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View Full Version : Just back from AKL!


iluvpluto27
10-12-2008, 01:38 PM
Hi, we've just got back from an 18 night stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

I really, really liked this hotel. The theming is fantastic, and the lobby really is gorgeous.

We had 2 separate reservations, the first for a pool view room. This was a great location, very handy for the Mara and the laundry room, but the pool view itself was obstructed by trees.

Even though we didn't have a savanah view, we still saw lots of animals, either along the hallways or we would go to the end of the hallways on the outside staircase and view the animals from there.

Bus service was very good, with average 5 minute waits, and The Mara never seemed too chaotic.

After our first 14 nights we re-checked in to a Club Level room. Check in was very good, the concierge staff were very friendly and I was told we had a room on the zebra trail, which was what I'd requested.

However I was really disappointed when we got to our room later that afternoon, to find they are doing major construction to the side of the hotel that our balcony faced. We had a lovely view of several big orange lifts, filled with painters and construction workers, and smell of paint fumes as well as the noise of sawing and drilling, even with the balcony door shut.

So back to the concierge desk we went, who informed us that yes the construction would be ongoing between 9 and 5 each day of our stay, and it affected all concierge rooms. They agreed without issue to move us to a non concierge, savannah view room but I thought it was disgraceful they hadn't mentioned the construction upon check in.

After that little hiccup, I really enjoyed AKL concierge. The lounge was never too busy, and the food was really very good. It was a bit of a trek from our room, but at least we could use our balcony during the day.

As we were staying concierge level, we did the Sunrise Safari. This was fantastic and was worth every penny we paid. We got to see pretty much all the animals out on the savannah and got some great photos. I would definitely reccommend this.

If anyone has any questions let me know.

RachelTori
10-12-2008, 02:24 PM
18 days? WOW!! :cloud9:

I'd be curious to know your room #'s -- the first CL room they had you in on Zebra Trail; then the non-CL room they moved you to.

I just had a 5 night DVC Value Studio stay there (9/29-10/4) and the cranes were busy painting the exterior during the day, but there was no sawing and drilling. :eek: (I'm curious where that work is going on? and I hope they'll be finished soon! ;))

frdeb1999
10-12-2008, 03:21 PM
What a wonderfully long stay!! I would be a bit frustrated by a construction view myself and think they should have really informed you so you were prepared. Glad you had a wonderful trip though! :)

blondietink
10-12-2008, 03:28 PM
I thought that the conceriege rooms were going to be closed during the construction in October. So did they change their minds and open them to guests anyway? :confused:

RachelTori
10-12-2008, 04:06 PM
I thought that the conceriege rooms were going to be closed during the construction in October. So did they change their minds and open them to guests anyway? :confused:

That was only the DVC 6th floor Concierge rooms that were being closed. However, it appears Disney forgot to let many other guests know that *construction/renovation/refurbishment* would be going on during their stay. :headache:

disneyag
10-12-2008, 04:54 PM
When will the construction be done? We are thinking of staying Club Level AKL June 09, but it's not worth it if there is noise, etc.

MickeyNicki
10-12-2008, 05:35 PM
Thank you so much for your review as we are headed there Oct 17th for one night standard and 4 nights CL. I am going to email my IPO right now and see what is going on with the construction at this time. I was dreaming of my time on the balcony overlooking the Zebra Trail....and I have been booked for 10 months!

Thanks for the info on the Sunrise Safari, we are doing that one week from today!

jerseygal
10-12-2008, 07:11 PM
Were you happy with the food being replenished as needed?

Heard the offerings were quite nice.:goodvibes :goodvibes

Dawn68PA
10-12-2008, 07:27 PM
When will the construction be done? We are thinking of staying Club Level AKL June 09, but it's not worth it if there is noise, etc.

I'm pretty sure I read that Kidani opens in May '09, so you should be safe. :thumbsup2

TRBelle84
10-12-2008, 08:25 PM
I also am wondering when the construction will be done because we're booked in the AKL-CL from May 12-21! Hmmm... :confused:

LoriZH
10-12-2008, 10:57 PM
Wow, sounds like you had a great vacation!!! I'm glad they accomodated you with your room...I have no idea why they wouldn't have warned you, when we stayed at CR last year they warned us about the construction which was never even a problem. Well, as long as they fixed it and your stay was magical :) :wizard:

RachelTori
10-13-2008, 07:08 AM
When will the construction be done? We are thinking of staying Club Level AKL June 09, but it's not worth it if there is noise, etc.

I also am wondering when the construction will be done because we're booked in the AKL-CL from May 12-21! Hmmm... :confused:

irish dancer just returned from a week at AKL-CL in a 1-bedroom DVC villa. "They are repainting the exterior all around the lodge, the letter in our room stated work was expected to be completed by Jan 2009."

The new DVC building, Kidani, will open to its first guests on May 1, 2009. Noise from that construction hasn't been a nuisance in quite some time.

