View Full Version : Can't decide, AKL vs WL
I keep tossing back and forth. I've researched links regarding both the AKL and WL (also BC/YC). All of them sound great.
The WL, visually looks quite beautiful, in fact the views of the lake in the background is just how I would imagine a National Park to look.
DS is 10, and MK isn't where we spend most of our time. Does it make sense to stay there then? And since WL is closer to MK, I assume transportation to MK is quite good, but what about to other areas, EPCOT, MGM, BB, DD, AK?
As far as AKL, the rate is slightly higher than WL (with new fall codes) and it seems to be a little farther away from everything. It too looks beautiful, and the upside is that's it's newer (hence probably cleaner and fresher). What did you find to be the major pluses that convinced you this what the best resort. I have read on this board that the restaurants are quite good at AKL, is it the exotic variety, or the quality, the value, ...?
For those of you who have stayed at other on-site locations, which others might you choose over AKL, (keep in mind, I have a limit, can't spend 6 nites at GF) or if you have stayed at AKL previously, would you stay there again or opt for some other?
What room view did you have? If it was of the savannah, what made that so special every day. I live in an area with a world class zoo that simulates the native habitat, how is the savannah any different than going to a zoo and seeing giraffes and antelope? Sorry, if I just don't get it, just need convincing.
Personally, when I look at WL and AKL, essentially I see the same resort, other than one is a National Park in the US and the other is a National Park in Kenya. So other than looks, what are the special features of AKL. I know I've rambled, but that is an indication of my struggle with which resort to choose, maybe I should just split 3 nites at each.
Another question I have, is in regards to transportation. Do I use Disney's or do I rent a vehicle? If you had your own, did you find you used that quite a bit? Obviously, one has a limited vacation budget, and my question is, do I spend the $100 plus for a weekly rental or am I better served using Disney's transportation and spending the $100 on some other aspects
of our stay?
Is the transportation efficient (time wise that is) in getting you to the various parks, including DD, the Boardwalk, and mini-golf (DS wants to do this)? I've used Disney's in the past, and I found it quite efficient, however, I had no other choice, and used it primarily from resort to Parks.
Any thoughts on this, thanks for your help.
Like I said, I keep going back and forth on this, AKL vs. WL issue. I need to be sold on AKL, help.
06-18-2002, 02:01 PM
There is a huge difference between AKL and a zoo. First, at AKL, you get to see the animals interact at all times of the day. You can sit on your balcony and watch them eat and play. It is amazing.
Also, at AKL, they have a bunch of African safari guides in the lobby and on the Rock at all times. They are extremely knowlegable and great to talk with. Also great for entertaining the kids.
The food at AKL is stellar. It definitely has an African twist, but there is enough "normal" food for the picky eaters.
The pool at AKL is huge!
Only drawback with AKL is that it is far away from the MK (10 min bus ride). We used Disney transportation, and found it a hastle to get to the character meals (no hotel to hotel buses).
06-18-2002, 02:55 PM
While ColdWaterConch makes some valid points, keep in mind that animal watching during the day may end up consisting of watching them sleep in the shade. Don't expect animals to come close to your balcony/windows. There's fencing to keep them fairly far away from you.
Having said that, AKL could be a fun experience. On the other hand...
My recommendation would be WL. The lobby is awesome, the pools are great (the main pool is fed by a bubbling stream that starts in the lobby!). There is great recreation opportunities at WL (of course there are at AKL, too, but I'm a WL fan, ok?). Check out the geyser at WL. Boat transport to MK is a great way to get there. Bus transportation is great.
At WL you are in the middle of Disney, but at the same time it's like you are 1,000 miles away. The theming, decor, restaurants, counter service, tours, etc. all add up to a fantastic place to stay.
06-18-2002, 03:39 PM
WL vs. AKL IMHO - assuming a Savannah view room.
Rooms and CMs are a wash.
* The rooms are virtually identical unless you are staying in a deluxe room.
* Both have excellent CMs - as good as they come.
Transportation is a wash.
* WL is a quick boat to the MK, modest length bus to everything else except AK which is a long bus ride.
* AKL is a quick bus to the AK, modest length bus ride to everything else except MK which is a long bus ride.
Theming/Amenities is a nod to the AKL.
* Both resorts are fantastically themed. The detail is quite remarkable.
* The AKL pool is better than the WL pool, but the WL has a Geyser!
* I give the nod to the AKL because of the animals. Both resorts have impressive grounds and they both have impressive interiors.
Dining is a nod to AKL.
* Artists Point and The Jiko are excellent. The Mara and Roaring Forks are fine.
* I give the nod to the AKL because The Boma is in my top 5 list of restaurants I've eaten at from Tokyo to Berlin. Whispering Canyon is just not in the running. The food at The Boma was both exotic and normal, the cost was slightly higher than your typical Disney buffet but I felt it was well worth it.
You can go to my trip report website below to see some of what we saw from our balcony at AKL. If you are on the 2nd floor (the lowest floor) you can get pretty close to the critters.
On the other hand from our balcony at the WL a couple of years ago we were able to catch sight of the MK and watch the fireworks!
