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  1. #1

    Art of Animation or Animal Kingdom Lodge

    I have booked a family suite the AoA for a week in Aug.18-26. My kids are, 11 year old twins and a 15 year old. While they think the resort looks, 'fun' they aren't going to lose their minds over the cute theming as they might have when they were younger. The more I read on the boards about the heat in Aug the more I think we should stay at AKL instead. It looks like a mid day break is a must so we will be spending a great deal of time at our resort. The pool areas at the AKL look like the kind of place we would like to hang out every day. Something for the parents and lots for the kids. It seems like it would be two vacations in one...the theme park part and the resort part. There doesn't seem any point in staying at the AKL if we don't have a savannah view so we are looking at spending about $600/night....twice the price of a suite at the AoA. In your opinion, is the price difference worth it? and why?

    I keep hoping there will be room only sale for our dates but I'm not sure if the suites are included in these sales.

    Thanks everyone for your feedback.

    Lara


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  3. #2

    We booked AofA for Aug24-31. Our kids are younger, will be 7 and 9 at the time. Thought it was the right theming for their age. Not sure about 11 and 15 year olds.


  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Martini Mom View Post
    I have booked a family suite the AoA for a week in Aug.18-26. My kids are, 11 year old twins and a 15 year old. While they think the resort looks, 'fun' they aren't going to lose their minds over the cute theming as they might have when they were younger. The more I read on the boards about the heat in Aug the more I think we should stay at AKL instead. It looks like a mid day break is a must so we will be spending a great deal of time at our resort. The pool areas at the AKL look like the kind of place we would like to hang out every day. Something for the parents and lots for the kids. It seems like it would be two vacations in one...the theme park part and the resort part. There doesn't seem any point in staying at the AKL if we don't have a savannah view so we are looking at spending about $600/night....twice the price of a suite at the AoA. In your opinion, is the price difference worth it? and why?

    I keep hoping there will be room only sale for our dates but I'm not sure if the suites are included in these sales.

    Thanks everyone for your feedback.

    Lara
    If you can afford it, it will be a stay you'll never forget. My parents and brothers and I went along with sister in law and 2 nieces in May 2011 and it was a resort like no other. 2br villa at Kidani Village on the Savannah. Of course I got the military 30% discount at the time (which helped a ton). Mid summer when the sun comes out early, the animals will be outside your window about the time you are having the first cup of coffee and usually back out after dinner right before they go in at night.

    If you're going with a villa, the kitchens are nice and allow for some cheap meals if you have a car or take a taxi to the grocery store. Also, the parking is underground/ground level below the rooms if you have a car...very convenient.

    The pool area at Kidani is also a little nicer than Jambo house in our opinion (smaller tho) with a slide and water cannon play area. Both are clearly nicer than a value or moderate.

    There is also activities the kids can do with CMs around the animals during the day and campfire stories at sunset.

    I can only speak for AKL as I have not stayed at AofA before.
    Joey
    DLR '85,'91,12/11,6/12,9/12,1/13,12/13 - DL Paris 2001 - WDW '83,'85 '95,'99,'04,5/11,11/11,2/12,4/12,6/12,7/12,8/12,9/12,3/13,6/13,3/14, 11/14, 1/15?, 3/15?

  5. #4

    We've stayed at the AKL a couple of times, and I will say that you don't need to pay for a Savannah view room to see animals, yes it's nice, but there are plenty of places to see the animals all over the resort. We are rarely in the room when we are at WDW so for my family it's not worth the upcharges. YMMV of course!!



    Jenn
    Who moved to SoFl to be closer to WDW

  6. #5

    My husband and I stayed for two nights at AKL. We loved it! The whole time we were there...we talked about how the kids would love it. Our kids are 15, 13 and 6. We "technically" did not have a savanna room...but we could see the animals from our balcony. Right below our room was a gate that the animal keepers used to go in and out of the savanna with. That being said...we got to see all the animals and even had the giraffes sleeping right by our room (that gate) one night. As stated above, there are tons of "viewing stations" to see the animals throughout the resort. If we ever stay again, I don't think we will pay extra for a savanna room. To be perfectly honest, my kids would enjoy watching the animals and we would definitely do that...but not I don't think it is worth the extra expense of a savanna view room. They would be fine with all the resort viewing stations. It is also fun to interact with the CM's that are located on the outside viewing areas. They have a lot of information to share.

