Disney World Vacations -Disney Wilderness Lodge
Disney Luxury Hotels - Worth The Money?
Are Disney's luxury resort hotels worth the money?
Well I can only speak from personal experience and I would say a resounding "Yes".
Let me tell you why.
Disney Resort Luxury Hotels include those extras that you perhaps might not get at the lower end of the resort hotel price scale.
I have stayed at Disney Wilderness Lodge twice and I would happily stay there again because the hotel is a sight to behold.
I defy anybody to go into the entrance lobby and not be blown away by the decor.
Modelled on a ranger station, it appears to be made completely of huge pieces of timber and it even has huge totem poles, decorated in delicate colours.
The ceilings are incredibly high and the lobby is filled with comfortable sofas and chairs. It even has a small bridge flowing over a river - yup, in the lobby!
It is in every sense of the world 'grand' and very awe-inspiring.
The lobby is so enormous that you will never bump into other people; there is lots of space and it is air-conditioned for comfort.
And that's just the lobby! How about the rest of Disney's Wilderness Lodge? Just what makes it such a great hotel?
Disney Wilderness Lodge - Outside Spaces
Disney WIlderness Lodge is close to Magic Kingdom and yet you would never know it.
The Wilderness Lodge appears to be set in a great forest; indeed when you come off the highway and follow the signs for Wilderness Lodge, you will be greeted by carved wooden creatures like squirrels and beavers welcoming you to the park.
And you go into the trees; the Lodge is indeed built in a forested area, close to a lake. Immediately, you feel protected and away from the business of the parks.
For us, after a long day in the park, it was like returning to a peaceful haven - and after 7 or 8 hours riding roller-coasters or waiting in line for water slides, that is most welcome.
The timbered theme is carried on outside with wooded areas and timber decorating the garden fences and also adorning all the outside of the accommodation.
This gives the entire building an aesthetic quality - it is not lots of concrete boxes with roofs, the architects have gone to a lot of effort to please the eye with this hotel and you really are taken aback by just how pretty it is.
It even has a geyser which steams and shoots water into the air once an hour.
The pool area is well thought out, though as well as children and adults bathing, the ducks also seem to like it! Every morning we looked out from our balcony to see one of the gardening staff trying to chase them out of there.
The pathways are broad and sweeping and the foliage in the gardens is colourful and well-tended.
We went for a walk on our first morning there pretty early due to jet lag and were walking behind an armadillo strolling gently along the path as if we were not there. You wlll see plenty of birds, squirrels and also an otter or two.
However, be aware that because the hotel is also set close to a lake and you will use the jetty, you will invariably be bothered by mosquitoes and midges - make sure you wear something to prevent yourself being bitten.
Transport to The Parks From Disney Wilderness Lodge
If you stay at a Disney Resort hotel, transport to and from the parks is complimentary.
The great thing about the transport from Disney Wilderness Lodge is that it all leaves from one terminus.
There are a number of 'stops' where the buses stop to collect passengers to take them to the parks but they are all in the same area. This is not the case at other Disney parks where often, transport picks up from a variety of locations in the park, depending on where you want to go.
The simplicity of the transport system is a definite plus as far as I can see it; no needing to leave the site or troop off to another area of the resort to catch your bus.
Disney Wilderness Lodge is very close to Magic Kingdom and as well as being able to catch a bus, you can also travel there by ferry from the jetty. In the evening, this is rather a nice way to get there, very calm and unhurried and the lake is very pretty.
Transport is frequent and the staff could not be more friendly - we often had a singalong with drivers on our coaches - children really seemed to love this.
Everest Ride At Animal Kingdom
Disney Wilderness Lodge Restaurants and Bars
Wilderness Lodge has a choice of 3 main eateries - Whispering Canyons, Artist Point and Roaring Fork.
- Roaring Fork
Roaring Fork is very, very busy and is the main 'fast food' style diner at Disney Wilderness Lodge. You can get breakfast there relatively cheaply with an excellent selection of snacks, drinks etc.
You can get either hot or cold breakfast and make sure you buy one of the refillable cups for your coffee and soft drinks, it will save you a fortune in the long run. I had hot coffee every morning and cold drinks most evenings. My daughter also used hers when we were by the pool and refilled it every hour or so, a great saving. Roaring Fork is very busy at breakfast times and be aware that if you get behind someone with the Disney Dining Plan, you may be there some time!
- Whispering Canyons
Whispering Canyons is maybe the noisiest restaurant in the whole of Disney so don't eat there unless you like shouting and lots of silliness.
