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“Nice decor, small rooms, terrible transportation, we won't be back” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Disney's Wilderness Lodge

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Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Ranked #35 of 335 Hotels in Orlando
Certificate of Excellence
Austin, TX
Level Contributor
34 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Nice decor, small rooms, terrible transportation, we won't be back”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 July 2014

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.

Take-aways:
- 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.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
12 Thank marcgr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (796)
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Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, United States
Level Contributor
16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 July 2014

When picking our Disney resort for this trip we focused on what would be the best option for our six grandkids and their parents. We chose it on what would have the greatest appeal from a child's perspective. The grandkids had a fabulous time. The pool with the diligent life guards, the mid-afternoon pool games and activities, the beach, the evening marshmallow roast, the geyser eruption on the hour, the evening Electric Light Parade and the Yellowstone Lodge theming just thrilled them. We had three rooms overlooking the pool. I am not fond of loud noises but have to say that the pool music and activities were never a distraction from relaxation or quiet time in the room. The rooms were cleaned thoroughly every day and all of the staff were polite and patient. The boat service to the Magic Kingdom was excellent. Bus service to Epcot and Hollywood Studios was efficient. The longest wait was the bus service to Animal Kingdom. The quick service Roaring Forks was adequate for snacks. The sandwiches were the best option for adults. Space was too tight for the amount of guests but moved quickly. Overall it was a fabulous first time Disney experience for all 12 of us. Grandparents, parents and grandchildren came home with wonderful memories.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Alice W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
33 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 July 2014

Our experience at this hotel was good - not excellent, but good. The common areas were absolutely beautiful. I saw lots of folks kick up their feet with a bottle of wine in front of the many gorgeous fireplaces, which looked fantastic. The pool and hot tubs were great, and the 'Old Faithful' geyser was awesome. The boat to Magic Kingdom was very reliable, and even in the height of summer, we never had to wait more than 15 minutes for a boat, and we never got waylayed by weather. However, having said all that, the room was not spectacular. It was cutely decorated, but it was small, and it was very damp. Our bathing suits were still wet 24 hours after using them. (I didn't think anything of this, being in the Florida humidity, but my husband pointed out that this wasn't a problem in the off-Disney-property we usually stay at.) I would definitely recommend this hotel if your have a family that will make use of the pool and the transportation to Magic Kingdom, but if you are not going to use either of these, you can get a better hotel for less somewhere outside of Disney property.

Room Tip: We were in room 4084, a 'wilderness view' room over the lobby area. It was immediately over...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Shannon_Bradshaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Annapolis, Maryland
Level Contributor
25 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 July 2014

I have never left a negative review for any place. I don't like people who just make a trip advisor to trash a hotel because they didn't get their way. I have never been so disappointed with a Disney resort in my 25 + years of visiting. We always stay at the Polynseian which is wonderful. This trip-they were full- so we tried the Wilderness Lodge.

Long story short= it was the rude staff. We timed our trip so we would arrive right at check-in so the kids wouldn't get fussy waiting. SO at 4 pm sharp we excitedly went to the desk to check-in. We requested two rooms adjoining because of the kids-they couldn't do that. We said ok well we'll get over it. Then we were told we had two rooms on the same floor that were NOT ready yet. Their check-in is 4:00. The guy offered no apology, nothing just looked at us and said "your rooms aren't ready". When we asked will they be ready soon he said " should be". SO we were a little annoyed at this point simply because no apology was given. All we wanted is someone to be friendly and we would have been more understanding. When 5:30 rolled around and we still had not received the cell phone call we were waiting for, we went back up to the desk. We asked to see the manager when we were told the rooms still weren't ready. The guy just stared at us- nothing..it's like no one was in charge of these 10+ desk people. The guy got an attitude with us and at this point we were very mad we had chosen this hotel. The attitude of the staff was just not right. Check-in is at 4, and at 5:30 we felt someone should have apologized at this point. We were just standing there speechless. We spend a fortune to go to Disney every year. We don't mind it because the service is always so on point. The Wilderness Lodge should be embarrassed of themselves for representing Disney the way they do. We got in our rooms at 6:30. So disappointing. Rooms were the smallest I've seen in Disney.

Lifeguard also humiliated us when we put our baby float in the pool. It's a tiny tube with two foot holes that allows your baby to float while you hold onto them. Lifeguard blew the whistle and came running over screaming at us to get that out of the pool. You would have thought I put in a giant blow up raft, lit a cigarette and was drinking the way she acted.We are rule followers and this was just awful. It was literally a 12 inch by 12 inch baby float. I was humiliated. Instead of just letting us know you nicely we couldn't have it--she made a scene.

We will never return to this place. I have nothing good to say except that the housekeeping staff was delightful. We will be back to the Polynesian next year.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
35 Thank M L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
19 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 July 2014

My wife and I just returned from a 3 night stay at the Wilderness Lodge with our 4 year old Granddaughter. I did my research and the reviews (especially those by fellow tripadvisors) were accurate and helpful. The customer service is terrific from the moment you arrive at the Disney Transportation center for the trip to the hotel to the moment you leave. Upon arriving at the hotel, we were met by a Disney representative before we entered the front door who checked us in; gave us our bracelets (neatly packaged with our names on them) and immediately arranged for a late check out on the day of our departure.
The Concierge answered all questions efficiently and made reservations; explained and arranged for our Fastpass options, etc. The pool area was crowded and feel the hotel can do a better job of persons placing towels on chairs and leaving (although signs are clearly posted).
The restaurant options were great especially the fast service option near the pool area.
One complaint is the distance of the restrooms from the pool. Quite a walk especially with a 4 year old who always tells us at the last minute. (lol).
Loved the boat service to Magic Kingdom which runs all day long and an hour after the park closes. Also, thought it was great that you could go to the beach area and watch the light show at night and the outdoor evening movies is a great touch.
One small note is that I was to have gotten a room with two queen beds only to find that it was one queen and bunk beds. Turned out great since our Granddaughter saw it as one of her highlights and took the top bunk.
Overall, I would definitely come back again and recommend the hotel to friends.

Room Tip: Rooms on the higher floor provide some really great views.
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Chapowell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Level Contributor
44 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 July 2014

As DVC members we have stayed in all of the Villas on Disney. As paying visitors, we have stayed in all of the other properties. This is a review on a 2 Bedroom Villa. First of all, the Wilderness Lodge is quietly situated but with comfortable access to the parks. The Villas are laid out well, we never heard another guest and the rooms were very comfortable. I would not rate the Master Bedroom as the best of the Villa family, but the second bedroom, the kids bedroom, is the best laid out of all the 2 Bdrm Villas. Ample space, large closet, nice bathroom that is located in such a way that it is like having two master bedrooms. The only drawback I found during our visit was the front desk staff. When we arrved, at around 5PM there was no one at the on-line check-in. There were five of us waiting in line for one check-in clerk and it took almost 30 minutes to check-in. I dont know if we hit a shift change or all went on break at the same time. The dining opportunities are good, with a fantastic in the villa restaurant and a great quick service. Everything is well done, from the erupting geyser, to the bubbling pools. You can take a quick boat ride to MK or you can bus anywhere in Disney World. All in all, less crowded than most places, very well laid out, and fantastic villas. It is not over the top Mickey, the Lodge holds true to its western resort inspired roots with scatterings of history throughout the Lodge.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ColoradoMouse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oklahoma City
Level Contributor
153 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 July 2014

We stayed here for 3 nights after our Disney Cruise in July 2014. We had a room overlooking the pool area with bunkbeds for the kids. The room had a small refridgerator and a coffee maker.
The resort is extremely clean and the service was excellent.
The kids loved the pool and beach area. Every evening they have a fire in the fire pit on the beach and roast marshmallows and show a movie on the beach.
You can watch the floating electrical parade from the beach area and also see the Magic Kingdoms fireworks.
The pool area was very nice and had a nice waterslide.
There is a boat to take you to and from Magic Kingdom that was very quick. Bus service is available to all the other Disney parks.

The only 2 minor gripes we had were:
1. The safe is entirerly too small(Will not hold a full size ipad) and requires you to carry a key
2. Would of liked more food choices on property. There are 3 places to eat. 1 is only open for dinner and is a nicer more expensive type of restaurant, 1 is a restaurant that serves meals family style for the entire table, and the other was a quick serve type of place that we did not feel was very good.

We would choose to stay here again.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Bluehcky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Disney's Wilderness Lodge

Property: Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Address: 901 Timberline Drive, Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, FL 32830-8426
Region: United States > Florida > Central Florida > Orlando
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Orlando
#10 Luxury Hotel in Orlando
#14 Romantic Hotel in Orlando
#27 Family Hotel in Orlando
#124 Business Hotel in Orlando
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4 star — Disney's Wilderness Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 727
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 
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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

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