Notes on Our Vacation and A Link to Pictures (long)


DIS Veteran
Jun 11, 2001
DH and I just returned from 8 glorious nights at WDW. We spend the first two at AKL Concierge, which, if you can swing it, is definitely worth the splurge. I had requested a King room with a view of Arusha Savannah and we got both of our requests. We were in Room 5415 on Zebra Trail. The concierge staff at AKL is wonderful and very attentive. We ate all but one of our meals at the concierge lounge and constantly felt stuffed from all the food. The only time of day I felt was lacking in terms of food is the mid-day selection, which included chips, pumpkin seeds, crackers, trail mix and gummy bears. But with breakfast having just ended and afternoon tea with scones and pastries only a few hours away, it was no big deal. Plus I guess they assume most people are out at the parks at that time. The cappuccino machine and constant supply of ice tea and juices was wonderful, as were the dinnertime hors d'ouevres. We spent the majority of our time at AKL looking at the animals from our balcony, exploring the resort, and eating. We did splurge on the Sunrise Safari, which, again, was well worth doing at least once. The day was beautiful and every single animal was out on the savannah. Our safari leader was great, especially for it having been his first solo safari, and the brunch at Tusker House was excellent.

After our two relaxing days at AKL, we moved to BWV for 6 nights. We got there at around 10:00 am and, lo and behold, our villa was ready. This was a welcome treat after last year, when we had to wait until 4:30 pm for our room. We were in room 4083, a 1-bedroom standard view. We had a view of the driveway and porte cochere to the left and lawn and small pond with fountain to the right. At night, we had a great view of the higher firewords from Illuminations to the left, and you could just make out the music from the balcony. I do have to say, though, that the view detracted a bit from the magic. Once we had a boardwalk view and it was great. However, I did like being able to watch all the DVC vans pull up with prospective buyers on tour. I couldn't help rooting for them! All in all, it wasn't the best view, but certainly worth the difference in points.

We did have a few problems with the room, and with BWV in general. The cold water in the vanity sink had low pressure, the vanity sink was clogged, the refrigerator made a noisy rattle, and the light bulb in the shower was out. They were able to fix some of these, but not all. However, there were other things as well. Our villa looked ... worn. Paint was chipped, the walls were dirty in places, the refrigerator door had rust spots, one of the little knobs in the lamp in the living room was missing - lots of little things that wouldn't have mattered seperately, but when considered all together did make a difference. The elevators at BWV are a mess. They are in desperate need of a good paint job and cleaning, and also of repair. They came whenever called, regardless of what direction you wanted to go. The carpeting in the hallway was new (a shell and flower print, not the old boardwalk print) and they were painting different parts of our hallway every day. Made me wonder when they were going to get to the inside of the villas. I'm assuming that mine is not the only one in need of a refurb.

We spent very little time at the parks this year, even though the weather was perfect for the most part. We spent parts of different days at Epcot, stopping to see Illuminations a few times. We spent about half a day each at MGM, MK and AK. Overall, the only park that felt really crowded was MK. The security inspections outside of each park were a bit of a nuisance, but it was the kind of thing you quickly forgot once you got through. They wouldn't have been nearly as annoying if I'd felt that they actually did a thorough job of inspecting. I mean, they take a cursory look in every bag, but if someone wants to get something into a park, they definitely could. :(

We had a bunch of great meals this year. We ate at some of our standby's... Le Cellier, Primetime, House of Blues, Whispering Canyon; all of which were excellent as usual. We also tried some new places... Mara at AKL (GREAT food for the price), Beaches and Cream (yummy and fun), Restaurant Marrakesh (great atmosphere and I loved the mint ice tea), Flying Fish (I loved the NY Strip, DH wasn't thrilled with his salmon) and Kona Cafe for breakfast (finally had the Tonga Toast - good, but very sweet).

