Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas

Our most recent trip to Disney World had us stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas. We stayed in Jambo House, in a value studio and had a great view of the pool. No savannah view, but we didn't anticipate getting one, and that was fine.

The room didn't differ too much from any other DVC studio we've stayed in over the past few years. We did think it was a bit dark in areas, and could have used a bit more lighting. There was a big upside to having a wide screen LCD in the room, much better than the 19" TV we get in the Boardwalk studios. The pullout sofa was a bit more firm than the other studios we've stayed in, but the boys didn't seem to mind.

We really enjoyed Mara, the quick service restaurant on the first floor. They had a pretty good selection, and some of it was food from Boma rather than the standard burgers, pizza, chicken nuggets...though those were available, too. But, having Boma's awesome hummus as a snack and zebra domes for dessert was a nice change from the other quick service places.

There were a couple of things we didn't find to our liking.

One minor one was that the bell service and valet didn't seem quite as attentive as we've had in the past. There was a mix up with our keys when we were heading out to Epcot one day, and they thought the truck was there and it wasn't. Then it took another 10 minutes or so to get it brought around...this was after the 5 minute head start we gave them by calling down first.

However the big downer to this resort we thought was its distance to everything. It is right next to the Animal Kingdom, but we didn't go there on this short stay. So, it was all to the other three parks for us, and the bus ride from the Lodge to the Magic Kingdom was every bit of 20 minutes. The drive to Epcot and the Studios wasn't bad, but it's further than any of the value resorts to either of those parks, as well. Now, we knew we'd have longer travel times, but I don't think we knew we'd notice them this much.

If you're going to do a vacation where you hang out at the resort more than you go to the parks, then this is a great place. The theming and layout can't be beat. However, if you're going to be hitting one or two parks a day with a quick dip in the pool back at the resort, then you may want to pick a resort a little closer to the action.

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