View Full Version : AKL Make sure you really like eating there because.................

12-15-2002, 11:22 AM
I was not that impressed, I had never stayed onsite before and I was really disappointed. I could see maybe spending a couple of days here but I would never stay here more than 3 or 4 days. Minus a day if you dont think you want to eat dinner their for 3 to 4 days in a row. You can go to other resorts and eat but everything is a hike. If you want to be close to Animal Kingdom then AKL is great, but I hope that is the only thing you want to be close to. It seemed like the other Animal kingdom resorts, coranado springs and all stars had a better location. Although the coranado seemed spread out.
1. I am an animal lover and I did have a great view/room with bunk bed that was close to the pool.
2. beautiful building
3. my son always wanted bunk beds
4. you could find at least two days worth of activities around the hotel if you werent hitting the parks.
5. They had double sinks in room so we filled one up with ice and had an instant refigerator.
6. The gift shop by the lobby sells milk/beer for way less then Mara.
7. Check in was quick and easy, they accomadated all of my requests. Arusha, 3rd floor, bunk beds, zebra trail, near pool.
8. Fireplaces outside and in lobby with rocking chairs next to them were pretty and relaxing. Also rocking chairs next to sets of binoculaurs for closer viewing.
9. Xmas decorations were nice.
10. Hotel smelled great, like a fireplace burning or something.
11. Sunset overlook was amazing. Although you could just visit the hotel for the evening and enjoy it.

1. GOD this place is in the middle of nowhere. I have stayed at offsite hotels that were closer to most that disney had to offer.

2. Options for food were as follows: A beautifully decorated place called Jiko that had very strange food options including rabbit? Seafood also although the only one I remember was Monkfish? I am sure someone has the JIKO menu online somewhere. They did offer an chicken dish, but i wasnt willing to pay that much for chicken, after all no matter how you dress it up it is still chicken.

Boma (buffet style) Dinner was 23.99 per adult plus beverages at additional cost. Food was Okay but not terrific. However in all fairness dessert was full of tasty goodies. I wouldnt go again though and really I only ate there because I was sick of driving so far to get anything.

Mara (quick eats) well for 10.99 you get their refillable mug although it only includes soft drinks and hot beverages. I doesnt include milk or juice for the kids. Salads were good. African stew in bread bowl was good but for 7.49 it was very tiny, not a meal for one. Burgers were well you know burgers. They sold peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with chips/cheese doodles and raisans in cute little to go lunchboxes for kids. Although kids meals are really not that expensive at parks. Actually If you buy yourself a kids meal you would probably save a bundle.
On the whole this place felt like my highschool cafeteria and if you dont want to drive awhile or pay boma and jiko prices for every dinner you are trapped with Mara. One or two nites it isnt too bad but otherwise get dinner at the parks or on the way home.

3. I too was not very impressed with the pool. Not a bad pool just not what I expected at a "Deluxe" resort.

4. At your wonderful deluxe resort AKL you have to PAY extra to use the GYM? 25 per adult for length of stay or 45 for entire family length of stay.

5. They dont sell calling cards at akl, you have to drive ( yes more driving) to All star resorts to get closest cards.

6. Big language barrier with a lot of housekeeping and a lot of the help. I lost my sandals by the pool on the second nite there and tried to find out where lost and found was from four different people. Two by pool and Two in building. They couldnt understand me and I couldnt understand them. Although everyone at check in was easy to understand.

7. Parking was far unless you paid 6.00 day for valet parking.
If you were coming in late from the parks, good luck, get dropped off and let the hubby park the car.

