Beach Club vs Animal me decide!

We’re planning a trip to Disney World next February, and I’m stuck on where to stay. For this past trip (our first) we rented points and stayed at Beach Club Villas, and it was wonderful. Now I need to decide if we should stick with what works or try something new! The kids will be 4 and 6, and the plan is to stay 9 nights, get 8 day park tickets but only plan 6 real park days so that we have some rest days but can still hit a park for a meal or something if we want.

Beach Club was wonderful and we had a great time there. The kids loved the pool although to be honest, it wasn’t my favourite - it was amazing but we never really got to leave the shallow sand pool and dragging yourself on “sand” playing chase with a 3 year old gets old pretty quickly. I’d be just as happy with a full depth pool with zero entry. I also didn’t love the walk to the waterslide. And the QS options leave a lot to be desired, although Boardwalk Bakery and Ample Creamery did get a workout. I’d be happy to go back but getting DVC points is harder this time than it was last time, I think because due to SWGE everything walkable from HS is in high demand. But the walkability was my favourite factor - being five minutes from IG was fabulous, and I was really looking forward to being able to wander over there to hit up the WS for food.

The other option on the table is AKL. I love the look of the theming and my kids are crazy about animals (although I’m not sure we could justify the extra cost for the safari room, especially knowing that upgrades are not uncommon). The pool looks really nice, and I’ve heard the kids splash pad is great. I just worry about being dependent on buses for everything - on our last trip AK was the only place we took buses to (although I have nothing bad to say about them, but we went PPO and came home around 6pm). I think I could probably get the points for this stay sorted more easily, which is a pro for me - I’d rather have all the details locked down, that’s the type of planner I am. If I could I’d plan the whole thing, FPPs and all, at 11 months out.

I’ve written another book, but anyway - hit me with your favourites, your recommendations, your good experiences, a reality check that the bus from AKL to MK is only 3 minutes longer than the bus from BC to MK. Whatever.

We stayed at AKL when our twins were 5 (nearly 6). We loved it. One thing we enjoyed were all the educational activities around the resort for the kids. Our kids were the perfect age for learning more about the flamingos to earn a flamingo charm, or making crafts to earn a craft charm, or playing the drums to earn…you get the picture. Years later and our kids’ necklaces with their handful of earned charms still hangs in their rooms.

That said, there is no doubt it is not as conveniently located to the parks as some other resorts.

I love both the BC and AKL, but I would probably give the edge to AKL. I love the theming; my DS loves the pool. I like that it is quiet. But it isn’t walkable to any park–we always have a car so it’s not an issue for us. We don’t tend to book savanna view rooms because there are plenty of places to view animals.

You can’t go wrong with either.

DD who just turned 5 stayed at both about six months ago, one week at each, and we’re going back for two weeks at the Beach Club in 25 days. In the last few weeks DD has asked me several times if we can stay at AKV instead - apparently the resort is much more fun (so many activities…oh, and the cookie decorating…), and they have a Community Hall which is a great plus in her book. She also thinks the pools at both Jambo and Kidani are awesome. It turns out Stormalong Bay can’t trump those things. :open_mouth:


You’ve highlighted all the best reasons for staying at BC, it’s hard to beat walking to EP and HS, or taking a relaxing boat ride! That being said, in the summer of 2018, we had a split stay at BC for 4 days and AKL for 4 days. AKL is a beautiful resort with some great restaurants, we were fortunate to have a Savanna view, two bedroom villa. I can’t aptly subscribe the joy I experienced seeing giraffes, zebra’s, and the like, right from our balcony! The animals were almost close enough to touch (not really but it did seem like it). The resort is pretty large and rooms can be far from the lobby and/or transportation. We were fortunate to get a room close to both. We visited the pool (Samawati) and enjoyed the pool slide. The only drawback IMO is that transportation does take longer to arrive and of course to get to your desired destination but not enough to dissuade me from staying there again. As already stated you can’t go wrong with either choice.

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I would stay at AKL to experience WDW in a new way. It’s a beautiful unique resort. I’ve only experienced AKL while dining at Boma. My family of 4 (kids at the time DS6&DD9) stayed 11 nights at the BC Villas in 2011, and agree the resort has a lot to offer especially with quick entry to EP. For our stay this May, I have haven’t had much luck into changing our reservation from POR to AKL. I would jump at a chance to stay there in just a standard room. You are spending 9 nights so you’ll have time to really soak in the AK atmosphere which is very immersive. Concerning the bus service, try it out. If you don’t like it, use Uber or Lyft since you are already putting our money for a WDW Deluxe Resort.

That IS a hard choice. We haven’t stayed at BC, but we stayed at AKL in December, and absolutely loved it! We were driving so the bus situation didn’t really apply to us. We rode maybe twice on the bus. We enjoyed the environment at AKL, and would love to stay there again.

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The more I read about Animal Kingdom the more I think I’m going to go for it! I don’t plan to stay at Beach Club on every visit forever, so I might as well get used to the buses now, and everything else about it feels more appealing to me than Beach Club.


I’m a proponent of new experiences at WDW so I’d give AKL a chance and see how your family likes it. It is a great resort and if you can get a savannah view (search the threads for recommendations on views) your animal loving kids will certainly enjoy it. Definitely take advantage like the night vision viewing of animals and some of the other events at the resort.

When we stayed at AKL several years ago, the buses were not an issue. We had rented a car just in case, but it sat in the lot as the buses were just fine.

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That is very reassuring to hear! AKL here we come in 32 days :slight_smile: