AKL Make sure you really like eating there because.................

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by latenthart, Dec 15, 2002.

  1. latenthart

    latenthart Obsessed with Disney

    Feb 16, 2001
    I was not that impressed, I had never stayed onsite before and I was really disappointed. I could see maybe spending a couple of days here but I would never stay here more than 3 or 4 days. Minus a day if you dont think you want to eat dinner their for 3 to 4 days in a row. You can go to other resorts and eat but everything is a hike. If you want to be close to Animal Kingdom then AKL is great, but I hope that is the only thing you want to be close to. It seemed like the other Animal kingdom resorts, coranado springs and all stars had a better location. Although the coranado seemed spread out.
    1. I am an animal lover and I did have a great view/room with bunk bed that was close to the pool.
    2. beautiful building
    3. my son always wanted bunk beds
    4. you could find at least two days worth of activities around the hotel if you werent hitting the parks.
    5. They had double sinks in room so we filled one up with ice and had an instant refigerator.
    6. The gift shop by the lobby sells milk/beer for way less then Mara.
    7. Check in was quick and easy, they accomadated all of my requests. Arusha, 3rd floor, bunk beds, zebra trail, near pool.
    8. Fireplaces outside and in lobby with rocking chairs next to them were pretty and relaxing. Also rocking chairs next to sets of binoculaurs for closer viewing.
    9. Xmas decorations were nice.
    10. Hotel smelled great, like a fireplace burning or something.
    11. Sunset overlook was amazing. Although you could just visit the hotel for the evening and enjoy it.

    1. GOD this place is in the middle of nowhere. I have stayed at offsite hotels that were closer to most that disney had to offer.

    2. Options for food were as follows: A beautifully decorated place called Jiko that had very strange food options including rabbit? Seafood also although the only one I remember was Monkfish? I am sure someone has the JIKO menu online somewhere. They did offer an chicken dish, but i wasnt willing to pay that much for chicken, after all no matter how you dress it up it is still chicken.

    Boma (buffet style) Dinner was 23.99 per adult plus beverages at additional cost. Food was Okay but not terrific. However in all fairness dessert was full of tasty goodies. I wouldnt go again though and really I only ate there because I was sick of driving so far to get anything.

    Mara (quick eats) well for 10.99 you get their refillable mug although it only includes soft drinks and hot beverages. I doesnt include milk or juice for the kids. Salads were good. African stew in bread bowl was good but for 7.49 it was very tiny, not a meal for one. Burgers were well you know burgers. They sold peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with chips/cheese doodles and raisans in cute little to go lunchboxes for kids. Although kids meals are really not that expensive at parks. Actually If you buy yourself a kids meal you would probably save a bundle.
    On the whole this place felt like my highschool cafeteria and if you dont want to drive awhile or pay boma and jiko prices for every dinner you are trapped with Mara. One or two nites it isnt too bad but otherwise get dinner at the parks or on the way home.

    3. I too was not very impressed with the pool. Not a bad pool just not what I expected at a "Deluxe" resort.

    4. At your wonderful deluxe resort AKL you have to PAY extra to use the GYM? 25 per adult for length of stay or 45 for entire family length of stay.

    5. They dont sell calling cards at akl, you have to drive ( yes more driving) to All star resorts to get closest cards.

    6. Big language barrier with a lot of housekeeping and a lot of the help. I lost my sandals by the pool on the second nite there and tried to find out where lost and found was from four different people. Two by pool and Two in building. They couldnt understand me and I couldnt understand them. Although everyone at check in was easy to understand.

    7. Parking was far unless you paid 6.00 day for valet parking.
    If you were coming in late from the parks, good luck, get dropped off and let the hubby park the car.

