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View Full Version : AKL, is it worth it?


DreamnDisney
02-24-2010, 01:53 PM
Can anyone tell me what they love/hate about AKL? I am considering upgrading from my current ressie at CSR. My bf and I will be traveling 6/3-6/10 with no children. Is it worth the extra money? How is the bus service? Is it very convenient having everything in one building and not having to walk from your room outside to a main building that is further away?

I'm very thankful for everyone's input...good or bad! :thumbsup2

johnsonet
02-24-2010, 02:08 PM
Hi there. I used to stay only at the GF. In 2003 I stayed at AKL for the first time and it truly did steal my heart. It also got me "into" trying other resorts. We've gone on to stay at WL, Poly, BWI and BC. AKL is my favorite :wizard:

Some people love AKL and some, although I will never understand this, hate it. I would look at photos, read some trip reports by people who have stayed there and really, really consider upgrading :thumbsup2

The music they play, both in the lobby and out by the gorgeous pool is one of my favorite features :cloud9: The restaurants are really good, although Boma tends to get PACKED. Jiko is my favorite restaurant at WDW.

The firepits (one indoor, one outdoor) add to the ambiance, as does the multitude of animals all around the property. Lastly, the cultural representatives who are out on the savannah overlooks and around the resort are wonderful to talk with and learn from :)

AKL is very unique and very special. My guess is you would LOVE it :love:

DreamnDisney
02-24-2010, 02:13 PM
Hi there. I used to stay only at the GF. In 2003 I stayed at AKL for the first time and it truly did steal my heart. It also got me "into" trying other resorts. We've gone on to stay at WL, Poly, BWI and BC. AKL is my favorite :wizard:

Some people love AKL and some, although I will never understand this, hate it. I would look at photos, read some trip reports by people who have stayed there and really, really consider upgrading :thumbsup2

The music they play, both in the lobby and out by the gorgeous pool is one of my favorite features :cloud9: The restaurants are really good, although Boma tends to get PACKED. Jiko is my favorite restaurant at WDW.

The firepits (one indoor, one outdoor) add to the ambiance, as does the multitude of animals all around the property. Lastly, the cultural representatives who are out on the savannah overlooks and around the resort are wonderful to talk with and learn from :)

AKL is very unique and very special. My guess is you would LOVE it :love:


Thanks for your opinion! I visited Boma on my last trip and I thought the Resort looked beautiful! :lovestruc

KELLY
02-24-2010, 02:28 PM
We are trying to make the same decsion. It is 1000.00 more for the 8 nights and just want to make sure we choose the right deluxe.

DreamnDisney
02-24-2010, 02:41 PM
We are trying to make the same decsion. It is 1000.00 more for the 8 nights and just want to make sure we choose the right deluxe.

It is a big decision. At first My bf and I booked AsMu, he believes why pay more for a hotel that you are never going to be in until you are sleeping but I think different. Basically if I want to upgrade I am going to be paying the difference to upgrade becuz he could care less where we stay lol. I really want a more adult feel that a deluxe can provide vs. a value! :confused3

robinb
02-24-2010, 02:56 PM
I have stayed at Animal Kingdom many times and we even bought into DVC at Animal Kingdom Villas. We love it there. That being said, it may not be "worth it" for you.

Do you plan on spending a lot of time at the resort? The animals are great but you need to leave time to enjoy them. We enjoy sitting on the balcony and sipping coffee in the morning and an adult beverage in the afternoon/evening. It's a great way to relax or start your day. If you can't afford a savanna view, I would skip it.

I think between the pools, the one at CSR gets my not. The pool is more interesting and it has a better slide. AKL's pool is very nice too, but I am not sure that it is better than the one at CSR. One advantage to the AKL pool is that it is zero-entry, but that doesn't mater without children. I do like the hot tubs there ... they are set back and secluded while the main one at CSR is quite large.

If you are planning to be on the DDP, I think that CSR also wins. I adore the Pepper Market. No where else can you get a steak or grilled tuna dinner with sides for the "price" of a CS credit. The Mara at AKL is just standard "snack shop" food.

CSR wins on bus service. With many stops in the resort you are never too far from a bus stop. Also, I think that CSR is the most centrally located resort in all of WDW. It's a very quick drive to any of the parks. AKL's bus service isn't bad ... it just takes longer to get to anywhere (except AK, of course) once you are on the bus. There is also only one bus stop.

