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Old 02-02-2013, 04:31 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 83


I keep going back and forth between AOA and SOG. Our dates are Aug 20-26. AOA would be a suite (right now the LK and Cars suites are available with military discount of 30& off). No dining plan. SOG is $86 a night/$96 with pool view with $5 parking. AOA is more than double of what we would pay for at SOG.

From reading I am assuming that we would have to take a bus to the parks if we stay at AOA. I have looked at tons of pictures and my kids would LOVE AOA (girls, ages 3,5,9).

SOG we would walk to the Poly or to the TTC and go from there. SOG has a mickey shaped pool.

WWYD? Save the cash and stay at SOG? Is the extra cost worth staying at AOA?

We have the military salute 4 day park hopper passes and I want 1 day for a pool/DTD day. No matter where we stay our plan will probably be Rope drop til after lunch, then pool time/nap time, then hit the parks again in the evening. I am not sure how my 3 year old will handle the heat (she has had open heart surgery twice) so I plan to take a break in the afternoon. DH can always stay with my other two in the parks if they want to. I will have a stroller for my 3 year old (Maclaren) that I can easily fold up to get on a bus.

Please help me decide!!!
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Old 02-02-2013, 05:29 PM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Raleigh, NC
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We just got back from an excellent week-long stay at SoG, and also spent a little time walking around AoA (after spending the first night of our trip at Pop Century), so ... I actually probably can't help with your decision! I'd have a tough time with that choice, too.

SoG is a wonderful hotel with excellent service and HUGE rooms (bigger than non-villa deluxe, I believe). It has a very peaceful feel to it. It's nice being able to walk to the Poly and catch the monorail -- but bear in mind this will add about 15 minutes (or more, with 3 kids and only one in a stroller) to your travel time each way, and it's a walking 15 minutes, not sitting/standing on a bus. But it's a very pleasant walk early in the morning. (Oh, and if you like coffee, SoG has a Starbucks stand! REAL coffee! We stopped by every morning.) The Garden Grill offers a very affordable breakfast buffet, too. Make sure you're aware of the bus schedule when planning your day.

AoA has really amazing, fun theming, and the one pool we saw, Nemo, looked like a blast. I'll say that we really did not like Pop at ALL and would not stay there again -- way too spread out, and the cafeteria in the morning was a complete zoo. We've stayed at deluxes and moderates before, but this was our first value experience, and it did not make a good impression... but that said, I'd still consider an AoA stay when my kids are a little older, if they expressed an interest in it. It definitely has the Disney "feel" to a high degree, which SoG doesn't have as much, so it really depends on how much of that you want.

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Old 02-02-2013, 05:39 PM   #3
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I know the dollars of difference hurts a bit.

If you don't think the kids with have a revolt against you, stay at Shades of Green so that next time you can put your savings towards that trip when the youngest is a little bit older.

If this is the only trip you will make in the next 5 years, then do AOA for the kid's sake.
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Old 02-02-2013, 05:56 PM   #4
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Seattle, WA
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My girls really have no idea what Disney has to offer. We have taken my 9 year old to Disneyland and to Disney World several times but in Disney World we always stayed in DTD and drove to the parks. She was just a toddler and doesn't really remember much about it.

We live in Seattle right now (Military), so I honestly don't know if we will go in the next 5 years or not. My husband is getting ready to retire next year so I'm not sure where life will take us. I grew up going to Disney World and have been more time than I can count as a child. I'm not sure if we ever stayed on site as my mom doesn't remember and I haven't seen any pictures.

I'm leaning towards SOG. My 5 year old is a good walker and prefers to walk. So, the walk to the Poly isn't a big deal. I would rather walk than stand in line for a bus. I thought about getting a 2nd Maclaren but I don't think that she will want to ride in it. I have a big Phil & Ted with a 2nd seat, but I don't want to drag it across the country with me. I'll be in Florida for about 6 weeks and have no need for it other than at Disney.

I keep thinking how fun AOA will be for them, but i'm not sure that we will be at the resort enough to make the cost worth while.
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:21 PM   #5
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I would probably go with SOG. It is half the price and the location is just awesome! It is so close to the monorail that it makes getting to the MK and Epcot really easy. Plus your trip will probably be pretty park intensive. Your kids will love that you are at Disney. They will think SOG is great because they don't know anything different.
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:17 PM   #6
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We had a great stay at SOG a couple years ago. It's a very nice hotel, large clean rooms, housekeeping was great, and it has a quiet, calm atmosphere (which is a really nice break after leaving the parks).

I have not stayed at AOA, but we were considering it for our upcoming trip, so I have researched it quite a bit.

I can think of two potential cons for SOG:
1. Lack of theming (which some may actually prefer).
2. Lack of quick service dining options. There is a lounge near the pool that serves food, but it is a limited menu. Other than that you have a couple sit down restaurants, room service, ice cream shop, and a coffee bar that has some snacks.

We found the walk to the Poly monorail to be a nice transportation option when staying at SOG. The walkway is quiet and pretty and was a nice relaxing time for us, especially in the evenings (and we had small kids in tow also). We also used the SOG buses without any issues, you just need to be aware of the bus schedules.

I'm sure your girls would love the theming at AOA, but for half the price, I think I would pick SOG over AOA. You can always stop by AOA and have a look around. That's what we're planning to do.

Whichever you choose, I'm sure you'll have a great trip!
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:22 PM   #7
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Join Date: Apr 2012
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We have only stayed at SOG once but will never stay again due to the lack of "Disney magic". We had stayed at Disney resorts before and after our SOG stay and there's just no comparison. SOG is a fantastic hotel, great lobby, pool- top notch and so nice that it is an option for military families. However while Disney is running the military room discount, I would take advantage of it and surprise your little ones with AoA. Disney has been offering the military discount for quite some time now but has been rumored to be trying to phase it out (use to be a 5 day salute ticket option) I have no doubt that you would enjoy SOG but at the end of the day it's just a hotel, I would take advantage of the room discount and stay onsite. Maybe even consider POR, sleeps five for around the same price and is 35% off since its a moderate resort.

May 2014 BWI/ Poly CL
May 2013 AoA/ Poly CL Nov 2013 Pop
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Dec 2010 POR May 2010 POR
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:12 PM   #8
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We just returned today from a 5 night stay at SOG. I really enjoyed the resort. It is very relaxing and I liked the fact that the prices weren't outrageous on things like ice cream, starbucks, etc. Plus no tax is a big perk! The daybed was huge for me because my kids didn't have to share a bed. The balcony was a nice place to unwind at night.

I was in a similar situation as you. I actually had AoA booked, but in the end I just couldn't bring myself to spend that much money (almost as much as deluxe and more than moderate) when the only transportation option that I had was a bus. I really enjoyed SOG. It is hard to beat for the money. We walked over to the Polynesian quite often. We enjoyed walking over there at night and watching wishes on the beach and getting a dole whip. They also have a golf cart (shady shuttle) at bell services and they are happy to drive you to the end of the entrance which is across the street from the polynesian. My kids really got a kick out of this. Finally, the buses run every 20 min to the TTC so that is also a nice option when you are going to epcot or magic kingdom. They also have buses that run to the other parks and downtown disney, but you just need to be aware of their schedule since they aren't as often.

I agree with what most people have said. You basically need to decide how much "theming" of the resort is worth to you. SOG is very relaxing with waterfalls, gazebos, and wildlife throughout. You are also surrounded by the golf course. That said, there isn't a lot to remind you that you are at Disney (I actually kind of liked that). Whatever you decide, I am sure you will have a wonderful time! Good luck and enjoy your trip!
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