8. Rooms were tiny. With only three of us I felt cramped.

12-15-2002, 01:11 PM
I will be staying there for the first time in 12 days, but I have been there for dinner at Boma last December, which I thought was pretty good. I am hoping I will like it there, and pretty sure I will since I love animals and can't wait to wake up to them every morning--it's as close as I'll get to an African safari. I think that's just it though, that you really have to look at those special features that no other Disney resort has. And it may be far, but Disney's transportation is pretty reliable so even though it is sort of isolated, it doesn't take any longer to get to MK from AKL than it does to get to AK from say the GF. If you plan on going to every park, there's always going to be a long ride somewhere at some time. But about the meals, I don't think Disney really plans that people will eat every meal at their resort so that may explain the lack of offerings at AKL. Pretty much every hotel I've stayed at has limited options if you plan on eating there every night of your trip (if your trip is more than 3 nights). I guess the difference is that AKL has different options compared to most other hotels that offer more of American choices. That beings said, I can see someone not enjoying this type of food if they are a picky eater. For our 4 night stay, however, we have planned to eat dinner there only one night, with dinner the other nights at restaurants at the parks. We do this at any hotel we've stayed at though, including the Boardwalk Inn, which has quite a variety of places to eat. We just feel that while we're there we might as well enjoy everything WDW has to offer, not just the stuff in our resort.

12-15-2002, 01:29 PM
we enjoyed our stay at AKL, but we'd agree that it does feel remote compared to the monorail resorts are the crescent lake resorts. We thought it was a great place for a long weekend, which is what we were on, or a three of four night stay. We don't rent a car down there usually, so the driving thing never occured to us as something to be bothered about. It is most convenient to animal kingdom of course. Didn't you go to theme parks? I mean you could eat a meal there if you get tired of one of the three restaurants at your resort.

12-15-2002, 02:18 PM
I have to agree - we usually stay at the Epcot area resorts and the AKL seemed remote when we stayed in OCT. We did 2 nights which was fine - any longer and I would have felt isolated....

12-15-2002, 02:32 PM
Thanks for the candid review. :)

Deb & Bill
12-15-2002, 03:15 PM
I've found language barriers at several of the Disney Resorts, not just AKL. And milk and juice are not include in any of the refillable mug programs.

Like the others say, we don't eat all our meals at our resort. We eat lots of them at the parks. Most of the deluxe resorts don't have much of a food court, only one smallish self-serve restaurant. But I like Boma. It has so many different things that everyone can find something that they like. And kids have ordinary kids food to select off the buffet (plus adults can eat that, too).

What I like about the pool at AKL is that there are animal areas right next to the pool, so you can get out of the pool or hot tub and see all sorts of African animals. And the zero depth entry makes it easier on just about everyone to enter the pool.

My favorite part of AKL? Sitting on the balcony in my pajamas watching the animals feed early in the morning.

12-15-2002, 04:17 PM
Latenthart, thanks for the review. I really enjoyed reading your honest opinions. It sounds like overall you had a nice vacation.

To use the health club at the deluxe resorts (AKL, GF, YC/BC, CR, and BWV), you have to pay a fee unless you are a concierge guest or Grand Plan guest (or DVC member). By the way, I am one of those folks who actually enjoys the AKL's pool (it is my second favorite one). Iím not into waterslides, I just like a big pool and the AKL certainly has that.

12-15-2002, 04:18 PM
Thanks for the review!

I agree that it would be a pain to drive everywhere from the AKL. HOWEVER, we found the bus transportation (on 2 different visits) to be excellent. Short waits, no sharing. I'd reccommend other visitors try the busses.

We ate at the parks a few nights, so we didn't feel limited by the AKL food choices. Epcot is always open fairly late, and there are lots of good places to eat there! The bus will get you there & back quickly :)

12-15-2002, 05:15 PM
AKL is our favorite deluxe resort. No matter what resort you stay at...you are going to be farther away from one park or another.

All the meals we had at AKL have been outstanding...and the service. Breakfast/dinner at Boma wonderfu. Dinner at Jiko wonderful. Concierge offerings...superior to any other disney resort.

We did not encounter any language barriors...and we spent plenty of time with the people from Africa. They are pure delights.

