Help needed to select resort

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by smashndash, Apr 5, 2013.

  1. smashndash

    smashndash Earning My Ears

    May 17, 2009
    We have a Savannah room at Animal Kingdom Lodge booked this Summer. Recently found out we could stay at Grand Floridian, Garden View room or Beach Club Water view room for less than what Animal Kingdom lodge would cost.

    Cost isn't factor because we had planned to stay at AKL anyway, but at the time we booked, we didn't realize that GF and BC rooms listed above we're in same price range.

    We've confirmed all 3 are similar price but now aren't sure which one to go with.

    Visited several times in past but stayed at moderate and value resorts. This will be our first Delux resort at WDW.

    Family of 4, two boys, 18 and 11 will be with my wife and I.

    Any recommendations or suggestions appreciated!
  2. cmdg

    cmdg Mouseketeer

    Jul 26, 2009
    What about doing a split stay? That way you can get the feel of ALK and also stay a few days close to the MK and monorail.
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  4. pepe of ohio

    pepe of ohio DIS Veteran

    Jul 5, 2001
    We are not for split stays, too much rigmarole ... We like to check in, move in and forget about packing up till we have too...

    Resort choice, I'll get stomped on for this bug we did not care for. AKL, location mainly, food not to our taste and savannah view... Meh....

    We prefer a resort close to a park, any resort in the MK area, especially the WL... any resort in the EPCOT area too.... Evening when the parks are closed, you have the activity of the Boardwalk and the MK area your have 4 resorts to play in plus FW.....personally we'd pick the WL since its a deluxe but with a lesser room rate over the rest...
  5. sndral

    sndral DIS Veteran

    Feb 3, 2008
    I have stayed @ the GF, AKL and YC (not quite the BC - but close)
    GF - easy access to MK, several great restaurants there and @ Contemporary & Poly, bit of (to me) serene/adult feel, which I like (although it is kid friendly.) Pools are not the most spectacular.
    BC - for me YC (which I prefer, as you are guarenteed a full balcony unlike the BC.) SAB - best resort pool on property, especially important if you are going in the warmer months and not getting water parks added on to your tickets. Super easy access to Epcot and also an easy walk/boat to DHS. Great restaurants there and accross the way @ the boardwalk, not to mention the proximity to all of the restaurants in the countries section of Epcot. No easy counter service, but there is Beaches and Cream ice cream and Hurricane Hannahs for lunch fare.
    AKL A personal fav, but I am an animal nut, AK is a full day park for me and I go more than once each trip. Love both restaurants in Jambo and also Sanaa in Kidani. Newer and feels very grand. Some think the rooms are dark (but not me) and short of a trip to Africa, there's no other place where you can sit on your balcony and watch wild animals. Counter service is ok. Bus only transportation to the parks, which is a negative.
    If it were me, with sons the age of yours, I'd probably opt for BC (in my case YC, due to the desire for a balcony.)
  6. NHBelle

    NHBelle DIS Veteran

    May 1, 2002
    AKL is my absolute fave resort and I also love the Epcot resort area BUT I think I would choose GF because of the monorail...nothing beats that fast/easy transportation to MK and Epcot. Really all 3 resorts are top notch so you can't go wrong!
  7. mickeynut1

    mickeynut1 DIS Veteran

    Apr 16, 2007
    We've stayed at all 3 resorts and views and all of them are great as they all have their advantages:

    GF - 1 monorail stop from MK, large rooms, most rooms come with a daybed, convenient to CR and Poly for a variety of TS options.

    AKL - theming is great, good CS/TS options, no sharing of buses with other resorts (except Kidani right next door).

    BC - within walking distance to Epcot and DHS, boardwalk for nightly entertainment, rooms are slightly larger than AKL.

    If I had to choose, the GF would probably be my first choice for the reasons listed above (although we have had great stays at all of them). We loved our stay at the BC, but limited CS options is an issue for us, so we haven't stayed in the Epcot area since. With all of that said, you really can't go wrong with any of them as they are all great. I would choose by which theme/decor appeals to you the most. Good luck.
  8. mmmears

    mmmears DIS Veteran

    Nov 30, 2005
    AKL, BC or GF?

    We have stayed in all 3, multiple times, and love them all. I am a big fan of AKL, but due to location and needing buses to get everywhere, I do not think I would pay more to stay there over either the GF or the BC.

