AKL or Wilderness Lodge?

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by steelcity5044, Jun 15, 2002.

  1. steelcity5044

    steelcity5044 Earning My Ears

    Feb 12, 2002
    We are starting to plan our trip for June 2003 and was wondering if you have any opinions at to a preference between Wilderness Lodge or AKL?
    Where would you stay and why? We have 2 kids who are age 2 and 7 and would like a resort with things to do and see and a nice pool. We would also like a nice room with a good view.
    At either lodge would you consider staying at at a suite or consierg. level? Is it worth the extra money to go beyond a deluxe room with a view?
    Lastly, would you book now and apply future discounts or would you hold off and book when discounts come out? I have never planned this far out before.
    Thanks for all your help.:p :p
  2. Janet2k

    Janet2k DIS Veteran

    Jul 26, 2000
    Steelcity5044, I have stayed at both the WL and the AKL (my favorite resort). If I were going to spend a lot of time in the Magic Kingdom, I would probably choose the WL. If I were going to spend a lot of time in the Animal Kingdom, I would choose the AKL. Also, if I wanted a relaxing vacation, I would choose the AKL (I never want to leave that resort).

    I have done the concierge at the AKL twice, and in my humble opinion, it has the best concierge staff on property. My AKL stays have been in a two-bedroom suite, a one-bedroom suite, and a savannah view room. My On-Line Photo Albums contain photos of those suites. I love staying in WDW suites because of the extra room that you get, but my non-suite stays have been just as wonderful.

    I would book the room now and cross my fingers that a discount would be available for my stay. With my room booked, I would then begin working on all the vacation planning that is involved (scheduling time off from work, purchasing airline tickets, planning a few PS reservations, etc.).

    This is all my humble opinion, and othersÂ’ opinions may vary, as it should be.
  3. Avatar

    DIS Sponsor The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin is located in the heart of the Walt Disney World Resort.


    to hide this advert.
  4. minniesfriend

    minniesfriend Mouseketeer

    Oct 28, 2000

    We've stayed at both resorts and we liked the AKL.

    I thought the WL was noisy. When I bro't the kids in for a nap, the boats in the lagoon kept blowing their horns. I also tho't the walls were too thin. A side note: we now bring a small portable fan to cover up "hotel noise" and now we all sleep well.
    I also have two kids, 5 and 7.

    Transportation at the AKL was very good. I've read where some didn't like it..but we went during Spring Break. They were closing parks each day due to the crowds. I overheard the drivers say they were skipping WL because the bus was filled up with other resort guests. At WL, you share transportation with GF and Poly and you are the last stop. This sharing can affect you even if it's not peak season. We stayed at the GF one Jan. and the buses were packed, esp at night. Since the AKL doesn't share transportation, we always got on the bus. This was a big plus standing in line with small kids.

    We really liked the food choices at AKL. Their "quick food" area was large with plenty of seating. WL was very small when we went, but I understand they've expanded that. Boma's at the AKL was delicious with the menu changing each night. Whispering Canyon was ok (the first time) but by the second or third time, we'd had enough.

    The pools are great at each resort. We had a hard time finding a chair at AKL. I think the pool at the WL is more relaxing and prettier.

    When we stayed at the WL, the kids were 3 and 5 so I don't know how much they remember, but they love the AKL. This is their favorite resort, and we've stayed at about 6 or 7 others. I recommend getting bunk beds. There is no "cover stealing" and the kids nap better and quicker. They liked the safari area, exploring the lobby area, the fire pit, characters, pool and store.

    Viewing the animals at Akl was great. One day, they put food for the giraffes right next to the viewing area. You could almost reach out and touch them.

    Book early to receive the greatest discount. Then watch for others. You can always switch for a better rate.

    We've never stayed concierge level. We choose standard rooms and are usually upgraded. We sleep and dress in our rooms. We spend a little time on the balcony, maybe reading beofre the kids get up.

    The WL is a beautiful resort. It is my favorite resort based on looks. I would stay there again, it just wouldn't be my first choice.

    Good luck!
  5. eeyore0062

    eeyore0062 Guest

    Well, the best thing to do is make a list of pros and cons for each resort.

    Here is ours:
    WL: closer to the parks and TTC, generally convenient
    Great pool
    Great spas
    Great lobby
    Good counter service restaurant
    can see the electrical light parade from the resort
    kids club
    boat and bike rentals
    Bay Lake

    WL: smallish dark rooms
    don't like the full service restaurants

    AKL: great restaurants
    great lobby
    the animals and savannah view
    African storyteller
    nice zero entry pool
    kids club

    AKL: inconvenient to parks, etc
    smallish dark rooms
    counter service not very good
    no boat or bike rentals

    Now make you list, and see what you come up with!
  6. joyful1nh

    joyful1nh Mouseketeer

    Jul 13, 2000
    I love them both! Here's my overall ratings:
    AKL vs. WL:
    Rooms - Advantage - AKL. Newer amenities like digital thermostat and shelf for toiletries were appreciated. Rooms had a "new" feel to them and decor was more sedate. The WL bathroom may have been a tad larger.

    Food - Huge Advantage - AKL. The Mara beats out Roaring Forks with its exotic soups. Boma is fabulous, Whispering Canyon isn't even in the same class (but it sure is fun!). Jiko -- loved it! Even my meat & potatoes husband said the food was better at AKL.

    Pool - Slight Advantage - WL. I really liked the theming of the falls and the rock formations, plus the geyser and view of Bay Lake. The kiddie pool at WL is bigger and the spas are closer to the pool. But AKL pool was a little warmer.

    Service - Advantage - WL. The best service of any Disney Resort we've stayed at! From Jackie at the front desk, to Evelyn our maid who put something super in our room daily, to Ranger Stan and his tours -- I just can't say enough about how fabulous the service was. I found the AKL service to be more formal and less friendly.

    AK, MGM & DD Transportation - Advantage AKL. No sharing of bus service here, and busses ran promptly and efficiently. Let me say now, the WL bus to DD was terrible!

    MK, Epcot, & Resort to Resort Transporation - Advantage WL. No one in my family is a bus fan. We love the boats and the monorail. So taking a boat to the CR or Crockett bus to TTC to catch the monorail was not problem for us. And we never had to wait for a boat to the MK -- we must have been on the right schedule! Also had an easy time getting to PS for character meals at MK, Poly, Contemporary & GF. Others in our party were at the GF and easy to get to & from that lovely resort.

    Lobby - Too close to call. Both are beautiful in their own way. DH loves the WL decor, I loved the AKL decor.

    Kids Club - Advantage - Simba's at the AKL. It's larger, has better toys, including a puppet set that caught my daughter's fancy.

    Resort Activities - Slight Advantage - WL. We love the Electrical Water Pageant and Fireworks. Plus finding hidden Mickey's and playing on the sand beach. We were flag family one day and that was a treat too! However, it was fabulous seeing the animals from our balcony at AKL and we loved the nightly storytelling by the fire pit.

    Gift Shop - Advantage - AKL. Even if you aren't a fan of African art, the gift shop is worth a visit!
  7. kerrynic78

    kerrynic78 New mom to sweet baby Audrey!

    Feb 5, 2001
    I just returned from a split stay between AKL and WL and I have to say that I liked AKL a whole lot more.

    For me, the service, food, and cleanliness were much better at AKL. Maybe I was at WL during a down week but the maid service wasn't all that great and I just didn't feel that the room was nearly as clean as my room at AKL. This may have to do with the fact that WL is older than AKL.

    I also thought the pool at AKL was a little bit nicer although both pools are amazing.

    The food was also more to my liking at AKL, there was so much to try and it was wonderful.

    I will have to say that the WL was a little more convienent when going to MK but transportation at AKL was great, we did not have any problems at all.

    I went with just my boyfriend so I don't have any experience with kids, but my brother took my 3 year old niece and she was mesmerizied by the animals and all of the activities that took place at the AKL.

    They are 2 incredible, and beautiful resorts and you will get so many differing opinions but that's what makes this site great!
  8. PlutoPal

    PlutoPal <font color=6666CC>WDW Animal who likes to hang wi

    Apr 2, 2000
    WL is absolutely a great resort. The facilities there are awesome and the decor and atmosphere there is magnificent. Definitely pick WL!
  9. glej

    glej Earning My Ears

    May 27, 2002
    minniesfriend- could you please share any tips that you might have for being upgraded?

Share This Page