On May 1st, phase one of Kidani Village opens to the public. I am fortunate enough to have reservations and will be on hand for the festivities (watch for my blog). But today (April 22) I was allowed to preview the new facility.
When I arrived early this morning, DVC Cast Member Kristin greeted me and took me on a tour of this impressive property. One of the first things I learned was the resort has a slightly revamped designation. The term Animal Kingdom Lodge refers to the entire resort. The original structure is now called Jambo House and the new section Kidani Village. Kidani (ki-DAH-nee) means “necklace” in Swahili. Throughout the resort you will see evidence of this in the form of beads intertwined in the design elements.
We started our tour with the Porte Cochere. This is where guests staying at Kidani Village are first greeted by the hotel staff and can drop off their luggage.
Three major themes are used in the design of Kidani Village, fabric, art, and proverbs. The first proverb you encounter can be found under the Porte Cochere.
In case you're having trouble reading it, it says: Proverbs are like butterflies. Some are caught. Some fly away.
This first proverb sets the tone for others to be discovered around the resort. And each saying is accompanied by a small butterfly.
Kidani Village was designed by architect Peter Dominick, the same gentleman who designed the original resort. This becomes evident when you enter the lobby. The style is very reminiscent of Jambo House, yet different. The towering ceiling and grand windows are similar, but the artwork and smaller room size imparts a cozy feel.
The “fabric” theme is very evident in the lobby. The major patterns used throughout Kidani Village are from the fabrics of the kente cloths of Ghana and the kuba cloths of the Congo.
Kidani Village also has its own check-in desk.
Off of the lobby is Johari Treasures (joe-HA-ree), the resort's gift shop. Johari means “jewel” in Swahili. Besides the standard Disney souvenirs, this shop also stocks African themed merchandise. In addition, a nice supply of groceries is available if you choose to prepare your own meals.
Beyond the beautiful wall of windows in the lobby is the Sunset Savanna.
This is the spot where you can get up close and personal with the animals. There is also a knowledgeable cast member on hand to answer any questions you might have about the creatures roaming nearby.
A fire pit surrounded by rocking chairs can also be found here for tranquil evenings with friends and family.
This is a view looking back at the resort. Notice the thatched roof overhangs on several sections of the building. These designate the Grand Villas. I'll offer more information about these in a later blog.
You can also find another proverb in the Sunset Savanna area.
That's it for part one of Kidani Village. In part two I'll be discussing Sanaa (the new restaurant), the pool, and some of the other public rooms.
The previous post in this blog was Fort Wilderness – Swimming Pool Rehab and More.
The next post in this blog is Animal Kingdom Lodge - Kidani Village Part 2.