Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge: A Resort Hotel Review - PassPorter.com
PassPorter.com
Award-winning travel guidebooks
Home Florida - Walt Disney World Caribbean - Disney Cruise Line California - Disneyland Resort Anywhere and Everywhere! Travelers Store Message Boards PassPorter's Club Help!
  About Us  |  Customs Office   |   Register Your Book   |   Book Updates   |  Newsletter  |  Articles  |  Photos  |   Follow Us on
       LINKS
       ARTICLES
WDW Planning Articles

WDW Traveling Articles

WDW Lodging Articles
A Night On the Savannah at Animal Kingdom Lodge
All Star Vacation Homes
All-Star Music
Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort
Choosing a Disney Resort
Choosing A Disney Resort
Disney Vacation Club
Disney Vacation Club
Disney Vacation Club's Old Key West
Disney's All Star Movies Resort
Disney's All Star Movies Resort
Disney's All Star Music Resort
Disney's All Star Sports Resort
Disney's All-Star Movies
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas
Disney's Beach Club Resort
Disney's BoardWalk
Disney's BoardWalk Resort
Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
Disney's Contemporary Resort
Disney's Contemporary Resort
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Disney's Deluxe Resorts
Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Disney's Old Key West Resort
Disney's Old Key West Resort
Disney's Original Value
Disney's Polynesian Resort
Disney's Polynesian Resort
Disney's Polynesian Resort
Disney's Pop Century Resort
Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter
Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter
Disney's Port Orleans Riverside
Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort
Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort
Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort
Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort
Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort & Villas
Disney's Yacht Club Resort
Fort Wilderness
Fort Wilderness
Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground
Fort Wilderness Resort Cabins
Fort Wilderness Resort Camping
Kidani Village
On Again, Off Again
On-Site Lodging vs. Off-Site Lodging
Pampering Perfected
Renting Disney Vacation Club Points
Reserving a Disney Resort Hotel Room
Roughing It - Confessions of a Deluxe Resort Fan Staying at a Moderate Resort
Saratoga Springs
Saratoga Springs Resort
Shades of Green
Shades of Green
Shades of Green Resort
Shades of Green Resort
Sheraton Vistana Village
Staying in a Cabin at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground
The Art of A Smooth Check-in At Walt Disney World
The Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
The Villas at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian
The Waldorf Astoria Orlando
Why We Stayed Off-Property For our Disney Vacation

WDW Touring Articles

WDW Dining Articles

WDW Making Magic Articles

WDW General Travel Articles

View all PassPorter articles
PassPorter's
Article Tools
Print Article
Download PDF
View Photos
Visit Forum
Read Reviews
Read Comments on This Article

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge: A Resort Hotel Review

Walt Disney World photo
by Dawn Dobson, PassPorter Guest Contributor
Last modified 03-14-2011
  

Cool Tip: Click here to get a FREE PDF version of this article, fully formatted to print and put into your PassPorter Deluxe Binder!


Filed in Articles > Walt Disney World > Lodging  

Turning the corner into Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge drive is like beginning a journey to a far off land. The vision of the thatched roofs and massive carved wood structure invites you to explore this phenomenal deluxe resort even further.


Step through the doors and you are greeted with an intoxicating fragrance of smoky woods, coriander, and other exotic spices that are delicately used in the resort’s restaurants, Boma, Jiko, The Mara, and Sanaa. As you lift your eyes to take in the massive lobby, you may even gasp at the rich beauty that awaits you. But this is only the beginning. If you take your time and look to your feet, you will see beautiful, intricate floors, inset with medallions. Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge lobby is filled with comfortable furniture that invites you to relax and enjoy the peaceful retreat from the frenetic pace of the parks.

As you pass through the lobby, take note of the works of art, including the Igbo mask, the only one of its kind to leave Africa. Pass down the stairs at the far end of the lobby and even more surprises await you as you enter another world ... the world of the savanna. giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, Tommies (Thomson's Gazelles), and more await you as you step out onto Arusha Rock. Pass the fire pit and explore the habitats of these fascinating creatures. Along the way, make sure to take time to visit with the Animal Kingdom Lodge's cast members. They love to talk about their homes in Africa and you will see their faces light up as they tell you stories and share their customs. Even if you are just visiting, it is worthwhile to come in the evening, around 10:00 pm (check with the resort for times) and experience the savannah through night vision goggles. It is astonishing what can be seen in the dark.

