So let’s talk WDW accommodations

So we’ve agreed that I’m nuts and that’s fine. So let’s start planning my next trip, which will be in around 2022.

For my first trip this year, I stayed at a private home in Davenport — about 20 mins drive from WDW and 40 mins from UOR.

But next time I think I’d like to stay on property. I feel like this would be more convenient and that I might be missing out on something if I don’t. You know, theming and whatnot.

So what are the factors to consider? I really like AKL, but transportation to the parks isn’t great. The monorail resorts are expensive. Yacht/Beach etc seem pretty convenient for Epcot and DHS.

What’s your process for choosing a resort? What are the do’s and don’ts?

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I think you have answered these question for a lot of others out here so I have a hard time understanding what your after. Obviously money is the big factor followed by Convenience. Value resorts are small and if it’s just you, it would be fine. On a special offer with free or discounted meals you only get the quick service plan. Deluxe and sometime Medium get a table service plan. As you know Poly,GF, and the Concoarse have the Mono. YC, BC have the Gateway, and PoNO has boat service to DS. Most people if they do not want to swing for big bucks choose the Intermediate resorts. Then again just how much time are you planning on spending at the resort anyway. I believe it was you that informed me about the travel agency Magical Vacations Travel and their business room discount. In this case go for the gusto.

I don’t really think it’s fair to say that transportation from AKL is bad. Getting to MK takes about 3 minutes longer by bus compared to the Epcot resorts, and is a lot quicker by car. Epcot is the park where BC and BW win out, with a 5 and 10 minutes walk respectively, but HS is a 15 minute walk from BW and 20 minutes from BC. The bus from AK takes just under 20 minutes. If you opt to go by boat to HS from either of the Epcot resorts, this takes longer than the AK bus. Driving takes as long from either of the three resorts. As for AK, you’ll be there in about ten minutes by bus when staying at AKL, around 7 minutes by car. From the Epcot resorts the bus journey will take around 20 minutes, and you’ll spend about 11-12 minutes in the car. So, overall it’s really only Epcot where you have a great advantage transportation time wise. Just throwing this out there, since I think the perception of AKL transportation times doesn’t always match reality.

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I have found that for me I prefer bus transportation at AKL to any other deluxe. AKL is that only deluxe that does not share buses with another resort. That being said, I have learned to be thoughtful in planning my use of Uber!

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I am in the split stay camp. Disney makes it so easy. They move your bags for you. It is a great opportunity to see more than one resort. Love AKL and stay there nights that I am going to AK and MK. Sure it is not as convenient to get to MK but really it is by far the best value for a deluxe resort. Then I will stay at Boardwalk or Beach Club the days I will be going to HS and Epcot. Nothing beats just heading out the door and walking to the parks, no waiting for bus, boat or monorail.

Exactly. When we stay at BC or BW we get off the bus at the Swolphin on the way back every time…

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Based upon your trip reports from this year, I assume that you will want to spend some time at Universal when you come back. I think having your own car is a huge convenience and it takes away many of the transportation related questions and issues.

That being said, I am also a fan of the deluxe resorts (although I have stayed in several moderates and a value once). To be perfectly frank, if you are looking for the best value, you already did that\ - stay off property in a rental or private home. If you are interested in the on-site experience and the themeing, etc. then the deluxe resorts offer the best of those options as well as convenient restaurants.

As you can imagine, each resort has its benefits and drawbacks. You might consider a split stay if you will be coming for an extended trip again. Stay on the monorail for a few days and down by epcot for a few days (or AKL). That way you can kind of design your touring plan around where you will be staying…

Just some thoughts.

This is all very helpful — thank you.

Ordinarily I wouldn’t like the idea of a split stay because you have to leave one hotel at, say, 11am and you can’t check in to the next until, say, 3pm. But if Disney moves your bags, you won’t care because you’ll be out all day in the parks.

So I’m definitely sold on split stay, and AKL plus one of the ones between Epcot and DHS sounds ideal.

I will certainly want to visit UOR, but my experiences with Uber were very positive this time round. I don’t think I’d want to stay at UOR, but I’d be happy to buy a Express Pass again.

Day 1: Arrive AKL (via Magic Express) (dinner at Sanaa)
Day 2: Visit AK (Pandora, FOP, Satu’li, Tiffins) — bus to and from
Day 3: Epcot (transfer to 2nd hotel) (Le Cellier for dinner) — bus there, walk back
Day 4: DHS (HBD for lunch/dinner) — walk both ways
Day 5: UOR — Uber both ways, Express Pass
Day 6: Walk to Epcot in the AM (Soarin’). Monorail to MK for HEA (dessert party) in the PM. Maybe very late lunch/early dinner at BOG? Monorail back and walk? Uber?
Day 7: Depart (via Magic Express)

Obviously I could add extra days.

So . . . Questions — What are the best options at AKL (aren’t there two? club level?) And what are the best choices at Epcot/DHS?

Who wants to bet I go before 2022? (Who wants to bet I go in 2018? LOL)

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We love AKL. It’s a destination all its own. And the argument about transport to parks is, IMO, not valid. Most resorts share with other resorts, so by the time your bus picks up your resort and the other one or two it shares with, you’re spending the same amount of time riding as you do when you stay at AKL and go direct to park from there. The only thing that beats this argument is a monorail resort, and at that, it only applies to mainly MK and sometimes EP depending on how far you have to go to get to the EP monorail from your monorail resort.

If you are staying near epcot and NOT intending to be in your room much then swan or dolphin every time for me

They are the equivalent of a 4 star hotel IMO. Decent size rooms plenty of facilities on food options. All the disney perks. But cheaper than yacht and beach or boardwalk.

I’ve stayed in beach or yacht (cant remember which) they are both similar.

But cannot justify paying more for either than them than swan or dolphin

I don’t know the price difference but you can also use avios points to either pay for swan or dolphin or reduce the cost

Plenty of ways to collect them in UK as well

Bingo!

Kidani Village is all DVC so if you want to stay there you’ll need to rent points from a member. Jambo is the “main” resort house and where most of the restaurants are (except Sanaa). It’s more of a hub of activity, I feel, and having been to AKL 4 times now I would definitely prefer Jambo over Kidani for convenience; then again Kidani gets you a kitchenette or kitchen so maybe that’s more convenient for some. There are also more room options (studio, 1br, 2br, etc) so depending on your traveling party that is sometimes a better option as well. Club level is a room category that gets you a special lounge area that serves food and drink all day and evening.

OK, so I’ve had a reality check already! I’m totally new to onsite accommodation, so please forgive me being a newbie!

AKL is expensive! It seems to me there’s no point going unless you’re getting a savannah view room, and those are over $600 a night. I’m going to find that hard to justify, however amazing it will be to wake up open the curtains and see a giraffe outside.

I didn’t realise that Swan and Dolphin are not Disney resorts. I had a quick look and the rooms look great. But do they come with 60 day FPP reservations? Magical Express?

On my trip this year we stayed at a beautiful house but didn’t spend a whole lot of time in it. We ended up doing lazy mornings in the house, but late nights back. So not necessarily going to spend a huge amount of time in the hotel.

It does seem like being somewhere on property has got to be easier than a 20 minute drive away in Davenport. Especially somewhere like Swan.

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maybe one night in akl if you really want the experience?

WRONG!

We have only stayed in the savanna view room once and we felt the expense WAS NOT WORTH IT. We have stayed pool view x2 and standard view x1 and they all have their good points. And the animals, and viewing them, is never far away at all. Save your dough and stay standard, while still enjoying all that the resort has to offer!!!

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BY 2022 will the gondolas be up and running?

I believe so.

Also, don’t forget the various room only discounts that come out throughout the year. You may be able to get a room at AKL (or any deluxe resort) for as much as 30% off, depending on you flexibility with travel dates. Mousesavers has a page that details what discounts have historically been offered when. . . it is helpful. Also, renting DVC points can be somewhat cheaper as well (although with their own set of challenges, namely cancellation policy). As an example, I booked a Deluxe Studio Villa at the Beach club for 5 nights. Disney quoted me a rate of 2370, plus tax (474/night). I ended up renting DVC points for the same days, at a price of over $750 less than what disney quoted me. It was actually more than 30% less.

Point is. The sticker shock can be pretty big, but if you hunt for a discount, have some flexibility about your room choices, and consider renting points… you can find a way to get the same thing for less.

There are lots of threads about renting DVC points - the pros and cons. It may be worth considering.

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I agree to be honest.

As much as we enjoyed staying in the AKL Savannah room, we honestly didn’t spend enough time in the room or at the right times of the day to see the animals out, active and feeding.

We got to see them on arrival day and that was about it as the other times we were up early for the parks and back late from the parks.

This may post sideways because all my pictures are doing that these days but this is a standard view room

You just need the TP room request!

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