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Old 08-29-2013, 01:50 PM   #1
disneyfool_1202
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Have to say I was a little disappointed with AKL Kidani

Please don't get me wrong. The hotel is GORGEOUS, the restaurant wonderful, the pool amazing. But I was a bit disappointed because right from the beginning there was a bit of magic sucked right out of our magical vacation. We booked Kidani Village because we are DVC members. This was our first trip to AKL and we were traveling with another family, also DVC members so we both had "Travel with" put on our reservations to ensure that during the room assigning process, it would be known that we were traveling together so we would be assigned rooms close together. We had booked Savannah view (and paid a significant amount more in points for it, actually borrowing a few from our next use year), while our other family members booked a standard view (they have been before). I also called within the week before hand and had them note right on the reservation the names of the "travel with" and NOTED that I had a child with special needs (which was why this was so important), and we preferred a room located as centrally as possible due to mobility issues (I just had a joint replacement surgery), or at least closer to the 'transportation' end of things (or somewhere in between the two).
We checked in and were not even on that side of the building - we were on the pool side- well PAST the pool. OK - fine. I can handle that. So I have to walk a bit farther than expected but if I plan smartly and don't forget things, I don't have to go back and forth. PLUS I rented an ECV that I knew would be coming later that I would have when we went to the parks (not for around the hotel though unless I needed it, which due to location I ended up needing as the week went on...).
We get to the room - our Savannah view was a corner room overlooking an end patch of the savannah that is next to the pool around the curve. I saw about 10 feet of savannah, a fence, an access road, and buildings, lots of "forrest", and then in the distance other hotels. This was NOT the view we dipped into next years points for. So I marched all the way back down to check in to see if there was something that could be done. Yes there could but we would have to wait for another room. ABSOLUTELY! I have NO problem with that, as it was only 10am and I was surprised that a room was ready that early to begin with!! I would GLADLY wait!!!! But we had to wait OUTSIDE of the room we were given, so I had to march back up there and get the bags we dropped, bring them back downstairs, and head to the pool where we waited for another 4.5 hours. No problem- they were moving us across the hall to overlook the main savannah. One more building FARTHER down the hallway.......
Now.....
Our traveling party that had reservations LINKED with ours as "travel with" - I asked how close their room was when I checked in. Well, they had them all the way on the OPPOSITE END OF THE BUILDING overlooking the parking lot on the end of the building near transportation that I had requested to begin with for MY ROOM. So I'm pool side, they are parking lot side- closer to Jumbo House. WAY FAR APART. So since they hadn't checked in- they moved THEIR ROOM- and gave THEM A SAVANNAH VIEW ROOM. 3 floors BELOW US. No where across the hall. Not close enough to be of an help with my special needs child should I have needed a break or he needed an easy diversion.

I just don't understand. While this in no way ruined our vacation, it tainted our thoughts of how Kidani works with check in. What if my mother was in that second room and I really NEEDED them to be side by side?? Is it just not possible for them to manage this? I don't know how much clearer I could have been? I did everything I was told to do. Put Travel With notations on both reservations through DVC. Called Disney Direct within days of the reservations and put accommodation requests on the reservations once online check in was done. What else could have been done?? I don't think I should have asked for an accessible room in order to be closer or more centrally located due to mobility issues because that takes up that room from someone in a wheelchair that really needs it. I just can't walk very LONG distances, and not DAYS on end.

I most certainly WILL stay there again, but would request Jambo house. I think being closer to the quick service restaurant and Simba's club house would be easier for us. We would definitely visit Kidani to use the pool and Sanna. And if we did book Kidani we would have to be traveling alone or book a 2 bedroom that would accommodate any extra persons (which could kill us point wise). Has anyone else had similar issues or situations that you've successfully navigated and can share any tips how??
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Old 08-29-2013, 02:18 PM   #2
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I'm sorry you had so many bumps in your trip. I have a couple of the same concerns you do when I end up booking 2 DVC studios (DH & I, and my parents) however I haven't stayed there yet...our trip is planned for late October 2014.

I do think you probably just had too many requests, only because the two rooms booked were in different categories. Had they both been booked as Savanna view studios, you may have been a little happier with the way things turned out. It is very possible that they just couldn't accomodate all of your requests for both room types. My dad has trouble walking really long distances so I would probably need to request a room close to the lobby (we would stay at Jambo House) and would book under Savanna view. I probably wouldn't make a 2nd request for his room because if I also requested Arusha savanna, I'd hate for his room to be Arusha savanna but be the last room on the end. I just think you have to pick and choose what is most important.

