Wilderness Lodge vs Animal Kingdom Lodge

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by harrowgirl, Mar 1, 2013.

  1. harrowgirl

    harrowgirl Mouseketeer

    Aug 9, 2007
    Travelling with 2 children (say ages 20 months and almost 4)

    Pros/Cons of WL vs. AKL?
  2. Rafikifan

    Rafikifan DIS Veteran

    May 19, 2001
    Both are lovely resorts but with the ages of your children I think the WL will be better for you since it is only a ferry ride to and from the Magic Kingdom, and the monorail resorts which offer some very good dining choices. AKL isn't close to anything but Animal Kingdom and you still have to take a bus.
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  4. Heather1979

    Heather1979 Mouseketeer

    Sep 2, 2011
    We went to AKL last year with our kids- they were 15 months and 2.5 years old, they loved seeing the animals in the savannah, the pool, the lobby had some really cool sights and sounds, and a kick butt play ground area.

    For us, part of why AKL worked and not WL was that after the kids go to sleep I wanted to be able to sit out on the balcony, and with a 1br villa I was able to access the balcony from the bedroom. WL balcony access is in the living room, which is where the kids' pack and plays were set up.

    WL seems like a fun place though!
  5. CarolineB

    CarolineB DIS Veteran

    Sep 10, 2006
    I haven't stayed at either one but have visited both. Even if you stay at WL, you can go over to AKL to show the kids the animals. The front desk has print out of the animals and your kids can have fun finding the animals at the different areas. They also have night time vision goggles if you're there at night. If you're interested in the nightly outdoor movies, AKL offers two movies instead of just one at WL.

    WL has a hidden mickey printout that is fun for the older child as well as the outdoor geyser that goes off. WL also offers a short walk over to the campground. This is nice for the kids to get to stretch their legs. You can also take the boat over to the campground. You can take the kids on the pony ride for a reasonable cost.
  6. kanderson89

    kanderson89 Mouseketeer

    Aug 5, 2009
    We've stayed at both and love both. But we don't have kids, so take the feedback for what it's worth.

    Plusses of AKL - Some friends who do have kids around the same age as yours stayed at AKL, and they said their boys loved it. They're animal people, of course, and they really liked the pool area. We prefer the food options at AKL but the only transportation are the busses.

    Plusses of WL - close to MK, boat ride to MK is sweet, electric water parade is fun. Able to rent watercraft, surrey bikes. Nice pool area - not as big as AKL, tho. Feels northwoodsey.
  7. OKW Lover

    OKW Lover Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle. DIS Lifetime Sponsor

    Apr 29, 2004
    Both are great. Normally I'd give the edge to AKL because of the novelty of watching animals right outside your room. With two little ones though I'd guess your focus is the MK in which case WL is more convenient.
  8. mmmears

    mmmears DIS Veteran

    Nov 30, 2005
    AKL is magical. We love staying there and sitting out on our balcony and watching the animals roam about. WL looks very nice (haven't stayed there).

    WL is more convenient to the MK, but not to the other parks. If you plan to spend most of your time at the MK, I'd pick WL. But if you are splitting evenly between the 4 parks, I'd pick AKL. (because where else can you feel like you are on safari without leaving the US?)
  9. stargazertechie

    stargazertechie Toy Story Midway Maniac

    Jun 17, 2009
    I love both resorts. They are very similar in style.

    I honestly would vote for AKL for the young ones, as I feel like the animals (and the amazing pool) are a bigger draw. Sure, it's only a boat ride from MK, but it's not nearly as convenient to any of the monorail resorts.
  10. ldo

    ldo DIS Veteran

    Apr 13, 2007
    We love AKL the best, but I would 100% choose WL b/c of the quick access to MK. There is also a little "beach" area at the lake and you can take the boat over to Ft Wilderness and walk around and also go to the camp fire and do a chip and dale sing a long which is free everynight. you can also roast marshmellows--they sell kits. There is a pond area where you can fish, if you want--rent or bring a little rod for your 4 yr old--very fun.
  11. pepe of ohio

    pepe of ohio DIS Veteran

    Jul 5, 2001
    We've done both and as stated above, AKL is close to nothing..... You either survive with what's at the Lodge or bus to far places..

