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The 728-room lakeside Disney's Wilderness Lodge opened on May 28, 1994, and is modeled on the historic Old Faithful Lodge circa 1904 in Yellowstone National Park. From the moment you walk through the front door (yes, those are crickets you hear) the theming takes over. It is one of the best themed resorts on property, Animal Kingdom Lodge being the other.
The lobby is a wonderful
place to explore complete with an 80 foot tall fireplace and
rocking chairs, hidden Mickeys, totem poles, wood carvings,
teepee chandeliers and more. During the holidays, a huge
gingerbread village complete with trains is on display in the lobby.
Even if you just go to visit, be sure to bring your camera along.
On November 15, 2002, the Villas at Wilderness Lodge, part of the Disney Vacation Club, opened adjacent to the Wilderness Lodge. These rooms offer villas of studio, one and two bedrooms. You do not have to be a Disney Vacation Club member to stay at the Villas. Guests at the Villas share central services with the Lodge (including the front desk).
What are the advantages to staying at the WL?
Located in the Magic Kingdom Resort area, the WL is a themed resort unto itself. Many folks feel they could stay at the Lodge their entire trip and still have had relaxing vacation with their money well spent.
What room options do I have?
Most of the rooms are approximately 340 sq.feet. There are 3 room views available. The Standard View generally faces the parking lot or driveway and sometimes the roof; the Woods View faces the woods towards the MK (no view of MK-maybe a glimpse of a monorail) on one side and the Wilderness Lodge Villas on the other side; the Courtyard View looks out over one of the pools or Bay Lake. Some guests report the upper floors do enable you to see the MK fireworks although since the trees have grown, these views have become very limited.
There are 7 floors in the main building and 6 floors on the wings. The lobby is considered to be on the 2nd floor. First floor rooms have a walkout area and are generally close to the pool and waterfall. Not all rooms have balconies and some balconies have privacy rails so that you can't see out when sitting. The rooms on the top floor have solid wall balconies. Most rooms have 2 queen size beds and some offer a queen-size bed and 1 bunk bed set for families. You may request a portable crib for your room also. The sink area has a double vanity, with the shower and toilet in a closed area.
The rooms have a small safe in the closet to store valuables. It's big enough for your plane tickets, cash/travelers checks and maybe some jewelry, but not much more. For storing larger valuables inquire at the front desk. Most rooms have hair dryers installed as well as a small, complimentary refrigerator, an iron and ironing board.
Is there Internet Access available in the rooms?
Walt Disney World Resort made complimentary Wi-Fi service available in all of its hotels as of March 2012. See our Internet Access page for details.
What are the bunk bed rooms like?
The Bunk Bed rooms are the same size as the rooms with 2 queen beds. The bunk beds are centered in the area the queen bed would be in. There is space between the bunks and the wall but there are bed-rails on both sides of the top bunk. The Wilderness Lodge no longer accepts requests for bunk bed rooms.
We were surprised to have bunk beds in our room, as we did not request this. It worked out well, though I found it odd that the bed is clearly posted with a warning that children under 6 should not be in the top bunk. Our children, whose ages are listed on the reservation are 3 and 4. The 4 year old stayed on top, but we had strict rules about not climbing unless there was an adult to help, etc. (emilyandlogansmom)
We stayed in room # 4012 one of the bunk bed rooms. The bunk bed worked out wonderfully for the kids (6 & 8).
These bunk beds are fine unless you're over 5.5 ft.
The bunk bed room was great, but it had poor lighting. The wall lamp over where the second queen bed would have been was removed to make way for the bunks. Since there was no overhead lighting, this made the room very dark, especially the area where you put your suitcases.
The Junior Suites offer another alternative for families. They are approximately 500 square feet and offer 2 rooms; a living/kitchen room and a Large Bedroom with 2 beds. The Living Room Couch also opens into a bed. In addition to the couch, the Living Room has a TV, table, 2 chairs, wet bar and mini refrigerator.
Junior Suites guests have Old Faithful Club (concierge) access via Magic Band.
There are French doors between the rooms. The advantage to the Junior suite is having a second room to talk or watch TV in while the kids sleep in the bedroom. Most of the suites are at the ends of the wing, overlooking the lake - remember that some of the balconies are privacy balconies. A few of the suites are in the small section facing the lake about half way out the wing and have a pool view.
Junior Suites have only one bathroom. Junior Suites have: hair dryer, coffee maker, *small* fridge, iron, and ironing board.
