Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Walt Disney World: Wilderness Lodge and Boulder Ridge Villas


In my previous post I shared images and words highlighting the first night of my family's recent visit to Walt Disney World. We had split stay on this trip, meaning we stayed in more than one resort during the span of the week. One night was spent at Animal Kingdom Villas - Kidani Village, while the remaining nights were spent at Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge. Boulder Ridge Villas is a new name for what was previously referred to as Disney's Wilderness Villas.


Over the years, I have heard so many wonderful things about the Wilderness Lodge. People comment that it's on their bucket list, or that it's one of their absolute favorite Disney resorts. I had never visited the resort for any reason up until this trip. I had seen photographs, and always thought it looked nice, but couldn't quite understand the fascination.


That is until I finally visited the resort myself. Wow. Photos really don't do it justice. There is something incredibly majestic and grand about the resort, yet it boasts such warmth and comfort. Coziness. It's like the most refined and elegant version of a log cabin. Being from New England, and having vacationed in places like New Hampshire and Colorado, I definitely got a sense of that ambiance the moment I stepped foot on the property.


My eight-year-old nephew's first reaction as our transportation approached the resort was "It looks like it's made out of Lincoln Logs!" This is quite accurate! Between the brown log-like exterior, and the green roof on the main lodge building (the Villas have a red roof) it definitely looks like a Lincoln Log dream creation.

The entrance

Many Disney fanatics have proclaimed that Disney's Wilderness Lodge is one of the best resorts to visit during the holidays. I concur. That log cabin feel really perpetuates that coziness that people seek during the holidays, and the epic Christmas tree in the lobby, surrounded by totems and giant tee-pee shaped lights is the perfect touch. In an area boasting year-round warm/hot temperatures, you almost forget where you are for a moment.







Fun totem outside the resort's gift shop

Let's head outside for a moment and check out Silver Creek Falls and the Silver Creek Springs Pool and splash area. The water source for the falls begins inside the lobby and heads outdoors in a stream, which then splashes over the falls and gently continues under a footbridge until it spills out into the pool.


Silver Creek Springs Pool and water slide


View of the pool from the top of the water slide

Trout Pass Pool Bar

One of two hot tubs with the children's splash area beyond
Splash area


The view of the resort from Silver Creek Springs Pool is incredible. It really gives off that elegant, polished look, like a truly deluxe winter lodge.


Next we will head on over from the lobby toward Boulder Ridge Villas under the covered walkway, which is very convenient if it rains!


Boulder Ridge Villas has its own small lobby with several cozy sitting areas, and two fireplaces. A smaller, yet equally lovely Christmas tree is the centerpiece here, and the circular lobby is surrounded by animal carvings.




Adjacent to the lobby is the Carolwood Pacific Railroad Room, which is a super cozy lounge featuring two railroad cars from the Lilly Belle, the one-eighths scale backyard train owned and operated by Walt Disney himself. This room is a treasure, and one that few really know about. It's worth coming by for a quick visit, or spending a relaxing afternoon.








We'll head upstairs to check out our room now, another two-bedroom villa, like the one we stayed in at Animal Kingdom Villas but with a totally different layout and style. Our room was actually on one of the corners of the building, so that is why the layout varied from the standard. I believe this also resulted in one less balcony than most of the other two-bedroom villas have.


The main living space features a sitting area with a queen-size sleeper sofa, a flat-screen television, a table and chairs, and of course a full kitchen with a washer and dryer housed inside the small adjoining closet with leaf-shaped cutouts on the door. Unlike our Animal Kingdom Villa room, there is no sleeper chair, so this room will sleep up to 8 people instead of 9.




I love the tree cutouts on the chair backs!

The black strap at the top is actually how you pull open the sleeper sofa


If we turn right, we will head to the first bedroom. There is a large open space that houses the sink area of the bathroom as well as a large closet. To the right of the sink is a door leading to the toilet and shower.




This bathroom felt very small and cramped compared to the roominess of other parts of our villa

See any Mickeys on that shower curtain?

Right off of the bathroom area is a bedroom featuring two queen-size beds, a flat-screen television, and a dresser.



Check out the carvings on the headboard!

Off the main living room area to the left is the master bedroom and split master bathroom. The bathroom has its own door, which is accessible from the living area, and another door accessible from the master bedroom. This portion of the bathroom features a sink, toilet, and standing shower, and then on the other side of the door adjacent to the master bedroom itself is another portion of the bathroom with an additional sink and a hot tub.



With the folding doors to the master bedroom open
There are folding doors between the hot tub and the master bedroom. It's a little odd to me that you can look into the bathroom from the master bedroom, but I suppose closing these folding doors offers enough privacy if needed.

With the folding doors to the master bedroom closed

The master bedroom has a king-size bed, flat-screen television, and dresser, similar to what is featured in master bedrooms for other villas.




Funnily enough, I found a video on YouTube touring the actual room in which we stayed! If you check out some of the other two-bedroom villa room tour videos you will see how different the layout is, but I thought it would be fun to link to the video I found since it's literally our exact room :)


We visited Disney's Wilderness Lodge during a time when they are still doing construction on some new cabins, so in order to thank us for our patience with the possible noise, we received some pins as a special thank you.



I was truly impressed by my time spent at Disney's Wilderness Lodge. Between the atmosphere in the lobby, with its epic Christmas tree and cozy fireplace, and our rustic yet refined lodgings at Boulder Ridge Villas, it really felt like home. I do feel that the villas could use a bit of updating, in particular the electrical outlets. There were some outlets in the room that were too loose or too tight, so I couldn't properly plug something into them. I've found that some of the newer resort rooms have USB ports installed in various outlet areas, but this room didn't have that feature. No big deal, but perhaps an improvement that could be made down the line. I also preferred having three full bathrooms in our Animal Kingdom Villa as opposed to only two here. With so many people sharing a room, it is helpful having more bathrooms/showers :)


I also love the lack of foot traffic at this resort compared to some of the other popular Magic Kingdom area resorts (basically anything on the monorail circuit). This provides a quieter experience, and a real feeling of "getting away" once you leave the chaos of the parks. It's also the least expensive of all the Magic Kingdom area resorts, and currently the least expensive Deluxe resort in all of Walt Disney World (this could change in the future of course).


I would happily recommend Disney's Wilderness Lodge and Boulder Ridge Villas to anyone visiting Walt Disney World in the future. Even if you don't stay at this resort it's worth checking out, and there are several wonderful dining options, some of which I will discuss in future posts.

Disney's Wilderness Lodge and Boulder Ridge Villas
901 Timberline Dr
Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Orlando, FL 32830
(407) 824-3200


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