    8. Rooms were tiny. With only three of us I felt cramped.
  2. justhat

    justhat <font color=teal>DC DISer<br><font color=red>pick

    Oct 22, 2002
    I will be staying there for the first time in 12 days, but I have been there for dinner at Boma last December, which I thought was pretty good. I am hoping I will like it there, and pretty sure I will since I love animals and can't wait to wake up to them every morning--it's as close as I'll get to an African safari. I think that's just it though, that you really have to look at those special features that no other Disney resort has. And it may be far, but Disney's transportation is pretty reliable so even though it is sort of isolated, it doesn't take any longer to get to MK from AKL than it does to get to AK from say the GF. If you plan on going to every park, there's always going to be a long ride somewhere at some time. But about the meals, I don't think Disney really plans that people will eat every meal at their resort so that may explain the lack of offerings at AKL. Pretty much every hotel I've stayed at has limited options if you plan on eating there every night of your trip (if your trip is more than 3 nights). I guess the difference is that AKL has different options compared to most other hotels that offer more of American choices. That beings said, I can see someone not enjoying this type of food if they are a picky eater. For our 4 night stay, however, we have planned to eat dinner there only one night, with dinner the other nights at restaurants at the parks. We do this at any hotel we've stayed at though, including the Boardwalk Inn, which has quite a variety of places to eat. We just feel that while we're there we might as well enjoy everything WDW has to offer, not just the stuff in our resort.
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  4. d-r

    d-r <font color=red>l|ll|||ll||ll||<font color=purple>

    May 31, 2000
    we enjoyed our stay at AKL, but we'd agree that it does feel remote compared to the monorail resorts are the crescent lake resorts. We thought it was a great place for a long weekend, which is what we were on, or a three of four night stay. We don't rent a car down there usually, so the driving thing never occured to us as something to be bothered about. It is most convenient to animal kingdom of course. Didn't you go to theme parks? I mean you could eat a meal there if you get tired of one of the three restaurants at your resort.
  5. Trekker

    Trekker I've gone to find myself, If I return make me stay

    Feb 1, 2001
    I have to agree - we usually stay at the Epcot area resorts and the AKL seemed remote when we stayed in OCT. We did 2 nights which was fine - any longer and I would have felt isolated....
  6. Misti

    Misti DIS Veteran

    Aug 18, 1999
    Thanks for the candid review. :)
  7. Deb & Bill

    Deb & Bill DVC-Trivia Contest, Apr-2006: Honorable Mention

    Mar 20, 2000
    I've found language barriers at several of the Disney Resorts, not just AKL. And milk and juice are not include in any of the refillable mug programs.

    Like the others say, we don't eat all our meals at our resort. We eat lots of them at the parks. Most of the deluxe resorts don't have much of a food court, only one smallish self-serve restaurant. But I like Boma. It has so many different things that everyone can find something that they like. And kids have ordinary kids food to select off the buffet (plus adults can eat that, too).

    What I like about the pool at AKL is that there are animal areas right next to the pool, so you can get out of the pool or hot tub and see all sorts of African animals. And the zero depth entry makes it easier on just about everyone to enter the pool.

    My favorite part of AKL? Sitting on the balcony in my pajamas watching the animals feed early in the morning.
  8. Janet2k

    Janet2k DIS Veteran

    Jul 26, 2000
    Latenthart, thanks for the review. I really enjoyed reading your honest opinions. It sounds like overall you had a nice vacation.

    To use the health club at the deluxe resorts (AKL, GF, YC/BC, CR, and BWV), you have to pay a fee unless you are a concierge guest or Grand Plan guest (or DVC member). By the way, I am one of those folks who actually enjoys the AKL's pool (it is my second favorite one). I’m not into waterslides, I just like a big pool and the AKL certainly has that.
  9. Gillian

    Gillian <marquee><font color=green>I'm the only crazy disn

    Apr 26, 2000
    Thanks for the review!

    I agree that it would be a pain to drive everywhere from the AKL. HOWEVER, we found the bus transportation (on 2 different visits) to be excellent. Short waits, no sharing. I'd reccommend other visitors try the busses.

    We ate at the parks a few nights, so we didn't feel limited by the AKL food choices. Epcot is always open fairly late, and there are lots of good places to eat there! The bus will get you there & back quickly :)
  10. webray

    webray Love the wineauxs!

    Apr 20, 2000
    AKL is our favorite deluxe resort. No matter what resort you stay at...you are going to be farther away from one park or another.

    All the meals we had at AKL have been outstanding...and the service. Breakfast/dinner at Boma wonderfu. Dinner at Jiko wonderful. Concierge offerings...superior to any other disney resort.

    We did not encounter any language barriors...and we spent plenty of time with the people from Africa. They are pure delights.

    Room decor/resort activities are excellent. They have the nicest pool on disney property. Great pool bar. Wonderful lounge outside of Jikos and Victoria Falls.