Bob Pescatore writes: We have stayed twice at the Wilderness Lodge in a Junior Suite. Both were for 10 night stays and we were on the 3rd floor. The first time we overlooked the Lagoon and the Volleyball Court, this was a nice quiet view. The second time we were on the same side and floor (side nearest to the campground) but back near the pool area. I was disappointed at first but it actually was a nicer view of the pool and you could see the lagoon and geyser. We are heading back down in August for two weeks and will be staying at the WL once again in the Junior Suite. It is truly a great dollar value.
Samantha writes: We had a junior suite overlooking the lake on the 5th floor. We got a front row view of the nightly water parade, able to see the fireworks from the MK, and also able to watch the geyser and pool. We really enjoyed our stay because we were able to put the kids down for nap and bedtime in the bedroom and completely block off the bedroom with the French doors closed and the sliding door between the bathroom and bedroom closed. We were still able to sit and enjoy some TV time.
Tell me about the concierge option.
The Concierge rooms are all on the seventh floor, each room has a privacy balcony and the view will be either woods or courtyard. Your room will have one King sized bed or two Queen sized beds or one Queen sized bed plus two bunk beds. The room has an ironing board, a hair dryer and bathrobes as well as a nightly turn down service.
The Concierge Lounge opens into the lobby and is also on the 7th floor. Continental breakfast, wine and cheese, snacks and tea, evening appetizers and desserts and cordials are served. The concierge desk is open from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm to help with dinner reservation, shows, etc. Junior Suites guests have Old Faithful Club (concierge) access via Magic Band.
What should I expect to pay for a room at the Lodge?
The Wilderness Lodge is considered a "Deluxe" resort hotel, and its prices are among the more expensive offered at Disney. There are Value Season, Regular Season, Peak Season and Holiday Season rates. These are regular rate prices and do not include the 6.5% Florida Sales Tax nor the 6% county resort tax. Rates are based on double occupancy. No charge for children under 17 years old when in the same room as the adults.
Are refrigerators available in the rooms?
There should be a complimentary refrigerator in the room; if there isn't, one should be available no charge upon request.
I hear that there are no more room key cards at Disney resort hotels. How do I get into my room?
Walt Disney World has converted their room keys and admission tickets from plastic cards to MagicBands, flexible plastic wristbands, resembling a watch or bracelet, that use Radio Frequency (RF) technology. Your MagicBand is linked to your My Disney Experience (MDE) account (http://allears.net/tp/my-magic-plus.htm) and acts as your Disney resort room key. Simply touch the Mickey symbol on your MagicBand to the RFID reader near your room door to gain entry. Read about using MagicBands for park admission, FastPass+ and more here: http://allears.net/tp/magic-bands.htm
How do I Get to.......
While it seems as though you should be able to walk to the other Magic Kingdom resort hotels and perhaps even the Magic Kingdom itself ....you can't.
Transportation from the Wilderness Lodge is available through either the Boat Dock or the Bus Depot. They are located on opposite ends of the resort.
Boat Dock -- Walking in the front door of the Lodge, the boat dock will be through the back door, down the left side past the pool, down the wooded walkway to the dock.
Bus Depot -- You would make a right in the lobby just after you pass the front desk; then go past the gift shop (on your right) and past the Cub's Den (on your left) and outside to the bus depot. There are 3 "stops" at the Bus Depot.
The Wilderness Lodge shares a bus with the Polynesian Resort and the Grand Floridian, not Fort Wilderness. The buses were very prompt and came often. They have separate buses for Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom/Blizzard Beach and after 4 a bus that goes to Downtown Disney/Typhoon Lagoon. They all are a pretty quick ride except for the Downtown Disney one, which makes several stops. Wilderness Lodge is the first stop on the way back from any attraction, but also the first on the way there.
Magic Kingdom -- There are 2 options. Take the Red Flag Boat available at the Dock. You can also take a bus.
Fort Wilderness - Take a bus to the Fort Wilderness Settlement Depot, or walk to the marina to catch a launch (blue flag).
How do I drive to the Magic Kingdom Ticket and Transportation Center parking lot from the Lodge?
While there usually isn't a need to drive from the Lodge to the MK parking lot, sometimes you may need to do this, and it isn't obvious where to go. About the only reason to do this now is if you wish to take the Ferryboat or the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom, or catch the monorail to Epcot.
Head out of the Lodge on Timberline Drive, and keep going straight, now on Seven Seas Drive. You'll go past the Polynesian, and then come to Floridian Way, where a right turn would take you to the Grand Floridian. Turn *left* here, even though it looks like you're exiting the area. Stay in the left lane. Just past the Hess station, and just before you pass the toll plaza, you'll see a small but clearly-marked sign which says "Magic Kingdom parking". Go left here and make a U-turn, which will take you back into the parking area.
This can be a bit confusing if you're not ready for it, as it looks like you're on the way out of the lot instead of into it, but it seems to be the quickest (legal) way to make this drive.
Guest Comments about boat transportation and wheelchairs
As we took a night stroll we were surprised to find out that my husbands EHV (Electric Handicap Vehicle) would not be able to take any of the boat transportation. Signs were posted as we walked toward the dock. This all depends on the water level (drought conditions, etc). Beware not everyone is aware of the constant changes. (Karen and Joseph Plescia)
We found the Disney transportation to be very reliable and accommodating. We had no trouble getting the wheelchair and electric scooter into the boat to the Magic Kingdom (even though there was a sign warning that changes in the level of the lake may make it inaccessible to wheelchairs), and every bus that we encountered was equipped with a wheelchair lift. (Mark)
the boats to MK and were very pleased with timing of boats and service.
Only negative to boat service was the distance from our room.+ We
did discover on our last day that if we walked down the stairs outside
our door, we could cut about a block and a half off our walk. (lfigment99)
Where can I get morning coffee?
Roaring Fork is located on the first floor near the pool entrance.
What are Rapid Fill Mugs?
The Rapid Fill beverage program allows Disney Resort guests to buy (or receive as part of the Disney Dining Plan) a resort mug that can be refilled for a certain period of time as designated at time of purchase. These mugs are enhanced by an RFID bar code that enables the mug to deactivate when the designated time is complete. For complete details visit: http://allears.net/din/mugs.htm
What are the restaurants like?
There are 2 full service restaurants,
a lounge and 2 snack bars.
Artist Point - with high ceilings and large painted murals serves dinner featuring cuisine from the Northwestern United States. Sitting by a window provides a view of the woods or the pool depending on your location. The restaurant is famous for it's Cedar Plank Salmon and is one of the few US locations which annual gets the rare and tasty Copper River Salmon!
Whispering Canyon Cafe - located off the main lobby, the restaurant actually opens to the lobby. This is a western themed family style restaurant with special activities for those celebrating a special day...including "horse races". Food is served family style (you share off the same serving plate) in skillets placed on lazy susans; breakfast, lunch and dinner are served. Be sure to read the bottom of our Dinner Menu for ways to make your Whispering Canyon experience a memorable one!
We were the first ones in line for dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe. Our daughter got to ring the dinner bell and holler "Come and Get It!!" in the lobby. For her efforts, she was rewarded with passes for free ice cream at Roaring Forks. Beware of the stick pony races at WCC. If you have small children, make sure they are at the back of the pack. Our three-year-old was in the front. He tripped over his horse and was literally trampled by the other jockeys. No fun. ( Christa Hutchins)
Territory Lounge - adjacent to Artist Point and is a relaxing lounge that serves a nice micro-brew as well as espresso and cappuccino. Appetizers and light snacks are available from 5pm-10pm.
Roaring Fork -Roaring Fork is located on the ground floor near the pool entrance of the main Lodge. It is a self-serve snack shop with light meals and is open from approximately 7 a.m. to midnight, daily . There is a small seating area where you can dine or wait for your grilled items to be ready.
Trout Pass - the poolside refreshment center has seasonal hours.
Miss Jenny's In-room dining is available for breakfast (7-11am) and dinner (4-12pm)
What is the pool like?
The pool is very nice and stays with the National Park Service motif. It begins inside the lobby as a bubbling geyser and runs outside to Silver Creek Falls and into the larger pool. There is a short water slide and also a kid's pool. There are lounge chairs, some tables and umbrellas available. There are two hot tubs for soothing your sore muscles.
The pool had a water slide, which is very important to my 11 year old son. There was also a pool bar that you can get a drink at and watch sports. There is a geyser that erupts every hour for a few minutes. It gave me time to walk over there with my camera and take some pictures. There's also a sandy beach with lounge chairs. My son got to make sand castles while I relaxed in the sun watching the water crafts sail by! (DisneyAnne)
You note in your web page that there are two spas. We learned quickly that they keep one of those spas "hot" and the other one "warm" (we found the "hot" one a little too hot, while the "warm" one was just right). (Mark)
While not the norm, you may see lifeguards asking for a resort ID. They make periodic spot checks because people from other resorts as well as off property people sometimes come to the pool making it extremely crowded. (JMarshall)
What types of recreational options do I have?
