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Old 06-20-2013, 09:27 PM   #1
jaykorf001
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AKL CL Experience

My DH and DS (4) made our first trip to WDW last week and we stayed club level at AKL. As a first timer I wanted to provide some feedback and info for others.

First, we loved AKL. It has really beautiful theming and tons of visual interest -- and the animals. If you love animals it's really a fun experience.

We arrived early the day of our first night. The hotel computer systems were down. We requested, with the club concierge, to be over on the zebra trail close to the pool and mentioned that I have a bad foot and difficulty walking. We headed off to the pool and awaited notification that the system was up and running.

Late in the afternoon the system was still down. However, they assigned us a room and let us know that they would not be able to load our tickets onto our key cards until the system was back up. Our room was on the 2nd floor (I understood club level to be on the 4th) and about as far away from the zebra trail and pool as one could be and still be on the Arusha savanna. It also had bunk beds -- HUGE hit with my son. We understood that they couldn't guarantee the locale we wanted and rolled with it. We figure we had a better view of the animals on the second floor instead of the 4th. We really enjoyed watching the animals from our balcony. We continued to have issues with our cards while we were there. Frustrating to get to the room and not be able to get in and have to hoof it all the way back. But not a big deal and all CMs were pleasant and helpful.

We thoroughly enjoyed our Sunrise Safari. Fabulous. Our guides were very knowledgeable and equally personable. A couple of them had breakfast with us. It is obvious they love what they do for a living and it shows. The breakfast was a nice buffet with an omelette bar. I'm sorry I don't have pictures. We are still traveling and I have no access to the photos. In addition to the omelette bar, our buffet had biscuits and gravy (my fave), banana French toast, plantains, grits. Sausage and peppers, bacon, potatoes, scrambled eggs, and an assortment of juices.

The kilimanjaro club had pastries, fruit, and cereal in the morning. Appetizers included a cheese plate, olives, hummus, and a couple of hot apps. I enjoyed the olives and hummus. Dessert varied. I was able to get my much needed iced tea in the morning -- I just had to ask.

Now, Disney loyalists don't flame me for this but there were some so called negatives. Although the room was fine in many respects, we found it to be small. We found ourselves lounging in the evening in the Kilimanjaro Club while my son watched Disney Junior because we did not feel comfortable doing the same in our room. If you're the type that likes to spread out and relax in your room in the evening I'm not sure Disney hotels are for you -- unless you can swing a suite or DVC perhaps. I looked at the square footage of the Disney resort rooms and I'm not sure any of the regular rooms would have been spacious enough for us to feel comfortable for a long stay -- including the Poly and GF rooms. That's just us. My husband, who is laid back, could not get out of there fast enough once the animals wore off.

We did go over to the Poly one evening for Wishes and the EWP. My son LOVED playing there on the beach. We liked the feel.

I think what we learned from our first trip is this: we would someday go back to AKL for a short stay. We enjoyed so much of it including the fabulous pool. We might do a stay at the Poly on a future trip for the above mentioned reasons. Having said this going offsite with a large comparably inexpensive condo will be our home for the majority, if not all, of our first long visit to WDW. We'd rather make a short drive in to the parks and have room to relax in our place in the evenings. That's just what would work for us. I understand others vacation differently.

I would consider staying on site when my sons a little older and more able to go commando in the parks if I brought him without my husband.
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:31 PM   #2
mickeynut1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaykorf001 View Post
My DH and DS (4) made our first trip to WDW last week and we stayed club level at AKL. As a first timer I wanted to provide some feedback and info for others.

First, we loved AKL. It has really beautiful theming and tons of visual interest -- and the animals. If you love animals it's really a fun experience.
Thanks for your review. Glad you had a nice stay and enjoyed AKL. We've stayed at AKL twice and love the resort. The surroundings are beautiful and it's great watching the animals roam the savanna (and Boma is one of our favorite restaurants ). AKL CL is on my list of club levels to try as I've read a lot of great reviews about it. As far as the room size, the rooms are quite a bit smaller than some of the other deluxe resorts and I do understand how some might feel they are too small to really get comfortable. With that said, I'm glad you were able to relax and enjoy the lounge .
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Old 06-21-2013, 07:29 AM   #3
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I also forgot to mention, the oatmeal raisin cookies in the lounge in the evenings were some of the best oatmeal cookies I'd ever had. And my husband seemed to enjoy the chocolate chip cookies, although he is a chocolate chip Cookie Monster.
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:37 AM   #4
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Thanks for your detailed review of AKL CL. It sounds nice but I think staying 2 floors down from the lounge is a little of a hassle. I think some of the other deluxe resorts such as BWI and YC & BC have deluxe rooms which are larger than a regular room. That might be an option for you if you want to stay on Disney property.
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:53 AM   #5
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Thanks for your detailed review of AKL CL. It sounds nice but I think staying 2 floors down from the lounge is a little of a hassle. I think some of the other deluxe resorts such as BWI and YC & BC have deluxe rooms which are larger than a regular room. That might be an option for you if you want to stay on Disney property.
Thanks. I do realize this but that would price us out for a longer trip. For me, I'd rather spend that kind of money at The Four Seasons and Jenny Lake Lodge in Wyoming and opt for a cheaper condo in Orlando because there are so many good options. I think we'd be happy at WBC or Windsor Hills. If money was no object of course it'd be fun to shoot the moon on a suite at the Poly or elsewhere.
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Old 06-21-2013, 04:01 PM   #6
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OP, we're longtime DVC'rs, and I agree with you 100% about the size of the accomodations being a priority.

I always say if we hadn't bought DVC, we'd stay offsite and have room to spread out.

Sounds like you made a great use of the CL, using it to hang out in the evenings!!!
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Old 06-21-2013, 04:16 PM   #7
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We stayed offsite for the first time ever at spring break at a Marriott villa. We wanted to venture out to see how difficult it was and also explore SseaWorld. Having the room was great and I will admit it will be an option in the future when our kids are older and don't need the "break" time in the middle of the day or want to explore other parks. However, for us the convience with 3 kids under 10 beats room size for now.
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Old 06-21-2013, 04:24 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by jaykorf001 View Post
Thanks. I do realize this but that would price us out for a longer trip. For me, I'd rather spend that kind of money at The Four Seasons and Jenny Lake Lodge in Wyoming and opt for a cheaper condo in Orlando because there are so many good options. I think we'd be happy at WBC or Windsor Hills. If money was no object of course it'd be fun to shoot the moon on a suite at the Poly or elsewhere.

As soon as I submitted my comments, I realized I wanted to put a deluxe room is a hefty increase in price. The price of a regular room at Disney's deluxe resorts is very high and I agree that staying offsite in a large condo for a lot less money is appealing but there is just something special about staying on Disney property.

However, like you pointed out, people vacation differently and having so many options is great!
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Old 06-21-2013, 07:55 PM   #9
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thanks for the review.

We are planning to stay there next year.

We LOVED the Poly CL. Coming back from the parks, we would stop in for drinks and snacks. We would sit by the HUGE window and stare at the castle. My kids liked watching the 'police' boats talk to someone. Huge Cop lovers here


I am a bit nervous about staying at AKL. I worry I feel far from everything, and our past stays have been right at MK. I worry I will be disappointed in missing Wishes and the Water Parade every night.
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:44 PM   #10
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We did AKL CL last year and loved it too! The cookies are great!! I do agree that the walk to the lounge can be far depending on where your room was. The Poly however is our fave and we are headed back there in a few weeks!!
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:55 PM   #11
jaykorf001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gogo View Post

As soon as I submitted my comments, I realized I wanted to put a deluxe room is a hefty increase in price. The price of a regular room at Disney's deluxe resorts is very high and I agree that staying offsite in a large condo for a lot less money is appealing but there is just something special about staying on Disney property.

However, like you pointed out, people vacation differently and having so many options is great!
For sure. I've discovered so many affordable nice options in Orlando. All this started with discovering the DIS boards so much information.
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:04 PM   #12
jaykorf001
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Originally Posted by think-like-tink View Post
thanks for the review.

We are planning to stay there next year.

We LOVED the Poly CL. Coming back from the parks, we would stop in for drinks and snacks. We would sit by the HUGE window and stare at the castle. My kids liked watching the 'police' boats talk to someone. Huge Cop lovers here

I am a bit nervous about staying at AKL. I worry I feel far from everything, and our past stays have been right at MK. I worry I will be disappointed in missing Wishes and the Water Parade every night.
I could really see how committed on siters might love a split stay btw AKL and another resort -- say the Poly. A few days at AKL to do AK and HS and have some resort time and then off to the Poly/CR/GF or an Epcot resort. The Sunrise Safari is great if you stay CL. And as much as I like to note how expensive I think Disney is, I actually think the Sunrise Safari is reasonably priced as it includes breakfast.

I know we'd enjoy the Poly and love to stay CL there for awhile (especially now that they've refurbished the rooms). The movies, wishes, ewp on that beach is a special thing for kids. I just don't see us swinging it for 7-10 days.
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Old 06-28-2013, 05:48 PM   #13
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We thoroughly enjoyed our Sunrise Safari. Fabulous. Our guides were very knowledgeable and equally personable. A couple of them had breakfast with us. It is obvious they love what they do for a living and it shows. The breakfast was a nice buffet with an omelette bar. I'm sorry I don't have pictures. We are still traveling and I have no access to the photos. In addition to the omelette bar, our buffet had biscuits and gravy (my fave), banana French toast, plantains, grits. Sausage and peppers, bacon, potatoes, scrambled eggs, and an assortment of juices.

The kilimanjaro club had pastries, fruit, and cereal in the morning. Appetizers included a cheese plate, olives, hummus, and a couple of hot apps. I enjoyed the olives and hummus. Dessert varied. I was able to get my much needed iced tea in the morning -- I just had to ask.

.
Can you give me an idea of how long the safari and breakfast lasted?
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Old 06-28-2013, 09:56 PM   #14
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Can you give me an idea of how long the safari and breakfast lasted?
Not the OP, but when I booked, the IPO told me to give it about three hours or so. Meet in lounge at 6:45, over to AK, safari is an hour (maybe a little less), then to Pizzafari for breakfast.
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