Just back from a 10 night stay at AKL!

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by rotlex, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. rotlex

    rotlex Is it summer yet?

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    Returned just this past Friday from a fantastic 10 night stay at AKL, and wanted to post our likes, dislikes, and thoughts!

    We booked a pool view room, and were very happy with the location. We had room number 4456, 4th floor, right near the elevators. Very, very easy and quick access to Mara as well as the pool.

    Firstly, checkin was painless. We used online, and it took maybe 5 minutes to actually check in, and get everything together. We arrived at Jambo House around 11am, and our room was ready by noon. We spent most of that first day swimming, and exploring the Lodge.

    Positives:

    Gorgeous resort with a LOT to do. Nice size room with a great view and a very friendly staff. The pool was fantastic, and we visited Kidani on Saturday to take advantage of their pool. Really fun day, and the kids enjoyed the slide and play area there quite a bit.

    Other positives. Boma; staying at the hotel that houses one of our favorite restaurants was GREAT! Our kids also took advantage of the many activities they offered, including the cookie decorating, sand art, drawing, night vision views etc. Overall, we probably did more at this resort than on any other stay we have done in the past 5 years.

    Negatives:

    Housekeeping. The room was not "dirty" per say, but considering this is a deluxe resort, the room could have been a bit cleaner. Nothing bad, but dust on top of the entertainment unit, around the toilet and other minor places was still disturbing for this level of hotel. I have had cleaner rooms at POP.

    The Mara. IMO, the worst food court we have ever had. Service was SLOW, and the selections very limited. Again, being regulars at POP, CBR and the like, I was expecting more from a deluxe food court. (What is up with using a pager at a food court anyway)?

    Bus service. I realize we probably got unlucky, but it was horrendous going and coming from the parks. On two occasions, while going to MK, we had to wait for two buses to go before being able to board, due to the number of people on the bus. The wait between was also nearly 30 minutes in most cases; again, to and from most parks. This was not acceptable at ALL. Again, I realize this is a roll of the dice, but I expected more for what we were paying. (We had a car, and wound up driving almost exclusively the last half of our trip).

    Overall? We enjoyed the resort, and had a fantastic trip. With that said, I don't think we will be staying deluxe again for quite some time. Even with as much fun as we had, I can't help but think that for the extra money we spent, we could have brought home a LOT of souvenirs, or even stayed a number of extra days mod or value.

    We are now booked for next year, and Riverside, and are looking forward to that as well.

    Oh, for reference. There were no bounce back offers in the room. I asked at the front desk, and was told to call reservations. I did, and nothing was available. The day we got home, I got a 40-45% off offer for dates ending this year. Not good to us, as we are not going again until next year anyway, and were already home when we received it!
     
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  3. BYC

    BYC DIS Veteran

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    We stayed 6 nights at AKL in January, and we LOVED it. And, I agree with you about Mara. Worst food court in any resort. I would fill our cups with coffee in the morning, and that was it. After eating a couple of meals there, we had no interest in eating there again. The values have much better food courts. But, I would go back to AKL in a heartbeat! Just loved everything else about it!:banana:
     
  4. WB1971

    WB1971 Always planning my next trip

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    Thanks for the detailed review, sounds like a great time and I am super jealous of a ten night trip! Agree on the bus trans, we won't stay at AKL or WL without a car anymore. Then again we like having a car regardless of where we stay, so have a bit of a bias! (got a car for next week for $142.00 out the door, so well worth the flexibility for us, compared to overall cost of trip) With the deluxes, you just can't go in expecting a "food court". They are really just a counter service food location. We have always liked Mara and Roaring Forks, but knew what to expect going in, so can see disapointment if comparing to a value/moderate food court. Thanks again for sharing, all the best.
     
  5. trekker93

    trekker93 DIS Veteran

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    Glad to hear you like AK alot! We prefer POP over any of them due to the styling,food court and bus service. We've stayed at POFQ and although it is beautiful there, Pop is just better. We go down next week!:surfweb:
     
  6. KARN4U

    KARN4U Earning My Ears

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    I was wondering how many hotels the Animal Kingdom Lodge bus picks up. We stayed at YC/BC and they picked up 5 hotels before we actually hit the park we were going too. May be the deal breaker for us staying there.
     
  7. rotlex

    rotlex Is it summer yet?