Room decor/resort activities are excellent. They have the nicest pool on disney property. Great pool bar. Wonderful lounge outside of Jikos and Victoria Falls.

We spent three days and never left the resort...could have spend three more, as we didn't have time for massages or the gym.

12-15-2002, 05:28 PM
Hi latenthart

Thanks for the review. Just an FYI though that some of the "cons" you listed are not AKL specific. They apply to all Disney deluxe resorts so if you are planning a future trip it might be something to keep in mind.

1. Paying for the gym. This is true of all of the resorts that have a gym. Unless you are on somesort of package that might include this feature.

2. Paying for valet parking. This is also true of all of the resorts that offer valet service. Unless you are handicapped or a DVC memeber staying at a DVC resort it is $6 to valet. The Swan/Dolphin charge $10.

3. Language barrier with housekeeping. I think you are going to find this are just about any hotel/resort not even Disney specific.

4. Tiny rooms. The standard rooms at the AKL are smaller then most of the Disney deluxe resorts but the same size as the WL rooms. That is one of the reasons why the AKL and the WL are the cheapest of the deluxe resorts along with the fact that these two do not have as easy access to the parks as the other deluxe resorts.

5. No milk/juice. This is at all of the resorts. You can only refill soda/coffee/tea.

It seems like you have a great over all trip though.

p.s. We did like Mara though we tried the Fried Shrimp plate, the Pasta Primavera and the Grilled Chicken Breast inaddition to the burgers, salads, soups and pizza. We have not been at the AKL since Sept 2001 so I hope these items are still on the menu. We will be back to the AKL in Feb 03 and cannot wait. Again I am glad you had a good tirp.

12-15-2002, 05:32 PM
...10.99 you get their refillable mug although it only includes soft drinks and hot beverages
Glad this has been covered by others here, that the refills are soda/soft drinks, tea and coffee.
Whenever we are at any WDW resort food court I almost always overhear a parent asking a CM where the free milk refills are. Seems to be a common misconception for some reason.

12-15-2002, 06:08 PM
Thanks for your honest review.

I think Tiffany did a good job pointing out that many of your complaints would be the same at any resort. So in that respect its not a complaint so much against the AKL as Disney in general.

I really agree with you about paying extra for the Gym. Although to be fair to Disney more and more hotels are doing this. I hate it and feel it should be in the price of stay. But that seems to be the trend in the industry as they nickel and dime us to death. But I think with the prices we pay at Disney's delux resorts that would (should) be included.

The transportation issue of AKL has been debated on these boards. Many like you think that the AKL is in the middle of no where. Where others like me, really find that part of the attraction of the place and dont mind the extra, short, wait to get somewhere else. Its too bad you didnt know that in advance because if transportation is such an important aspect of a trip then I would recommend the Beach Club. Great place and when it comes to Disney resorts its a super location for both MGM and EPCOT. Or one of the monorail resorts which is just a ride away from the MK.

On the food - again its debated between those of us who love the AKL food and those who dont. Look at my name and you can see what kind of food I like. If that type of food does not appeal to you then again you are in the wrong place. Disney has great resorts with tradition American food types. The AKL was designed to be what it is. On the price, you are so correct IMHO. But its not just a problem with Bomo. Disney's dinners are costly. Disney anything is costly I guess. We all pay for the Majic so to speak.

