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Old 10-12-2012, 12:09 PM   #1
cjj120
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Smile Wilderness Lodge or Animal Kingdom?

Hello everybody! We are a family of 4 with 2 boys who will be 6yo and 4yo when we go to Disney for the first time in Oct of 2013. We had originally planned on staying at the CR or Poly for the convience factor to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot but I just found out from our travel agent that both the Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom are $1000 less. Needless to say we are now considering both of those locations. We are planning one day at MK, one day at Epcot, one day at the Animal Kingdom, one day at Hollywood Studios and we going to spend one day at the resort/downtown Disney. We are also planning on going to MNSSHP during the course of our trip. I would love to hear some input from others as to where you think we should stay. Thanks in advance!!!
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:49 PM   #2
mobesfamily
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We just returned last Saturday from AKL, 10 days, 4yo twin girls. We absolutely LOVED it! The first thing people will say about AKL is how beautiful it is and the second will be how far away from everything it it. First statement TRUE, second statement FALSE. Our longest bus ride to MK (the farthest park) was 23 minutes and that was out of probably 10 rides total. AK was 5 min, Epcot & HS only 10-15 minute ride.
We loved that it was like NOT being in Disney, we were truly on a vacation. The only time it was noisy was walking past Boma in the evenings. The pool was never crowded, the QS (Mara) was never crowded. We had an Arusha savanna view which was awesome but there are lots of public viewing areas. The girls did a marshmallow roast by Arusha Rock one night and tried night vision goggles another night. We did not try the Kids' Club but heard it was great. The staff is very helpful (front desk also never crowded, even on check in) & knowledgeable about the animals/Africa. Our Mousekeeper was the BEST! She left towel animals every day even incorporated the girls own "lovies" in some of her work & wrote them a lovely note on our last day (she got a big bonus in her tip envelope). We came home & booked another trip for Feb 2013.
We did check out Wilderness lodge when we went to Whispering Canyon for dinner and loved the scenery just as much (saw several deer on our way in) and it would be the only other hotel we would consider.
Good luck!
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Old 10-12-2012, 01:35 PM   #3
Ccann
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I stayed at WL in 2010, and we're staying AKL Nov 1st-8th 2012... I will be able to compare the 2 when I get back,... I loved WL and it was fun taking the boat to MK. The longest ride on the buses for us was the AK not bad though. Loved looking at the stops along the way.

Have no idea what to expect with AKL but I am excited. If MK is your favorite park I would recommend WL just because it is so cool going from lodge to park on the water. I'll swing back by when I return on the 8th
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Old 10-12-2012, 01:43 PM   #4
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Having stayed at Both I would say you can not go wrong with either. But I think I would go with WL-the boat to MK is great. I think the transportaion is a little better.

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Old 10-12-2012, 01:48 PM   #5
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We have stayed at both and they are both great resorts, designed by the same person, we lean towards WL because of the boat ride, the beautiful view of the lake which makes you feel like your in the middle of nowhere, and the close proximity to other resorts which gives you multiple dining options. The pool at AKL is much larger and even though you have to take a bus everywhere we have had good experience with bus service.
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:19 PM   #6
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We have stayed at both as well and loved them for different reasons.

AKL - perfect if your kids like animals. Looking out of your balcony and seeing giraffes! I mean, where else can you really get that?? Food choices are good, pool is wonderful, grounds are spacious. Transportation is only via bus, but never a long wait (at least in our experience).

WL - a bit more "adult," if you ask me, although certainly activities for kids. If you like national parks like Yellowstone, you'd like this place. Boat ride to MK is sweet. Water parade goes by the beach each evening. Food is also good, although "food court" is very small. Pool is fine.

Love them both!! Have a wonderful time.
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:45 PM   #7
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I have stayed at both. They are both wonderful resorts. WL is closer to MK and AKL is closer to AK. They are both about the same distance from the other parks. Look at the pictures and pick the one that most apeals to you. Allears.net has tons of resort photos.
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Old 10-13-2012, 09:53 AM   #8
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We have stayed at AKL three times and WL once. Both are great but we prefer AKL. The resort is just beautiful. My boys never get tired of looking at the animals. They love sitting around the fire pit at night and hanging out by the Savannah. You can use night vision goggles to watch the animals at night. The pool at Kidani is one of our favorites. The slide is bigger than the slide at WL and the splash area is fun.
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Old 10-13-2012, 10:32 AM   #9
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Agree that you can't go wrong with either choices. I have also stayed at WL once and AKL about 3-4 times, and enjoyed both resorts immensely. I prefer AKL more because I love seeing the animals, but the Geiser action at WL is equally impressive.

Definitely check out the photos from allears to help you make the decision. You can also see if your kids have a preference after showing them the photos. (It can be a fun process making a joined decision with the kids). The boat from WL to MK is convenient, but I have never found AKL bus system to be inconvenient either.

Either way have a great trip!
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:07 AM   #10
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Akl

My favorite resort is Animal Kingdom Lodge. I love the animals, even if we don't have a savannah view, there are lots of places to see the animals. I love the lobby, it smells so good. I love the food court, the butternut squash soup from Mara or Boma is my favorite food at WDW. I also love talking to the cast members. There are lots of cast members from Africa and we usually spend a lot of time talking to them and learning interesting things about whatever country they are from.
We have also stayed at Wilderness Lodge and it was nice, but I would always rather stay at AKL.
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Old 10-13-2012, 02:35 PM   #11
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AKL is definitely my favorite resort right now - totally unique! I would recommend AKL first - as it has so many activities for kids and so much to offer. That said if a MK location is important to you - WL is a beautiful, relaxing resort and a convenient boat to the MK.
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Old 10-13-2012, 09:17 PM   #12
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We have stayed at WL and AKL each once. We absolutely loved AKL and would definitely stay there again! We were "eh" about WL.

There were only 2 of us when we stayed at WL and the rooms still felt really small. 4 of us at AKL did not feel cramped at all.

The pool at WL was jam packed and there was no where to sit (the only wdw resort pool we have ever had a bad experience). The AKL pool was great. (WL in March, later than college spring break and 3ish weeks before Easter; we've also stayed at CR, BWI and YC in March closer to Easter and pools were good. AKL was in mid-August.)

The boat from WL is scenic but not fast. We did not have any trouble at all with busses from AKL. And going to MK from AKL is not any different time-wise than going to AK from a MK-area resort.

For disclosure: MK is our favorite park so we spend the most time there every trip. We also spend a good bit of time at Epcot, especially in the evenings for dinner. The Poly has been our favorite resort for years, followed by CR. AKL is now right there with them (and BWI). I would also put YC & GF in front of WL out of resorts where we've stayed.

That said, all WDW resorts are wonderful in their own ways and appeal to a wide variety of tastes. No matter where you stay, you'll have a fabulous time (WL wasn't a "wow" for us but didn't have a negative effect on our trip). I'd say look at photos and see which one appeals to you more. Have fun!
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Old 10-13-2012, 09:54 PM   #13
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Last week when we were at AK I took a ride over to AKL to check it out and loved the way it smelled! Like a fireplace I wonder though what is the difference between Jambo and the other section (can't recall the name). How do you choose where to stay? Can you walk to Mara quickly from the other village?
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Old 10-14-2012, 08:06 AM   #14
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Kidani is vacation club. Jambo has some vacation club but mostly it is just a normal Disney World Hotel.
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Old 10-15-2012, 12:32 PM   #15
cjj120
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Thank You

Thanks to everybody for sharing their experiences and opinions it has definately given us food for thought!!!!
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