Is it Just Me? Part II - AKV

Discussion in 'DVC-Mousecellaneous' started by Deb & Bill, May 30, 2009.

  1. Deb & Bill

    Deb & Bill DVC-Trivia Contest, Apr-2006: Honorable Mention

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    Diane posted her views on BLT, so I thought I'd cover my opinion on AKV.

    We spent the morning at BB, so we decided to head over to AKV to see Kidani Village. We just followed the signs to Kidani Village.

    BUT, as we drew closer, we were surprised at the appearance of the building. It looked somewhat like a prison to us until we got to the actual front entrance of the building. Not a very pretty exterior to the building. We could see where people who booked standard views could be very disappointed with their view.

    I can see what some people are saying about the under the building parking looking somewhat industrial. We did find a place to park the car and headed over to the lobby with a little help from a CM. The lobby was nice and we did go out to the savanna area that is fenced off. Were my eyes deceiving me or did they really name the sections - Zazu, Rafiki, Timon and Pumbaa?? With all the great African names they could have used??? Or was that just the parking garage??

    We headed to the pool area and started to turn away when we saw the gate required a room key to open it. But another family also checking things out like us tried the gate and it opened right up.

    We thought the actual pool area was very small. Take away the bar and kids water play area and you don't really have much pool area left. So AKL/AKV only has two actual pool areas for the guests of both buildings. The pool at Jambo House seems larger than the one at Kidani Village. I can see both pools getting crowded quickly during hot summer afternoons even without any pool hopping allowed there.

    We also headed over to SSR to check out the models (I had seen them earlier and wanted Bill and Will to see them). We did like the model rooms for AKV-Kidani Village. Will especially loved the BLT rooms and they grew on me a bit, too, though not the studio. Both Bill and Will loved the THV architectural model, but with no king sized bed, I won't be staying there.

    After SSR, we drove over to OKW and visited Olivia's and the store, plus drove through the neighborhoods. Of course, we couldn't leave out VWL, so we drove by there for a short visit, too. Then back to BCV (and I walked over to BWV this evening after dinner).

    Bill and I both agreed that we would have been disappointed if we had bought at AKV. Not that we plan on adding on ever again (we sold 175 points last year). It just didn't have a very inviting view to us.
     
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  3. dianeschlicht

    dianeschlicht <font color=blue>DVC-Trivia Contest, Apr-2006: Hon

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    Deb , I agree with many of your Kidani observations. The generic look of the building as you first drive up bothered me too. I compared it to a Holiday Inn feel. However, when you got to the real lobby front it did indeed look like Animal Kingdom villas.

    My first impression of the parking garage was industrial too, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of parking near your room and having access to an elevator close to your room.

    The first impression of the lobby was that it was so small, but then I started looking at the details, and I decided I liked the look and feel of it. I liked the light fixtures and the thatch inside the lobby. The Library was a nice area, and the public restrooms near Sanaa were wonderful! We made the mistake of walking into the building on the end (near the "Holiday Inn* part) and walked the hallway all the way to the lobby. That gave me a very uninspired view of things because I compared it to the spectacular savanna views you see when you walk the halls of Jambo, but it really isn't as spectacular. I think that will improve as the new savanna and the rest of the resort is completed though.

    I also agree the pool area looked smaller than I expected it to, but I thought the water play area looked like a lot of fun. I also thought the pool bar/eating area was nice.
     
  4. mdinme

    mdinme DIS Veteran

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    It's a sad occasion when folks get critical of the decor of the parking garage.
     
  5. ADP

    ADP <marquee><font color=red>I'm a huggin' fool</marqu

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    Thanks for the observations.
    The actual pool at Jambo House is one of the largest (if not the largest) pools on property. Everything else will appear smaller (Kidani included). I do feel the pool area at Kidani is very nice. Once the construction fence behind the Maji pool bar goes down there will be a savanna viewing area. I'm looking forward to that.

    I agree the exterior of the building (especially the green facade) looks very generic. I wish they would have done more with the exterior.
     
  6. amystevekai&bump

    amystevekai&bump DIS Veteran

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    Hi, sorry to go OT slightly;) - but any ideas when this construction finishes??:confused3 We will be taking our first visit 'home' for Christmas 2010 and would love it if it was 'construction free!!':thumbsup2:thumbsup2
     
  7. KAT4DISNEY

    KAT4DISNEY Glad to be a test subject

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    We had many similar thoughts. DH thought that it looked like a dormitory when driving up. :rolleyes: I do like the Kidani models but we also liked the 1 BR we just had at Jambo and I think that is probably where we'll tend to book. However, I am not at all concerned about how the parking area looks and think that is a very nice feature! :thumbsup2 The pool was much smaller than I expected for a resort of that size but the workout room looked like it may be one of the best!
     
  8. Buckeye Fan

    Buckeye Fan DIS Veteran

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    The lobby of AK reminded me of the lobby at WL. When you pull up to the resort, it's average, but when you walk in...WOW. AKV doesn't quite have the 'wow' factor to me that WL does, but I saw WL first, which may make a difference.

    We were at Jambo during Easter week before Kidani opened. Even though the resort was full, it didn't feel that way. The lobby never felt packed, and though it was hard to find chairs at the pool, the pool itself wasn't bad at all. I think it all depends on how many people pool hop between Jambo and Kidani. If Jambo people stay at Jambo and Kidanit people stay at Kidani, then I think it will be fine.

    That is absolutely hilarious. :laughing: I told DH just today that I'd love to try a THV, but it had a queen in the master. We both turned our noses up, as we need our king bed, too! :thumbsup2 We will probably try it sometime soon, though. My son really wants to stay there! pirate:

    I have to admit that while I was excited to stay at AKV, I wasn't sure what I would think and if a savanna view would be worth the points. But, I ended up loving it. The savanna view was definitely worth it, and the value rooms in Jambo (though smaller) were a great value for the points. When we got there, DH said it was his favorite resort, but by the end of the trip, he had changed his mind. He thought the bus rides to and from parks were too long. He also felt that the resort was off to itself, with nothing close by (unlike DVCs near the Boardwalk or DTD). Believe it or not, my biggest disappointment with AK was the food. We ate at Boma, and just didn't care for it at all. I don't want to scare anyone off, as so many people on the boards love it. It just wasn't our taste.

    Had we purchased AKV, I definitely wouldn't be disappointed. However, now that we've stayed there, I'm not sure it would be my first choice if I were buying a "hotel" style resort. I can't wait to go back, though! :goodvibes

    P.S. Here was our room view.

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  9. MinnieLee

    MinnieLee DIS Veteran

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    My DH and I went over to AKV two weeks ago also to "check it out". While we agree that we really were not impressed with the outside and the parking area, the inside was beautiful. We loved the overall decor especially the sitting area with the fireplace, the member tapestry and the comfy chairs overlooking the savanna. We also went and looked at Sanna and we there in time for their opening ceremony. Beautiful restaurant with a different kind of menu. Unfortunately, the rain was coming down (and coming down, and still yet comng down) so we never got to see the pool area. I had seen a video though and it looked great. Also have a friend who stayed there and saw their pictures and the rooms were beautful. DH did say that having a view of the savanna is the only way to go but if you were not able to get one that he would not be happy. We were impressed with what we saw.You can't base it all on the outside appearance - like everything else, it's what is inside and what the resort offers that counts.
     
  10. MiaSRN62

    MiaSRN62 DIS Veteran

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    I also recently drove over to Sanaa for lunch on May 9 to check out Kidani Village. I agree...standard views will be on the blah side---though some rooms appeared to overlook the pool area which I thought was pretty decent for standard points. Rooms with views of the circle pullup for the cars were not looking too desirable in my opinion but some people prefer to people-watch over animal watch I guess ? I found the room views of the pullup area similar to some other resorts. We purchased Kidani for savanna views only.

    And yes, we also felt the pool appeared smallish for a resort of this size but the play area was creative and really added to it. My teens even said they planned on playing there ;););)

    To us, Kidani's lobby felt like the little sister to the AKL lobby.....same as we see the VWL's lobby to the main WL lobby. Once inside the lobby and walking the hallways....we felt the themeing was pretty grand. By looking at the outside of the bldgs, it's a fairly large contrast. Sort of downplayed on the outside, but went full tilt on the inside. Felt much more deluxe to us on the inside. We are excited to stay there in the future, because, after so many trips to WDW, the resort we stay in is getting more important as we enjoy more and more relaxing days by the pool. The gift shop was smallish----and again---that was a bit disappointing. Not too much of a selection in there but glad they had the refillable mug station and a decent choice of food items for the kitchen.

    To us, inside the lobby, hallways, common areas.....Kidani felt very warm and cozy to us. The day we were there something was going on though and caused a commotion. We saw security running in....the actual police. They were looking for a man/guest who had been screaming at CM's and shoved someone (a child ?). We only overheard bits and pieces and one of the things we heard was this man/guest was VERY ticked off he couldn't find the pool. Sounds like he had become extremely irate. Saw police/security interviewing a family who was witness to this.


    Other than that, it was pretty low-ley and relaxing. If it had not been so hot we would have explored more outside. But it was like 100 degrees outside and we were there between 1:45--3:45 pm between lunch and walking around.


    Some photos I snapped while walking around Kidani on May 9 :

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    Maria
     
  11. bobbiwoz

    bobbiwoz I'm happy to dance with you!

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    Maria, thank you for posting your gorgeous pictures!

    Bobbi:goodvibes
     
  12. whitfamily

    whitfamily Mouseketeer

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    When we visited last week I had some of the same comments re:pool and lobby. The DW made an excellent observation-- Kidani is SIGNIFICANTLY smaller than Jambo. So of course the lobby and pool will also be smaller. Once she said that it made me realize that the property is much more of a homely, cousy feel-- isn't that the point of DVC? While the Jambo house has a nice lobby and huge pool there was a lot more hustle and bustle, which can sometimes eliminate the relaxation aspect.
     
  13. WolfpackFan

    WolfpackFan Retired and loving every minute of it!!

