WL or AKL? Help me choose!

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by Jenny-Bell, May 3, 2011.

  1. Jenny-Bell

    Jenny-Bell Sprinkling the kids with pixie dust...

    Jan 5, 2010
    Hi everyone,

    We are going to WDW this summer for my oldest sons birthday, he's turning 7 (he has Autism and is very interested in visual sights, his language/comprehension is more like that of a 3 year old or so). Our younger son is 4. So, its hubby, me and the two boys and we are debating between WL and AKL.

    I am looking for any info on AKL and WL, activities for kids, pool info, bus info, how much of a hike from a standard room to the food area, pool and such.
    In AKL, how visible are the animals from different places in the resort?
    How much longer is the bus ride from AKL to the other parks?
    We would have a day or so specifically at the resort, but we are staying for 6 nights, so which would you choose?

    Thanks so much for your help...
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  3. KingdomHeartsFan

    KingdomHeartsFan DIS Veteran

    Sep 14, 2005
    So funny, because we are considering upgrading from POFQ to AKL or WL in December (if free dining is extended or a good room discount comes out) and had the same question... eager to see what folks have to say.
  4. Cassushi

    Cassushi Mouseketeer

    May 21, 2010
    Hi Jenny,

    I have a 5 ½ year old also with autism and last year was the first time we took him to Disney, and we stayed at both the WL and AKL. I love both resorts, but for what you are specifically looking in regards to the pool and visual senses for your son, I vote for AKL. AKL has a bigger pool and the small children’s pool that is tucked away between trees, for the much needed break from too much stimulation and noise. There are many places to watch the animals from inside and outside location, plus there is the flamingo area that you can walk to. I did not find the bus ride from AKL to any other parks as being bothersome (we went in June) and I believe that the resort store offered more goods than WL.

    It is a hard decision to make because both resorts are fantastic but whichever resort your family chooses you will have a blast. I am not sure if you have a stroller or not for both children, but the Orlando Stroller Rentals should have a stroller that can accommodate a 7 year olds height and weight.

    Have a wonderful vacation!
  5. lucyem

    lucyem DIS Veteran

    Nov 26, 2004
    From a visual standpoint I would say AKL. At AKL it seemed like the kids activities were all day. Every time we walked by the pool area we either found a table where kids were making a craft or there were events at the pool. It's actually the reason we went back on our last trip. Near the pool is also a great playset to climb. The whole pool area feels more shaded with trees and foliage and in the afternoon part of the pool is shaded. Walking from rooms to the food & pool totally depends on where your room is. Some areas are certainly further then others. The animals can be viewed all over the place inside and out with guides at the outside viewing areas to answer questions.

    IMO after 2 stays at the AKL is that the bus service is not that bad. The longest ride I ever had was 25 minutes to DTD during rush hour and the bus took a winding detour to avoid a lot of traffic. Also it has dedicated buses and will not involve stops at other resorts. Granted unlike the other deluxe resorts you cannot just walk into a park or hop a monorail. But I would not worry about the buses.

    I have never stayed at WL but have been in it. The pool is much more open and exposed to the sun and looks smaller to me. Obviously I have no idea about kids activities there. The entrance is just as grand but not so colorful and interesting as AKL.
  6. mickey&minniealways

    mickey&minniealways DIS Veteran

    Feb 2, 2008
    Never been to WL but I would go with AKL. I have 2 with special needs. Personaly I like OKW for its relaxed feel. I can see them physicaly unwind when they step onto the resort property after the chaos of the parks. Also not being in a cramped room if they get stressed out can be a big help also. Along with being abe to fix meas right there if you need to avoid a meltdown at a resteraunt. Mine love the Sandcastle slide at the main pool. There are several quiet pools also. Then there is the fact that there are no long coridoors for little people to run up and down to keep them up at night. It also has its own bus service like AKL.

    Along with what pp stated AKL has a great interactive water play area for the little ones. It has different parts appropriat for different ages up to age 12, and the pool is zer entry. Your son might be more comfortable with that. The AK is only a 5 minute bus ride. I would also request to be close to food options and the bus stop. Expain to them it is beause of your sonthat is beause of an autistic child. This is considered a medical reason and will be given a higher priority. WL will have longer lines for transportation because of its proximity to the MK. It is not just those staying there but it is very convenient to have dinner there for those going to MK. Ther is a boat to the MK and it also stops at FW, and it also shares buses with other resorts. The consistancy of the AKL and OKW might be more appropriate.
  7. mkarizona

    mkarizona DIS Veteran

    May 27, 2010
    For visual stimulation AKL wins hands down over WL.
  8. CR Resort Fan 4 Life

    CR Resort Fan 4 Life DIS Veteran

    May 27, 2006
    Personally I like the Wilderness Lodge better because of their theme and in my opinion they have a much better overall location. Plus they have more transportation options like a boat which goes to the Contemporary and Fort Wilderness everyday from 6:45 AM - 11:30 PM. So you can then take that boat to visit the Contemporary, then from there you can take the Resort Monorail to visit the Polynesian and Grand Floridian.
  9. Jenny-Bell

    Jenny-Bell Sprinkling the kids with pixie dust...

    Jan 5, 2010

    Thank you all so much! This has been a great help. Knowing about the visual interest in AKL, zero entry pool, kids pool in the shade, kids activities...wow!

    So much information and a serious answer in my hands! Thanks for making it so easy! AKL here we come!

    Yeyy! (I wanted AKL but my husband has an interest in WL, I just didn't want to sound biased:rotfl:) But now I can tell him...I win! I win! :cool1::cheer2::rotfl2:

    Thanks again everyone!!!


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