AKL vs POR, can someone compare?


#1

I mentioned in another thread that we’re looking to plan a 7 day trip in May 2007. My DH and I will be taking DSs who will be 11, 8 and almost 5. My parents will also be coming along, so we’ll be sharing two rooms between the 7 of us.

Originally, I wanted to stay at the AKL. However, after looking into it more, I’m not sure it’s the best option. I have a feeling that we’ll be spending too much time travelling back and forth from the hotel to where we want to be, waiting for busses and the like. One thing I’d really like to do is to take and afternoon ‘break’ to go back to the pool each day and I don’t know how reasonable that would be if we’re staying at AKL. My SIL recommended Port Orleans Riverside, and my best friend is taking her family there in February, so now I’m looking into that. She’ll be giving me a full report when she gets back.

Could someone who has stayed at both please compare the pros and cons of both resorts? Transportation? Pools? Room sizes? Service? I know the AKL is pricier, which is a consideration, but that alone won’t stop me from staying there.

I was also interested in the concierge at AKL, but I’m not sure what all that entails. It seems MUCH pricier, but is it really worth the difference in cost from a non-concierge room? If we were getting the dining plan already, would paying for a concierge room be futile, since our food is already pretty much paid for on the plan? Or are there enough other amenities to make it worth it?

I’ve got 18 months to keep changing my mind. I’m open to other resorts as well. I know everyone here has a favorite so any pushes in the right direction would be appreciated. Please, please, please, if you recommend a different hotel, tell me all the pros and cons about it. Just telling me “stay here, we loved it!” won’t convince me. You gotta sell it to me, baby.


#2

I can’t answer for myself, but as I was riding the tram one day, the people we were talking to were comparing these very resorts. The biggest thing they had to say was that they really preferred POR because it’s spread out. With AKL, all the people are just right there on top of each other.


#3

I’ll compare for you. We’ve stayed at both. Please remember though, this is only my opinion :wink: .

AKL is HUGE. We were in the very last room on our “trail”. We had to walk what seemed like a mile to get to our room, and then back again for the pool or any food options. Although it was neat looking out the balcony (which you won’t have at POR) and seeing the animals, that got to be pretty common. It is pretty far from all the parks. We always rent a car so I’m going by that. I have no input on bus service from either resort.

POR…to me is home :wub: . I’m definitely partial to this resort. We have stayed here 3 times now. I love the Southern theme. I love the peace and quiet of the resort (except the food court…lol, that’s when you know there are other guests) It’s so charming, and if you stay on the Mansions side (where we always do) You can smell the magnolias. (You may be able to on AB side too, I’m not sure)

We prefer the pools at POR. At AKL, the water is green (intentionally) but it’s still green :dry: . At POR, the Ole’ Man Pool is so much fun, plus you have many “quiet” pools to choose from, usually right outside your room.

I too, love the boat ride to DTD from POR. We usually try to fit at least 1 night in for that. It’s really fun. If you don’t have time for DTD, at least ride the boat over to POR’s sister resort, POFQ. It’s fun to be able to walk around 2 different resorts, but without eating up a lot of your time.

I’m not sure if my feelings are affected because I’m from the Northeast (lodge theme) and when I go on vacation I want a “different” feeling??? Know what I mean?

That’s just my 2 cents…I know many people ADORE the AKL, but honestly, it just wasn’t for my family.

I can’t wait to hear what you decide to do though!

Also, do you know that you can look at all kinds of pictures on http://allearsnet.com that website will help with lots of details too!


#4

You will be waiting for buses to go back and forth no matter where you stay. There is only one bus for the AKL and you share with no one. The transportation at that resort is perfect in my opinion. When you stay at POR, you are sharing a bus with POFQ and there are 4 stops at POR. It takes longer to travel at that resort. I stayed at POFQ last trip and AKL twice before and definately like the transportation at AKL better. The resrot itself is like another theme park. I love waking up to the animals right outside my window. It’s just gorgeous there. Oh, my DD said the pool is WAY better too…lol


#5

I have stayed at both and would have to say I prefer POR. Here’s why:
Loved the pool -great slide for the kids,also quiet pools throughout the resort
Rooms that sleep 5 (with trundle bed at Alligator bayou section)
Boat to DTD
Good food court with a nice selection of food to choose from
Quick bus service

At AKL I loved seeing the giraffes outside my balcony, but our room seemed miles away from the lobby,food court,pools,etc. You can visit the resort and go to public areas to see the animals without staying there.
The food court had limited selections, although the boma buffet was a winner
We didn’t like the pool. It was heated so much that it wasn’t even refreshing, I felt as if i was taking a bath with 100 strangers. The slide at POR was better and longer.


#6

I’ve stayed at both and will cast my vote heavily for AKL. There is a magic about AKL that POR just can’t rival – the animals, the theming, the rich materials used in the construction of the resort and its furnishings, the unparalleled learning experiences and entertainment for kids (night-vision animal watching with the animal keepers from Africa, cookie decorating, authentic African story-telling around the fire pit every night, and the amazing experience of learning the names and habits of real African animals while watching them up close, in addition to so much more), the incredible staff (including college-program staff from Africa who are wonderful, friendly, and excited to share stories and information about their countries) who will go out of their way for you, a fantastic pool and two secluded hot tubs, unbelieveable dining opportunities (Boma and Jiko), etc. AKL is a destination in itself and is truly a magical and amazing learning experience for both kids and adults.

As Dana said, you’ll be waiting for bus transportation no matter where you stay. Truthfully, because POR usually shares a bus with POFQ and has four bus stops of its own, we waited longer for fuller busses when we stayed at POR than we ever did at AKL. In addition, because POR has four bus stops, there were plenty of times that busses filled up before they got to all four stops, meaning lots of guests were left waiting for the next bus. AKL has only one bus stop and doesn’t share with any other resort, so that shaves off quite a bit of time and frustruation.

As for concierge, we didn’t stay at that level at AKL so I can’t speak from experience, but I’ve seen reviews that don’t recommend it. Folks seem to say that a little extra food doesn’t make up for the price they paid for the room. I will recommend that you pay for the guaranteed Savanna room at AKL, however, as the experience of waking up to zebras and giraffes right off of your balcony is one you simply can’t get anywhere else but Africa. It is incredible.

POR is a very Disney hotel–it’s lovely, with good service, a nice enough pool, etc. AKL is an unparalleled experience that is worth every penny and then some. You’ll love it, you’re kids will love it, your family will love it. Please feel free to PM me with any questions. Good luck with your decisions! :slight_smile:


#7

I’d also cast the vote for AKL. We rented a car when we stayed at AKL and at one of the trips to POR, so to me that would be a factor. An earlier poster mentioned the advantage of a single bus line to AKL . I know when we stayed at POFQ, sharing a line with another resort was a major pain to us, so maybe AKL will still work out for that.

The other big difference is where your room is. I’d agree with another earlier poster that if your room is in the boonies in AKL, that hike to the lobby can be tough. We were on the 3rd building in the main U, so it wasn’t a problem for our trip.

The theming, to me, is what makes AKL special. The animals, the decorations, the staff that comes from all over the place in Africa and is very friendly, the Boma hostesses singing folk songs while you wait in the lobby for your table. It all is so well done. True, you can get a lot of the experience with a visit, but there isn’t anything like being there every day for the length of your stay.

POR, Magnolia Bend is the best of the moderates we’ve stayed at, so you have it pretty good either way.


#8

othervoices, POR is our perrennial favorite, and it is ideally located and lovely in every way – great pool, great rooms, great food…
BUT, AKL is a trip in itself! If you can swing the $$$, you might want to give it a try. And remeber, travelling on Disney transportation is FUN, not a chore. If I had the bucks, we’d try AKL or WL!


