PDA

View Full Version : Back from AKL-Lodge, Safari, Problems, Cirque


MartDM
11-10-2004, 07:18 PM
Just some details about our AKL stay from 10/28 - 10/31 for anyone interested. Overall it was a typically enjoyable visit to WDW.

It was our first time at AKL and we had a savannah view room about halfway down the Kudu trail section (room 5301). We were able to view all of the animals on the savannah at close range during different parts of our stay and enjoyed viewing the other savannahs from the hotel viewing areas. The grounds are quite nice but limited and I have to admit we missed being able to stroll outside like we enjoy at Wilderness Lodge (a fair trade off though to have the animals so close). The lodge is very much as described ad nauseum in other posts so suffice it to say it's quite picturesque.

We went on the Wanyama Safari (sunset safari) and it was fantastic. We met the other guests & our guide at the concierge lounge & were led to the van (an 8 passenger van with a roof that raises up so you can stand & take pictures). The safari travels through all three savannahs and the guide provided an indepth description of the animal types and many interesting details about the individual animals (their names, lineage, what cities they came from, who is naughty/nice, etc.). We got many close up photos of the animals and great shots of the lodge itself. At the end, we stopped for a drink & snacks on the savannah and had our pictures taken with the giraffes.

Following the safari, we had dinner at Jiko which was tremendous. It was a "chef's table" type of experience with Chef Dennis visiting to introduce and describe the offerings which, for each course, consisted of several of the menu items for us to try. Our waiter also introduced & described the wine pairings included with each course. Everything was spectacular and I wish we had been able to go back for dinner another night (but we didn't want to cancel out on California Grill, which we would have had to).

We did have some disappointments with AKL though:

-Upon our check in @ 10:30am, we alerted the staff we had late am/early pm plans and requested the room be ready upon our return at 2pm, even though that was an hour early. We returned to the hotel at 2:30pm to find the room not ready and actually didn't get into the room until after 3:30pm (and having to beg bell services for some priority due to early evening plans we needed to get ready for). Given that they had 4.5 hrs to get the room ready & we were paying for upgraded service, it was disappointing nobody tried to accomodate this very small request.

-A greeter at Boma was rather rude to us when we arrived for our PS. She insisted the ressie was for an hour later & told us to wait. After 20 minutes (and watching others being seated), I finally was forced to retrieve our concierge itinerary from the room. A gentleman at the desk when I returned confirmed she was mistaken and only then were we seated...no apology for the problem was given.

-A concierge staffer was difficult about issuing park tickets. Early in our stay we were issued separate tickets for AK but this staffer insisted they be put on our room keys. When I explained I didn't have it & requested a separate admission ticket, he scolded me with "tsk tsk" & wagged his finger at me before forcing me to return to the room for my key.

Don't get me wrong, none of these things had great impact on our trip. They were small aggravations that we quickly got past, but at the time they were avoidable time wasting customer service issues that seriously p*ssed me off in the way they were handled. We've never had those sorts of problems at any of the moderate or deluxe hotels we stayed at & I was shocked to encounter several such problems when I payed for concierge level services.

We visited Cirque du Soliel and it is stupendous! My husband had expressed interest in going a few years ago and, honestly, I have to admit I hedged a lot because I thought it would be less than enjoyable (I can't stand slapsticky, circusy, cutsey stuff). I don't believe I could possibly have been more closed minded and wrong about this show. I couldn't stop talking about it afterward and would have loved to sit through it all over again right then and there. I even bought the DVD & CD! For anyone who is as pessimistic as I am about this sort of thing, just GO. You won't regret it...it is one of the best live shows of any type that I have ever seen. I'm already planning to see the others that are in different areas of the country!

Well, those are all the gory details. I'm happy to answer any questions anyone might have about AKL, the safari, Boma (breakfast), Jiko, California Grill, or Cirque.

Ladyhawke10
11-10-2004, 08:00 PM
I encountered similar issues like this during our concierge stay last November....we had stuff happen like having our room checked out early (so our locks were changed--luckily we got back from pool before stuff was removed), no turn down or maid service as a result (we were taken off the schedule because it showed we were checked out), were overcharged for sunrise safari (it was worked out but we had to wait awhile after our real check out time at the desk for the credit) and our original sunrise safari ressies were lost (we had confirmation numbers, thankfully, but our names had been mistakenly dropped from the schedule). It seemed as if a computer bug had gotten into all the systems!! In fact, I wondered if they, indeed, were having computer issues because these technical glitches were not typical of our previous stays (though this was our first concierge stay). We liked the food but I didn't feel the extra cost was worth the service. I love the regular savannah experience (non-concierge).

MartDM
11-10-2004, 10:44 PM
Actually LadyHawke, funny you should mention being locked out. We wanted to stop up to the concierge lounge to have a cup of coffee and kill 1/2 hour or so before going to the airport but when we attempted to do so (an hour before checkout time), our cards no longer provided us access to that floor.

It wasn't a huge deal, we just got coffee elsewhere, but we really felt like we were being given the bum's rush by the hotel. My understanding is that we should have had access to the lounge the entire day of our departure.

Funny that they "encourage" you to get out so quickly but can't seem to get the incoming guests into the rooms with any expediency.

Sigh...just another example of the opportunities the staff of this hotel miss with regard to easy things they could do to please customers if they used some common sense.

Chip 'n Dale Express
11-11-2004, 12:15 AM
Originally posted by MartDM
-Upon our check in @ 10:30am, we alerted the staff we had late am/early pm plans and requested the room be ready upon our return at 2pm, even though that was an hour early. We returned to the hotel at 2:30pm to find the room not ready and actually didn't get into the room until after 3:30pm (and having to beg bell services for some priority due to early evening plans we needed to get ready for). Given that they had 4.5 hrs to get the room ready & we were paying for upgraded service, it was disappointing nobody tried to accomodate this very small request.

Just so you know for future reference, the Front Desk can never guarantee a room will be ready at a specific time, Concierge or not. It's actually not a small request, and often times out of Concierge or the Front Desks control.

When you check in, you are assigned a room (if its not ready, you won't be told the number, but in the computer, you will be assigned a room). At 10:30am, all rooms are still occupied by the previous guests, and there's no way for the CM to know what time any of the rooms will be ready.

It very well could be that the previous guest stayed past check-out (happens ALL the time, and not to be confused with a late check-out) and the housekeeper could not clean the room. It also could have been a maintenance issue that needed to be taken care of prior to the next guest. There are hundreds of reasons why, and this is why Disney never guarantees rooms prior to 3:00 (4:00 at some resorts).

Gillian
11-11-2004, 03:21 AM
Thank you for sharing your experiences! It sounds like a wonderful trip.

I have learned, for our own comfort level, not to plan special evenings on a day when we check in to a new hotel. The lack of control over when exactly our room will be ready is more than I like to deal with. And in your situtation, although you were there early and made a polite request, I assume that the selection of rooms available to you was more limited than that of a non-conceierge guest, possibly making it more difficult to help you. Any savannah view room vs one in a specific location on a specific floor? Does that make sense?

Only 5 months before we get to eat at Jiko again. :)

flyball
11-11-2004, 07:39 AM
Originally posted by MartDM
-A greeter at Boma was rather rude to us when we arrived for our PS. She insisted the ressie was for an hour later & told us to wait. After 20 minutes (and watching others being seated), I finally was forced to retrieve our concierge itinerary from the room. A gentleman at the desk when I returned confirmed she was mistaken and only then were we seated...no apology for the problem was given.

-

Just wanted to say that we were also greeted extremely rudely by a hostess at Boma one night. She was the only rude staff member we encountered on our entire 11-day trip. Her tone was very off-putting, but her body language was even more disturbing. She rolled her eyes at us when we asked questions (mind you, we've dined at Boma many times, but this particular night was confusing in the aftermath of Frances), and, even more disturbing, shooed us away with the back of her hand after issuing our beeper (I guess we stood near the podium a little too long)!!! I know it doesn't sound bad reading this, but trust me, I've never encountered such a nasty CM on any of my ten trips! She had me so annoyed that we opted to return our beeper and dine at Jiko that night. I'm positive she suspected that she was the reason, because she rather guiltily asked why we had changed our minds (especially since both restaurants were serving the same menu). I simply replied that the atmosphere at Jiko was more to our liking! I'm certain that she thought we were going to complain, but we didn't. Before anyone defends this woman due to hurricane stress, let me just say that every other AKL CM we met during this trip (and we met and spoke to quite a few) was nothing less than impressive, accommodating, concerned, polite, and delightful!

We were also over charged for our sunrise safari. Just letting everyone know that you should carefully review your bill. I didn't notice right away and even doubted myself for a minute, but it turned out we were right!

Tess
11-11-2004, 08:32 AM
The grounds are quite nice but limited and I have to admit we missed being able to stroll outside like we enjoy at Wilderness Lodge

That's exactly what we didn't like about AKL. I felt claustrophobic there and longed for an area where I could walk as long and far as I wanted. Also, when there's a storm (which often happens at night in June), the feeling of being closed in is worse--the lobby area is overrun and there's no good vantage point to watch the storm--which we enjoy doing. While I'm no great fan of Wilderness Lodge either, at least it has an expansive outdoor area within which to "walk" and get away from the crowd.

