Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by DonoMoose, Mar 8, 2013.
As I said, you were very lucky.
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It is neat to see all the different perspectives on the various Disney resorts. We have tried value, moderate and deluxe over the years.
We really loved our stays at the values when our son was young. We stayed at Sports (x2), Movies (1) and Pop (3)
Moderates, port Orleans Riverside and Coronado.
Deluxe, Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge, Saratoga Springs.
We never had a bad stay at the values. Really enjoyed Coronado, but have no desire to ever stay at Riverside again for lots of reasons. Our stay at Wilderness Lodge was very enjoyable. Our first stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge is what convinced us to purchase into DVC. We LOVE AKL.
Through DVC we have a full kitchen and laundry facilities in the room. As our son got older (21 now) we found that we were no longer interested in the over the top bright, loud theming at the value resorts. Nothing wrong with the values, just not what we are looking for any longer. We no longer 'commando' the parks. After a busy morning at one of the parks we love nothing more than to head back to the peace and quiet of AKV. What other people dislike about AKL (remote, no over the top Disney theming) is exactly what we love about it. We also love the restaurants there. A very nice change from the food offered at the parks.
My mother in law went to WDW with us last year and we booked at Saratoga Springs. We really liked the proximity to DTD. She was interested in checking out our home resort of AKV. She HATED it. Like many others, she found it dark and oppressive. Different strokes I guess. There is something for everyone.
My dh and dd think AKL/Kidani are 'okay', while I love it there. You don't like dark??? Don't stay at WL then. Man, I hated my stay there!!
I'm surprised that after looking at photos you decided to stay there. It is obviously a dark resort. And it isn't over the top theming like the values. But, none of the deluxe resorts are. Even the moderates tend to be much more lowkey in their theming.
I'm sorry your kiddo got sick. But, I'm surprised that Disney moved you to a one bedroom villa at Kidani. That was hugely nice of them. Tons of people get sick at WDW every single day. My dd, back when she was 9, got sick on our second day. Fever of 103, stomach upset...not so much fun. We were room bound for 2 days...at AllStar Music!!!! But, it was only the two of us, so that's a big difference.
And yes, it is a hike to get food at Mara. But..you could have purchased food in the little convenience shop off the lobby of Kidani. They have decent offerings there.
I love most of the Disney resorts. I think that at this point, the only ones I have yet to stay at are AS Sports, AS Movies, GF, CRB, and CSR. I've stayed at least at all the others. I own DVC at both BWV and BLT, but I do love my stays at AoA and Pop. And I'll be at Music and then over to AoA in May with my dd.
That was a huge and pricey upgrade... I agree, you were very lucky!
I hope your kids at least enjoyed the savannah. I think that is what makes AKL unique. Even if you didn't like AKL, that upgrade was a pretty sweet bunch if pixie dust! Although the GF is our indisputable favorite, we 've stayed at AKL twice---once Savannah view and once CL. We had some great times. We are adventurous eaters and love the food. We find the pool very peaceful and relaxing. However, we had your AKL reaction at WL which is architecturally very similar to AKL. It seemed too dark for us and didn't have the novelty of the savannah to compensate. Also, WL was very noisy for us. Every time we crossed the lobby, the Whispering Canyon was certainly not whispering and the boat that takes you to MK is noisier than a city subway. Still, I am glad we tried WL and there are people I've recommended it to because it was a good choice for their particular circumstances. Not every resort is for everyone and many people with small kids find their kids respond best to the values. If that's the case, there's no need to stay anywhere else unless you want to explore more options. We are staying BLT this summer and deviating from our usual GF routine. I know we might be disappointed because they are total opposites, but I'm curious enough to take a chance.
Yes, I absolutely agree we were very lucky, fortunate. We felt blessed to have a tremendous upgrade.
But, you also said they really had no reason to give me this upgrade for free (my child was sick & they found favor in that alone). Than you said, I wouldn't say it's "very simple" to get such a big upgrade when it's not disney's fault for some reason. (Again I never implied it was Disney's fault & I didn't make it seem that way when speaking to them. I explained what was going on & what I needed & if they couldn't accommodate I understood & wouldn't mind going to a suit at the values. & this is the simple I am talking about. I wasn't rude or nasty like some people can get, I was calm & yes lucky!
Sorry you are taking it so personally. I still think you were lucky *shrug*
Sorry you didn't enjoy AKL. We have the opposite feeling, love it, and love the food. I thought Mara was excellent, especially their dinner specials which IMO were worthy of a TS.
Good thing there are many resort choices at wdw, to suite everyone's tastes!
Thank you for your honest, thoughtful review. There are some things that others love that I don't, so I totally understand.