#9

I think it really depends. If you are mainly interested in the parks and are considering the resort hotel just as a place to sleep, then I’d go for POR; but if you want a magnificent experience and are interested in spending a whole day just at the resort hotel, then AKL is definitely worth it. Though I would also say that you can enjoy much of what it has to offer without actually staying there – even viewing giraffes, though not from a balcony per se. Boma, the restaurant, is fantastic. I don’t know if AKL would be exciting enough for small children or not. It may be better to start with POR, go to AKL for dinner one night (since Animal Kingdom closes at 5 PM, you could hop a bus to AKL for dinner when you leave, so your AK day would work for that) and that way you’d see what it is like for future planning. :slight_smile:

David


#10

I agree with my partner, Chastmastr. We’ve stayed at both of these resorts and they’re both beautiful in their own way. If you’re interested in a bed only, go to POR and save the money for a couple more nice sit-down dinners. If, on the other hand, you want a very special resort experience as well, AKL would be the way to go. Whichever you decide, I hope you’ll take the time to at least visit AKL and have a meal at Boma. It’s a great, all-you-care-to-eat buffet and it’s wonderful!!

As far as transportation, etc. I think other posters have pretty much covered that except that I’ll add one more comment: POR is only one part of a larger resort which includes PO-French Quarter. The FQ part of the resort gets let off and picked up first by the busses, so at POR you might have to stand on the way to or (more likely) from the parks. Since you’re going in January, this may be less of a problem then it would be during the most crowded times.

All in all, you’ll have a great trip whichever you choose.


#11

Thanks so much for all the responses so far, and keep 'em coming. What are the rooms like at each place (size-wise)? Are any of them cramped? Any style of room you guys would say are better (for example, are rooms with bunk beds roomier?) or are there any that you would say to stay away from? Once we decide which resort to go to, I’m definitely counting on all you people to help me choose where to stay within the resort (do the decisions ever end? Don’t answer that!).

I’m not sure yet how we’re looking at the hotel… as a place to sleep or as an attraction in itself. I don’t want the boys to be overwhelmed, but then, I imagine they will be no matter where we stay. 7 days hardly seems like enough time (and that’s only if we take a plane and don’t drive, which would cut the trip down to 5 days!). I’m figuring going back to the hotel in the afternoon will give us a bit of a break and let the kids wind down a bit by doing some swimming. It’ll also avoid the afternoon crowds at the parks. I just don’t want to have to wait too long for busses just to avoid waits at parks.

We’re actually going in May, Quaker, so crowds may be a bit of an issue. I’m not sure how much of an issue, though.

Right now it looks like there’s no favorite and that we’d be happy at either resort. Argh! It’s so hard to decide this stuff. I wish we could afford to do two trips. Ha!

I really appreciate all your info.


#12

We never found either place cramped but it was just the two of us.


#13

It depends on when in May, OT. Chastmastr and I were there like the second week and did not find it spectacularly crowded (though more so than January). Later in the month as it gets closer to Memorial Day, crowds pick up from what I’m told.

You mentioned that you wanted to be able to use the resort as a wind-down place for the kids in the afternoon. In that case POR might be a better choice especially if you request the Magnolia Bend section (the mansion section). It’s further away from the main buildings and has beautiful river views that are very peaceful and relaxing. AKL, while beautiful has a lot of exotic decorations, a busy lobby and a lot of activity fairly close to the rooms. And, of course, live animals right off your balcony. In general, it seems that POR might best suit your needs.


#14

OK I have stayed at the POFQ ayear or so ago. We love the resort it was great. Like LaurenGold said you didn’t even know there were other guest there until you went to the food court. My daughters are 11 and 8 and they both loved the pool there and the atmesphere was great. The wait for the buses weren’t a long wait. There was a couple of days that my youngest wanted to go back to the room cause she wanted to swim and it didn’t take much time to go back for a couple of hrs. Now I haven’t stayed at the AKL so I really don’t have an opinion about that. But just wanted to give you my 2 cents on the PO. Its beautiful and quiet. Hope you figure out which would be best for you…


#15

I haven’t stayed at POR, but did stay at POFQ. I can honeslty say that I loved POFQ…the resort was perfectly located. That being said, I would choose AKL over any day of the week, because I am a serious animal lover and can’t tell you how thrilled I was to be surrounded by them day and night. Just made the trip that much more magical.