We stayed in a one bedroom suite at the Wilderness Lodge Villas as the second part of a split stay at the Port Orleans French Quarter. We were all excited to see how Disney deluxe accomodations would compare with those at a moderate. We were also looking forward to sleeping in larger beds (king with a queen sofa bed). And it was my husband's birthday, which I had let the reservationist know when she asked if we were celebrating anything. So I expected it to be fun at check-in, with my husband receiving and (undoubtedly be embarrassed) by a "happy birthday" and birthday button.
However, though we loved the villas, our trip kind of got off on the wrong foot. I would not mention any of the following things but these villas, reserved through the Disney reservation system, are not inexpensive and my expectations were high. We had caught the boat from the French Quarter to downtown Disney, and had a wonderful lunch at Wolfgang Puck's. We decided we would have to return on our last day prior to departing for our late afternoon flight to get meals to bring on the plane.
We caught the bus from downtown Disney to the Wilderness Lodge, and soon realized the long bus ride meant we would not have time to return to do a last-day stop at Wolfgang's.. The bus stopped at Typhoon Lagoon, and there was also an at least ten minute stop at Pleasure Island -- there isn't much left open at Pleasure Island, but it seemed to take some time to do a driver change. This was probably the longest bus ride we were on during our stay at Disney World.
When we went to check-in at the Wilderness Lodge, there was no friendly greeting or mention of my husband's birthday or button (I know this may seem silly to mention, but I wanted him to get the full Disney treatment). We asked about our luggage transfer and the desk clerk checked and said it had not arrived and gave us a number to call to inquire further. My husband asked if she could check for us, and she did, only to find our luggage was not even en route -- it was still sitting at Port Orleans.
So we went up to our room and immediately rushed to our balcony to take in the view. It was a view of the rooftop and the bus stop. My husband called Port Orleans and spoke to a supervisor at the Bell Desk, who arranged for our luggage to be taken over to us. My daughter had been excited about going to the pool, and we were all anxious to get out and see the property, but the swim suits were packed in our luggage that was being transferred and we had to just wait around in the room for a couple of hours for the luggage to arrive. I had suggested to my husband previously that we just catch a taxi and move our luggage ourselves, but everyone at Disney had been so exceptional prior to all this so he thought it would be okay. But next time we would move it in a taxi.
I called the front desk to see if (1) they had any way of acknowledging birthdays and (2) if we could get a room with a better view.
The lady at the front desk said they could send him a Mickey Mouse birthday card if I wanted, but he would not get it until the next day. I said that was fine. She then switched me over to another person about changing our room. This lady was extremely gracious and helpful and said that, while there were no rooms with better views available that day, she could move us the next morning so that is what we did.
As it turned out, we did find the Mickey Mouse birthday card in our room when we returned from dinner at 1900 Park Fair that evening. It didn't have my husband's name on it, but it had arrived on his birthday. Our five year old immediately appropriated the card, saying that she thought Mickey had meant to leave it for her because she had met him the previous day and thought she must have made a good impression! We were very glad to receive the card.
Wound up being a Great Place to Stay!
Despite the intial disappointments, the one bedroom suite was really wonderful! As much as we loved the French Quarter, it felt so luxurious to be at the villas! The beds were large and comfortable, and there was a wonderful jacuzzi tub and shower and walk-in closet. There was a full kitchen where we could keep and reheat leftovers. The washer and dryer was SO convenient -- I was able to wash all of the dirty clothes we had accumulated in the first part of our stay. There were two television sets, a comfortable living room and a pleasant balcony amid the trees. We were really able to relax at this resort. I can certainly see why people would invest in these timeshares -- such a comfortable base when you're out doing the parks all day!
The cleaning staff at this resort were absolutely excellent. Our rooms were extremely clean and well-kept. We asked for extra hangers and someone came immediately. They were really great!
The grounds at the Wilderness Lodge are magnificent, among tall pine trees with a created waterfall, a white sand beach and playground, and a geyser that goes off in the background. We saw one very tame brown bunny that was allowing a little girl to get close enough to almost touch. There were two pools -- one smaller one by the villas and a larger one with waterslide in the main area. In the afternoons they host games at the pool.
The boat service to and from the Magic Kingdom is delightful. We didn't wait long for boats, and the trip was not long. One evening, quite by accident, we found ourselves returning on the boat during Wishes, and it was fun to watch the fireworks from that vantage point.
I was taken with how majestic the Wilderness Lodge looks at night. lanterns light the walkway from the boat dock among the Pines. The waterfall, pool and grounds look particularly spectacular amidst the night lighting.
All in all, after a rocky start, we enjoyed a comfortable and relaxing stay at the Wilderness Lodge Villas and would return.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Recalling the 1860's railroad hotels of the American West, The Villas offer the comforts of home amid the rustic beauty of Disney's Wilderness Lodge. Relax on the white-sand beach, explore trails through lush meadows and delight in the enchanting Silver Creek Springs Pool. Just a breezy boat ride to Magic Kingdom park, The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge celebrate American craftsmanship and the majesty of the great outdoors. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Villas At Disney`s Wilderness Hotel Orlando
- Hotel At Disneys Wilderness
- Hotel At Disney Wilderness
- The Villas At Disneys Wilderness Lodge
- Boulder Ridge Villas At Disney's Wilderness Lodge Orlando, Florida