Ok… so I have heard rave reviews about Wilderness Lodge. Tell me why you love it. I personally have always hesitated staying there since it seems so far away from 3 of 4 parks. I would love to be convinced to do a plot stay there for our (eventual) trip!
It is home to me, as that is where my parents always booked us when we went as a family. I love the ambiance of the resort. The pool is lovely, with the geyser going off nearby on the hour. To me, it is a magical resort.
It also has pretty decent transportation in my opinion. MK is only 5 min away on a bus. Or you can take the boat for a scenic trip. AK is the farthest away, but when we were there in January, I don’t think it even took 20 minutes. More like 15, if I recall correctly. Epcot and HS are more like 10.
It is, so far, my favorite resort. I like the theming - in the rooms, in the lobby. I found the restaurants - Geyser Point, etc., are overall of better quality than some of the other resorts (including the quick service). I found it to be quieter overall than some of the other resorts and it’s not as spread out as some of the other resorts (AKL, for example). The boat to MK is very convenient - particularly in the morning or at the end of the day - and I never really had a problem with the buses to the other destinations. (I did take a Lyft more than once when there was a time crunch, so that’s something to keep in mind.)
Overall, I just find it so relaxing and pleasant.
The boat ride to MK is a big plus for me. The view from the rooms, the views of the water, Geyser Point, bar overlooking the water. The resort itself is so pretty. We would sit in one of the upper lobby like areas and hang out/relax. We’ve always done it as our second resort on a split stay after Pop. We focus mainly on MK when we stay there. Did take the bus to DHS and it seemed to take a long time to arrive but didn’t have the same wait from DHS back to WL.
In addition to what has already been mentioned I loved that while by no means is it cramped it also isn’t a massive sprawling resort like some other Disney hotels where it can take a while to walk from from side of the resort to the other. All the pools, restaurants, bus stops, boat docks etc are an easy walk from your room.
I love the theme of the resort. The detail in the carvings on the poles in the lobby, the fires burning, the flowers , wood, and water.
I love the pools. I think that when you combine the two so close they are on the same level as the Poly combo.
I love the bars. I guess you could argue that other resorts can compete with the Geyser Point/Territory Lounge combo- but I think WL might win.
I love the QS choices (with Geyser Point).
I love the fact that I can go to WDW in a race weekend and easily get to MK or EP(boat to CR and monorail).
I love the fitness center (ok the sauna).
I love it all.
I am a DVC AKL completely committed person. But DD and I for 10 years+ always visited and loved WL. So this year I bought a WL/CC contract, for her (to inherit , and use with me for as long as i’m around). I have yet to stay because of the current wacky, but have booked for Sept and Dec and cannot wait for the incredible joy!
I agree with all the thoughts above but will just second:
- Very compact resort for walking but feels spacious
- Transportation to MK is a cinch, other parks is on par or better than average
- Love the theming - the majestic grandeur of the northwestern U.S. - very Yellowstone feel to it but with all the amenities of a luxury resort
- Great pool
- Good views - I had a standard room and could see the castle / Magic Kingdom, including the fireworks, from our window (might have been an upgrade, more likely just a “partial” view)
- Great quick service and table service dining options
- Reminiscent of my all-time favorite resort, Grand Californian in Anaheim. I stay there every couple of years.
There’s very little not to like.
I was just discussing with my hubs today about doing part of our split stay here. Its definitely a top pick!
The resort is compact.
You don’t have to go outside to go to the counter service place.
Plenty of good food places.
Gift shop has interesting stuff.
Nice bus stop.
The lobby is awesome - gotta love rocking chairs by a spring.
I’m sure there’s more. I’d stay here again. Especially after we stay at all the resorts we’ve been wanting to stay at.
The ambiance…so relaxing. Always been my favorite. We have rarely had long waits or rides to the parks from there. We were planning on going to Old faithful inn in Yellowstone in September, but don’t know that will happen.
No need to walk outside for food. The QS is pretty good, plus Geyser Point is a nice outdoor lounge if you do want a change from Roaring Fork or Territory Lounge.
Two great pools- my kids love both.
The boat ride to MK and back is possibly my favorite thing at WDW. Not sure why, but it feels so peaceful, more so than from poly or GF.
It’s easy access to Poly’s Trader Sam’s, but you can go home to the quiet.
The negative is the resort room, in my opinion. Very dark, and I like dark. I felt like my eyes couldn’t really adjust comfortably no matter how I had the lights. I stayed at CCV recently, though, and it was nice. If we go back to WL we’ll stay there again, until the resort rooms have been redone (or if there is a fantastic rate on WL club level).
I don’t mind being farther from the other parks. We’ve ubered if the bus timing is far off or is delayed.
I could simply echo so much of what was said above, so I will go with something different. I do not feel like I am at Disney there - after spending the day in a crowed park, surrounded by people with mouse ears and Goofy t-shirts, it is nice to go someplace “away from it all” to unwind and recharge.
Compact. All under one roof, unless DVC.
Fun kids splash pad.
Good transportation options.
My main thing with Wilderness Lodge, is that it is the only resort where just being in the lobby feels like you’re “doing something”. Between the (imo) fun morning tour, to the hidden mickey hunt, to the museum-style display cases, to investigating the totem poles and the stratified fireplace, you could easily spend a few hours there, do literally no paid activity, and not be bored. And all to my favourite lobby music on property.
I just want to share the story of our one stay at the Wilderness Lodge.
We arrived at the WL late on a Saturday afternoon. We live in Georgia, so we always drive our own car. As we pulled into the tree-lined entrance of the resort, there were several deer grazing alongside the road. I was amazed by how much attention to detail WDW gave to this resort that they have forest animals there to greet you as you arrive. Silly me realized later that was a fluke occurrence of real wild deer being there at that moment.
But that is exactly why we loved the WL. It feels like a lodge in the wilderness, because it really is a lodge in the wilderness. We didn’t see any more deer on our visit but rabbits and squirrels were always running around the resort. It is a little off the beaten path, but it has a real home-like feeling. Several times we just sat around in the lobby and relaxed. The decor of the lobby is great and you really feel like you could be at a lodge in the Western US. The pool area is nice, the QS is convenient.
Having our own car, we drove to most parks but the bus to MK is extremely fast. Our absolute favorite is taking the ferry from the dock to the MK.
One evening we were grabbing the ferry after our 10-year-old daughter had a makeover at the Disney Springs Bippty Bop. It was just my wife, daughter, and myself on the ferry. Before we left the dock, the ferry boat captain came back to my daughter with a wooden box. He opened the box and it was full of rings that he gave as gifts to princesses. She got to select the ring of her choice.
Then as we were approaching the MK. the Electric Water Pageant was passing by. The captain stopped the ferry as we had an exclusive viewing of the entire parade less than 30 feet in front of us.
It’s one of the best resorts from which one can do Hoop-Dee-Do with no hassle via a quick boat ride.
It works wonderfully as the 2nd half of a split stay, where you do MK, Hoop-Dee-Do, and enjoy the lakeside bar or rent boats to go on the lake.
For me, it has the most “calming” atmosphere of the ones I’ve staying at, with the possible exception of Port Orleans Riverside. (I’ve stayed at Poly, Ft Wilderness Cabin, Yacht, Beach, Wilderness Lodge, POP, All-Stars, Art of Animation, Port Orleans Riverside, Caribbean Beach), but I’ve always enjoyed woods & lakes.
The hiking trail is great, if you’re into that.
Also, if you have 2 kids who don’t sleep well in the same bed, the bunk bed option is there.
I love the styling of it–we live in a log cabin, so I’m all about how rustic it looks–but having stayed at Pop, I’ve fallen in love with the Skyliner. Even when everyone was rushing to exit the park at closing, the Skyliner was so efficient that the wait was not very long. If they put a Skyliner route at WL, that would be just perfect.
Haven’t stayed there, we stayed at CR. This is relevant because WL and CR shared busses, at least they did in 2018. Guess where the first bus stop is, WL. Just a random reason to stay at WL.
I haven’t been to Disney, but I can point out something from The guidebook. That when staying at a Disney resort MK is the one with annoying/lengthy transportation delays. So, for MK the best bet is to Uber. The exception is the resorts that are MK resorts with either boat or walking access For the other parks, Disney transport or personal vehicle are about equal, so you don’t lose anything with the others by being far away from them but near MK.
So everyone here has said something about how beautiful it is, and I couldn’t agree more. Back in 2018 we went on a cruise out of Orlando and had an extra day to go around, so we checked out some of the resorts. We went to Wilderness Lodge and fell in love with it so much that we decided to do a Disney Fine Art Photography session there. The thing is, there are so many good backdrops to get, but here are a few:
I really can’t say enough good things about the Fine Art photography. It’s fantastic!