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Old 04-29-2013, 04:02 PM   #2146
DevonsDisneyMom
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Originally Posted by Turk February View Post
***WARNING - VERY LONG POST/REVIEW BELOW***

We returned from a quick 3-night/4-day trip to AKL Kidani Village last week and I wanted to drop a quick review since I know people who are planning (like I was a few months ago) love to read them

This ended up much longer than I had intended, so if you don't feel like reading it and want the short version - the place is awesome you should definitely stay there.

First, I cannot say enough about the concierge staff at this resort. In fact, the entire staff from top to bottom was outstanding and the best I've ever encountered on property.

We rented points from a friend of ours and had booked a studio with savanna view. I did online check-in and requested a room near the lobby on a low floor. Our room was ready at 11am when we arrived and check-in was a breeze. We were assigned a room on the 3rd floor in the 7813-7823 block. We walked to our room and it was beautiful...with one small problem...it was a handicapped accessible room. Now, if we didn't have a 3-year-old who still took baths, this would not have been a problem. We stayed in a handicap room back in 2007, and it was fine. I am not the type of person to "complain" about rooms and ask for changes but I figured what the hell, I don't know when we'll be back and I might as well try because this is our vacation and it never hurts to ask.

I went down to the front desk and a lovely woman over at concierge called me over. Donna. My new best friend Donna. Oh how I love Donna. I explained the situation and told her that if something else was available, that would be great but if not I understand. I let her know we were on our way to the parks so if something wasn't available right away that was fine too. Donna goes into the back room for a good 5 minutes and returns with her best poker face.

"Well Mr. X, I have some good news. We're going to upgrade you to a one bedroom."

Um, what?! I've never been upgraded before, are you serious?! Am I finally getting pixie dust?! This is the type of thing I read on DISBoards and get jealous over! And getting upgraded while staying on points?! That's unheard of! I was speechless.

Donna apologized that the room wasn't ready yet, but that it was also a room on the lobby level and close to the lobby, so "I was able to meet all of your requests". Completely floored, I could barely contain my excitement. I'm pretty sure I floated back to our original room to tell my wife the news.

The Room
One bedroom villas here are unreal. We've never stayed in a room that nice and holy crap is it nice. Is it $700+/night nice? I dunno. But man is it gonna be hard to stay anywhere else after experiencing this. We were so excited that we didn't even notice the 2nd bathroom near the front door until about 15 minutes after we got in the room!

The master bath is amazing, the balcony is huuuuuge and goes from the living room to the bedroom with doors going to both rooms.

The washer and dryer was a great thing to have in the room, especially after coming home with some wet clothes thanks to the downpour on Sunday.

The bed is comfortable, and my daughter loved the sleeper-chair she used as a bed. There are plenty of outlets for all your electronics and plenty of space to put your luggage and all your clothes. I could ramble on and on about this room.

My 2 critiques about the room...I had read some people did not like the lighting they have in these rooms and I do agree it is a little low. There are plenty of lamps and overhead lights so it wasn't a big deal to me, but I do understand how it could be a problem to some. The toilet room in the master bath was especially low on light. Secondly, we found it difficult to maintain a comfortable temperature in the room. We were constantly fiddling with the thermostat. It was either a little too cold, or too hot, etc. Maybe it was just us. Not a huge deal though.

The Buses
Always a topic of conversation! We found them to be pretty good for the most part. We never waited more than 15 minutes for a park bus, and never more than 10 minutes coming back from a park. I loved being picked up before Jambo and always having a seat, which is especially nice with a little one. There were some times where the bus was completely packed. The length to get to the parks wasn't bad, but I knew it would average 20-25 minutes before going there so I was prepared. I didn't find the rides to be much longer than when we stayed anywhere else. It was nice that it only took about 5 minutes to get to AK once we left Jambo.

The Savannah View
Holy crap the view. Amazing. Simply amazing. However, I would NOT recommend spending the extra money on it if you spend all day at the parks. Animals were rarely out before 10am, and of course you can't see anything from your room at night. But when we came back during the afternoon it was awesome. Plenty of giraffes and other animals...the zebras were not on our side except for very early (7-8am) in the morning on our last day. Our daughter had a great time looking at the animals and so did we.

