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My husband and I are planning a trip for our anniversary in June 2013 and we decided we want to rent DVC points and stay at a DVC villa. I've been researching and reading reviews to pick what villa to stay at and am not sure which one to choose.
AKL Villas get great reviews overall but are far away from everything.
Bay Lake Tower doesn't seem to have good reviews (small room, not very clean or updated, unhelpful staff), but the location is prime.
Beach Club/Boardwalk Villas are referred to as dated, with long walks to places, plus they share buses. But the location is great, the nightlife is good, the pools are nice.
And Saratoga Springs/OKW don't seem to stand out for any particular reason.
Anyone care to give me some personal experiences to help me decide? I would love the help
Our first trip was to AKL and we loved it! It is gorgeous and we loved sitting on the balcony watching the animals. It is removed from everything but that was never a problem. It's just a bus ride.
Our second trip, we stayed at BLT. It is close to everything and you can walk to MK. But it was the worst stay ever. There were bugs on the balcony rendering it unusable. There were bugs in the lobby and the "concierge" didn't know their elbow from a hole in the wall. I was very disappointed especially because this was where we bought into the DVC and this was our 1st stay at our "home" resort.
Our last trip, we stayed at OKW. It is big but has a very laid back island feel. We would stay there again anytime. Staff is friendly and always with a smile. You can tell that there are "regulars" here.
All in all - choose what's important to you. Location, theme, price. It's all good. It's Disney!
I've stayed in all of them except Bay Lake Towers - and I just visited the rooms there this past month. I'll add one more - Wilderness Lodge. Here are some of my thoughts on the various DVC resorts:
BLT - Location, location, location! The rooms are a little smaller, but if you're in a 1 BR w/ 2 people it is still a lot more space than a regular hotel room. There's also the monorail and one of my favorite perks is the Top of the World Lounge for watching the MK fireworks - of for just relaxing and enjoying the view
Beach Club - LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the pool and the easy walk into Epcot. I take the boat to DHS and bus to MK or AK. It is one of my favorite locations
Boardwalk - Great restaurants and a nice stroll to Epcot or DHS. It's big, but I love the atmosphere and the entertainment options. Belle Vue Lounge is one of my favorite quiet nooks to have an adult beverage
AKV - If you stay here get a savanna view. There's nothing like sitting on your balcony and watching the animals. Request a room on the second/lobby level if you're in Kidani. The biggest negatives are the location and that Kidani doesn't have much variety in food. You need to walk to Jambo.
Wilderness Lodge - Just stayed there - I love the atmosphere and the boat to the MK is nice. We didn't have any problems with buses and Artist Point is one of my favorite restaurants (along with FFC at Boardwalk)
OKW - biggest rooms, great atmosphere, boat to DTD (one of my favorite boat rides), and Olivia's is a really good restaurant that is rarely busy. It is large so try to get a room near the Hospitality House
SSR - I like the location near DTD - Congress Park is an easy walk - and DTD has some wonderful eating and entertainment options.
I've enjoyed each resort for different reasons. I've been looking at dates in early June and many of the DVC resorts are already booked in certain room categories so if you're staying on points I would book as soon as possible.
Just a word on the location of AKL.....when we stayed there I was surprised at how quickly we got to not only AK but also Epcot and DHS via bus, having heard so often that it is "far removed from all parks but AK" and "I wouldn't stay at AKL without a car". And then came our bus ride to the MK and I understood why people say it is so far out! If you are traveling with small children and will spend much of your time at the MK then I would say that you might want to consider another resort, but IMO AKL doesn't deserve the "too far out" rep it has.
For two adults, I would go with Boardwalk or Beach Club, mainly for the ability to walk to and from Epcot. If I go to park from morning to mid-afternoon then back to a resort, I really don't feel like taking a bus back to a park for dinner or fireworks. Walking to dinner, Illuminations, or just a snack and stroll at Epcot, though, felt quick and easy.
If you don't expect to spend the vast majority of your time at the parks, though, Animal Kingdom Lodge is a good choice because just wandering around the resort is interesting and the 3 restaurants are among my favorites in all of Walt Disney World.
If Pleasure Island were still worth seeing, I'd recommend Saratoga Springs because it is the closest to Downtown Disney. Unles you intend to go there a few evenings, though, that's not as much of an advantage.
The best choice really depends on how and where you expect to spend your time, and on which DVC resorts are available for rental for your vacation dates. We have been happy with every
resort we've stayed at, so to me any available choice is great.
Aiming for a Magical Dover-Barcelona Cruise, July 2018
We have stayed with Daughter at WL the most.It is great being close to Mk for the kids. AKL was very beautiful and even though we live in the woods and get to see the woodland animals from deer to bear, seeing the animals at AKL was a real treat, even hubby who's first comment when learning we were going to stay there was who is going to sit and watch animals. HIM. BCV we stayed at and for 2 adults this would be nice the ease in walking to Epcot was great and I enjoyed staying there, but WLV is beautiful and the boat to MK is great with taking kids this is the best fit for us.BLT was the last built and I would of thought that would be great we did try to stay there on last visit but it was full so didnt get to try that one. Now I wonder if it would be a good fit as we have the Grandkids, but wow it is close to MK a walk away.
Love the Magic of Disney Thanks Dad for our first 5 trips.
This is very helpful - thank you! I was leaning towards Boardwalk or Beach club because of the closeness of Epcot (we eat at Le Cellier at least 2 times each trip) but I liked the appeal of the animals at AKL and the monorail at BLT. Since it's just the 2 of us, we are super flexible...it's hard to choose just one resort
It certainly is hard to pick just one resort. Currently we seem to be booking our trips to do a maximum of 4 nights in 1 resort so we can stay in 2 or 3 and i still have too many candidates. I think you can book wherever has space and there will be reasons to be happy with it
We're DVC owners at WL and AKL and we've stayed at all of the DVC resorts. I love the overall theming of WL and to me, the decor and amenities of Kidani Village feel a bit more upscale than some of the other DVC resorts.
When we've been fortunate enough to travel without our kids, we prefer staying at BW or BC villas just due to the location - Epcot is our favorite park to visit and if we visit Jellyrolls we don't have to worry about driving back to a different resort!
For an adults only trip I would choose Boardwalk or Yact/Beach Club. You can't beat being able to walk to the Epcot restaurants and nipping over to France for a frozen libation. DHS is a nice stroll from there too.
If you aren't really much for strolling then VWL would be my second vote because the atmosphere is so lovely and nothing beats the morning boat ride across the lake to MK.
We stayed in Animal Kingdom Lodge, Bay Lake Tower and the Beach Club Villas just a couple of weeks ago, and I can honestly say we loved all of them - we didn't have any issues and didn't think any of them were dated at all.