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Reviewed 13 May 2014

Disney's Wilderness Lodge is a great place to stay in Disney. We stayed with our two young daughters and found it a great home base with incredibly easy access by boat to the Magic Kingdom - a plus for us as we have one young enough to need a nap and one too old for it. Being able to easily split up mid day then regroup was a big plus.

I honestly think our kids would have been just as happy to stay in the hotel pool for a day or two as they were to visit the parks. There were great poolside games and a small waterside that our five year old loved.

The staff is incredibly friendly and helpful and our girls were totally enchanted by the playful way in which the house keeping staff used extra sheets to stage the girls' animals trying to escape from a top bunk. Very cute.

The main area of the hotel is quite impressive. Rooms themselves are pretty basic, but fully functional with small balconies.

Would definitely stay here again.

Room Tip: Rooms facing the pool area can be a bitt noisy if you prefer to sleep with windows open - you might prefer an exterior room.
  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with family
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3  Thank swelch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 May 2014

This wasn’t the review I thought I would be writing. We headed to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge for seven nights with high expectations and a great deal of excitement. And while the lodge itself is visually stunning we were left with a feeling of the experience of staying there being quite average. Our experience is broken out below in categories that I hold the lodge responsible for what a Disney vacation should be.

Room – Clean and small. I had booked a standard view and knew I’d be facing a service area or roof. I had requested to look towards the magic kingdom twice by phone before arriving and upon my arrival. My requested was not granted. We looked at a roof facing the villas. Not a big deal. The balcony though small did give us a place to wind down each night. All the plumbing worked. Our room opened to the atrium but noise was not a problem. Mousekeeping (Brenda) did a good job and kept my 7 year old daughter excited by finding new homes for her stuffed animals each day.

Pool – Just ok. The water was murky all week long. The lodge was crowded and the pool was a popular spot. I’ve had better experiences (meaning the water was crystal clear) at both Caribbean Beach and Old Key West. Chairs ran out in the afternoon but there are some tables hidden behind the Trout Pass pool bar. The slide was small.

Food – We were on the quick service dining plan. I’m not a big fan of sit down meals at Disney as you have to lock in reservations so far out and then plan your days in the parks around those reservations. Roaring Fork (will review separately) was small and the offerings were not plentiful. There were tables outside that were always available to eat at. We did not eat at Whispering Canyon but it was always crowded so I’m assuming it was a good spot. I can’t comment on Artists Pointe (fine dining). The staff at the pool bar stunk. Complained openly about their hours and how many days in a row they worked. Who wants to hear that on vacation? The staff at Roaring Fork was also hard to rate above average. Our orders were filled incorrectly more than once.

Transportation – Had good luck with the boat to Fort Wilderness. If you are going to the Hoop De Doo Review or the Contemporary (Chef Mickeys) this is a perfect way to get there. There are two boats running at all times. One goes clockwise and the other counter clockwise between the WL, Fort Wilderness, and the Contemporary. The boat to the Magic Kingdom was less consistent. We waited over 20 minutes twice. At times the dock was full and the boat that showed up could hold 30 people meaning not everyone got on. The ride to MK was very nice once you got on the boat and it drops you right at the front entrance. The buses were another source of frustration. The WL shares buses with other resorts and the rides to the theme parks became tedious. It took 45 minutes to get to Animal Kingdom and 50 minutes to reach Hollywood Studios. The WL was always first to pick up but then we headed to Grand Floridian or Fort Wilderness before the parks. I didn’t expect this and it was frustrating.

Mercantile – Disappointing. More space dedicated to Vacation Club apparel than WL. Why?

Staff – This is where the word average resonates the most. Checkin was lifeless. I was barely spoken to. No smiles anywhere. No managers present (they hang out behind the podium situated behind the front desk). The concierge seemed perturbed by questions and gave poor information on travels to Fort Wilderness.

Maybe we built it up too much to meet our expectations. We’re not mad we tried it. We’ll head elsewhere for future visits. This is the first onsite resort I have stayed at that wasn’t “magical”.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
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6  Thank southsideslick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 May 2014

I have to say our stay was so magical at this resort. I chose the resort because my husband loves outdoors stuff, but this place is so much more with the movies on the beach easy access to the resorts, and great service. Also I have to add that even though they say you can't see the fireworks, you so can!!!! I think I stayed in room 4022, and yes the trees were in the way a little but it didn't take away from the magic of being at Disney world. The is a great place to stay hands down!!!!

