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dizneeluvr
07-15-2004, 12:26 AM
Hi!

We just got back from a three night stay at Big Cedar Lodge (Concierge Collection) just outside of Branson, Missouri.

I have posted about this place in the past, but wanted to do an update for all of those new DVC disboarders who might be interested.

This is a beautiful resort! We used our points to stay in the "Falls Lodge". This three story building offers lake views from all of the rooms and the rooms themselves are best described as Polynesian-sized. New this year...a dvd player in each room! The resort itself was just featured on the cover of a big magazine featuring the best hotels and resorts in 2004 (surprisingly, not one Disney hotel made the list, yet Portofino at Universal did).

This is a great summer getaway with an on-site marina, horse stables, pools, lazy river, tennis courts, golf, and gorgeous views of the Ozark mountains and Tablerock Lake.

Every night...much to the delight of our two DD's (9 & 5) the "cookie lady" visits each room with the resort's signature peppakador cookies (shaped like a big cedar tree). The cookies were always placed amid a neat "set-up" of their dolls and stuffed animals. They were excited to get back to the room at night to see which doll would be holding the cookies!

We were given a sealed envelope at check-in which contained a very nice (professionally made) note that said how much Big Cedar enjoys its Disney guests, yada, yada, yada and invited us to bring the note to the gift shop for a little gift (a complimentary bottle of their award winning salad dressing...a blueberry poppy seed or something like that...DH loves the stuff). Nice touch! The note made me wonder if II trading with Big Cedar's vacation club isn't too far off in the future.

Something interesting...Big Cedar has a vacation club of its own and my DH pointed out that the vacation club's shuttle vans have "welcome home" written across the hood in big letters! Hmmmmmm......

This is a great place for us to spend a few nights in the summer as it is only a 4 hour drive from home. Although it isn't Disney, it is a trip we look forward to every summer!

If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them. And what I can't answer, I'm sure OKW Kirt can (another Big Cedar afficiondo).

~Laura

WDWLVR
07-15-2004, 06:12 AM
Thanks for the great report. Big Cedar is one of those on the CC that I've been looking at to visit someday. Sounds like a great place!

JimC
07-15-2004, 06:22 AM
Thanks for the report. Sounds like a great place to tsay.

Surprising that Disney did not get file for the service mark "Welcome Home". Unless it is already owned by someone else.

ScarlettO
07-15-2004, 07:03 AM
I never realized DVC could be used here!
DH and I toured this resort last year-it is gorgeous- and had lunch at the old quaint restaurant-charming! But , alas, it's a good 12 hours from home for us.

Great report!

Granny
07-15-2004, 07:16 AM
Laura...thanks for the outstanding report! And you know that DW and my girls are going to have to go there some day! We just never seem to have enough points to do that and Disney too! (sound familiar?)

The resort sounds great, and the employee attitude seems to be outstanding too. That can often make or break a trip, and it sounds like yours was wonderful.

If I may ask...how many points is a three night stay during the summer? I take it they were weeknights?

Thanks for the report, and I look forward to our next St. Louis DVC meet! :)


Edit to add: I overcame my laziness and looked up the points....108 points for three weeknights (Sun-Thurs). Wow, that's not bad at all. I think we're going to figure out how to get there next year!

Also, what is the room layout like? I see the points chart describes it as "Falls Lodge Queen". Does that mean two queen beds?

OneMoreTry
07-15-2004, 07:52 AM
Originally posted by dizneeluvr
The resort itself was just featured on the cover of a big magazine featuring the best hotels and resorts in 2004 (surprisingly, not one Disney hotel made the list, yet Portofino at Universal did).


~Laura


I wonder if this was the type of article that hotels have to pay to be mentioned. I know some magazines do that.

Anyway, in my experience, the quality of Disney hotels is not at the level of the Ritz or some of the other top luxury chains. I've never stayed at GF, though. But if you take LOCATION and THEMING into account, they can't be beat.

OneMoreTry
07-15-2004, 08:21 AM
Oops

Patty3
07-15-2004, 08:32 AM
Did you have all your meals at the lodge or are there other places close by?

slp87
07-15-2004, 08:38 AM
We were just in Branson 2 weeks ago and went out to Big Cedar Lodge and it is absolutely beautiful. My parents took the timeshare tour and when I came back to pick them up we looked through the rooms. The layout was very similar to Disney's BWV with a little more room. One thing I really liked was the studio portion had a 2 burner cooktop. We came back and ate breakfast another morning and the views are spectacular. That was definitely getting away from it all!!

Granny
07-15-2004, 08:40 AM
Laura...you've really got me thinking about this on this hot summer morning! :sunny:

For others, here's a picture of the Falls Lodge:

http://www.big-cedar.com/_images/main_photos/bcl_int_img_lodging_03.jpg


And here's a link to the Big Cedar Lodge web page http://www.big-cedar.com/visit/

ScarlettO
07-15-2004, 09:14 AM
You would have to drive 20 minutes to get to Branson(I think)and other meal options...there are several different eating places on site-some are pricey(think Grand Floridian for a reference for food)

dizneeluvr
07-15-2004, 10:16 AM
The Falls Lodge rooms have 2 queen size beds. Nice balcony (all overlooking the lake). The bathroom has a jacuzzi tub. And the whole thing is very spacious much like I remember the Poly being when we stayed there pre-DVC.

