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Old 04-06-2013, 08:05 AM   #16
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We have stayed at AKL it's a great resort. But I think I would switch to a different resort if money was an issue and it would be the same price.

I would leave AKL to a trip tgat I wanted to save the extra cash but still wanted to stay deluxe. Nothing against AKL at all. It's really far out and the transportation is all buses.

BC/YC you have larger rooms , and u can walk to 2 parks. Larger rooms too. SAB!

GF is great but why haven't they gotten rid of those nasty bed spreads yet???? Yuck! Honestly I just can't do it lol.

My vote is for BC/YC

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Old 04-06-2013, 08:16 AM   #17
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Our family loves AKL and GF. We haven't stayed at the BC yet, though we will be staying at BCV this summer. We love the grounds at the GF, the rooms are larger, the service is consistently excellent, the transportation to And from MK via monorail and boat is ideal and you can also get the monorail to Epcot. Bus service to the other parks is good, too. The restaurants are all great from quick service at Gasparilla's, buffet at 1900 Park Fare, and signature dining at Narcoosee's, Citrico's and V&A. We usually make an ADR at Narcoosee's no matter where we're staying. You can watch the fireworks and electrical water pageant from the beach or dock. The pools are nice and never seem crowded. But, my favorite aspect of the GF is the lobby. DH and I love to sit in the lobby and listen to the pianist or the band. It's a lovely, light-filled space. I don't think you can go wrong staying at Disney's flagship resort.

However, if you are in the mood for a completely different experience, AKL offers the opportunity to see wildlife from your balcony every day. This is a totally unique .characteristic. Rooms here are a bit smaller than GF, but still quite comfortable. The grounds have lots of spots to sit outdoors and watch the savannah or enjoy the fire pit. Strolling around the savannah viewing areas is fascinating. The lobby is gorgeous, but 180 degrees from the GF. It is dark and filled with African styled furniture and interesting cultural artifacts. CMs here are also very friendly and many are from Africa and will tell you about their customs and culture if you ask. (My DH met an AKL CM from Botswana, I think, who shared his fascination with WW 2 aircraft.) We love all the restaurants at AKL and will plan to eat at Boma or Jiko no matter where we are staying. The AKL pool is serene and well land-scaped. I've never stayed at AKL without a car, so I can't say much about transportation.

We are staying at BCV this summer for the first time, so I can't comment on it yet. I hope it is just as good or better than the GF or AKL.

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Old 04-06-2013, 09:49 AM   #18
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Poly and Contemporary would also be the same price range...my kids would choose one of those two...
Not a fan of GF theming, just not child inspired...I have three teenagers, one always sleeps on daybed...the ones at monorail resorts are longer than Beach club.
We prefer pool at Poly to CR but honestly we are park people..we do not spend more than a couple of hours at the pool.

Stayed at AKL, never again...hated transportation...and we had savannah view. Some friends were talked into it a few years back, tried my best to politely suggest a monorail resort..they stuck with AKL and they did not like the hassle with buses...with a monorail resort you can often be ack at your room in 10 minutes then head back to parks easily.

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Old 04-06-2013, 10:24 AM   #19
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BC would be my choice. The location is ideal, walking or boat to Epcot and DHS. You have all of the Boardwalk area at your fingertips and access to Stormalong Bay, both of which are great for teens. More dining options than most resorts and lots to do. You only need to take a bus to MK, AK and DTD. On occasion the buses to DTD get crowded because people use them to get to the boardwalk area.

GF is nice if you plan on spending most of your time at MK. Since it is on the monorail loupe it is a little further from the other parks. Make sure you are aware there is currently a major construction project going in there to build the DVC rooms.

AKL, eh, not on my go to list. Location stinks for everything but AK and even there you must take a bus. In my experience the buses are slow at AKL and crowded. We go in the off season and I am not used to standing room or no room on buses. I honestly thought we would enjoy the savannah view more. Since you are going in the summer it is hot and the animals tend to lay around a lot in the shade, they are more active in the morning and evening if you are in your room at those times. Dining options are limited and just not our thing.

Like PP said, Poly is also in your price range and very nice. I think the Poly may be more suited for teen boys than GF.

