Saratoga Springs or Animal Kingdom Lodge

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by disneypugdog, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. disneypugdog

    disneypugdog Earning My Ears

    Nov 19, 2012
    Where to stay Animal kingdom or Saratoga Springs for Family of 4.Mum ,dad 2 kids 14 and 9.
  2. artnerds

    artnerds DIS Veteran

    Apr 25, 2011
    A question made just for me! We stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge last January and just got back from a stay at Saratoga Springs a few weeks ago!

    My observations:

    Animal Kingdom Lodge:
    - get to see giraffes, zebras, etc, including views of the animals from your balcony if you pay for a Savannah View room
    - gorgeously themed after an African lodge
    - large gift shop
    - excellent dining, including options for counter service, buffet, and table-service fine dining

    Saratoga Springs:
    - has more the feel of a traditional vacation resort, including great pools and lots of outdoor activities
    - very nice spa on property, if you are so inclined (I think it is about to undergo a renovation, so I recommend you check on this if this is a priority for you)
    - very small gift shop and I don't like the dining options at all, but this is offset largely by being so close to Downtown Disney, which can be accessed by bus, boat, or walking and which gives you many shopping, dining, and entertainment options

    On balance, in my opinion, you can't beat waking up in the morning, taking your coffee out on the balcony, and watching zebras and giraffes walk around. I would pick a Savannah View room at Animal Kingdom Lodge.
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  4. MEK

    MEK DIS Veteran

    May 8, 2005
    Great summary of the two resorts. I love them both, but AKL definitely has the best dining options of any resort on property (IMHO). The Mara, Boma, Sanaa, and Jiko. I could eat there exclusively and be very happy. :goodvibes
  5. mickeynut1

    mickeynut1 DIS Veteran

    Apr 16, 2007
    My choice would be AKL. We've never stayed at SSR, but we loved AKL. Not only is AKL a beautiful resort, but as the pp's said, the dining options are great :thumbsup2.
  6. artnerds

    artnerds DIS Veteran

    Apr 25, 2011
    Absolutely agree. No matter where we are staying on property, we always make at least two trips to Animal Kingdom Lodge to eat, one for brunch at Boma and one for dinner at either Jiko or Sanaa.
  7. butsy113

    butsy113 AKV Owner

    Aug 13, 2012
    The only problem at AKL is I never have enough time to enjoy the resort!! I will add that the pools at Jambo House and Kidani Village are excellent. The Kidani pool is actually rated #2 on property in the Unofficial Guide.
  8. DVC Kelly

    DVC Kelly Mouseketeer Approved Advertiser

    Oct 10, 2011
    Both resorts are great choices. I love Animal Kingdom for the same reasons as all the other replies, watching the animals each day was an amazing experience and yes the various restaurants are delicious.

    However I think both resorts have great pool options. Staying at Animal Kingdom you can use both the Jambo pool and the Kidani pool (with its splash pad play area). Then by comparison Saratoga Springs also have some great pools.

    The other advantage that Saratoga has is its proximity to Downtown Disney. Given the age of your oldest child being able to walk to Downtown Disney for the shopping, restaurants or arcade, this might be a positive.
  9. magicaldisney

    magicaldisney DIS Veteran

    Sep 8, 2005
    We have stayed at both multiple times and without a doubt, my family prefers AKL. SSR is a wonderful resort. We enjoy it and have nothing negative to say about it. We just prefer the atmosphere of AKL. It has a unique quality.
  10. lugnut33

    lugnut33 DIS Veteran

    Jan 17, 2008
    AKL is our family's favorite. We own DVC at SSR, but have never stayed there, we always stay at AKL-Kidani Village.
  11. artnerds

    artnerds DIS Veteran

    Apr 25, 2011
    I did not intend to shortchange Animal Kingdom Lodge on its pools. They are wonderful, and I am glad that others have pointed this out.

    Many people choose Animal Kingdom Lodge because it is such a unique resort experience, unlike anything you will experience elsewhere. If you want to stay close to Downtown Disney but still want a unique experience, maybe you should consider the Treehouse Villas at Saratoga Springs. We just stayed in a Treehouse at the end of October/beginning of November, and it was WONDERFUL. Lovely, tranquil setting and very comfortable accommodations.
  12. snykymom

    snykymom Still tagless after all these years

    Jul 2, 2008
    While I love AKL, the biggest advantage that SSR has is that it is significantly cheaper! I could get a one-bedroom villa for less that the cost of a Savannah view. Given the ages of your kids, it might not be a bad idea to get the villa; gives Mom & Dad some privacy!
  13. twinboysmom

    twinboysmom DIS Veteran

    May 26, 2010
    We have stayed at both multiple times and we prefer SSR. SSR has 2 themed pools with the paddock area pool having some really great new water features. I also like th convenience of beng able to walk or take a boat to downtown disney. I also prefer artists palette over Mara. OP, you don't say if you are looking into staying at Jambo or Kidani? IMO, Kidani has the better pool but it has zero food options. You must go to Jambo which isn't that big of a deal but is a tad inconvenient. I am also under the impression that unless you are staying on DVC points that you cannot use both Jambo and Kidani pools. I could be incorrect on that but I did not think people staying on cash at Jambo were allowed in the Kidani pool.

    Which ever resort you choose OP, I think you will have a great time. We do love them both.
  14. FencerGirl

    FencerGirl Mouseketeer

    Jul 2, 2012
    Guests staying at either resort can use either pool. When we were there in September, the internal shuttles were full of people going to or coming from the Kidani pool.
  15. PlainJane

    PlainJane <font color=teal>It was wonderful both times<br><f

    Dec 25, 2005
    I used to be a big AKL fan, but our last vacation there we had a not so magical experience with housekeeping. We had to be moved from the first room because it hadn't been cleaned properly (A booger on the faucet, the sliding door had a smudge on it the size of a volleyball, some of the bedding had obviously not been changed and I'm not talking about the comforter). The second room was better. However, a couple days into the vacation we were in the room when the maid came. My mom just asked for more toiletries like she normally does if we're in the room when housekeeping comes. When the maid handed her the toiletries she noticed that the maid was wearing WET gloves (I'd prefer not to speculate on why they were wet :sick:).

    That brings us to SSR. I'm one of those people who LOVES SSR. Really, it's one of my favorite resorts.

    Things I like about it:
    1. The pools are great and there are plenty to choose from
    2. The easy access to DtD (which is also handy for using the bus to get to other resort hotels)
    3. I like the offerings at AP
    4. I enjoy the Turf Club (Though I will admit I was upset when they changed their menu. They got rid of the scalloped potatoes and jacked up the prices)
    5. The grounds are absolutely beautiful and very pleasant to walk around
    6. Arguably the best gym on property
    7. Nice big gift shop
  16. bcrook

    bcrook DIS Veteran

    Jun 26, 2008
    I don't know about OOP prices, but a standard view room at AKL is cheaper than SSR using DVC points. I don't mind the standard view, because there are so many great options to view the animals. But, the standard view rooms are much more difficult to get because of their relative value. My home resort is Kidani, I have found that the standard rooms get swooped up quickly.

    I find the rooms over by the pembe savannah to be the most relaxing at Kidani.
  17. snowwite

    snowwite DIS Veteran

    Apr 4, 2005
    We have done both. My kids both loved AKL hands down. Rm 222 was awesome with a view of giraffe feeding area.
    I liked Saratoga location (we walked to DTD) and they had a Dis movie out by pool every eve.

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