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    When I first saw Kidani a couple of weeks ago, the thing that first struck me was the small lobby and gift shop. But then I got to thinking, what other DVC resorts have large lobbies or even gift shops for that matter. After looking back through my pictures I am much more excited about Kidani and really looking forward to staying there in December. I really like the library area. I can see myself going down there every morning for my morning coffee while DW sleeps. My only real complaint about Kidani continues to be no CS restaurant. But even with that the walk over to Jambo seems easy and I know I need the exercise.
     
  14. Dean

    Dean DIS Veteran<br><a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis

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    We own at there as part of our points. I'd have to agree with your assessments. It is stark from the road. When we pulled up a few weeks ago that was the first thing my wife and I commented on and one of the things we asked them "are they done with the outside of the building roadside, it looks so bare?". The answer was yes but I bet they add something later if only a few mural type paintings. I was glad to see the underground parking, they should have done that at SSR. It should be stark there. The pool was a little smaller than I expected, I was a little disappointed in that. I'm just glad they have a lobby and check in there but don't be surprised if they have check in changed to Jambo at some point. It is a little dark and I think I'd have a problem with that if I stayed there every time but it's OK for part of the time. They active portion of the theme may be the best of any resort but that may not matter if you don't care for the theme. I know many have complained about the lack of a CS option but the reality is there is not enough traffic to justify both a CS and TS.
     
  15. Deb & Bill

    Deb & Bill DVC-Trivia Contest, Apr-2006: Honorable Mention

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    But when it's in your face and so a part of the exterior, you can't help but wonder if they couldn't have at least painted the piping or done something to make it look less industrial. If it was enclosed like the parking spaces at Vero Beach, it wouldn't be so obvious.

    Maria, your photos are great. I didn't have my camera for our visit so I appreciate your photos. I wish, though, I could have taken a picture of the pool area, it was pretty crowded yesterday even with not so many people there. I love your photo of the beverage station in the store!!

    It would be nice if they had added a leisure pool on the other side of Kidani Village - no theming, just a rectangular pool like Dunes Cove pool at BCV. Might help take the load off the themed pool.
     
  16. Starr W.

    Starr W. DIS Veteran

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    Deb,

    So the garage isn't enclosed? You can see into it from the outside?

    I was wondering why everyone made comments about it's decor. :lmao:
     
  17. rentayenta

    rentayenta <img src=http://photopost.wdwinfo.com/data/500/dm.

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    I think Kidani is beautiful and would be overjoyed to stay there. :goodvibes
     
  18. dianeschlicht

    dianeschlicht <font color=blue>DVC-Trivia Contest, Apr-2006: Hon

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    Once again, Dean, you have it the nail on the head! I hope you are wrong about the check in area though. I HATE how Jambo handles check in.
     
  19. jbrowna

    jbrowna DVC owner and proud CM parent

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    For all the people complaining about the parking at Kidani, not being themed, looking industrial, etc., etc. What if they had themed it very nicely? With all the cars driving through, spewing exhaust and whatnot, how long before this nice theming began to look shabby and dirty? How much of our maintenance fees would have to be spent constantly scrubbing and cleaning to keep the theming looking nice? Good grief, people, it's a parking garage! Let it look industrial as long as it's under cover, out of the Florida weather, and easy to maintain. How many rooms have a garage view? None? So then what's the big deal? And it didn't seem to me that it was so open as other folks are saying. There is a parking area as a berm between the road and the undercover area, as you drive up, and there is also landscaping which will obscure the view underneath more as it fills in.

    Besides, do any of the parking areas at any of the resorts or parks have any kind of theming? Not that I can think of - blacktop and striping is the extent of it. Why waste money on something that is essentially off stage?
     
  20. Lexxiefern

    Lexxiefern <font color=blue>We were blown away<br><font color

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    We checked out Kidani last week and agree with alot of the sentiments here. I was very put off by the exterior as you pull up to Kidani. It definately looked unfinished. And the underground parking I thought looked terrible. I think they could have enclosed the area a little more similar to Vero Beach and it would not be as noticable. But once you get to the lobby it looks very nice.

    I was very happy with the pool area. I didn't think it looked too small at all. The kiddie area looks wonderful for my girls altho it may be hard to keep an eye on them because it is quite large.

    After looking at Kidani, I am happy that we will be staying at Jambo first in September and then try Kidani later down the road. The standard views aren't anything special (obviously since they are standard) and we booked standard at Jambo so at least I know we will look at the pool there.
     
  21. ADP

    ADP <marquee><font color=red>I'm a huggin' fool</marqu

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    It appears the constructions walls are blocking the Pembe Savanna. This is the new savanna that will be used when the second half of Kidani Village opens. I would venture to guess that when phase 2 of Kidani Village opens the constructions walls will come down at the pool and you'll be able to view the savanna.

    When I peaked behind the walls it also looked like there were trails leading to the Pembe savanna viewing area.

    Kidani Village is a beautiful resort. Just a few things need added in my opinion to make it a perfect resort.
    Counter service restaurant
    Make the green facade more appealing
    Add 1 or 2 more water play features at the pool area
     

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