The waiting staff are deliberately impolite sometimes so don't take it personally. We had napkins and straws thrown at us when we sat down.
Children are invited to race on hobby horse races around the restaurant whilst diners clap and cheer and whatever you do, don't ask for ketchup! (see video to see what I mean).
I can recommend the skillet if you are there with your family, very good value and it just keeps coming! Drinks are served in what look like old mason jars and can be huge!
- Artist Point
Artist Point is the a la carte restaurant at Disney Wilderness Lodge and very class it is too with some delicious dishes on the menu.
It is quiet and classy and as you might expect, a bit more expensive than the other 2 restaurants. We tended to eat at Whispering Canyons but Artist Point was always busy and I would recommend a reservation if you plan to eat there.
There is an outside bar near the pool where you can purchase both soft drinks and alcohol and there is a sizeable bar inside, next door to Artist Point which is very comfortable and has a relaxed atmosphere. Drinks are quite expensive as you might expect in a hotel so we tended to buy alcohol at the hotel shop and drink out on our balcony. It was nice to see the fireworks at Magic Kingdom from there!
It is possible to get food in the bar and they did absolutely delicious (but quite spicy) ribs, french fries, burgers etc. The bar had a TV which tended to show sports most nights.
Disney Wilderness Lodge -Rooms and Amenities
The rooms are well appointed and a reasonable size. The lobby staff may try to convince you that they have upgraded you but I have stayed here twice on opposite sides of the hotel and the rooms were the same on both so try not to be fooled.
If you book, try to ask for a room which allows you a good view of the fireworks at Magic Kingdom - it really is something special and although they happen every night, they still look spectacular every night too!
There is a fridge in the room for you to store soft drinks etc and every day shampoo, conditioner and soap is provided so you don't need to pack these if you're okay with using the Disney products; they even have Mickey Mouse's face on the soap!
The maids are so hard working - our room was spotless every day and they made animals out of face cloths and towels which went down well with our daughter.
Be nice - leave a tip for your maid on your pillow; the maid may be different every day and this is a nice way of showing them that you appreciate all of their hard work.
The room has a nice vanity area and has two queen sized beds. The air conditioning is good and the balcony is a nice place to drink your last of the night; Disney resorts have a great atmosphere and you will want to make it last as long as you can, until the fireworks have burned out.
The bathroom is a good size and there were no complaints with shower temperature etc. All the amenities were very comfortable, no complaints.
Pageant on The Lake, Disney Wilderness Lodge
Disney Wilderness Lodge is geographically close to Fort Wilderness Campground.
One is on one side of the lake, one on the other.
A short ferry ride separates the two resorts and I cannot overestimate the campground.
If I owned an RV, I would head for Disney Fort WIlderness Campground the first chance I got.
The centre of the Fort Wilderness Campground is like the centre of a Western town. It is all about a different way of life, a reminder of simpler times.
The food at the Fort Wilderness Campground is wonderful. They have a buffet there called Trail's End, with steak, ribs, chicken etc and you can't fail to enjoy it. The atmosphere in the restaurant is wonderful, I could have happily sat there all night.
The staff in the restaurant were so polite and friendly that I could happily have stayed there forever!
The price was very reasonable for an all you can eat buffet and we went back to our hotel 'stuffed' and happy every night.
As well as visiting the Fort Wilderness Campground; we made a point of heading down to the lake every night at 10pm to see the pageant on the lake.
The pageant on the lake was an extravaganza in 'Americana' - all of the USA's anthems were there, amplified across the lake as well as the star spangled banner and best of all lots of neon flags and symbols.
What's not to like? Yes we know it is all computerised and automated but you can't criticise Disney for keeping the entertainment flowing!
Disney Understand What People Want
I have heard people criticise Disney for a number of reasons. Often because they only sell 'Disney' products at Disney (go figure!) and because once they have us as a captive audience, they take advantage of us - they're running a business folks, what are they supposed to do?
Disney know how to do this stuff!
Their parks are amazing! You can get to every one of them from your resort by bus (or ferry) very easily and you will be entertained from dawn til dusk if you so desire.
If you stay at a Disney resort hotel, you will be well looked after - guaranteed!
Disney Wilderness Lodge deserves its luxury status - it is a classy hotel with excellent staff, great amenities, great restaurants, direct and efficient transport and pleasant, spacious rooms.
You get to the end of a vacation at Disney Wilderness Lodge and smile - you spent your money and made a great choice! You will probably want to visit the hotel again and that is always a good sign isn't it?
We stayed here twice and looking back at the photographs only makes me realise what a great choice we made and that we would make the same choice again.
Many thanks for reading.
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