We recently booked the Contemporary for our upcoming summer trip. It will be myself, DH, DD7, & DS1 (almost 2). We stayed at the Contemporary 2 years ago and loved it. We are now considering switching to AKL because we are thinking DS1 will love the animals. My only concern is the distance from the other parks besides AK. Will it be feasible for us to take breaks on our park days? Those of you who have stayed there what did you like/dislike about it?
I think everyone should stay at AKL at least once. It’s magnificent.
Whether or not your 1 year old will really take anything away from the stay is unknown. However, your 7 year old will love it! There is so much to see and do there and that age is ideal for all of it.
We found the transportation very reliable and truly not much longer of a ride than say, Pop Century. The buses are dedicated to AKL (Jambo & Kidani) so they go from the hotel to the parks fairly directly. We took breaks easily.
There is nothing that I didn’t love about our stay there.
As long as you don’t think you’ll really miss being so close and able to walk to MK, you will not regret staying at AKL.
You will love AKL! You can travel back and forth from AK in less than 0 minutes. When the bus driver said the bus ride to MK was “10 minutes” I did not believe him, so I timed it. He was wrong- it was exactly 15 minutes from from Jumbo to MK. It has a beautiful pool, and unlike some other resorts, it is never crowded. You walk into the lobby, see the savanna , smell the food cooking in Boma and Jiko- it is amazing!
We recently did a split stay between these very two hotels, CR and AKL. Loved them both, but for different reasons.
We had a bay view room at CR and a savannah view room at AKL. Though comparable in price, the CR room itself was much nicer: larger, nicer amenities, felt like a luxury hotel room. The AKL room felt more like a very well-themed Holiday Inn room. But of course those animals outside your balcony is what you’re paying for at AKL – an amazing experience. Also, the overall AKL hotel experience felt luxury: gorgeous lobby, great restaurants, nicer pool. And it had lots of fun activities for the kids (our twins were almost 6).
As for convenience, I can’t really help. With our split stay, we focused on MK during our CR stay, went to Epcot on move day, then the only park we traveled to from AKL was DAK. Short bus ride as noted.
Can’t go wrong either way, but they are different no doubt.
We just got back from renting DVC at AKL and Beach Club. Have done Poly, GF, FW, and POR (twice). The Contemporary theme did not appeal to me. Transportation was a non-issue at AKL and the parks were busy. You obviously do not get the transportation benefits of the other deluxe hotels.
The theme was fantastic at AKL. The Kadani and Lodge pools were nice. Spent all day at Kadani’s pool and did take out at the Saana restaurant. Great food. I liked AKL once I was at the hotel over the rest of the places I stayed. My kids (7 &4) liked the animals but they only watched them for a few minutes at a time before playing with their new souvenirs. Personally I did not pick AKL because I thought the kids would love animals.
Negatives: The quick service line gets long at peak times. A relatively long walk from our room to the buses and pool. No animals in the early morning except birds for where we were. We had to be at our room around dusk to see Giraffes. I did notice some longer bus lines for AKL when we had moved to BC. We also had to stand a lot for the buses as they were pretty full on the ride back in the evenings. Luckily strangers always moved or stood for our 4 year old.
If I had to bring a nearly two year old to one of the hotels I stayed at Poly would be at the top of the list. Beach to play on attached to the pool and easy transportation for naps. I also found the walk pretty easy from our room to everything.