Ladyhawke10
11-11-2004, 10:42 AM
I have found the CMs at AKL to be extremely nice overall. I love how friendly and knowledgeable the CMs are that talk about the animals. I wonder how the Boma waitress got hired there! Her attitude certainly doesn't fit in with the spirit I normally find around AKL. Hopefully, she won't stay there long!

MartDM
11-11-2004, 10:57 AM
Chip 'n Dale Express-
As I clearly stated in my post, we're well aware of the check in time. We've traveled extensively and understand how hotel housekeeping and room selection works. There was no issue with the room, bell services confirmed that they simply hadn't gotten around to cleaning it yet. There was no legitimate reason our room couldn't have been ready 1/2 hour before check in time and certainly no good reason we didn't get into it until well after check in time, especially when they knew we desired it greatly.

Such simple requests have been happily granted to us at other Disney hotels and many other fine/less than fine hotels around the country. This was just a matter of nobody bothering to try to make it happen. Housekeeping wasn't even aware we wanted to get into the room until we had bell services radio them for a status at 2:30pm. Apparently nobody on staff cared enough to follow up on our request - that's bad customer service.

Gillian-
I understand what you are saying, but we had no special requests other than to have a savannah view and a king bed. Since nearly all the concierge rooms are savannah view anyway and we didn't get our king bed, this wouldn't have impeded the room being readied.

flyball-
I think this was the same woman we encountered! We also got the shoo away with the hand when I tried to explain to her that I thought she was mistaken about our reservation! It was so demeaning and obnoxious I was stunned. She really needs to be moved to a behind the scenes position if this is a chronic problem. She and the smarmy concierge staffer where definitely the exception to rule - all the other staffers we encountered were very pleasant albeit a bit hapless in some situations.

stinkerbelle
11-11-2004, 11:07 AM
Originally posted by MartDM
Chip 'n Dale Express-
As I clearly stated in my post, we're well aware of the check in time. We've traveled extensively and understand how hotel housekeeping and room selection works. There was no issue with the room, bell services confirmed that they simply hadn't gotten around to cleaning it yet. There was no legitimate reason our room couldn't have been ready 1/2 hour before check in time and certainly no good reason we didn't get into it until well after check in time, especially when they knew we desired it greatly.

Such simple requests have been happily granted to us at other Disney hotels and many other fine/less than fine hotels around the country. This was just a matter of nobody bothering to try to make it happen. Housekeeping wasn't even aware we wanted to get into the room until we had bell services radio them for a status at 2:30pm. Apparently nobody on staff cared enough to follow up on our request - that's bad customer service.


Personally...I don't think that's bad customer service...I think it's the customer expecting too much. As chip-n-dale said...rooms are ready by 3pm most of the time..."requesting" to get into your room ASAP is just that, a 'request'.

I don't mean to sound harsh/rude...but that's just my opinion.

MartDM
11-13-2004, 12:54 PM
Well, perhaps getting into the room an hour early is an over the top request at AKL but I've never had a problem with hotel staff at least trying to accomplish that at other Disney deluxe hotels and other hotels around the country. I do agree with you that not getting into the room a bit early does not consititute bad customer service.

The point you missed however was that nobody even TRIED to make our request happen. We gave them four and half hours lead time and nobody on staff cared enough to even contact housekeeping to relay the request. It fell on deaf ears & was completely ignored. THAT is the bad customer service aspect.

Well, that and the rude behavior of the Boma & Concierge staffers who both were unpleasant and dismissive.

I know that many of you view Disney with stars in your eyes & don't want to hear any negatives but we've been going there a long time & I feel it's my obligation to report when service isn't up to snuff. That's the whole point of this board, to inform people of the reality.

Chip 'n Dale Express
11-13-2004, 01:02 PM
Originally posted by MartDM
The point you missed however was that nobody even TRIED to make our request happen. We gave them four and half hours lead time and nobody on staff cared enough to even contact housekeeping to relay the request. It fell on deaf ears & was completely ignored. THAT is the bad customer service aspect.


The request is done through the computer, and it's a "fixed request" meaning it can be done with just a few keystrokes, unnoticed by the guest. After that, there's not much else the front desk can do, it's up to housekeeping at that point. And if they get a lot of those requests (as they often do), some are unable to be honored.