Thanks again for your honest review. I think that is why these boards are so helpful to all of us. Gotta go and cook some of the good Boma curry now..... :)

12-15-2002, 07:00 PM
Hi just wanted to add my 2 cents....this trip we wanted to try some of the Deluxe hotels, we have stayed at the CB in the past and also Dixie landings (when it was called this) anyway this time we stayed at the Contemporary for 1 night (awesome), the WL for 4 nights...a bit of a let down after the Cont. and then the AKL for 4 nights....well we loved the AKL and I have to say I was a little worried after reading all the posts about this resort being in the middle of nowhere....I did not get that feeling at all. In fact I was surprised the bus to MK did not take long at all.....we also had our car with us but really did not use it much, we did not do valet parking and we were not very far away in the parking lot at all.....we did eat at Boma for breakfast, best breakfast we ever had, and also for dinner, it was ok but again pricey....my kids did not eat much...we did not try Jiko as there was not one thing on that menu I would eat....we did also go to Mara twice...it was OK not great....I have to say while I really love this resort and would go back in a heart beat...I think the moderates really have very good food courts...more variety.... we also ate alot of our meals elsewhere as we were in the parks or other resorts....I also did like the pool, and I had no problem whatso ever understanding anyone I ran into....in fact they had the nicest CM's ever....I felt the same way about WL food too, and I did not encounter any CM there who was nice!!! Anyway AKL has my vote....:D

12-15-2002, 08:38 PM
Definitely agree with the comment on Mara - $23 for burgers and drinks for two - I don't NEED a double burger - a single at half the price would have been sufficient - but they don't offer that! (Should I have checked the kids menu?) Next day, had rotisserie chicken dinners for less at Tusker in AK. An undiscovered treasure, imho.

Love Dinner at Boma and Dinner at Jiko - two of the big reasons I visit AKL every trip - whether I stay there or not. (But i'm omniverous, and don't have picky kids)

Feeling of remoteness - big reason to stay there - we have begun our last two "couple" trips with a 3 night stay at AKL - to relax, and other than a couple hours at Animal Kingdom spend most of our time at the resort. The pool is so relaxing . . . and I have actually spent some time on the balcony doing . . . nothing.

This year, when we got our room we actually took . . . a NAP! instead of going to a park. What bliss. . .

Chip 'n Dale Express
12-15-2002, 08:55 PM
First people complain that Disney is too congested, and that things are too close together. So Disney builds the Animal Kingdom resort area. Now people complain that it's too far away from everything. Can't win I guess.

The reality is though... Animal Kingdom Lodge is NOT as remote as you might percieve. When traversing from one end of property (AK) allllllll the way to another side (MK or DTD), the travel time is typically no more than 15 minutes. That's it. That's really not far.

12-15-2002, 09:12 PM
AKL has to be remote--that's the whole idea of this resort--you are out on the savannah:p

We stayed there for a week last Christmas. It wasn't my fav resort, but I would definitely stay at least once. Seeing the animals out your balcony is just too amazing:eek:

12-15-2002, 10:54 PM
Since AKL is our very least favorite park, the reasons you state is why we will never stay there. Maybe for one or two nights as a novelty after we've gone through all the other resorts. It could take us a few years. It would not excite me to get a good rate or an upgrade here.

12-15-2002, 11:43 PM
I agree with Tyler on this one, it's hardly in the middle of nowhere-lol. I don't really understand why people say it's remote, it's very close to everything. We just stayed at the POR and the bus rides were the same amount of time as they were from AKL and technically POR is closer to things. Plus the whole point is that it's supposed to feel like an African Lodge, if it was near everything with views of all the hussle and bustle it definitely wouldn't feel like Africa-lol.

As for the pool, it's the largest of all resort pools with the zero entry, it's designed to look like a large watering hole again to fit into the African theme.

As for Mara, comparing it to a high school cafeteria??? If the Mara was like your high school cafe, your one lucky person. We found the Mara to be great! I love that they bring the food out to you inside or at the patio and everyone was always so friendly and helpful. Yeh it's expensive but that's the way it is all over WDW, at Beaches and cream we paid 60.00 for lunch-lol.

