The Views at AKL

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by fuzzlekins, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. fuzzlekins

    fuzzlekins Mouseketeer

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    For our next trip, I'm thinking of splurging on a deluxe resort (with the assumption we're going to get some kind of deal b/c it will be low season). I'm debating between WL and AKL but now leaning toward WL because of its proximity to MK and Epcot. But I have to admit, the savanna view seems tempting. So my question is, if you upgrade to a savanna view room at AKL, what animals are you ACTUALLY likely to see? I don't want to pay extra and wind up staring at flamingos. I'm mostly interested in the giraffes. What type of room or what area would you need to be in to have the best shot of seeing those?

    And when deals like S/P/D are offered, is the discount % better on the higher priced rooms or the same no matter which AKL room you get?

    Thanks! :)
     
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  3. mmmears

    mmmears DIS Veteran

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    If you book a savanna room, you will see animals. We've always stayed in a room facing the Arusha savanna and have seen giraffes each time. There are different savannas and there each have some unique animals that you won't find on the others (like ostrich, red river hogs, zebras, a bongo, ankole cattle, etc.). Giraffes are plentiful at AKL. You won't just be looking at flamingos (although there are birds out there). If there is a specific animal that you really want to see from your balcony, put it in your room requests (like -- we would like to have a view of the zebras). The animals have been moved around since our first visit there, so I would request "giraffes" rather than a particular savanna.

    AKL is an amazing, wonderful resort. There are animals everywhere (never a time when we went out on the balcony when we couldn't see any animals). There are viewing spots on each of the savannas, so you can go and see the animals on each of them.
     
  4. fuzzlekins

    fuzzlekins Mouseketeer

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    Thanks!! Very helpful! :thumbsup2
     
  5. mmmears

    mmmears DIS Veteran

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    You're welcome. Forgot to add that while WL does have good access to the MK, it's no more convenient to Epcot than AKL.

    They are both nice resorts, though!:)
     
  6. jlk806

    jlk806 DanceDisneyGirl

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    We've stayed at Kidani, savanna view 3 times now, and everytime have had plentiful giraffes and zebras feeding outside of our room at most times, especially at night. We also saw long horned cattle, ostrich and some antelope animals. Its awesome and sooo amazingly relaxing.
     
  7. fuzzlekins

    fuzzlekins Mouseketeer

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    Such a tough decision! Both resorts look awesome. I'm favoring the food at WL, the views at AKL, the location of WL ... Then of course there's price. WL is less expensive when comparing a std WL room vs. a savanna view AKL room. This is going to be tough. :scratchin
     
  8. Li Li

    Li Li Mouseketeer

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    Just wanted to pipe in my two cents. If you are going to be out at parks or out touring a lot, then I would pick WL. Not that AKL is bad, but it is more a resort I would pick if I was going to spend more time at the resort. I stayed at AKL-Kidani with a savannah view that I loved. We saw giraffes and zebras every day. But I wish we had more time to actually spend at the resort to do the activities like movies under stars and pool and other stuff. We did get to do the night vision goggles to see the savannah animals which was cool. But my husband and I both agree that we like being at resorts that are closer to the parks.
     
  9. fuzzlekins

    fuzzlekins Mouseketeer

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    I appreciate the input! We usually are at the parks from open to close every day of vacation but this time I was planning to set aside one full day to just spend at the resort as well as being there in the evenings most nights before the parks close. Both resorts seem to have fun activities in the afternoons, both offer massages (something new we'll try next time), and both have kids' club (again, something new we'll trying during one of our signature dinners). WL has the Sea Raycers but we did those at the Contemporary this time so that's not really a big issue. Still a very tough call.
     
  10. rcraw45425

    rcraw45425 <font color=darkorchid>I'm a 43 year old mom with

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    Stayed at both with teens and we personally prefer the Wilderness Lodge. AKL, while a lovely resort, is way too isolated for us. We enjoy a resort where we can easily enter a park quickly. I feel like everyone should at least visit it though and also give Sanaa a chance!
     