    WL, close to the MK, FW and CR.... You have access to 3 other deluxe resorts and their dining options and FW has some of the best buffet on property...

    We were greatly disappointed in AKL, not anything to our liking from location to food to bare Savannah's ..

    WL has served us greatly for over 10+ stays, location being number 1.... With ambiance and compactness running second and third!
  12. blackacex2

    blackacex2 Mouseketeer

    Jan 31, 2011
    Ditto what this guy said. Animal Kingdom Lodge is a dirt pit with a few animals scattered through-out. I could NOT believe how blah the whole place was. Except for the restaurants the whole place is just so "meh"
  13. jdcthree

    jdcthree DIS Veteran

    Nov 6, 2007
    We have stayed at both.

    AKL is beautiful, our room was the cleanest of any Disney room we've ever had, and watching animals from the balcony of our room was awesome. That being said, it's just too far removed from everything for our liking. If you plan to spend a lot of time at the resort, you will love it. If you plan to take mid-day breaks, the travel to and from AKL with such young children will probably drive you nuts.

    If you want to be closer to the Magic Kingdom, go with the Wilderness Lodge. It's a lovely resort, the pool is very nice, and proximity to MK is great.
  14. mickeynut1

    mickeynut1 DIS Veteran

    Apr 16, 2007
    We've stayed at both and love both for different reasons. I do agree with others that WL is more convenient to MK if that's where you will be spending alot of time, but I don't agree with the transportation being bad (although that's my opinion as we thought the buses were fine during our stays). AKL is out away from everything, but in our experience, the buses were fine and we didn't find it to take more than about 5 extra minutes to get to any of the parks from there vs other resorts. I think the kids would like either resort. Both have a great pool, great TS restaurants, and great CS options. The rooms are the same size and both have the option of bunk beds. Good luck deciding, although I don't think you can go wrong with either one as they are both great places to stay.
  15. stargazertechie

    stargazertechie Toy Story Midway Maniac

    Jun 17, 2009
    And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I firmly believe you have to go with your gut. Clearly one person's paradise is another's trash pit.
  16. Missyrose

    Missyrose DIS Veteran

    Jan 18, 2009
    Have you even stayed there? The resort is gorgeous, with so many different areas to hang out or explore. I get saying a resort wasn't for you, but calling it a dirt pit comes across as nuts.

    OP, with the age of your kids, I'd agree that WL would work best for you. You can so easily take the boat to and from MK and also CR. Maybe save AKL for when your kids are a little older, because you will love it! It really is a spectacular place to stay, you feel transported there(at least we did).
  17. LeahA

    LeahA DIS Veteran

    Jan 28, 2000
    We have stayed at both and we were once DVC owners at AKL.

    WL was always my dream resort to stay at, and we loved it when we stayed there. It is nice with the little ones to be able to take the ferry to the MK.

    AKL is still my favorite. I like that it feels a little bit away from it all. The resort theming is wonderful. The savanna and the animals are nice. Sanna is our favorite restaurant with Boma following close behind. The pool areas are nice. Yes it is all bus service but, we never had to wait that long, there was always one or two trips that we had to wait during the week, but no big deal.

    So, you can't go wrong with either, but I would pick AKL first and WL second.
  18. bedogged

    bedogged <font color=purple>Choose parents that aged well<b

    Mar 28, 2004
    I have stayed at both and love them both. One consideration is cost. If you stay at AKL it is very expensive to book a savanna view. So if you want to see animals from your balcony, that is a consideration. AKL is also a big resort so often it is a long walk to transportation and lobby from your room. With little ones that may be a consideration. Bus service is good, but if you stay at Jambo, you are the second stop for pickup.

    WL is a small, compact resort near MK, but off the beaten path. Most of the rooms at WL are less expensive than savanna view rooms at AKL. It tends to be much less of a walk to get to services there. WL has a fun quick boat ride to MK and Fort Wilderness. The boat docks right at the front entrance to MK so that is very convenient. Bus service has been, in my experience, quite good. It does share with other resorts, but it is the first stop so you usually can get a seat.

    Personally, I don't think you can go wrong with either resort. They are both truly beautiful!

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