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    The bus picked up\dropped off at Jambo House and Kidani. Not really a problem with this, other than it seemed to be random as to which one they would do first. Kind of annoying to go to Kidani every trip when 50% of the time there was no one to pick up or drop off. (Also seemed like a wast of time and fuel). Kidani is on the same property, 10 minute walk even, so it's not really a separate "hotel" so to speak.
     
  8. rotlex

    rotlex Is it summer yet?

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    We love POP - especially the food court. Matter of fact, on our last day, after hitting DHS for a few hours, we picked up our luggage at Jambo House and still had 3 CS food credits to use. I jokingly said to my wife we should go to POP's food court, get lunch, and some tie dye cheesecake. :lmao: We laughed, and then that is EXACTLY what we did, :rotfl:

    We each got a cheese steak wrap, tie dye cheesecake, and pizza for the kids. It felt really good to stop there, and frankly, it probably is our favorite resort. I said to my wife, again, really enjoying our stay at AKL, that if we would have stayed at POP again, just think of all the extra stuff we could have bought to take back home! :thumbsup2
     
  9. KELLY

    KELLY DIS Veteran

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    We were on the verge of staying at AKL also. But my young girls wanted pop again. I have never stayed there but have stayed at WL and dh hated the food court there. Since we use the food court daily. That was a big negative for us. For us we probably won't stay deluxe again but maybe moderate again. But not even sure on moderate since we like pop so much.
     
  10. MYD714

    MYD714 Please stand clear of the doors...

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    We just stayed at AKL in a pool view room (4424) in August. We loved everything about it. We had an easy walk to everything, and our room was always clean. We even encountered towel animals on the first day and unexpected turn down service on our last night. We enjoyed the Mara; I loved the flatbread. We ate breakfast there every morning and lunch on the day we left. Had I known that I would love the flatbread, we would have eaten more meals there.

    So far, I've lucked out with the buses on both stays here. We never had to wait for more than 15 minutes for a bus, and I never had to stand. This was the first trip where I got a seat on the bus every time. The only bus I had to stand on was from DTD to the Boardwalk. I quickly remembered why I don't stay at there...the amount of stops were insane. It took us a good hour to get to our destination. I found that to get anywhere in WDW from AKL took about 15 minutes (I clocked 13 minutes to MK one afternoon).

    AKL is now my all time favorite resort. I just wish it wasn't so expensive. I'd move in tomorrow and stay forever if the price was right. :cloud9:
     
  11. KARN4U

    KARN4U Earning My Ears

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    Thanks rotlex for the info about the buses. That makes me feel abit better. The YC/BC buses were awful and I didn't want a repeat of that this trip.:goodvibes
     
  12. dmccarty

    dmccarty DIS Veteran

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    We LOVE Mara. :hippie:

    We HATED the food court at CBR. What a zoo. :sad1: With six people in the group including two kids it was a PITA to get food since you had to wander around to 4-6 places to find food that someone wanted. Then trying to get a table. The selection is better at CBR but we thought the food quality was just ok.

    At Mara the selection is smaller but the food quality if much better since they are cooking the food as you order. Which slows things down a bit. The reason they give out the pager is to let people sit down and not have a traffic jam in the ordering line. Before the pagers people had to wait to get their food which slowed down the ordering process and created a big crowd in the line. With the pagers people can go get a table, get drinks and such while waiting for their order. It works much better than it used too.

    Buses are one of those lucky/unlucky things. And I think it is dependent on when people go to the parks. Since we go at RD, we miss the crowds at the parks and I suspect at the bus stops in the morning. We have been to AKL a few times but I do not ever remember waiting more than 20 minutes for a bus either going to or from the parks. The added stop in AKV is a pain though since the buses go their first. The one problem we saw last year was the bus would have people on board from AKV when it stopped at AKL. We did see people having to wait at AKL because there was not enough room on the bus. We saw this twice during our trip the rest of the time we never saw much crowding on the bus.

    Next trip we are staying at AKV to try out the resort but also because of the bus routing. Depending on the parking and bus we might try driving to AK, DHS, and EPCOT. But who knows we like the buses and NOT having to drive.

