Need advice - Having such a hard time deciding!

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by stairstepmom, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. stairstepmom

    stairstepmom stairstepmom

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    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!! :thumbsup2
     
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  3. AJKMOM

    AJKMOM DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  4. stairstepmom

    stairstepmom 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).
     
  5. Wood Nymph

    Wood Nymph DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  6. butsy113

    butsy113 AKV Owner

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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 trippixiedust:
     
  7. stairstepmom

    stairstepmom 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?
     
  8. heidijanesmith

    heidijanesmith DIS Veteran

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    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!
     
  9. stairstepmom

    stairstepmom 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!
     
  10. dansdad

    dansdad DIS Veteran

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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
     
  11. stairstepmom

    stairstepmom 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.
     
  12. Robbi

    Robbi DIS Veteran

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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
     
  13. butsy113

    butsy113 AKV Owner

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  14. DEA

    DEA DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  15. sharadoc

    sharadoc Visit WDW since '86, driving since '94.

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    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.
     
  16. FantasiaMagic

    FantasiaMagic DIS Veteran

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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 pixiedust:
     
  17. Pakey

    Pakey DIS Veteran

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    I own at BCV and have stayed there many times plus all others except BLT.

    You give up most floor space when pulling out the sleeper sofa. For that reason I'd pick OKW because you have more room and 2 beds.

    For park convenience, I'd pick BLT. BCV buses are pretty bad in that they are frequently full by the time they make the BC stop. And if you are going during F&W you may have trouble getting 2 studios at the Epcot resort area DVCs.

    For resort theming and room decor, my favorite is AKV.

    Please realize that Studios are not next to one another; you may be at same resort but spread a long way apart.
     
  18. stairstepmom

    stairstepmom stairstepmom

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    Thanks so much for the great advice!!

    I think we've decided on BCV, and we may change our dates to the third week of October to insure pool-weather (plus 10/26 is our then-4 year old's birthday and he is in LOVE with the mouse ;))

    We realize the MK days will require an earlier start and a little more stress, but we really want a more relaxing trip and BCV's theme is awesome and we like the idea of coming back from a park late afternoon for a swim and then heading to Epcot for a few rides and a great dinner. MK is only 1/3 of our trip so we hate to decide solely on convenience for 1/3 of our trip. MK is magical but something about it brings out the tour plan commando in me - we felt so much more relaxed at Epcot!

    BWV will be our #2 in case BCV is booked up and after that we'll think of WL or AKL.

    Thanks again! :)
     
  19. shaynar

    shaynar Mouseketeer

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    Just a thought.
    There are no studios that adjoin. That is just the way that villa resorts are set up. Therefore you will need an adult in each of the three rooms, meaning that either you and dh, or the grandparents will have to split up to ensure an adult in each of the three rooms.

    Also - there is no guarantee that the rooms will be close to one another - you can request, but it's not guaranteed.
     
  20. clutter

    clutter <font color=FF66FF>Princess's Mom<br><font color=b

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    I'm in total agreement with Pakey's opinion. Love AK for the theming, and I'd do that with a van rental in a heartbeat. Especially if you can't get BCV. Unfortunately, I believe it rents quickly in October for the Food and Wine Festival. (Also, BCV will get dedicated busses when it's busy. Often at park closing times.)
     
  21. stairstepmom

    stairstepmom stairstepmom

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    Thanks for the reminder on the studios! As I said, Grandma and Grandpa have been separated for 20 years so they will not be sharing a room. Our oldest two boys will be rooming with Grandpa and our daughter and 4 year old boy will be rooming with Grandma. DH and I will have the littlest ones. Not having adjoining rooms is not a big deal, as we just set a time to meet up at one room or a restaurant or bus stop each morning.

    I'm trying to convince DH to splurge on a 1 bedroom for us at least - we do not need the kitchen but I love the extra space and would be nice to have a common location to hang out for everyone. The cost difference is enormous at BCV though so it's hard to justify the added expense!
     

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