After just finishing our first trip staying at the Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge..I surveyed the family of 2 adults and 3 children (ages 4-8) for their personal favorite things about this resort. Interesting outcome that I received very different answers from all. Take from that what you may, although I will derive that it is a very interesting place to stay with something to appeal to everyone.
To add some background, we are DVC members who usually stay at the Beach club villas ..primarily for its wonderful water park like pool in combination with the walkable access to Epcot, Hollywood studios, and Disney’s Boardwalk. As a family we rely on these amenities to save us from scheduling entire days to Epcot and/or the water parks. With a 4 night stay booked at a resort that offered something completely different we were a bit apprehensive..yet excited.
To give a brief overview, Disney’s Wilderness lodge is a magic kingdom area resort, yet is not on the monorail loop. It is accessible to both the park and the contemporary resort via ferry boat. It is themed in a very rustic wooded Pacific Northwest feel. The DVC arrangements are in a building adjoinining the main lodge via covered walkway positioned directly behind the bus stop and alongside the (alternate) hidden springs pool. With this information we will move on to our top 5 things that we liked about staying at Disney’s Wilderness lodge (and villas).
1. Proximity to the magic kingdom and the accessibility via boat. This was a very different experience than what we typically can see from staying over by the Epcot resort area, the boats varied between small and large and moved us quickly back and forth to MK…a trip that is not as simple coming from another resort. We thoroughly enjoyed walking to the boat dock and taking the peaceful boat ride to the center of the Disney universe. Extra kudos to the singing boat captain that took us from the lodge to the Contemporary resort. His willingness to be both expedient while entertaining really made that ride special for the family.
Additional bonus was the ability to see the Electrical Water Pageant pass by the resort at nighttime.
2. The rustic feel of the wilderness. This was a double mention from my kids. To say this resort is well themed is a massive understatement. You will completely feel removed from the Disney parks area until you step aboard transportation and begin to travel toward your destination. The lobby is magnificent and the feel of woods, geysers and fireplaces stays with you every minute there.
3. The Food options: table service restaurants and quick service. The resort has 3 choices as well as a lounge with a full menu. All of the options are very close to each other and offer very complementary choices. We managed to hit each one at least once, with several pop ins to the quick service, roaring fork. My daughter especially enjoyed the cupcake selections.
4. The Trains. This resort takes time to really honor and pay homage to Walt Disney’s love of trains. Inside the villas there is a quiet room that was dedicated to show off a few models as well as an example of Walt’s original trains from his backyard for his kids. My oldest son, the big Walt fan, took time to pose with this train and then pictures of Walt.
5. The overall compactness of the resort. This was my biggest takeaway. Having stayed at the beach club villas for many years, we are especially spoiled with the ability to walk anywhere..yet to really take advantage of that resort one has to walk a great bit to see and experience everything nearby. With the wilderness lodge, the resort amenities were all very close by, including our room inside the villas. We could walk outside one door and either up a ramp to the bust stop or another ramp to the main lodge. An accessible sidewalk took us past the pools and right to the boat dock. This proved to be very helpful and quite key for being able to enjoy a lot of the resort, especially for a quick run to the lobby, quick service and lounges during a shorter trip.
If you have stayed here and have favorites of your own, please let us know by commenting here or on social media.