  11. brucerob62

    brucerob62 Mouseketeer

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    sounds like youa re not a DVC member..same with me..when i had this decision i rented points..it will save alot of money on AKL..since WL is not DVC cant rent points for that. Just a thought..we got a studio pool view for 4 nights for $720 on this rent/trade board..check it out.
     
  12. AshleeH

    AshleeH DIS Veteran

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    We've stayed at both AKL and WL - we vastly prefer AKL! We had a savanna view and enjoyed it (although their are locations all over the hotel to view the animals). WL was okay, but all we saw were trees - and honestly, the themeing reminded me too much of the area we live, so it wasn't fun.

    WL does have the pro of having access to MK, while AKL is very far out of the way (and more sprawling).
     
  13. fuzzlekins

    fuzzlekins Mouseketeer

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    Does it save you money even if you compare to a S/P/D or FD deal? I'm totally pts illiterate. And the truth is, we have RCI exchange privileges but I have no clue how to do it.
     
  14. Tropics

    Tropics Mouseketeer

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    It should. For us, FD or S/P/D never worked out to as much savings as room only discounts. If we wanted to have the dining plan then we would add a dining plan to a room only discount.

    As an example of the potential savings with renting DVC points, we're renting DVC points for a 4 night stay at AKL in a studio room - savanna view. We initially had an AKL Arusha Savanna view room booked for the same 4 nights on a bounceback room only discount of 35% off. We are saving just over $500 for the 4 nights by renting DVC points versus the 35% off room only discount. This isn't completely an apples to apples comparison because we can't specify an Arusha view with the DVC reservation but for the savings, we're ok with that.
     
  15. MissionMouse

    MissionMouse DIS Veteran

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    We have stayed at both resorts and would consider the Courtyard view at the same level as the AKL Savanna view. We had great stays at both. Preferred the Club better at AKL, along with the pool. Watch out for standard view, since it does include parking lots and service areas.

    WDW is big and travel times can start to add up based upon your plans making location a factor: AKL to MK is around 20 minutes by bus only. WL to MK run 8 (bus)-14 (boat) minutes. WL is ideal for a trip focused on the MK and Epcot, especially if plans include special events at MK or early morning and staying until close. Remember DDP also brings in a large volume of non-resort guest every night, so the lobby/TS areas at both resorts and bus system will be busy.

    AKL can provide a remote feeling as you can easily feel like a vacation inside a vacation with its theming. This can be fun for a vacation feel, but can feel remote if you are wanting Disney in the forefront of your trip. The viewing animals is a unique experience, but other deluxes offer unique experiences too. Feeding times at designated feeding stations provide the best viewing; normally when you will be getting ready in the morning. We prefer a deluxe with water recreation and multiple forms of Disney Transportation which is absent from AKL. Jiko TS is a plus for this resort. We stayed club with Arusha savannah

    Sunset Savanna: Male Giraffe, Bongo, Impala, Thompsons Gazelles, Ostrich, Ankole Cattle, Waterbuck, African crown cranes, stork and blue cranes.

    Arusha Savanna: Pelicans, geese, giraffe, ankole cattle, zebra, Wildebeast, eland, gemsbok (This is the Savanna in the center of the resort)

    Uzima Savanna: Giraffe, Impala, Kudu, Bongo, Blesbok, Thompsons Gazelles

    AKL resort viewing guide http://www.wdwinfo.com/wdwinfo/resorts/aklodge/animals.htm
    AKL Map http://www.wdwinfo.com/resortmaps/aklmap.htm

    WL theme was not as appealing to us, since we have done extensive travel in the Northwest Rockies and seeing it in Florida with Spanish Moss was different. Overall, the theme is well done with the exception of the "geyser." Nice resort, good location, would rate the bus transportation better than AKL in our experiences. The MK boat provides an alternative to return to your resort. Electric Water Pageant and the ability to see MK fireworks adds to the experience. The marina allows you to rent boats and experience the MK area. Other options are also close by at the CR marina. AKL can make some people feel a little too remote, but WL can make some feel you are the black sheep of the monorail resort, but it is priced accordingly.
     