    We have not stayed at AoA yet, but we have stayed at two different value resorts...ASMu and ASMo. I think that the "feel" of these resorts would be about the same. Very upbeat....loud...Disney at high-volume...We enjoyed both these resorts when the kids were smaller...now that they are older (and we are too) I like the feel of the "quieter" more subtle Disney resorts...my kids like to explore the Disney details. They would enjoy going to explore AoA as they love all the Disney movies represented there...but I think they would totally love the AKL and all its quieter Disney details! If you can swing the extra cost and don't mind spending it...I would go with the AKL!

    If you do go the value resort route...ASMu family suites are very nice. They are convenient to the bus stop and food court. I believe they would be priced cheaper than the AoA ones.

    Happy Planning!

    If you can dream it, you can do it. ~ Walt Disney ~

    1982 Off-site, BC 9/01, ASMo 1/04, ASMu 8-9/08, POFQ 4/09, BC/POR 7/10, AKL and Wyndham Grand Resort at Bonnet Creek 7&8/12, CS 11/12, Disney Dream 3/13, POR and BW 12/13-1/14, Pop Century 7/14

  7. #6
    Registered User ericles's Avatar
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    Have you considered renting DVC points? My rough ( no, no exact ) calculations tell me about $1960 for a savanna view studio villa. I don't know what AoA is costing you, but renting points us about $245 a night, assuming 8 nights.
    Of course, if you are getting a major hotel discount and/or free dining that may change your calculations a bit.
    Just a thought!


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    We have stayed at AKL a few times now...I loved the balcony and watching the animals. In fact, I found myself many times on the balcony just relaxing and actually enjoying my room for a change instead of hardly ever being in our room. With your kids being older, they may like AKL. If they love animals, then they will really enjoy this resort. I'd love to go back and stay at AKL again...sometimes I wish I got a DVC with this Resort.

    AoA is another one on our list. It looks like so much fun and brings out the kid in you no matter what age. You will enjoy the advantage of 2 bathrooms vs 1 bathroom. For us, we really need 2 bathrooms with 2 teens. The kitchenette is also a plus!

    With your 11 year old twins, plus the 15 year old, you may need AoA for room and sanity.




    Stephanie

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tappenfeat View Post
    With your 11 year old twins, plus the 15 year old, you may need AoA for room and sanity.
    This just needed to be repeated!
    If you are just going for a regular room at AKL, I really think the 'on top of each otherness' could easily get to many families of your size.
    Cathy

  10. #9
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    Here is a different take:
    For hot summer months, especially August, I would consider:
    - Stay at a resort that has a great pool area and/or lots to do at the resort itself.
    or
    - Make sure you get WP&M on your ticket and take some time to enjoy the water parks themselves, and/or Disney Quest, etc.

    Personally, we have stayed at AKL for more nights over the past 5 years than any other resort. Many reasons as to why as well, and they were all worth it. Only a couple times did we have a Savannah room - and that was a treat, but even standard rooms are great too.

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  11. #10

    There are great viewing areas inside and outside the Lodge to see the animals therefore you do not have to have a savannah view to see the animals. Decide how much time you are going to actually want to spend looking at the animals and decide if the price to so from your room vs. the comman viewing areas makes it worth it. Personally if you are really more concerned with pool area and amenities I would say standard view AKL.


  12. #11
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    Another thing with AofA -- how mature is the landscaping? As in, is any of it providing shade yet as you walk to your building? With AKL, it's all indoor (and A/C'd). And even if it weren't shade producing, if it's not very mature, it's not going to break up the hard surfaces that seem to bounce heat back to you along with sound (that might be more a perception thing with me, though )

    Cathy

  13. #12

    Thanks for all the great feedback. I will continue to crunch the numbers...and keep my fingers crossed. It is so much more money but with spending more time at the resort we are thinking it just might be worth it. My kids love animals and will especially love the seeing the ones at this resort. We would be booking a one bedroom suite for sure, I believe the ones at Kidanni village have two full bathrooms. But Jambo House has the bigger pool, my kids are part fish, they LOVE the water!!! Which resort is best for kids aged 11 and 15?

    ericles- I would love to rent dvc points but when we looked into it on a site recommended here it wasn't much less. I understand that if we did it privately it would be cheaper but that seems riskier...it makes me a lot nervous!! Wish it didn't though.