The Staff
Everyone was amazing. Bell services, check-in, concierge, mousekeeping, etc. I already mentioned Donna, but I also need to bring up Harold. I went down to purchase park tickets for our last day (we hadn't planned on doing anything but changed our minds last minute), and Harold over at concierge called me over to help. Everything was going just fine until he stopped and said he'd have to go talk to the manager. A few minutes later he came back out and explained that there was a systems error and he couldn't add tickets to our KTTW cards. So to apologize for the inconvenience, they were issuing us comps for the day. Excuse me? Seriously? MORE pixie dust? I never wanted to leave this place.

In conclusion, I would absolutely recommend staying at Kidani. Unfortunately, we were only there for 4 days (3 and a 1/2 after flights) and we concentrated on parks, so I did not get to see the pool area (which I regret) and we did not eat at Sanaa. I did not get a chance to roam the resort and explore.

I'd be happy to answer any questions to the best of my ability, but if you're thinking about staying here, DO IT!!!
Glad you had an amazing pixie dust filled trip!!! We are staying at Kidani village for the first time in June! Can't wait!! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:04 PM   #2147
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Originally Posted by Polynesian27 View Post
Turk - Thanks so much for the wonderful review. My DW, MIL, and DS will be there in July, and we cannot wait! Its good to hear that the buses were not an issue as it has been a growing concern for us! Our son is one, so getting a seat is important! Do all the buses still stop at Kidani first leaving the parks,(Except DTD bus)?
That is correct all buses stop and drop off at Kidani first with the expecting of DTD.
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:07 PM   #2148
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Oh robin/karmacats I cannot wait to hear more about your stay! We aren't doing the safaris (kids too small) but are staying CL in the upcoming weeks and are SO excited! Any favorite snacks/drinks in the CL we should try? Fave activities?
Drinks and snacks were really good.

As for drinks, they had large coolers of jungle juice (some sort of tropical fruit drink), lemonade, iced tea, and water (I think spring water, though it might just have been filtered water). In addition to the coolers, they have a fridge with milk, chocolate milk, many different kinds of soda (including orange, root beer, and caffeine free diet cola), and three or four kinds of beer (tusker, which i believe is an african beer, and some typical u.s. beers - i'm not a drinker so honestly i don't remember exactly what). Our favorite thing was to take a sprite from the fridge and add some of it to a glass of either the lemonade or the jungle juice, to make a sparkly fruit drink.

At breakfast, I loved the chocolate chip muffins and mini chocolate croissants. The oatmeal was surprisingly good, too - I'd add brown sugar and granola to it. Can you tell I have a sweet tooth?!?!? DH loved the blueberry muffins, too.

During tea time, the sugar cookies were the best.

As for the appetizers, every day they put out some flatbreads and crackers with a few types of hummus and cheese. My favorites were the blue cheese and the white bean hummus. I couldn't eat most of the hot appetizers that rotated every day because I'm a spice wimp and they were often spicy, even things like falafel that I usually eat at home. For someone with a normal palate they'd probably be ok - I really am a wimp. One day they had a goat cheese creme brulee which was absolutely delicious, though. I also tried some of the selections on the kids' table and they were ok, like fried mac and cheese balls with bacon, or ham and cheese rollups - they were all fine, but not outstanding.

For dessert, DH really liked the mini fruit tarts, and I loved this dark chocolate mousse/cake thing (not sure how to describe it - it was a small square of really dark chocolate) with raspberry.

The only disappointment with the food was that I wish they had food out all day (there's generally about half an hour between "courses" when there's only drinks available but no food), and definitely later than 10 pm. When the parks close at 11 or midnight, it would be nice to come back and get a snack. The concierge will give you a guide with the list of times, so it won't be a surprise.

