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Old 02-05-2013, 09:41 AM   #1
SumWhrOvrThRanBo
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Art of Animation or Bay Lake Tower-- what would you do!!?

Yes two VERY different options, however that is what I have it narrowed down to. We are a family of seven (six & a baby) planning our very first WDW family vacation. I'm deciding between a family suite at AOA & renting DVC points for a 2 bedroom villa at BLT. I absolutely adore AOA theming- you are just emerged in Disney, I have read that BLT is more fancy and stuffy, more like staying at a Hilton? I love that BLT has the moneral & it's proximity to the Majic Kingdom. I love that BLT has character dining, although I like the grab & go options offered at AOA. My biggest hang-up is giving up any promotions given (especially free dining) if they are offered Nd I choose BLT over AOA. What would you do!!?
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:50 AM   #2
Deb & Bill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SumWhrOvrThRanBo View Post
Yes two VERY different options, however that is what I have it narrowed down to. We are a family of seven (six & a baby) planning our very first WDW family vacation. I'm deciding between a family suite at AOA & renting DVC points for a 2 bedroom villa at BLT. I absolutely adore AOA theming- you are just emerged in Disney, I have read that BLT is more fancy and stuffy, more like staying at a Hilton? I love that BLT has the moneral & it's proximity to the Majic Kingdom. I love that BLT has character dining, although I like the grab & go options offered at AOA. My biggest hang-up is giving up any promotions given (especially free dining) if they are offered Nd I choose BLT over AOA. What would you do!!?
BLT doesn't have character dining. It really has no dining at all. You need to go to the Contemporary Resort for table service dining and for quick service dining. There isn't a food court at the deluxe resorts like you find at the moderates and values. And you catch the monorail at the Contemporary as well.

BLT doesn't look like Disney on steroids. None of the DVC resorts look like that. They have more subtle theming. You need the value resorts to get "in your face Mickey Mouse".

If you are looking at renting DVC points, you need to do it very soon. We booked a one bedroom at BLT last year for mid-October at exactly seven months out (we don't own there) and luckily got one. Studios and two bedroom villas are harder to get than one bedroom villas.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:03 AM   #3
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You're absolutely right about AOA and being completely surrounded by Disney theming at it's best! However, given the ages of your kiddos - I believe you'll be more comfortable at BLT. We're a family of 6 and considered a family suite at AOA and I know we would've felt cramped, especially with our teens needing to have a bed of their own (boy & girl). Could you do two seperate but connecting rooms at AOA? That way you'd get the space you'll need and the theming you want... While the family suites do accomodate 6, consider that technically by size standards you have 4 adults and three kids. The suites are more suited for 5, IMO. You have the room with a king bed (sleeps 2 or 2.5), the full size murphy that could fit 2 or 1 teen and a full sleeper sofa that could do 2. You could bring in a rollaway/cot but that's going to eat into your space.

Another upside to BLT is your teens could venture to MK very easily on their own. And yes, while it's not the Contemporary, the fact that it's connected and on the monorail is another huge plus.

I think you'll have future opportunities for AOA once the older kids start being "too busy" for family vacations. A family suite at that point would be a great option.

Either way have a great time!
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:33 AM   #4
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If you can swing it, I would do BLT. Just so you know, the monorail is nice but the est way to get to the MK is the walkway. BLT and the CR are the boy resorts you can walk to the MK from. It's a 7-11 minute walk and is much quicker than the monorail. A 2 bedroom unit would also provide you with a full kitchen, washer and dryer, and 3 full bathrooms (don't forget the jacuzzi tub and walk in shower in the master). The full kitchen is nice and we find it very easy to make some quick easy meals that would save you all some money if you don't mind a bit of cooking.

As for the decor, it is contemporary but there are splashes of Disney throughout the unit. Besides, what says WDW more than every time you get on the elevator you have a beautiful view of the MK (and some rooms depending what view you book). The walk to the CR is quick and easy, in fact probably quicker than the walk to the food courts at the values and moderates. From our room it took us about 6 minutes. Staying at BLT gives you access to two pools, BLT and the CR. The contempo cafe has very good options for food, not as expansive as a food court but better offerings in my opinion. We ate a meal everyday there for a week and enjoyed it every time. There is also a small store with food options such as snacks, cooking items like eggs, luncheon meats, cheeses, bread, frozen pizzas and lasagnas, milk, that type of stuff. It is our favorite resort by far.

