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View Full Version : Just back from 8 nights at the Wilderness Lodge.


JerseyJanice
06-18-2002, 11:07 AM
I'll do a full report later as I'm trying to get caught up on my work.

Sadly, I have to report that the transportation was extremely poor.

If anyone has any quick questions, I'll be glad to answer them.

F.y.i. (and I'll put this in the FAQ), if you want a smoking optional room, do NOT pay for a woodsview or courtyard view. It won't matter. Only a certain section of rooms are smoking. All are technically woodsview, but could be called standard view because the view is pretty poor.

lucki4
06-18-2002, 11:38 AM
When you have a chance, please let us know why the trasportation was so poor.

Gary M
06-18-2002, 12:23 PM
When did they change the location of the smoking optional rooms? We were at WL, Feb. of this year and had an excellent location with a smoking optional room. We had a courtyard view in the "Bears Face". We have stayed in smoking optional rooms 5075 and 5077 more than once and these courtyard views are our favorites.

rojoe
06-18-2002, 12:44 PM
We'll be there next week. Can you give me a quick run down of where the biggest transportation problems are? We'll have a car for all the parks but I was really looking forward to the boat transportation to MK. Thanks ! Rojoe


P.S. How was everything else?? What time should you catch the boat for MK to be there when it opens??

ColetteN
06-18-2002, 01:53 PM
Please share the big transportation hangups and why it was so poor. I'm going in August and would like to be warned ahead of time. We won't have a car, so are relying completely on Disney Transportation (which is beginning to worry me :( ).

I can't wait for your trip report.

Colette

JerseyJanice
06-18-2002, 02:10 PM
The transportation is shared with Fort Wilderness. While the two resorts look close enough together on the maps, the drive from WL to FW seemed quite long.

Getting to/from the Magic Kingdom was O.K. on the ferry, but only if you were using it during off-hours. To get there for park opening or leaving after the fireworks (!), it was horrific. I'm fairly certain there were only 4 boats servicing the 2 resorts, so the lines to get on the boat took forever. It was not fun standing on line in the heat for a half-hour with an exhausted 5 year old after the fireworks.

About halfway through the trip, we found out that we could take the monorail or ferry to the TTC and a bus to WL from there. It was faster than waiting for the boat, but not much fun being in the monorail cattle herd and having to transfer to another mode of transport.

The ride to Animal Kingdom is about an hour long. The bus goes WL to FW (BTW, that leg took as much time as it took to go from PO to Epcot or MGM on our last trip), then to Blizzard Beach and finally AK.

kimmar067
06-18-2002, 02:12 PM
Please post on the WL FAQ!!!! (I am also interested in the transportation situation:confused: )

(Some picswould be nice, too;) !!)

Sending some "Good Luck" pixie dust *~~*~~*~~*~~* out to corvair amy...she's probably checked in by now!!!!


Countdown to WDW:
1 month - 7 days - 19 hours - 38 minutes - WOOHOO!!! :bounce:

gepetto
06-18-2002, 02:25 PM
Welcome back, Janice! :) Sorry about your transportation problems. When we stayed there, WL shared with Polynesian and GF and it was no problem.

kraftyone
06-18-2002, 02:46 PM
My wife and I just returned from the Wilderness Lodge on Sunday, 6/16 after a five night stay. I had read the boards with some concern, as many complained of poor transportation. I must say that we thought the transportation was GREAT. The longest we waited for a boat or bus was six minutes (yes, I timed it), and most of the time we did not have to wait much at all.

One thing to know is that the ferry schedule to MK changes both according to the time of day and the 'route' of the ferry. There are usually three boats in the 'loop' between the WL, FW and MK, and they go in opposite directions. (That is, one goes MK-FW-WL and one goes MK-WL-FW.) Therefore, you can often ask the boat driver where he is going next, and if it is not where you want to go, you can wait and get the next boat that is going the other direction. In other words, if you are trying to get to MK from the WL and the boat is stopping at FW first, just wait and there will probably be one coming from FW and thus going directly to MK. The system is somewhat confusing if you do not ask, but if you do so in a friendly way, the drivers are very accommodating and will help you out. Even if you have to go to FW first, the trip is only 22 minutes (again, I timed it).

We thought the bus service to EPCOT, MGM, AL and Blizzard Beach was excellent. There were always a lot of buses and we saw them regularly, even when we were going somewhere else. (The buses to the AKL were far less frequent.) We did not go to Downtown Disney, but it seems that this is the one problem in the bus system for WL. One other thing: we went to an E-ride night, and it seems that they are not well coordinated with the WL. Because you usually have to take a boat to / from the MK, they have some problems when the boats stop running at 10.45 (and e-ride goes to 1.00). What you need to do is take the monorail to the TTC and then get a bus to WL. We only waited a few minutes, but I heard one woman complaining that she had waited for 45!

Overall, we found the transportation to be far better than we had experienced at POFQ and POR. While we might have been fortunate, my sense is that--in most cases--people are just being a little too hard on Disney for its supposedly 'poor service.' For our money, the transportation was outstanding!

JerseyJanice
06-18-2002, 03:00 PM
Kraftyone, we returned the same day as you. We found the transportation to be very slow and inconvenient whenever we were going somewhere during peak times. Maybe you took the buses during off-hours?

Everyone we talked to was as unhappy as we were with the transport system. BTW, the bus to Blizzard Beach was the same one going to AK.

skiwee1
06-18-2002, 03:06 PM
Thanks for the update on the transportation. I was at the WL in May and thought the transportation at the CBR was 100% better then the WL busses and boats! At that time all the boats picked up WL then FW before heading to either MK or CR. There was no choice as to catching a boat that went directly to MK or CR. We always had to ride to FW first. I thought that was the biggest pain! The busses were even worse. It took forever just to get to FW before going anywhere else. It is much quicker to go through 7 bus stops at the CBR then to go to the FW and back. No lie! I loved the resort but until they fix the transportation they can have it. I am booked for the CR this October but if it doesn't come down in price then I will go with CBR. Of course if they change the problems at the WL then I would go back to there.

JerseyJanice
06-18-2002, 04:34 PM
I was also disappointed in the food court. The selections were far fewer than we had at PO-FQ on our last trip.

Maybe I'm just not a deluxe kind of girl, but honestly, our stay at PO-FQ was better overall than WL. For that matter, we liked PO-FQ better than the Contemporary, too.

kraftyone
06-18-2002, 04:55 PM
Sorry to hear that your experience was so bad, JerseyJanice. We took the 8.30 a.m. buses to AK and EPCOT and the 8.30 a.m. boat to MK to get there a bit early, so maybe we missed the 'peak' times around 10.00 or so. (At least 10.00 is when I would estimate it was busiest). BTW, those buses filled to capacity so we did not stop at FW first; we just headed right to the parks. I found the boats to be punctual and relaxing, so even the few times we went to FW first, I was OK.

I will say that while we stayed until the end at EPCOT and AK, we did not go home at the end of the day from MK. I would suspect that the crowds were bad then. Our experiences at EPCOT and AK, though, were good.

I would agree with you on the food court at WL. It is much too small, with limited options. (I asked a cast member and they agreed, saying that the architect had 'misjudged' the number of people who would be eating there.) I, too, think the POFQ food court is better.

Overall, the WL is great, though if one has small children, a moderate might be a better choice. (Of course, if you can afford it, the Polynesian is the best, IMHO)

Belle5
06-18-2002, 05:37 PM
I agree that WL and FW sharing the busses is an idea gone bad! In March we planned a lot of FW activities for our trip and the bus rides were ridiculous because of always having to go to FW and then WL! What a waste of time. We had never had to do that before!

jwfla422
06-18-2002, 05:43 PM
Sorry about your experience with WL's transportation. That was one of the main reasons we stopped staying there in the past. This trip coming up I plan to valet the car so I'll be able to valet at other hotels as well. I also plan to use the car more.

I just recall waiting on buses for 15-20 minutes at a time. But, I also have to admit, we had the same experiences with waits at DL (now POR). I guess it all depends when you're there. I have also seen lines at the WL's boat to MK too. But, we also had an hr and a half wait at DL for the boat to DD, so we gave up on that. It is all relative.

Are you referring to "Roaring Forks" as the WL's food court. Since it was designed as a "fast food quick bites" type place (I don't know if I'd compare it to the food courts at the moderates). I know there is a lot more selection at the moderate food courts because there is more room to accomodate more food selections.

Beanie
06-18-2002, 09:04 PM
Sorry to hear about your problems with the Transportation at WL, JJ...When we stayed there last month, we didn't have any problems with transportation, but then again, we have strange hours, so maybe that is why...LOL...

Welcome back!! :)

dBugged
06-18-2002, 09:42 PM
Ouch! It sounds like they really changed the transportation since we were at WL last September. The busses didn't stop at FW and stopped at the Poly and GF and then on to the park or destination of choice, except for the TTA direct bus. The travel times were pretty speedy. On the return trip, it was great because the WL was the first stop. I remember reading about how lousy the transportation was last year before we went and I was pleseantly surprised. However, now it sounds like someone made a bad tactical decision. I remember the ride from FW to WL when we took the Mear's shuttle from the airport. It was a haul, especially considering that they were next door. It's a shame to hear that they messed with it. Ick!

KLR-wlv
06-18-2002, 11:38 PM
We stayed at WL in May 2 years ago and the boats to the MK from Wl and FW were separate and it worked very well the whole trip. Then they added the villas on and combined the boats. We went a year ago and the boat transportation was really bad. Some mornings since it stopped at FW first, the boat was already full and 1-2 people could get on so we had to wait for 3 boats. Then returning, they stopped at FW first making it a long trip back. I really don't understand why, when they added 200 or so units, they cut back on the boat service which they tout as a plus to staying there. It is unfortunate because I really love the place.

JerseyJanice
06-19-2002, 09:49 AM
I came home to big job cuts at my company and wasn't in a great mood.

I reported the negatives (transport, small food court--if you can call it that--and not great view even though we paid for woodsview).

But there were many, many positive things about the Lodge. On the whole, we had a wonderful stay.

First off, no denying how beautiful the place is. The details everywhere are simply amazing. The floors are not identical to each other. All of them have little sitting nooks tucked away in different spaces where you can relax and enjoy the view.

The CM's are very nice and enthusiastic. If you can, use your American Express card to take advantage of the White Glove Treatment. We were there under two separate reservations (4 nights were a gift from my in-laws and 4 nights we paid for), so we had to check in and out on the day of the new reservation. Therefore, we got two White Glove packages.

The White Glove package included two neck straps perfect for displaying pins plus two White Glove pins (so we got four of each in total). The CM's approached my son (5 years old) and traded very nice pins for the AmEx ones. He got into the pin thing, and I have to say it was fun. It was especially nice to start with four free pins (the AmEx ones).

The pool was my son's favorite part of the trip. He'd have swum all day and night if we let him. The scenery around the pool is spectacular. We loved seeing Old Faithful go off. The pool by the Villas is very nice. They bubble water up from the bottom randomly so it's like a real spring.

We ate at Whispering Canyon for a breakfast and a dinner and enjoyed both meals immensely. (I'll be posting restaurant reviews on the Restaurant as soon as I can write them.) The wait staff is a hoot, and the food was good.

We got tired of Roaring Forks' selection by the end of the trip, but I have to say that we liked the place overall. Everything we had was well prepared.

The beach near the marina is a wonderful place to relax and see the Electric Water Pageant (I love that!) as well as the MK fireworks. There's a playground there too that my son enjoyed playing in while we stretched out on chaise lounges.

My opinion is that if you're there to enjoy a resort and its amentities, it's a fabulous choice. However, if you're looking to do the parks commando style, the transportation system is not conducive to that. At least it wasn't last week.

lucki4
06-19-2002, 12:30 PM
Thanks for posting the update. I gues transportation is just hit or miss and when we go, I hope it's good for us :smooth:
Sorry about the job layoff and I am glad that most of the trip and WL was very enjoyable.

ColetteN
06-19-2002, 02:17 PM
Jersye Janice - sorry to hear about changes at work while you were gone. What a way to come back from vacation.

You said the boats and busses were bad during peak times (like leaving the park after the firework). What time were you on the ferry heading to MK? What time did the ferry and busses start running each morning?

My family are morning people, so I imagine us taking the first ferry or two to MK, I just wanted to know if that was the most crowded time you mentioned.

Thanks so much for the info & updates, they really are appreciated.

I know it's been said before, but I'll ask again - why does a Deluxe resort share transportation with a more moderate resort???? I don't get it.

Colette

gepetto
06-19-2002, 02:43 PM
I'm pretty sure the cabins at FW are in the "deluxe" home away from home category. Still, they're pretty far away to be sharing busses with WL.

Belle5
06-19-2002, 03:08 PM
ColleteN,
The FW cabins are quite expensive. (About double the cost of a moderate.) As a matter of fact, one could easily spend more on that cabin than a room at FW (depending on the current deals.)

JerseyJanice
06-19-2002, 03:08 PM
Colette, I'm fairly certain the boats start running an hour before the park opens, i.e., 8:00 a.m. for a 9:00 a.m. opening. I would assume that if you got there for the first boat or two, you'd be O.K.

We tried taking them two different mornings around 9:00, and it was bad! A ton of grouchy people waiting on the dock. Then, it sailed over to FW before heading to the MK. The trip took a little over 20 minutes. While it was always a pleasant ride, it took far longer than I felt it should have.

Frankly, the worst time to ride them was after the fireworks. Truly, a long and weary wait. My advice is to have some ice cream on Main Street and do some shopping. Then see what the line is like. If it's bad, take the monorail or ferry to the TTC and the bus from there. They don't have enough boats to ferry people out of there at closing time; it's that simple.

For that matter, my husband was annoyed with me for insisting we stay to see the fireworks one night. He wanted to leave before they started and watch them from the boat or the marina beach. I wonder if that time is bad (?). It seems like a lot of people could think that way.

ColetteN
06-19-2002, 03:19 PM
Thanks!

Someone I know said to take the ferry when the fireworks start and it's a wonderful view of them and there was barely anyone else on the boat. I was thinking of watching the spectromagic parade one evening and then hitting the ferry. Hopefully there won't be a big rush then. And if there is, nothing else to do but just deal with it.

Thanks too for the warning about the AK trip. We are planning on hitting that park first thing in the am, so if it opens at 9, I guess we'll be waiting for the first bus!

Glad the rest of your vacation was wonderful at WL and hopefully things begin to look and lighten up at work!!

Colette:D

figment95
06-19-2002, 09:55 PM
We just got back on Saturday from 8 nites at WL and I didn't think the transportation was all that bad. I love the boat ride to MK and I don't mind at all if it goes to FW. We even like to make the trip longer by taking the boat to Contemporary and catching the monorail from there. But... we are not commando park goers. We enjoy WL for its relaxed atomsphere. It is a beautiful place. We did have to wait about 40 minutes for the boat after the fireworks at MK, but after the fireworks at EPCOT we were able to walk right through the park and straight to a waiting bus. Also, the Roaring Fork is not a food court, it is a snack bar. You don't get the selection of food that you would get in a food court, but everything we had there was pretty good. If you tried to eat every meal there you'd get sick of it in a big hurry! I guess what I am trying to say is: WL is a great resort if you are really into hanging around and going at your own pace. If you are the kind of person who likes to get up early and be in the parks all day, it may not be the best choice for you. JMHO:D

pigtail
06-19-2002, 10:07 PM
We stayed at WL 2 years ago and although we loved the hotel, the transportation was forever. At that point in time, mid-summer, the parks were open til 11 or 12. The boat stopped returning guests about one half hour before the park closed. We did not know that. We had to take monorail to TTC and then a bus that said Boone on it. It was forever going thru FW and finally WL. Disney made a mistake not putting WL on the monorail - for how close WL is - there should at least be a walkway to the monorail. Its a waste.

pennyplanner
06-19-2002, 10:36 PM
Does anyone ever e-mail Disney about his or her dissatisfaction about transportation at WL?

Does feedback from the public ever make an impact on WDW policy?

Just wondering...

penny

Gary M
06-19-2002, 10:49 PM
I know I have seen the e-mail address to send WDW your complaints, but could someone please post the address again. Thank you.

JerseyJanice
06-20-2002, 10:04 AM
You and I think alike.

Every time we rode through the entrance and I saw how close the monorail actually is to the resort, I thought it was a terrible shame Disney didn't put a station there.

We had dinner with my parents-in-law last night, and they raved and raved about much they loved the resort. The transportation didn't bother them at all. I guess it's all in your perspective.

mat2672
06-20-2002, 10:31 AM
I believe it does come down to peoples own perspective a lot of times. There are always times when things dont go well, but you cant label "the transportation" at WL to be bad. I know I didnt have any problems at all. I thought the transportation there was great, but I would never tell anyone that it will always be great. Thats like when people have a bad time with a certain maid or CM and they label the whole resort as being horrible. You can only hope that everything goes well, but there are always going to be bad stretches.

skiwee1
06-20-2002, 11:15 AM
At the time I stayed at the WL the transportation was bad. I can say that. The WL is the only resort that I have seen that has had so many complaints since it opened about transportation problems. Yes, the boats and busses might be better on someone else's trip but it was horrible on mine. That is what these boards are here for. To give an opinion on a resort or what ever. It seems that most here that didn't mind the transportation never had to endure going to FW every time they went on a boat or bus. This happened whether we went before parks opened or in the middle of the afternoon. I am not a commando style park person. We have APs and go to WDW 3 times a year. We don't even do the bigger rides. I take my 65 y/o mother and my 3 y/o toddler with me. We do Dumbo, It's a Small World, and the like. You will not catch us running to Splash Mountain anytime soon.:D There are days we do not even go to the parks so it isn't like I'm complaining about not getting to the parks in 5 minutes. My point is that if you are paying to stay in a deluxe resort then have the transportation to match. The CBR has much better transportation then the WL, I'm sorry to say. I stayed at the WL because of the close proximity to the MK. I do not like to be on a bus too long as it makes me sick. To have to go out of one's way to pick up at FW is really not fair especially when there were times that no one was even there! It would just be nice to get where you are going in a decent amount of time. I don't understand why they do not pick up FW first. They literally have to pass by the WL to get where they are going so it really doesn't take them out of their way. I did write and complain about the transportation problems but have yet to get a response. I would hope they would fix it as the WL really is pretty but just not worth it for the problems I endured. If they change it then I will go back.:D

pennyplanner
06-20-2002, 03:14 PM
Skiwee1,

I am happy you took the time to write to WDW. Proactive is the way to go! I really dislike when someone has a problem but doesn't take some sort of action to notify those who can make a change.

I am sorry your experience was a bad one. Let's hope they listen and work to improve the system!