    I would pick the GF if you are big MK fans (plus it's not so hard to get to Epcot from there) or BC if you love Epcot and DHS. BC has the best pools, so that may be a factor, plus it lets you walk to 2 parks, which is really nice. Both GF and BC areas have lots of dining options. GF is undergoing a DVC add-on right now, so check the GF thread to find out about the construction noise if it matters to you.

    Honestly, I really like all 3 and would be happy to stay at any of them. :goodvibes
  9. clapton

    clapton DIS Veteran

    May 1, 2010
    Having stayed at all three they are all beautiful. That being said we prefer GF or BC for their location. AKL a little too out of the way for us. The atmosphere at BC is great especially at night and you have the added benefit of going to the BW and also the Swan and Dolphin. Whatever you choose you will have a great time! Enjoy!
  10. TwinkleKS

    TwinkleKS Mouseketeer

    Feb 18, 2013
    IMO, AKL is beautiful, rooms are great, etc. But it is in the middle of nowhere. You spend a lot of time riding a bus. This can be a real pain in the **** if you are going during a busy time and have to wait on the bus.
  11. LuvENDisney

    LuvENDisney Trying to plan our next trip to WDW!

    Oct 19, 2006
    I agree with clapton. Having stayed at the three, we prefer BC. Also, we appreciate SAB and that we are walking distance to both EPCOT and DHS. Oh, and you can walk to Fantasia Gardens mini golf if your family is interested. Have fun!
  12. rcraw45425

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

    Aug 26, 2004
    Like others, we have stayed at GF,AKL and YC (not BC). Did not care for the isolation and small room size of AKL. Love GF and YC. Going this summer, with the construction at GF, I'd pick BC/YC. if nothing else for Stormalong Bay and easy access to three parks (walk to EPCOT and HS and walk through EPCOT to the monorail for MK). GF would be my first pick, but we have girls and your boys may find it a bit frilly for them. As previously mentioned, AKL is very isolated and relies on buses to the parks. Waiting for a bus seemed to take forever in the winter, can't imagine it in the heat of summer,
  13. RapunzelsGoodMom

    RapunzelsGoodMom Mouseketeer

    Sep 13, 2012
    I've stayed at all three as well....and everyone's taste s different so really depends upon what is important to you. On this trip (if you plan to repeat). So go with your gut. My thoughts are:

    GF: just not my style and so expensive. It was fine and location can't be beat. But if I am doing MK area, I will choose Contemporary or Poly all day long. Love them both, lukewarm about the GF. Too stuffy.

    AKL: adore it and you are really talking about 5 more mins on a bus. So if you want a unique experience and will actually tak some Tim to spend at the resort, AKL is amazing. But if your kids are all about he parks, might not be worth the location.

    BC or YC: my personal faves in the Epcot area and might be ideal for your kids ages. If travel to the MK is your only concern (and they really only want the headliners and to hop to DHS or Epcot), the location is ideal. Also a great area to give them some space to separate from you a bit if you felt comfortable with that. Lots of evening activities, close to the World Showcase at night for you and the Test Track or Rock'n'rollercoaster for them. You'll definitely want hoppers if you stay here but tat would be my recommendation based upon your kids ages. Just so much to do in the area and pool, plus the park location benefits. Seems like a good match.
  14. jperrot1

    jperrot1 Fantasmic

    Sep 2, 2011
    My wife's favorite is AKL Savannah view (but the resort has only bus transportation). I favor any resort on the monorail loop and so I would favor GF. But, with your family makeup and 2 son's ages, I think I would lean towards BC or YC. The pool is the best, and this resort area is a great "in the action" kind of spot. Plus, they have Beaches and Cream which is my favorite place to get ice cream (great experience and the best ice cream around:)
  15. luckypup

    luckypup Mouseketeer

    Mar 22, 2011
    I agree with others that with the ages of your kids the Epcot/Boardwalk area will be a blast. Would be my first choice. I have heard there are some folks that do not like the lack of nearby counter service options- but this is a non-issue for us- if you don't do a lot of CS you will not notice.
  16. DisneyMomx7

    DisneyMomx7 DIS Veteran

    Mar 26, 2004
    We've stayed at both BC and the GF.

    I would pick BC for severa reasons - one is the construction going on with the DVC building, and two is there isn't any better place to be in the summer than the BC and SAB! We love being able to walk/water taxi to two parks. What could be better in the summer than ice cream from Beaches and Cream!
  17. pamkat1820

    pamkat1820 DIS Veteran

    May 9, 2011
    We have stayed at AKL it's a great resort. But I think I would switch to a different resort if money was an issue and it would be the same price.