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with family
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2  Thank Wesley F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 May 2014

This was our first visit to the Wilderness Lodge at Disney World! From the moment you pulled in the service was fantastic! Check in was a breeze! Everyone was very helpful and told us welcome home! That was the feeling you got! I was in a standard room with 2 queen beds! Beds were very comfortable! Room was very clean the view wasn't the greatest! We had a service entrance below us! But how much time do you spend in your room when you are in disney world! The boat that took you directly to the magic kingdom was always on time and the captain could answer any question you asked! The new magic bands worked great! The swimming pool was so much fun! I would go here again in a heart beat!!!

Room Tip: Ask for a room facing the lobby! 5th floor was great!
  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
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2  Thank 242happytraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 May 2014

I stayed here with my family and I can't even imagine returning.
We picked this resort because we'd visited in the past and thought the lobby and grounds were beautiful, which they are. This resort is close to Magic Kingdom without the added price of being on the monorail. There is a signature restaurant and family friendly sit down restaurant as well as quick service. When you add in a pool with a slide and a spa and onsite child care services, it sounds like a dream.

It isn't.

First, unlike the monorail resorts or Epcot resorts, there is nothing around Wilderness Lodge. Yes I understand that goes with the woodsy theme, but you almost begin to get cabin fever because you can't hop on the monorail and check out the Contemporary or Polynesian. You can't walk over to the Boardwalk from Beach Club, or head to the Swan from Yacht Club. You're just stuck.

Second, while it's close to MK, it also has some iffy transportation. The boat is big and slow and always packed. We were only able to use it once and just stuck with the bus to MK after that. The buses to other parks were fine however.

Third, I've stayed at this resort twice (the first time was a stay in the villas) and for some reason this resort has the most clueless front desk and bellhop service. I've never had a smooth transaction with the bellmen here. Either they don't send our bags for hours or they only bring 1/2 of our luggage. I actually had to go into the bellmen storage area and retrieve a bag on this trip. The front desk clerks are all college program kids who aren't very helpful and have made errors with our credit card charges. The management isn't there. Oh they're standing in front if you, but they're rude and don't want to help you at all (more about that later).

Fourth, while there is a signature (fancy) restaurant, family friendly sit-down restaurant and quick service, the food isn't that great. The signature restaurant is too fancy and pretentious for a log cabin resort. The table service restaurant is loud and open and there are silly games the waiters play. The quick service has horrible seating, small selections and it's just dark and cramped there.

Fifth, the rooms aren't too small for a family of 3, or even 4 with two toddlers, but if you have preteens or older, the space just isn't there. It has a table and 2 chairs for a reason: it doesn't adequately fit a family of 4. The other issue with the room we had was a plumbing issue. I'm not talking about a running toilet or lukewarm showers. I mean we could smell feces from other rooms when they flushed. It was that bad. I called housekeeping immediately and they sent out maintenance who swore they would fix it. An hour later it still wasn't fixed and they were scratching their heads. We had to go to a park so we left with the promise it would be fixed when we got back that night.

It wasn't. We could still smell sewage in our room. They "worked" on this issue for a full day the next day; still wasn't fixed. We spoke to a manager and they agreed to move us to another room down the hall. We ended up in a deluxe club level room. I didn't ask for it, and I was surprised and happy. Temporarily. When we arrived in the room it was literally bedtime so we just hit the sack. When I awoke the next morning I was using the bathroom and noticed a gurgling sound coming from the sink. I was hit with the smell of sewage. I couldn't believe it! I called maintained again. While I waited I could hear pipes squeaking as our neighbors showered and flushed their toilets. I'd had enough and packed us up so we could leave the Lodge.

When I got to the front desk I asked for a manager and was introduced to a young woman who claimed to be a manager. I told her our issues and she brushed it all off. I spoke slowly and broke it all down for her again. And again there wasn't a care in the world from her. I asked for her manager and met a man claiming to be a manager. He was the nastiest person I'd ever met in my life. He accused me of lying about the condition of the rooms and told me he wouldn't refund any of our money back. I couldn't believe what I'd heard. I contacted Disney immediately (while my family took a cab to Saratoga Springs Resort) and within 24 hours received a call from a Disney suit. She agreed his behavior was unacceptable and she apologized profusely. She attempted to rectify the situation but the damage was done. Our family would never return to Wilderness Lodge.

I understand people want to be close to MK without paying the monorail prices, but you get what you pay for. I've had issues at the Grand Floridian as well, but they were always, always corrected and handled professionally. If you want to save money, head over to Pop Century. It has the small rooms, thin walls and iffy transportation the Wilderness Lodge does and it won't cost you $350 per night.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with family
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17  Thank Jennifer E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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