Everything is not convenient being in the same building over at AKV. Some of the rooms with the best views are a long way from the lobby. If you're on the Kudu trail you are also a really long way from the pool and restaurants. I feel that I walked more to get to/from my room at AKV than I did at CSR. We made jokes about going on a safari trek just to get back to our room. There is walking at CSR too, but CSR also provides a little shuttle that runs on the inside sidewalk loop to take you to the main area and the pool. So, I think it's probably a wash between the two resorts.


I guess if you adore animals and have the time to relax and enjoy the resort and what it has to offer then AKL is for you. If you are more like Disney Commandos who are at the parks at rope drop and there until the park closes, I would save your money and stick with CSR.

DreamnDisney
02-24-2010, 03:07 PM
I have stayed at Animal Kingdom many times and we even bought into DVC at Animal Kingdom Villas. We love it there. That being said, it may not be "worth it" for you.

Do you plan on spending a lot of time at the resort? The animals are great but you need to leave time to enjoy them. We enjoy sitting on the balcony and sipping coffee in the morning and an adult beverage in the afternoon/evening. It's a great way to relax or start your day. If you can't afford a savanna view, I would skip it.

I think between the pools, the one at CSR gets my not. The pool is more interesting and it has a better slide. AKL's pool is very nice too, but I am not sure that it is better than the one at CSR. One advantage to the AKL pool is that it is zero-entry, but that doesn't mater without children. I do like the hot tubs there ... they are set back and secluded while the main one at CSR is quite large.

If you are planning to be on the DDP, I think that CSR also wins. I adore the Pepper Market. No where else can you get a steak or grilled tuna dinner with sides for the "price" of a CS credit. The Mara at AKL is just standard "snack shop" food.

CSR wins on bus service. With many stops in the resort you are never too far from a bus stop. Also, I think that CSR is the most centrally located resort in all of WDW. It's a very quick drive to any of the parks. AKL's bus service isn't bad ... it just takes longer to get to anywhere (except AK, of course) once you are on the bus. There is also only one bus stop.

Everything is not convenient being in the same building over at AKV. Some of the rooms with the best views are a long way from the lobby. If you're on the Kudu trail you are also a really long way from the pool and restaurants. I feel that I walked more to get to/from my room at AKV than I did at CSR. We made jokes about going on a safari trek just to get back to our room. There is walking at CSR too, but CSR also provides a little shuttle that runs on the inside sidewalk loop to take you to the main area and the pool. So, I think it's probably a wash between the two resorts.


I guess if you adore animals and have the time to relax and enjoy the resort and what it has to offer then AKL is for you. If you are more like Disney Commandos who are at the parks at rope drop and there until the park closes, I would save your money and stick with CSR.

This a great comparison, thanks!!! I have heard so much negative things about CSR!! I'm about to just stick to AsMu lol..at least I will know what to expect! :rolleyes1

robinb
02-24-2010, 03:11 PM
This a great comparison, thanks!!! I have heard so much negative things about CSR!! I'm about to just stick to AsMu lol..at least I will know what to expect! :rolleyes1I had a great stay at CSR :). If you go with a value resort I would book Pop Century. I like it the best of all the values.

DreamnDisney
02-24-2010, 03:20 PM
I had a great stay at CSR :). If you go with a value resort I would book Pop Century. I like it the best of all the values.

We stayed at POP June 08, it was great! Wanted to try something different..maybe we'll end up back there!

blanq
02-24-2010, 03:38 PM
Can anyone tell me what they love/hate about AKL? I am considering upgrading from my current ressie at CSR. My bf and I will be traveling 6/3-6/10 with no children. Is it worth the extra money? How is the bus service? Is it very convenient having everything in one building and not having to walk from your room outside to a main building that is further away?

I'm very thankful for everyone's input...good or bad! :thumbsup2

I have stayed at AKL 2x and CSR 1x. In fact our most recent trip, a year ago, was a 10 day stay at CSR. I much prefer AKL to CSR. Yes, it is VERY convenient to have a resort with interior hallways that connect to all parts of the resort. Let me tell you that filling up a resort mug at AKL is way more convenient than at CSR. Yes, I think it is worth the extra money to stay at AKL. I think the bus service is equally good at both resorts, as both have dedicated bus transportation, but I have not stayed at AKL since Kidani Village (AKV)opened, and that may have an impact on transportation (don't know). Jiko and Boma are amazing. I personally HATE the Pepper Market. I like the theming of AKL over the theming of CSR. I mean, where else can you step out onto to your balcony (or outside) and see amazing African animals except for maybe Africa?

DreamnDisney
02-24-2010, 04:12 PM
I have stayed at AKL 2x and CSR 1x. In fact our most recent trip, a year ago, was a 10 day stay at CSR. I much prefer AKL to CSR. Yes, it is VERY convenient to have a resort with interior hallways that connect to all parts of the resort. Let me tell you that filling up a resort mug at AKL is way more convenient than at CSR. Yes, I think it is worth the extra money to stay at AKL. I think the bus service is equally good at both resorts, as both have dedicated bus transportation, but I have not stayed at AKL since Kidani Village (AKV)opened, and that may have an impact on transportation (don't know). Jiko and Boma are amazing. I personally HATE the Pepper Market. I like the theming of AKL over the theming of CSR. I mean, where else can you step out onto to your balcony (or outside) and see amazing African animals except for maybe Africa?

Those are all very valid points, I appreciate hearing the good and the bad, thanks for your view! The negative remarks about CSR are ones I have been hearing over and over! I understand "to each their own" but hearing people's opinions really help!!

ears2u
02-24-2010, 06:26 PM
But, there are definitely both good and bad points to AKL.

The bus service is much, MUCH worse now that they have opened Kidani Village. You must go there BOTH WAYS. It added at least 10 minutes per trip.

The restaurants are terrific. Especially if you, and everyone in your party are slightly adventurous eaters. The meat and potato types MAY have some concerns. They will be fine if they will try the African themed offerings; but if they will not, it is a definite issue.

The rooms are beautifully themed, although they are not very large. If you take the almost certain "upgrade " to a Savannah-view room, you will be walking at least a quarter mile more each way, every day. It is fine talking about it now, not so much when you're coming back from a full day at the parks.

The pool is cool.

Only you can decide what is most important to you. I definitely think you should try it once unless this is your "once in a lifetime" visit.

Have BIG fun!!!

rance
02-24-2010, 06:34 PM
I stayed at csr last year and hear are my 2 cents...if you have kids I would try AKL, if not the new rooms at csr are nice. The reason I mentioned the kids is because of the pool wasn't great for young kids at csr, but would be great for just adults.
Also no balconies in the rooms at CSR...so when the kids were napping I was trapped :) in the room while the florida sun beckoned.
Also the resort is huge so when we wanted to walk to pepper mill restaurant it was about a 20 min. walk carrying a 4 year old half way.

So I would say if it is 2 adults and you are doing a lot of parks stay at CSR and save your money, if you have kids do AKL.
either way it's a win win.

photographymom517
02-24-2010, 07:35 PM
Hi! I read the other reviews and there are points I agree on & disagree on. The only thing I've read that I disagree on is where someone said if you upgrade to a Savanna-view room, you have to walk an extra mile to get everywhere. We upgraded to a Savanna-view room and stayed during "busy season" and we were right on the first floor. We literally walked from the lobby, down one small hallway (it was up a slight ramp) and to the right...and we were at our room! It was nice because I was able to go to the gift shop, mail postcards, ask questions at the front desk, talk to the photo people, get something to eat, or look at the animals while my son was napping or while my husband was watching him in our room. I don't know if you are able to request rooms, but we were in #3463 if that helps. Maybe you could ask to be in that hallway if you do upgrade to a Savanna-view room. I will try to post some pics on here as well, but I think I have to have over 70 or 100 posts on DIS before it will let me. If you want, I could email you some pics...let me know. Our view was amazing!!! It was nice because I would watch the animals while everyone got ready for the day...I watched the CM's feed the giraffes their breakfast! I also would go out around sunset & watch them after we got back from the parks. If you cannot afford to upgrade to a Savanna-view room, there are plenty of places to sit & enjoy the animals! (we got an awesome deal & booked almost last-minute or else we wouldn't have upgraded either because of the higher expense). They have a lot of "outdoor rooms" with these huge wooden rocking chairs where you can sit & watch them. The guides are also very, very helpful & can tell you tons of info from their country & about the animals! If I stayed at AKL again, I would definitely get a savanna-view room again...I can't imagine staying there & not being able to look out whenever I wanted to. Although, I do agree...if you are a person who goes to the parks as soon as they open & stay until they close, I wouldn't spend the extra money. The reason we did was because my son was 10 months old & needed naps. So when we went back to the hotel, my husband would watch tv, my son napped, and I would sit on the balcony & watch the animals. I spent a lot of time out there so it was completely worth it for us!

I actually wrote a review on "trip advisor" and recommend that you go to their site & read reviews. I tried to put the link to my page on here but it won't let me, so I'm just going to copy & paste my review...I apologize ahead of time for the length of it!

We brought our 10 month old son for his first vacation. I was nervous about planning a trip with an infant & didn't want to have to worry about little details. If you have any questions, I would encourage calling the 1-800 number on Disney's website. Their customer service people are very helpful & can answer minor or major questions/concerns you might have.

Because of needing a large amount of supplies for an infant (i.e. diapers, snackcups, bottles, baby spoons, snacks, babyfood, etc.) I shipped a package to myself at the hotel. I would HIGHLY recommend doing this if you have a child OR just if you have too much to take in your suitcase! Its very simple to do if you are staying on Disney Property. You simply ship the box to yourself...with your name, Disney reservation number, & hotel address on it. Ship it so it arrives no earlier than 2-3 days prior to your visit. This process is wonderful! The disney cast member will "link" the box to your reservation in their computer system...so whenever you arrive, you don't even have to ask about your box! They will retrieve your reservation & get your box immediately! It was so convenient! As I said, this is good even if you don't have kids...simply mail yourself clothing, shoes, whatever won't fit in your suitcase! You can ship yourself a Large Flat Rate box for around $13.95 (up to 70 pounds) and this is much cheaper than the cost for an extra suitcase with the airlines! (just an extra tip!)

Upon arrival, they also gave us a button that said "First Visit" for my son. He was a little young, but still loved the fact that he was given something while the cast member spoke to us about our room. The check-in process was very quick (I also recommend check-in on the Disney website if you book through Disney...you can do it up to 10 days before you leave & it makes the process much quicker/smoother!)

Before saying anything about our room, I must comment on the huge lobby...it was beautiful!!! It is decorated with an African culture theme & has huge windows to see outside. Its absolutely beautiful! There is a gift shop onsite with Disney items (like stuffed animals, keychains, mugs/glasses, photoalbums, shirts, etc) as well as Animal Kingdom items & African culture items. Its a very nice store with a wide variety of items. In addition, I was surprised at the large variety of "convenience store" items you could get. One evening, we needed a bunch of things & I was planning to run to the giftshop...I made the comment to my husband "If they have it." I didn't think they would have the items I needed...I was afraid I'd have to run to Walmart or Target. Well they had everything I was looking for. They have toothpaste, shampoo, pretzels/chips, some first aid items, a freezer with icecream...just to give you some examples. Over the course of my trip, I spent close to $250 at the giftshop at the Lodge & I watch money carefully (I am not a spender!)

The rooms are very spacious. I don't know why others have complained about room space. Keep in mind, I had an infant who was crawling & starting to walk...he needed lots of space. I had no complaints...there was a closet with enough room to hang all of our stuff. I didn't have enough hangers though for all 3 of us but we just put our extra tops in the drawers. I had more than enough space in the 2 large drawers in the armoire...one for our clothes & one for my son's diapers, shoes, & toys/books that we brought along. We had a King-size bed, a couch, a small refrigerator, coffee maker, a small table with 2 chairs, and a private balcony. The vanity area has double sinks & the bathroom is separate from this area...I liked this a lot, it made getting ready in the morning a lot easier. The shower was huge & the bathroom had a door for privacy. I would suggest upgrading your room to the "savanna view" so that you are able to watch the animals. Its not a necessity but it makes your trip a lot more enjoyable! My son & I spent many mornings & evenings on the balcony watching the animals. (hint: the animals are out more in the morning than evening...I think it is easier to see the animals from the viewing areas in the evenings) If you are planning to spend 10+ hours in the parks, I wouldn't suggest the "savana view" because you could spend that extra money on food, souvenirs, or another park ticket! There are many areas throughout the resort where you are able to sit in wooden rocking chairs & watch the animals. There are cast members (most from Africa) who are extremely knowledgeable & can tell you tons of information about the animals & culture! This was a great part of the trip! There is also a large viewing area outdoors, a playground, weightroom, arcade, and pool. Unfortunately because of my son's age, we weren't able to use the weightroom, arcade, or pool as much as we would've liked. The pool does have a nice wading area for small babies/toddlers. I took my son there one evening & he enjoyed it (it was the 2nd time he was in a pool) and I noticed the kids & how much fun they were having. So, even if you have very young kids, they will still be able to enjoy the pool area! One tip -- don't bring towels to the pool. There are areas (they look like large garbage cans) that have towels for you to use at the pool & an area to put them in when you are done. Very convenient!

The eating areas -- AKL has 3 of these. Two are restaurants (I believe the one only serves dinner) -- they are the Boma & the Jiko. Unfortunately we did not go to either because you had to have reservations ahead of time (I think because of "busy season" when we were there). The one night, we went down & asked how long the wait would be & they said 45 minutes to 1 hour. It was nice because they give you a "button" to take to your room & it will light up & vibrate when they have a table ready for you. Unfortunately, my son fell asleep back in our room & since we didn't want to wake him, we cancelled with the restaurant. I have heard wonderful things about both restaurants & know people from other resorts who HAVE to go to the Boma every visit to Orlando! We primarily ate at the parks or at the Mara (the quick-service restaurant). I feel that they had a large variety of items (burgers, pizza, fried shrimp, soups, etc.) as well as three coolers full of snacks & side items. I would recommend getting the "Disney souvenir mug" with unlimited refills...HUGE savings! I believe it costs $14-15 and you will spend this your first day on property. In the coolers, they have different fruits, carrots, cakes, yogurt, tons of options as well as drinks. I would say however that its pricey...if you have a rental car, go to the local Walmart or Super Target & stock your refrigerator with snacks & drinks. They have a large seating area indoors as well as a few tables outdoors. Its nice to sit in the airconditioning after being outside at the parks, but its also nice to sit outdoors & enjoy the plants/scenery. There are stairs & elevators to get around the hotel & to the eating areas.

I also recommend if you do not need a rental car, use the Disney Magical Express for yourself & your luggage. It is a simple process...at the airport, you go to a specially designated counter...its huge, you can't miss it! One person goes to the counter while the rest of your party waits on large couches/chairs. You check-in & it takes less than 5 minutes (even with a long line). You then go to another line & immediately get onto a bus which will take you to your hotel. We were the last stop & were there within 30 minutes...I thought it was pretty quick & loved not having to drive through Orlando traffic. You also get to see other resorts along the way. There are tvs on the bus for small children & adults to watch & learn about Disney. The day before you leave, the resort places a note on your door that says when the bus will arrive to pick you up. You simply take your luggage downstairs, check in with a cast member (who takes your luggage), and then head outside to wait for your bus. It takes you directly to the airport & you don't see your luggage again until you arrive at your home airport! Its very convenient & its one less thing you have to worry about.

We also used the Disney shuttles to get to the parks. Make sure to ask when you check-in for a bus schedule. The buses arrive every 15-20 minutes (we never had to wait for a bus) but the schedule will tell you how to get around. For example, how to get to Downtown Disney via the bus route.

I also advise reserving meals ahead of time that are a MUST to your trip, especially Character Dining. You can do it on the Disney website or through their customer service number.

I apologize for the length of this review...but I wanted to make sure to get all of my information in! I came home & said "Oh, I wish someone would have told me that before I went" at least a million times! So I didn't want to leave anything out. My main advice...if you don't know something, ask a Cast Member. They are all knowledgeable & can assist with any question you might have. If they don't know, they will find out...very nice people at all resorts & parks!

chocovrdmicears
02-24-2010, 07:47 PM
We have stayed at POP, ASMovies, POFQ, CSR, Poly and AKL.

CSR was our least favorite. The room (this was before they rehabed all the rooms) was not great. We didn't love the theming, and it wasn't the cleanest we have ever been in. Mousekeeping was not that great..we didn't love the Pepper Market (too difficult to coordinate with little ones and trying to all eat at the same time!)...and the toughest thing for us...the size of the resort. It was just waaaay to big for us with little ones. We used the bus system and we spent the most time on buses that trip. We got to and from the parks ok...but by the time we entered the gate at CSR it was often times another 20 minutes before we got to our bus stop. And the walk to the food court was a 20 minute round trip...sort of hard to get up the strength to do when you get home from walking a bazillion miles in the park and you just *need* a diet coke. We also just didn't love the theming. It just wasn't for us. :sad2:

AKL - We LOVED everything about it. We had a pool view room and it was fabulous. Very clean and Mousekeeping was excellent. The location of the room was very convienent...close to the main lobby, food court and of course the pool;). The bus system was excellent (but this was before Kidani Village opened) ...we never waited more than 10 minutes for a bus going to or coming from a park (in Sept). The food court was excellent...very clean..lots of choices. We LOVED the gift shop in the resort. The pool was amazing...like an oasis from the parks!:cloud9:. There we lots of fun activities for our kids and the animal view stations were amazing...LOVED the night vision :cool2: goggles to watch the animals at night...AKL is such an amazingly beautiful resort. When we walked into the lobby for the first time, it took our breath away! And the rest of our stay was just as amazing...
:)

DreamnDisney
02-24-2010, 08:05 PM
Everyone that has given me their opinion so far, thank you very much!! I have received a lot of very valuable information from all of you!

photographymom517- thanks for taking the time to write that extensive review, it will really help me make my decision!!!

