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Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge & Villas – Jambo House

2901 Osceola Parkway, Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, 32830, FL

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Overview

Deluxe Villas

Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, also known as the Jambo House, opened in April 2001 to offer an opportunity that is wholly different from Disney World’s other resorts: a chance to experience the culture of another continent through all of the senses. More than 20 African lodges were visited by Disney’s Imagineers for inspiration before recreating a slice of Africa in the Orlando area, complete with thatched roofs, mud fireplaces, traditional art, food, music and a 43-acre wildlife preserve.

The Animal Kingdom’s preserve, featuring more than 30 species of animals, is what makes the resort famous. Many of the animals are visible from guestroom balconies and special viewing areas, including an elevated kopje (or rock outcropping) that puts guests within 15 feet of the animals. In addition, in-room Wildlife Field Guides provide a checklist with identification pointers and behavior tips on everything from ankole cattle to okapi, red river hogs and zebras.

Note: While many past guests refer to the six-story Animal Kingdom Lodge as “the lodge,” the lodge is actually the first four floors of the property, while the fifth and sixth floors are known as Jambo House Villas. Why? When Animal Kingdom Lodge opened in 2001, demand was so great that Disney added a sixth floor and converted most of the fifth floor rooms into studio, and one-, two- and three-bedroom Disney Vacation Club villas, and then added another set of villas, a short walk away, called Kidani Village.

Both the lodge building and the villas located within it are referred to as Jambo House, and the Animal Kingdom Lodge moniker refers to both Jambo House and the Kidani Village villas.

See Kidani Village for details on the Kidani Village, as many of Kidani’s amenities are also available to Jambo House guests.

Our Editor Loves

  • African-inspired rooms
  • Supervised activities for children
  • More than 30 species of animals roaming around the resort's savannas

Family Interests

  • Bicycling

Family Amenities

  • Babysitting
  • Cribs
  • DVD
  • Laundry
  • Pool
  • Refrigerator

Room Information

Find the Best Price for Your Stay

Animal Kingdom Lodge's hotel category rooms are located on the first four floors of the six-story facility, while its upper two floors are the Jambo House villas -- a separate Walt Disney World Resort accommodation (Deluxe Villa) category.

Standard Rooms
Standard hotel category rooms sleep four, plus a crib for guests 3 and under, and guestroom pricing is based on a combination of view, bed configuration and season. Room choices range from standard view rooms to preferred view rooms (pool or savanna), to preferred view rooms with bunk beds. Bunk beds are also an option in some concierge category (Club Level) hotel lodgings, which range from standard rooms (sleep four) to one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites, which sleep six and eight persons, respectively.

Presidential Suite
The elaborately themed and elegant Presidential Suite has a double-door entry to a foyer with domed lighting; a rough-cut, glossed cypress wood dining table; a plush half-circle couch facing a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace and flat-screen TV; an office; kitchenette; floor-to-ceiling windows that look out over an extra-long balcony; and a master bedroom, complete with a canopied king bed, two flat-screen TV's and a bathroom as big as a standard guest room that has a bidet, whirlpool tub and beautifully tiled shower. Oh, yes, and the kids -- they have a room with two queen beds and their own bathroom, located down the hallway.

While specific rooms cannot be guaranteed, guests can try and request a particular area based on the four "trails" that lead from the lobby. For easy access to the pool and arcade, request a room off either the Zebra or Giraffe Trail. Rooms located at the end of a trail hallway, while farther from the lobby and restaurants, are also quieter for mid-day nappers.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Villages - Jambo House Rooms
Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas - Jambo House offers 128 studios, 82 one-bedroom villas, 82 two-bedroom villas and six grand villas; with views that range from standard (view of the parking lot) to savanna views.

One-Bedroom Villa
An average, one-bedroom villa sleeps four with a king bed in the master bedroom and queen sofa bed in the living room.

