This was about our 10th Disney vacation in 10 years, we have stayed at the Grand Californian and Disneyland hotels in CA before, as well as off-site hotels in both CA and FL, but this was a first Disney hotel experience in Florida - and I don't think we'll be back to a Disney Hotel in Florida again.
The rustic decorations are nice especially in the main lobby area and the theming extends throughout the hotel.
Pool area is nice but it's not actually very big for the size of resort & number of guests using it. The waterslide will keep 5 year olds happy but older kids will not be too excited about it after riding it a few times. Lifeguards are very attentive and very watchful.
Staff (check-in, concierges, bellmen) all very friendly, efficient and helpful
Room was a bit on the small side but otherwise OK, the rustic theme carries on into the rooms (you have to like rustic to stay here!)
Food from the "Roaring Fork" was good but everything was in large portions (1/3lb burger, over $10) and there didn't appear to be an alternative for fast/light/quick snacks.
There's no character dining at the Wilderness Lodge so we took a boat to the Contemporary (15-20 minute wait, 5 minute ride) to dine at Chef Mickey's, which is about $15 per adult more than other buffets, for which we got to spend about a minute each with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto.
We did go to the "Hoop De Doo revue" over at Fort Wilderness one night (15-20 minute wait for bus, 5 minute bus ride) and enjoyed that very much, highly recommended.
So - why the 3* review and why aren't we coming back? The transportation.
I know it's peak season in July but we didn't have a choice of when to take our vacation as we were extending it on to the end of a conference we were at in Orlando. Our strategy was to stay at a Disney hotel and use Extra Magic Hours that are less crowded and cooler to improve our enjoyment.
We were very disappointed in the transportation's ability to get us to be able to use the Extra Magic Hours. Without these advantages, I might as well stay off property and save money, or take my own rental car and save time.
Despite being a 5-10 minute boat ride to Magic Kingdom & about 7 miles of uncrowded roads away from Epcot/Hollywood studios, it took a really long time to get anywhere by Disney transport.
Trying to get to Magic Kingdom for 9AM entry, we lined up for a boat at about 8:10 AM, and there was already a line of about 20 people in front of us, boat comes at about 8:35, drops us off at 8:45 just as the park gates open, which means that there's thousands in line in front of us who are already making their way to the rides, we travel quickly to 7 Dwarfs Mine Train but the line is already outside of the attraction and about 30 minutes long by the time we get there. And the ride isn't open on time, so we don't actually ride until about 10AM.
Another day, trying to get to Animal Kingdom for early (8AM) entry, same story, get to the bus stop with plenty of time and wait a really long time for a bus, and one comes *just* in time to get us to the gate for 8AM. In this case it didn't matter as much as we were still able to ride Expedition Everest with no wait.
Another day, trying to get to Epcot for early (8AM) entry, same story again, we waited for the bus at 7:10AM, there's already 10-15 people there waiting. Many busses come for other destinations that nobody is going to. Magic Kingdom doesn't open until 9, yet at one point there's an empty Magic Kingdom bus on the stand and another empty Magic Kingdom bus waiting behind it to pick up the zero passengers that are not waiting for the park that doesn't open for 90 minutes.
The Epcot bus comes at 7:30, there's now about 40-50 people waiting for it, we all get on, and it's standing room only with 10-15 people standing. Then our bus makes an additional stop at Fort Wilderness to pick up more passengers! Now there's about 25 people standing on the bus and people are fairly polite about giving up seats for people that need them, but still, it's ridiculous when there are plenty of busses available. Then the bus drops us off at a stop that is far away from the gate at Epcot, not the normal Wilderness Lodge gate that is relatively close.
We arrive at the Epcot gate at 8AM and again it appears that they have been letting people in for about 15 minutes, we walk quickly to Test Drive and there's already an hour wait. So basically our early entry is wasted.
For us, the major attractions of staying at a Disney hotel are supposed to be good transportation and early entry, but we simply didn't get what we expected there.
I did call to complain about the bus and got transferred to "Erica" in transportation. I told her about the delays in bus transportation and how there are empty busses going to other destinations and none to the destination that people want to go to. Erica hung up on me. Erica probably thinks that I would think it was a bad connection. Erica forgot that there's a survey at the end of every call, so I took the opportunity to give Erica low grades for hanging up on me.
In the end I went to guest services to ask if transportation like this is normal or unusual. They basically said they didn't know but they gave us a fastpass to try make up for the lost time, but they couldn't make up the agitated and annoyed feeling.
- We won't be going to Disney in Florida in July again.
- Disneyland and California Adventure in CA are going to be our preferred destination to get our Disney fix
- If we do come back to Florida (maybe 4-5 years from now, and not in July), we won't stay at a Disney hotel in Florida again, we'll stay off-site as we have done in the past and drive.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Escape to the rustic majesty of America's Great Northwest. Inspired by turn-of-the-century National Park lodges, Disney's Wilderness Lodge celebrates American craftsmanship and honors the beauty of the untamed wilderness. Soak in the splendor of the great outdoors, from nature trails through pine forests to rocking chairs that overlook a murmuring creek. Inside, discover towering totem poles, headdresses and more, and sink into a plush leather armchair in front of the roaring fireplace. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with HotelsClick and TravelUp so you can book your Disney's Wilderness Lodge reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Disney Wilderness Hotel
- Disney Wilderness Lodge
- Disneys Wilderness Hotel
- Walt Disney World Wilderness Lodge
- Wilderness Lodge Orlando
- Wilderness Lodge Resort
- Wilderness Lodge Disney World
- Disney Wilderness Resort
- Disneys Wilderness Lodge
- Disney's Wilderness Lodge Orlando, Florida