  14. #13
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    We are doing AoA for 5 nights and then AKL for 3 nights, 3 adults and 2 kids. The kids are really jazzed about the pools at AoA, they want to hear the underwater speakers!


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    Quote Originally Posted by CariBelle View Post
    We are doing AoA for 5 nights and then AKL for 3 nights, 3 adults and 2 kids. The kids are really jazzed about the pools at AoA, they want to hear the underwater speakers!
    I'm jazzed about the underwater speakers!
    Cathy

  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drince88 View Post
    I'm jazzed about the underwater speakers!
    Me too! I know the pool at AKL is probably "nicer" and has a water slide, but I'm glad our pool day is at AoA!

  17. #16
    Registered User ericles's Avatar
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    Whoa! They have underwater speakers?! Cool.


  18. #17
    The Hollywood Chain Gang CariBelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericles View Post
    Whoa! They have underwater speakers?! Cool.
    From the WDW website: "The Big Blue Pool
    Underwater speakers playing familiar audio—a first for Disney Resorts hotels—immerse you in the magic like never before. Inspired by the Disney•Pixar movie, Finding Nemo, this zero-entry, 308,527-gallon pool invites you to relive the story of the hit movie as you splash alongside Nemo, Crush, a school of watery jellyfish and giant set pieces."

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    Quote Originally Posted by ericles View Post
    Whoa! They have underwater speakers?! Cool.
    In the Finding Nemo pool - because fish can talk, you know!
    (Though really, one thing I like about pools is that there AREN'T fish in them!)
    Cathy

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Drince88 View Post
    I'm jazzed about the underwater speakers!
    Completely off topic but funny story. My college pool had underwater speakers, and we used to play what we would now call classic rock music through the PA, including these speakers. This was just about the time when the movie Jaws came out, and everyone had seen it at least once. One Saturday night I played the theme from Jaws over the system. Everyone looked up and laughed, but within 30 seconds there wasn't a single person left in the pool. The power of a good theme!
    Dan
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  21. #20
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    Too funny Dan!

    I picture at AoA hearing "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming..." in the pool's speakers.




    Stephanie

  22. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martini Mom View Post
    I have booked a family suite the AoA for a week in Aug.18-26. My kids are, 11 year old twins and a 15 year old. While they think the resort looks, 'fun' they aren't going to lose their minds over the cute theming as they might have when they were younger. The more I read on the boards about the heat in Aug the more I think we should stay at AKL instead. It looks like a mid day break is a must so we will be spending a great deal of time at our resort. The pool areas at the AKL look like the kind of place we would like to hang out every day. Something for the parents and lots for the kids. It seems like it would be two vacations in one...the theme park part and the resort part. There doesn't seem any point in staying at the AKL if we don't have a savannah view so we are looking at spending about $600/night....twice the price of a suite at the AoA. In your opinion, is the price difference worth it? and why?

    I keep hoping there will be room only sale for our dates but I'm not sure if the suites are included in these sales.

    Thanks everyone for your feedback.

    Lara
    Regular rooms at AKL don't accommodate five; you'd have to have a 1-bedroom suite or a villa in order to have that many guests in a room. So right there, that accounts for the price jump compared with other options, even Art of Animation family suites, which are not the least expensive lodging option available.

    When and if there are room discount offers, they have typically included the suites at AoA, but not the regular Little Mermaid rooms.

    LOVE underwater speakers...that was one of my highlights of a trip in 2000 when we stayed at the Polynesian and could hear music in the pool.
    Mary_kraemer@yahoo.com

  23. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkraemer View Post
    LOVE underwater speakers...that was one of my highlights of a trip in 2000 when we stayed at the Polynesian and could hear music in the pool.
    Wow! I didn't know that! We stayed at the Poly in 2006...I must have not put my head under the water. I wish I knew back then. I would have swam under the water. Do they have it at AKL, too? I never noticed.



    Stephanie

  24. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by tappenfeat View Post
    Wow! I didn't know that! We stayed at the Poly in 2006...I must have not put my head under the water. I wish I knew back then. I would have swam under the water. Do they have it at AKL, too? I never noticed.
    I have not heard that they have underwater speakers at AKL...
    Mary_kraemer@yahoo.com

  25. #24
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    I do not believe so... but some cool music above water.

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  26. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by GusMan View Post
    I do not believe so... but some cool music above water.
    Agreed! That's one of my favorites about AKL...the music!



    Stephanie

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