    I would leave AKL to a trip tgat I wanted to save the extra cash but still wanted to stay deluxe. Nothing against AKL at all. It's really far out and the transportation is all buses.

    BC/YC you have larger rooms , and u can walk to 2 parks. Larger rooms too. SAB!

    GF is great but why haven't they gotten rid of those nasty bed spreads yet???? Yuck! Honestly I just can't do it lol.

    My vote is for BC/YC
  18. toodycat

    toodycat DIS Veteran

    May 4, 2008
    Our family loves AKL and GF. We haven't stayed at the BC yet, though we will be staying at BCV this summer. We love the grounds at the GF, the rooms are larger, the service is consistently excellent, the transportation to And from MK via monorail and boat is ideal and you can also get the monorail to Epcot. Bus service to the other parks is good, too. The restaurants are all great from quick service at Gasparilla's, buffet at 1900 Park Fare, and signature dining at Narcoosee's, Citrico's and V&A. We usually make an ADR at Narcoosee's no matter where we're staying. You can watch the fireworks and electrical water pageant from the beach or dock. The pools are nice and never seem crowded. But, my favorite aspect of the GF is the lobby. DH and I love to sit in the lobby and listen to the pianist or the band. It's a lovely, light-filled space. I don't think you can go wrong staying at Disney's flagship resort.

    However, if you are in the mood for a completely different experience, AKL offers the opportunity to see wildlife from your balcony every day. This is a totally unique .characteristic. Rooms here are a bit smaller than GF, but still quite comfortable. The grounds have lots of spots to sit outdoors and watch the savannah or enjoy the fire pit. Strolling around the savannah viewing areas is fascinating. The lobby is gorgeous, but 180 degrees from the GF. It is dark and filled with African styled furniture and interesting cultural artifacts. CMs here are also very friendly and many are from Africa and will tell you about their customs and culture if you ask. (My DH met an AKL CM from Botswana, I think, who shared his fascination with WW 2 aircraft.) We love all the restaurants at AKL and will plan to eat at Boma or Jiko no matter where we are staying. The AKL pool is serene and well land-scaped. I've never stayed at AKL without a car, so I can't say much about transportation.

    We are staying at BCV this summer for the first time, so I can't comment on it yet. I hope it is just as good or better than the GF or AKL.

    Wherever you stay, have a magical vacation.
  19. lmhall2000

    lmhall2000 May the road rise to meet you....May God hold you

    Aug 11, 2002
    Poly and Contemporary would also be the same price kids would choose one of those two...
    Not a fan of GF theming, just not child inspired...I have three teenagers, one always sleeps on daybed...the ones at monorail resorts are longer than Beach club.
    We prefer pool at Poly to CR but honestly we are park people..we do not spend more than a couple of hours at the pool.

    Stayed at AKL, never again...hated transportation...and we had savannah view. Some friends were talked into it a few years back, tried my best to politely suggest a monorail resort..they stuck with AKL and they did not like the hassle with buses...with a monorail resort you can often be ack at your room in 10 minutes then head back to parks easily.
  20. tink_n_pooh

    tink_n_pooh <font color=darkorchid>my TP isn't going anywhere.

    Jun 3, 2005
    BC would be my choice. The location is ideal, walking or boat to Epcot and DHS. You have all of the Boardwalk area at your fingertips and access to Stormalong Bay, both of which are great for teens. More dining options than most resorts and lots to do. You only need to take a bus to MK, AK and DTD. On occasion the buses to DTD get crowded because people use them to get to the boardwalk area.

    GF is nice if you plan on spending most of your time at MK. Since it is on the monorail loupe it is a little further from the other parks. Make sure you are aware there is currently a major construction project going in there to build the DVC rooms.

    AKL, eh, not on my go to list. Location stinks for everything but AK and even there you must take a bus. In my experience the buses are slow at AKL and crowded. We go in the off season and I am not used to standing room or no room on buses. I honestly thought we would enjoy the savannah view more. Since you are going in the summer it is hot and the animals tend to lay around a lot in the shade, they are more active in the morning and evening if you are in your room at those times. Dining options are limited and just not our thing.

    Like PP said, Poly is also in your price range and very nice. I think the Poly may be more suited for teen boys than GF.

    Boardwalk is also in the price range, mostly the same as BC but no SAB.
  21. rcraw45425

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

    Aug 26, 2004
    One thing that stands out in my mind about AKL that I didn't count on was the barnyard smell! We were there in January, cooler temps but still 70s. When we would step out onto the balcony that smell would hit us! Not expected at all, and with three teenaged girls you can imagine all of the whining we heard!

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