My 1st Delux Stay, so dissapointed:(

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by DonoMoose, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. DonoMoose

    DonoMoose Mouseketeer

    Jan 28, 2013
    Hello everyone, I am writing this to help families struggling on deciding which resort to stay at. My story.. In the past, we've done Value resorts only. All Star Movies (1x) & Pop Century (3x).. When we first did these resorts our kids were really young & the big bright colors, tremendous food court & pools are just so appealing to the hearts of little ones. Our children are now 11, 8 and a brand new one almost turning 2!... This time around we wanted to take advantage of the 30% off room rate. This allowed for us to choose a Delux Resort. Being the kids love animals we chose Animal Kingdom Lodge.. I have to be completely honest with this place! Everyone told me I would be taken back by the Lobby alone... Well, in my opinion it was far too dark, it just always seemed dark in there no matter what time of day it was! The rooms: brown, brown & more brown, earth tones, well, you get the idea.. Yes I understand this place is African themed but would a splash of color kill anyone? I felt this place so Vanilla for my own taste let alone through the eyes of a child. I guess when I think Disney, I picture, loud, fun, bright, bright, bright, just exciting! & for me this was just NOT!! On the POSITIVE note, they upgraded us to Kidanni 1 bedroom suite because our baby got sick. Now, I've experienced both Jambo & Kidanni & although I very much appreciated being able to have all the amenities of home, I still missed the fun atmosphere all around that the value resorts provide.. Akl's quick service called the Mara, oh man where do I begin.. Everything had this weird after taste that sat in the pit of your stomach for days (at least it's what it seemed like)... Also if your staying at Kidanni you have to take a shuttle just to get some food, so inconvenient when A your tired or B you want to have breakfast in your room.
    This for me was an over priced, over rated. brown building with animals outside. Save your money, check the animals out at AK Park, or hey, make dinner reservations at Boma, Jiko or Sanna & check the animals out than. But to stay a week at the prices they tag? Insanity...

    I'll stick to Pop Century, or perhaps try the new Art of Animation. Where the Disney story books/ Movies just come to life in every nook & cranny.. That fun kid feeling lacked every time we were at Akl resort. Luckily at the parks we had a blast but it would have been better to enjoy it at Pop. I almost felt like I was doing 2 Vacations at once. While at Akl I felt like I was visiting the Mountains in Nh, than when I'd step into the parks I was right back at Disney!! Never again! it's just so important for us to feel that fun, bright ambiance that all the Valu's provide. So ask yourself, does that even matter to your family? Knowing the answer to that questions can guide you better, into figuring out where to stay...

    I know there are MANY AKL Lovers out there! This thread is not to offend anyone by any means. It is to help anyone that felt like I did, having a hard time deciding on sticking to the stuff they know? Or trying something new because of all of the amazing reviews on it.
    Good Luck to anyone on the brink of making a decision, go with your gut. Know what you like, what you expect to get out of the resort & your trip all around!!:wave2:
  2. spiceycat

    spiceycat dvc-blt

    Oct 26, 2000
    hey everyone has different taste - if you don't like brown (and believe me you aren't the only one )

    you probably would have liked CR/BLT better - or BC/BCV

    cr is walking distance to the MK
    BC is walking distance to Epcot.

    they are both lighter and brighter than AKV (also wl/vwl, and polyn - would avoid)

    that is why disney has so many different resorts - also love Pop - but sometimes want something a little quieter and closer to my favorite parks
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  4. chloelovesdisney

    chloelovesdisney DIS Veteran

    Jul 19, 2007
    Well now you know the values are more your taste.
  5. disneybliss2

    disneybliss2 DIS Veteran

    May 27, 2008
    We had the opposite reaction. When my girls were very young, I loved Pop for the bright colors, in your face larger than life icons, etc. It screamed Disney. When we tried POFQ for the first time, I fell in love with the quaint, quiet feel. It was so much more relaxing. I was nervous about switching to the mod, because I was used to the fun, Disney everywhere theme. I was afraid my girls would miss the loud, fun decor and not like it as well. I was so glad we made the switch; we loved it so much more, even my girls (who were still young--3 and 7). We found that actually being away from the loud, in your face theme at the resort was better. We got all of that at the parks and saw how it was really sensory overload to have it at the resort too. We, the entire family, was able to be relax better after a long day at the parks. Then we tried AKL for the first time this summer and loved it even more. I understand what you mean about the dark colors. I was surprised by how dark the lobby always stayed, but to me it was still beautiful and was truly something to see. It was like two vacations in one. For us, it was like a vacation at Disney and a mini-vacation to Africa. Also, a big difference is the quietness of the resorts too. My children have slept soooo much better at the mod or deluxe simply because we didn't have someone run past our door repeatedly at all hours of the night that we experienced at each stay at Pop. There are many other reasons why we loved POFQ and AKL as well.