Oh well, to each his/her own. We loved the AKL but then again we've loved every WDW resort we've stayed at from the values to the deluxes. lol :D

12-16-2002, 04:44 AM
Disnee Dad Says.............................I did not want to stay at this place on our 2001 trip. The rooms are small, but to see Wildebeast, 25 yards from your room, girafes, a couple 100 yards away, etc., it's now my first choice for deluxe places. And BOMA is to die for! If they have oxtail stew , try it, it willmelt in your mouth.
Being in the middle of nowhere means it will take you 3 extra minutes to get to your destination. Timed it myself, 3 minutes to feel secluded is worth every penny.

12-16-2002, 06:43 AM
I have not stayed at any other concierge, but from what I have read about AKL being the best, I have to agree that it was fantastic. We ate quite a bit there and still managed to hit Jiko and Boma several times. I have to say that I believe Boma is the best buffet on property and we will probably make a special trip to AKL to eat at Jiko at least once every trip.

I guess that is why they have different hotels, to widen their appeal.

12-16-2002, 07:14 AM
When I was growing up, we always stayed offsite.

We used our car (of course) and stayed in the parks until we'd had enough and then drove back to our hotel. At this point, yes, there were dozens of places to choose from to eat. After dinner we would go to our hotel, park our car, and go to bed.

If we used this same "method" at AKL, I would have to agree with the points made.

When we stayed there this past labor Day weekend, we did make it a point to eat at Jiko and boma, but our usual on site stay rarely includes eating dinner at our resort.

We usually eat breakfast in the food court (or in our room), eat lunch in the parks, come back for a break (something we didn't do offsite), and then eating dinner at the parks (tons of choices).

We also use the buses. I can't tell you anything about AKL's parking lot, because I never saw it. We valet the car when we got there and never saw it until we left. Bus transportation was great (during a holiday weekend). I had an 8am PS at cindy's- we were there by 7:30.

12-16-2002, 07:32 AM
We are headed back to AKL for our second stay in Jan. The atmosphere created at this resort is second to none. We feel it is an experience all it's own. We do rent a car but have used the busses and found them to be plentiful. The good thing about WDW resorts is the variety and choices! Have fun planning!

12-16-2002, 10:32 AM
Just a thought on your food complaint. At what off site hotel do you have 3 seperate places to eat and a store that sells drinks and snacks as well? I guess you can always eat at Dennys and get a skillet breakfast at the Holiday Inn.

On Room Size, I just stayed at AKL last weekend and we had four adults in the room, no space problems, each couple had their own sink, plenty of storage space so I'm not sure what you were expecting.

On Cost, what at Disney is not expensive? There are multiple ways you can save money (see other posts) much Like I did this weekend when I got the room for $99 a night. It pays to investigate.

On parking, granted I don't like to pay $6 for valet mainly because I've been used to it being free. But on the other hand I can understand why the charge is being done. Also, if you want a real hike to a hotel, park at the boardwalk, that was a long one.

12-16-2002, 10:46 AM
In reply to a few of your comments:
1. I know that many of my cons are not disney specific but I thought they were worth mentioning and I realize that no resort includes milk/juice with refillable mugs but some mommies and daddies might not.

2. Maybe my highschool cafeteria was great, I dont think so but maybe who knows. I just thought Mara wasnt that great.

3. Sure in the grand scheme of things AKL is close to parks, but if I am going to lay out money for the "Disney Magic" I would pick someplace more centrally located within disney. AKL is right next to Animal Kingdom but how many days can you do animal kingdom?

4. After leaving AKL we went and stayed at Vistana Villages on International Drive . I felt it was just as close as AKL to Magic Kingdom and closer to Epcot, MGM and Downtown Disney.

5. With kids I feel EASY is BETTER. Convenience is EASIER. What makes mom and dad's life easier is better. Sometimes we were tired after the parks and it would have been very nice to have wanted to eat at our hotel. I realize that each resort only has a few options, but lets say If I stayed at say the Caribbean Beach resort I definitly would have had closer/more convenient options available.

6. Of course I realize everything is more when you are paying for that Disney magic and I dont mind paying for disney dinners, just wish for the boma and jiko prices there would have been food I love. Again in all fairness, Boma dessert was good. I dont really consider myself a picky eater either.

7. I also realize that a lot of resorts charge for gym, but I dont know if everyone knows this.

8. Maybe if all I did at AKL was get a massage, hang out by the pool sunbathing, sit leisurely at sunset overlook, took naps this resort would have been great but can anyone really have this kind of vacation with little ones?

P.S. I myself feel uncomfortable leaving my son with strangers but the childcare center there did look quite homey, clean and cozy. The woman sitting with the children looked she could be a young grandma watching the children. Kind of like a classroom and livingroom combined. Also it was right next to door leading to pool and restaraunts. I did not use it however so I do not prices or procedure.

9. I forgot to mention the sweet people who meet and greet you as you arrive. The gentleman at the gate was cute and greeted us with "OH great we have been expecting you." And the folks waiting as you pull up to the lobby were fast, helpful and cheery also.

10. You know I felt the people at Vistana Villages were just as nice and cheery as any of the cast members I ran in to at AKL. Sure Vistana doesnt have many food options either but its okay because everything is so close anyway. Vistana had a lovely gym included in my price, a health spa if you wanted a massage (they would even come to your room if you wanted the massage there). They also had beautiful christmas decorations up. Pool had zero entry, heated, waterfall, NO slide however. Actually the pool was huge and there were two hot tubs and a quiet pool. Cute cabanas to sit under. Volleyball area, basketball court that is lit at night. Also thought they had a good parking setup. Did I mention it was a 2br condo with washer dryer and a jacuzzi in the master bedroom. all for about same or less depending on what price you get at akl. I paid 119 a nite at vistana villages with the seventh nite free through hotel kingdom. I paid 154 a nite for savanah view at akl ( but if I would have booked earlier I could have gotten the same akl room for 124). However if your interested here is the web site www.starwood.com LOOK for Vistana Villages on International Drive. There is a another resort called Vistana in Orlando so make sure you are looking at the right one.

In conclusion with my son I wanted easy and convenient. He did love the animals but I think he was happier about the bunk beds than the animals. I just felt you could experience AKL magic in visits rather than sleeping there.

12-16-2002, 11:32 AM
Just to add my 2 cents...

I respect everyone's opinion, and obviously each person has different expectations and likings, so I'm in no way arguing with your observations!

I think a lot of your disappointments could have been averted with better trip planning. There are many resources that describe exactly what you can expect at a particular resort, and you can see the menus for all restaurants on Deb's site. You must know what's important to you and your family and compare your needs to what each resort offers before deciding where to stay.

Case in point: although I've been to WDW two dozen times, this year will be our first stay on site :Pinkbounc yay! Before settling on a hotel, I read everything I could and dismissed some outright. For instance, I don't think I'd like the All Stars (and I'm not starting a debate about the respective merits of the resorts ;) ). My dream would be the Contemporary or GF, but for New Year's Eve they were out of my price range. Then we found the govt. rate at the Swan ($129) and bingo! I know it's not "the same," but it gives me the most bang for my buck. I'm not expecting to be blown away by the hotel, but I do expect to be happy with it, from what I've read.

Going back to each person having different expectations, I never stay around any hotel for long. When my husband and I travel (and we do, a lot and all over), I go to see the sights, not to stay in the hotel. Therefore, room size, decor, restaurants at the hotel are not as important to me as location. This is of course different for others.

Well, that was more like $2 worth :rolleyes: so I'll quit now!

12-16-2002, 03:22 PM
Im going to be staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge this year for the first time. Im a little surprised at the number of people that seem to be unaware that AKL might feel a little "isolated". I think thats kind of the point. This is kind of like the people that were disappointed in their stay at Wilderness Lodge because it had too much of a woodsy feel to it. Thats the point! Theres nothing more unique to all of the disney resorts than their own unique atmosphere that they create. I wouldnt expect a large african safari to be right next to the magic kingdom. To each his own I guess. Before spending tons of money, it might be wise to research the resort before you stay and then people might not be dissappointed in its location when they get there. If you look on any Disneyworld map and see that AKL is a little farther away from everything else, you might not be shocked that the bus transportaion takes a little longer. As far as any of the resort restaurants, I couldnt imagine eating at any of them more than twice during my stay. Theres too many options out there. Just my 2 cents.

Chip 'n Dale Express
12-16-2002, 07:21 PM
Originally posted by latenthart
3. Sure in the grand scheme of things AKL is close to parks, but if I am going to lay out money for the "Disney Magic" I would pick someplace more centrally located within disney. AKL is right next to Animal Kingdom but how many days can you do animal kingdom?

If 3 minutes is going to really make that big of a difference... then might I suggest Disneyland. They're a little bit more compact.

Originally posted by latenthart
4. After leaving AKL we went and stayed at Vistana Villages on International Drive . I felt it was just as close as AKL to Magic Kingdom and closer to Epcot, MGM and Downtown Disney.

Downtown Disney might be the only one that it's closer to... The rest it's almost twice as far...

12-17-2002, 03:21 AM
Disnee Dad Says.................................Thank You Chip and Dale Express!! AKL to MK was 3 minutes longer than Dixie Landings to MK. There is no off site hotel closer to the parks than any onsite. The only exception might be the Hotels on Hotel Circle, but they are semi- on site.
It's not like you can build a great place like AKL in the middle of downtown! We stayed 3 days, and did Boma, and Mara twice. Who eats at their resort all the time? We have spent 12 days at Dixie Landings, and did Boatwright's twice and the food court four times. Three nights at CBR and all we did was one breakfast.
I will say the food court at AKL was lacking, Dixie was better and even All Stars was a little better.
BTW I didn't think Vistana Villages was on International drive, if it is then AKL is closer to any park, than Vistana is just to get to the east gate.

Chip 'n Dale Express
12-17-2002, 06:14 AM
Originally posted by disneefamily
BTW I didn't think Vistana Villages was on International drive.

There's one on 535 that is not to be confused with the one in question, which is on I-Drive

12-17-2002, 10:30 AM
WOW this thread sure has gotten interesting. I will be at AKL in early Feb. and I can't wait. We have always done Disney comando style and this trip is going to be a slower pace. My 72 year old mother is getting a surprise Christmas gift to Disney.

Seems like someone can always find fault in something. I can't pass judgment on AKL but from everything I have read I am in for an unforgetable trip.


12-17-2002, 11:44 AM
I always thought that all the Disney hotels were the closest to the parks. Maybe I'm wrong since I've never stayed offsite, but I just assumed that Disney would want their hotels to be the closest to everything. One note about AKL's food selection, I think all of the deluxe hotels have smaller selections in terms of self-serve food than the All-Stars or Moderates. Mostly I think this is because they have other full serve restaurants available, and the gift shop usually sells some food products as well. At the All-Stars, however, if the food-court options were sparse then there would be nothing else to choose from, while at AKL if you don't want the quick serve food then you can eat at one of the restaurants. This may not be exactly the option people want, but if you're really not satisfied with their offerings then there's always the park food or stopping at another resort on the way back from a park.

12-17-2002, 11:25 PM
Instead of writing my own thread, I thought I would just add onto this one with my 2 cents...

I liked the fact that all of the AKL buses were for our resort alone and there was only one bus stop. It gave me the feeling that the ride was shorter than our last stay at PO. Still - if you plan to go to another resort at night - rent a car - it is sooooo much easier than switching buses.

My kids LOVED their bunk beds - personally I think they should offer this option in the moderate resorts as well (or perhaps just CB since it has the largest rooms). My boys would stay here for the bunks alone. The rooms are definately larger than the moderates but the furniture was also a bit heavier/larger so the open space in the room seemed about the same.

