LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — My brother and sister-in-law treated all of us to lodging for our trip to Walt Disney World. They choose Jambo House at Animal Kingdom Lodge for our 6 days, 5 nights. Jambo House is the first hotel built at Animal Kingdom Lodge. The large multi-story lobby features an African theme and a great deal of mahogany, so even in the middle of the day it seems dark. At times employees are playing African drums.
Our rooms (one standard, one suite) faced out on the Savannah, home of “Ankole Cattle, Bontebok, Eland, Zebra, Greater Kudu, Impala, Okapi, Red River Hog, Nyala, Reticulated Giraffe, Roan Antelope, Sable Antelope, Thompson’s Gazelle, Waterbuck, White-Bearded Wildebeest, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Blue Crane, East African Crowned Crane, Greater Flamingo, Marabou Stork, Ostrich, Pink-Backed Pelican, Spur Winged Geese, Guinea Fowl and Ruppel’s Griffon Vulture!” We did not see all of them, but seeing a giraffe or two outside your balcony is pleasant. In retrospect, I would have rented an enormous lens for my camera and packed binoculars. That being said, I still got some photos that I am pleased with while we stayed there.
Jambo House has 3 dining options and we took advantage of two of them — Boma, a buffet with African flavors (but many American ones too) and The Mara, a small cafeteria style eatery with longer hours. We were pleased with options at Boma’s buffet (beef, chicken, fish, kid-friendly stuff, some African-inspired fare) and did not go hungry. We had several breakfasts at The Mara as well. The Mickey waffles are pretty tasty, but the lunch/dinner food is nothing noteworthy. We also walked over to Kidani Village, a newer part of Animal Kingdom Lodge to dine at Sanaa which “serves African cuisine with Indian flavors.” I had the Tandoori Lamb Chops that were quite good. The Tusker Premium Lager, an African beer named after the elephant that killed one of its founders, had a better story than taste. Our waitress was also quite enthusiastic and receptive to the needs of the two 2 year olds dining with us.
Jambo House also had a large, zero-entry pool (with pool bar) that we visited almost every day. The 2 year old cousins and everybody for that matter, enjoyed visiting after a day visiting the parks.
The support staff at Jambo House was friendly and helpful throughout our stay, but did not provide bed rails or a crib until prompted after we checked in. That had been asked for in advance. Otherwise, the service was quite good, especially the employees who worked with the airport arrangements on our day of departure.
Transportation to and from Jambo House and the Disney parks was often crowded, but reliable. On only one occasion did we have to wait for a second bus because the first one was too full. Animal Kingdom Lodge is apparently the western most resort, so we spent up to 40 minutes riding the bus between parks. The bus drivers were courteous and adequate drivers.
This is the first in a series of posts about our September trip to Walt Disney World.