View Full Version : AKL vs. WL

02-17-2002, 05:12 PM
Just back from 2 nights at AKL (savannah) & 7 at WL (courtyard). We had a wonderful time! I'll post a full trip report, but thought some might be interested in my family's opinion of the resorts.

AKL vs. WL:
Rooms - Advantage - AKL. Newer amenities like digital thermostat and shelf for toiletries were appreciated. Rooms had a "new" feel to them and decor was more sedate. The WL bathroom may have been a tad larger.

Food - Advantage - AKL. The Mara beats out Roaring Forks with its exotic soups. Boma is fabulous, Whispering Canyon isn't even in the same class (but it sure is fun!). Jiko -- loved it! Even my meat & potatoes husband said the food was better at AKL.

Pool - Advantage - WL. I really liked the theming of the falls and the rock formations, plus the geyser and view of Bay Lake. The kiddie pool at WL is bigger and the spas are closer to the pool. But AKL pool was a little warmer.

Service - Advantage - WL. The best service of any Disney Resort we've stayed at! From Jackie at the front desk, to Evelyn our maid who put something super in our room daily, to Ranger Stan and his tours -- I just can't say enough about how fabulous the service was. I found the AKL service to be more formal and less friendly.

AK, MGM & DD Transportation - Advantage AKL. No sharing of bus service here, and busses ran promptly and efficiently. Let me say now, the WL bus to DD was terrible!

MK, Epcot, & Resort to Resort Transporation - Advantage WL. No one in my family is a bus fan. We love the boats and the monorail. So taking a boat to the CR or Crockett bus to TTC to catch the monorail was not problem for us. And we never had to wait for a boat to the MK -- we must have been on the right schedule! Also had an easy time getting to PS for character meals at MK, Poly, Contemporary & GF. Others in our party were at the GF and easy to get to & from that lovely resort.

Lobby - Too close to call. Both are beautiful in their own way. DH loves the WL decor, I loved the AKL decor.

Kids Club - Advantage - Simba's at the AKL. It's larger, has better toys, including a puppet set that caught my daughter's fancy.

Resort Activities - Advantage - WL. We love the Electrical Water Pageant and Fireworks. Plus finding hidden Mickey's and playing on the sand beach. We were flag family one day and that was a treat too! However, it was fabulous seeing the animals from our balcony at AKL and we loved the nightly storytelling by the fire pit.

Summary: I personally don't think you can go wrong with either of these resorts -- and we will most likely return to both. They are perfect for split stays if you plan your parks in the right order and each one is worth a day just hanging around the resort.

IMHO, families with young children will be more comfortable at the WL while most singles and older families might find it a little too lively for their taste and prefer the more sedate AKL. This is just my opinion, I'm sure there are plenty of folks out there who will disagree.

02-17-2002, 05:22 PM
Thanks for sharing! We have stayed three times at WL and are planning on someplace different next time. Sounds like you had a wonderful vacation!

02-17-2002, 11:42 PM
I pretty much agree with your assessment. We stayed at both resorts in November (concierge). If you have young kids, I'd give the concierge advantage to AKL for their TV and the sunrise safari. If you're a couple, the advantage would go to WL for more private seating choices.

And I'd give the gift shop advantage to AKL.

Still can't decide which one I like better!


AKL/WL/1 forgettable night at the Swan (11/01)

02-18-2002, 02:05 AM
Tough call! If only all decisions in life were this tough!

Personally, as a family with 2 small kids (5Yrs and 5Mo), we liked the AKL a little better; The zero entry pool, the more secluded hot tubs, and sitting around the outdoor firepit at night talking with other guests were our highlights, along with Jiko, Mara, the shops, the concierge lounge (the espresso machine alone almost makes it worthwhile) adn of course, the animals! I can't tell you the thrill Christopher got when I woke him up a 3AM to see the zebras outside our window... He just grinned and grinned!

Honestly, though, if I had to choose, I'd choose both! Our week split between the two was awesome!

