Disney's Wilderness Lodge and Villas Resort (Disney Deluxe/Deluxe Villas Resort) - PassPorter - A Community of Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel Forums
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Old 01-07-2008, 11:48 AM   #1
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Disney's Wilderness Lodge and Villas Resort (Disney Deluxe/Deluxe Villas Resort)

The Wilderness Lodge and Villas are nestled in a dense forest of pines on Bay Lake, accessible by waterway from the Magic Kingdom.

Official Guidebook Review: Our official review of Disney's Wilderness Lodge & Villas Resort can be read in PassPorter's Walt Disney World guidebook (chapter 3).

Personal Review: The Wilderness Lodge is Jennifer's all-time favorite Disney resort hotel, due to it's amazing theming! We both enjoy this resort tremendously, though we tend to prefer the regular guest rooms over the Villas.

Other Reviews: See PassPorter's feature article on Wilderness Lodge Resort by Erin McAuliffe.

Photo Reviews: See our Wilderness Lodge Resort photo collection.

Your Review: What do YOU think of this resort? We want to know! To leave a review AND numerical rating, click the Review button below. Please avoid commenting on previously posted reviews. Tip: Include your pros and cons!

Results from these ratings and reviews will be factored into the ratings that appear in the guidebook, too!
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Old 01-07-2008, 01:57 PM   #2
loobyoxlip
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This is our favorite deluxe resort by far!

My then 7 year old son and I spent a week here in 2006. There was a slight line for check in, but it went quickly. We had a great cast member check us in. She asked my son who his favorite character was. He told her Goofy. When we came back from the parks the first night, there was balloons in our room along with a signed framed photo of Goofy!

Our room was fantastic. It had recently been remodeled (they have all been remodeled by now). There was a huge flat screen t.v. and wonderful headboards. They put lightswitches in the bedposts on the headboad, so they were very accessible when you were ready to turn them off to go to sleep. The room was very spacious and clean. I don't have one complaint about the room. We were in a courtyard view and it was a quick walk to the nearest elevator that brought you down to the food court and laundry areas, as well as the entrance to the pool area. The view from our room was beautiful. No noise issues at this hotel. We didn't hear our neighbors at all.

The themed pool was great. I liked how the hot tub sat up a little higher from the pool area - the noise from the pool didn't seem so loud. We also spent an afternoon at the quiet pool over in the Villas area. I think my son liked this pool even more! The hot tub is right by the pool and it's easy to relax there and keep an eye on the kids.

We took advantage of the Teton Bike and Boat rentals, too. It's located just a quick walk from the pool areas down by the beachfront. Be warned that if there are storms in the area, you obviously cannot rent a watercraft, but you also cannot rent a bike. We waited a few hours one rainy afternoon until we could bike ride. There is a really nice trail between Wilderness Lodge and Ft. Wilderness to ride on. My son still talks about how much fun that was. We also rented a water mouse one day and they gave us a free 1/2 hour, so we tooled around Bay Lake for an hour!

The food court was ok. The selections were nowhere near as plentiful as they are at other resorts. We had breakfast here one day but mostly at the parks. At other resorts, we eat breakfast almost every day at the resort's food court. The other 2 restaurants we dined at during that stay were Artist Point and Whispering Canyon Cafe. We had a little "date" night at Artist Point and we both dressed up. It was a very nice dinner. We did not have plans to eat at WCC as we had eaten there on other occasions, but our plans changed one rainy night. We got a pager and were told about 45 minutes. It was the night before we were due to check out ( ) so we went back up to our room on the 5th floor to pack. The pager worked great, even way up there!

We also spent one afternoon just exploring this beautiful resort. I think my son sat in just about every chair in the little rest areas on the guest room floors overlooking the lobby. We hung out by the fireplace and followed the babbling brook. We never did get a chance to find the Hidden Mickeys, but there is a sheet you can get at the front desk that will send you on a scavenger hunt to find them.

The bus service was not so good here. I know other people have had good bus service, so it may be hit or miss. We just seemed to wait a very long time almost every time! Downtown Disney was by far the worst. The boats to Ft. Wilderness, Contemporary and Magic Kingdom, however, were GREAT! We had breakfast at Chef Mickey's one morning and it was a nice quick boat ride there and back.

I sure hope we get the opportunity to stay at the WL again. We love it!!
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Old 01-07-2008, 09:37 PM   #3
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"Welcome Home"

When I drive around the bend and the gentleman at the little guardhouse says, "Welcome Home", I begin to cry with happiness! Then I see the Lodge and then a big grin gets plastered on my face for the duration of our stay. I originally chose the WL because I don't like palm trees and didn't want to stay anyplace that looked like "Florida", and it sure doesn't. There are towering pines everywhere and the scncet in the air makes you think that if you look in the distance, your're sure to see a heard of buffalo grazing in the distance! The bell desk staff starts things off on the right foot with their smiles and courteous service and when you walk through the huge front doors, be sure to keep walking, as your tendancy is to stop and stare and pile ups have been known to occur!
The only complaint that I have is that the front desk staff is slow, no matter when you visit or who you get. I have never taken under 90 minutes to check in and one day it was 3 hours. And then there are the mistakes, which have ranged from the key cards not working properly-such as the time I had to leave my daughter, then 11 at the front gate of the MK since her card wasn't set up to allow her into the parks!!. They've messed up our reservations,not being able to find them despite my confirmation slips and I always seem to get someone "in training"! I am not one to be crabby to employees, but they really need to work on that one area of this resort.
We always ask for a room in the North Wing so that we can watch the otters in the pond and see some of the MK fierworks too, and it is so handy to the lobby, snack bar, pool and boat dock. The rooms are smaller than the other deluxe resorts, but the price is a bit lower too, so they balance out. Each time I see something new and make it a point to just spend sometime sitting in the lobby, looking at the carvings and the fireplace. Yes, Whispering Canyon is missnamed-it should be LOUD Canyon,as the place is neer quiet, but the food is plentiful and served in a unique fashion in tin pails. Be sure to tell your server if you really don't want any more food as they will just keep it coming and coming until you have to roll out of there! I love going to the Ladies Room just to listen to the wonderful music, which really sets the mood for the Lodge.Then there is Artist Point, a truly magnificent restaurant, which despite it's 4 star rating will even please your children.
I've felt comfortable letting my kids go to the gift shop or to pick up packages since they were 10 or so, as the size of the resort makes it much safer and easier to navigate. The pool slide isn't huge, but the kids love it and the way that the brook begins in the lobby and runs down to the pool is so clever (hint,the water is warmer where it runs into the pool!). There are two sides to the pool, with one being busier than the other, and a large "kiddie" wading pool for the toddlers. TWO hot tubs sit off to the side, one is a bit cooler than the other and there is almost always a hair-braiding stand near the pool where you can drop an easy $50 on your daughter's new hairdo! If the pool becomes too noisy and crowded, you can use the other pool at the Villas and their hot tub is even larger and never crowded. You can sit on a lounge on the beach and let your kids rent bikes to peddle over to Fort Wilderness. I did this the last time, holding the phone down to the water to bug my friends up north while they were suffering through an ice storm while I was "chilling" by the lake! On a rainy afternoon, you can visit the Villas via the covered walkway and sit and play a game from the ample stock of board games they keep on hand over there.
I am trying to plan another trip and despite my passing desire to stay at OKW(for it's relaxing atmosphere) I KNOW that we'll end up back at "home"-the Wilderness Lodge!
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Old 01-09-2008, 11:37 AM   #4
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My New Favorite

We stayed here in September 2007. It was our first stay in a Deluxe Resort. To say we were impressed was an understatement. The Lobby is spectacular, with it's large size, and fantastic attention to detail. It has a cute little hot spring towards the back of the lobby, that little kids seemed to be enamored with (at least the ones we saw). The view out the large back window of the lobby to the pool and "backyard" is breathtaking.

Our room was a simple one, but amazing, nonetheless. We had a great view of the pool and the other "wing" of the building. To our left we had a view of Bay Lake and the boat dock.

We enjoyed the ease of taking a boat to Magic Kingdom and the other Bay Lake Resorts. This was very convenient and a nice change from the buses. We did not have an issues with any of the transportation here.

Being able to see the Electrical Water Pageant from the beach at this resort is a very nice treat for adults and children. Although we didn't eat at the TS restaurants at this resort, it did look like people inside WCC were having a great time! Roaring Forks wasn't our favorite CS spot as far as "food courts" are concerned, but it was fast, convenient and good enough for a quick snack or breakfast.

The pool is wonderful. It has a cute little slide for the kids (although Dh and I went down more than once ). The pool bar offers delicious options and friendly staff. You can also see and hear the geyser from the pool, which is nice.

I really can't say enough great things about the WL. I would stay here again in a heartbeat and would recommend it to anyone without a second thought!
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Old 01-09-2008, 11:50 AM   #5
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WL is a gorgeous resort. From the moment you walk into the lobby, it hits you. The theming is fabulous. The rooms are bif. We had a nice wood of the pond and the woods. It doesn't feel like you're at a hotel at WDW, but really out in the woods. The creek in the lobby is a nice touch. Whispering Canyon and Artist Point are great places to eat. It doesn't cost as much as the other Deluxes, but it's still pricey. If we're not going at Christmas time, it's my favorite place to stay at WDW
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Old 03-02-2008, 02:32 PM   #6
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We love WL

I have stayed at WL three times, and twice in the last 2 years. I love this resort for so many reasons. From the moment we enter the huge lobby and hear the soaring uplifting music of the Pacific Northwest, we know we have left the world behind and have begun our Magical Journey!

Each of the last 2 visits we were given the same room albeit on different floors = 2004 and 6004. It was the last room on the left walking all the way down the North Wing after getting off the elevator behind Roaring Fork. The sixth floor room afforded us an awesome view of MK Fireworks, the creek and lagoon, a little bit of the Contemporary, monorail and Castle through the trees, and the Electric Water Pageant thing.

As one of 2 lowest priced Deluxe hotels, it is a great compromise for our family. It isn't as costly as GF, but offers most of the same ammenities we need to make our stay perfect. The grounds are impecable and the pool theming is fabulous. The rooms are spacious enough for my family of 4 - 2 adults and 2 preschoolers with strollers, toys, and luggage.

Mousekeeping was outstanding!!! We always had what we needed seemingly before we asked for it! Our Mousekeepers were attentive and hard-working. We had Towel Figures 5 of 6 nights during our stay.

One disappointment was the Roaring Fork. We found the food and service to be lacking a bit from our previous visits.
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Old 04-10-2008, 08:37 PM   #7
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I love this resort!! It is my fave resort on Disney property, and since I fell in love with it the first time we stayed there, we became DVC members with the VWL being our home resort! This resort is even more magical at Christmas!
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My Previous Trips10/96-Contemporary, 4/98-Contemporary-Honeymoon, 12/01-Contemporary & Villas at the Wilderness Lodge, 4/04-Port Orleans-Riverside & Beach Club Villas, 4/05-Old Key West & Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort, 12/07-Villas at the Wilderness Lodge, 10/08-11/08-Boardwalk Villas & Beach Club Villas,10/09-11/09-Animal Kingdom Villas-Kidani Village, 8/10-9/10-Villas at the Wilderness Lodge & Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort,11/12-12/12- Saratoga Springs & Beach Club Villas, 8/13-9/13-Fort Wilderness Cabins & Animal Kingdom Villas- Jambo House Club & Grand Villa, 8/14 Polynesian Club Level, 8/15 Villas at The Grand Floridian & Beach Club Villas, 11/16 Beach Club Club Level, 8/17 Polynesian Villas, Boulder Ridge Villas & Beach Club Villas
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Old 06-07-2008, 11:22 AM   #8
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We stayed here 5/27/08--6/2/08 and enjoyed the Lodge very much. We had booked a standard view room but received a free upgrade to a lodge view at check in. We were on the north side of the hotel and could see the Magic Kingdom fireworks every night.
The rooms were comfortable and fairly clean. Spacious compared to the moderate resorts where we usually stay. Beds were very comfortable.
Transportation was slightly spotty but better than the moderate resorts. We really enjoyed the boat to MK.
We ate several times at Roaring Fork--we thought the food was pretty good, and the portions were huge for what you pay.
The pool is heated, so it was a bit warm for our taste, but still a lot of fun. One note: while we were there, baby ducks were swimming in the pool. We enjoyed watching them, but this could be a problem if you have kids who will want to touch them.

Pros:
Great theme
Nice rooms
Convenient access to the parks, especially MK
Less expensive than other deluxe resorts

Cons:
A little mold in the bathroom
There is a shelf above the sinks--it gives extra storage space, but it's easy to knock your head on while brushing your teeth
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Old 06-09-2008, 07:51 PM   #9
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The place never fails to put forth something new for you to see.
It is the only WDW resort where people are struck with Awe when stepping
into the lobby and must stop and attemp to take in the Awesome and Magnificent
sight before them
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Old 07-01-2008, 01:03 PM   #10
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Best of the Lot

This is my all time best in all of Disney. I found this to me my home all around.
Good Food
Transportion Good
Housekeeping very good
One bad thing no Tea in the room Just coffee but this was the same at the other resorts as well. Had to go down to food court to get tea bags.Though that was dum.
CM'S were very helpful
Little issue with DME going home but was resolved quickly.
The christmas decorations and the lobby muisc are so relaxing sitting in front of the fireplace.
This is just a wonderful place to stay wish I could stay nere next year but can't afford it this time.
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Old 07-03-2008, 09:21 AM   #11
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We've stayed in the WL the last 2 times we've been to WDW. To us it is by far the most spectacular and amazing resort. Being told "Welcome home" by the guard at the gate brings a huge smile to all 6 of our faces. The lobby is magnificant and takes your breath away. We had a wonderful view of the water and the boat parade at night. I can't wait until we return in December.
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Old 07-05-2008, 05:03 PM   #12
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I love staying at the Villas @ Wilderness Lodge. I guess that's good as that is my home resort
It is so relaxing and welcoming that it truly feels like coming home for us.
The theming is great and makes me feel like I was back in Colorado and Wyoming, hiking the trails in the great national parks.
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Old 08-14-2008, 05:40 AM   #13
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I stayed here during my honeymoon 2/9 - 2/15 after having stayed at the Polynesian for 4 nights.