VictoriaFL84
02-24-2010, 08:07 PM
It's definitely worth it! By far my favorite resort. The rooms are great, the animals can't be beat and it's the best theming by far imo

SkinsFan76
02-24-2010, 08:17 PM
We loved AKL, but we also spent most of our time at the Resort vs. the parks. When we were more park heavy we enjoyed the moderate/value resorts. If you are taking plenty of time and enjoying days off at the resort, then you get the real value of the deluxe resorts.

aubriee
02-25-2010, 05:32 AM
I have stayed at both AKL and CSR. In fact, I have stayed at CSR twice since the refurb and once before the refurb. I love both resorts and in fact am presently considering doing a split stay-- changing my current May ressie from 8 nights at CSR to four nights at CSR and four at AKL in a pool view room. Again I love both resorts. I'm not sure what bad reports you've read about CSR but I loved it there this past Sept/Oct and again this past Dec. In fact, I'm definitly spending part of my May trip there and will be back in Dec. I go to WDW several times a year and usually don't go to the same resort for back to back trips, but CSR has caused me to change that policy this past year.

As Robin said CSR is probably the most centrally located resort, they have the best bus service of any WDW I've ever stayed at, the rooms are recently refurbished and have very comfortable queen size beds, and I love the lovely fountains in the Casita section and the white sand beaches and hammocks in the Cabana section. I like how you can get your mug refilled at either the Pepper Market, Cafe Rix, or the main pool bar. I also like how they have a grill at the main pool that serves food, saving a trip over to the main building.

AKL is beautiful and we love both Boma, Jiko, and Sanaa. We feel CSR has a much better food court though. Many savanna view rooms at AKL are a LONG way from the lobby. I know ours was. The bus service at AKL also gets really bad reviews (especially since Kidani Village opened last year). It may have changed but housekeeping also wasn't the greatest when we were there, whereas I've always had a clean room at CSR. Again I love both resorts for different reasons and am probably going to be doing a split stay between the two for my upcoming May trip.

DreamnDisney
02-25-2010, 07:22 AM
I have stayed at both AKL and CSR. In fact, I have stayed at CSR twice since the refurb and once before the refurb. I love both resorts and in fact am presently considering doing a split stay-- changing my current May ressie from 8 nights at CSR to four nights at CSR and four at AKL in a pool view room. Again I love both resorts. I'm not sure what bad reports you've read about CSR but I loved it there this past Sept/Oct and again this past Dec. In fact, I'm definitly spending part of my May trip there and will be back in Dec. I go to WDW several times a year and usually don't go to the same resort for back to back trips, but CSR has caused me to change that policy this past year.

As Robin said CSR is probably the most centrally located resort, they have the best bus service of any WDW I've ever stayed at, the rooms are recently refurbished and have very comfortable queen size beds, and I love the lovely fountains in the Casita section and the white sand beaches and hammocks in the Cabana section. I like how you can get your mug refilled at either the Pepper Market, Cafe Rix, or the main pool bar. I also like how they have a grill at the main pool that serves food, saving a trip over to the main building.

AKL is beautiful and we love both Boma, Jiko, and Sanaa. We feel CSR has a much better food court though. Many savanna view rooms at AKL are a LONG way from the lobby. I know ours was. The bus service at AKL also gets really bad reviews (especially since Kidani Village opened last year). It may have changed but housekeeping also wasn't the greatest when we were there, whereas I've always had a clean room at CSR. Again I love both resorts for different reasons and am probably going to be doing a split stay between the two for my upcoming May trip.


Thanks for your opinion! Was there any conventions going on while you were at CSR? I've heard a lot of complaints about CSR not feeling like a "vacation" when there is people in business suits and smoking everyone around the resort. I've heard many bad reviews of Pepper Market also. I know everyone is going to have their likes and dislikes..so I am going to take everything into consideration!

robinb
02-25-2010, 08:21 AM
Thanks for your opinion! Was there any conventions going on while you were at CSR? I've heard a lot of complaints about CSR not feeling like a "vacation" when there is people in business suits and smoking everyone around the resort. I've heard many bad reviews of Pepper Market also. I know everyone is going to have their likes and dislikes..so I am going to take everything into consideration!There are conventioneers at CSR. However, that kind of thing doesn't bother me a bit. I am there doing my own thing and you gotta know that they are jealous ;).

