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View Full Version : Just back from a week at the AKL Concierge.


Kimberle
08-25-2007, 08:37 PM
We had a wonderful time. The lodge is beautiful. It is remote, but it didn't feel so. The only really "long commute" was to the MK. Buses came often and weren't crowded at all, even after the night time shows.

Lounge - is back on the 6th floor. Lots of food out pretty much the whole day. However, it was almost the same, day in, day out. A few minor changes. Most is African flavored. It did taste good, but did not agree with my digestive system. Plus, by the end of the week it got kindof boring. I was also a bit disapointed in the evening desserts. Cookies and tiny pastries every night. A bit of a letdown after the wonderful cakes, etc from the Contemporary 14th floor and Royal Pacific.

The staff is nice, but a bit "cool" as others have said. IMHO, they need to move the desk up closer to were people walk in. They also wouldn't "do" anything for you that is "out of the box". At dessert time, they didn't have pb&j like most other lounges. My dd didn't like the choices. I asked a lady if they had any pb&j and she said "no". Just plain "no".:confused3 I asked someone else later and said they only put it out out from 5-7pm. Other places I've stayed at would just get one from the kitchen.

Pool - Not terribly crowded. Not empty, just about the right number of people for the space. No problems finding a chair. Now, if the entire lodge was open, I think the pool would be very crowded.

Savannahs - Only the Zebra is opened. The others are closed, most likely for the duration of the construction. I did notice people had rooms overlooking the Sunset. I sure hope they didn't pay the entire Savannah price. Our room overlooked the Zebra. It was 4423, the 2nd building down on the corner closest to the lobby. We had a wonderful view and saw lots of animals.

Noise/Construction - Heard very little. Again, we were in the right wing. The construction seemed to by the left wing. They are working on the new building. The 5th & 6th floors are curtained off. We heard more from the leaf blowers than the construction crews. We took a mid day break in the pool every day, too.

Other guests - TONS of Europeans. I guess that's why so many other disers were moved, so they didn't have to make all the overseas phone calls.;) They were very nice, just smoked all over (nobody said anything to them) and let there pre-adolesent dd's run around the pool area topless.

Resturants - Here as well as anywhere in the parks, if you didn't have a ADR, you didn't get a table. There seemed to be a ton of people on the dining plan which suprised me a bit as the free dining hadn't started yet. AKL REALLY needs a 3rd resturant. The African stuff is fine, but you get really tired of if after a while. I know many people "rave" over Mara. But it was typical WDW fast food to me. Only 2 items on the kids menu (mac & cheese and roasted chicken). There is no place to have a sit down lunch here. Sometimes you don't want to board a bus and treck off someplace for lunch. Since this resort is off in a corner by itself, it REALLY needs a 3rd resturant (IMHO).

The great "WL/ AKL" debate. Having stayed at both, I can say they are totally different. The rooms have similar layouts, but that's about it. They truely are apples and oranges, totally different resorts.

All in all, we had a wonderful stay.:cloud9:

Opps, forgot - Sunrise Safari - We did this last Thurs. Wonderful as others have reported. We drove in the back/cast enterance. Since it was so early, the windows of the bus were foggy so it was hard to see the backstage area. The tour itself took a good hour, with lots of stops for pictures. We heard a male lion roar. Our guide who has been there since AK opened (10+ yrs), said it was the first time he'd ever heard this on a safari. He said the lion was basically marking his territory. B/fast was at Pizza something???. The host said the food was the same as Tusker House. Our's was the first b/f at the new location. The food was wonderful. I thought my dd was eating pumpernickle bread and it turns out it was chocolate cake. *LOL* The Chef came out to answer any questions about the food.

harvardx
08-25-2007, 08:50 PM
Thank you so much! It is so good to hear from someone who was just there. I am so much happier about our week at AKL in late October. The gossip was starting to affect my enthusiasm. Your report gives me a safe dose of reality to mix with high expectations. Thanks again.:) :cool1:

tinawv
08-25-2007, 09:55 PM
Thanks for the great update. Very indepth. :)

Dis Ohana
08-25-2007, 10:23 PM
Opps, forgot - Sunrise Safari - We did this last Thurs. Wonderful as others have reported. We drove in the back/cast enterance. Since it was so early, the windows of the bus were foggy so it was hard to see the backstage area. The tour itself took a good hour, with lots of stops for pictures. We heard a male lion roar. Our guide who has been there since AK opened (10+ yrs), said it was the first time he'd ever heard this on a safari. He said the lion was basically marking his territory. B/fast was at Pizza something???. The host said the food was the same as Tusker House. Our's was the first b/f at the new location. The food was wonderful. I thought my dd was eating pumpernickle bread and it turns out it was chocolate cake. *LOL* The Chef came out to answer any questions about the food.