You won't go wrong either way - really.
I am going to go a whole different direction and suggest an Epcot resort. Either YC, BC or the brand new BCV will give you use of Stormalong Bay which is the BEST pool on property. Your son is the perfect age to really enjoy this pool. The Epcot resorts are in a fantastic location especially if MK will not be the park you will spend the most amount of time at. Epcot and MGM are a short walk or boat ride from the epcot resorts and most preteens and teens like Epcot for Innoventions & TT and MGM for RnRC and TOT There are many great restaurants within walking distance and the boardwalk provides very nice nighttime entertainment that you son would also enjoy: jugglers, magicians, midway games, etc.
We were huge WL fans, until we stayed at the AKL this past April. It seems that Disney has taken all the great things about WL, and fixed the not so great things in the AKL. I still love WL, but do think that the AKL has a slight advantage.
The restaurant choices are much better at AKL. I never liked Roaring Forks or Whispering Canyon, so when spending the afternoon at the resort, I was always at a loss for something decent to eat. At AKL, Mara offered enough good choices for a decent breakfast or lunch.
The transportation was excellent at AKL, the buses were always available and took us directly to our destination. You won't need a car. WL transportation is good to MK, but the buses to other destinations are not direct as they are from AKL.
The pool at both resorts is good, the advantage for me at WL was the quiet pool at the villas.
They are both fantastic resorts, and I don't think you will be disappointed in either, but I do think the AKL is extra special, especially when you wake up and see giraffes outside your window while sipping your morning coffee.
06-19-2002, 08:15 AM
We were also HUGE WL fans until we stayed at AKL! LOL...I actually love both of them for different reasons...
WL has the warmest pool I have ever been in! It is like bath water and I really liked that! Also their kiddie pool is bigger than AKL, which for us is a plus since we have small children! Also, I like the pool at WL with the little brook that flows into the pool, that is really neat!
When we stayed last month at WL, we had room 4013, which is a courtyard view of the pool and lake...it was awesome!! It was this picture perfect view in my opinion and we had a wonderful housekeeper to boot! LOL I also prefer the WL's Roaring Forks to AKL's Mara...
As for AKL, I really like the pool here as well, but not as much...the one thing I do like though is that they have Zero Depth Entry, which was great for the kids, but the kiddie pool here is much smaller!
As for our room, I loved it!! I don't know why I keep thinking the room was bigger than the one at WL, because I know it isn't, but it just felt that way to me! Also, we had a Savannah view, which was great for the kids...they loved going out on the balcony to see what animals were there!! We had a family of pelicans outside our balcony the entire time! LOL
As far as transportation goes, I feel they are both the same...They both have a walk to the actual bus stop and at both resorts, we did encounter some delays, but nothing major!
Have a great time!! :)
06-19-2002, 09:44 AM
My vote goes to AKL. I have not stayed at WL, but have visited. Honestly, it is not a resort I personally plan to stay at either. While I agree it is beautiful and has a great location, if I am lucky enough to go that far south on my vacation, I want palm trees and reminders of a warm climate, not the cold climates! That's JMHO.:cool:
Having said that, AKL is absolutely incredible! The entire experience has been considered here. The music, the decor, the smells - everything in that lobby area justs transports you to Africa. You truly feel like you're in another world. The food is wonderful, the pool is really nice. Zero depth entry, nice slide. 2 jacuzzis, one somewhat secluded. Storytelling around the fire pit every night is very enjoyable, we had a lot of laughs one night. Just walking around, exploring is a very enjoyable evening.
Would we stay there again? Probably not for the entire 7 nights. I don't at all regret staying there for the entire stay this past time. But on future visits, I forsee us splitting our stay - 4 nights one place, 3 nights AKL. The reason? Location. It is somewhat far removed from some areas of WDW. There were several occasions when we went back to the resort to go to pool, etc and then just didn't feel like doing another long bus ride to go to another park. (Which in some ways was nice too - it was a much more low key visit to WDW than in the past.) If you stay at AKL for the whole time and plan to go to other resorts for meals, go to DD or minigolf, then I recommend the car rental. It made going to these places much easier. We never took the car to any parks or water parks.
Whatever you decide, it will be great. After all, you're going to Disney!:)
06-19-2002, 01:16 PM
I forgot to mention the smell at AKL. The whole place smells good - like the Boma. You walk into the AKL and just get hungry.
06-19-2002, 03:03 PM
my vote is WL!
AKL is wonderful but its far from everything,the food court is close to no one,the rooms are small and dark,there isnt enough draw space for 4 people(i had to live out my suitcase...there is only 3 drawers) and you cant control the AC in your room...we had to sleep with the door open everynite and it was still hot
but seeing animals out the window is amazing!! and I love the lobby!
WL is beautiful! i just love it there! the lobby is grand!!
i have an idea!!! stay half the time at WL and half at AKL! that way you dont have to decide!
Thanks, I've thought of the half and half as well, but will probably split with CBR, budget constraints you know. And while we've never been to CBR (have been to POR & POFQ) it looks as though it is quite nice as well.
As moderates go, any thoughts on CBR?
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