I also really LIKE the Pepper Market. We have eaten there over a dozen times. We were there a bunch of times under the old voucher program and then every since time we have the DDP. We think it has really good food for a great CS credit value. If you're NOT on the DDP it is too expensive. The upside of the PM is that you can get real food for the CS credit and not just burgers and fries. I'm talking about a FULL steak dinner or a grilled tuna steak with sides. They also have a Mexican station, a Chinese station and they have (IMO) the best pizza on Disney property. If you still want burgers and fries, they have that too. The downside (if you can call it that) is that just about everything is made fresh for you when you order it. So, it's not quick (like a value food court where everything is pre-made) and if you split up to different food stations you will receive your food at different times. The other thing that seems to honk people off is the added 10% gratuity because someone seats you and takes your drink order. That has never bothered me :confused3 and I like someone delivering my margarita.

scottmel
02-25-2010, 08:22 AM
I am one of those people that VIEW is so important to on vacation. I stress over the view. That being said, I did a split stay at BWI and AKL last summer.

I left the lush garden pool view of BWI and got the outstanding view at AKL SV - which was something off a battlefield. I mean it is the BEST view you can get at AK but it was just so opposite of BWI.I wouldn't have wanted to look at that view for a week. Animals, but dirt ground, barren, - just not ME.

That being said, DD loved it b/c of the animals so this summer I relented and am doing YC 5 nights with AKL 2 nights. I wouldn't stay here without kids - that is my opinion - rooms are smaller....bus for EVERYWHERE you go...We rent a car so we don't have the issue but I have heard from others AKL bus service not so hot. But if you are a TRUE animal lover and love the idea of spending a week in a zoo, this could be IDEAL for you. It was for DD~~~~~

lustergirl
02-25-2010, 09:08 AM
Good Luck! I have stayed at CSR and the place is absolutely beautiful but it is my dream to stay at AKL.

DreamnDisney
02-25-2010, 09:10 AM
Good Luck! I have stayed at CSR and the place is absolutely beautiful but it is my dream to stay at AKL.

Thanks, I am just soooooo bad at making decisions. From clothes to hotels lol! :rotfl:

sjs314
02-25-2010, 09:26 AM
I have stayed at both CSR and AKL, I enjoyed CSR it is a nice resort to walk around especially the lake at nite and I found the restaurant convient since you did not need ADR's, that all being said I missed not having a balconey to go out onto and relax. AKL I feel is worth the extra money because of the extras.....balconeys, ts restuarant (Boma which has a wonderful breakfast buffet), staying there is like being in another world, in fact I like AKL so much we are returning there this coming November for our vacation.

dacky041208
02-25-2010, 09:40 AM
I've been at both CSR and AKL. Honestly, I like AKL better, but not by a landslide. We stayed at AKL last summer because of the 4/3 deal. It's a beautiful resort, even if you don't have a savannah view, there are plenty of areas for you to look out at the animals. If the price isn't much more, I would definitely splurge for AKL. We don't need to stay there again anytime soon, but we were really glad we tried it.

LeahA
02-25-2010, 10:00 AM
We love AKL. We becames DVC members 2 years ago. We stayed there our first time last year at Jambo House. Jambo House has a big beautiful lobby, take time to look at all the African Art they have throughout the lobby. The cultural representatives were wonderful. The firepit for storytelling was great for all ages. The animals are fun to look at, but, for me not the highlight of the trip.
Although some feel the resort is far away from everything, that is what I like. I know I'm at Disney, we are in the parks all day, I love the quietness of this resort and the seclusion. We did not have problems with the bus service. We have only eated at Mara and Boma. This year's trip we are on the Kidani side and we are trying Sanaa.
If you are the type or person that needs to be in the thick of Disney and close to everything, this might not be the spot for you. If you want a little bit of a laid back vacation, I would pick AKL!

MickeyNicki
02-25-2010, 01:27 PM
Love that it is easy to get to Boma for a very early breakfast, love the animal viewing areas

Do not like the noise level, do not like the distance from all the fun of the parks and DTD

kaysmommie
02-25-2010, 01:36 PM
Our family usually like to be in the MK area at Poly or WL. But we just tried AKL the beginning of February and we loved it!! I was not sure if I would like it there because AK park is not our favorite. I thought everything about this resort was awesome. The lobby was amazing, the CM's were the best ever, the room was nicely decorated and clean :goodvibes. We had no issues at all with the bus service and never waited more than 10 minutes and always had a seat. The parks did not seem far too me and I'm an impatient girl from the north. Boma was delicious for dinner and the Mara is best counter service for a deluxe resort. The animals and the care takers were great too. I just loved the entire theme. So much for kids to do here. The pool was closed on our visit but was opening on our departure day. I have to say it looked like and amazing pool. We did use the hot tubs though which was nice. Well be staying here again for sure.