When we first came over with our luggage, the bell hop was very nice and took our bags as we checked in. As it was 10am in the morning, obviously our room wasn't yet ready, we headed off to play mini-golf and get lunch.

We returned to the resort around 1pm to see if it was ready, it wasn't understandably again so we headed to DTD and returned by 3:30pm. Room still wasn't ready. It wasn't ready until 4:10pm.

As it was our honeymoon, we requested a king bed. Well the room they gave us was unacceptable. It was a handicap room, but that wasn't the issue. The bathroom door wouldn't lock, there was mold in the shower, and the bed was obviously a few years past its prime as its curvature was ridiculus.

However, we had dining reservation at 5:30pm at Narcoossee's that we wanted to get to and we would deal with this when we got back from Dinner & the P&P party.

As soon as we got in the room, we called luggage services to get our luggage. They said, it would be there in 10 minutes. 25 minutes later it still wasn't there. I called and was told it just left. 15 minutes after that still wasn't there. I went back to the lobby and asked what was going on. I was told they couldn't locate my luggage. What? I asked them how that could be as I'm sure my luggage is the only one that has 2 cake boxes with it (my top layer of my wedding cake + the left overs from the welcome dinner cake) The lady was not helpful and rude in her reply and handed me a mickey sticker as if that would solve all the problems. This being the first day of my honeymoon, I fully admit that I was more emotionaly than usual. I call my husband as I didn't want to go back to the room and he hated that I was upset. He came down and requested a manager from the front desk. As he's the more calm/assertive one of the two of us, I let him do his thing. He explained the issues with our room and how its unacceptable to be lied to luggage people as we have been. It took a lot for my husband to get him to even promise that our room was to be fixed of the mold issue/broken door issue & that there was nothing they could do about the bed.

Well, they finally found our luggage at 5:15pm and I ran to the room so that I could freshen up finally while my husband was still talking to the manager. Thats when I noticed, they destroyed the top layer of my wedding cake. I was upset as we were planning on saving it and bringing it home.

I texted my husband that fact but the manager didn't care and brushed us off. Now we have 5 minutes to magically get to the WL to Narcoossee's and there weren't any taxi's so we ended up being 15 minutes late to our dinner reservation.

After dinner & P&P, we returned to our room to notice not a single thing had been fixed, including the door or the mold. We returned to the front desk to get a new room, we didn't care if it had a king bed or 2 queens, we just wanted a room that was in functional order and free of mold, a rather simple request.

A new manager was on that stated he saw what had occured earlier. There were no rooms available that night but they would switch us in the morning. Great now I get to trust luggage services with my stuff again & obviously I wasn't too thrilled. Not thinking they could ruin my cake anymore though, what was I going to do?

We did get moved to another King Bed room that was acceptable. However, the journey to get that room was unacceptable.

It is the most affordable of the deluxes and the theming is nice; however, we spent most of the honeymoon wishing we never left the Polynesian because the magic wasn't there.

Roaring Forks was ok in the mornings although almost all of the deluxe resorts have a smaller CS than there really needs to be and the boat to the MK was relaxing.

We however will not stay here again.
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My Previous Trips100+ Trips & Counting. CBR Oct 06, CBR Jan 07, POP Jun 07, CBR Oct 07, DCL Western Dec 07, WL/Poly Feb 08 (DFTW), CSR Oct 08, BC or BWI? Sept 09
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Old 08-22-2008, 09:30 PM   #14
Joy J
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My Happy Place

I have stayed at Wilderness Lodge twice and both times had absolutely fantastic experiences. There is such a sense of peace and serenity here and the hustle and bustle of the theme parks seems to be miles away. I love everything about this resort from the amazing lobby (I adore watching first-timers' jaws drop as they then go into spin mode when they first enter the lobby) to the smells and the sounds and the entire overall atmosphere. It's particularly enchanting during the Christmas season as you truly do feel like you're celebrating Christmas in the mountains and it's difficult to grasp the fact that you're actually still in Florida. The staff here are nothing short of amazing and the grounds truly breathtaking. Whether it's watching the sun set over Bay Lake or staring at the geyser as it frequently erupts or enjoying the Electrical Water Pageant as it passes by, there's never a shortage of things to see and do at Wilderness Lodge.

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December,2003 - Wilderness Lodge
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Old 08-31-2008, 10:26 AM   #15
DippyDog
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Loved this resort I call it my home. Everything abot this resort is DISNEY and the feel of being in the woods of the Natonal Park. Service was great and all the CM'S were curtious and helpful when ask. The food was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good at Artist Point. It was not so good at WC but it passed. I just like the beauthy of this resort.
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