I do agree with Deb, book soon as its hard to get.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:38 AM   #5
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I stayed at BLT for 6 days in March 2011 (2 bedroom villa). I stayed at AoA for 1 week October 2012.

I believe staying at BLT ruined my AoA experience.

For the BLT trip it was me, wife, teenage son, brother, SIL and niece in the same villa. For the AoA stay we had seperate rooms in the Little Mermaid buildings.

When we got back from our trip I mentioned to my brother how my family just didn't have a great time. Something was off. He said they had the same experience. We are both 40+ trip veterans. We normally go in late August when everyone is melting. It had been a long time since we had a not so good trip. We chalked it up to having been spoiled by BLT the trip before!

So for my next trip I am going BLT or not at all. I like going to MK the most and Epcot second. Both are monorail rides away. MK we chose to walk to almost every time since we were at BLT. Epcot you have to switch monorails but it's so much better to me than a bus ride anywhere. I'm over the busses. We took taxis a few times from the parks back to AoA.

I think you'll have a good time at either resort. It's a short walk to the Contemporary for character dining and another short walk to lots of options at MK. Walking to MK from BLT is like walking from the bus stop at AoA to the Little Mermaid building. The difference is neglible. You know what my vote is...BLT!
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SumWhrOvrThRanBo View Post
We are a family of seven (six & a baby) planning our very first WDW family vacation. I'm deciding between a family suite at AOA & renting DVC points for a 2 bedroom villa at BLT. What would you do!!?
Given your family details, it would be an easy decision for me: Bay Lake Tower. The ability to walk to & from the Magic Kingdom with your baby in stroller would, for me, be the deciding factor without looking even at anything else. I'm sure everyone else would enjoy the proximity to Magic Kingdom, as well. If necessary, it would also make it easier to split up & meet later where going back & forth to the MK is involved.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:24 AM   #7
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Given your family details, it would be an easy decision for me: Bay Lake Tower. The ability to walk to & from the Magic Kingdom with your baby in stroller would, for me, be the deciding factor without looking even at anything else. I'm sure everyone else would enjoy the proximity to Magic Kingdom, as well. If necessary, it would also make it easier to split up & meet later where going back & forth to the MK is involved.
Completely agree!!! We're between the 2 resorts ourselves...IDK if my DS18 is coming yet with a friend, but we also have a DS4 who would love the AoA.
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:16 PM   #8
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No comparison...BLT. However, the rooms are VERY hard to get, and you will likely pay more per point (if book 7-11 month, BLT owner) rate. LOVE BLT and yes, it totally ruins you for every other stay. We just came off of a lovely 2br stay at Kidani...and I missed BLT!

I don't think that AoA offers free dining with the suites...so don't worry about that. Worry about being able to find BLT availability...you might need to spend a night or two at the beginning or end of your trip elsewhere. For our late Jan trip (LOOOW season), BLT was booked 4 months out when we started looking for renting points.

Have fun! We're kicking it up a notch by trying CL (WL or YC or both) for our trip this Dec. I still might look into finding something at BLT ; ) AWESOME for little ones...all the space and 2 highchairs, washer/dryer, etc. We walked to MK the entire trip.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:10 PM   #9
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BLT -- you cant beat the view, the walk to MK, the monorail. the Contempo cafe .

I love having a full kitchen and washer / dryer!!

and there is a ton of space!! the pool(s) are great too.

and the third bathroom is always an added bonus!!!!!

have a 2 bd booked for NYE!! BLT is our favorite resort.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:23 PM   #10
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BLT for your group. Being close to the MK is magical. character meals at CR, Poly, and GF. there is so much to do right there. BLT has a slide at the pool for you big kids. No slide at AOA.

You will have fun at Disney no matter where you stay.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:40 PM   #11
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Hoping to stay at BLT and haven't stayed at AofA, but I have stayed at the Contemporary and it is definitly worth it being so close to MK. We end up walking there almost daily during our trips! It is also a great memory watching fireworks from the resort. Our family also likes the dining options there. You can have fun at any of the hotels but for me staying at a Magic Kingdom resort makes Disney even more special. Have a great trip!
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