Here's what I observed at Jambo (the main lodge) earlier this month. This is Zebra Trail:
http://i259.photobucket.com/albums/hh317/lbl1234567/WDWSept2008%203/DSCN1950.jpg

iluvpluto27
10-13-2008, 07:22 AM
18 days? WOW!! :cloud9:

I'd be curious to know your room #'s -- the first CL room they had you in on Zebra Trail; then the non-CL room they moved you to.

I just had a 5 night DVC Value Studio stay there (9/29-10/4) and the cranes were busy painting the exterior during the day, but there was no sawing and drilling. :eek: (I'm curious where that work is going on? and I hope they'll be finished soon! ;))

God I can't remember the first room no, my DH might I'll ask him tonight. The second one was 3371. I'm not sure if it was an overflow concierge room or something, because it had bathrobes in it and apart from our first night they did come for turndown service.

I think most of it was painting but there was definitely heavier construction going on. They have one section of the 4th floor, completely shut to guests and I think they are refurbishing the rooms there. I actually took a video to show how bad it was, and in it you can see loads of sawdust coming out of one of the rooms, I'll try and post it later.

What a wonderfully long stay!! I would be a bit frustrated by a construction view myself and think they should have really informed you so you were prepared. Glad you had a wonderful trip though! :)

That was what was really disappointing to me. I've stayed at many lesser hotels and they've always been upfront if there's work going on. But i did have a fantastic time.

I thought that the conceriege rooms were going to be closed during the construction in October. So did they change their minds and open them to guests anyway? :confused:

I thought it was just the DVC rooms they closed, but there were definitely concierge guests on the 6th floor when we were there.

That was only the DVC 6th floor Concierge rooms that were being closed. However, it appears Disney forgot to let many other guests know that *construction/renovation/refurbishment* would be going on during their stay. :headache:

I really was disappointed they didn't inform us. I hate having to complain and ask to move rooms, and if they'd been upfront from the beginning I would have just asked for a different room straight away.

When will the construction be done? We are thinking of staying Club Level AKL June 09, but it's not worth it if there is noise, etc.

It should only be for the next couple of weeks that it affects the concierge rooms, so you'll be fine by June 09.

Thank you so much for your review as we are headed there Oct 17th for one night standard and 4 nights CL. I am going to email my IPO right now and see what is going on with the construction at this time. I was dreaming of my time on the balcony overlooking the Zebra Trail....and I have been booked for 10 months!

Thanks for the info on the Sunrise Safari, we are doing that one week from today!

I hope you have better luck and they've finished the work by then. When we moved to our second room, it was fantastic being able to view zebra from our balcony. Even though we were on the kudu trail we saw loads of zebra, giraffes, antelope, cattle, pelicans and of course kudu during our stay.

I think you'll love the sunrise safari, it definitely was one of the highlights of our holiday.

Were you happy with the food being replenished as needed?

Heard the offerings were quite nice.:goodvibes :goodvibes

Yes, I thought the food was really good and they always seemed to have a vegetarian hot offering in the evening, which was great for my DH. They were constantly checking what had been taken and replenishing both food and drink.


I also am wondering when the construction will be done because we're booked in the AKL-CL from May 12-21! Hmmm... :confused:

The work they are doing at the minute should be finished well before May. Most of it did seem to be painting the outside of the buildings, and they'd already finished a fair few blocks.

Wow, sounds like you had a great vacation!!! I'm glad they accomodated you with your room...I have no idea why they wouldn't have warned you, when we stayed at CR last year they warned us about the construction which was never even a problem. Well, as long as they fixed it and your stay was magical :) :wizard:

Thanks, we had a great time. I really expected that they would have mentioned it, at the very least at check in. To me, essentially being unable to use your balcony between 9-5 is an inconvience that guests should be informed about upfront.

Lmichele
10-13-2008, 08:53 AM
I am going to email my IPO right now and see what is going on with the construction at this time. I was dreaming of my time on the balcony overlooking the Zebra Trail....and I have been booked for 10 months!

Please let us know what your IPO says about the construction. DH and I are staying club level first week of December and I too was dreaming of my time on the balcony overlooking the animals.

Carlyzmom
10-13-2008, 09:22 AM
Just curious - since you were there 18 days, did you visit the parks all of those days too?

By the way, thanks for the great info!

puffkin
10-13-2008, 10:56 AM
We just got back from a stay in a 1 Bedroom on our points. We were in 5234 with a view of the Sunset Savannah. I thought it was TERRIBLE. We had full sun every afternoon and it was way too hot to be on the balcony then. The animals were never on our part of the savannah in the morning or evenings when it was cooler, just in the afternoon when they fed them. It was too hot though to go out there and see them at that time.

We also were facing the new Kidani Village building and it was NOISY. Lots of bull dozer noise and traffic noise from the construction. They were working on the roofs most of the time and that wasn't too bad, but it was very noisy out there.

All in all, we pretty much wasted our points staying with a Savannah View. We had a great trip last year with a view on the Uzima Savannah, but this year we were very disappointed.

iluvpluto27
10-13-2008, 11:01 AM
Just curious - since you were there 18 days, did you visit the parks all of those days too?

