AK- pros & cons

Just adjusting to regular life outside the bubble and already planning next trip. DH suggesting taking 1 year off to save up for AK - just wondering about everyone's experience. We have stayed at POP, AOA, CBR and POR and usually don't spend a lot of time at the resort, except this last time at POR. What do we need to know in making our decision. Looks awesome, may splurge for savanah view....not sure. What about the safaris -open to only guests of AK - is that all guests or only club level - any thoughts? Thanks.

AKL? I thought when I first stayed at the BC I would never find a resort I liked more than BC. I was wrong! I love AKL! Here is a link to another forum thread : http://forum.touringplans.com/t/secrets-of-akl/1742

Thanks, just learning the ropes over here....looks like some great information.

I just saw: this would be your first deluxe stay? Currently there is a night time safari open to resort guests but it is $70 a person. There are multiple animal viewing areas. You can use night vision goggles and view animals ( these things are free). The cultural experiences that happen throughout the day are free as well.

Yes first deluxe....always thought I would book a value or moderate, but beginning to see some other options! And if lucky enough to get some discounts, not as bad as I originally thought.

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Oh! Your question asked about cons. I think some people would say that it is far away and you need to take buses. I hated the buses at POR and I was scared but the AKL buses were never crowded. I always had a seat. The bus does not stop at other resorts ( just Jumbo and Kidani). It is less than 10 minutes from AK. One day I got on the MK bus at 2:37 and I was standing on Main Street watching the FoF Parade by 3:00!

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We usually drive - so take limited amount of busses (MK, DTD) - Just trying to figure out if it is worth the money. We have been to Disney 5 times in the last 4 years - and love it - trying to see if it is worth spending more on resort and spending time there - usually blow out all the parks (park hopper) and water parks - very little time at resort. Last trip at POR - was first trip in summer - HOT - scheduled resort time every day....

I have not stayed at AKL but my DH really wants to stay there (possibly next trip...). I think that if you plan on spending a fair amount of time at the resort then the deluxe resorts can be worth the extra money. But every family has different priorities. You seem to be asking yourself the questions that will help to make your decision. How much time will you spend at the resort? Will you take advantage of the extras that the resort offers such as the safari? Will you regret not having a sooner countdown? Good luck in making your decision! Planning the trip is half the fun!! blush

We just came back from our first (won't be the last!) stay a AKL and we fell completely in love with it. While a Savannah view would be nice, we were priced out of that option. We had an incredible pool view in rm3432 and there was a very large viewing window and "balcony" just a few doors down. We were not sad without the savannah view, so if you can't spawning it, don't sweat it!

We loved how relaxing the resort was. The pool is amazing (though what's up with the flies???) and it was fantastic to have first rate dining options just steps away. He night we had reservations at Boma was just so relaxing without having to scurry to another location for amazing food.

Busing was not near as bad as people would have you think. Ironically, our longest wait and travel time was AKL to AK and back. We joked that WDW wants you to spend 20 mins on a bus no matter how close you are to where you are heading wink. Most rides were 15mins or less and we rarely waited more than a minute or two to board one. And there is a lot to be said for letting someone else do the driving.

My very few criticisms:
1) what is up with the flies by the pool? We tried several different seating locations and they were just horrible.
2) the shower/toilet room needs a second light since the sole one is in the shower itself, making it very dim in there.
3) the a/c vent on the wall seems to point directly at the bed, so that while I was freezing being blown on, the room itself was warmish. I wondered if one of those vent covers we have her at home to redirect the air would work there.
4) they would not let us take our MouseKeeper home, no matter how much we begged or bribed wink

Definitely do it if you can. It's an amazing resort!

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We rented points thru dvcrentalstore.com & stayed at AKL kidani. Loved it! Especially at the price we paid. Maybe you could rent points? We are on our third trip renting thru them. Bonus is under cover parking at akl kidani!

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@Stitcharella -- did you find it inconvenient, though, not having CS at Kidani? I am interested in potentially renting points in the future, but this concerns me. Vacation and "make your own meals" do not go in the same sentence for me.

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No but to be honest we don't eat meals in our room. We snack & eat all of our meals in the parks, YC. We rent a car at mco (I don't like the buses anymore) so we stop and grab drinks, snacks, etc on way to hotel. They do have a shuttle to take you to Jambo . We used it when we had dinner at boma.

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What do you eat at counter service I guess is my other question... Do you eat meals? Or snacks?

AKL is beautiful! Totally worth it. If you're used to buses at mods/values then I don't see any issue. Get a savannah view room. Request to be near elevator though as hallways are incredibly long. So many free activities day & night. Very nice pool complex. Great dining options. I'd build in a non-park day to really enjoy it all.

Totally agree with @Stitcharella's suggestion to consider renting DVC points. It definitely locks you into your dates, but makes it doable for us, financially. We're spending two nights in a studio at Wilderness Lodge, then two nights in a savanna-view studio at AKL - Kidani for our anniversary trip in January on rented points - $180/night! Obviously, I can't comment on the resort, though, as that January trip will be our first stay. 😀

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We stayed for 7 nights in 2009, we loved it and in all honesty I would stay there every visit, if I could. We are from the UK so only manage to visit around once every 3 years and if we can get free dining it makes sense to us. I love the feel of AKL, I love the smells the castmembers are amazing and have so much information about the animals and the Lodge. Both pools are fantastic. This will be the resort for us every time once the kids have grown and we are old and grey...ohh that bits now. We will be dining there and spending some time touring the Lodge, but this is where my heart is.

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We had breakfast one morning (our resort day) and we had a bite for dinner on our arrival day (got to resort at 6:30p). Kids had snacks. And I grabbed coffee and cocoa for everyone each morning.

we grabbed coffee once we got to the parks. motivation to get moving ..lol. i guess i could make coffee in too.

No time to grab coffee in the parks when you're hard-core touring!! wink

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except for coffee... i need coffee.. i crave coffee....