Disney's Wilderness Lodge Villas Overview
Parts of the Wilderness Lodge & Villas property will be a construction zone from late 2015 through 2016, as Disney adds new timeshare units to the shores of Bay Lake and the Wilderness Lodge building. Water View (i.e., northeast-facing) rooms at the Villas and northwest-facing Woods View rooms at the Lodge, may be subject to construction noise and views. There was no official word from Disney as we went to press, but we hear that some upper-floor hotel rooms in the Lodge will also be converted to timeshare lodging. If so, expect construction to affect more rooms on the northwest side of the Lodge. Your best bet to avoid the mess is to request a courtyard view in the main building, a southwest-facing view in the Villas, or choose another hotel.
Wilderness Lodge 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 in the main building 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 lobby’s rustic luxury. Although the resort isn’t on vast acreage, it does have a beach and a delightful pool modeled on a mountain stream.
The 136 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 lodge’s rustic decor extends to the villas, which can be booked by non-DVC members as space allows.
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 it’s raining or looks like it’s about to, Disney will provide buses. Walking time to bus- and boat- loading areas from the most remote rooms is about 5–8 minutes.
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.
A Westminster, Maryland, family is high on the Wilderness Lodge:
The Wilderness Lodge is one of the best resorts we have stayed at EVER. The hotel is gorgeous, and the theming is beautiful and realistic without being overdone.
How Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort & Villas Compares to Other Disney Resorts
The major advantage of Wilderness Lodge Villas is that the Magic Kingdom is short boat ride away. Wilderness Lodge does offer a fitness center, salon, and a spa.
Where To Check-In, Get Theme Park Tickets, and Make Dining Reservations
A security gate guards the entrance to Wilderness Lodge's grounds. If you arrive by car, you'll need to provide photo ID at the gate; it's not necessary to provide your reservation number or paperwork. A dedicated parking lot across from the lobby serves as temporary parking for those who need it while checking in.
Check-in time at Wilderness Lodge is 3:00 PM, and check-out time is 11:00 AM. Wilderness Lodge participates in Disney's Online Check-In program, which allows you to you provide name, address, and credit card information up to 60 days before your arrival. If you've done this, look for an Online Check-In sign near the Registration Desk. You'll be routed to one of the Online Check-in staff and should be on the way to your room in a few minutes.
If you've not registered online, look for signs pointing you to the Registration/Check-In area. You'll need to provide a government-issued photo ID and credit/debit card when you register. While parents are completing the paperwork, kids can unwind in a nearby play area decorated with child-sized furniture, and a television showing classic Disney animated films.
Disney's Wilderness Lodge's registration staff can provide MagicBands for your stay, if you don't already have them. Get theme park tickets and dining reservations at the Concierge Desk, to the right of the Registration Desk. If you need to check in and obtain theme park tickets, you can save some time in line if one adult gets in line for tickets just after another adult starts the registration process. The Concierge Desk can also make Disney dining reservations, and you can avoid a wait there by making them online prior to arrival.
Disney's Wilderness Lodge Villas Rooms
Wilderness Lodge Studios: Studios sleep up to five people following 2014 renovations; they now include one queen-size bed, a queen-sized sofa bed, and a 1-person sleeper chair. The total Studio room size is 356 square feet, with about half of that being dedicated to the kitchen and bathroom area
Wilderness Lodge One-Bedroom Villa: The one-bedroom villa sleeps 4 and provides a formal kitchen and a living room in addition to the studio bedroom, which contains a king bed. The living room's sofa folds out to provide a queen bed. One-Bedrooms Villas are 727 square feet.
Wilderness Lodge Two-bedroom villas: Two-bedroom villas sleep 8 and include all of the kitchen amenities found in a one-bedroom, plus an extra bathroom. One of the baths is attached to a second bedroom with two queen beds or a queen bed plus a sleeper-sized sofa. As with the one-bedrooms, a sofa bed in the living room provides an extra place to snooze. Two-Bedroom Villas are 1,080 square feet.
Handicap-Accessible Room Options
Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort have around 19 handicap-accessible rooms. Some feature roll-in showers, while others include assistive hearing devices. A subset of these rooms have been converted to comply with Florida's Accessibility Code, with changes to everything from bed, counter-top, and dresser drawer height, to door widths, wheelchair ramps, and more. Use our hotel room finder to see which rooms have which feature.
Wilderness Lodge Pools
Wilderness Lodge Resort has two pools. The largest, Silver Creek Springs Pool, sits sits in the middle of the resort's courtyard. The pool is surrounded by rock work and lush vegetation, the entire complex looks great. There is also a hot tub, kiddie pool and water player area.
The other smaller pool is located on the far right of the resort, next to the Wilderness Lodge Villas. This pool is considered a "quiet pool," meaning that loud play and splashing around are discouraged.
Wilderness Lodge's pools range in depth from around 3 feet 6 inches/1.1m to 4 feet 9 inches/1.4m. Pool are open every day, including during winter. The pools are heated to 82°F/28°C throughout the year. We've swum in temperatures as cold as 40°F/4°C; the water was fine, but getting out was a shock. Wilderness Lodge also has a hot tub located near Silver Creek Springs Pool.
Silver Creek Springs has one water slide that all ages are free to use. Guests can find showers, storage lockers, restrooms, and laundry facilities. Pool hours are at least 10AM to 10 PM, extending to as much as 8 AM to 12 AM during busy times. Silver Creek Springs Pool will have lifeguards during the pools' operating hours.
Infants and children in diapers are welcome in all of Wilderness Lodge's pools, as long as they're wearing swim diapers. Water wings are allowed at all Disney pools, and every pool has free life vests in a variety of sizes:
- Infant/child: Weight less than 30 lbs.
- Child: Weight 30-50 lbs.
- Youth: Weight 50-90 lbs.
- Adult XS: Weight more than 90 lbs., Chest size 31-34 in.
- Adult S: Weight more than 90 lbs., Chest size 34-37 in.
- Adult M: Weight more than 90 lbs., Chest size 37-40 in.
- Adult L: Weight more than 90 lbs. Chest size 40-43 in.
- Adult XL: Weight more than 90 lbs., Chest size 43-46 in.
- Adult XXL: Weight more than 90 lbs., Chest size 46-48 in.
- Additionally, there may be a small supply of even larger vests. Inquire at your resort.
You may need to bring your towels from your room to use at the pool - Disney sometimes stocks extra towels poolside, and sometimes they don't. Our advice is to send someone down to the pool to check the towel situation before you go. If you end up using your room towels at the pool, just call Housekeeping when you get back and request more.
Pool toys are permitted in Wilderness Lodge's pools, including "pool noodles," and basic toys that would be appropriate for water use such as rubber duckies and bucket & shovel sets. Some of us will occasionally bring something like a whiffle ball for playing catch in the pool. As long as you’re not disturbing other guests, you’ll be fine. Also note that kids with pool toys become very popular with other kids in the pool who want to play too. If you’re traveling with an only child and want him to have some age cohort interaction during your vacation, a nice strategy is to bring some extra toys. Chances are he’ll make a buddy.
Wheelchair Accessibility at Wilderness Lodge's Pool
Wilderness Lodge's Silver Creek Springs Pool has a chair-lift device that can lower guests in wheelchairs into the shallow end of the pool. Check with any lifeguard for assistance on using the lift.
Playgrounds at Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort
A small playground set is located near Silver Creek Springs on the beach. The set has a small plastic slide and a couple of sections with a few steps for toddlers to go up and down. Safety seems to be Disney's concern here - there are no swings, and the entire area is covered in sand.
Restaurants and Dining
Wilderness Lodge Villas does not have any dedicated restaurants, but the main building of Wilderness Lodge has some excellent dining options, including three quick service restaurants, two table service restaurants and one lounge.
The cavernous dining room can feel a little sterile, but the food and friendly service warm up the place. The cedar-plank salmon is a must-try, but the buffalo short rib runs a close second in today's fat- and carb-conscious world. The restaurant offers a terrific all-Pacific Northwest wine list.
Two-story-high paintings depict the landscape of the Pacific Northwest, and out the tall windows you'll see Disney's version of the Pacific Northwest: wildflowers, the lake, a waterfall off high rocks, and even an erupting geyser. Cast-iron chandeliers hold 12 lanterns with milk-glass panes; tables are made of heavy wood and engraved with animals native to the Northwest.
Whispering Canyon Cafe
Whispering Canyon Cafe Breakfast Menu - Whispering Canyon Cafe Kids Breakfast Menu - Whispering Canyon Cafe Lunch Menu - Whispering Canyon Cafe Dinner Menu - Whispering Canyon Cafe Kids Lunch/Dinner Menu
Just off the hotel's atrium lobby, the restaurant looks out on the lobby on one side and a mountain prairie, created by Disney landscapers, on the other. Tables have a barrel-top lazy Susan where food is placed.
If you're hungry, the real value here is in the family-style service, with all-you-can-eat servings brought to you on platters and in crocks to pass around to your family. You can always order off the regular menu if you don't feel like sharing, but you may end up paying more for the privilege. Lively dining room with servers who encourage kids to be rowdy - all in good fun.
Roaring Fork is small counter service restaurant with a limited menu. Prices range from $6 to $15 for an entree so you won't break the bank. The menu is made up of burgers, sandwiches, and flatbread pizzas.
Roaring Fork participate in Disney's Rapid Fill refillable mug program, where you purchase a souvenir plastic mug once, and get free refills for the remainder of your stay. The cost varies depending on how long you're staying at the resort:
- $8.99 for 1 day
- $11.99 for 2 days
- $14.99 for 3 days
- $17.99 for length of stay (4 or more days)
The break-even point for the refillable mug program seems to be around 3 visits on the 1-day plan; 4 visits on the 2-day plan; 5 on the 3- day plan; and 6 visits for stays of 4 or more days. Keep in mind that if you buy a regular $3 fountain soda at any meal, you get unlimited refills during that meal. So for the refillable mug program to make sense, you'll need to drink soda with at least 3 separate meals on the 1-day plan, or 5 separate meals on the 2-day plan. In those cases, it would be hard to get too far from a bathroom, let alone all the way to the parks.
Restaurants at Wilderness Lodge participate in the Disney Dining Plan; meals cost 1 credit at Roaring Fork and Whispering Canyon, and 2 credits at Artist Point. Tables in Wonderland cardholders are eligible for a 20% discount at all resort gift shops.
Pizza delivery is available to your room from Disney's own delivery service. Besides pizza, chicken wings, desserts, beer, wine, and sodas are also available. However, delivery can take up to 90 minutes, and the food quality is often below average. You're probably better off either walking to the food court or calling Domino's. Pizza delivery hours are 4 PM to midnight daily. A medium (16") cheese pizza costs around $14 and a pepperoni around $16. Minimum order is $15, and Disney will tack on an 18% tip, $3 delivery charge, and 7% sales tax. Thus, a $30 pizza order will cost you $40.50 delivered.
Territory Lounge is Wilderness Lodge's lounge. Territory Lounge has indoor seating and a full drink menu, with several beer selections, wines, and a selection of spirits. The lounge is usually open 4 PM to 12 AM daily.
Transportation to and from Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort
Driving Your Own Car Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort is just off of I-4 in Lake Buena Vista. Take I-4 Exit 67 - Epcot Center Dr. and you'll end up on World Drive. Turn right onto World Drive and then right on to Timberline Dr. Finally, make a left on to W Wilderness Rd and Wilderness Lodge will be on your right.
Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort's GPS address and location are:
Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort
901 Timberline Dr
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Latitude: 28.409390 North, Longitude: 81.572615 West
From Orlando International Airport If you're arriving at Orlando International Airport, Disney's free Magical Express bus service will take you and your luggage directly from the airport to Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort, then back to the airport when it's time for your flight home.
From Sanford International Airport It's about a 40-minute drive from Sanford to Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort. If you're not renting a car, be aware that Sanford's airport offers fewer transportation options than Orlando's, and Sanford's options are generally much more expensive. A taxi from Sanford International Airport to Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort will cost between $120 and $150, depending on traffic. Mears Transportation offers 3-passenger towncar service to Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort for around $140 each way, plus tip; 5-passenger SUV service or 10-passenger van is around $190 each way. That means round-trip transportation will run you somewhere between $240 and $380, plus tip, between Sanford and Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort. At those prices, it may be less expensive to rent a car and park it at the hotel.
Getting to the theme parks, water parks and Downtown Disney Disney provides free bus service from Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort to Magic Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, and Downtown Disney/Disney Springs. Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort's bus stops sit along the front wall of the lobby, between the lobby and check-in parking lot. Each theme park has its own bus stop somewhere along the wall. Animal Kingdom's bus service is shared with Blizzard Beach, while Downtown Disney/Disney Springs and Typhoon Lagoon also share a stop and service.
Magic Kingdom can also be accessed by boat from the dock near Silver Creek Springs. Boat service may be suspended during thunderstorms, so if it's raining or looks like it's about to, Disney will provide buses.
Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort's Bus Schedule
Ask a Disney Castmember about Wilderness Lodge's bus schedule, and they'll tell you that buses run about every 20 minutes. In reality, Wilderness Lodge's bus schedule varies considerably depending on the time of day and where you're headed.
For example, if you're headed to the Magic Kingdom between 8 AM and 11 AM, you'll wait around 11 minutes, on average, for a bus to arrive. The bus schedules for Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Disney's Hollywood Studios are about the same early in the day, with a bus arriving every 14-20 minutes, on average. Bus schedules to the water parks and Downtown Disney are a little less frequent, and you could wait anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes for a ride.
Buses run a little slower from around 11 AM to around 4 PM, when most people are already in a park. Disney's evening buses are scheduled around the theme parks' closing times, where most of the fleet is deployed to get guests back to their hotels. Your waits to return to your hotel from a theme park should average out to around 30 minutes under most circumstances.
If you've got your own car, it's faster to drive yourself to Disney's Animal Kingdom, the Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach water parks, and Downtown Disney. Disney's bus service is faster to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios. We evaluate Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort's bus service annually, and the latest transportation times can be found below.
Getting to another hotel from Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort If you've got dining plans at another Disney hotel, the cheapest option is to take a Disney bus from Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort to Downtown Disney (or an open theme park), then take another bus from there to your destination hotel. Do the reverse to get back to Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort. While that's free, it can take anywhere from 90 minutes to 2 hours each way. If your destination is one of the Magic Kingdom monorail resorts, and the Magic Kingdom is still open, you could take a bus to the Magic Kingdom, then either walk (to the Contemporary and Bay Lake Tower), hop on the monorail (to the Polynesian and Grand Floridian), or take a boat (to Fort Wilderness, the Wilderness Lodge, the Polynesian, and the Grand Floridian). We suggest you still allow at least an hour for that.
The fastest option, however, is almost always a taxi from Wilderness Lodge to wherever you're going; it's generally not more than a $20, 15-minute cab ride to get to most Disney hotels from Wilderness Lodge, and often less. Taxis are available outside the lobby; if a taxi is not already sitting out front, the bell services desk also serves as a taxi stand, and they'll call one for you.
You can also take a boat in Bay Lake to Disney's BoardWalk Resort or the Swan & Dolphin hotels. This option can also take some time depending on where you are going and how frequent the boats are running.
To Universal Orlando If you're staying at Walt Disney World and don't have a car, Mears Transportation will shuttle you from your hotel to Universal and back for $18 per person. Pickup and return times are at your convenience. A one-way taxi ride is around $36, and may be the cheapest option if you have three to five people.
Shopping, Recreation and Things to Do
Sturdy Branches is Wilderness Lodge's fitness center and spa. It is open 24 hours a day but attendants are only available from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM. Massage, facial, and body treatment services are available.
Watercraft Rentals are available for use in Bay Lake 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Kayaks, sailboats, pedal boats, and Sea Raycers can be rented. Prices vary. All rentals can be purchased in a booth near Silver Creek Springs Pool.
Wilderness Lodge's gift shop is Wilderness Lodge Mercantile. It is located on the right side after you enter Wilderness Lodge's lobby. As you'd expect from a Disney gift shop, Mercantile has a decent collection of souvenirs ranging from small trinkets such as keychains and pens, to embroidered jackets and Disney princess dresses. Prices for these items are about what you'd pay in the theme parks or Downtown Disney.
Wilderness Lodge Mercantile also sells basic pharmacy items such as sunscreen, aspirin, allergy and cold medicine, baby diapers and formula, shampoo, and the like. And Wilderness Lodge Mercantile has Disney-branded cookies, chocolate, coffee tins, and similar items, if that's what you're looking for. Prices for these items are considerably higher - about double - than what you'd probably pay at home.
Also located near Wilderness Lodge Mercantile is the Buttons and Bells Game Arcade, which has a decent collection of relatively recent video and arcade games. Most games cost $0.50 to $2.00 per play, which can add up quickly. It's helpful to set a budget with your kids before they go in.
Walkers, joggers and runners can find a jogging trail. The trail is a 0.75-mile shaded fitness trail and bike path that connects Disney's Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort.
Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort Babysitting and In-Room Child Care
Wilderness Lodge's on-site child-care center is the Cub's Den. Kids ages 3-12 may take part. Services vary, but children generally can be left between 4:30 PM and midnight. Milk and cookies and blankets and pillows are provided at all centers, and dinner is provided at most. Play is supervised but not organized, and toys, videos, and games are plentiful. Guests at any Disney resort or campground may use the services.
The most elaborate of the child-care centers (variously called "clubs" or "camps") is Never Land Club at the Polynesian Resort. The rate for ages 3-12 is $12 per hour, per child (2-hour minimum).
All the clubs accept reservations (some six months in advance!) with a credit card guarantee. Call the club directly, or reserve through Disney at 407-WDW-DINE. (If you call before 4 PM, call the club directly using the number shown below.) Most clubs require a 24-hour cancellation notice and levy a hefty penalty of 2 hours' time or $22.50 per call for no- shows. A limited number of walk-ins are usually accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
|Hotel||Name of Program||Ages||Phone|
|Animal Kingdom Lodge||Simba's Clubhouse||3-12||407-938-4785|
|Dolphin and Swan||Camp Dolphin||4-12||407-934-4241|
|Polynesian Resort||Never Land Club||3-12||407-824-1639|
|Yacht and Wilderness Lodge Resorts||Sandcastle Club||3-12||407-934-3750|
|Wilderness Lodge and Villas||Cub's Den||3-12||407-824-1083|
Two companies provide in-room sitting in Walt Disney World and surrounding areas. They're Kid's Nite Out and Fairy Godmothers (no kidding). Both provide sitters older than age 18 who are insured, bonded, screened, reference-checked, police-checked, and trained in CPR. In addition to caring for your kids in your room, the sitters will, if you direct (and pay), take your children to the theme parks or other venues. Neither service will transport your children in private vehicles or give baths. Both offer bilingual sitters.
|Kid's Nite Out||Fairy Godmothers|
All WDW and Orlando-area hotels
All WDW and Orlando-area hotels
Men and women
Mothers and grandmothers, female college students
Base Hourly Rates
1 child, $18
2 children, $21
3 children, $24
4 children, $26
Base Hourly Rates
1 child, $16
2 children, $16
3 children, $16
4 children, $18
Transportation fee, $10; starting before 6:30 AM
or after 9 PM, +$2 per hour; additional fee for holidays
Transportation fee, $14; starting after 10 PM,
+$2 per hour
24 hours before service when reservation is made
3 hours before service
Form of Payment
AE, D, MC, V; gratuity in cash
Form of Payment
Cash or traveler's check for actual payment; gratuity in cash
Things Sitter Won't Do
Transport children in private vehicles,
take children swimming, give baths
Things Sitter Won't Do
Transport children, give baths; swimming
is at sitter's discretion
Miscellaneous Wilderness Lodge
Coin-operated washers and dryers are in laundry facilities located on the ground floor near the lobby. Cost is around $2 per wash, and another $2 per dry cycle. The machines take quarters, and a change machine is provided. A small selection of soap, fabric softener, and dryer sheets are also sold, for around $1 each. A typical wash cycle takes 20 to 30 minutes, and a typical dry cycle takes 40 to 50.
If you lose something during your stay, contact Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort's Lost and Found department by calling (407)824-4245.
|Hotel||Definitely (+/- since last year)|
|Disney's Wilderness Lodge Villas||79% (+4%)|
|Average for WDW hotels||76% (+0%)|
|Average for off-site hotels||57% (+0%)|
|Hotel||Definitely (+/- since last year)|
|Disney's Wilderness Lodge Villas||85% (-15%)|
|Average for WDW hotels||92% (+2%)|
|Average for off-site hotels||79% (-7%)|
Good (and Not-So-Good) Rooms at Disney's Wilderness Lodge Villas
Best and Worst Room Views at Disney's Disney's Wilderness Lodge Villas
TouringPlans offers pictures of the view from any Disney resort room on property. Click here for the Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort map and to choose a room to see the view.
Except for a few rooms overlooking the pool, rooms at Wilderness Villas offer woodland views. The best are odd-numbered rooms 2531–2563 and 3531–3563, which open to the northeast, or lakeside, of the resort (though you can’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|
|Romantic setting, architecture||Must take boat or bus to get to off-site dining options|
|Very nice 1- and 2BR villas with full kitchens||No 3 BR Grand Villa units|
|Good on-site dining at Wilderness Lodge|
|Extensive recreational options|
|Elaborate swimming complex at Wilderness Lodge|
|Health and fitness center at Wilderness Lodge|
|On-site child care at Wilderness Lodge|
|Very quiet, peaceful location|
|Nice seating areas on the first floor for reading or relaxing|
Wilderness Lodge Villas 2015 Rack Rates
|Park||Commuting Times||Resort Transportation|
|Magic Kingdom||20 min|
|Hollywood Studios||27 min|
|Animal Kingdom||30 min|
|Quietness of Room||B+|
|Shuttle to Parks||Yes|