Thanks for posting such a detailed report. Glad to hear the construction didn't affect you.
I have a question about the Sunrise Safari, what time were you able to enter the park after eating? I was told my party meets in the lounge at 6:45 and by the time we were done eating it would be around 9:30. I was really hoping we'd be done in time to make the 9:00 park opening. Was this your experience? Thanks!

Kimberle
08-26-2007, 06:00 AM
Thanks for posting such a detailed report. Glad to hear the construction didn't affect you.
I have a question about the Sunrise Safari, what time were you able to enter the park after eating? I was told my party meets in the lounge at 6:45 and by the time we were done eating it would be around 9:30. I was really hoping we'd be done in time to make the 9:00 park opening. Was this your experience? Thanks!


The night before, you get a letter under your door. It tells you to arrive in the Concierge lounge at 6:45 for coffee and juice. They were also starting to put the food out, so you could grab a muffin if you were hungry. You then go downstairs and wait with the group. The bus doesn't leave until 7:30. So, you really could arrive in the Concierge lounge at 7:15, check in, and meet the group downstairs. Make sure you use the bathroom, no stops.;) The tour itself ended a little after 9. When we started walking to b/fast, the park had been opened maybe 10-15 minutes. After b/fast, we each got a fast pass to the Safari. It was only good for about an hour after b/fast ended, not all day as I've seen in other reports.

You are already in the park when it opens. Your park tickets are scaned in the resort.

MAGICinMYHEART
08-26-2007, 06:46 AM
Kimberle

Thanks for the review, I wish I had known you were at WDW last week I would have loved to meet-up and say Hi. Laura & Marco were over from Italy and we scheduled a Dinner at Boma as some other friends arrived Saturday the 18th at AKL.

Interesting about so many guest were Europeans as the friends we met are from the UK, you are correct about the dining plan. Disney offered a special free dinning plan for Europeans this year that started on the 18th, earlier then the free dinning offered here in the States.

Beckie :wave:

lomillerin
08-26-2007, 07:26 AM
Did you see giraffes from your room balcony?

We are staying club level in October, and I am a bit disappointed to hear the staff is "cool". This will be our first time staying concierge.

RachelTori
08-26-2007, 10:48 AM
Did you see giraffes from your room balcony?

We are staying club level in October, and I am a bit disappointed to hear the staff is "cool". This will be our first time staying concierge.

After dealing with the wonderful IPO, anything is going to seem "cool" by comparison! The CL staff working the desk at the lounge were very professional and cordial when approached. I actually liked the manner in which they conducted themselves. Even though they were in the same area, I never felt that they were ease-dropping on my family or paying attention to what we were doing or eating, etc.! Yet, if you walked up to their desk, they would give you their full attention and were happy to assist with any requests. :thumbsup2

Dis Ohana
08-26-2007, 11:36 AM
The night before, you get a letter under your door. It tells you to arrive in the Concierge lounge at 6:45 for coffee and juice. They were also starting to put the food out, so you could grab a muffin if you were hungry. You then go downstairs and wait with the group. The bus doesn't leave until 7:30. So, you really could arrive in the Concierge lounge at 7:15, check in, and meet the group downstairs. Make sure you use the bathroom, no stops.;) The tour itself ended a little after 9. When we started walking to b/fast, the park had been opened maybe 10-15 minutes. After b/fast, we each got a fast pass to the Safari. It was only good for about an hour after b/fast ended, not all day as I've seen in other reports.

You are already in the park when it opens. Your park tickets are scaned in the resort.

Thanks for that info. I have been looking for someone that has been on the Safari to ask. I was hoping to be done with the safari before the park opens. Either way, I'm sure it'll be the highlight of our visit to AK. Thanks!

Kimberle
08-26-2007, 12:09 PM
Did you see giraffes from your room balcony?

Yes, there were 3.

We are staying club level in October, and I am a bit disappointed to hear the staff is "cool". This will be our first time staying concierge.

If you approach them, they are helpful. You just need to have an idea of what you want, they didn't offer suggestions like other places I've stayed.

