When we began to plan our trip to Walt Disney World, I first began researching the different Disney World resorts. I finally settled on Disney's Wilderness Lodge for many reasons. I would like to present a review and "favorites" list of things I loved about this Disney resort.
1: The Atmosphere
First and foremost, I loved the theme and atmosphere of the Wilderness Lodge. With its rugged woodland decor reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest, you feel like you are far away from the insanity of the surrounding amusement park chaos as soon as you step inside. I felt I was in a luxurious lodge near some national park out west. In this way, even though you are on a vacation filled with exhausting fun, you can come back to your resort and room to easily recharge. A return to the Wilderness Lodge left me with the feeling that I had escaped the madness.
2: The Transportation
Secondly, I loved the transportation options available from this resort. At the Wilderness Lodge you not only have the option of the Disney bus transportation system for traveling in and around the parks, but also an option for travel on the lake by boat. The boats take you to three destinations: Magic Kingdom, Fort Wilderness, and the Contemporary Resort. A great thing about the option to travel to the Contemporary Resort is the access to its popular restaurants like the California Grill and Chef Mickey's. Also, since the monorail runs directly through this resort, you can sail to the Contemporary to easily catch the monorail to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and other resorts on its line.
2: The Dining Options
The Wilderness Resort offers three types of dining options without ever having to leave the resort. There is the Roaring Fork, which offers quick service meals and grab and go items at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Additionally, there is the Whispering Canyon Cafe which is a table service credit on the Disney Dining Plan that has a variety of hearty cuisine in a more casual and fun dining atmosphere —and as everyone will tell you—be sure to ask for ketchup! Finally, there is Artist Point. This a fine dining restaurant (which is two credits on the Disney Dining Plan) with many unique dishes. Many tourists even take the boat or bus to the Wilderness Lodge just for the dining experiences.
4. The Geyser
The Wilderness Lodge completes its Pacific Northwestern park feel with an actual geyser that erupts at several scheduled times a day. The Fire Rock Geyser, which is located between the pool and the lake, is a fun event to observe for the young and old!
5. The Pool
The expansive Copper Creek Springs pool also has a woodland theme that makes it seem you are relaxing by a mountain lake nestled amidst boulders and a waterfall. The thrilling but not-too-scary 67-foot water slide that twists down through the rocks adds to the appeal for a variety of ages. There are also different games and activities provided during the day lead by staff to help entertain the little ones at the pool.
6. The Bunk Beds (and Courtyard View With Balcony):
Our family of four loved this room option of "Courtyard View with Bunks"! Our two kids loved each having their own bed instead of being forced to share a queen bed. And let's face it, bunk beds are just cool in general! The kids loved the bunks. Only three Disney resorts currently have a room option with bunk beds so this is definitely a perk of Wilderness Lodge. We also all loved the view of the pool along with the surrounding woods and Bay Lake from the balcony of our room. It is a great start to the day to eat your Mickey waffles (after a visit to the Roaring Fork) sitting on the balcony and enjoying the view of the courtyard. Some courtyard rooms have a better lake view than others. When booking you can request to have a room with the best view of the lake if available.
7. The Value
Disney's Wilderness Lodge is considered a deluxe resort in the Disney rating system, however, it was consistently the lowest price of all the resorts I priced during my vacation planning. I loved getting the luxury accommodations and the easy access to multiple transportation options while staying on Disney property but at $50-100/night cheaper than similar accommodations at other Disney resorts. This made me feel like I got a good value for my money for my specific preferences.
As Wilderness Lodge was my first experience staying in a Disney resort, I can't really say from experience that it is better than another resort. And of course everyone is looking for different qualities in their lodging. If you have teenagers, you might want to find a resort with a more adventurous pool or water slide options. I think as my kids are getting older we might need to try the Contemporary with its impressive water slide or the Animal Kingdom Lodge with its view of animals. I just wanted to let you know the things that I loved about this resort. Truthfully, I am having a hard time envisioning myself at any other resort because I loved the Wilderness Lodge so much! I hope this helps you make your decision as you decide which Disney resort is best for you.