Two-Bedroom Villa
The two-bedroom villas can sleep eight to nine people and has a "lock-off" second bedroom and an additional kitchenette. They are actually a combination of a studio and a one-bedroom villa, and have one queen bed and one double sofa bed in the second bedroom, a queen sofa bed in living room and a single sleeper chair in the studio living room, as well as two bathrooms.

Three-Bedroom Villa
The three-bedroom villa sleeps up to 12, with a king-sized bed in the master bedroom, two queen-sized beds in two additional bedrooms, a queen-size sleeper sofa in the living room, and four bathrooms and a whirlpool tub in the master bathroom.

One-, two- and three-bedroom villas also include full kitchens with a full-size refrigerator, microwave, stove, sink, cabinets and coffee maker. Studios (Value to Deluxe Club Level) sleep up to four, with a queen bed and a double sofa bed, and include smaller kitchenettes with a mini-fridge, wet bar, microwave and coffee maker.

Each villa also offers flat-screen TV's, a small safe, hairdryer and iron, as well as Pack 'N Plays and high chairs. Washers and dryers can be found in the laundry rooms located on the first and fifth floors of the Zebra Trail hallway and the second floor of Kudu Trail. All rooms are nonsmoking. Designated outdoor smoking areas, which can be found on the map, are situated around the resort.

While specific rooms cannot be guaranteed, guests can try and request a particular area based on the four "trails" that lead from the lobby. For easy access to the pool and arcade, request a room off either the Zebra or Giraffe Trail. Rooms located at the end of a trail hallway, while farther from the lobby and restaurants, are also quieter for mid-day nappers.

Value Category
Jambo House is the only Walt Disney World Vacation Club resort to offer a Value Category. Value priced-options include studios, one-bedroom villas and two-bedroom villas.

Kilimanjaro Concierge Club Villas
Guests of both Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort and Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas -- Jambo House can reserve a "Club Level" accommodation for extra perks. Guests staying in a Club Level accommodation can take advantage of a number of extra amenities, including the Kilimanjaro Club itself. The club is an oversized loft, located on the sixth floor and overlooking the lobby. Here, concierge cast members help arrange dining, childcare, transportation and assorted activities.

There are comfortable seating areas and food and beverage offerings throughout the day, including a continental breakfast (complete with an espresso machine), an afternoon tea with cookies and fruit, wine and cheese selections, beer, cordials and desserts. Be sure to try the delicious homemade kettle chips and African smoothies.

Additional concierge club benefits include an advance itinerary planning service, newspaper delivery, opportunity to book a Wildlife Discovery Excursion at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park and the opportunity to book and experience the Sunrise Safari Breakfast Adventure (park tickets for Animal Kingdom must be purchased separately).

Reviews

Wine and Dine Marathon Weekend

by luvdisney

Animal Kingdom Lodge - Jambo House is our favorite marathon hotel in Walt Disney World. The early morning pre race coffee service is over the top. Pre race breakfast boxes and pasta dinners are also available. A pool and 2 hot tubs round out this wonderful runner resort!

Favorite Resort!

by Kiara513734

We stayed here for 5 nights in September. We had a standard deluxe studio with a partial savanna view. I loved seeing the animals from the balcony. It really is magical! I liked the kitchenette in the room and the little extra details like the bed runner and the sketches of the animals on the tiles. We ate at Jiko one night. The food and ambiance were great and I liked the lion king themed menu. The Mara was great for a quick snack to take to our balcony and to refill our mugs. All of the cast members we encountered at the resort were nice and helpful. The buses were great. Oh and the smell in the resort is wonderful! We would definitely return here again.

Family Activities

The resort has so many unique activities that it's worth allotting a day away from the theme parks to take advantage of them all, especially the safaris (available only to Animal Kingdom Lodge guests) and the many activities led by the Cultural Representatives from Africa.

