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View Full Version : Animal Kingdom Lodge closed?


ziggylu
10-04-2007, 08:38 PM
Hello

My husband and I planning a relatively last minute trip to Orlando as he just found out he needs to attend a conference at the end of the month being held at the Renaissance. We decided we'd extend his time there, i'll tag along and we'll spend four nights over at the disney resorts.

I went to AAA office here in my town today to book our trip. I told the agent we were thinking we wanted to stay at AKL. (true confession...we have no kids but I saw a spot on the travel channel about the rooms where you can see the savannahs with the animals and told my husband if we ever found ourselves at Disney I wanted to stay here in a room like that).

Anyway, the agent told me the resort is closed! That the restaurants and shops are open but they aren't booking rooms because of the construction noise from the villas.

We booked the Beach resort instead. I was going to book the Floridian but we figured we'd spend more time down near Epcot area as we've both been the Magic Kingdom before and have been to Disneyland umpteen times. I also bought the dining plan and figured this was a better location for meal options.

Anyway, I went in not having done a lot of research as this just came up in the last couple days. Normally I book all our trips independently but did know that AAA tends to have hte package deals for disney.

But in finding this site I don't see anything indicating the lodge is in fact not open to guests. I'm seeing posts referring to recent visits and upcoming trips(our dates are oct 30-nov 4) Did this guy feed me a line?! I would assume the commissions are the same so what would be the incentive for misinforming me??

Safari Queen
10-04-2007, 08:42 PM
As far as I know the AKL is open but there are areas of the resort they're leaving empty because of construction noise. Maybe there were no rooms?

ziggylu
10-04-2007, 08:47 PM
he didn't even check! I sat down, gave him our dates. He said "where woudl you like to stay" to which I replied "we're thinking the AKL" he then told me it was closed to guests and started pushing the beach resort.

I also inquired about teh Swan and Dolphin as we're Starwood members and he really badmouthed those...my husband wanted to stay at one of the Deluxe properties anyhow so I didn't end up booking this but I had to really push to get him to give me the rates for these two properties.

I'm really annoyed on principle alone. I'm not sure what recourse I ahve since everything is booked. I'm not even sure who I'd lodge a complaint with.

Convince me the Beach resort is better anyhow?

Maggi May
10-04-2007, 08:58 PM
Hi ziggylu and :welcome: to the DIS Boards.

It sounds as if your heart was really set on the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Maybe you could check availability at the Disney website, print it out and take it to the AAA office and ask them to switch the reservations. It was the agent's error/laziness that led you to book the other hotel, and they really should make it right.

Good luck!

honeymo78
10-04-2007, 09:00 PM
I just checked your dates on the disney site and there were no rooms available at AKL. I'm 99% sure the resort is open for overnight guests and there is no reason why your agent shouldn't have checked for availability. However, since AKL is completely booked, it doesn't matter in the end. He also shouldn't have badmouthed Swan and Dolphin. While I've never stayed there, I have heard they are nice resorts, and can be significantly cheaper than deluxe disney resorts.

grannyminnie
10-04-2007, 09:04 PM
Almost sounded like he was getting a kickback from the BC!!!:lmao:

DisneyBride'03
10-04-2007, 09:11 PM
Or something like that....;)

ziggylu
10-04-2007, 09:13 PM
Almost sounded like he was getting a kickback from the BC!!!:lmao:

Exactly! He still pushed the BC even when I inquired about the Floridian! He indicated the Floridian was more expensive and then went back to pushing the BC!

I don't get it.

I'm really mad actually. Maybe he did me a favor because of the construction but that's an entirely different discussion then "it's closed, sorry. pick something else" I even made a couple jokes during the time i was with him and we were booking about "but I really wanted to see the giraffes from my balcony"

I also just realized he didn't ask me whether I wanted a King or double(we want a king) or smoking or non-smoking.

Argh. This is the first time I"ve used a TA in years. I went to AAA because I bought into their marketing about being disney specialists.

My husband just checked and he can book online for AKL for the dates in question. $200 more for a savannah room for the four nights than we're paying at BC which I assume means with the AAA discount it would eb the same or even a little less.

