We just returned from an amazing 10-Day Spring Break vacation at Walt Disney World. What was originally supposed to be a short stay plus a (non-Disney) cruise turned into a long and more laid back stay in which we got to experience more of the many things the huge Resort has to offer! More blog posts will definitely be coming on those, but I wanted to start by highlighting the two new Resort Hotels we enjoyed this stay!
The Beach Club is an amazing hotel with many amenities and a great location!
The first half of our stay was at the Beach Club Resort, a sister to the Yacht Club where we have stayed before on a short stay for a business trip. While we loved the Yacht Club stay, we had an amazing experience over on the Beach Club side. We preferred the room design and layout here, with carpeting in the main “living” areas (which led to much less noise from the room next door and a quieter stay overall) and a more traditional bathroom setup. While we missed the rainforest shower over in the Yacht, this set up was ideal for traveling with a family (which we were) and extremely comfortable with ample room for the four of us. We also had a fantastic Garden/partial water view that was extremely peaceful and a great place to relax in the evenings. Our view of Epcot’s Illuminations was superb, and provided nightly entertainment that even inspired us to pipe in the music ourselves.
Our room was up to date with partial water views and a great view of Illuminations! The decor, layout and amenities were outstanding!
At Beach Club, we were fortunate to get an upgrade to Club Level, which included access to the Stonehearth Lounge on the 5th Floor. This was an awesome accommodation and made for so many unexpected conveniences – light breakfast fare in the mornings, snacks (and lots of sugary treats) in the afternoon, and ample hor’derves and light dinner fare in the evenings, along with cocktails and wine. Desserts and cordials were served nightly from 8-10 PM, and they were super about accommodating a family member’s celiac disease with gluten-free options across the board. All in all, we were so impressed with the spectacular service from all the Cast Members at the club. We got concierge assistance with dining reservations, questions, and most of all snacks and drinks at any time of the day. David was especially helpful, even hand delivering a bottle of wine to our hotel room when they had run out during the cocktail hour, and providing over and above service to our family and kids. It truly is the Cast Members that make the Disney Difference!! We can’t wait to visit David on future visits!
Club Level is an amazing treat with lots of good food, drinks, entertainment and especially the Cast Members!
As mentioned before, the Beach & Yacht Club pool Stormalong Bay is nothing short of spectacular. The waterslide has a long “thrill” followed by some surprise waterfalls, and ends with a true sandy bottom. There is also a whirlpool, lazy river, and large beach/lagoon play area for younger kids (or big kids at heart). Our kids had an absolute blast at this pool area, and were sad to leave the many amenities. The bar and restaurant had great food and drinks as well – our only complaint was that the pool was very busy and crowded, so seating was at a premium and the pool service Cast Members were stretched thin. We noticed it was significantly better later in the week and at less peak times. Best of all, our kids loved the ice cream at the famous Beaches n’ Cream – though neither got the Mickey’s Kitchen Sink, we sure loved admiring them – and their own servings were plentiful. They also had lots of non-dairy options that were delicious. It’s a must-visit if staying here or in the general area! 🙂
The massive pool and beach area is a highlight of Beach Club Resort – especially the treats at Beaches n’ Cream!
The second half of our stay was at Animal Kingdom Lodge, which we loved our stay at this past November as featured here. This time, we stayed in two studio villas (along with grandparents) at Kidani Village, as opposed to a one bedroom at Jambo House last time. This side of the Resort definitely had a different feel, with a huge dedication to Disney Vacation Club Members. Our party each had a different savannah view – one on the Sunset Savannah, a large savannah with large animals (giraffe, zebra, Watusi cattle, wildebeest, etc) which is what we looked out on last time, and the other the Pembaa savannah, which featured slightly smaller animals like the Okapi, Waterbuck, Wild Pig, and vultures. While we were initially disappointed we didn’t all have the Sunset view, we ended up enjoying our Pembaa view as well, which as a smaller savannah tended to have a higher concentration and frequency of animals, as well as some special animals not seen on the general Animal Kingdom Safari tour. We also enjoyed the Samawati Springs pool at Kidani, which features a great splash pad, slide, and quiet pool area with tons of daily activities led by Cast Members that our kids absolutely loved. The pool area itself had a bit more to offer than the Jambo House side. We also loved being able to grab take out dinner at Sanaa, which became a quick favorite of ours last November. Our kids loved the shrimp and chicken breast options, and the bread service with all the dipping sauces is a meal in itself! The kids also loved the Community Hall at Kidani with arts/crafts, games, and activities (most of which are complimentary), and the laundry room was very convenient as well!
The Samawati Springs Pool & Splashpad, kids activities, and animal views were a highlight during our Kidani Village stay
All in all, we found Jambo House to have a bit more “luxury” when it comes to Animal Kingdom Lodge – more upgraded/quieter rooms, shopping, quick service dining options, and amenities – but we definitely enjoyed our stay at Kidani as well. As I said in my other post, because Animal Kingdom Lodge is so far from all Resort attractions except for Animal Kingdom itself (and Blizzard Beach, which I’ll discuss in a future post), I tend to recommend a more central Resort in the Epcot or Magic Kingdom Area for a primary stay, with Animal Kingdom Lodge as a welcome respite for a more relaxing part of your vacation, or for days that are focused on Animal Kingdom itself. We have heard that the remodeled rooms over at Jambo House are absolutely beautiful, and I’d think those will eventually come to the Kidani side, too! It should be noted you can use either pool and all the AKL facilities no matter which side you are on, so take advantage! 🙂
The Okapi was our favorite special animal on the Pembaa Savannah! Our kids loved making crafts at the Community Hall and playing at the pool, slide and splashpad!
Next up – Blizzard Beach Water Park, Mini Golf, and the Wild Africa Trek – just some of the new experiences we did on our latest Walt Disney World Adventure!