    I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. I'm not posting to defend AKL at all. I'm posting because you're stating you may want to stay with what you know and like, but we had the opposite experience. I was fearful of switching because I was comfortable with what I knew and did really like the loud bright colors and enormous characters at Pop, but it wasn't until I tried something different (the quiet, quaint setting at POFQ and the African setting at AKL) that I found I actually like something else a whole lot better. Had I stayed at just what I knew and was comfortable with, I might not have ever seen that I liked something different so much better, and I'm talking there was a vast difference between resorts and how much I prefer the mod and deluxe (particularly the mod for the price difference) over the values.

    Maybe if someone is truly uncertain they could hop over to a resort and have lunch or dinner there to check it out first to get a feel for the resort.

    Again, sorry your experience was so bad. Luckily, Disney has so many resorts for people to stay at to appease everyone's tastes. :goodvibes
  6. maxiesmom

    maxiesmom The Mean Squinty Eye Works

    Jul 6, 2004
    I agree. If the OP equates a trip to WDW with staying in a bright, loud, yet fun resort, the values are the place for her. Nothing wrong with that, but I think anything other than a value resort will not feel Disney to her.
  7. JeannieKY

    JeannieKY Tink fan

    Feb 19, 2007
    We stayed at BC our first trip and I hated it. I've never had a desire to try AKL and I didn't love Boma. However, I love WL and WCC! There is a resort for everyone's taste and that is one of the things that makes Disney special! I too am a fan of the values for the Disney vibe, but if traveling with the entire family, I might opt for POFQ for more room and bigger beds. I encourage people to look at resort pics and videos before so they can figure out what is more to their liking. We also visit one new resort at least each trip to see if we might want to stay there.
  8. Mousemommy1

    Mousemommy1 DIS Veteran

    Dec 6, 2010
    At least you tried it and have now been able to confirm what you like. :goodvibes

    I wish that would have happened to me, my wallet would be a lot happier....but once we stayed deluxe, DH developed a sudden allergy to the values...:rolleyes:
  9. lustergirl

    lustergirl DIS Veteran

    Aug 25, 2005
    I can relate even though we stayed at a moderate resort, CSR. Although the place was absolutely beautiful it was so spread out. They stuck us in the boonies, the Ranchos Section. It was a long hike to the main building. I was used to AS Sports where everything is really close.
  10. LaurenT

    LaurenT DIS Veteran

    May 27, 2009
    You're lucky! I wish the less expensive resort was my preference!
    But, as a tip....
    If you're considering changing resorts in the future (even to another value or to a moderate), maybe check out photos of the place so you'll know what you're getting. The pics of AKL are very true to what you get....if you don't like the pics, you probably won't like the resort.
  11. BonitaMc

    BonitaMc Earning My Ears

    Nov 3, 2011
    I love the fact that Disney provides so many different options for accomodations and dining. I have always enjoyed the value resorts and for the amount of time we actually spend in our room, I, personally, don't wish to spend alot on deluxe rooms. We always make dining reservations at different resorts, that way we get to experience them somewhat. Our last visit we went to Sanaa at AKL for lunch and it was one of our favourite meals!
  12. housetomouse

    housetomouse DIS Veteran

    Mar 26, 2009
    I always mean to check out a new place before booking it, but I never do. I guess that is the solution, or keep going where you like. I have personally never been to AKL but it has never appealed to me from the pictures and the distance from MK was a deal breaker for me. I don't think you can paint all the Deluxes with a broad brush, though. True that they probably don't have the big characters that you like, but the atmosphere can be very fun. The Polynesian tops my list for fun atmosphere, but the rooms are dark and gloomy IMO. But the fun pool, fireworks and movie on the beach looking across at the castle, a quick hop on the monorail to the fun at MK across the lake, that's my idea of fun.
  13. Hooked On The Mouse

    Hooked On The Mouse DIS Veteran

    May 2, 2010
    It just shows everyone has their own taste, which is why it's good Disney has so many options! Our family actually loves AKL, Kidani or Jambo, and we feel that it adds a lot to our "Disney vibe". We actually have the opposite problem, we finally talked DH into staying at a value (AOA), and we're having a really hard time to get him to agree to ever go to a value again. I would agree with a previous poster who recommended checking out pictures of a resort before booking. There are tons of pictures and video of all the Disney resorts online. It could help people to know what they're getting and prevent anyone having an unfortunate disappointment.
  14. disneylovin24

    disneylovin24 ~Let It Go~

    Jan 9, 2010
    When I saw the title of this thread I just knew that you stayed a AKL. I have never been a big fan mostly because of its location. Its so far away from everything compared to all of the other deluxe resorts. And I agree about it being dark. WL is the same way and although I love the WL, I can understand why some don't.

