Is AKL worth $180/nt more than AS Music? (I know, subjective...)

Here’s my dilemma - I’ve booked a week in Oct with my family (wife, D7 and S4) for their first WDW trip. We missed a Moderate with free dining, which I had budgeted for, so I grabbed All Star Music and upgraded QS to standard dining since we’re planning Character meals. I can afford AKL (still available w/ free dining), but it puts me about $1500 over where I wanted to be. So the subjective question(s) for all you experienced travelers: Is it really worth it? And if yes, why in your opinion? Also, will AKL theming appeal to young kids, or is it too muted or “adult”?

Thoughts appreciated. And I apologize in advance for the potential absurdity of trying to compare apples to oranges… :smile: Thanks!

How much time are you planning to spend at the resort? There are better meal options and a better pool. It’s not worth it to me personally, I’d rather spend the money on something else, but if you are big animal lovers I’m sure you would enjoy it there.

I’d say it’s worth it. We’ve stated value, mod and deluxe. Deluxe is a different experience entirely. Some things may seem little…you’ll never be 4 deep on a bus to Magic Kingdom. I appreciate things like that. There are fewer people overall at the resort, giving you more personal space. The rooms and hotel are fantastic at AKL. We stayed there when DD was 7. She loved it. There are special activities for kids everyday. AKL is especially relaxing, which is a great contrast to the hustle and bustle of the parks.
I guess you’d only regret staying at AKL if you really wanted to use the money on something else.

If you are planning to be at the resort for any “resort time”, then yes. If you stay at AKL you will find it almost impossible to do commando touring. The resort is an attraction on its own. It also has a great pool and a high quality CS. Only you can decide what is best for your family. I personally would pick a standard room at AKL over a CL room at most deluxe resorts. ( YC CL is a tie for me).

If you are planning on spending significant resort time then yes, ALK is definitely worth it - it is a great resort with so much to see and do. However, as it is your family’s first WDW trip, the parks may be a priority which would reduce resort time and make it less of a value.

Also, a very important consideration is that you would be going $1500 over what you wanted to spend, so you might not enjoy the trip as much as you would have as you may always have the cost in the back of your head. There are always additional expenses that you didn’t plan on (the extra souvenirs that the kids HAVE to get, just one more Mickey bar. etc), and they will be much easier to deal with if you aren’t already fretting about the cost of the trip.

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Best trip ever - AKL. Worst trip ever-ASM.

AK is an amazing resort, and as a serious animal lover it’s kind of like being in heaven. DW and I stayed there for a week and it was the best trip I’ve ever had. That being said, when I go solo pretty much all I do at the resort is sleep and shower, so I cannot justify the cost.

My horrible experience at ASM had more to do with the other guests than the resort itself, but I vowed to never go back - an I haven’t.

After discovering POP, it’s become my new “home resort” for solo trips. DW only goes once every three or four years, so when we go together, for a more relaxed vacation, we stay deluxe (typically renting DVC points).

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We stayed at AKL last year for our first visit with D7 and S4. They loved it. Son probably more than daughter, definitely not too old for them. If you decide to go and were planning some pool time, I would definitely go to the pool at Kidani. My kids much preferred that one to Jambo. Although they lover Jambo too.

Sorry I can’t help you with the decision between the two as we’ve only stayed at AKL.

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An idea which may or may not appeal to you: A split stay.
Yes, it involves moving in the middle of a trip but Disney makes it easy for one to do so.
Leave your bags (and a tip) w/bell services upon checkout, go to a park, leave the park, go to the new resort, pick up your bags (& leave a tip) at bell services there (or let them bring the bags to your room for the tip).

Two considerations:

  1. Do AKL on the 2nd half of the trip, so you’re “upgrading” towards something better & have something to look forward to.

  2. During the 1st portion of the trip, do more of the parks. Then in the 2nd portion of the trip, the resort becomes an attraction & spend more time at the resort & less time at the parks.

Not only that, but after doing commando park touring during the 1st half of the trip, you’ll enjoy taking a nice break & sleeping in for a day or two in the 2nd half.

This way you also spend a little more, but not $1500 more.
Just an idea.
Go well. :smile:


All the posters above have good thoughts.

I agree that your children would enjoy the themeing at AKL. I think it would be my 8 year old’s first choice. Because of this we ALMOST booked an AKL studio for our upcoming trip.


We were able to get two rooms at a moderate for the same price.

And you could get two connecting rooms at a value for even less. (Keep all 4 of you in the booking you have with free dining, and then book the second as a room only with the applicable discount)

Even on vacation I don’t go to sleep at the same time as my children do. I can make the best of sharing a room, but for me there is a LOT of value in being able to relax for an hour or two with my husband and a glass of wine after the kids are in bed.

You’re not guaranteed connecting rooms though so that’s a risky strategy.

Have you considered renting DVC points? An AKL standard view studio using one of the point brokers would cost about $1000 for the week in mid October. You would have to purchase the dining plan separately as this is never free with DVC, but price it out and check, maybe there is availability. I’ve done this before and doing it again in November, I really think it’s the way to go.

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I bigger room and better resort isn’t worth it to me. I’d rather pay less and use the money to either stay another day or buy more/do more in the parks. We don’t spend a lot of time at the resort so we always stay value. Now if we did spend a lot of time in the resort and we used the pool more, I might could at least justify the extra cost, but I’d still feel like spent too much. But I’m cheap like that. :slight_smile:

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Or as my expensive-room-averse mom would say, “I’m not cheap, I’m thrifty!” :smile:

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Great thought on checking out the DVC point rental. I’ll look into that now. I had read about renting points, but it didn’t come to mind as a solution.

If the point thing doesn’t work out, we’re just going to stick with ASM. The day after I posted this, I was going to change to AKL based in responses. However, in that day, all the standard rooms sold out and the only ones left with the free dining were Pool view bunk or better, which would be an additional $700. Bummer!

And thanks to everyone for your opinions - it was all very helpful!

You’re going to have a great time. Ultimately, you’re staying on property and there are so many advantages to that. Now that accommodations are out of the way, you can have fun planning the rest of the trip!