We have always been fortunate to have a savannah view room at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge and one of my fondest memories is sitting on our balcony, rocking my youngest child to sleep to the sound of a wildebeest just at our feet, grazing and chewing the grass. It was so quiet and peaceful; we could actually hear the grass tearing and its teeth chewing. Where else in America, but at the Animal Kingdom Lodge? Even if you are in a standard or pool view room, there are ample viewing areas for the savannas. Sometimes, after my children and husband are asleep, I will sneak out into the corridor with my laptop or journal to record my thoughts for the day, sitting on a bench by the window watching the zebra graze or the Ankole cattle nuzzle their young.

The zero-entry pool at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge is a pleasure for everyone. My children can play and slide while I wade, and babies giggle as the water gently laps their toes. The lush landscaping and surrounding kraal (corral) construction of the resort makes you feel a world away. Take time to experience the programs the resort offers as well. My children both participated in “bead activities” where they learned about flamingos, animal tracking, music, and more while earning beads for a necklace. At the conclusion of the final activity, they were allowed to choose a “totem” bead and to talk with a cast member from Africa about what the children could do to make our planet a better place. How exciting to watch them enjoy learning from people whose homes are half a world away! Even a full weekend of just resort time wasn't enough to experience all the Animal Kingdom Lodge has to offer.



Animal Kingdom Lodge - Lobby photo
Animal Kingdom Lodge - Lobby

The Animal Kingdom Lodge lobby at sunrise - photo by Dopey007

There are four dining options at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge and we have enjoyed two -- Boma (buffet) and the Mara (counter service). We find the food to be fresh, tasty, and reasonably priced. I now make many of our favorites at home to remind us of the scents and flavors we experienced. We have not yet had the pleasure of dining at Jiko or Sanaa, but plan to remedy that on our next visit. Often, after our meals, we wander into Zawadi Marketplace, the Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge’s shop that is so much more than just a gift shop. Items here range from the traditional stuffed Mickey to traditional African-carved stone eggs. Beautiful wooden giraffes and intricate masks can be purchased for much less than you would expect. There is so much to see that we usually have to make several trips just to enjoy the craftsmanship of the African people. The selection is so diverse that I have had no trouble finding beautiful souvenirs for my African-inspired office-on-a-budget.

Many people express concern that Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge is “too far” or “inconvenient”, and it is fairly distant from all theme parks but Disney's Animal Kingdom. That, however, is also the beauty of it. An advantage is that buses are not shared with another resort, so transportation is quite easy. There is nothing quite as relaxing as passing through the doors and being greeted with that marvelous aroma after a long day in the parks. Quiet, peaceful, exotic, and beautiful... Animal Kingdom Lodge is our Walt Disney World home.





Tip: Mind Your Mugs
On my recent trip to Walt Disney World I purchased the refillable mug at my resort. We were there for 12 days so it was a real value. We would get a drink in the morning while waiting for our bus and get a drink when we got back from the parks. The hassle came with what to do with the cups while at the parks, solution carabiner clips. They are very inexpensive (.50 - 3.00 depending on size) and will clip to the handle of the cup and you can clip them to your fanny pack (what I did), your belt loop, or a backpack. Then it's at hand if you need it. If we didn't finish a drink, we poured it in the cups to keep the drink cool. You can find them in the sporting good section of most stores. We got the ones that had a hook for bottle necks, so we could carry our cups and a bottle at the same time. - tip contributed by Kelly
Save This Tip



Animal Kingdom Lodge - Sign photo
Animal Kingdom Lodge - Sign

The Animal Kingdom Lodge sign - photo by bradk




About the Author:
Dawn is a scrapbook and tie dye designer who homeschools two of her four daughters and is always looking for an excuse to talk about Walt Disney World!

Related Links:
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas: A Disney Vacation Club Resort Review
The Villas at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge: Size Matters
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge: The Joys of Animal Trekking
Sanaa: A Restaurant Dining Review
Boma: A Restaurant Dining Review
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge: The Perfect Resort for Teenagers

The Art of A Smooth Check-in At Walt Disney World - Save Time and Trouble On Your Next Trip last updated 12/04/2008
Disney's All Star Movies Resort - Big "Blockbuster" Fun On a Small "Indie" Budget last updated 01/20/2009
Disney's All Star Music Resort - Quality Lodging For a Song last updated 1/13/2009
Disney's All Star Sports Resort - The Original Value last updated 1/13/2009
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge - The "Perfect" Resort for Teenagers last updated 1/13/2009




Reader Comments:


We thought we'd try AKL (and take advantage of free disney dining plan) this August. We visited this resort on our last trip and it looked lovely. After booking, I have read so many bad things about AKL on tripadvisor.com and allearsnet.com. Mostly about dirty/dusty rooms (which reflects on bad mousekeeping) and other negative comments about CM's, location of this resort (which I know is furthest away).

