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Disneygirl 792 01-08-2013 03:05 PM

AKL or WL help me decide
Hi all. Dh and I have been thinking of going to WDW in May but can't seem to decide on a resort. We like both the AKL and WL and will be the first time staying at either. We were thinking about the standard room. Can my fellow DISers help us out?

blue65829 01-08-2013 03:09 PM

We've gone adults only and stayed both at AKL and WL (pool view at AKL and woods at WL).

We LOVED WL far more than AKL, everything from the pool, to the counter service and general layout of the resort, as well as room decor etc., but I have to say that it is all very subjective and personal, they are equal IMO in terms of services, with the exception of the fact that WL has a boat to the MK (very handy) wheras AKL is buses to everything.

Ultimately WL felt more like a romantic resort getaway to us, but I'm sure a lot of people got great vibes from AKL!

grimley1968 01-08-2013 03:09 PM

Will do my best.

- Both resorts were designed by the same architect, were built nearly the same time, and have very similar costs.
- AKL requires bus rides to all parks. WL offers a boat ride to MK (and to Fort Wilderness and Contemporary).
- AKL of course lets you see exotic animals. WL offers the national park lodge theme.

We've never stayed at AKL, but love WL, for its theming, the nice rooms, the boat service to MK, and fairly nice bus service to other parks (or MK if you prefer that to a boat).

Belle83 01-08-2013 03:31 PM

If you want a king bed, you have to upgrade to a woods view at WL. At AKL, you can request a king bed in the standard category. Just something to think about :)

I think I would pick AKL, but that's just because I like the theming a little more. I'm also more interested in the restaurants at AKL than the ones at WL.

SimplyGoofy 01-08-2013 06:12 PM


It was a BEAUTIFUL resort, watching the animals was super fun, and the pool was very nice. It also has three great places to eat (four if you count Sanaa at next-door Kidani Village), and all of them have food you can't buy elsewhere. I never thought it took very long to get to any of the parks. Finally, the cast members there were wonderful!

Although I'm staying at CSR this time, I think I'll have to stop by AKL just to have lunch and look around. :goodvibes

JuliaNC 01-08-2013 06:51 PM

I have stayed at both, and do prefer AKL. They are somewhat similar in decor, but I really enjoy the food at AKL much more than WL. From the quick service at Mara to the swanky Jiko, the food is really yummy and different and comes in every price range. (If you prefer straight American food like BBQ, etc, WL may be better as AKL runs more towards African and Indian flavors. But there is plenty of standard Disney fare too.) Also, you have access to 2 theme pools at AKL, both Jambo House and Kidani have great pools, although we usually hang at Kidani as it has the cool play area with water cannons, etc that my boys love. I thought the standard room was bigger at AKL too, and ending the day watching the animals, from your own deck or one of the great hotel ones, is awesome. Would also note the buses may be longer from AKL than the transportation from WL, but the buses are all direct (no sharing with another resort or campground) and run frequently whenever I have gone. Have a great trip wherever you stay! Also, if you are considering villas the one bedroom ones at Kidani have 2 bathrooms, which is great when you are cramming your family of 5 in there! (2 bedrooms have 3!) :)

tinkgurl 01-08-2013 07:45 PM

I think it depends on what park you want to be closer to. With WL, you are closer to the MK and MK Resorts. With AKL, you are closer to AK. They are both beautiful Resorts, so I don't think you can go wrong with either. We personally love WL.

mickeynut1 01-08-2013 08:16 PM

We've stayed at both and both are great resorts, with WL having a slight edge over AKL for us only because we prefer being in the MK area. But with that said, AKL is just as great a resort, IMO. We haven't had a standard view at AKL, but we have stayed in a pool view as well as savanna view and loved both. We liked our pool view just as much as the savanna view, especially since pool view is only about $10 more a night than standard. Our pool view room was conveniently located to the lobby, gift shop, and the elevator to take down to the pool and Mara. At WL we've stayed courtyard and standard CL and both were great. If you like being close to MK, WL would be the way to go; if you want a resort that is somewhat quiet and away from everything, AKL would be great. We never had any issues with transportation at either resort. Good luck deciding, but I don't think you can go wrong with either one as they are both great places to stay.

Woth2982 01-08-2013 09:04 PM

I stayed at WL in 2008 and am staying at AKL in three weeks. Very excited to be trying AKL. Loved WL and would not hesitate to go back. My friend owns DVC and we are planning a girls trip since her DD (7) wants me to go to Disney with them, and are looking at staying at WL then.

GrumpyBelle 01-08-2013 10:06 PM

We love AKL!!!! It is our favorite resort. One perk is that the buses do not share with the other resorts.

AshleeH 01-09-2013 12:17 AM

We preferred AKL - the savanna view was amazing! The ambiance was wonderful and I felt like it was a real vacation. WL is themed like the area we live in, so I didn't feel like I was on vacation at all and the room (a 1br) was weirdly configured and the view had us staring right at our neighbors, which was awkward and made me want to keep the curtains closed at all times. They were always in their room or on their balcony the same time we were and it was like we were sharing a room/balcony.

WL did have the best QS out of the places we've stayed - we loved the breakfast options.

jfk4 01-09-2013 12:55 AM

I've stayed at both resorts, and while I enjoyed AKL I wouldn't stay there again. AKL felt a little like a penitentiary to me. At night large stadium lights illuminate the savannah, and the fences made things feel a little claustrophobic. The Wilderness Lodge, on the other hand, feels much more open.

I also like to run, and the trails around WL and Fort Wilderness are much better.

abekennedy 01-09-2013 02:44 AM

I have a soft spot for WL. Growing up and visiting that hotel always brings back amazing memories. Such a beautiful lobby. It's breathtaking. AKL is gorgeous as well and the food there is great. But I prefer WL for location and the overall feel.

ExpatDisneyLover 01-09-2013 10:32 AM

I love AKL - it is one of my favorite resorts - :goodvibes - just nothing quite like being able to see giraffe etc. I love the restaurants and secluded feel. I did an informal poll here and it did indicate that people were upgraded 50% of the time when they booked a standard room at AKL - I was one of those but I would have been happy even if I had be given a standard view. There were loads of places to watch the animals and take in the beauty of the resort without having a savannah view from my balcony. I decided I would book standard view in the future and would be happy with a standard view - and pool view is not much more at AKL. So if you haven't yet experienced the uniqueness of a stay at AKL I would highly recommend it!

On the other side - I love the ambiance at WL and if I wanted to be nearer to MK would definitely choose WL. I love the boat transportation - being close to the monorail is also a plus - easy to get to Fort Wilderness to see Hoop de Doo - lots of restaurants nearby.

Either one would be great IMO - so for me I would go with whichever theme appealed to me more at the time and preferred location. Have a great trip! Both resorts are very special!

pepe of ohio 01-09-2013 10:41 AM


Originally Posted by jfk4
I've stayed at both resorts, and while I enjoyed AKL I wouldn't stay there again. AKL felt a little like a penitentiary to me. At night large stadium lights illuminate the savannah, and the fences made things feel a little claustrophobic. The Wilderness Lodge, on the other hand, feels much more open.

I also like to run, and the trails around WL and Fort Wilderness are much better.

I agree about the caged feeling... We've stayed at both, WL over 10 trips, AKL once.... didn't care at all for AKL and ever go back, just not my cup of tea and hated the remote location and constant bus travel...

We're fans of the MK and nothing beats an early morning boat to the MK or FW for some terrific buffet breakfast.... Looking out at the lakes, always a pleasant breeze coming over the water makes WL so quaint and refreshing... And for me, animals belong in their natural environments, not in zoos or lent up....

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