By the way, thanks for the great info!

Yeah pretty much! But we have a relaxed style of touring where we hit the rides in the morning, had a table service lunch then headed back to the hotel early afternoon, nap and chill out. Then we would go out for dinner in the evening.

We had a couple of down days where we went to a waterpark for a couple of hours, DTD or played mini golf.

jerseygal
10-13-2008, 11:17 AM
Puffkin..Sorry to hear about your dissapointing view...Feeling the the points are wasted is not a good feeling.:sad1: :sad1:

Did you do Concierge? If so, were you pleased?

Much thanks.....:flower3:

puffkin
10-13-2008, 11:19 AM
Puffkin..Sorry to hear about your dissapointing view...Feeling the the points are wasted is not a good feeling.:sad1: :sad1:

Did you do Concierge? If so, were you pleased?

Much thanks.....:flower3:

No, we weren't concierge....just a standard 1 bedroom. We still had a nice stay, but it felt like we got a standard room for savannah view prices.

iluvpluto27
10-13-2008, 11:50 AM
Here are the pictures and video I took of the work that's going on.

This one shows that the lift was right beneath our room.
http://i478.photobucket.com/albums/rr144/luvpluto27/aklcons2.jpg

This one shows a bit of a wider view of the zebra trail.
http://i478.photobucket.com/albums/rr144/luvpluto27/aklconstruction.jpg

And here's a video of it. You can hear some of the noise and about 13 seconds in you see loads of dust blowing across the savannah. That's sawdust from whatever they were sawing or sanding.
http://i478.photobucket.com/albums/rr144/luvpluto27/th_constructionvid.jpg (http://s478.photobucket.com/albums/rr144/luvpluto27/?action=view&current=constructionvid.flv)

As I said, I still loved the hotel but was just disappointed they didn't inform us about this at check in.

RachelTori
10-13-2008, 12:06 PM
iluvpluto27,

You poor thing -- that noise was just AWFUL! :headache: That sure sounds like a lot more than just painting the exterior. :eek:

Earlier this month, when they first started the work, the cranes were a little intrusive, but there was no noise to speak of.

WB1971
10-13-2008, 12:31 PM
It can be disappointing. My experiences paying for a better view have never really panned out. We seem to have pretty rotten luck with room views, but are very hesitant to ask to change rooms if the official category given to us is correct. Too much of a hassel, and try not to be complainers. If there is a tree, or an angle of the building that blocks a view, that is the room we get.:confused3

iluvpluto27
10-13-2008, 12:38 PM
It can be disappointing. My experiences paying for a better view have never really panned out. We seem to have pretty rotten luck with room views, but are very hesitant to ask to change rooms if the official category given to us is correct. Too much of a hassel, and try not to be complainers. If there is a tree, or an angle of the building that blocks a view, that is the room we get.:confused3

We're very much the same. Our first room was a pretty poor pool view but the view doesn't bother us and I wouldn't move rooms over it. However construction sounds and smells do bother me. I hate having to complain about a room, and feel embarassed doing so, but hearing and seeing that all afternoon, each day would have really annoyed me.

WB1971
10-13-2008, 12:58 PM
Absolutely. I would have made that move too, totally justified. Regarding the trees and the pool view rooms at AKL, wouldn't you think they could trim those things down a bit? They need to rename that woods view IMO!! I bet when the lodge opened, and those trees were new, the views of the pool were much more unobstructed. Of course, if I went with a standard view, I would get one of those rooms overlooking the walkway to the bus-stop. Those look like horrible little dungeons.

huey578
10-13-2008, 01:04 PM
We arrive on Oct 18th we have CL room booked for 7nts. Can't wait!!

iluvpluto27
10-13-2008, 01:26 PM
Absolutely. I would have made that move too, totally justified. Regarding the trees and the pool view rooms at AKL, wouldn't you think they could trim those things down a bit? They need to rename that woods view IMO!! I bet when the lodge opened, and those trees were new, the views of the pool were much more unobstructed. Of course, if I went with a standard view, I would get one of those rooms overlooking the walkway to the bus-stop. Those look like horrible little dungeons.

Definitely agree, I thought they would trim the trees down too. But the only reason I booked a pool view was so we wouldn't get one of the rooms overlooking the bus stop, so it was fine by me.

jjohnson
10-13-2008, 03:28 PM
We just got back from a stay in a 1 Bedroom on our points. We were in 5234 with a view of the Sunset Savannah. I thought it was TERRIBLE. We had full sun every afternoon and it was way too hot to be on the balcony then. The animals were never on our part of the savannah in the morning or evenings when it was cooler, just in the afternoon when they fed them. It was too hot though to go out there and see them at that time.

We also were facing the new Kidani Village building and it was NOISY. Lots of bull dozer noise and traffic noise from the construction. They were working on the roofs most of the time and that wasn't too bad, but it was very noisy out there.

All in all, we pretty much wasted our points staying with a Savannah View. We had a great trip last year with a view on the Uzima Savannah, but this year we were very disappointed.


So were we & we had used weekend points:mad: