I’ve stayed at both multiple times. I’ve stayed at both this year. Both are good and both are the least costly of the deluxe resorts, in fact, across the board, their room rates are the same. AKL does not share it’s buses, while WL shares buses with Fort Wilderness or Grand Floridian. WL does not share the boat to MK with anyone.
There are rooms at WL that are actually castle view/MK view rooms (woods view). AKL has no views of any park, the animals on the savannahs are exclusive to the AKL and not part of Animal Kingdom’s collection.
I’m not big on pools, but the WL’s is far more interesting, starting as a creek inside the lobby and flowing through rocks and boulders until it joins the main pool.
While the AKL has it’s animals, WL has Bay Lake and a marina. I’ll take water over being landlocked most of the time.
Finally, WL is modeled on the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park, right down to it’s own “Old Faithful geyser”. Plus, WL has received a Florida green lodging certification, the only other Disney resort that meets these standards is Fort Wilderness. Even AKL hasn’t achieved this.
I lean towards WL having stayed at both 5 times. As for special needs guests, all Disney resorts in WDW are very accommodating, including all resort transportation. the large boats are all roll on/roll off, as is the monorail. There are either ramps or elevators to all monorail platforms. All of the buses are equipped with lifts for ECVs and wheelchairs. When booking your room, make sure to specify H/C rooms. All hotels have elevators, while there are some corridors in both WL and AKL that are ramps.
Call me a sucker for national park lodge architecture.
Top is the real thing, bottom is Disney’s interpretation.