  16. fuzzlekins

    fuzzlekins Mouseketeer

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    So much great information! Thank you!!! :goodvibes

    I'm a researchaholic when it comes to vacation planning so more info is better than less. :)

    Although, I'm still not certain. If I can get a really good DVC deal on AKL, that may make the decision for me. I guess I need to look into that next. Is it better to do that privately here or through RCI (assuming DVC trades through RCI?)?
     
  17. fuzzlekins

    fuzzlekins Mouseketeer

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    I used the points calculator on the site in the sticky thread at the top of the DVC board and saw that my stay would require 139 pts. Once you rent the pts, how do you actually rent the property? And are you able to add the DP if you want to (thinking I probably wouldn't in that scenario but just in case...). Who determines the number of pts necessary for a stay at a particular time and place? Can you collect pts from multiple people to add up to what you need? As you can see, this is completely foreign to me, but I am intrigued b/c even at $13/pt, you're right - there would be savings. Then the next question is why doesn't everyone do it if it's cheaper?
     
  18. sndral

    sndral DIS Veteran

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    It is not always cheaper, although the studios often are, if you run the numbers for a 1br or including a weekend or different seasons the Disney discount may be better. Some people prefer 2 real beds in a room rather than a bed and a sleeper sofa in a studio. Some people want housekeeping (available for an extra fee w/ DVC) and clean towels every day. Some people do not want to trust a stranger with their vacation money - there have been cases were owners failed to deliver the promised points and people have lost their money - there are ways to minimize risk the DVC section of DIS has FAQs about renting points.
    In regards to AKL, some prefer the grander atmosphere of Jambo and want to be eye level w/ animals rather than up on the 5th+ floor - others like being higher up or like the smaller lobby of Kidani and being the 1st park bus top, etc..
    Actually, WL does have DVC units - the villas at Wilderness lodge - VWL.

    These links must be before they built Kidani, as Sunset savanna was enlarged to 18 acres when Kidani was built and there's no mention of Pembe savanna added on the far side of Kidani. Sunset savanna in 2011 & Dec. 2012, had several Hartman's zebra, but they do move animals around.
     
  19. ohionola

    ohionola Mouseketeer

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    I would not pay more for a savannah room. We just got back from jambo an had a value studio which had a full savannah view. We rarely seen animals except for these things that looked like goats. We were on the sunset savannah. If you are only planning one day to watch them, stay somewhere else and visit the resort one day as there are lots of public places to watch them.
     
  20. brucerob62

    brucerob62 Mouseketeer

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    i realized that after i posted..thanks for the reminder there are dvc villas at WL...i want to rent there sometime too...just 14 more days cant wait..AKL Jambo
     
  21. Cap'nJack'sMum

    Cap'nJack'sMum Psycho for The Mouse

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    Personally, if you are at the parks open to close, don't pay the $$ for savannah view. If you're going to take an entire day to explore the resort there are so many places that you can get excellent views of the animals. Plus, if you're going to be exploring the resort on that one day off, you won't be sitting in you room looking off the balcony, anyway. I'd get the least expensive room that had the amenities that I needed and go to the animal observation areas.

    The main reason I love staying at Jambo House is Jambo House itself. I love entering the lobby, it's gorgeous, it smells wonderful, and it really is my home away from home.

    That said, when we stay at AKL, we do a 10 day split stay. We stay 5 days at POP so we can commando the parks and we are rarely in our room. Then we switch to Jambo House savannah view. For those days, we are much more leisurely. We wake up late, drink coffee on the balcony. The kids will eat breakfast while watching the animals. We come back for cocktails on the balcony after a few hours at the parks. We do the resort activities in the afternoon. We really tailor our vacation so that we get the maximum benefit for the money that we are spending. I wouldn't commando and stay at AKL. It's just not worth the money.

    Good luck on deciding! We have always wanted to stay at WL, but the kids are obsessed with POP and AKL.
     

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