Anyway, for those that hung through til the end, thanks for reading. In spite of my little complaints above, we really had a great vacation and I still love my home at BWV. For some reason, WDW vacations feel long and restful to me. I guess I'm lucky. I set up an album at Ofoto for anyone that's interested in looking at some pictures. You need to set up an account to view them, but it is free to do so. Here's the URL:

Please let me know if you have any trouble finding it. I'd be happy to answer anyone's questions.
Always glad to "hang in there till the end" when you are talking about my two favorite places! Thanks for the review, and I loved looking at your photos! BTW, I did not need to register to view them; your link sent me directly to the pics. Glad you had a great time!
Great report Jessica,
I wish your report was longer! The AKL concierge and the Safari sunrise sound great. I also stayed at BWV recently and also observed just what you said; certain things were chipped or worn and when putting all together, is an issue, although a minor one. I actually stayed in two different 1 bedrooms (because the a/c broke) and one room looked less worn than the other. Like you, I'm curious if there is a refurb schedule for the inside just like they have been doing on the outside. Once gain, not a reason not to go back, but a fresh coat of paint does wonders (I'm booked in another standard 1 bedroom for July 03).

take care,

Now that you mention it, every time we have stayed at BWV, the sinks have been clogged. Our paint was chipped too. It must be impossible to keep up with all these rooms, but I am hoping that the ones that are out of commission from the construction are being give a thorough painting, chip-fixing, drain unclogging.

There weren't any birds up there on the balconies this time. That was a treat.

Loved your report, and the pictures are magnificant. We've got our ressies for BWV for next June. I sure hope everything is cleaned up by then. AKL concierge is on our list. We're looking forward to the magic!
It's disappointing when a room isn't perfect, but it sounds as if it wasn't so bad that it impacted your trip. (We have a well at home, so I'm used to lousy water pressure.:( )

one of the little knobs in the lamp in the living room was missing

Doesn't it make you scratch your head and think :confused: when you find something like this? I can never figure out why someone would remove a knob (unless it looks like a certain Mouse.;) )

Thanks for the great pictures and trip report!!!

:) :)
Thanks for the great photos! The AKL looks great, what kind of food did they have at the concierge?
The food at the concierge lounge was excellent. For breakfast they had three kinds of juices (orange, pineapple, mango), bagels (and a toaster), danish, oatmeal, cold cereals, coffee, tea and milk. For lunch they had chips and light snacks like the ones I mentioned in my report. Then around 3 there was afternoon tea, with scones, tarts, cookies, brownies. I think around 5 they put out the dinner offerings -- we had two kinds of wraps (veggie and beef), beef satay, salmon, chicken wings, shrimp skewers, 3 kinds of hummus with pitas and other breads/crackers, a red wine and a white wine. Then around 8 they served desserts and cordials -- we had brownies, chocolate covered strawberries, pineapple cheesecake things, oatmeal raisin cookies, chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies. Throughout the day there is a constant supply of ice tea, african smooth (a drink with tropical fruit juices blended with yogurt), lemonade, coffee, tea, and the wonderful cappuccino machine that makes cappuccino (obviously), latte and espresso. We defnitely got our money's worth out of the lounge. ;)
Thanks for the report. The pictures were great. Loved the Mr. Potato Head! How does that work? I can imagine my boys wanting to do that. Thanks again.

Jessica - what did you think of going to WDW in August? We have always gone Dec and May but DD is getting too old to take out of school next year. We are thinking of August because of the low points. Was weather bearable?

Thanks again for all your great info.
An informative report like that is never too long. Thanks for taking the time to do it. We are unable to get into DVC early Dec. and I've been debating between AKL Savannah View and a Wilderness Cabin. I'm now adding AKL Concierge to the mix!
Because I work as a speech therapist in the school system, we have to plan our vacations around the school schedule. Therefore, we always go to WDW in the summer time. Aside from our experience last year when we went during a tropical depression (which made the weather rainy, but unexpectedly cool), its always quite hot and humid. However, no more so than here in Philly. ;) Honestly, I've never been to Fl during a season other than summer, so I'm really looking forward to the weather during our trip over Christmas this year (although I'm not looking forward to the crowds!!! :o )
Thanks for the report and the beautiful pictures!
I can't wait for DH to get home so I can show him your pix of AKL. I'm working on on short Concierge stay and I think your pix will help.
On our BWV stay last March, 1Br SV I found the villa looked worn. The sofa had stains, the dining chairs seats had repairs which were failing, paint chipped etc. Just little things that don't ruin the trip but I was glad I didn't have anyone who had never been to BWV before with me. I would have felt embarrassed. Silly I know but it is my "Home" and I love showing it off..

Thanks for the lovely pictures. We were at WDW in June and will be going back next June but I am sooooo "homesick". I showed DH your slide show and told him we need to go back sooner than next June!!! His comment was, "Yeah! and we need to hit the lottery too!" LOL! Thanks for sharing!



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