First, we're renting a car, so driving a little extra is no big deal to me. I've been all over the Disney property and actually enjoy looking at other things around the property.

Second, folks had complained about the dingy dark low lighting in the rooms and around the resort..saying it had a depressing feel to it. I just assumed it's all part of the African theming. So again, I don't think I'll have a problem with it.

Third, if I find some dust...I'll just grab something and dust it myself...no big deal to me there either.

So, that leaves the CM's... and in my opinion, everyone is different..and everyone has a bad day. I've encountered some CM's that weren't as helpful as others (never anyone rude to me in WDW). If I'm not happy with something in my room and I don't get it resolved properly or within a reasonable time-frame, I go straight to management (in a polite way). My situation always gets resolved eventually and I don't let it ruin my trip.

So, are these negative reviews coming from folks who are making too much of things? I cannot imagine a deluxe Disney resort to be as horrible as I have read.

     twinsljo on May 11, 2009 @ 12:36 pm
I wouldn't make too much of it. We've always had a great experience at AKL, and have stayed there a number of times. Never had any problem of the lighting. I think it contributes to the ambience!!

     Colexis Mom on May 11, 2009 @ 12:51 pm
I've stayed there twice and both times it was fabulous

     jimmymac on May 11, 2009 @ 12:56 pm
I am staying there this coming december and I have only heard great things about AKL!

     ChristineJ on May 11, 2009 @ 12:59 pm
I've stayed at the AKL 4 times over the past few years and have always had a clean room.



Now, the wood furniture is dark and that may lead people to feel that it's "dark" in the room, but I've never found it to be that way.



I love the resort and think it's spectacular!

Eileen

     Caldercup on May 11, 2009 @ 1:00 pm
I had a great time last June with my cousin there. We had just graduated high school and the CMs at AKL even left us a little present in the room... and then we magically got cards from Mickey and Minnie mailed to us after we got home! Those CMs get an A+ in my book smiley for :)

     xwewhisper on May 11, 2009 @ 2:23 pm
I have stayed at AKL several times as you can see from my signature. I have never had a problem with a CM there and in fact find them very friendly and willing to accommodate you in any way they can. As far as being dark I don't think the rooms are that dark and in fact I could never figure out what all the hype was about. I know how you feel though. When I booked my first stay there I to read reports from different boards and found that what I had read was in fact not true for me at least. Also, being away from the parks a little has an advantage at lest to me and that is the ability to escape from all the activity for just a little while every day. I have always used the bus transportation since I don't have a car when there and have never had a problem with it. Enjoy your stay it is a great place.

     Kathe on May 11, 2009 @ 5:33 pm
Caldercup;2743369 >I love the resort and think it's spectacular!

Eileen




:yeahthat:

     tio marco on May 11, 2009 @ 6:20 pm
We stayed at AKL last August and loved it! Yes, it is dark, but our room was very clean and all the CM's were extremely nice to us. I think the dark decor helps to relax after a long day in the parks. We had a beautiful view of the pool and some animals out in the savannah. The halls were very clean, too. We had wonderful bus service to MK .... never hd to wait once for a bus there. In fact there was always a bus waiting for us. We drove our car to the other parks. Enjoy! smiley for :D

     blondie on May 11, 2009 @ 6:25 pm
We just came back last week. I really enjoyed AKL, but it didn't live up to my expectations....I didn't feel that it gave me that much "bang for my buck". We did a split stay, and the four of us actually like CBR better. smiley for :eek: There were many comparisons to be made, many pluses and minuses, and in my trip report I will be touching on all of them, and I haven't gotten to the AKL portion of our trip as of yet - but let me just say this -

AKL is fairly dark inside, it is part of the decor there, if that's what you're expecting, then that's okay. The restaurants, the lobby, the hotel rooms, they are all dark. Unfortunately, our room was not as clean as I would have liked upon check in. I had to get on my hands and knees to open the bottom drawer in the dresser, and the console for the TV was just covered in dust, as was the cable box & the remote. There was also two gum wrappers sitting on the floor in an area that clearly hadn't been vacummed in a while as well. It was a little gross. Mousekeeping also hadn't put a fresh roll of TP in the bathroom - they just left the partial, almost gone roll from the last guests. That really annoyed me. Now, the Mousekeeper we had the following day after checkin was great, when we came back later that evening the room was spotless, there were lots of towels, she left a mickey towel display and little candies for the kids, and she even did a fancy display with the hand soaps & such too. She tucked all of Matthew's toys into bed. So, I guess it's just hit and miss. But, the rest of what I noticed I will mention in my trip report.