The parking situation was ok - of course we were there at a quiet time of the year - but on rainy nights my hubby dropped us off at the door.

Boma was good - but it is highway robbery that they charge you $11 for kids. My younger son hated everything offered and our CM got a burger for him from Mara - it was a very expensive burger. Breakfast at Boma was very good but I can't stuff myself at breakfast and then go touring at the parks. If your kids are under 7 and not adventurous, Boma may not be the best choice. We did not eat at Jiko.

The food at Mara was ok. My son hated the mac & cheese (not enough like Kraft for him), my other son ate the kids chicken strips for dinner - but no kid sized burger and no Mickey waffles for breakfast! I did find it very annoying that the only enterance to Mara is from the pool (there is no interior entrance.) Normally, this would not be an issue but we got 2-3 inches of rain in one day and I really did not want to go outside to get a cup of coffee.

My boys loved the pool and the slide. I thought it was pretty but not as fantastic as the new pool at the Poly. The 2 hot tubs are really nice - the larger one was definately hotter than the smaller. It was also crawling with kids in the evenings while the other was definately more adult.

We had a standard view room (5111) with a solid wall to the balcony. It was fine. The resort was packed for the weekend we arrived there so there was not option for a free upgrade (although we were offered the chance to pay $80 more a night to get savannah view and declined) Honestly, while we enjoyed watching the animals from the public viewing areas - we were not going to modify our park attendance to stay and watch the animals so the standard view was fine for us (plus our rooms were only $109/night)

12-18-2002, 04:41 AM
if you plan to go to another resort at night - rent a car - it is sooooo much easier than switching buses.

You know, we stayed a long weekend at AKL and one night we went to do something at polly - it was easy to get there, just go to MK and hop the boat or monorail. We did take a cab back though, it was only like 10 bucks, I think with tip. So if you are only planning one or two trips to another resort, it is probably cheaper and easier to just hop in a cab.

I'm a big proponant of taking advantage of the resort you are at while you are there though - but then we really liked Jiko. I tend to think of the resorts as MK area or Epcot area (our home resorts are wilderness lodge and beach club), and so akl is a different kind of thing, not being either area, but I think it is great for a long weekend or something like that.


12-18-2002, 09:52 AM
I have never stayed at AKL (in about 50 days I will have first hand experience:Pinkbounc :bounce: ) BUT I just don't see the beef with riding on a bus for 20 minutes. We always find the bus ride a great place to relax, talk, or plan the day. As long as I don't have to drive I'm happy. Some resorts are closer but so big they have a ton of bus stops just to get around the resort.

AKL appears to be like nothing I will ever experience. (Africa is not in my foreseeable vacation future) I can't wait to experience the sights, smell, tastes, and feel of Africa.

If all I was concerned about was how much time I had in the parks I would stay at the All Stars and save a ton of money. Maybe I will feel differently after our Feb. trip but right now I am bursting at the seams to experience AKL.


soccer mom
12-19-2002, 10:14 AM
We eat most of our dinners at the parks. Usually Epcot because it's open late. We ate at Boma's when we were at AKL and loved it but wouldn't want it (or any restaurant) for five nights in a row.

I think the remoteness is part of the charm. You wouldn't find an African Savannah downtown.

We stayed at Polynesian and BC this year and POFQ another year and feel like Gillian, that having direct buses everywhere was much faster than sharing with other resorts. AKL is the only resort that doesn't share buses. I wasn't all that impressed with the monorail from the Poly unless we were going to MK. That was wonderful, but you don't go to the MK everyday. Even to Epcot it took as long, if not longer, if you include the walk to the monorail station, than the direct buses at AKL. Beach Club was horrible except for getting to Epcot. I believe they are the last of three resorts to be picked up. One morning trying to get to MGM, the first two buses that stopped were full! Finally someone got angry and asked the driver to radio and let them know the situation.

Just my humble opinion.