Breakdown of Animal Kingdom Lodgings

Hi All:

New here—first time posting😊. I’ve been reading along and have learned so much good info from reading the forums. Unfortunately it may be one of those times when knowledge does not mean power but rather confusion as I’m all turned around.

Before finding this site, we (myself, husband, 5yr old and 10mth old) were booked to stay 9 nights at Bay Lake one bedroom lake view villa.

Then I learnt about split stays here and that little bit of knowledge made me dangerous :rofl:—wait! I can actually stay at the hotel closest to the parks we plan to visit? Let’s do it! So our 9 night stay at Bay Lake has now devolved into 4 nights at Bay Lake, 4 nights in one bedroom villa at Beach Club Villas and 1 night at animal kingdom.

I started by booking the 1 night animal kingdom Kidani one bedroom villa and then after going down a rabbit hole of info online and on YouTube, I called and changed it to the one bedroom villa at Jambo. Now it looks like the Animal Kingdom Lodge rooms are newly refurbished and may make the most sense for just one night. I’m so lost and would appreciate any help/direction in just plainly stating the differences :weary:. What we’re looking for is some rest on that last day and a half—our 5 year old loves animals and crafts etc and it sounds like Jambo has a lot of that to tap into. Given that we won’t spend much time in the room, I’m really thinking about moving us down to a room versus villa for that last night. Is the one bedroom villas at Jambo worth the extra cost if the rooms get access to the same services? I admit the driving force for this new niggle is that the one part of the one bedroom villa that I don’t care for is the tub/shower combo—I prefer the walk in like in the new refurbished rooms that I saw on YouTube for just the rooms. I will need access to microwave/fridge but it doesn’t seem like the standard Jambo rooms have that.

Thoughts? Sorry for being all over the place. This is our first visit to Disney and we most definitely will not be returning for a few years so I welcome all comments from you experienced folks.


1 Like

I don’t have any help to share about AK Lodge, but the one warning I would give with the split stay with a 10 month old is that one the days you switch, you may not have access to a room during prime napping hours. If you’re planning on stroller naps and staying in the parks on those days, no problem, proceed as planned. Someone with more experience may have more to share, but I would think you would be checked out of one room by 11AM and would not have a new room potentially until after 3PM.

If you didn’t want any comments on that part of the split stay, then never mind :slight_smile:


@heidelj Thank you so much for your comments—I really appreciate it! Right now the plan is to head to AK park in time for opening after leaving our bags to transfer. With our fast passes and what I think is a do-able schedule, we plan to head out of the park around 1. I have scoured the boards for “great nap spots AK” , “great nap spots Jambo house” and am keeping a running list because unfortunately our 10month old will not sleep in her stroller :weary:. Based on some videos it looks like there are lots of little nooks at Jambo where I can sit with her to nap while my husband runs around with our 5 year old. But of course this is all in my fairytale of a plan as I have no idea how either of them will react to all of this. I’m really, really thinking now of just dropping AK altogether since it seems to be so stressful because it’s just one night (although we will have two days—we have a night flight on the way out).

Thanks for the input—lots of think about still.

1 Like

Personally, I think having a savanna view is the most important aspect od staying at AKL (my favorite WDW resort). I would definitely pay for an upgrade to a savanna view before I would pay for a villa upgrade.

@bswan26 Thanks for the insight. Still thinking that for one night it may not be worth the fuss after all and I should dial back to just BLT and BCV. When the logistics become more of a headache than fun, it’s just not worth it. I think that putting all my scrambling thoughts and getting input really helped me see that it may be too much. Thanks for responding :blush:. I may have to avoid the accommodations sub-threads :rofl:.

Have a good one!

I love, love, love split stays! If you can manage the packing ( different bags for each stay) I love your plan. Is a one bedroom at Jambo “worth” the money for one night? There are three of you? I don’t think so. I must admit I have found standard view rooms (with views of the savannah) with better views than some “savannah “ view rooms. When is your trip? You are getting your rooms direct through Disney ?

I love AKL! Haven’t done a split stay so I can’t speak to the experience. When my kids were young, I don’t think I would want to worry about the packing up and relocating.

I suggest skip staying at AKL. You can still go the resort the afternoon after AK and go back the morning of your departure.

I support this – or changing one of those to AKL if that’s a priority for you. Packing everything up to move for one night only to pack everything up again to leave seems like a lot, especially with littles, and especially if there is a delay getting your room.

I love, love, love AKL - it’s one of our DVC home resorts - but as much as it pains me to say, I honestly think you’ll be better off sticking with just two resorts.You could still spend time at AKL without staying there, and not having to worry about getting everything packed up. There are so many activities which I’m sure your 5yo would love (don’t miss the cookie decorating at Boma), and you could perhaps stay there for dinner too?