     Buffalogirl18 on May 11, 2009 @ 6:38 pm
jimmymac;2743360 >I've stayed there twice and both times it was fabulous

ABSOLUTELY!!! smiley for :waytogo:
Both times we have been to disney. We stayed at AKL, and we are dissappointed that we wont be able to the next time I love the whole atmosphere. It completely stimulates all five senses.

     markandtrish on May 11, 2009 @ 6:45 pm
We :love: AKL. We were there for 5 nights in Jan. The resort wow'd me the moment I stepped into the spectacular lobby. Our room was great, and spotless. The wood is dark, but our room wasn't dark. Lots of light coming thru the balcony sliding door. Great food options. Love Boma, and The Mara is a great CS. Very nice pool area.
Enjoyed some of the resort activities, Evening Cultural exchanges, night time animal viewing thru the night vision scopes, very cool. And the culinary tour of Boma and Jiko.
I didn't find it very far. We used the resort bus and the furthest park, MK is only 20 min. by bus.

     Sue M. on May 11, 2009 @ 7:00 pm
We have stayed several times at AKL and ended up buying into the DVC villas there we liked it so much. We have never had a problem with the room being clean and the CM's have always been great. It does have a darker feel to the rooms but I personally like it. It is relaxing to me especially after a long day in the parks. The transportation also has never been a problem for us. It really isn't that far to any of the parks from there. I am always amazed at people saying how remote it is when the parks are just up the road. Anyway, just my opinion but I don't think you can go wrong with a stay at AKL. Oh, and the pool and restaurants are awesome too!

     angiek1024 on May 11, 2009 @ 9:04 pm
We also became DVC owners at AKL because we loved it so much. We have always had a great experience there, and no complaints. We find it beautiful and truly transporting. Hope you love it as much as we do!

     mickeycrazy on May 11, 2009 @ 10:46 pm
Buffalogirl18..thanks for your honesty and reporting your experience there. I guess it's a matter of mousekeeping (every business has good and bad workers). I'm glad to read that everyone else has very positive comments. Like I said, I'm no stranger to WDW resorts, buses, etc... and I have visted AKL and liked what I saw. We're really looking forward to our trip this August.

     twinsljo on May 11, 2009 @ 10:52 pm
We've stayed there twice and had a great experience, not encountering any of the problems you mentioned. I'm sure you'll love it too. smiley for :waytogo:

     chezp on May 12, 2009 @ 1:52 am
I was just there in Sept. I can't tell you how much we enjoyed it!!! We loved the theme, and yes it is darker inside. Lots of dark woods, lots of colors, though, but in darker hues. Personally I appreciated the darker decor and the dimmer lighting after being out in the bright Florida sun all day.
My room was perfectly clean and Mousekeeping was great. The beds were the most comforatable I've slept in at WDW.
We had good experiences with the bus system. We typically waited no longer than 10-15 min. for a bus. The worst was coming home from DHS one night. We waited for a while then gave up and took a cab home. It was park closing and the bus lines were packed, that's to be expected though. Otherwise, we just allotted a few extra minutes to get where we were going (except for AK) and used the transit time to call home, or read a park map etc.
I didn't meet a rude CM at AKL, just a less than magical one at Jiko. I think he was just having a bad day.
I wouldn't put too much thought into what you read on trip advisor, I've often found their reviews to be very inaccurate.
I hope you will love AKL as much as I do!

     njsmama on May 12, 2009 @ 6:44 am
I had read some comments about Poly before we went in April and they are just that comments. We had a lovely time, no problems with CM's. Dont give it another thought. Go and have a wonderful time and decide for yourself. With how fast they have to get rooms cleaned at these places I dont care about dust as long as things are in order the bedclothes clean and tub and sink the rest I could ignore if needed. My house is certainly not dust free as is any of the people I bet who have complained. Some people just cant be satisfied. And expect more from others than they themselves do.

     Nova on May 12, 2009 @ 7:45 am

     tikiman on May 12, 2009 @ 10:37 am
First off, I want to say that I've never stayed at or been to AKL. But, I was in the same position with the so/so to negative reviews about CBR on tripadvisor and allears. I don't think there's any way to really know what you're going to get until you get there. I assumed that the negative reviews I read were from snobby, non-Disney people, so I went there fully expecting to enjoy it.

Our room definitely had many "gross" aspects about it, but as you've already read, Buffalogirl went at the same time and loved it. You just never know. We had a great mousekeeper at All Star Sports, so, in the end I have more favorable memories of our All Star vacation than the one at CBR.

I get that this isn't the most helpful post, but it's my long-winded way of saying it seems like you can't tell until you get there. You may get a good mousekeeper...or you might have other people's trash on your floor. Good luck! :luck:

     emilyandlogansmom on May 12, 2009 @ 11:24 am
We just stayed in April, found the resort to be great. The resort is darker than others but this creates a very relaxing ambiance. You really feel like you are in another world, very relaxing after the excitement of the parks. The transportation was great. You do not share a bus with another resort. We never waited more than 15 minutes for a bus, even at night after shows.
Mousekeeping was not as good as I've had at other resorts, but nothing was dusty or dirty.
You will have a great time, I'd go back in a second!

     di109 on May 12, 2009 @ 4:49 pm
We've stayed in both a standard room and now we usually get a 1 bedroom. We are so thrilled with AKL that we booked a bounce back offer when we were at FW cabins during Xmas time. I definitely agree the atmosphere is extremely relaxing at the end of the day. Victoria Falls lounge is a wonderful place to sit and relax. Any CM we dealt with was always willing to help.

I can't wait until our trip at Kidani Village in Sept.
Go and enjoy yourself !! :thewave:

     drmgirl on May 12, 2009 @ 6:18 pm
We stayed at AKL in December and had a great time. Yes the lighting in the lobby is a little dark but that is part of the atmosphere. We just booked AKL again when we go back again in November.

     goofyfan1 on May 12, 2009 @ 7:11 pm
We have stayed at the AKL twice and I have to say, its theme is amazing. Like the WL, when there, it is hard to believe you are smack dab in the middle of FL. It really feels like you have been transported to another place on earth.

I too, had read reviews about the rooms being dark, but only found that to be true if the curtians were drawn and all the lights turned out. smiley for ;) I am a fan of dark woods and deep, rich colors and this resort is full of them. The decor is beautiful and ethnic and very different from "standard hotel room". I felt the rooms were not dark, but rather warm, cozy and inviting. And the lobby is a feast for the senses.

Many of the CMs at the AKL are from Africa and we have always enjoyed talking to them. They have always been willing to share information about their country, culture and traditions. We learn something new every time we talk to a CM there.

I was also concerned about transportation to and from the parks, but not sharing a bus with another resort was a huge plus. You said you will have a car, but don't be afraid to use the busses if the mood strikes you.

And of course, there is the thing that is the AKL's biggest asset (IMHO). The animals. It is truley amazing to pull back the drapes in the morning, step out on your balcony and see wonderful creatures roaming right in front of you.

Take bad reviews with a grain of salt, keep an open mind and enjoy everything this unique and beautiful resort has to offer.

     Nala on May 12, 2009 @ 8:47 pm
Thanks so much everyone! I'm glad to hear all of this. I'm really looking forward to our visit. I'm sure everything will be just fine....afterall..It's Disney!!!!!

     twinsljo on May 13, 2009 @ 12:12 pm
I had a similar experience when we first booked CBR. I read several negative comments on sites like travelocity, etec. to the point that I was expecting a flea bag motel. It couldn't have been further from the truth, and we loved it.

You have no worries from AKL - it's our favorite Disney resort!! Yes, the rooms are a bit darker, but it's not depressing, it's ambiance! The place was spotless and every CM we encountered was friendly.

     Shell_of_the_South on May 13, 2009 @ 6:08 pm
Have never experience this. We went last September and had a great time.
The room was immaculately clean, cast members treated us great! we Loved it!
tons of personal touches. AKV is our Home resort as Disney vacation club members. I highly recommend to try it and see for yourself.

     4Disney2 on May 13, 2009 @ 6:19 pm
when you go into the lobby the first thing you will say is "WOW"
please let us know how it went, will love to hear it.

     4Disney2 on May 13, 2009 @ 6:22 pm
4disney2;2748448 >when you go into the lobby the first thing you will say is "WOW"
please let us know how it went, will love to hear it.


We've already visited this resort when we last stayed at Wilderness Lodge, and we all gave out a "WOW" when we first entered WL's lobby. Later on in that week, we decided to pop over to AKL just to see what it looked like...we did the same thing and let out another "Wow" when we walked into AKL's lobby. You could see similarity in lobby concept from the same architect of both lodges. This is why we wanted to come back and try AKL.

