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Old 09-16-2012, 09:33 AM   #1
Earning My Ears
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Bay Lake Towers vs. Animal Kingdom Lodge

Hi! Our daughter is currently working at Animal Kingdom on the CP so we are planning to visit her in December. We have booked a Deluxe Studio at Bay Lake Towers but DH really wants to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge. I was hoping someone could give us some pros and cons for each to help us make our decision. Would a split stay be worth it? We're not concerned about the bus service since we'll have a car. We always stay at Pop Century, but since the CM discounts are so generous we figured we'd step it up a bit and go deluxe this trip! Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 09-16-2012, 09:45 AM   #2
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Those are my two favorite resorts with a slight edge to AKL. I think you will be happy with either of them.

What I like about BLT
-walk to MK
-Monorail to EPCOT (you have to switch trains at the ticket and transportation center - this I dislike)
-Close to Contemporary services - coffee shop, pool,
-It is very busy at the Contemporary, but you are out of the main hustle and bustle at BLT
-The view are nice
-The theming is a bit plain

What I like about AKL
-The animals are amazing
-when you leave the park you feel like you are in a completely different place
-Mara is much better than your average quick service place
-the two pools are nicer - especially the pool bars
-The rooms are really nice - I like the decor
-Saana is great - one of my most favorite places to ear
-Boma is great too

Good luck with your choice.

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Old 09-16-2012, 09:47 AM   #3
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My choice would be AKL. We've never stayed at BLT, but we've enjoyed our stays at AKL . AKL is a beautiful resort and is nicely decorated during the holidays. We love just walking around the resort taking everything in, as well as watching the animals roam the savannas. AKL is kind of out away from everything so, IMO, it offers a quiet, relaxing atmosphere .

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Old 09-16-2012, 09:51 AM   #4
Earning My Ears
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Well said Joy! Thank you so much for the information. My DH disliked the plain feel of BLT compared to the great theme at AKL. I think we may be switching our reservation to AKL because it seems like we would feel more like we were staying at a Disney resort and not a plain hotel. I was somewhat swayed by the allure of easy access to the monorail and MK though!
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Old 09-16-2012, 10:39 AM   #5
Earning My Ears
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We loved, loved, loved AKL. Headed to BLT in just a couple of days so it has a lot to live up to but we wanted to be close to the MK and DS loves the monorail. AKL has been my favorite so far though!
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:00 AM   #6
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We stayed at BLT last month. We usually stay at the Polynesian. We had the one bedroom. Even though we booked the Bay Lake View, we ended up looking at Bay Lake, and the MK. I understand that people feel that the decor and the building itself might be boring. However, I loved the room and the modern decor. Having two bathroom for the five of us was fantastic. I really enjoyed the quick service meals at the Contempo Cafe. My two DSs loved watching the Monorail pass by while we were eating, and the food was great for a quick meal. Bay Lake Tower was great!

Last edited by LJRJR; 09-16-2012 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 09-16-2012, 12:16 PM   #7
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AKL all the way

My husband and I have done a split stay between BLT and AKL-Jambo and strongly prefer AKL. The rooms at BLT (studio villas) are tiny. Smaller than POP. We had quality issues at BLT as well that we have never had at any oher Disney resort (faulty mattress and showerhead). The one strong pro to BLT is the proximity to the Magic Kingdom. Everything else - food options, pool, theme, cast members, room size, quality, has been better each time we have stayed at AKL!
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:53 AM   #8
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Please help!!!

We are DVC members and have stayed at a few of the resorts. We are coming and taking some good friends and their kids with us. They have
never been to disney any of them. They have 2 boys ages 9 & 5. We want
to show them an amazing time. Please help me select the best resort.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:08 AM   #9
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AKL is an experience you can't get just anywhere. I travel frequently for work and IMO, CR has the same feel as many upscale, contemporary hotels in most cities.

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Old 01-07-2013, 11:44 AM   #10
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There is nothing like waking up in the morning to see animals right out your door! It is my favorite memory from our first family vacation. You can not beat AKL for its theming. I likeBLT but only for its location and that all. Walking around AKL looking for the giraffes & zebras . The food court has a great selection of food. We had breakfast at Boma it was great. The stories by the camp fire with the African music. My favorite trip so far. If you are not using the buses and have a car I would go with AKL. I would stay there again but I want to try out BC my husband keeps saying what about AKL when we discus our planning

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Old 01-07-2013, 11:53 AM   #11
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If you are stuck between the two I would choose Bay Lake Towers! It has the monorail to magic kingdom and has boats that go to a park (can't remember if its HS or EPCOT). Overall you will be closer to all the parks in BLT, AKL is very isolated, the only park its close to is AK. Hope you find this helpful!
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:03 PM   #12
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I'd like to stay at BLT, but I think you have to plan kind of far out for it and I tend to make plans late. One day it would be great to stay there. The pools look pretty cool.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:47 PM   #13
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AKL is my favorite DVC resort, but I've done split-stays at BLT for the last trip, and this upcoming one as well, and BLT has become my second-favorite resort. How either on would work for you all comes down to preferences.

BLT has the convenience of walking to MK and monorail or boat access to all of the dining and entertainment options of the MK-area resorts. The decor is very contemporary and slick, and the Mickey touches are subtle. The biggest down side IMO, is that the studios are kind of small.

AKL studios are more spacious. The decor is warm and well-themed, with loads of dark-stained carved wood, and the like. The biggest draw here is the animals, and there are plenty of viewing points throughout the resort. I am also in love with the lobby at AKL-Jambo House, and before I got DVC would carve a couple of hours out of my vaction to come over to AKL and just relax in that lobby (usually before a good dinner at Boma). The dining options at AKL are not extensive, but they are excellent. I love Boma for both dinner and breakfast, and I think that Sanaa is the best casual TS on property.

As much as I love having all that fantastic dining (and drinking ) readily available at BLT, for me personally, the Feel of AKL wins out. YMMV.
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Old 01-11-2013, 09:38 AM   #14
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If it is just the two of you, BLT studio will be okay. But if you have anyone else with you, you'll really want something larger. The BLT studio is the smallest of all the DVC studios other than the AKV Value studio at Jambo House. At BLT, most of the space is in the bathroom and the hallway into the villa. The living space is very tight.

Oh, and there is only one tower at this time at Bay Lake Tower.
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Old 01-11-2013, 03:34 PM   #15
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We have stayed at both and we are a house divided. Depending on what your party wants to do and which parks you enjoy the most would change my answer.

walking to MK and from MK is priceless
love the hustle and bustle, middle of it all feeling
close to services and eats
on the monorail and boat access to WL/FW
sterile/boring pool
seeing the castle at every time you go to the elevator
being able to see the fireworks every night
easy access to GF and Poly for other dining experiences
we loved the Modern Decor and were pleasantly surprised
we had a water/pool view and enjoyed the water pageant each night
good QS

truly transported to another place - the theme and decor are outstanding
long walk from Kidani to QS Mara
the animals
wonderful TS with Saana, Boma and Jiko
great resort activities for all ages
good bus service - we have stayed 2 and had wonderful service, no problems or long waits
does feel more remote from the rest of the "world"
close to AK if that is one of your favorite places to spend time
2 wonderful pools with fun for kids and adults alike

We love the staff at AKL much better than CR-BLT for many reasons. I would stay at both again in a heartbeat. You can not go wrong. If it was just my DH and I we would stay at AKL. If it was still us with our young kids BLT all the way - my animal loving son would choose it too, he loved being so close to MK. A hard choice but an awesome one either way!
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