Boardwalk is also in the price range, mostly the same as BC but no SAB.
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Old 04-06-2013, 11:10 AM   #20
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One thing that stands out in my mind about AKL that I didn't count on was the barnyard smell! We were there in January, cooler temps but still 70s. When we would step out onto the balcony that smell would hit us! Not expected at all, and with three teenaged girls you can imagine all of the whining we heard!
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Old 04-06-2013, 11:37 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by rcraw45425 View Post
One thing that stands out in my mind about AKL that I didn't count on was the barnyard smell! We were there in January, cooler temps but still 70s. When we would step out onto the balcony that smell would hit us! Not expected at all, and with three teenaged girls you can imagine all of the whining we heard!
Interesting. I don't like AKL for other reasons, after staying at Jambo and Kidani, but we have definitely not noticed a smell!

I wonder if they had just done landscaping and had laid down manure for that.
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Old 04-06-2013, 01:12 PM   #22
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With your boy's ages, I'd either go with AKL or BC.
AKL because seeing the animals is so cool.
BC because ESPN Club is across the lake and a short walk. Also, Epcot is 5 minutes away walk and there are tons of places for your family to have a nice meal in the evening or if the boys want to go off on their own in the evenings, both the Boardwalk and Epcot have lots of things to see and do while AKL is isolated.
GF,imo, won't appeal as much to boys.
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Old 04-06-2013, 03:46 PM   #23
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I would definitely pick BCR. With the boys ages I think the beachy feel will appeal to them and SAB us amazing. But walking to Epcot in under 5 minutes is the best.

I used to think the GF was my dream resort but it seems a little stuffy to me. I don't have the same desire to stay there that I used to. Maybe someday. I think AKL would be great too but I would go with BCR.
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Old 04-06-2013, 04:23 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by rcraw45425 View Post
One thing that stands out in my mind about AKL that I didn't count on was the barnyard smell! We were there in January, cooler temps but still 70s. When we would step out onto the balcony that smell would hit us! Not expected at all, and with three teenaged girls you can imagine all of the whining we heard!
We stayed in August and didn't smell anything

OP- I'd go with either GF or BC/YC.

We haven't stayed at GF yet, but booked a split stay this summer with GF & YC.

You can't go wrong with either. Being on monorail with GF would be nice, and I enjoy the boat to MK or Poly. Also watching Wishes and Electric Water Parade from the resort. We stayed at Poly, and loved it.

We also loved BC . Great resort, and SAB is the best pool on property. Walking to Epcot, and all the dining options in the area is great. Boat to DHS is another nice option. Many rooms have a day bed.

Both resorts have larger rooms then AKL. We did enjoy AKL, and it is a great resort too, but giving that GF & BC are cheaper, and both wonderful resorts, I'd move.
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Old 04-06-2013, 10:36 PM   #25
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Given that your boys are older, 100% BC. The location, with all of the Epcot, Boardwalk, resort activities + SAB, seems like a no brainer.

This coming from a big time fan of AKL. GF always seems like an old lady's parlor to me.

Also consider whether they want to sleep in the same bed...you could get bunk beds at AKL, but that is even more $$$. No guarentee on daybed at BC/YC, but if you put it first in your requests, the boys might be happier. I think Poly and Contemp both guarentee daybed.
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Old 04-06-2013, 11:49 PM   #26
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We stayed at BC when we had three boys with us, ages 12, 16 and 18. The guys loved the location near Epcot and went to Illuminations quite a few times. SAB was great for them, too.
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Old 04-07-2013, 06:51 AM   #27
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I'd go for BC. So much to do around there with BW right across the lake and EPCT and DHS within walking distance.

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Old 04-07-2013, 07:40 AM   #28
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You have 11 and 18 year old boys.

Take a look at StormAlongBay at the Beach Club. My kids would live there if they could.

I vote for the Beach Club. You can WALK to Epcot or to DHS, the Boardwalk is right there, as is the marina, and the resort is fabulous.
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:03 PM   #29
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AKL (Savannah), GF (Garden), BC (Water)

Just wanted to thank everyone for all the terrific feedback. We decided to make the switch.

Really appreciate how willing everyone is to provide helpful information. We thought we should consider switching away from AKL given the other options and after going through the responses, it was a much easier decision.

Thanks again!
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Old 04-07-2013, 03:28 PM   #30
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So - which resort did you choose?

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