Cannot wait!!!!

     twinsljo on May 14, 2009 @ 1:44 pm
I loved AKL and all my CM experiences were really positive. In fact, some of my favorite CM experiences were at the lodge! I was a little worried about the low lighting that people didn't like, but I actually found it soothing. Since the AKL is so removed from the rest of the resort it actually felt quite relaxing and I didn't feel like it took very long to get places. Its so relaxing to sit on your balcony and watch the animals, its an almost spa like experience. I hope you have a wonderful time.

     MissFrizz on May 14, 2009 @ 5:37 pm
Oh Congratulations! I just :love: the AKL!!

As for the lighting - my DH is an avid reader. If it was too dark, he wouldn't ever want to go there. He has no problem whatsoever with the lighting and reading.

Mousekeepers are good - some are not as good. If there's a problem, call the housekeeping line. That's what they are there for!

I find the cms at the AKL very friendly. I have never had a problem with anyone we've come into contact with.

Have fun! It's a great resort!

     Diz on May 14, 2009 @ 6:13 pm
We're just home from a wonderful stay at AKL. It was our first stay there and we all loved it. Our room was spotless, and had a warm feel. As it has already been said you will get good and bad CM's at every resort, if your room is not up to your standards let them know after all it's Disney they will do everything they can to make your stay wonderful!

     disneybecky on May 15, 2009 @ 9:10 am
I've stayed at AKL several times and love it (we even created Overview | Animal Kingdom Lodge Fansite as a tribute!). CMs have been wonderful--consistently--and the rooms are beautiful. The "dark" issue is a concern for AKL and WL, but it's really not that bad.

     bali on May 17, 2009 @ 4:05 pm
So glad this question was posted. We'll be staying there for the first time this fall when my DH and I run the EE 5K. Thanks for all of the great reviews. Any suggestions as to where to request a room if we have only a standard view?

     dsteiny23 on May 17, 2009 @ 5:37 pm
Thanks to you all for your opinions on the AKL. We are staying there in August for the first time. I had not heard bad things about it.
I can say that in regards to mousekeeping you never know. We stayed at the POFQ one year and it was great; the next year it was not even good.
We just called mousekeeping as it was suggested and it was taken care of.

Caron

     clab on May 17, 2009 @ 6:17 pm
dsteiny23;2755060 >So glad this question was posted. We'll be staying there for the first time this fall when my DH and I run the EE 5K. Thanks for all of the great reviews. Any suggestions as to where to request a room if we have only a standard view?

Dawn, I originally booked standard view too, but was told that it was only $5 more per night to upgrade to pool view (I'm on the free Disney Dining Plan), which I went ahead and did, but then a few days later I asked about the bunkbed rooms in the pool view area, and booked that for $28 more per night as my kids preferred to sleep in the bunks. So, if you want to upgrade to pool view, it might be worth it if it's only little money. Also, it's a shorter walk from the pool view rooms to the restaurants.

I do know that some of the standard view rooms, especially on the lower levels, can be right near the bus stop and pedestrian walkway to the entry of the resort. When I visited the resort on my last trip, I was suprised as to how close the patio/balcony of these rooms were to the driveway and main walkway of the resort entrance (not much grass or shrubs to separate it). This wing of the resort is called the Giraffe trail guest rooms. On the other side of the entrance way, the wing is called Ostrich trail guest rooms. So this may be a noisy area should your standard view end up in this part of the resort, especially on the bus stop side (the Giraffe trail guest rooms). Maybe someone else who has experience in staying in either one of these wings can shed some light on the noise level.

     twinsljo on May 17, 2009 @ 7:03 pm
twinsljo;2755229 >Dawn, I originally booked standard view too, but was told that it was only $5 more per night to upgrade to pool view (I'm on the free Disney Dining Plan), which I went ahead and did, but then a few days later I asked about the bunkbed rooms in the pool view area, and booked that for $28 more per night as my kids preferred to sleep in the bunks. So, if you want to upgrade to pool view, it might be worth it if it's only little money. Also, it's a shorter walk from the pool view rooms to the restaurants.

I do know that some of the standard view rooms, especially on the lower levels, can be right near the bus stop and pedestrian walkway to the entry of the resort. When I visited the resort on my last trip, I was suprised as to how close the patio/balcony of these rooms were to the driveway and main walkway of the resort entrance (not much grass or shrubs to separate it). This wing of the resort is called the Giraffe trail guest rooms. On the other side of the entrance way, the wing is called Ostrich trail guest rooms. So this may be a noisy area should your standard view end up in this part of the resort, especially on the bus stop side (the Giraffe trail guest rooms). Maybe someone else who has experience in staying in either one of these wings can shed some light on the noise level.


I'll have to call and look into it. We got a discounted rate because we are running in the Expedition Everest 5K. So, I'm not sure if the upgrade is part of it, but it's worth the call. Thanks for the info!! smiley for :D

     dsteiny23 on May 17, 2009 @ 9:12 pm
Buffalogirl18;2744072 >
Unfortunately, our room was not as clean as I would have liked upon check in. I had to get on my hands and knees to open the bottom drawer in the dresser, and the console for the TV was just covered in dust, as was the cable box & the remote. There was also two gum wrappers sitting on the floor in an area that clearly hadn't been vacummed in a while as well. It was a little gross. Mousekeeping also hadn't put a fresh roll of TP in the bathroom - they just left the partial, almost gone roll from the last guests. That really annoyed me. Now, the Mousekeeper we had the following day after checkin was great, when we came back later that evening the room was spotless, there were lots of towels, she left a mickey towel display and little candies for the kids, and she even did a fancy display with the hand soaps & such too. She tucked all of Matthew's toys into bed. So, I guess it's just hit and miss. But, the rest of what I noticed I will mention in my trip report.


Did you have to call mousekeeping to get it cleaned, or was it just that the next Mousekeeper did a better job? I think I would feel uncomfortable asking someone to re-clean, but I guess I shouldn't if it's what I'm paying for...

     goofyboysmama on May 23, 2009 @ 3:09 am
I stayed at AKL in January 2009 for 1 week (they had the buy 4 nights get 3 free special). The hotel itself everyone loved,

Pros:
I personally thought the decor inside was fabulous. The group I went with consisted of my mom, dad, older brother and his family (wife, 6 yr old boy, 2 yr old boy and his baby girl turned 1 during our stay). My brother had a room with bunk beds and his boys LOVED them. I also highly recommend getting a savannah view room (you get night vision goggles and can look at the animals at night which is very cool). At night they will have the campfire lit and tell stories. The pool at the resort is very nice as well. The kids club people let my brother's kids play and sit in one night for free.

Cons:
Check-in took over 45 min. and there was only 1 person in front of us. Transportation was a nightmere. They were experiencing problems with their buses and at times we waited about 1 hr. to get a bus to go to the Magic Kingdom (during that time we would see 3 buses for Downtown Disney, Hollywood Studios, Epcoet, etc.). It seemed that everytime we wanted to go to a particular park those buses took forever in actually getting to the resort (and we got up early in the mornings too). I got sick at Boma...food poisoning. Housekeeping left a lot to be desired.

All in all my brother's kids loved it there and really that's what matters. However, I am taking his boys to Disney for a combo bday/Christmas gift this December and have booked us a room at the Grand Floridian because of how lovely it is decorated for the holidays and for the ease of transportation with the monorail. I could have booked a room at AKL for $500 less, however that wasn't enough to make me even second think my choice. It all depends on each person's preferences.

     AimeeMichele78 on June 26, 2009 @ 4:32 pm
I've only visited AKL but never stayed there so I can't really give you a great opinion. I do know though that for every negative thing I've read about AKL, I've read many more positive ones. My personal favorite is the WL and I have stayed there many, many times. I've also read negative things about it but sure haven't had any negatives in my many experiences. I really don't think you can go wrong with any Disney resort and I think AKL is lovely and very unique. Good luck.:luck:

     MelC on June 26, 2009 @ 4:58 pm
We have stayed there 3 times and loved it! The CMs were great and mousekeeping did a splendid job, even at 1 in the morning when DS got sick. They were there right away to change the bed and clean the carpet. And they were so kind about it. We never had a problem with transportation.

     Disney 4ever on June 26, 2009 @ 10:09 pm
AimeeMichele78;2824316 >I stayed at AKL in January 2009 for 1 week (they had the buy 4 nights get 3 free special). The hotel itself everyone loved,


Cons:
Check-in took over 45 min. and there was only 1 person in front of us. Transportation was a nightmere. They were experiencing problems with their buses and at times we waited about 1 hr. to get a bus to go to the Magic Kingdom (during that time we would see 3 buses for Downtown Disney, Hollywood Studios, Epcoet, etc.). It seemed that everytime we wanted to go to a particular park those buses took forever in actually getting to the resort (and we got up early in the mornings too). I got sick at Boma...food poisoning. Housekeeping left a lot to be desired.

All in all my brother's kids loved it there and really that's what matters. However, I am taking his boys to Disney for a combo bday/Christmas gift this December and have booked us a room at the Grand Floridian because of how lovely it is decorated for the holidays and for the ease of transportation with the monorail. I could have booked a room at AKL for $500 less, however that wasn't enough to make me even second think my choice. It all depends on each person's preferences.