As for tours, we had grand plans to do a lot of the free tours and activities offered by the resort, but found ourselves spending most of the time we weren't in the concierge lounge on our balcony. we did attempt to do the 4 pm free culinary tour at boma and jiko, but it was a bust - when we got to the restaurants, they said boma was closed for construction (though we didn't see any - we spent most of the evening joking how "construction" was code for "mickey sent in some of his mouse friends"), so they sent us to jiko, which wasnt ready for us because the tour usually starts at boma, so they just pointed out two hidden mickeys, fed us some bread and dips (which were delicious), and sent us on our way. we were also interested in doing the architecture tour and the cultural safari (where the CMs from africa talk about their countries), but didn't have time.

I hope that's helpful. Feel free to ask for followup on anything.

Robin
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:07 PM   #2149
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Originally Posted by glamdring269 View Post
What is the walk time from Jambo to Kidani? I'm thinking we'll more than likely make the trip each morning before heading to the parks just to ensure we get on a bus! Then again, should we even expect bus crowding for rope drop (regular or AM EMH) buses in early October? I remember when we stayed at Port Orleans a couple of years ago in early June that pretty much no one was on the bus for AM EMH.
WE were just at Jambo a couple days ago - with children (age 2, 4, and 6) walking it took us roughly 25 minutes to make it from Jambo to the busses at Kidani the shuttle ran roughly every 6-10 minutes (we NEVER had to wait for it though) but I don't know hours.

That being said, the days we waited for the bus 30-45 min prior to rope drop time we were able to get on the bus with no issue (2 adults, 3 kids, and a giant buggy) the days we arrived at the busses with 20 min or less to rope drop we had to wait for the second bus - however that bus was less than 3 minutes behind the first bus. We saw the same thing for the parks that had EM or earlier open times. WE normally travel in Sept and found the crowds at this time to be much heavier than we normally experience - I don't know if we'd have the same service if crowd levels were lower.
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:18 PM   #2150
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Originally Posted by nadira36 View Post

WE were just at Jambo a couple days ago - with children (age 2, 4, and 6) walking it took us roughly 25 minutes to make it from Jambo to the busses at Kidani the shuttle ran roughly every 6-10 minutes (we NEVER had to wait for it though) but I don't know hours.

That being said, the days we waited for the bus 30-45 min prior to rope drop time we were able to get on the bus with no issue (2 adults, 3 kids, and a giant buggy) the days we arrived at the busses with 20 min or less to rope drop we had to wait for the second bus - however that bus was less than 3 minutes behind the first bus. We saw the same thing for the parks that had EM or earlier open times. WE normally travel in Sept and found the crowds at this time to be much heavier than we normally experience - I don't know if we'd have the same service if crowd levels were lower.
Doesn't sound too bad then even in the more crowded times...I figure we can always drive to Epcot and Hollywood studios if need be...? Magic Kingdom is probably easier by bus so you don't have to worry about the TTC...

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Old 04-29-2013, 07:41 PM   #2151
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What is the address for Kidani? Is it the same as AKL??? TIA!
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Old 04-29-2013, 08:16 PM   #2152
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Originally Posted by karmacats View Post
Drinks and snacks were really good.

As for drinks, they had large coolers of jungle juice (some sort of tropical fruit drink), lemonade, iced tea, and water (I think spring water, though it might just have been filtered water). In addition to the coolers, they have a fridge with milk, chocolate milk, many different kinds of soda (including orange, root beer, and caffeine free diet cola), and three or four kinds of beer (tusker, which i believe is an african beer, and some typical u.s. beers - i'm not a drinker so honestly i don't remember exactly what). Our favorite thing was to take a sprite from the fridge and add some of it to a glass of either the lemonade or the jungle juice, to make a sparkly fruit drink.

At breakfast, I loved the chocolate chip muffins and mini chocolate croissants. The oatmeal was surprisingly good, too - I'd add brown sugar and granola to it. Can you tell I have a sweet tooth?!?!? DH loved the blueberry muffins, too.

During tea time, the sugar cookies were the best.