DreamnDisney
02-25-2010, 01:39 PM
I've got some really great responses so far, thank you to everyone who has contributed! :banana:

Sue M
02-25-2010, 02:06 PM
Haven't stayed at CSR, but loved our stay at AKL. We had a savanna view on Kudu trail. Beautiful resort, great food court, can get Zebra Domes there :thumbsup2, Boma is a fav of ours. Thought bus service was good.
Loved the evening cultural exchange, night time animal viewing with nightvision scopes, great pool & hot tubs.

I do think it's easier being in one building, don't have to worry about dashing to food court, restaurant or shop in the rain.
I know some say it's just as long a walk with the hallways, but it's relative.
I was almost at the end of Kudu trail and didn't think the walk excessive.
And in the heat or rain, I'd rather be walking down the hall. All the halls have big picture windows looking out to the savannas and beautiful art work.

Good luck. With the great discounts WDW has out now, with 40% off deluxe, I'd go for it.

tinacaplan
02-25-2010, 08:31 PM
AKL is absolutely beautiful, no question. My DH and I toured a number of resorts and overall the deluxes all seemed a lot more...well, deluxe than the mods! Everything at the Contemporary, Poly, GF and AKL just looked...nicer. I don't know how else to explain that because CSR and POFQ are lovely places to be, too. Also, every CM we dealt with at AKL was super nice.

Having said that, I loved CSR. The new rooms are beautiful, tasteful, and modern. The white, cotton bedding is great; no yucky polyester comforter like so many less expensive hotels still have. The beds were new and comfortable. Our room was very clean and I thought the resort was, as a whole, too.
As for the size of CSR, I just didn't think it was that big. I could see the frustration if you're out in the Ranchos section, which is the furthest from the food, but we stayed in Casitas and thought the walk to the food and the pool was manageable. Sure it would take a few minutes to walk to fill up our mugs, but honestly, ALL of the Disney resorts seem big so I'm not sure why people single out CSR. You are walking outside, which does have certain advantages. The grounds at CSR are one of its strengths, without question.
The bus service was fantastic. Our ride from the resort to any of the parks (particularly EPCOT) was very fast. Because CSR is a convention hotel, the buses aren't too crowded most of the time. Its also nice that the CSR bus is only for that resort; saves a lot of time!
The pool at CSR is really cool and the slide is fun. The hot tub is huge!
All in all, while I would love to stay at a deluxe I personally couldn't justify the price. Now, if I had the money and could do it without causing myself any undue financial harm, I'd stay deluxe in a second. But that's not the case right now, so... CSR was great and I would def. stay there again.

DreamnDisney
02-25-2010, 09:29 PM
AKL is absolutely beautiful, no question. My DH and I toured a number of resorts and overall the deluxes all seemed a lot more...well, deluxe than the mods! Everything at the Contemporary, Poly, GF and AKL just looked...nicer. I don't know how else to explain that because CSR and POFQ are lovely places to be, too. Also, every CM we dealt with at AKL was super nice.

Having said that, I loved CSR. The new rooms are beautiful, tasteful, and modern. The white, cotton bedding is great; no yucky polyester comforter like so many less expensive hotels still have. The beds were new and comfortable. Our room was very clean and I thought the resort was, as a whole, too.
As for the size of CSR, I just didn't think it was that big. I could see the frustration if you're out in the Ranchos section, which is the furthest from the food, but we stayed in Casitas and thought the walk to the food and the pool was manageable. Sure it would take a few minutes to walk to fill up our mugs, but honestly, ALL of the Disney resorts seem big so I'm not sure why people single out CSR. You are walking outside, which does have certain advantages. The grounds at CSR are one of its strengths, without question.
The bus service was fantastic. Our ride from the resort to any of the parks (particularly EPCOT) was very fast. Because CSR is a convention hotel, the buses aren't too crowded most of the time. Its also nice that the CSR bus is only for that resort; saves a lot of time!
The pool at CSR is really cool and the slide is fun. The hot tub is huge!
All in all, while I would love to stay at a deluxe I personally couldn't justify the price. Now, if I had the money and could do it without causing myself any undue financial harm, I'd stay deluxe in a second. But that's not the case right now, so... CSR was great and I would def. stay there again.

Thanks for being honest, I'm leaning more towards staying with CSR!

scottmel
02-26-2010, 06:54 AM
What a nice honest review of CSR....:thumbsup2