Sorry about your food poisoning..that's aweful! I've read a lot of negative things about the housekeeping, so if they turn out ok, then that's more than I would expect. I'm renting a car, so I don't need to worry about any issues with their buses.

The GF is wonderful. The staff and service is top notch there. I loved everything about it, and the Christmas decorations are gorgeous! Have a great trip.

     twinsljo on June 27, 2009 @ 11:11 am
I am glad everyone is alleviating your concerns... we bought DVC AKL and are 16 days away from our first DVC vacation. Last year we did go to Boma and I tried to prepare mom that it was very dark but it was really dark for her. She is functionally blind. Legally for my lifetime, but it is so much worse now as it is a progressive disease. For this trip and because of developer points, I told her we would book primarily Boardwalk and Saratoga, but that DH, Papa, Ds and wanted 3 nights with the animals too. So I keep warning her that it will probably be her least favorite place and be prepared its only 3 nights. IMO the lighting levels are mainly a personal preference and are fine as part of the theming. IMO only folks that have visual issues will have difficulty at AKL. But these would be folks who have trouble in poorly lit situations. I am basing this on Boma and the model room on DVC. Secretly I am hoping to be surprised by more lighting than I expect... but I am preparing her for dark so she wont freak out.....

Again, lighting for most people is personal taste issue vs. a real need....

     trixiedixie on June 27, 2009 @ 1:01 pm
goofyboysmama;2765310 >Did you have to call mousekeeping to get it cleaned, or was it just that the next Mousekeeper did a better job? I think I would feel uncomfortable asking someone to re-clean, but I guess I shouldn't if it's what I'm paying for...


I know as staying DVC we get limited housekeeping, in fact our stay at AKL is only 3 nights so we wont get any....so for me if it doesnt start clean...I will have them come fix it immediately because I know mousekeeping is not going to be back...
I wonder if that could be part of the issue....the difference between when DVCer's stay and non DVCer's stay? Except that chepz and others are DVC and havent had issues....

     trixiedixie on June 27, 2009 @ 1:07 pm
twinsljo;2825117 >Sorry about your food poisoning..that's aweful! I've read a lot of negative things about the housekeeping, so if they turn out ok, then that's more than I would expect. I'm renting a car, so I don't need to worry about any issues with their buses.

The GF is wonderful. The staff and service is top notch there. I loved everything about it, and the Christmas decorations are gorgeous! Have a great trip.


Thank you, I can't wait to go!!! Honestly I don't think you can go wrong at any of the Disney Deluxe Resorts. My biggest hangup with the AKL was the transportation problem, but since you are renting a car you won't have to deal with or worry about that and I'm sure you will have a fantastic time!!! smiley for :D

     AimeeMichele78 on June 27, 2009 @ 2:16 pm
I love, love, love the AKL! We have stayed there 3 times with a fourth visit scheduled for July. I really feel like Disney pulled out all the stops when it came to themeing this resort, It is so well done.

And so many on site activites to take advantage of. Jiko and Boma are wonderful and so are the bars. Try the little wine bar tucked inside Jiko. We even dine at AKL when we are staying elsewhere.



Now for a little reality check. IMHO the worse experiences I have encountered with bus service and mousekeeping have occured at, you guessed it AKL. But its never ruined our vacation. We vacation at Disney to chill and not sweat the small stuff.



If anything happens take a deep breath (of that wonderful Disney air) and move on. I have read some real horror stories on these and other boards, heck I've lived a few myself. But unless I get snakes in my room like the family did last year in the Contempory, nothings a deal breaker.



Enjoy your vacation!

     bgdiznee on June 27, 2009 @ 2:57 pm
Stayed there June 1-8 this year. I don't think we will be able to stay anywhere else and not compare the place to how great AKL is. Please see my review on the link below. Have a good trip!

     goofyboysmama on June 28, 2009 @ 5:34 pm

     ferrazalves on June 28, 2009 @ 7:34 pm
View all 48 comments in forum thread

So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)




Updated 03-14-2011 - Article #602 



Read additional articles from PassPorter.com

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  

-HTML

 
 

We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2014
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

       SEARCH
       LEARN MORE
Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


 




Total Visits: 4511


PassPorter ~ 1998-2014 ~ 16 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Press
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
Guidebooks
About
Previews
Buy
Reviews
Updates
Features
News & Updates
Articles
Podcasts
Photos
Message Boards
Newsletter
Concierge Desk
Desktop
Trips
Books & E-Books
Tips
Settings
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Contests
Checklists
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us
PassPorter.com Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
Facebook
Pinterest
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.