I LOVE AKL and wish I could have my house in the same exact style, but there are other resorts that didn't amaze me. When we stayed at the Yacht Club many years ago, they gave us a room that seemed like it was miles away from the lobby, so that colored our opinion of the resort and we've never had any desire to go back, as much as I love the beautiful lobby. We're going to stay two nights at the Beach Club after AKL this trip and I hope we like it better than YC.
Incidentally, I MUCH, MUCH prefer Jambo to Kidani. I would say that AKL is my favorite resort, BUT that's only if staying at Jambo. If there were no room at Jambo, I'd probably pick another resort. Although our car was super convenient to us at Kidani and I liked the lobby, I felt really, really far away from the action.
We're staying one night at AofA this trip to start our trip off (three resorts this trip) and I'm totally excited. I had told DS10 that he could pick where we were staying for the last two nights hoping that he would pick AofA, but he initially said GF, which is way more than I can afford, so I talked him "down" to BC So, since he couldn't be subconsciously swayed to AofA, I added that first night on there. Your post makes me excited to try a value for the first time!
I have visited both WL and AKL and I would not stay at either. I found WL to be too noisy and I hate the smell of the lobby at AKL. I have stayed in many wilderness lodges so WL doesn't appeal to me. AKL is just too dark. I also don't like the fact that I can't walk to a park from either. I am so happy that Disney caters to all tastes in lodging. I can remember when I was a POLY only fan. When they built the BW hotels I stated "who in their right mind would stay there?" Well after having to stay at BC one year because POLY was booked we found that we love the BW hotels. That is the only places we stay now!!! I have also stayed at POR and I liked it too. But I can't walk to a park there. When I go with my neice and her kids in the future we will try a value since that will be in her price range.
OP, your original post gave a very good description of your resort experience. I'm sorry that your little one became ill- it sucks when this happens, but I think a lot of WDW vets can attest that this happens frequently (and for many different reasons). Irrespective of the cause, it definitely has a negative impact on the vacation. I would have to say that the resort CM was very kind to give you that upgrade. Too bad you didn't know about the food available at Kidani- it may have saved you a few treks over to the Mara.
All in all I think your story is a lesson for many: Do your homework before reserving a room at a resort. Look at the photos. Read up on the resort amenities. Know what it looks like before you spend your hard earned dollars. If your tastes run to the Value resorts, don't spend all that money on a deluxe whose theming doesn't appeal to you.
Thanks for posting your review - I am sure there are others who feel the same way you do. It is definitely good advice to know what you prefer in a Disney resort.
One of the things I like about Disney is there is generally a resort for everyone - I prefer different resorts when I am in different moods. Sometimes I am like "I feel like POP this time around" and then sometimes I am longing for a stay at AKL. Guess this is one of the reasons I am buying into DVC - LOL!
Anyway - thanks for posting and whoo hooo on the pixie dust upgrade! Hoping everyone is feeling better too.
Lucky you! I would love to get an upgrade.. Hopefully your baby is better and you survived the annoying snowstorm around here yesterday!
I agree about AKL. It is the most non disney resort. Although WL was designed by the same architect, it is much more of a happy feel for me. I did not like AKL. However, AKL is the only 'Deluxe' with somewhat reasonably priced rooms. WL is getting very pricy now. I love Pop. Liked All Stars too, but now they really need a freshening.. I am trying AoA LM next month, and expect to like it. But lately, my favorite resort (except for bad bus service) is PORS.
That's the beauty of Disney. They have something for everyone and every taste and every budget. We are big fans of Pop and AKL. But this past weekend we stayed at BWV for the first time (on points given to us by a relative with DVC) and to say we were unimpressed would be an understatement.
I HATED the Boardwalk. Hated every second of it. And I am a Disney apologist who loves everything Disney does.
For starters, we arrived super early...like right around 8am. Naturally our room was not ready (though I didn't expect it to be). We had done online check in so I grabbed our packet, bought park tix at the concierge and then we left our luggage with bell services and were told by the front desk person who gave us our welcome packet that we would recieve a text with our room number. NEVER HAPPENED. We were at the park the whole day and didn't get back to the resort until around midnight. No text, no nothing. I was so exhausted but had to go to the desk to inquire about our room. The CM was stymied as to why we didn't get a text and kept going on about how "you should have gotten one." Well I didn't...I'm not lying...just tell me where my dang room is.
They give us our room and we schlep over there only to discover our room keys DON'T WORK. In my 30+ stays at Disney this has never happened. But there is a first time for everything (just wish it hadn't happened at midnight when we were dog tired). So I schlep back to the lobby and the CM has to get me a new set of key cards.