You can swim in the pool or sun bathe on the sunny beach of Bay Lake. There is a 3/4 mile wooded path for walking, jogging or biking from WL to Fort Wilderness.
Teton Boat and Bike Rentals is open from 8am to 5pm for Bikes and Surrey Bikes and 10am to 5pm for Boats. Lockers are Available at the Marina, $1 per rental. Disney Vacation Club Members be sure to show your ID for a 10% discount. Other discounts may be available for Annual Passholders -- just ask.
When you check in, you'll be given an Activities Calendar for the week.
Arcade - located near the Mercantile store.
What will I find in the gift shop?
The Wilderness Lodge
Mercantile shop has a variety of northwestern and Wilderness
Lodge specific "themed" merchandise, Disney plush and sundries.
Food items are also available geared towards those staying in the
Villas. There are 2 fantastic life size wood carvings of bear that
you have to see. Just
outside the entrance to the shop, you will find a Disney Character
Totem pole which serves as a great photo opportunity!
Can I watch Magic Kingdom Fireworks from the WL?
When the Lodge first opened
you could see fireworks from rooms facing the MK, however as the trees
have grown much taller, there are very limited, if any, views.
What type of child care options are available?
The WL has the Cub's Den for children, a supervised dining and western-themed entertainment club for children. It is open from 5:00pm to midnight. Entertainment includes Video Games, Storytelling, Arts and Craft and Disney Movies. Children accepted are ages 4-12. This program is open to resort guests and reservations are recommended. You may place them at Lobby Concierge, call locally 824-1083 or by calling 1-407-WDW-DINE. For current pricing and additional information, visit our ChildCare FAQ.
I have heard each day a family is selected to be the Flag Family. What exactly is that?
The Wilderness Lodge Flag Family of the day gets to climb up to the roof of the Wilderness Lodge and assist with raising the flags for the day. (At one time you could also take the flags down, but that has stopped). It's a wonderful treat that can only be requested at check-in, prior reservations are not possible. Visit our Flag Family Scrapbook!
We had the opportunity to be a flag family with Ranger Joe. It was so much fun for our family and Ranger Joe has a wealth of Disney information. I highly recommend trying to participate in this experience!
"We just returned from the Lodge and were the flag family. It was wonderful! We began in the lobby by meeting Darlene, our ranger, at 8:30am and actually spent a hour with her all together. She had a Lodge tour to lead at 9:30. We raised all the flags on the roof which included the Stars and Stripes, the flag of Florida, the Disney flag, and two Wilderness Lodge flags. (Jan)
During our stay at WL, we were selected to be the "flag family" one day. At 7am, they take your family up to the roof of WL so you can raise the American flag. You get to spend about 10 minutes up there, they take your picture, give you a picture frame and certificate, and treat you to breakfast afterwards. (Note not all families report being treated to breakfast!) The view is incredible! We were selected purely by accident.
I mentioned to the front desk person that I really enjoyed the tour of the WL that they give (at 9:15am). When I mentioned this to her, she asked if my family and I would like to be the "flag family" one morning. We all enjoyed the experience very much, especially my 5 yr. old daughter! I don't think many people know about this, so if you inquire early you prob. have a good chance of being selected. Thanks to Brad Feldstein for this report
What special tours and programs are offered at the WLodge?
"Wonders of the Lodge" tour is offered at 9 am on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. This tour is about the architecture and how the Lodge was built, takes you outside, talks about landscaping, and then goes back inside and talks about the artwork like the metal work and the Totem Poles and the paintings.
"I just wanted to add my $0.02 worth about the tours. They were great! There were only two other people on the tours with my friend and I. (LLBunky)
Are Any Special Cruises Available from the Wilderness Lodge Boat Dock?
specialty cruises are available from the boat dock. Visit our Specialty
Cruises page for details.
What other things might I want to know?
As of June 1, 2007, all Disney resorts and guest rooms are smoke free. There are designated outdoor smoking areas. Check the resort map or with a Cast Member for locations.
Electric Water Pageant - Go to the boat dock in the evening at approximately 9:35 PM (check with Guest Services for exact times). You'll be treated to the delightful Electric Water Pageant which makes its way across Bay Lake nightly. This whimsical light and music show will entertain you and your family for about 10 minutes. It's worth seeing at least once! (The ELP visits all the Bay Lake resorts nightly.) The ELP may be canceled due to inclement weather.
One thing that we immediately did and I highly recommend this for parents w/small children is to take the chairs from the balcony and move them into the room. Our balcony was not an open balcony and we told our almost 4 year son to stay off the chairs. No sooner had we turned our back he was pulling the chair over to the edge so he could see. (Samantha)
There is an In-Room Doctor service available at the Disney resorts. We used it, and they were very quick and even had prescription medication delivered. (Jessica Brim)
Christa Hutchins writes: I had thoroughly studied your site, so I was prepared for all of the little extras at WL. But we found a fun surprise that I had not seen anywhere. There is a Lincoln Log table at the entrance to Whispering Canyon. This entertained our kids for quite some time one rainy evening.
Jim Hunt shares: Strollers can also roll onto the larger boats that run from the Wilderness Lodge to the Magic Kingdom, and also the larger boats that do the Contemporary-WL-Discovery Island-Ft. Wilderness Loop. The smaller boats from Ft.W and the Grand Floridian, can be rolled onto, but the CMs ask that children do not remain in the stroller for safety reasons--if the boat sinks, we don't want junior strapped to his sinking stroller... They also roll on fine and kids can remain seated on the ferryboats between TTC and MK.
Ron Writes: We went out to the dock this past trip to catch the boat over to the MK late one night (We were going back to the park late for an E-Ticket night) We were able to see almost all of the fireworks from the WL boat dock. It was a really great view.
Be sure to check out the Buffalo Topiaries in the front of the resort! They are across from the luggage drop off area.
If you'd like to start your day relaxing, grab a cup of coffee and a danish and sit out by the pool watching everyone else scurry to their morning destination.
The 120' Geyser spouts every hour on the hour from 7:00 am to 10:00 PM Walk from the lodge to the back of the pool and there is a walkway to Watch the Geyser. Be sure to look for the rainbow which sometimes joins the show.
Celebrating a special occasion? The bakery at the Wilderness Lodge will make a cake for your celebration. 24 hour notice is requested.
If you have a car when checking in to the WL, be sure to drive up to the front entrance and have the Bell Services unload your luggage. You can then go park your car. Traveling from the entrance, you'll go down and to the left. It's a short hike with a hill to get back.
Spend time exploring! In addition to the wonderful rocking chairs in front of the fireplace, there are areas overlooking the lobby where you can sit and relax or read with nice views of the lobby and/or courtyard. If you go all the way to the top floor of the lobby, you can go out on the roof at the front of the resort. There is also a nice area on the courtyard side of the lobby where some people have chosen to get married!
If you want a wonderful place to sit and enjoy the Lodge , take the elevators on the Store side of the lobby to the 4th or 5th floors. There are small sitting areas that overlook the lobby.
Ask at the Front Desk for the Hidden Mickey Hunt List.
Reportedly, if you are on the boat from the MK to WL in the evening...as you approach the lodge....take a look around the middle section of the hotel. The design and placement of some of the windows and the lighting resemble a huge bear staring at you.
Stamps are available at the Wilderness Lodge Mercantile.
Kirk Writes: The Fireplace is built to scale with the geologic layout of the Grand Canyon, complete with geologic disconformities (Periods of deposition, erosion, tilting and renewed deposition on top of the older rocks). The detail is nearly perfect with the textbook diagrams documenting the geology of the Grand Canyon. Additionally, as you travel up the fireplace, you can spot fossils true to the period of deposition. When I walked in for the first time I noticed it right off the bat. It was later that we discovered the displays on each floor next to the fireplace that describe the epoch that section of the fireplace rock represented. This is what I thought was really cool.
Kirk commented above regarding the stunningly accurate geology of the main fireplace. For those interested in the sometimes subtle authenticities of the design, one should not overlook the landscaping. The immediate hotel grounds as well as the vegetation around the lake are rife with large conifer trees that ONLY grow out west - blue spruce and several others whose names I've forgotten. I seem to remember seeing Cottonwoods as well, near the pool (we visited in the summer of 1999). I would love to know how they get those magnificent trees to grow in central Florida, which does not have the right soil or climate to support them. This to me is a better example of Disney "imagineering" than all the "animatronics". (Chuck D'ambrosi)
The WL is located at 901 Timberline Dr. Lake Buena Vista, FLA 32830. The phone number is 407-824-3200 and the fax is 407-824-3232. The WL is a AAA 4 Diamond hotel.