Animal Kingdom Safaris
Experience a re-creation of a true African game drive on the Wanyama Sunset Safari. This three-hour tour around the savannas (which horseshoe Animal Kingdom Lodge) offers a great chance to see the animals up close and learn about their idiosyncrasies from members of Disney's Animal Programs team. The safari ends with a multi-course dinner at Jiko - The Cooking Place. The sunset safari is offered exclusively to Animal Kingdom Lodge and Animal Kingdom Villa guests age 8 and up, and is available seven days a week (reservations: 407-938-4755).

Whereas the Sunset Safari explores the savannas around the resort, the Sunrise Safari provides a behind-the-scenes look at Animal Kingdom Park's barns and the Kilimanjaro Safari ride path, minus the ride's scripted storyline. Instead, the tour lasts up to 45 minutes and includes multiple stops for pictures and a host of interesting stories told by the animal team guides. The slower pace means you might get a much closer view of the animals. The highlight for us was the three rhinos that came jogging within a few feet of our vehicle. While we expected to feel the ground shake, it was amazing to watch something so big be so graceful and light on its feet. The safari concludes with an elaborate breakfast buffet.

The Sunrise Safari is available on Sundays and Thursdays to Kilimanjaro Club Level guests and Disney Vacation Club members staying at Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas -- Jambo House. Safari goers meet at 7 a.m. and are transported to Animal Kingdom Park (transportation back to the resort is on one's own). Park tickets to Animal Kingdom are additional and required. A breakfast buffet is also provided after the adventure.

Uzima Pool
Uzima, which means "clear water," is an 11,000-square-foot pool that sits alongside the Uzima Flamingo Pond and features a zero-depth gradual entry area, a 67-foot-long waterslide, pool basketball hoop and a nearby wading pool. Unlike some winding resort pools, Uzima's oversized kidney bean shape makes it easy for parents to sit poolside and keep an eye on kids. Attentive lifeguards watch over swimmers like Mufasa would watch over his pride. Two whirlpools are tucked away in shaded landscaped areas -- head to the one on the pool bar side for views of the savanna while you soak.

Organized (and free) activities for kids and families run throughout the day and include poolside movies under the stars, dancing, crafts, learning about the feeding strategies with animal experts, and animal viewing with night vision goggles. See the monthly Jambo House activity schedule for times.

Hakuna Matada Playground
This children's playground, located near the pool, often has great views of animals from the top of the slide. It is open 24 hours a day and overlooks the flamingo area.

Music and Cultural Events
Animal Kingdom Lodge offers several interesting activities designed to teach guests about African culture. Cultural representatives, many of whom are students taking part in an international exchange program, share stories about their native homelands around the fire pit, lead a gaggle of instrument-playing kids on a parade, and give culinary and art tours. The countries represented change based on recruitment.

Pumbaa's Fun and Games Arcade
The arcade, located near the pool deck and open 24 hours a day, offers old-school favorites like Pac-Man and pinball, as well as more current games like Guitar Hero and Arctic Thunder.

Simba's Clubhouse
Located near the Uzima Pool deck, this onsite activity center (additional fee) for ages 3 to 12 is open in the afternoon for drop-in family craft projects, and from 4:30 p.m. to midnight. Inside the clubhouse, kids can choose from Sony PlayStations, board games, puzzles, Hasbro toys and Disney movies. A two-hour minimum purchase is required, and children must be potty-trained. Dinner is included with selections from a kids' menu for those who arrive by 8 p.m. Beepers are available for parents and guardians. Call ahead for a reservation; walk-ins are welcome, if space is available.

Jambo House Campfire
Toast marshmallows, share stories and sing along with other guests at this nightly campfire.

To read more about activities that are available to guests of Jambo House, see Kidani Village.

Family Dining

Make reservations in advance for Jiko and Boma (407-939-3463), as both are popular restaurants with guests staying across Disney World.

Jiki - The Cooking Place
This signature restaurant features traditional African, Indian and Mediterranean cuisine. The menu includes vegan, vegetarian and meat-based dishes that change seasonally, but include items like berbere grilled lamb and Durban shrimp curry, along with brick oven-fired flatbreads. Ask for one of the handful of counter seats available, and watch the chefs prepare meals in the show kitchen. A favorite dessert for kids is the Jiko "Fun-do" assorted finger treats with chocolate-caramel fondue. Open for dinner from 5:30 to 10 p.m.

Boma - Flavors of Africa
Designed in the style of an African marketplace, complete with a traditional thatched roof, this family-friendly, buffet-style restaurant offers seasonal dinner dishes inspired by more than 50 African countries, including fire-grilled meats, seafood, soups, pastas and a dessert bar. Open for dinner from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Morning offerings include fresh fruit, African pastries, omelets, pancakes, French toast, bacon, sausage, carved ham, breakfast potatoes, scrambled eggs and corn beef bobotie, a type of quiche. It's located on the first floor next to Jiko, and open for breakfast from 7:30 to 11 a.m.

Victoria Falls Lounge
Overlooking Boma, this mezzanine lounge is a comfortable, albeit noisy spot to enjoy a beer, wine or specialty coffee and teas. Open from 4 p.m. to midnight.

The Mara
This quick-service eatery is located near the pool deck and serves the usual type of fast food fare, from soups to salads, sandwiches, burgers, pizzas and numerous snacks. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, from 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Uzima Springs
This open-air pool bar offers a variety of frozen African specialty drinks and light snacks from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Cape Town Lounge and Wine Bar
Located neat Jiko, enjoy appetizers, snacks and a drink before sitting down for dinner. Open from 5 to 10 p.m.

In-Room Dining
Typical kid fare (think burgers or mac and cheese) is served with two sides (choose from fries, applesauce, grapes or baby carrots), plus milk. Sandwiches like falafel, salads, pita chips with hummus, and upside down African-spiced apple cake with warm caramel and vanilla ice cream are also on the menu. Room service is available 24 hours a day.

To read more about restaurants and lounges available to guests of the Jambo House, see Kidani Village.

Planning & Tips

All About the Extras
For the safety of the animals, there are no firework shows anywhere in Animal Kingdom and guests are asked to leave balloons with Bell Services, and to refrain from feeding the animals.

Both properties feature fitness centers, as well as spas. They also provide African-themed marketplaces to shop for souvenirs and sundries.

"Extra Magic Hours" allow all Disney Resort guests to take advantage of shorter waits for their favorite rides each day when one Disney theme park opens an hour early or stays open up to three hours after the official park closing. Check the weekly schedule for details. Guests also enjoy the ability to make FASTPASS+ reservations 60 days in advance.

Like all Disney resorts, children are treated like VIP's. It is not unusual for staff to hand out Disney stickers to children passing by. Room towels are folded in three circles, the shape of Mickey, and in-room TV's offer plenty of Disney programming.

The Art of Smart Timing
The best prices and shortest waits at Disney are during the value seasons: January to mid-February, mid-July to late-September, and post Thanksgiving through mid-December. Conversely, weekends and holidays are the busiest and most expensive times to stay at a Disney Resort, with New Year's typically the priciest.

Getting There
Guests of Disney hotels can use the complimentary Disney Magical Express service and check their bags at their hometown airport, bypass baggage claim at Orlando International Airport, and take Disney's comfortable motor coaches to their resort, where luggage is delivered to the room after check-in. The service must be booked in advance and is not available with all airlines. Check with a Disney agent when you make your reservation.

For those driving and/or renting a car, the resort is approximately 26 miles from Orlando International Airport.

Getting Around
Unlike Disney's Epcot and Magic Kingdom area resorts, walking to any of the theme parks from Animal Kingdom Lodge is not permitted. Best bet for a walk is the half-mile path between Jambo House and Kidani Village (regular bus service between the two is also available).

For Mom and Dad
Have dinner and sample wines from Jiko's award-winning wine list, which features one of the largest selections of South African vintages in North America. Then take a stroll to Kidani Village and relax in a rocker in their outdoor viewing area while listening to the sound of crickets.

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