The decor in the room was pathetic. It looked like they went to a bunch of yard sales and picked up whatever mismatched old furniture was around. The color of paint reminded me of the "mistake" paint you can get at Lowes for $2...a salmony pink. Plus our toilet was constantly running...all. the.time. We asked for it to be fixed but that never happened.
We had shampoo and body wash in our room...the bottles were used and half empty.
The view from our room? The terrifying clown in the pool area. I had assumed the scary clown wouldn't be a big deal since we weren't going to be using the pool as it was closed for refurb (and it was frigid outside) but apparently avoiding Pennywise wasn't as easy as I thought.
I didn't like having to go outside onto the boardwalk to get food from the bakery or to shop. It was SO cold in the am and at night. At a deluxe resort I found this to be unacceptable.
Lastly, after having our own bus at AKL last year and Pop in previous years I found sharing buses with other resorts to be less than deluxe.
The plus side was the easy walk to Epcot.
Before anyone asks why I would book the resort without researching first and knowing about the scary clown pool,m the sharing of busses or the need to go outside to get food...I DID. DH's uncle was giving us his DVC points to use for free and had asked us where we wanted to stay. We said the Beach Club but either he misunderstood us or it wasn't available when he went to book because he wound up booking us the BW. We were just grateful for his generosity so just went with it.
Next time it will be back to Pop for us (or AKLV if we can rent his DVC points).
Dear OP we are POPers fully love that place for all the reasons you said and I too had the opportunity to stay at AKL too once for one night before they transferred us to our home at Pop. We got upgraded to CL savannah view too on our one night as a awesome piece of magic so we just stayed and enjoyed the hotel. Yes, it was dark, quiet and not the business of Pop but that IMHO is how the deluxe feel to us when we visit them except the dark as we have visited all of them for one reason or another. When we went to breakfast that morning at Mara it was a beautiful, peaceful walk to it but it just didnt energize like a walk to everyhthing Pop does, not bad but not "us". I will never regret that experience of sitting out on the deck watching the giraffes and that crazy hormonal African bull as it was just that an "experience" but in all honesty I truly felt like we were home when we moved to Pop for the rest of our stay that afternoon when I heard the music and saw my beloved four story Lady and I thank heaven for all the opportunities Disney provides unto find our own magical niche! hope your next trip is magical!!
Oh hi!! we are neighbors!! so cool! Ty for your feed back and please let me know how you like AOA, which theam did you choose? I'm thinking of trying Nemo, love the Decor in the pics!!
Have a great Vacation
Thank you everyone for the kind words of encouragement, wisdom and even sympathy The bottom line is knowing what type of feel you personally want out of your resort/stay in general. Many of you hit it right on, there is a Resort fitting for so many unique individual tastes. Knowing what yours is before hand can save you heart ache and money... If you prefer a dark quiet, tranquil place, there's akl & wl (not sure how quiet poly is?) if you love water & that cape cod look, I guess bc & yc, if you want loud, huge colorful icons, giant food court than the Valus. Either way, I'm glad I experienced AKL. I thought I would love everything about it and although I found it beautiful in different ways, just not what we prefer during our Disney stays.. So... do some homework. Ask yourself simple questions, like do I want to be in a tranquil resort with earth tone colors? do I want to feel like I'm visiting Marta's vineyard? do I want to feel like I'm surrounded by giant icons where it gets pretty loud? Knowing these answers should guide you quite a bit oh and of course, checking out pictures from allears.net or just google and youtube the resorts. Happy planning to anyone doing so!!!
I recently fell in love with akl. I had consider wl for our next trip but the family wants akl again.
I hate boma but loved wcc. When i walked into wl i felt it was smaller and felt more congested than akl. And the pool looked alot smaller. The location i liked tho.
What r the good room locations at wl and how much more is it than akl? I thought they were bout the same
I would make a suggestion to families that normally stay at value resorts and are possibly looking to upgrade to a mod or a deluxe on a future vacation ..... pick a mod or a deluxe resort where you have dined in the past and have had a chance to see the resort.
I remember our first trip as a family to WDW. We stayed at POR. When we saw the GF from the MK we thought it was a dream resort that we wanted to stay at. Thank goodness we saw it and that we also saw the Poly. We realized when we saw the GF in person that it was NOT for us. We also realized when we saw the Poly that it was our dream resort. After many years the Poly is still my favourite.
Sorry about the bad experience. I would not give up on all delxes though since thu are all so different in there decor and ammenities they offer. Take a look on the disneyworld website which will give u pictures of all the resorts. It gives you feel of what youll be getting into.
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