We finally decided on our dates for our 2017 trip, now I am having trouble deciding where to stay. The last 2 trips we have loved the WL and would love to see it decorated for Christmas. We often find our way back to MK each evening and the boat is so convenient. Should we give AK a try? I am nervous about going with something unfamiliar. Thoughts? Suggestions?
I have stayed at both. When I stayed at WL it was Christmas season and the tree is very impressive. I also enjoyed the boat to MK. That being said, I would always pick AKL. It has an equally impressive tree and although both lobbies are similar I have to say AKL, to me, is grander . It is also unlike any other resort you will ever stay at! Finally, since it does not share transportation with any other resort you will actually get to the other three parks (all but MK) faster than WL.
You really cannot go wrong with either but you will not be sorry if you try AKL!
I am a DIEHARD WL fan so i would always recommend there, especially if you're already considering it. We are staying there for the 6th year in a row next month, lol. We love being in the MK area. Do you have a preference of being closer to MK or AK?
As @PrincipalTinker mentioned though, I don't think you could really go wrong with either!
I am a big WL fan too and it is spectacular at Christmas. I've never stayed at AKL, but like yourself I have always contemplated it, it has brilliant reviews. But for us it's always down to the transportation and that MK is one of the parks we visit the most. We love the boat ride over and it handy for visiting the other MK resorts. Saying that, you can't go wrong with either resort and it's just a case of what suits you best and what you want to see/do at Disney.
I'm contemplating this same question, so it will be interesting to read the responses. I do worry a bit about the WL construction. I think it's pretty substantial and will continue into 2017. It might not matter much though.
I haven't stayed at AK - but have been there. It is a wonderful lodge and you probably like them both as they share the same architect and design firm.
I have heard though that the transportation takes a long time. I might suggest a split trip do a few nights here and a few nights there. Disney can move the bags no problem. I however would err on the side of convenience - if you are at MK most nights - I would probably stay in WL
If you have a car - that makes things easier
Just a brief note about transportation. For MK WL is much quicker. In December though the resort itself is very, very busy. For the other parks WL shares a bus with another resort. In December that means traffic coming in and out of resorts as visitors want to see the decorations. I timed the Poly/GF bus to HS last month- 24 minutes. The longest bus ride from AK in multiple trips that I have timed is 21 minutes, usually closer to 16-18. (I started timing after a bus driver claimed it was 10 minutes).
I know they have changed it but when I stayed at WL in December 2014 WL shared buses with GF and it was terrible! I expected a 45 minute bus ride once I loaded the bus. It was the first trip I ever took a cab from a park an hour before closing since the lines were past four other bus loading zones.
Interesting that your other choice is AKL. Both were designed by the same architect and have a similar feel in their design. From that angle AKL will not at all feel unfamiliar to you. Rather, I believe you'll find it feels like home.
While you can't catch a boat from AKL to any park, I do believe that its location - a bit more away from the parks - allows it to become a haven and a place of serenity that one needs after a fun and stimulating day of touring.
To us, there is no place like AKL. Give it a try - I promise you'll love it!
Not longer than other buses by comparison.
I completely understand your indecision, I couldn't decide between the 2 last year after having stayed at WL once (which I love, love) so I decided to do a split stay. I'd give a slight edge to WL because I love the national park lodge feel but AKL was superb, better pool at AKL for sure if you want to spend much time there. And seeing the animals is fabulous. The split stay was nice, went to AK on the days we were at AKL and MK on the other days at WL. The are both gorgeous and you really can't go wrong.
@OBNurseNH raises a good point here - in many respects the two resorts are very similar with just the overall themeing being different. However, it is the themeing that makes the difference for me. WL feels more authentic to me as it is modeled after the great Northwestern lodges, and reminded me a lot of the Ahwahnee in Yosemite. AKL, on the other hand, strikes me as not being particularly authentic, and feels more like the instructions were to take WL and make is look "African". It is a great resort and the animals are a big draw, and although we enjoyed our stay there the themeing just felt somewhat wrong to me.
What a great idea! My boys (10 & 12) would love to do the night time safari so we may spend the first few days at AK then move to WL. I love the idea! Thanks so much for suggesting a split stay.
To no one's surprise, at least those that have been here awhile, I will say Animal Kingdom Lodge hands down. It's the most unique resort on property and even though AK is my least favorite park I would still choose it every time. As @OBNurseNH said it's like an amazing haven after a crazy day at the parks.
Thank you all for your suggestions and input. It sounds like a split stay is in order!
I do suggest that if you st AK - splurge for the Safari view. In WL - the views aren't nearly as important (IMHO). Although we had a pretty crappy view by day (overlooked a trash bin) but at night we could see fireworks (unofficially) it was neat to watch on the balcony in our PJs.
Make sure you report back after your stay!
I disagree that it's a must. Our first stay - the one that hooked us! - was a pool view. There was an animal viewing area just out our door and to the right - a little porch with rocking chairs on it. And there are plate glass windows all up and down the hallways. We have enjoyed a savanna view for sure, but we love the resort even when we can't splurge for that. Additionally there are a number of "standard view" rooms that have quite nice views!