They ended up upgrading your 2nd room to a Savanna view so I would have been thankful for that even though it was on a different floor. They probably thought they were doing you a favor by upgrading the other room. It sounds like they really tried to accomodate your requests and just couldn't give you everything. I'm glad you didn't let it ruin your trip and that despite the issues you had, you'd still stay there again. It makes me even more excited to stay there! I'm definitely booking Jambo House since I'm pretty sure my dad will want easier access to The Mara and we may eat once or twice at Boma.
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Old 08-29-2013, 02:28 PM   #3
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A lot of what you experienced was based on expectations that were very high on your part and somewhat unrealistic. DVC rooms are at high occupancy at all times and placing parties traveling together somewhat close to each other is tried but not at all guaranteed and as well close together to them means a room directly on top of or below a room as well as one nearby in the same floor. Depending on the day you were checking in and the number of rooms opening up they were giving you rooms that were available.

As you discovered if you need someone to be nearby you need to book a room that will include all of you.

If you don't like the view that a room is classified and ask for a new room you are actually supposed to be charged for a full cleaning (so them not charging you a fee of at least $45 was nice of them and meant someone overrode it. Of course you could not wait for one room to be ready while you were sitting in another room - that room will be going to another guest and has to be rechecked because you were in it at all.

Jambo house is not a request- it is a bookable category.

You arrived at 10am for a 4pm check in and they will start by trying to give you the first available room in your booked category. They assume that you would prefer an available room then any of your requests unless you tell them- also with the number of requests you had if they could not give you all of what you wanted they could just assign you anywhere- you need to make the number of requests you have smaller so that they are more possible.

It seems to me you might want to spend some time learning a bit about DVC policies and such on the DVC boards so you are not disappointed again in the future.
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Old 08-29-2013, 02:39 PM   #4
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I can understand being unhappy with the view and I'm glad they fixed that for you. As a long time DVC member with adult children, almost always going with the TRAVEL WITH option, we have rarely, and I mean rarely, been assigned close rooms at any of the resorts. This is not an issue with Kidani but an issue within DVC in general. We feel fortunate if we are in the same building and on the same floor when doing the travel with because often we are not.
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Old 08-29-2013, 03:55 PM   #5
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Is it just not possible for them to manage this? I don't know how much clearer I could have been? I did everything I was told to do. Put Travel With notations on both reservations through DVC. Called Disney Direct within days of the reservations and put accommodation requests on the reservations once online check in was done. What else could have been done?? I don't think I should have asked for an accessible room in order to be closer or more centrally located

I think the issue is that there are no guarantees. It's all dependent on the rooms they have at that time and the rooms they figure they will have later.

I'm not sure that HA rooms are necessarily closer to anything or centrally located. The differences with HA rooms are *inside* the rooms.

I'm not a big fan of Kidani or Jambo. I personally won't be staying there again. I'll eat at Sanaa and maybe visit the lobbies, but staying, nah.
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Old 08-29-2013, 04:04 PM   #6
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I think the issue is that there are no guarantees. It's all dependent on the rooms they have at that time and the rooms they figure they will have later.

I'm not sure that HA rooms are necessarily closer to anything or centrally located. The differences with HA rooms are *inside* the rooms.

I'm not a big fan of Kidani or Jambo. I personally won't be staying there again. I'll eat at Sanaa and maybe visit the lobbies, but staying, nah.
Where do you like to stay? Just curious, since I'm planning on booking DVC rooms at AKV (Jambo).
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Old 08-29-2013, 04:09 PM   #7
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Yeah, I think this just came down to having too many requests. Pick ONE to prioritize next time.
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Old 08-29-2013, 06:05 PM   #8
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We travel with my mother every August and ask to be near each other. One year at Bay Lake they put us next to each other. All 7 other times we were so far away that I wonder if we would have been closer if I didn't request to be close!
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Old 08-29-2013, 06:50 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by LJSquishy View Post
Where do you like to stay? Just curious, since I'm planning on booking DVC rooms at AKV (Jambo).
So far we love OKW and VWL. SSR is OK, but we had a double-whammy of problems our first time: horridly mildew/moldy room (I am instantly horribly allergic and have never been able to smell them long enough to differentiate...basically I smell them and then lose all my senses, LOL) and then 2 hours to put charging on the room* the next day which was only being done so we could access the credit they put on the room after moving us. But the room we got moved to was lovely, and we enjoyed the pool.




Way more extra-answer than you would ever need.....

The AKL resorts were just problematic for us without the attempts at apologizing or empathy that SSR did. Put in a HA room at Jambo without telling us (and knowing that we had reservations we were pretty much already late for at Sanaa so we wouldn't be able to check it out), telling us to take the shuttle van to Sanaa without telling us that it stops running at a certain point (knowing this was our first trip to WDW, first night at AKL, and it was truly nighttime and we had a 6 year old with us), not being able to move us that first night, having done the same thing to at least one other family with smaller children (there were some irate fathers in line, along with my husband, needing different rooms b/c small children don't generally get along with rooms with no bathtubs), etc etc. No empathy, no apology. No explanations. That was our first time dealing with a room credit (but just cash without even empathy doesn't feel terrific) and when we set up charging they didn't tell us all that it entails, so when I went to the desk at 5am checkout day to give them a big giftcard to settle what else we had charged, only to find out we had been charged the night before....it was just the last straw against Jambo.

Stayed at Kidani 2 years later....washing machine issues that had been going on for something like 2 years (being fixed as people noticed and reported it...put on the hot water and it's cold...put on the cold water and it's hot, the rinse is always supposed to be cold so that's always nearly boiling hot...this would have been a problem for my delicates!), brand new RFID door panel that fell off as we closed the door, room keys that didn't work and didn't work and didn't work*, and the topper, the CM at checkin who PROMISED us a perfect stay, that everything would be fabulous for this return to AKL, and if there were problems he was there for the rest of the evening...and when we came back down 15 minutes later to tell them that our room keys didn't work, he was nowhere to be found. Nor the next time the keys didn't work. Or ever again during our stay. Disappeared. After promising he'd be there.

Just...nothing AKL has to offer has yet made up for what WE feel has been "neglect" of some fairly basic-stay-needs.


So OKW and VWL have been faboo, SSR was empathetic (except for one manager but we can say he was just one guy) and we're trying it again in January.

Non-DVC we have enjoyed POR quite a bit, AS Sports a lot, and CBR to a decent level.




*the room charge stuff at SSR and the room key not working repeatedly at Kidani (and SSR, actually) were sort of to be expected, given that both stays were this last February, the WDW site and internal sites had been in an uproar for over 2 months, it was all changing and getting ready to change some more, and almost everyone was having problems. So those issues really came down to attitude and how the CMs behaved while they were being resolved, not the actual problem for us.
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:09 PM   #10
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I guess my disappointment stems from the fact that when I called and asked "is it possible for the rooms to be linked so we are put close together" we were told "no problem" not only during the original call, but then again when I called a few days before arrival. Saying the words "we'll get it taken care of" to me means actually taken care of.

Our home resort is VWL and we have always stayed there, never experienced any type of problem, and other than one stay at SSR, have never ventured elsewhere. This time we decided to try something different. It WAS beautiful. I just wish we weren't told it wouldn't be a problem when evidently it was a problem.

I don't think I had too many request at all- I had TWO. That is NOT too many. I paid for a savannah room. That is not a request - it is a reservation I paid for.
Request #1 was to be centrally located and if that's not possible, then close to transportation. How is that confusing???? That to me doesn't say down the other end of the bloody hotel.
Request #2- close to family that is booked for same arrival/depart dates that we are traveling with.
We would BOTH have waited for rooms from the beginning. Neither of us requested a room upon arrival at 10am. We planned on spending the day waiting by the pool. So why, when the reservation says "those two need to be close" couldn't someone say - ok, these two rooms will be ready by 3, let's put them in there, and tell us, we'll page you when your room is ready (which is what they ultimately did).
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:41 PM   #11
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I guess my disappointment stems from the fact that when I called and asked "is it possible for the rooms to be linked so we are put close together" we were told "no problem" not only during the original call, but then again when I called a few days before arrival. Saying the words "we'll get it taken care of" to me means actually taken care of.

Our home resort is VWL and we have always stayed there, never experienced any type of problem, and other than one stay at SSR, have never ventured elsewhere. This time we decided to try something different. It WAS beautiful. I just wish we weren't told it wouldn't be a problem when evidently it was a problem.

I don't think I had too many request at all- I had TWO. That is NOT too many. I paid for a savannah room. That is not a request - it is a reservation I paid for.
Request #1 was to be centrally located and if that's not possible, then close to transportation. How is that confusing???? That to me doesn't say down the other end of the bloody hotel.
Request #2- close to family that is booked for same arrival/depart dates that we are traveling with.
We would BOTH have waited for rooms from the beginning. Neither of us requested a room upon arrival at 10am. We planned on spending the day waiting by the pool. So why, when the reservation says "those two need to be close" couldn't someone say - ok, these two rooms will be ready by 3, let's put them in there, and tell us, we'll page you when your room is ready (which is what they ultimately did).
Did you call MS or did you call Disney Reservation Center? The other family would need to also call and add "travel with" to their reservation. Did they do that? Both reservation numbers would need to noted on the other.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:16 PM   #12
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Hey, it could have been worse. On our last "travel with" DVC reservation at BLT, my family was on the 11th floor, and our guests were on the 4th floor. At my family's early check in, we were assured that our guests would have the studio portion that attached to our 1 bedroom. When our guests arrived, they actually received a studio 7 floors below us.

We have learned to not expect anything but a villa when we check into a DVC resort. Keep your expectations low and you won't be disappointed.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:20 PM   #13
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I guess my disappointment stems from the fact that when I called and asked "is it possible for the rooms to be linked so we are put close together" we were told "no problem" not only during the original call, but then again when I called a few days before arrival. Saying the words "we'll get it taken care of" to me means actually taken care of.

Our home resort is VWL and we have always stayed there, never experienced any type of problem, and other than one stay at SSR, have never ventured elsewhere. This time we decided to try something different. It WAS beautiful. I just wish we weren't told it wouldn't be a problem when evidently it was a problem.

I don't think I had too many request at all- I had TWO. That is NOT too many. I paid for a savannah room. That is not a request - it is a reservation I paid for.
Request #1 was to be centrally located and if that's not possible, then close to transportation. How is that confusing???? That to me doesn't say down the other end of the bloody hotel.
Request #2- close to family that is booked for same arrival/depart dates that we are traveling with.
We would BOTH have waited for rooms from the beginning. Neither of us requested a room upon arrival at 10am. We planned on spending the day waiting by the pool. So why, when the reservation says "those two need to be close" couldn't someone say - ok, these two rooms will be ready by 3, let's put them in there, and tell us, we'll page you when your room is ready (which is what they ultimately did).
As others have said, a request is merely that - a request. If you have to have someone that "has" to be close to you then you need to book a room that will include them.

Although you were told "no problem" by member services - that meant "no problem" to put the request on your reservation. Requests are not guaranteed for any DVC not just AKL and that includes VWL.

You mentioned that you paid for a savannah view - well you did receive a savannah view originally - that room on the end does have its own savannah. You may have not seen the animals at the time due to the timing with arriving at the room and if those animals were currently at the barn for their daily check-up which is generally for only about an hour per day which is staggered with all of the savannah animals.

Keep in mind for the future as others have said - a request is just that - a request. In the future, you might want to ask at check-in exactly where your room is located then if it is not acceptable ask if they have something else available. They have so many people to work with every day that not everyone gets their requests!

I personally see absolutely NOTHING wrong in the way you were treated or what you received. I go into DVC hoping for my requests to be taken into account, knowing that they probably won't and thinking it is actually "magical" when they do.
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Old 08-31-2013, 10:00 AM   #14
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Did you call MS or did you call Disney Reservation Center? The other family would need to also call and add "travel with" to their reservation. Did they do that? Both reservation numbers would need to noted on the other.
Both.
I shouldn't be "attacked" for being disappointed. As I said, the resort was beautiful. I do understand a request is a request. But I do think that when families travel together, rooms should be able to be placed closer together than buildings away, especially when the reservations are made 7 months ahead of time. I don't necessarily mean next to each other. But not 10 minutes away.
And no, the view had no savannah - it was a fence and a road, and then the land BEYOND the savannah-The woods around the property. I had to hang over the balcony and look left to see the savannah. I don't consider this a savannah view that cost hundreds of points. You may have your expectation but I have mine and I expect what I paid for. I work hard for my money. I have a standard. You think I may need to lower it. Believe me, I don't. It's not that high in other area's of my life but when I scrape nickel and dime for years to be able to fly all of us and afford all else that one needs to pay for in Disney (because our DVC only covers our room) then yes, I have certain expectations of that room and that hotel. It's called customer service. I am a paying customer. I paid THOUSANDS. I expect service. As a customer we provide their best advertisement. Unhappy customers- unhappy advertisement.
I think anyone who thinks "I have paid thousands so I'm going to lower my expectations" just tossed money out the window and said "oh well" or you just have money to burn. I don't. I have to work and work hard for every dime of it.
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Old 08-31-2013, 10:02 AM   #15
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But not 10 minutes away.
I sympathize with you, but 10 minutes away from a room in AKL would be on Osceola Parkway.
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