    I wouldn't let it scare you away from deluxe in the future however. I think staying at the Contemporary or another MK resort is very magical.
  15. mapmakerj

    mapmakerj DIS Veteran

    Feb 18, 2004
    Funny but AKL is our favorite resort for all the reasons you hated it. We love the dark tranquility of the lobby. My DS want to try a value so we toured the All stars and Pop and DH hated the look and noise of them. Said it felt like Disney slapped their characters on a Motel 6. Switching resorts from something you're used to to something completely unknown without actually seeing it can be a disaster, it would have been for us. The lesson everyone should learn from this is be sure to check out everything about the new resort and see as many pictures as you can, if not see the place in person, before you book.
  16. Tomader

    Tomader DIS Veteran

    Apr 4, 2007
    I will say the Pop is more of an active,fun feeling resort. I hate the small beds and room size but I like the feeling I get when I arrive. When I go to the deluxe resorts I feel they give off a "stuffy"feeling. There is no food courts and no fun vibe. More of a buisness atmosphere. This is my personal observation. I do like Aoa. The beds make the difference for me.
  17. AlohaAnnie

    AlohaAnnie DIS Veteran

    Jul 10, 2006
    I agree everyone has a preference of what they like. I also agree to check out the resort before you book.

    We love AKL both Kidani & Jambo. We also really like BCV & BLT. We own DVC. I am not as fond of Boardwalk other than a Boardwalk view.

    We haven't stayed at any of the other Deluxe DVC resorts yet. So I do not have an opinion on them.

    As far as Pop we like it but I feel spoiled by DVC, I would stay there if it was my only option but I really love the advantages of my rooms and comforts of home. I also love the pools at the DVC resorts.

    POR - in my opinion is more comfortable than Pop love the hot tubs at moderate resorts and miss them when we stayed at value resorts. We really loved CSR when we stayed there. If I used up all my DVC points I would stay here.

    But these are just my opinions and what our Disney vacations have evolved to.

    Thank you for your review! I appreciate your opinion!
  18. sjs314

    sjs314 "Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and

    Feb 11, 2010
    I have to admit I have never stayed at any of the Value Resorts and only two of the Mods, POFQ and CSR both of which I loved but my heart lies with Disney's Deluxe Resorts. Dark or Light I have loved everyone we stayed at. YC x1, WL x2, OKW x1, BWI x2 and AKL x 1. AKL is one of the better themed of the resorts IMO since you feel completely immersed even forgetting at times your in Disney.

    Our next trip will be to the Polynesian another "dark" resort but themed excellently from all I have read. WL another "dark" resort also has the Magic of making you forget at times where you are.

    I agree you should give some of the lighter, brighter Deluxes a try and see if they are more to your liking, CR, GF, YC/BC or BWI. OKW & SSR might be good options as you could stay in a 1 Bdrm?
  19. katyjeka

    katyjeka DIS Veteran

    Dec 27, 2003
    We enjoyed AKL, but it is not our favorite. We spent a small fortune to stay two weeks at Saratoga Springs, and I really disliked the place. We had to walk forever to get anywhere and our entire group thought the room was dirty, and the furniture pretty beat up. I did look at pictures before we left, noone researches more than I do, and I realized it was a large resort, but for some reason it seemed sooooo much more spread out than it needed to be. We love WL, CSR, PO, Poly. I'm just thankful they have so many to choose from!!
  20. TigrLvsPooh

    TigrLvsPooh DIS Veteran

    Jul 6, 2001
    I'm glad you found your happy place! :goodvibes You never know until you try other things. I keep thinking one of these trips I will fall in love and devote my heart to one resort, but I just love them all. :thumbsup2 We enjoy Pop, but we have to have two rooms. Hubby and I sleep in a king bed at home, there is no way in heck I'm sleeping in a full sized bed with him on my vacation! LOL :rotfl: I swear those things feel like a twin to me.

    Boy oh boy I wish I could have had your kidani one-bedroom ::yes:: one of my favorites!!! :love: :cloud9:
  21. davedmaine

    davedmaine DIS Veteran

    Mar 30, 2011
    We feel the same way; AKL is just way too dark. We much, much prefer BC or BW -- try one of those next time.

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