Another option for a child who’s into crafting is the DVC Community Halls. The nearest one to the Beach Club is located at the Boardwalk, so just a short stroll away. Our DD5 could (and does) literally spend hours in there, playing, painting, drawing… I’m happy to accompany her since they have a free Star Wars pinball machine… :rofl::rofl::rofl:

AKL is the greatest – its our DVC home resort and I’ve stayed there 20+ times at least – but I don’t know it is worth it for just one night. I don’t love split stays because I like to unpack and be “home” for the duration, which for me would argue against a just one night at AKL.
If you decide not to do it, it is a great idea to just go there for the day after AK. There are LOTS of locations to view the savannah, including outside with CMs who will tell you about the inhabitants and habitat. Jambo is spectacular, Kidani quieter and more intimate. There is a “living room” area in Kidani that might work for a nap. You could find a corner in the Jambo lobby to tuck yourself in if your younger is not a light sleeper. Also, there are more tucked away areas by both pools if napping outside is an option.
If you decide to stay that night, a one bedroom would most definitely be more room than you really need and I would go with a studio. I wouldn’t stay any place but a savannah view, personally, because while you can get a view with a standard, its not guaranteed, and sitting on the verandah watching the animals in the evening and morning is an imperative for us. But it may not be as important to you.
I stayed in a re-furbed Kidani studio in January and it had the walk in shower and microwave you want. I don’t know if Jambo studios do or do not yet, but if that is important to you Kidani would be a safer bet. And you can use both Jambo and Kidani if you stay at either. There is a quarter mile walking path between them, or you can use the bus that’s too far to walk with littles.


Oh, and if you are going to spend the afternoon there consider getting a Boma ADR for dinner. If that’s not right for you, the Mara would be fine and fun for your little ones as well.

Hi @PrincipalTinker. Four of us counting the 10 month old (but she’ll be in a crib). Unfortunately I started booking before I found this site–we decided we wanted to go and the next day (June 8th–yes of this year; now I gringe) I called up Disney directly and booked room, tickets, ordered DDP and paid for it all at once so we can stay at Bay Lake from August 14th-August 22nd. I got the summer savings package (or something like that). I didn’t learn about free dining or using an agent or any of that other stuff until later and by then it was too late to get good deals.

I did call up this morning to try to extend our BCV trip and drop AKL in favor of some of the suggestions of just going to dinner at Boma and lunch at Sanaa on our departure day, but right now there is no availability for BCV. The CM did say that she would put a note on my account. I’ll keep trying to extend BCV and use AKL visit as an exploration until next time when we can book to stay there.

I appreciate your input:slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

@Hunny_Bear You’re right–I really don’t want to worry about packing and moving a second time so the plan is to try to get an extension on BCV and do as you suggested. Thank you for the input :).

@crankyduck Definitely would be trouble if there are room delays. Again I think my fairytale plan assumed that everything would go as planned but we know how that goes. Thanks for your input :slight_smile:

@lecras Oh–I didn’t think we could do the activities if we aren’t staying there. This is good to know! Right now we’ll try to extend BCV and do as you all suggest–dinner at Boma and lunch @ Sanaa on departure day. Luckily I had already booked these when I made the initial change so I won’t have to worry about that for now. Thanks–can’t wait to see your beautiful home resort :slight_smile:

@DumboRunner Great tips on nap areas and opinions about the room categories. Definitely going to put AKL high on the list for our next visit in a few years. Now that I know we can do activities without staying, will definitely pop over after AK so our son can do some crafty/fun stuff while I suss out a napping spot, before we do dinner at Boma. I appreciate it!

1 Like

It looks like you have a good plan already. I just wanted to add that we switched to AKL two weeks ago. We checked out of one hotel in the morning and our room at AKL was not ready until 3pm (even with online check in at noon). We loved the hotel, but we stayed there two nights. I feel like only one night is not long enough. And I concur that just hanging out at the hotel and participating in the activities will give you a good feel without having to switch hotels.

Hope you have a great trip!

Thanks @AgentF! Once that decision was made the stress just kind of melted away. Don’t have the extra night at BCV yet but the CM I spoke to this morning seems confident that something will turn up since final payments are due soon and folks may be changing their plans. AKL is top of my list when next we return :slight_smile:

I see you’ve already made your decision…and I’m so glad that some of your stress has melted away! I will say, we did a split stay…because of DVC rental availability and did 2 nights in AKL with a Savanna view. Although the prospect of it was great (and kiddos there seemed to have great time…we were adults only) we were not in the room long enough to actually see any animals on the Savanna. So, in the future, I will only do AKL if we’re planning a more relaxed paced trip (plus, it still is a bit of a haul in the bus to AK). Any way you split it, I’m sure you and your family are going to have an incredible trip!

1 Like

You’ll have a great time.

1 Like