Tiffany
08-26-2007, 01:29 PM
Savannahs - Only the Zebra is opened. The others are closed, most likely for the duration of the construction. I did notice people had rooms overlooking the Sunset. I sure hope they didn't pay the entire Savannah price. Our room overlooked the Zebra. It was 4423, the 2nd building down on the corner closest to the lobby. We had a wonderful view and saw lots of animals.

Hi Kimberle,

Thanks for the detailed post. Are you saying that only the Arusha Savanna and the Uzima Savannas were open and that you had a room on the Zebra Trail? We will be at the lodge in less than a month and we have requested a view of the Arusha Savanna, which the main savanna. We have had rooms overlooking the Uzima Savanna in the past and enjoy that view as well. The Sunset Savanna is the one that is closed due to the construction, correct?

safetymom
08-26-2007, 01:30 PM
Just a reminder that we don't allow CM's names to be posted on the DIS. Thank you everyone.

Wendi2000
08-26-2007, 02:23 PM
Savannahs - Only the Zebra is opened. The others are closed, most likely for the duration of the construction. I did notice people had rooms overlooking the Sunset. I sure hope they didn't pay the entire Savannah price. Our room overlooked the Zebra. It was 4423, the 2nd building down on the corner closest to the lobby. We had a wonderful view and saw lots of animals.

Only one out of three Savannahs are open??? Are you serious? Can you tell me if the one near the rocking chairs overlooking Arusha Rock is still open? Can you still do the animal night vision? Is the viewing area outside near the pool/playground open? This is really upsetting to me. I really enjoy being able to see the animals from outside (different views, different animals from what we see from our balcony - and we really enjoy the night vision). When you say that only Zebra is open - which one do you mean by that? I am assuming one of the Savannahs near the Zebra Trail rooms... but which one?

Tiffany
08-26-2007, 03:22 PM
Only one out of three Savannahs are open??? Are you serious? Can you tell me if the one near the rocking chairs overlooking Arusha Rock is still open? Can you still do the animal night vision? Is the viewing area outside near the pool/playground open? This is really upsetting to me. I really enjoy being able to see the animals from outside (different views, different animals from what we see from our balcony - and we really enjoy the night vision). When you say that only Zebra is open - which one do you mean by that? I am assuming one of the Savannahs near the Zebra Trail rooms... but which one?

Hi,

There is no Zebra Savanna. There is a Zebra Trail. One side of the trail overlooks the main savanna, Arusha Savanna, the other side of the trail has pool view rooms and rooms that overlook the Uzima Savanna.

Over the years we have had views of both savannas and found both to be outstanding. We even had a view of the Sunset Savanna one trip and thought is was good. The Red River Hogs were very cute.

I cannot unstand why the Uzima Savanna is closed, if it is. That is the savanna that is farthest away from the construction.

amycishere
08-26-2007, 03:22 PM
Thank you so much for your review. I was told by an IPO that only the Sunset Savannah will remained closed during the duration of the construction. Thank you as well for your detailed review of the Sunrise Safari, did starting later in the park interfere with your day at AK? Also, thank you for the review about the Sunrise Safari breakfast. Was there things you could just grab and go to get right into the park?

Wendi2000
08-26-2007, 05:24 PM
Hi,

There is no Zebra Savanna. There is a Zebra Trail. One side of the trail overlooks the main savanna, Arusha Savanna, the other side of the trail has pool view rooms and rooms that overlook the Uzima Savanna.

Yes, I know... that's why I was asking for clarification from the OP. If there really is only one savannah open, I won't be very happy, I think the AKL needs to make sure guests are aware of this before we arrive. I find it very odd that I have not been made aware of any of this construction by Disney. I booked my trip directly through them, I'm sure if I had used a travel agent they would've informed me.

Tiffany
08-26-2007, 05:51 PM
Yes, I know... that's why I was asking for clarification from the OP. If there really is only one savannah open, I won't be very happy, I think the AKL needs to make sure guests are aware of this before we arrive. I find it very odd that I have not been made aware of any of this construction by Disney. I booked my trip directly through them, I'm sure if I had used a travel agent they would've informed me.

I am also booked directly through Disney and it looks like we are going to be arriving around the same time. I have been in contact with the AKL IP office and they have not mentioned anything. I am going to send them an email as it is my understanding that only the Sunset Savanna is closed. I will post what I get for an answer.

Kimberle
08-26-2007, 06:21 PM
We were on the Zebra Trail, which overlooked the Ashuna (sp?) rock. As you enter the lodge, standing at the front door, it is the right wing. I do not know about nighttime viewing goggles as we never looked for them. We just looked from our balcony.