    We spent three days and never left the resort...could have spend three more, as we didn't have time for massages or the gym.
  11. Tiffany

    Tiffany DIS Veteran

    Aug 17, 1999
    Hi latenthart

    Thanks for the review. Just an FYI though that some of the "cons" you listed are not AKL specific. They apply to all Disney deluxe resorts so if you are planning a future trip it might be something to keep in mind.

    1. Paying for the gym. This is true of all of the resorts that have a gym. Unless you are on somesort of package that might include this feature.

    2. Paying for valet parking. This is also true of all of the resorts that offer valet service. Unless you are handicapped or a DVC memeber staying at a DVC resort it is $6 to valet. The Swan/Dolphin charge $10.

    3. Language barrier with housekeeping. I think you are going to find this are just about any hotel/resort not even Disney specific.

    4. Tiny rooms. The standard rooms at the AKL are smaller then most of the Disney deluxe resorts but the same size as the WL rooms. That is one of the reasons why the AKL and the WL are the cheapest of the deluxe resorts along with the fact that these two do not have as easy access to the parks as the other deluxe resorts.

    5. No milk/juice. This is at all of the resorts. You can only refill soda/coffee/tea.

    It seems like you have a great over all trip though.

    p.s. We did like Mara though we tried the Fried Shrimp plate, the Pasta Primavera and the Grilled Chicken Breast inaddition to the burgers, salads, soups and pizza. We have not been at the AKL since Sept 2001 so I hope these items are still on the menu. We will be back to the AKL in Feb 03 and cannot wait. Again I am glad you had a good tirp.
  12. Luv2Roam

    Luv2Roam DIS Veteran

    Jun 3, 2000
    Glad this has been covered by others here, that the refills are soda/soft drinks, tea and coffee.
    Whenever we are at any WDW resort food court I almost always overhear a parent asking a CM where the free milk refills are. Seems to be a common misconception for some reason.
  13. currycook

    currycook DIS Veteran

    Nov 26, 2002
    Thanks for your honest review.

    I think Tiffany did a good job pointing out that many of your complaints would be the same at any resort. So in that respect its not a complaint so much against the AKL as Disney in general.

    I really agree with you about paying extra for the Gym. Although to be fair to Disney more and more hotels are doing this. I hate it and feel it should be in the price of stay. But that seems to be the trend in the industry as they nickel and dime us to death. But I think with the prices we pay at Disney's delux resorts that would (should) be included.

    The transportation issue of AKL has been debated on these boards. Many like you think that the AKL is in the middle of no where. Where others like me, really find that part of the attraction of the place and dont mind the extra, short, wait to get somewhere else. Its too bad you didnt know that in advance because if transportation is such an important aspect of a trip then I would recommend the Beach Club. Great place and when it comes to Disney resorts its a super location for both MGM and EPCOT. Or one of the monorail resorts which is just a ride away from the MK.

    On the food - again its debated between those of us who love the AKL food and those who dont. Look at my name and you can see what kind of food I like. If that type of food does not appeal to you then again you are in the wrong place. Disney has great resorts with tradition American food types. The AKL was designed to be what it is. On the price, you are so correct IMHO. But its not just a problem with Bomo. Disney's dinners are costly. Disney anything is costly I guess. We all pay for the Majic so to speak.

    Thanks again for your honest review. I think that is why these boards are so helpful to all of us. Gotta go and cook some of the good Boma curry now..... :)
  14. tiggerlvr

    tiggerlvr Mouseketeer

    Sep 14, 2002
    Hi just wanted to add my 2 cents....this trip we wanted to try some of the Deluxe hotels, we have stayed at the CB in the past and also Dixie landings (when it was called this) anyway this time we stayed at the Contemporary for 1 night (awesome), the WL for 4 nights...a bit of a let down after the Cont. and then the AKL for 4 nights....well we loved the AKL and I have to say I was a little worried after reading all the posts about this resort being in the middle of nowhere....I did not get that feeling at all. In fact I was surprised the bus to MK did not take long at all.....we also had our car with us but really did not use it much, we did not do valet parking and we were not very far away in the parking lot at all.....we did eat at Boma for breakfast, best breakfast we ever had, and also for dinner, it was ok but again pricey....my kids did not eat much...we did not try Jiko as there was not one thing on that menu I would eat....we did also go to Mara twice...it was OK not great....I have to say while I really love this resort and would go back in a heart beat...I think the moderates really have very good food courts...more variety.... we also ate alot of our meals elsewhere as we were in the parks or other resorts....I also did like the pool, and I had no problem whatso ever understanding anyone I ran into....in fact they had the nicest CM's ever....I felt the same way about WL food too, and I did not encounter any CM there who was nice!!! Anyway AKL has my vote....:D
  15. LindaBabe

    LindaBabe DIS Veteran

    Oct 20, 1999
    Definitely agree with the comment on Mara - $23 for burgers and drinks for two - I don't NEED a double burger - a single at half the price would have been sufficient - but they don't offer that! (Should I have checked the kids menu?) Next day, had rotisserie chicken dinners for less at Tusker in AK. An undiscovered treasure, imho.

