My family of 5 (three girls aged 6 - 10) is visiting WDW this April for 5 days/4 nights and I would really appreciate advice on resort options. I want something that will give us a great 1st experience that is fun for the kids, not crazy expensive, and gives us enough room. We currently have 3 nights at CR (garden view) for the convenience of walking to MK and 1 night at POR (because of Liner raves about this resort) but I’m thinking that CR may be a letdown and a split stay for such a short trip might be insane. We may be able to rent points to stay at either Poly (studio lake view) or AK (1 bedroom) for the same price. I don’t think we’ll be eating in too much, but having a kitchenette (and in-room laundry – if you get those with villas?) would be a great option. For those who have been before – any advice? Thanks in advance.
Going for 4 nights, I wouldn’t do a split stay unless forced. Moving will be an ordeal & that’s time you could be spending touring or swimming or eating Mickey Ice Cream Bars. Plus resort to resort travel isn’t Disney’s strong suit which means paying for Uber or a cab, or packing all your luggage and taking it with you on a packed bus. Definitely skip the split stay.
I haven’t stayed at a Villa so I can’t offer advice specifically on that - we have stayed at the Poly, AK & POR and enjoyed all 3 quite a bit. Disney does cater their rooms to groups of 4 though so make sure your plans account for needing 5 in a room.
The contemporary is also wonderfully located and should be great. Being able to walk to the MK would be a plus. If you’re going to be spending most of your time in the MK, I’d just do 4 nights at the Contemporary or look at the Poly. Being so close to the MK is a great perk of the Monorail resorts and makes hopping over to MK for a few hours easy and quite enjoyable. Of 'course many feel those resorts are crazy expensive. Frankly with the 4 resorts you’re considering, I don’t think you can go too wrong. Contemporary or Poly are perfect for a heavy MK rotation though and you can always try one of the others on your next trip…
I would suggest Wilderness Lodge. Boat to MK is nice, and it’s the lowest-priced deluxe, so you would likely get all of your nights at WL for the same cost as a split CR/POR stay.
I think that AKL is a MUCH better experience than the CR (especially in the removed garden wings). Strictly personal preference, but I find the CR to be cold and corporate and no different than any number of hotels I’ve stayed in during business trips. If I could (afford to) stay in the main tower, with a park view, my feelings might be different, but the garden wing seemed to be about as “un-Disney” as I could imagine. AKL is completely unique, is probably the most beautiful resort on property, has a great pool (two, actually), and has ANIMALS - either right off your balcony or just a short walk down the hall (depending on what kind of room you get). I prefer staying in Jambo over Kidani, but both have their fans. I have no personal interest in split stays, but if you are set on the idea, I would definitely do the mod first and the deluxe second; it’s quite a step-down.
Thank you all so much! This is definitely convincing me that a split stay isn’t going to work for us, and I’m leaning toward AK or Poly. Had considered Wilderness Lodge but it seems there’s a lot of major construction going on there this year.
We stopped by Wilderness in early December since we were supposed to stay there, but got moved due to the construction. Granted it was a Saturday (so no ongoing work), but it seemed pretty minor - basically I wouldn’t sweat it too much if you can get a good deal. It might affect your view if you were looking out on the secondary pool, but most of the resort seemed unaffected. We were slightly mystified they moved us.
Poly is great though and closer to MK. We loved our stay there. AK is totally unique with the proximity to animals. A Savannah view allows you to wake up to exotic animals outside your room. Wonderful experience, but a longer commute to MK.
We were having the same debate for an upcoming trip for 5 too. We settled on Poly because it is close to MK and the transit center for Epcot and those will be the two parks we spend most of our time at. Plus you can watch fireworks and the electric water pageant from the beach and they have campfires for marshmallow roasting. Total selling point for my kids!
I am hoping the monorail will be working in April but I am not counting on it. I do not think you can go wrong with AKL or Poly. Can you get both at such short notice? I think a 1 bedroom would feel like more room and personally I think AKL is the best resort at Disney! I am doing a AKL/Poly split in April and it is rather ridiculous how excited I am to return to AKL. Although that resort will make you plan some resort time!
OK, thanks to you all I bit the bullet and booked 4 nights AKL Jambo 1 bedroom – and, yes, there was availability both through Disney (for Kidani too) and through David’s for April (standard view). The choice was made slightly easier by the fact that the Poly studio I’d hoped for was all booked. It’s so much more expensive than CR garden view, but I showed pics of both hotels to DH & kids and everyone hated the look of CR. I’m sure we’ll miss the convenience of being able to walk & monorail, especially since we’re planning two MK days, but hoping having an in-room kitchen & washer/dryer will make up for it! PrincipalTinker, I love reading your AKL reports on Lines and can’t wait to try the fun stuff you talk about. And nbawek, if we can we’re definitely going to sneak over to the Poly to check out fireworks & the electric light parade. Or maybe I’ll just have to plan another trip …?
I agree that a split stay would be annoying for a 4-night trip, but just so you know for future, Disney will transport your bags between their resorts if you do a split stay. So you don’t need to use Uber to move your luggage or drag your bags on a Disney bus. We’ve found it very convenient.
Thanks for the heads up on the DIS luggage transport - I didn’t realize that was an option for a split stay.
Yay for your decision. We are renting points for AKL 2-bedroom in April, I am so excited. First time staying deluxe for us, and we are definitely planning some resort time.
A visit to the Poly is worthwhile, though, maybe after one of your MK days. You can monorail there, maybe eat at Kona or just grab snacks and drinks somewhere, and then watch the fireworks. From there, I would then probably Uber back to the resort.
you NEVER want to go from a Deluxe to a Moderate. Its a let down. Going from resort to resort is not a huge pain as disney will take care of it for you. However for a short trip and also as it is your first time - I would probably avoid it. As your kids are small and you are do MK a lot - I think the Contemporary is a great choice. The theaming is not crazy - but it is a nice hotel with great views and great amenities.
Renting points at the POLY is a great idea and people love the POLY - however I always get the impression that it is straight out of “The Brady’s go to Hawaii” - my humble opinion. Another great choice (I think) is the Wilderness Lodge. The theaming is cool and it is fairly close to MK - it has a very similar feel to AKL However as you seem to have a lot of the planning done I would stay at a single resort. If you do stay at AKL two things. 1 - GET A SAVANA VIEW - that is the big draw to the lodge. 2 - GET A CAR. Do not rely on Disney transportation. Also - eat a JIKU awesome
That Bradys in Hawaii reference made my day.
Great idea about the car! We’d been debating whether to rent one when we arrive just in case or rent at the end of our Disney trip. After we leave we’ll need to drive down to Ft Lauderdale to see my my inlaws … talk about a letdown!
Check the rates - it may be worth it for you to have it the whole time. It is probably cheaper to rent from MCO than from WDW. We are doing Univeral / WDW - so need a car. If you do park at a park - you get to park for free - so that is cool. If you do rent from the airport - have COINS (not cash but COINS) or ensure that you have a sunpass - there are tolls