This Deluxe resort is inspired by national-park lodges of the early 20th century. The Wilderness Lodge & Villas ranks with Animal Kingdom Lodge as one of the most impressively themed and meticulously detailed Disney resorts. Situated on the shore of Bay Lake, the lodge consists of an eight-story central building augmented by two seven-story guest wings and a wing of studio and one- and two- bedroom condominiums. The hotel features exposed timber columns, log-cabin-style facades, and dormer windows. The grounds are landscaped with evergreen pines and pampas grass. The lobby boasts an 82-foot-tall stone fireplace and two 55-foot Pacific Northwest totem poles. Timber pillars, giant tepee chandeliers, and stone-, wood-, and marble-inlaid floors accentuate the lobbyâ€™s rustic luxury. Although the resort isnâ€™t on vast acreage, it does have a beach and a delightful pool modeled on a mountain stream.
Part of the Disney Vacation Club time-share program, the 136 adjoining Wilderness Lodge Villas are studio and one- and two-bedroom units in a freestanding building to the right of the lodge. Studios offer kitchenettes; one- and two-bedroom villas come with full kitchens. The lodgeâ€™s rustic decor extends to the villas, which can be booked by non-DVC members as space allows. The villas share restaurants, pools, and other amenities with Wilderness Lodge.
Service at Wilderness Lodge & Villas is excellent. There are two full-service restaurants, with several more a boat ride away. The resort is connected to the Magic Kingdom by boat and to other Disney parks by bus. Boat service may be suspended during thunderstorms, so if itâ€™s raining or looks like itâ€™s about to, Disney will provide buses. Walking time to bus- and boat-loading areas from the most remote rooms is about 5â€“8 minutes.
A three-generation family from Clifton, Virginia, is high on the Wilderness Lodge, writing:
I LOVE going to the Wilderness Lodge and canâ€™t recommend it enough to guests. The theming is fabulous, and theyâ€™re really welcoming to kids. While others might go to Disney for other reasons, if youâ€™re looking to go with little kids or because youâ€™re a kid at heart, itâ€™s worth a visit!
Two adult couples from Fort Smith, Arkansas, think the Wilderness Lodge is great, with one reservation (pardon the pun):
The ambience of the lodge makes up for a lot of the transportation problems, but there has been a real downturn in my opinion in the efficacy of the bus transportation.
An Atlanta mom also comments on transportation:
The only complaint we had was that the Wilderness Lodge bus is shared by the Fort Wilderness Campground. Stopping at both resorts made some of our bus rides extremely long.
|Hotel||Definitely (+/- since 2010)|
|Disney's Wilderness Lodge Villas||79% + (4%)|
|Average for WDW hotels||74% (+3%)|
|Average for off-site hotels||79% (+10%)|
|Average for vacation homes & condos||95% (N/A)|
|Hotel||Definitely (+/- since 2010)|
|Disney's Wilderness Lodge Villas||85% (-15%)|
|Average for WDW hotels||90% (+1%)|
|Average for off-site hotels||94% (+5%)|
|Average for vacation homes & condos||100% (N/A)|
Good (and Not-So-Good) Rooms at Disney's Wilderness Lodge Villas
Only a handful of rooms at the lodge overlook parking lots, service areas, and such. The rooms listed above afford the most desirable views, but if you canâ€™t score one of them, youâ€™re pretty much assured of a woodland view or a room fronting the faux rocks and creek in the Vâ€™s inner courtyard. Concierge rooms on the seventh floor arenâ€™t recommended. Only those facing the Magic Kingdom have nice views, and even those have a service area in the foreground. Almost all rooms at the lodge have balconies.
Except for a few rooms overlooking the pool, rooms at Wilderness Villas offer woodland views. The best are odd-numbered rooms 2531â€“ 2563 and 3531â€“3563, which open to the northeast, or lakeside, of the resort (though you canâ€™t see the lake). Rooms on the opposite side of the same wing offer similar views, but with some roads and parking lots visible, and with traffic noise.
|Magnificently rendered theme||No character meals|
|The favorite resort of children||Must take boat or bus to get to off-site dining options|
|Romantic setting, architecture|
|Good on-site dining|
|Great views from guest rooms|
|Extensive recreational options|
|Elaborate swimming complex|
|Health and fitness center|
|On-site child care|
|Animal Kingdom||15 minutes|
|Disney's Hollywood Studios||14 minutes|
|Quietness of Room||A|
|Shuttle to Parks||Yes|