    Love Dinner at Boma and Dinner at Jiko - two of the big reasons I visit AKL every trip - whether I stay there or not. (But i'm omniverous, and don't have picky kids)

    Feeling of remoteness - big reason to stay there - we have begun our last two "couple" trips with a 3 night stay at AKL - to relax, and other than a couple hours at Animal Kingdom spend most of our time at the resort. The pool is so relaxing . . . and I have actually spent some time on the balcony doing . . . nothing.

    This year, when we got our room we actually took . . . a NAP! instead of going to a park. What bliss. . .
  16. Chip 'n Dale Express

    Chip 'n Dale Express Can't stay put!<br><font color=purple>I met lots o

    Jul 29, 2002
    First people complain that Disney is too congested, and that things are too close together. So Disney builds the Animal Kingdom resort area. Now people complain that it's too far away from everything. Can't win I guess.

    The reality is though... Animal Kingdom Lodge is NOT as remote as you might percieve. When traversing from one end of property (AK) allllllll the way to another side (MK or DTD), the travel time is typically no more than 15 minutes. That's it. That's really not far.
  17. JulesMom

    JulesMom Guest

    AKL has to be remote--that's the whole idea of this resort--you are out on the savannah:p

    We stayed there for a week last Christmas. It wasn't my fav resort, but I would definitely stay at least once. Seeing the animals out your balcony is just too amazing:eek:
  18. Kallison

    Kallison <font color=red>I'm a lab adorer<br><font color=na

    Nov 15, 1999
    Since AKL is our very least favorite park, the reasons you state is why we will never stay there. Maybe for one or two nights as a novelty after we've gone through all the other resorts. It could take us a few years. It would not excite me to get a good rate or an upgrade here.
  19. hallie

    hallie Guest

    I agree with Tyler on this one, it's hardly in the middle of nowhere-lol. I don't really understand why people say it's remote, it's very close to everything. We just stayed at the POR and the bus rides were the same amount of time as they were from AKL and technically POR is closer to things. Plus the whole point is that it's supposed to feel like an African Lodge, if it was near everything with views of all the hussle and bustle it definitely wouldn't feel like Africa-lol.

    As for the pool, it's the largest of all resort pools with the zero entry, it's designed to look like a large watering hole again to fit into the African theme.

    As for Mara, comparing it to a high school cafeteria??? If the Mara was like your high school cafe, your one lucky person. We found the Mara to be great! I love that they bring the food out to you inside or at the patio and everyone was always so friendly and helpful. Yeh it's expensive but that's the way it is all over WDW, at Beaches and cream we paid 60.00 for lunch-lol.

    Oh well, to each his/her own. We loved the AKL but then again we've loved every WDW resort we've stayed at from the values to the deluxes. lol :D
  20. disneefamily

    disneefamily DIS Veteran

    Apr 7, 2001
    Disnee Dad Says.............................I did not want to stay at this place on our 2001 trip. The rooms are small, but to see Wildebeast, 25 yards from your room, girafes, a couple 100 yards away, etc., it's now my first choice for deluxe places. And BOMA is to die for! If they have oxtail stew , try it, it willmelt in your mouth.
    Being in the middle of nowhere means it will take you 3 extra minutes to get to your destination. Timed it myself, 3 minutes to feel secluded is worth every penny.
  21. Richyams

    Richyams <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/index.

    Aug 18, 1999
    I have not stayed at any other concierge, but from what I have read about AKL being the best, I have to agree that it was fantastic. We ate quite a bit there and still managed to hit Jiko and Boma several times. I have to say that I believe Boma is the best buffet on property and we will probably make a special trip to AKL to eat at Jiko at least once every trip.

    I guess that is why they have different hotels, to widen their appeal.

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