    Later,
    Dan
     
  13. Nickmom522

    Nickmom522 Mouseketeer

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    Just got back also for a 10 dya stay at AKL. I was so glad I had a rental car. The few times I took the bus to/from MK because I thought it would be more convenient than the car I thought the service was terrible. Long waits and packe busses. I know it is hit-or-miss at any resort with the busses but I think AKL needs to have better bus service. As beautiful as the resort is, I probably would not stay there again since it does seem further away. When I stayed there in '02 without kids, the location didn;t seem bad. This time with the kids it just seemed like a long trip to anywhere.
     
  14. KarBear

    KarBear DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for all the info about AKL, we are thinking of staying there next year for 11 nights. I am worried about the busing! We stayed at CBR twice and both times it was standing room only everytime we went somewhere and having to stop at all the villages it seemed to take forever. WE will have a car. Any suggestions???
    Is it only MK that the busses were packed?
    Also how were the kids events?
    Did you use the kids club for babysitting, Simba's club?

    Thanks
     
  15. TiaMaria

    TiaMaria DIS Veteran

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    Actually, it's not random at all.

    The buses to the parks always pick up at Kidani first, then Jambo. They also drop off Kidani first and Jambo last. Some folks hop on at Kidani and get off at Jambo instead of walking or using the intra-van shuttle if they want to go to the main lodge.

    The buses to Downtown Disney always pick up at Jambo first and then Kidani. Same with dropping off. Again, sometimes Kidani guests hop on at Jambo and then just get off at Kidani.

    While at Kidani, if we had a completely full bus (including the aisles), the bus driver would once every great while skip Jambo on the way to the parks, but we would see another pulling in at the same time.

    Anytime you are heading out from Jambo at peak times or to the EMH parks, you can bet the buses will be jammed.
     
  16. KarBear

    KarBear DIS Veteran

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    Is it worth it to walk to Kandi and then get on the buses to assure you will be able to sit down? Is walking to Kandi possible or would that not make sense?
     
  17. glocon

    glocon DIS Veteran

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    We loved AKL the one time we stayed there, and would stay again in a heartbeat. But since we've only tried AKL and POR, we want to try others, maybe BC or BW. We did love both, and would stay at either again. But we did drive our own car both times, having heard so many negatives about the bus services. The boat from POR was great though...
     
  18. carrie1626

    carrie1626 DIS Veteran

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    "Bus service. I realize we probably got unlucky, but it was horrendous going and coming from the parks. On two occasions, while going to MK, we had to wait for two buses to go before being able to board, due to the number of people on the bus. The wait between was also nearly 30 minutes in most cases; again, to and from most parks. This was not acceptable at ALL. Again, I realize this is a roll of the dice, but I expected more for what we were paying. (We had a car, and wound up driving almost exclusively the last half of our trip)."
    That's unfortunate!!


    I got back two weeks ago from AKL and experienced just the opposite- timely, reliable buses to and from the parks. Please tell us when those MK were "full". Park closing, right after the parade/fireworks, when of course they would be??:upsidedow. (The plus of waiting is getting a seat.)
     
  19. John's Mom

    John's Mom Jambo Wildbunch Gang

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    It's about a ten minute walk from Jambo to Kidani. It's really up to you if you think it's worth it or not. We always waited at Jambo.
     
  20. rotlex

    rotlex Is it summer yet?

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    The MK buses were full at least 3 times in the AM. Basically, we had to wait for a 2nd bus at Jambo house. With that said, MK was probably the only park that had that issue. The others were not that bad. As far as coming back at night, it was similar as well. It was always standing room only, particularly, of course, if it was post fireworks.
     
  21. rotlex

    rotlex Is it summer yet?

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    As far as the car? IMO, after having a car there on our past 3 trips, we will ALWAYS use it. :) I hate standing in line for, or on buses anymore. :)

    Kids events were fun, but not really anything to write home about. The free events that our kids enjoyed were the Boma cookie decorating, the sand art down by the pool, and of course, the night vision animal viewing. They were fun, but really just 15-30 minute diversions. Some of the paid events, such as t-shirt and jewelry making sounded fun, but we were never around at the lodge while they were going on.

    Can't comment on the kids club, other than we walked by it everyday, as we did not use the service. A few people we spoke with one night by the pool however said the kids LOVED it, and so did they! ;)

    Oh, as far as buses being packed? MK was the worst, followed by Epcot. The others were never too bad however, but, as I said in an earlier post, we pretty much used the car exclusively after the first few days.
     

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