Speaking with several animal keepers, both at the lodge and AK park, their main concern is for the safety and well being of the animals. Some animals are more sensitive to noise/disruptions. If they start getting stressed, they will be relocated.

The construction is an on going project, slated to last until 2009. What I experienced in August may not be what another guest will experience in October. I am just sharing *MY* experience. Even if there was no construction, you are still not guarenteed to see xyz animal.

*We* had a wonderful stay. I could not imagine to be any better sans construction. However, *my* vacation needs/expectations might be different from yours. Those of you with future AKL stays need to gleen information from many different people who have stayed and use that information to make the best vacation decision for *your* family.

Hope this helps..... I'd be glad to further clarify or answer any other ???'s...

Kimberle
08-26-2007, 06:27 PM
Thank you as well for your detailed review of the Sunrise Safari, did starting later in the park interfere with your day at AK? Also, thank you for the review about the Sunrise Safari breakfast. Was there things you could just grab and go to get right into the park?

It is a buffet, so you could eat quickly and go. The Guides to stay and eat with you. It is a wonderful opportunity to speak with them in futher detail about the animals. I did not see any paper plates or to go containers.

We finished b/fast and left about 10. We then used our fast pass and redid the Safari. No, it did not interfer with our day, rather, enhanced it.

amycishere
08-26-2007, 07:10 PM
It is a buffet, so you could eat quickly and go. The Guides to stay and eat with you. It is a wonderful opportunity to speak with them in futher detail about the animals. I did not see any paper plates or to go containers.

We finished b/fast and left about 10. We then used our fast pass and redid the Safari. No, it did not interfer with our day, rather, enhanced it.

Ok, sounds great! Thank you very much for taking the time to reply!

I greatly appreciate your review!! It gives us all much information for our furture stays.

amycishere
08-26-2007, 07:14 PM
I am also booked directly through Disney and it looks like we are going to be arriving around the same time. I have been in contact with the AKL IP office and they have not mentioned anything. I am going to send them an email as it is my understanding that only the Sunset Savanna is closed. I will post what I get for an answer.

Thank you for doing this, this was my understanding as well.

dbarker
08-26-2007, 09:19 PM
Resturants - Here as well as anywhere in the parks, if you didn't have a ADR, you didn't get a table. There seemed to be a ton of people on the dining plan which suprised me a bit as the free dining hadn't started yet. AKL REALLY needs a 3rd resturant. The African stuff is fine, but you get really tired of if after a while. I know many people "rave" over Mara. But it was typical WDW fast food to me. Only 2 items on the kids menu (mac & cheese and roasted chicken). There is no place to have a sit down lunch here. Sometimes you don't want to board a bus and treck off someplace for lunch. Since this resort is off in a corner by itself, it REALLY needs a 3rd resturant (IMHO).



Just a little FYI: AKL has 3 restaurants.

Mara - Counter Service

Boma - Buffet

Jiko - Premium, sit down, order off the menu

I'm not sure if all the restaurants are open at this time. They were when we were there in May.

Kimberle
08-27-2007, 05:11 AM
Just a little FYI: AKL has 3 restaurants.

Mara - Counter Service

Boma - Buffet

Jiko - Premium, sit down, order off the menu

I'm not sure if all the restaurants are open at this time. They were when we were there in May.

In *MY* opinion, AKL needs a 3rd *resturant*. To *me* Mara is *counter service* a/k/a, *fast food*.

This is *my* opinion. You certainly don't have to agree.:hippie:

Ellie_loves_Minnie
08-27-2007, 01:16 PM
Yes, I know... that's why I was asking for clarification from the OP. If there really is only one savannah open, I won't be very happy, I think the AKL needs to make sure guests are aware of this before we arrive. I find it very odd that I have not been made aware of any of this construction by Disney. I booked my trip directly through them, I'm sure if I had used a travel agent they would've informed me.

Hi

I wouldn't be too sure of that one...

We used a travel agent here in the UK and I only found out about it through this wonderful board. I only got them to admit they knew about it the other day and they told me that they'd heard about it for a month or so but Disney had told them that travellers did not need to be notified as they were that confident it wouldn't impact anyone's trip negatively. :confused:

Quite what that means I don't know. All I do know is that if my trip is impacted, there'll be a significant conversation both with Disney and the travel agent............

kgc07
08-27-2007, 05:09 PM
Just curious how long your bus ride to the MK took. Also, any specifics on the evening offerings? We are booked conceirge at AK for the first time next year.