So...now the question to all you experts...shoudl I go in, raise a stink and change or stick with the BC? I guess neither is "better" but is the AKL more preferable. Is the construction making things uncomfortable and taking away from the experience? We probably won't ever head out to Orlando again unless business takes us there.

Allison
10-04-2007, 09:29 PM
Personally, I would cancel with AAA, handle it myself, and stay where I really wanted to be.

As far are the bed size, you can request a king bed but it's not guaranteed. The Disney resorts are now all non-smoking.

Fast Pass
10-04-2007, 09:41 PM
AKL is most definitely opened. Room availability might be the issue. I know that alot of the rooms are not yet open because of the construction but it seems like more and more rooms are becoming open as the construction finishes. Don't give up hope!

AdoptedDisneyFamily
10-04-2007, 09:47 PM
I just switched my reservation arriving on 10/28 to the AKL. I was staying at ASSP, got a great rate to upgrade and I did.

ziggylu
10-04-2007, 10:05 PM
Can i cancel? I don't want to lose money by cancelling...and will it cost more to book on my own?

Like I said I haven't done this Orlando thing really before...I was there 15 years ago for two nights and that's it. We live in Phoenix, both grew up in LA, and frequently go to Disneyland and we always book that ourselves...but have never stayed at the Disney resorts. We thought this time around we'd go ahead and book a Disney Package so that's why I went to AAA - I believed them to be reputable!

I know I sound like a broken record but I'm really not happy I gave someone more than $2000 in business and it all started wtih being given misinformation. I'm not sure what to do now. Will it cost me more to book on my own? Do I get anything with the AAA package I'll be missing out on booking myself? Can I cancel?

septbaby
10-04-2007, 10:13 PM
You don't trust this guy. If you want to do business with AAA get a hold of the manager to handle this for you or switch you to another agent in the office.

I would just complain, get 100% of my money back and move on. Either to a completely different AAA office or book it another way.

By the way, all rooms are non smoking.

liv4diz
10-04-2007, 10:24 PM
Just so you know. . .(and I know there are some bad AAA agents just as there are bad CM)

The first time I went into our AAA to book a Disney trip, the agent said I can get you in at Pop Century, which wasn't my first choice. When I asked about the other hotels, she said they get availability info every morning and updates 5 times throughout the day because they get so many calls for Disney hotels/packages. So, maybe he had an update or had recently checked for another client. Also, there are a set number of rooms that are available at the AAA rate and all of the AAA rooms could have been booked (which has also happened to us) when the rest of the hotel wasn't.

That said, it's your vacation, so do whatever will make you happy. If you really want AKL and don't mind paying the non AAA rate, go for it!

ziggylu
10-04-2007, 10:40 PM
Just so you know. . .(and I know there are some bad AAA agents just as there are bad CM)

The first time I went into our AAA to book a Disney trip, the agent said I can get you in at Pop Century, which wasn't my first choice. When I asked about the other hotels, she said they get availability info every morning and updates 5 times throughout the day because they get so many calls for Disney hotels/packages. So, maybe he had an update or had recently checked for another client. Also, there are a set number of rooms that are available at the AAA rate and all of the AAA rooms could have been booked (which has also happened to us) when the rest of the hotel wasn't.

That said, it's your vacation, so do whatever will make you happy. If you really want AKL and don't mind paying the non AAA rate, go for it!

Just so it's clear why I'm so angry. I was not told that the resort was full. I was not told that there were no rooms available. I was very clearly told that "the resort is closed. The restaurants and the shops are open but Disney has decided to not accept guests at all because of all the complaints. This will be the case until the construction is finished"

It may seem stupid but this really bothers me in a business transaction. Especially given the fact I have alway considered AAA very reputable though I have admittedly never used their travel services before.

marivaid
10-05-2007, 12:55 AM
The resort's not closed. We'll be there Oct 29-Nov 2, and got it cheap at $149/night ! Which dates are you looking for?

ETA : Sorry, just saw your dates. We couldn't get the night of Nov 3 either, seems like that night is all booked up but the rest are open. Would you be willing to switch to another resort for a night or two?

ziggylu
10-05-2007, 12:57 AM
The resort's not closed. We'll be there Oct 29-Nov 2, and got it cheap at $149/night ! Which dates are you looking for?

oct 30-nov 3


who did you book through?

marivaid
10-05-2007, 12:59 AM
Directly with Disney. I'm looking on the site right now and you could get AKL from Oct 30 to Nov 3 (checking out Nov 3) starting at $149/night for a standard.

We'll be there & would love for you to join us :)

Pool view is $164/night.
Savanna view (room with 1 queen & 2 bunk beds) is $244/night.

The problem is that Saturday night that's all booked up, with or without a special offer :(

marivaid
10-05-2007, 01:19 AM
Me again LOL

I looked at Expedia and they have AKL available including the Saturday night, either $149/night for a standard or $355/night for Savannah View.

It's JMO but it sure sounds like your TA is either really misinformed or has some ulterior motives...

Allison
10-05-2007, 07:02 AM
You can get the AAA rate on a room reservation without going through AAA.

ziggylu
10-05-2007, 01:00 PM
I called the AAA number for Arizona this morning and spoke with an agent. He told me he'd call Disney and call me back. When he did he gave me a rate and indicated Disney was taking bookings at AKL for the days we wanted. He couldn't transfer my actual booking without fees nor cancel it because I am less than 44 days out.

So....I called the office I went into yesterday to make the booking. I wanted to speak with the office manager directly and not deal with the agent but unfortunately she was out today. I do not want the agent from yesterday to earn commission on this sale. I said I'd call back and two minutes later my phone rang and it was the agent from yesterday(they must ahve call waiting as I didn't indicate my name or where my booking was. Just that I wanted to speak with a manger regarding an issue with the trip I'd booked).

So I told him I was unhappy with the service he'd given me. He keeps insisting that everyone that is booked at AKL is being moved to other hotels?!

I told him I didn't believe this as the agent I spoked with on the phone this morning called Disney to confirm availability for the dates.

In the end he cancelled the booking at 100% at my insistence. I've started over with the otehr agent I spoke with this morning. I'm still aggravated to have even dealt with this situation but am getting over it. :lmao:

I sure hope once we're there we arent' disappointed and wished we'd stayed at one of the other properties after this! :lmao:

Safari Queen
10-05-2007, 01:26 PM
I don't blame you for being upset, but the Beach Club really is a wonderful resort. The access to EPCOT and MGM is so convenient, with a boat ride or relatively short walk. There are 15 restaurants in the EPCOT resort area, all an easy walk, with several characters options as well as evening entertainment. The pool is the absolute best on Disney property. We love AKL but BC is our #1 favorite.

IWISHFORDISNEY
10-05-2007, 01:34 PM
I found that AAA does try to push certain resorts. I looked up the prices on where we wanted to stay and some of their quotes were higher than rack rate. When I asked the agent why I would use them she said I could park my car for free. Uuuuhhhh we are flying from Delaware and I dont have a car and even if I did rent one parking is always free to resort guests. Beware of AAA sometimes you are better off on your own through Disney. Good Luck I hope you get the lodge it is so pretty. I didnt care for BC but loved the AKL and BW.

septbaby
10-05-2007, 04:27 PM
Good for you! It is after all your vacation, right? :thumbsup2

Minnie&Nana
10-05-2007, 06:18 PM
What a mess!! Sounds like you have it all straighened out now!

Be sure to request Arusha Savannah - it has the best views of the animals.:)

We stayed there a few yrs ago (without kids), but I did not want a Savannah room...do not like zoos.....well, at check in we were offered a free upgrade to a Savannah room... I said thanks, but no thanks etc etc. The CM convinced me to give it a try and said she wanted to find us a room with an excellent view - it was fantastic!! I absolutely loved it and could hardly pull myself away to go to a park.

It was a long walk to the elevator, then a long walk to the room, but it was well worth it and would happily do it again. Will definitely pay for a Savannah room should we stay there again.

Have a wonderful trip!