Tiffany
11-13-2004, 01:14 PM
Originally posted by MartDM
The point you missed however was that nobody even TRIED to make our request happen. We gave them four and half hours lead time and nobody on staff cared enough to even contact housekeeping to relay the request. It fell on deaf ears & was completely ignored. THAT is the bad customer service aspect.


How do you know that nobody even "TRIED"? Just because your request was not granted does not mean that nobody tried. You are assuming nobody tried because your request was not granted but you do not know.

There are hundreds of guests checking in and out on any given day and hundreds of those are arriving before 3pm. I would venture that the majority of those people arriving before 3pm have "requested" an early check-in.

There have been times at the BWI back in 1999 for one when we did not get our room until 4pm even though we notified them of arriving before 3pm. This does not mean that no one tried it just ment that it was not granted.

We have stayed AKL Concierge twice and arrived before noon both times and we were able to get into our rooms upon arrival both times.

I chalk this up to luck as I am sure many different things fell into place for us to be able to get into our room so early.

WDW LifeLong Fan
11-13-2004, 01:22 PM
Originally posted by flyball
I'm positive she suspected that she was the reason, because she rather guiltily asked why we had changed our minds (especially since both restaurants were serving the same menu). I simply replied that the atmosphere at Jiko was more to our liking! I'm certain that she thought we were going to complain, but we didn't.


You are a much nicer person than I am....I would have told her that "SHE" was reason we were going to dine elsewhere!:rolleyes:

MartDM
11-13-2004, 02:40 PM
Originally posted by Tiffany
How do you know that nobody even "TRIED"?

I'm assuming nothing. As I previously stated, it was clear that nobody "TRIED" because neither bell services or housekeeping had been made aware of our request during the four hours between our having checked in and our return to the hotel at 2:30pm. Bell services confirmed to us that neither department had been made aware of our request.

Not even bothering to relay a request to the departments who can fulfill it = not trying. It's quite simple really.

Had they made the effort and not been able to get us into our room I certainly would have understood but, for the nearly $2K we spent during our 4 day stay, I expect basic services such as "TRYING" to accomodate guest requests which is reasonable and it's a disappointment when it doesn't happen.

lookingforward
11-13-2004, 04:23 PM
I had a rude experience at Bomas as well. We had a priority 8:15 and showed up at 7:30 hoping to get in early, but the women who we spoke with laughed and pointed to the crowd and said "no way!" (which I thought was rude but let it go) so we said fine and went upstairs to have a drink. At 8:20 my husband went down and the same women was there and she said "You have a 8:45 time NOT 8:15. My husband spoke with the manager and he sat us right away. When we walked by to be seated that women pointed at us to her friend.

As far as getting into your room early...I have stayed in the concierge rooms and quite honestly I feel that special requests could and should be granted for these guests. They are paying quite a bit more for their rooms and every effort should be made to accomodate. Asking for a room early (one hour) is not that difficult. I have done that and they simply change my room assignment if the room that is under my reservation is still being cleaned or occupied. Just my opinion.

Ladyhawke10
11-13-2004, 05:38 PM
Originally posted by Chip 'n Dale Express
The request is done through the computer, and it's a "fixed request" meaning it can be done with just a few keystrokes, unnoticed by the guest. After that, there's not much else the front desk can do, it's up to housekeeping at that point. And if they get a lot of those requests (as they often do), some are unable to be honored.

Hi Chip N' Dale Express,

I saw that you are a cast member :). How awesome. My cousin is one at Disneyland and has really enjoyed the experience!

I was wondering if you had any info on if there was some kind of computer problem at AKL back in November 2003 when we stayed in concierge. The reason being, we'd stayed in regular rooms (savannah and pool views) before and always had a exceptionally great experience--no problems to speak of.

Like I mentioned a few posts above, on our concierge stay there were, quite strangely, a number of what seemed like technical problems...reservations lost, being checked out prematurely and put off the lists for housekeeping and turndown service, being overcharged...even our original reservation for the hotel itself did not show record of the deposit and was dropped. I had to reinstate it (this happened weeks before our check in date) and it was kind of scary because we hadn't been notified and had plane reservations. Luckily I called to make a room location request and found out our reservation had been dropped! The CM told me that on one day (I believe it was in Sept of 2003) all the reservations were lost in a massive computer upset. I thought this was weird, but more so when we actually had our stay and all those technical glitches happened as well. The resort itself was as wonderful as ever...but can you tell me, was there a computer problem going on there? Has it been fixed? We are planning another (non-concierge) stay, and I love it at AKL, but I'm worried about what was going on late last year with the reservations and the like.


