No big deal since we had nothing planned. We ended up having a good flight down to Orlando. Once we landed we got the rental car with no wait by using the self-serve kiosk to avoid the large line of people waiting. Got to the worn out Radisson at just after midnight and went directly to sleep on the stone bed.

Up early the next day, stopped at the grocery store to pick up some goodies (wine, beer, sandwich stuff, etc) and headed over to check in. Stopped by the security gate and and got our first "Welcome Home", which brought a smile to my face. Inside AKL there are lots of signs directing one to Kidani Village which we found with no problems (just remember when outside AKL be sure to follow the signs to the Animal Kingdom as that will point you in the right direction for the Lodge).

Driving in you just sort of stumble upon Kidani village because of all the lushness of vegetation and then it's there. However, it's an unassuming building while driving up and I'm pretty sure that is exactly how they wanted it. It just blends in really well with the surroundings. It's not some big collosus that sticks out like a sore thumb... a la Bay Lake Tower. Being unassuming it makes it feel more homey and quaint. I believe "quaint" is the word they used when designing this resort.

There's a small check-in parking lot right in front of the Lobby. The drop-off area is beautifully themed and with all the lamps recessed into the wall. Here we are infront of the lobby:





Much more to come
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:08 AM   #2
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Looking forward to the rest of your trip report. I agree you need to take a trip without kids once in a while. Our kids are grown and married so we're foot loose and fancy free now. We just came back from a wonderful weekend in San Diego at the Hotel Del Coronado.
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Old 05-06-2009, 02:29 AM   #3
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I'm wondering who you went through for your rental car?

Thanks!
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:41 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lugnut33 View Post
Got to the airport and noticed that our flight was taking off from gate L8, which was appropriate because it was delayed for an hour.



Congrats on 17 years! Glad things worked out so well. Can't wait to hear more. We will be at Kidani in just 53 more days!!
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Old 05-06-2009, 09:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PinkTink63 View Post
I'm wondering who you went through for your rental car?

Thanks!

It was a special weekend rate through Alamo. $10 per day for a premium car.
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Old 05-06-2009, 09:33 AM   #6
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Oh, as a tease, I have a photo that will be posted that is going to make you go
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:02 AM   #7
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It's a great beginning to a romantic story Omitting the first night's stay!Glad you got to go, looking foward to more!

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Old 05-06-2009, 10:17 AM   #8
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Continued...

Walking into the lobby the first thing you'll notice is how small it is, but it's beautifully themed. Remember, they are trying to make you feel like you are home, that the resort is "quaint". Thus making it different than Jambo. Since it was opening day for the resort, there were tons of management type people milling about welcoming everyone and making sure all was running smoothly.

Surprisingly there was no line for check-in so we stepped right up. Everything went smoothly, including the curveball I threw the castmember checking us in. If you're visiting Disney one of the things you shouldn't forget is park tickets!! Yes, I forgot my non-expiring park tickets, which I had luckily scanned into my hotmail account. So the CM set us up in a room that had internet access and I wrote down all the numbers needed to have the tickets reprinted later that evening when we went to Downtown Disney.

Since we were some of the first guests to check-in, we were presented with the gift of a Boabab tree that was hand crafted in South Africa. A very nice souvineer indeed.

We headed off to our room, which was located in the Timon 5, building and our first encounter with the parking garage. Here's what the garage area looks like:


Manuevering into and out of the stalls can be a task, just be careful because that concrete pillar is NOT going to move.

I'm not totally sure how well the parking garage will work out, especially for those guests staying out in the Pembe Savanna areas. There were times when we came back and were unable to get a spot near our elevator. There is overflow parking outside the garage, but it's nowhere near the Pembe areas. The castmember parking lot takes up a big area nearest the lobby and is gated. This photo was taken from the parking garage:


I'm a huge Timon and Pumbaa fan, so this was cute to see our elevator was painted with Timon (name of the section we were in). Doesn't it look like Timon is saying "Welcome Home, this place rocks"?:


The halls are decorated with lots of crafts and artifacts from Africa, this is just coming out of our elevator:


A person could have a good time just looking at all the lighting fixtures used in the place. Unbelievable!! Tons of really cool lighting fixtures made from everything. As an example, here are the ones that line the halls:


More to come!!
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:19 AM   #9
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Hi Lugnut,

I'm sure we saw you around the resort at some point last weekend....wasn't it absolutely wonderful?! I'm so happy to see another positive review starting. I still can't believe there are people complaining about Kidani as we were just soooo pleased with everything, especially considering it was opening weekend and there is still construction going on. Honestly, I'd say it was BETTER than we expected considering those two things. Ah well - to each their own. Anxious to read more about your Kidani weekend and to compare notes.
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:34 AM   #10
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Can't wait to read more, we'll be there tomorrow and I'm so excited!!!
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:40 AM   #11
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Loving all the pics and your TR lugnut. Amazed at the artwork and detail even in the hallways. Glad we planned to take this upcoming trip slower and easier so we can enjoy all Kidani has to offer. I think I need to get another memory card for the camera to keep up with all the pictures I'm sure to take.

Keep 'em coming!!!
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:52 AM   #12
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Congratulations on your "alone" trip. We have kids the same age as yours, maybe the wife and I will try to sneak away to WDW without the kids for a few days - must have been nice. Great pics by the way.
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lugnut33 View Post
It's not some big collosus that sticks out like a sore thumb... a la Bay Lake Tower.
Colossus? Sore thumb? My home this is!

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Old 05-06-2009, 11:04 AM   #14
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AKV is not my home but I cant wait to try it out sometime The pics are great and glad you had a good time!
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Old 05-06-2009, 11:06 AM   #15
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Loving your TR!!! Can't wait to read more and see more pictures!! Also really love that deal you got on the car!! Wonderful!!
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