--penny

musicfan
06-20-2002, 03:31 PM
Quite frankly, I don't think the transportation at ANY of the deluxe resorts come up to the standard set by the All Stars! With the exception of monorail service to the MK, the buses are all shared and take way more time getting from here to there. The best situated resorts are the EPCOT ones, since you can bypass the bus system to all but AK.

And by the way, EVERY resort has a problem getting to Downtown Disney. Every last one of them. Even POR/FQ and their fabulous boat which is too full to take on new passengers most of the time. Do I sound bitter? And this I don't understand since DD is a cash cow for Disney.

I have to think that WDW execs have made the decision that people who stay at deluxes are probably valet parking and driving themselves around. Or being driven.

Cinderella
06-20-2002, 04:16 PM
Oh no - I haven't stayed at WL for over 2 years and we have bought DVC there. I hope the transportation improves - it used to be ok.

I agree on Roaring Forks - it is the one place in WL that I really don't like. Sometimes when I went there were flies and things in the cabinet thing where the sticky buns and stuff are kept - yuk and the lines are usually really long.

I do love everything else about the lodge tho.

robinb
06-20-2002, 04:17 PM
Quite frankly, I don't think the transportation at ANY of the deluxe resorts come up to the standard set by the All Stars!
I agree! The transportation to the All Stars rocks!

I also recently stayed at WL in the villas and thought that the transportation was poor. It also took us about an hour to get to AK and I would estimate that 40 minutes of that was bus ride. Yuck. We also ended up taking the bus from the T&TC twice after taking the monorail rather than ride a bus back to the WL. The boats to the MK were OK except for the time we tried to get to the MK right before opening. We were lucky to get on that particular boat. We eventually gave up on Disney transportation (except for the boat) and paid to have our car brought up from the valet.

Tramp'sLady
06-21-2002, 07:50 PM
This is for JerseyJanice (or anyone else who's got the scoop)...
What kinds of food items do they have at Roaring Forks? Is it similar to the snack bar at the GF? Or should I be on the Restaurants Board??

Sorry to hear about your transportation and job woes Janice! And thanks for taking the time to review your trip. At least we know what to look out for when we go in Oct. If we are aware, maybe we won't be too disappointed.

Dana (from Jersey too!)

figment95
06-22-2002, 08:52 AM
Roaring Forks has a very limited selection. For breakfast they usually have breakfast pizza, egg sandwiches, hash browns and hashbrowns. They have a special that is pancakes, french toast sticks, etc. For lunch and dinner they have burgers, pizza: I think they have macaroni and cheese and chicken fingers for the kids. They also have a special like meatball sub, or bar b que sandwich. they have a case of sandwiches that are available all day; tuna, chicken wrap, ham. They have fresh fruit and green salads. In the bakery case they have bagels, cheese danish, croissants, pecan sticky buns, blueberry muffins, chccolate chip muffins, cookies, cupcakes, brownies. And they also have cold cereal. We stayed there for 9 days and ate there quite a but. The food was pretty good but as I said, not much selection. We had the same thing for breakfast every day.

dtuleya
06-22-2002, 10:38 AM
I have a question for anyone that has stayed at the WL before. We are requesting bunk beds for our sons (9 & 13), but in case we don't get them, I was thinking of purchasing a single Aerobed and taking it along so that we all get a good night sleep. Both my boys are bed hogs and are difficult to sleep with.

If we get 2 queens in our room, would there be enough room to put a single sized Aerobed on the floor? Does anyone know if you can rent cots at WL? If we go with the Aerobed, would we be able to push it under one of the beds during the day, or are the beds built on platforms? :confused:

Tesabat
06-22-2002, 05:12 PM
It's going to be tight - but I "think" there will be enough room right in front of the balcony doors. And, the beds are not on platforms, so you should be okay pushing it under there during the day. You can't get cots or roll-aways at WL. They don't even have them - has to do with fire codes.

I just posted on another thread of yours regarding villas that we are in the same situation as you, but going value season, so the fall pkg made a 1-br villa doable for us.