As for the appetizers, every day they put out some flatbreads and crackers with a few types of hummus and cheese. My favorites were the blue cheese and the white bean hummus. I couldn't eat most of the hot appetizers that rotated every day because I'm a spice wimp and they were often spicy, even things like falafel that I usually eat at home. For someone with a normal palate they'd probably be ok - I really am a wimp. One day they had a goat cheese creme brulee which was absolutely delicious, though. I also tried some of the selections on the kids' table and they were ok, like fried mac and cheese balls with bacon, or ham and cheese rollups - they were all fine, but not outstanding.

For dessert, DH really liked the mini fruit tarts, and I loved this dark chocolate mousse/cake thing (not sure how to describe it - it was a small square of really dark chocolate) with raspberry.

The only disappointment with the food was that I wish they had food out all day (there's generally about half an hour between "courses" when there's only drinks available but no food), and definitely later than 10 pm. When the parks close at 11 or midnight, it would be nice to come back and get a snack. The concierge will give you a guide with the list of times, so it won't be a surprise.

As for tours, we had grand plans to do a lot of the free tours and activities offered by the resort, but found ourselves spending most of the time we weren't in the concierge lounge on our balcony. we did attempt to do the 4 pm free culinary tour at boma and jiko, but it was a bust - when we got to the restaurants, they said boma was closed for construction (though we didn't see any - we spent most of the evening joking how "construction" was code for "mickey sent in some of his mouse friends"), so they sent us to jiko, which wasnt ready for us because the tour usually starts at boma, so they just pointed out two hidden mickeys, fed us some bread and dips (which were delicious), and sent us on our way. we were also interested in doing the architecture tour and the cultural safari (where the CMs from africa talk about their countries), but didn't have time.

I hope that's helpful. Feel free to ask for followup on anything.

Robin
That is AWESOME, thank you!! It is right around the corner for us and I'm getting SO excited!
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:31 AM   #2153
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Found this site that allows you to search AKL / DVC rooms -

http://dvcnews.com/index.php/resorts...las/roomfinder

about 1/2 have comments / photos
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:19 AM   #2154
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Found this site that allows you to search AKL / DVC rooms -

http://dvcnews.com/index.php/resorts...las/roomfinder

about 1/2 have comments / photos
Too bad there's not something like that for the regular, non DVC rooms!

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Old 04-30-2013, 10:21 AM   #2155
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Love Bugs

We will be at AKL in 136 days! Can't wait!!!

This will be the 3rd year in a row that we go in September so we know all about those pesky love bugs. That being said we've had 2 different experiences. Our first year going in September 2011 we stayed at All Star Sports and the love bugs were around, especially at the pool, but not completely horrible. Last year was a different story! We stayed at CSR and the love bugs were EVERYWHERE!!! Mounds of love bugs at the bus stops, at the pool, in the hallways...it was bad!

Has anyone experienced the love bugs at AKL in September? I'm kind of hoping, due to the fact that AKL is kind of secluded, that the love bugs just dont wander down that way
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:23 AM   #2156
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94 days!!!!! :-)

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Old 04-30-2013, 11:50 AM   #2157
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I am at 40 days..so on my Facebook, I am doing a 40 days of Disney photo countdown..

today was:
40 days till Disney:
Kate's first trip to Disney was for her birthday in 2001. She talked endlessly about "the yellow teacup" she had seen in a commercial on TV. Her first ride on our trip? Teacups!

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Old 04-30-2013, 11:57 AM   #2158
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I am at 40 days..so on my Facebook, I am doing a 40 days of Disney photo countdown..

today was:
[I]40 days till Disney:
Kate's first trip to Disney was for her birthday in 2001. She talked endlessly about "the yellow teacup" she had seen in a commercial on TV. Her first ride on our trip? Teacups!
That's awesome! The look pure happiness on her face made me smile (even though the thought of the teacups make my head hurt!)
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:19 PM   #2159
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Originally Posted by livibug View Post
Found this site that allows you to search AKL / DVC rooms -

http://dvcnews.com/index.php/resorts...las/roomfinder

about 1/2 have comments / photos
Thanks, we were wondering where our room could be located to our AKV CL stay.

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Old 04-30-2013, 01:37 PM   #2160
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Thirty-two days!!

Soooo excited now. I've been so busy that i Haven't had time to plan our park itineraries. Gulp
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