Tucked away on the shore of Bay Lake is one of the most highly themed resorts at Walt Disney World, the Wilderness Lodge. Over the years it has undergone some changes, adding not one but two Disney Vacation Club “resorts within a resort,” as well as new amenities, but it stays true to that immersive Pacific Northwest theme that the Imagineers and architects designed from the beginning. Based on the famous National Park Lodges of the 20th Century, Wilderness Lodge will transport you to a completely different place that feels nothing like being just a boat ride away from the world’s most popular theme park. Here are 8 Pros and Cons to consider to decide if the Wilderness Lodge is the right resort for your next Walt Disney World Vacation:
8. Con: Room Size
As a deluxe resort, the room size at Wilderness Lodge leaves a little to be desired (for the standard room categories). Rooms come with a little outdoor space like a patio or balcony, which is nice, but the rooms themselves are more like a Moderate+ in size compared to all of the other Deluxe Resorts (except Animal Kingdom Lodge which is the same). The standard rooms here only accommodate up to four people, and they can feel a little snug.
7. Pro: The Pools and Splash Pad
Wilderness Lodge has always had a great pool with a fun backstory. Silver Creek Springs pool begins in the lobby where you find the bubbling geo-thermal feature that flows outside and down the waterfall, eventually filling the Silver Creek Springs Pool. It blends perfectly into the natural landscaping of the resort. This pool also has a fun slide. Adjacent to this main pool is the newer Splash Pad that was added about 5 years ago during a renovation. It has some fun smaller slides for kids, a dumping bucket and a few other water features to make playing fun. With the renovation of the Disney Vacation Club areas of the resort the “quiet” pool got an upgrade as the Boulder Ridge Cove Pool. New theming makes it a fun place to swim, along with some covered seating areas.
6. Con: More Limited Quick Service
If you are used to staying at a Moderate or Value resort with a large multi-station food court, you may be disappointed with the quick service options at Wilderness Lodge. The Roaring Forks is a bit smaller, with a more limited menu. But—the food you get there is very good . . . so don’t let the small size or the lack of choices fool you.
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5. Pro: Room Variety
When staying at Wilderness Lodge, you really have a choice of 3 resorts, Wilderness Lodge, Boulder Ridge Villas and Copper Creek Villas. Each one is accessed separately when making your resort reservation, so you need to know which one to choose. Wilderness Lodge offers standard rooms, Deluxe Rooms, Club Level rooms, and some Suites. Boulder Ridge Villas is the original Disney Vacation Club portion of the resort and offers Studios along with multi-bedroom villas that feature full kitchens. Copper Creek Villas are the newer converted Disney Vacation Club villas that also feature studios and multi-bedroom villas, as well as the amazing Copper Creek Cabins by Bay Lake. These are free standing multi-room cabins that I think would make a great vacation destination without ever visiting a park. The variety of accommodations that you can find within the Wilderness Lodge are a real pro for staying here.
4. Con: Darker Rooms
As part of the theming as a lodge, the rooms at Wilderness Lodge can be a little dark. They are decorated with darker woods and colors, and they can feel a little closed in. Some people may really enjoy this as a way to relax and get out of the bright sun on an afternoon break. Others may find it harder to see than they would like. It is all about personal taste and preference, and what is important to you on vacation, but it is something to consider for Wilderness Lodge.
3. Pro: Restaurants
The Wilderness Lodge has an amazing line up of restaurants. While the more limited menu of the quick service Roaring Forks may be somewhat of a disadvantage, the quality of the food and creativity of the menu items definitely makes up for it. Out on the water you’ll find Geyser Point Lounge that offers not only amazing views of Bay Lake in a relaxing atmosphere, but some great food and drinks. Inside the resort the Territory Lounge is another great place for drinks and light bites. Whispering Canyon Café is a very fun casual restaurant with a great menu of comfort foods, and servers who offer up plenty of antics while you eat. Artist Point recently changed over to a character meal featuring Snow White, the Evil Queen, and Dopey and Doc. True to its signature dining roots, the prix fixe menu at Storybook Dining is getting great reviews . . . and it is a chance to meet some characters who are more rare to find in the parks.
2. Pro: Location
Wilderness Lodge is a Magic Kingdom area resort, so although you feel a world away thanks to the elaborate theming, you are really just a boat ride away from the magic. The resort’s location on Bay Lake allows boat transportation (my preferred method) over to the Magic Kingdom, along with the Contemporary Resort if you have dining there, and Fort Wilderness if you wanted to visit for recreation or dining.
1. Pro: The Lobby
I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone to walk into the Wilderness Lodge Lobby for the first time (or the 10th) and not have their jaw hit the floor. The open, multi-story lobby is absolutely gorgeous. And it is here that the theme of the resort really takes root. You’ll find the huge fireplace that replicates the layers of the Grand Canyon rock. Hardwood floors with Native American patterning. Massive Totem Poles. And genuine lodge pole construction complete with carved animals hidden on the poles. Look up to take in the grandeur and you will see the oversized chandeliers that imitate Teepees surrounded by Buffalo. The Arts & Crafts Style furniture blends in perfectly. Take a few minutes to look around, the lobby (and each floor of the resort) is filled with Native American artifacts, geological specimens, and objects that relate to the movement west. The designers really outdid themselves with the Wilderness Lodge Lobby.
What are your pros and cons for staying at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge?