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Old 11-08-2012, 09:00 AM   #1
stairstepmom
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Need advice - Having such a hard time deciding!

We are planning a 9-night trip for next mid-November (probably weekend of Veterans Day and week after). It's DH and I, our 7 kiddos (ages will be 18 mos, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9!) and we're bringing Grandma and Grandpa too.

Last time we stayed at POFQ and though we had a great trip and got a TON done, it still felt very rushed, a bit stressful and we weren't thrilled with the resort (theme/vibe, room size) and the bus service both in the morning for pre-RD ADRs and at night did get tiring after dealing with 2 strollers and a bunch of tired kids. Getting to an Ohana breakfast was not pleasant. We were all just getting up so early, going to bed so late - complete exhaustion by the end of the week! We're staying 3 nights longer this time but would love a little more convenience in the resort.

So, we've decided to rent DVC points for this next trip (which is only a tiny bit more than 3 rooms at POFQ!), we will be doing 3 studios as it's cheaper than a Grand Villa and we all liked having our own separate rooms to retreat to, big kids loved "sleeping over" with Grandma or Grandpa, etc.

We are having such a hard time deciding which resort to go with though. If money were limitless we'd choose 3 rooms at the Poly or GF, hands down. But, within our budget, we are choosing between studios at:

* BLT
* WL
* BCV
* BWV
* AKL Kidani

We will have 2 days each at Epcot, HS, AKL (might end up as more like 1 1/2 days for HS or AKL with a resort break in there) and 3 days at MK, plus our departure day (must be back to resort by 3:30). We will be doing MVMCP once and Wishes Dessert Party once on an MK day. We will be doing DTD one night (probably an AK night).

We are doing the DxDP, would like to do a pre-RD breakfast most days in the park, though it would be nice to not have to leave the resort at 7:15 to make an 8:00 ADR. We have 3 resort restaurants on our must-do list: Ohana breakfast, Chef Mickey's (breakfast or dinner is fine), Boma (dinner - thought we could just hop over there after an AK day). We would like to swim if the weather is good, but we're figuring it will probably be too chilly for our crew, so pool is not the most important.

We love all the themes, with BLT at the bottom of our list - it's beautiful of course, but it feels like a hotel we stay at for a city trip, not a Disney trip. Especially with the holiday decor, we'd really love to have a strong theme. Then again, the convenience of the location is a huge draw. But I wonder how convenient it actually is, as walking to MK would have its own stress with so many little ones, and the monorail could potentially take just as long (or longer) than bus service from other resorts. The OLP transportation wiz says 35 min from BLT to Epcot via monorail ... even from AKL it's only 20 min!
Plus, this is an expensive trip and I want to love the resort we're at for itself, not just for its location.

We've considered a split stay, 4/5 maybe BWV/WL or BCV/BLT or AKL/BLT.

Oh and this trip is going to be a surprise - kids are getting woken up bright and early to head to the airport - so we try to get their input for a theoretical future trip, but can't talk too much about it LOL. And they like all the resorts anyways!

What would you choose and why? Has anyone stayed at a few of these resorts - which did you love the most?

Thank you!!
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Christina, wife to Matt, mom to 2 princesses and 7 dwarfs!
(10), (9), (7), (6), (4), (3), (2), born 12/20/13!
& a surprise due 11/10/14!!

Past trips:
Jan 2001: 5 nights @ CBR, Us - Honeymoon
Feb 2012: 6 nights @ POFQ, Us + 6 1/2 (and grandparents)
May 2013: 5 nights @ CBR, Me + DSis
Jan 2014: 1 night @ POR + 9 nights @ VWL, Us + 8 (and grandparents)

Future trips:
May 2015: 5 nights @ Pop, Solo Graduation trip! ~ booked and in planning!
Dec 2015: 10 nights @ AKV Jambo, Us + 9 ~ in planning!
Feb 2016: 4 nights @ Pop, Me ~ Princess Half!
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:08 AM   #2
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I have stayed at all but Villas at Wilderness Lodge, and all are nice properties. Instead of 3 studios, maybe you should consider a 2BR and a studio. Old Key West has really large villas, square footage wise, and the second bedroom has 2 double beds. With a 2 BR, you would get a full kitchen and more room to spread out, plus a washer-dryer.

I have been at the end of November and we could swim most days.

Personally, I love Kidani Village the most because of the atmosphere, DH loves the Boardwalk for the location.
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:15 AM   #3
stairstepmom
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Yeah the kitchen isn't that important to us since we're doing DxDP - we do not plan on cooking anything LOL! A mini fridge for drink storage is about all we need.

We did consider a 2 bedroom + studio but it's still much more expensive for things we won't be there to use (kitchen, dining table, etc) so really thinking 3 studios suits us best. The 3 rooms at POFQ worked great, they were just a bit cramped - having a bit more square footage would be nice (another reason BLT is less appealing to us - the studios are the smallest of DVC).
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Christina, wife to Matt, mom to 2 princesses and 7 dwarfs!
(10), (9), (7), (6), (4), (3), (2), born 12/20/13!
& a surprise due 11/10/14!!

Past trips:
Jan 2001: 5 nights @ CBR, Us - Honeymoon
Feb 2012: 6 nights @ POFQ, Us + 6 1/2 (and grandparents)
May 2013: 5 nights @ CBR, Me + DSis
Jan 2014: 1 night @ POR + 9 nights @ VWL, Us + 8 (and grandparents)

Future trips:
May 2015: 5 nights @ Pop, Solo Graduation trip! ~ booked and in planning!
Dec 2015: 10 nights @ AKV Jambo, Us + 9 ~ in planning!
Feb 2016: 4 nights @ Pop, Me ~ Princess Half!
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:23 AM   #4
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We've stayed at the BCV three times and absolutely loved it. The villas are a quick walk into Epcot. There are lots of things to do in the resort area, with the Boardwalk and all its activities right there. There is a boat to both Epcot and DHS, but from the BCV's, walking is quicker to Epcot.

Cape May has excellent character breakfasts and dinner buffets. And of course SAB is a great pool and your kids are the perfect age for it, even the little one, since they have a sandy kids pool, really unique.

I haven't been to the others, but the location of WL might make it a good choice for your family.
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BC - March 19th to 25th, 2014, WL - Jan 23 - 27, 2014; WL - Nov 30 - Dec 5, 2013; WL - Feb 5 -11, 2013; BC - April 2011, BW - January 2009, BCV - 2007, 2005, 2003, Poly - 2002;
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:29 AM   #5
butsy113
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God bless you! I have no idea how you do it?!?

Anyway with that group I would definitely do BLT. That is 5 days (3MK and 2EP) that you don't have to fold the stroller up. You can simply walk to MK and monorail to EP. No matter what you will have to bus to AK, so that is irrelevant when thinking transportation. Could do a boat to HS if you stayed at BWV or BCV (which also has SAB), but then you loose the easy access to MK which is where you are spending most of your days.

If you feel like you can handle a split stay I would do BLT/BCV. This would allow easy access to 3 parks (again AK must bus to). Your children would LOVE SAB!

IMHO, I would do a 2 bedroom and a studio. This way your entire family can be together, after all, it is a family vacation. Gma and Gpa can be in the studio. The older kids can still go camp out with them. If you get 3 studios you and your DH would be in separate rooms and there is no guarantee the studios would be anywhere near each other, which could cause some problems for you. A request is just that, a request. Also the dedicated 2 bedroom at BLT will have 3 bathrooms which would be nice. The washer/dryer would be nice with the little ones.

Have a magical trip
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:37 AM   #6
stairstepmom
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Thanks! Yeah Grandma and Grandpa are friendly but separated, so putting them in a studio wouldn't work LOL! So one would need to room with us in a 2 bdrm which would make it tricky deciding which rooms to put little ones in/who would be using the living room for a bedroom.

Not folding up the strollers would be nice (as we'll likely still have two - a double and a single - as our then-5 year old has Down syndrome and will tire faster) but we figured on the way back on a monorail we would fold them even if not officially required - I hate to take up so much space when so many people are trying to get back to their resorts!

Seems like BCV/BLT might be the best of everything we're looking for?
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Christina, wife to Matt, mom to 2 princesses and 7 dwarfs!
(10), (9), (7), (6), (4), (3), (2), born 12/20/13!
& a surprise due 11/10/14!!

Past trips:
Jan 2001: 5 nights @ CBR, Us - Honeymoon
Feb 2012: 6 nights @ POFQ, Us + 6 1/2 (and grandparents)
May 2013: 5 nights @ CBR, Me + DSis
Jan 2014: 1 night @ POR + 9 nights @ VWL, Us + 8 (and grandparents)

Future trips:
May 2015: 5 nights @ Pop, Solo Graduation trip! ~ booked and in planning!
Dec 2015: 10 nights @ AKV Jambo, Us + 9 ~ in planning!
Feb 2016: 4 nights @ Pop, Me ~ Princess Half!
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:01 AM   #7
heidijanesmith
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stairstepmom View Post
Thanks! Yeah Grandma and Grandpa are friendly but separated, so putting them in a studio wouldn't work LOL! So one would need to room with us in a 2 bdrm which would make it tricky deciding which rooms to put little ones in/who would be using the living room for a bedroom.

Not folding up the strollers would be nice (as we'll likely still have two - a double and a single - as our then-5 year old has Down syndrome and will tire faster) but we figured on the way back on a monorail we would fold them even if not officially required - I hate to take up so much space when so many people are trying to get back to their resorts!

Seems like BCV/BLT might be the best of everything we're looking for?
I understand your blahness about BLT's theme. To me it is sterile, but BLT is very convenient to MK, so much more than the other DVC resorts on your list. BLT, you can walk to MK or take the monorail...so easy. All the restaurants on the monorail line as easy to get to as well.

BCV is super close to the IG at EPCOT and the pool is wonderful. EPCOT resort buses to MK, AK or other parks are horrible.

A split stay would be great!
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:39 AM   #8
stairstepmom
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So does BCV share buses with Boardwalk then? Anyone know how many/what order for stops?

The buses themselves were not awful at POFQ (well, being packed in like sardines after park closing was no picnic, but we expected it so it wasn't that stressful) but all the sloooow stops at Riverside got old fast! I think we'd be more okay with using buses if it was dedicated to just one or two stops.

Our only hesitation over a split stay is that it will basically lock us in to park plans - and we choose the park based on touringplans ratings, which aren't going to be out before we need to book the rooms, and might change. So we might book BLT as the second resort and wish we could go to MK while we're at BCV. Plus it would be nice to have a mix of parks instead of doing MK 3 days in a row.

Ah, if only the monorail stop was at the International Gateway LOL!
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Christina, wife to Matt, mom to 2 princesses and 7 dwarfs!
(10), (9), (7), (6), (4), (3), (2), born 12/20/13!
& a surprise due 11/10/14!!

Past trips:
Jan 2001: 5 nights @ CBR, Us - Honeymoon
Feb 2012: 6 nights @ POFQ, Us + 6 1/2 (and grandparents)
May 2013: 5 nights @ CBR, Me + DSis
Jan 2014: 1 night @ POR + 9 nights @ VWL, Us + 8 (and grandparents)

Future trips:
May 2015: 5 nights @ Pop, Solo Graduation trip! ~ booked and in planning!
Dec 2015: 10 nights @ AKV Jambo, Us + 9 ~ in planning!
Feb 2016: 4 nights @ Pop, Me ~ Princess Half!
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:42 AM   #9
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I don't know the order, but from reading other posts on the DIS the following resorts share buses to MK and AK.

BC
YC
BW
Swan
Dolphin
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:48 AM   #10
stairstepmom
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Wow. Okay, we were leaning toward BCV for the whole stay but I think that's out.

Thanks for the info! Will chew on it some more before we book. We will probably have to wait til first week of Jan to book (for budget reasons and still waiting to hear vacation approval for DH) so since we'll be slightly beyond the 11 month window some of our choices might be out anyway.
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Christina, wife to Matt, mom to 2 princesses and 7 dwarfs!
(10), (9), (7), (6), (4), (3), (2), born 12/20/13!
& a surprise due 11/10/14!!

Past trips:
Jan 2001: 5 nights @ CBR, Us - Honeymoon
Feb 2012: 6 nights @ POFQ, Us + 6 1/2 (and grandparents)
May 2013: 5 nights @ CBR, Me + DSis
Jan 2014: 1 night @ POR + 9 nights @ VWL, Us + 8 (and grandparents)

Future trips:
May 2015: 5 nights @ Pop, Solo Graduation trip! ~ booked and in planning!
Dec 2015: 10 nights @ AKV Jambo, Us + 9 ~ in planning!
Feb 2016: 4 nights @ Pop, Me ~ Princess Half!
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Old 11-08-2012, 12:14 PM   #11
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With your group, I'd say rent a van and no problem where you stay.

If no car:
BWV and BCV are about even. The pool at BCV is nice but you're going in mid November so it might be too cold to swim. Besides it's very easy for kids to float away from you. They are quite a trek from the monorail so it would mean probably using the buses. You can walk or take the boa to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios. It's not a very long walk.

WL is warm and friendly their Christmas decorations may be up during your stay and you can't beat WL around the holidays. Boat to MK and bus everywhere else.

AKL would be fantastic for the kids. I could not believe how tickled I was each morning watching the animal keepers putting out the food. I prefer Jambo but that's me. It's just far from everything else. Car no rolem but once we used buses and it seemed to take forever.

BLT is so generic. It's location is good but the place looks like any other condo in Fl or anywhere else.

* BLT 4
* WL 2
* BCV 1
* BWV1
* AKL Kidani 3
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Old 11-08-2012, 02:19 PM   #12
butsy113
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[QUOTE=stairstepmom;46659863]
The buses themselves were not awful at POFQ (well, being packed in like sardines after park closing was no picnic, but we expected it so it wasn't that stressful) but all the sloooow stops at Riverside got old fast! I think we'd be more okay with using buses if it was dedicated to just one or two stops.

If you truly don't mind buses AKV would be cheaper and you can usually get those rooms inside the 7 month window no problem.

This is our home resort, and we LOVE it! The pools are great, and Kidani has the splash area for the kids. The buses stop at Kidani and Jambo (Kidani being the first stop except on the DTD bus). We have never had an issue with bus service at this resort. It is farther off from the parks, but this is a plus to our family. There are animal viewing areas all around the resort. You can even view with night vision goggles. The restaurants here are excellent. There are basic menu items, but also some more adventurous foods if you want to try it.

I could literally go on and on. I suggest you go to the DVC Resorts forum. There is a thread for every resort that you can read and even see pictures. This may help make your decision.
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Old 11-08-2012, 02:46 PM   #13
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I've rented points at AKL and BLT, and stayed in a DVC 1-bedroom at BWV (cash reservation, though). I'd rank them

AKL
BWV
BLT

The BLT studio felt especially small, and I was not impressed with the sliding door for the bathroom, mainly for privacy reasons. It is close to MK, but the fact that there were no services in the tower itself was a little bit offputting.

BWV was a great room, and I love the location for the access to Epcot and DHS. Walking and the boats are both very viable. The other parks require a bus, and depending on the time of year, the buses may hit most of the resorts in the area before heading on the the destination.

AKL/AKV is all bus transportation, but you are just picking up from those two resorts themselves, which is a pretty quick trip.

We went over to Sanaa while staying at BLT, and just figured out by walking around there that we're more AKL people than BLT people. As was suggested, the sterility of BLT made it feel less magical than the immersive experience at AKL.
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Old 11-08-2012, 03:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dansdad View Post
I don't know the order, but from reading other posts on the DIS the following resorts share buses to MK and AK.

BC
YC
BW
Swan
Dolphin
Not true for MK. The sharing is
BW, Swan and Dolphin
separately
YC/BC

I think the only time they all share is DTD.

Have you looked into two cabins at Fort Wilderness? You could have Grandpa and some kids in one, and Grandma with you and DH and the little ones. There's beds for 6 in each plus room for a Pack n Play. There's tons to do for kids of all ages at the Fort and the boat to MK is great. You can also take a boat to the Contemporary for the monorail. It's a wonderful place to relax.
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:59 PM   #15
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First of all let me say wow - your kids are so lucky for this trip. It sounds like a lot of fun and the resorts you chose all are very nice.

ok so vI have stayed at the BC and AKL Kidani. Both were great but i enjoyed the BC much more for:
-location (EPCOT and HS)
-pool
-theme
-Beaches and Cream!!!
ect...

Kidani was also great but the location is pretty far away from everything else and there is no real CS place to get something to eat. Here is my trip review for reference - http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2975354

(My trip report shows some pros and cons I found of the resort)

I liked Kidani for
- the animals which is amazing experience!
-the pool
-being able to walk to Jambo (they have a CS)
ect....

IMO I think your family should stay at at least a EPCOT resort area (BC/BWV). BC is very popular and has the best pool on property but both resorts are in walking distance/boat to EPCOT/HS. YOu are also spending at least three days at EPCOT and HS.

As for the other choice I think for your family WLV or BLT would be a good choice for its location by MK. I know you said you did not like BLTs theme but WL is a very beautiful resort - and has a boat going to MK.

I wish you luck planning this wonderful trip for your family!

-FantasiaMagic
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