I am amazed about all the reports about this Boma waitress! I have heard how wonderful Boma is many times and was going to try it. I'll tell you if she's still there!! :) We've tried Jiko and Mara several times, but I hadn't done Boma yet because it always seemed like more food than I could eat!! :)

Thanks for info!princess:

flyball
11-13-2004, 06:48 PM
Originally posted by Ladyhawke10
Hi Chip N' Dale Express,

I am amazed about all the reports about this Boma waitress! I have heard how wonderful Boma is many times and was going to try it. I'll tell you if she's still there!! :) We've tried Jiko and Mara several times, but I hadn't done Boma yet because it always seemed like more food than I could eat!! :)


Please don't refrain from trying Boma because of one bad apple. The food is delicious, and there's something festive about dining there. I have to admit that the other accounts of this rude greeter sound consistent with our experience. It was really surprising, because she was from Africa, and all the other visiting CMs seemed genuinely happy to be at the AKL providing the services they were providing. I should have reported her, because nobody deserves to be treated in such a demeaning way, especially when customers are not provoking such behavior!

johnsonet
11-13-2004, 07:27 PM
I agree that you should not let this "undesirable" keep you from trying Boma. It is so much fun and so delicious! I have eaten there 4 times in the past 13 months and never had any problem whatsoever. I hope I don't next month either.:eek:

MrsJ Henry
11-13-2004, 09:25 PM
MartDM: We are also from the Syracuse area.... Manlius.
We will be staying at the AKL in a couple days.
Just thought I'd stop and say Hi Neighbor.:)

MartDM
11-13-2004, 10:36 PM
Hey neighbor! I used to work in Manlius!

I'm sure you will really enjoy AKL...it's quite a different experience from a typical hotel and I really enjoyed just relaxing & watching the animals! Be sure to try to have dinner at Jiko...it was stupendous!

Have a safe & happy trip & let me know if you have any questions! My email is martdm@email.com.

Chip 'n Dale Express
11-14-2004, 12:30 AM
Originally posted by Ladyhawke10
there were, quite strangely, a number of what seemed like technical problems...reservations lost, being checked out prematurely and put off the lists for housekeeping and turndown service, being overcharged...even our original reservation for the hotel itself did not show record of the deposit and was dropped. I had to reinstate it (this happened weeks before our check in date) and it was kind of scary because we hadn't been notified and had plane reservations. Luckily I called to make a room location request and found out our reservation had been dropped! The CM told me that on one day (I believe it was in Sept of 2003) all the reservations were lost in a massive computer upset. I thought this was weird, but more so when we actually had our stay and all those technical glitches happened as well. The resort itself was as wonderful as ever...but can you tell me, was there a computer problem going on there? Has it been fixed?

I haven't the faintest clue as to what was up with all of that, but I can imagine it was probably a one time computer glitch. Keep in mind, our reservations and property management system dates back to 1980. It's an ENORMOUSLY complex program... so much that, when we hired a company to modernize and re-do it for a Windows environment, they worked on it for two years, and then just gave up, saying it was far too complex for them. (This wasn't a small company either)

At any rate, it's possible that the data file that contained your reservation got corrupted, and then as such, didn't download properly to the resorts computer, thus causing the later problems. Cancelling and re-booking the package usually fixes this problem, and can be done by the back office.

LJP
11-14-2004, 04:48 AM
DH and i were at AKL 5 weeks ago for our second stay. Our only problem we encountered was the "turndown" service, or should that be renamed "non existant turndown" service. We phoned and got it the 1st night, very lovely, especially the yummie mint choccies but despite phoning each day for the same the next 2 nights, it just never happened. We were really disappointed and a little annoyed. If you phone up to request something, then it should happen. We were going to complain, but to be honest something sad had happened at home and my mind was elsewhere. Anyone else have this happen to them?

wendylovesdisney
11-14-2004, 07:09 AM
It seems like dis'ers are attacking MartDM for stating facts.
C'mon people lighten up.
And I understand his concern/issues completely. MartDM's emails are clear and to the point and I agree he could have expected a little better customer service.
Enough said.
-Wendy

Ladyhawke10
11-14-2004, 11:40 AM
Originally posted by Chip 'n Dale Express

At any rate, it's possible that the data file that contained your reservation got corrupted, and then as such, didn't download properly to the resorts computer, thus causing the later problems. Cancelling and re-booking the package usually fixes this problem, and can be done by the back office.

Thank you! That makes sense, I'm sure that's what must have happened. It's good to actually "know" since it felt like computer twilight zone for us :). We are staying again next summer (2005) and are really excited. We will try Boma for sure, since we haven't as of yet :).