02-18-2002, 08:04 AM
Hi What a great report.. i am currently planning for Jan 2003 and will hopefully be staying 3 night each at WL and AKL and wondering if you had rooms with the bunk beds. they look nice on Deb's site but wonder if you had a personal opinion about them? Thanks Michelle

02-18-2002, 08:10 AM
Well I am so excited now! My family and I will be doing 4 nights at the WL and 2 at the AKL in August. Only 172 days to go.....

02-18-2002, 10:38 AM

thanks for the opionions. We are doing a split as well in april.

Just one question do you think two nights at the akl was enough. We will do one day in ak park and one relaxing day there. Can you get the whole feel of the resort with two full days and two nights. We have older teens/adult and mom and dad.



02-18-2002, 11:18 AM
Great Review!! I will be spiltting between these 2 resorts in May and having stayed at neither of them your review really helped. Thanks!

02-18-2002, 01:21 PM
Me and PlutoPAL had this decision to make last june
Wilderness Lodge whrer i had stayed before or the Animal Kingdom Lodge which just opened.

I looked at it like this :
wilderness Lodhe is very close to the Magic Kingdom ( my favorite park ) and Animal Kingdom Lodge is far from it and alot of stuff
I thought it would be cool at the AKL but our decision was Wilderness Lodge and it was a good one
Go for the Wilderness Lodge...Very very cool place to stay.

02-18-2002, 03:29 PM
If I were doing it over, I'd stay 3 nights at AKL - arrive early day one and hang around the resort, go to AK day two, and go to MGM day three. Then move on day four and do a quick stop at MK. Two nights was a little too rushed, four would have been too much. Plus the bus service to AK & MGM is much better from AKL than from WL, where you share with the Poly & GF.

We had two queen beds, which I specifically requested. My four year old tosses and turns so a queen bed with side rails seemed safer and then I didn't have to argue about not allowing her in the top bunk! I've heard the bunk beds make the rooms a little darker -- and they are a little dark to begin with! If you have young children, each room comes with a Graco pack and play in the closet.

You're right about the gift shop - AKL was lovely and we got to meet artisans right there!

02-18-2002, 03:41 PM
Thanks for your reply, I like your idea of three and the first day to rest and check it out. Can't wait to get there, we are off to the poly after that, thanks so much,


02-18-2002, 03:55 PM
Thanks for the review! I'm trying to decide between the two for my next trip!

02-19-2002, 08:11 AM
joyful1nh, thanks my kids will be (DD) 9 and (DS) 6 on our next trip and they have Bunks at home - DD on top and DS on bottom.
(with a rail for each of them) .. We are hoping not be in the room all that much.. Michelle

02-19-2002, 09:57 AM
This is a no-brainer for our family. We just returned from 7 nights at AKL and we are NOT big fans. The CM service was the worst we have experienced at any of the Disney Resorts. Bus service was fine, but you are so far away from most of the rest of Disney that your commute times are longer. We are big fans of the WL. We made a special trip over there last week just to be a part of that resort for a short time. The positives about the AKL...Boma was good. Lee, our waiter, gave us our most enjoyable memory of AKL. Other than Boma, WL wins on every other count.

Just my 2 cents...

02-21-2002, 11:16 AM
We have only stayed at moderates so far. When the new rates came out I got excited because my DH and I are going sans kidlets for our anniversary in June. I priced AKL, WL and CSR/premium view. While my DH and I were discussing it (CM still on the phone), I heard the CM yelling WL, WL. When I got back to him he was very enthusiastic for a couple to stay at WL. Said he'd stayed at all three and loved WL including the resturants. Spent quite a bit of time telling me why he loved it and we would too. After having many conversations with noncommital, unenthusiastic CM's he was a breath of fresh air and we are taking his advice. He said the service is the best too. My husbanc would still rather stay at CSR, but I am ready to stay elsewhere and the cost was less than $100. more for the week.