As for food, there isn't much right around the resort but you can be in Branson in about 10 minutes. The resort itself has two dinner restaurants (not cheap but not crazy either), one of which overlooks the lake from way up high on the mountain and the sunset views are AWESOME! That one is called Top Of the Rock which is also where the 9 hole golf course is. There is also a "bar type" restaurant above and beyond the two nicer (but still resort casual) ones. This one is very casual and has live entertainment each night. Three of the nights it features the resort's infamous singing cowboy (Clay) who is a hoot! Really fun guy! As usual, all entertainment in the Branson area is appropriate for families and Clay is no exception.

There is also a smaller place called the Truman Smokehouse on site that is open for breakfast and lunch.

As for points, it is certainly more pricey than using them at a DVC resort. And if we lived closer we'd use them all at Disney. But this is a good option for us for those extra points when you have only a few days and not enough time/extra cash for airfare again. And you come back VERY relaxed from Big Cedar!!!

You can also use your points for their cabins, which look GREAT! But then your point usage goes up quite a bit!

The picture Granny posted is perfect! Captures the lodge perfectly!

I highly recommend this resort to anyone who enjoys summer activities (Fall is gorgeous as well with the changing leaves and the opportunity to still get out on the lake) and a nice leisurely pace.

Oh, there is also a small mini-golf course on site. And paddle boats/canoes you can take out (I believe those are "free"). DH used the fitness room a few times to run as the hills make running tricky!

And since it is close enough to Branson, you can always plan meals in town around shows. If you go, and want to take in a show....the Haygoods are incredible!!! 8 kids playing more instruments than I can count, tapping, dancing, flips, you name it. Super high energy, kids love them...in fact the audience is a really nice cross section from young to old. Oh and of course the teenage girls these boys draw in....

Great place!

Laura

OKWKirt
07-15-2004, 12:19 PM
Laura won't be surprised that I had to chime in anytime Big Cedar Lodge is mentioned. You all just can't imagine how great this place is. Our first trip there was on points in a one bedroom cabin and we fell in love with the place and went back with DW's parents in a two bedroom cabin on points. Once they started their Big Cedar Wilderness Club (BCWC) (timeshare) in 2001 my DW and I didn't hessitate to buy in as a founding family. This is part of the Bluegreen Vacation Club. I don't believe BCWC will be added to DVC because it is under RCI and not II but I'm sure the lodge will stay with the CC. Other activities include hiking and all water activities. Branson was already mentioned with all the shows but it also has Silver Dollar City and the new night time amusment park Celebration City. Missouri will be voting in August to allow Rockaway Beach, 11 miles away, to include river boat gambling along with their huge development project. Great place and lots to do around there.

mrsdon
07-15-2004, 12:20 PM
Count me as another Big Cedar Lodge fan.
We love it there.

DisFlan
07-15-2004, 01:11 PM
You ought to see Big Cedar at Christmas! Just gorgeous. It has a lot of the feeling of the WL decorations plus lots of outdoor lights around the lake.

If anyone is considering visiting by flying in - you WILL need a car. The lodge is a 10 min. drive from Branson, and the only real way to navigate Branson is by car.

We're lucky enough to live about 40 miles from Big Cedar and have stayed in the cabins and other rooms several times. We'll be going back in December for an annual medical conference. Big Cedar also has an area a few miles away called Dogwood Canyon. It's a beautiful area for fishing and hiking.

The only downside is that over the past 3 or 4 years it's become considerably pricier. Still great, but pricier.

ErinC
07-15-2004, 02:19 PM
Dh and I did a trip to Big Cedar in 2002 when I was 5 months pregnant with DD #3. We left DD #1 & #2 with the grandparents for 4 days. It is a really neat place. We stayed in Falls Logde in a King room. It was huge. Granny's picture shows if perfectly. The only issue with our trip(Oct.) was that it rained most of the time and it was only about 40 degrees out on the lake while we fished.(Yes, I am an awesome wife!:teeth: ) Since that trip we have gotten several postcards with awesome rates for a 1 bedroom cabin. Someday I would like to go back in the summer and take the kids. We did not use points for this trip (we never have enough for Disney). I do still mailorder the blueberry poppyseed dressing. I think my last order was for 6 bottles! It is awesome. I would consider this to be a good use of points if I were to exchange. Oh and the spa was awesome. Since I was pregnant, and fishing with DH in 40 degree weather, he owed me a nice 2 hour session at the spa!;)

TonyS20
09-10-2004, 10:03 AM
After reading this thread, I went to the Big Cedar website to snoop around. There was a place to enter name, address, phone #, etc. for more information about their timeshare. It also wanted to know when you would be interested in traveling.

Last night, a rep called. We were offered a Honeymoon Cabin (King bed, pull out queen, jacuzzi tub, fireplace, etc.) for up to 4 adults (or 2 adults and 3 kids) for 3 days/2 nights for $129 (total). On day 2, they want us to attend a 90 minute presentation (they guaranteed it would only take 90 minutes!). I inquired about weekend availability and their first available for the Honeymoon Cabins was Dec 17 and 18. We went ahead and booked for that time. When we arrive, we will receive $100 in Big Cedar bucks to spend in their Lodge. We would have to give 72 hour notice for cancellation (with MO weather you never know!).

I'll report back after we return. We were hoping to get away before Christmas this year, so this will work out perfectly. :)

WDWorld2003
09-10-2004, 10:16 AM
Does anyone know anything about the fishing cabins owned by Big Cedar Lodge? We will be travelling through the area in about 1 month but will have our dog with us. These are the only cabins that do allow pets and they are about 1 mile from the lodge and I think on the river. We would like to check out the area for a future stay. Thanks for any information!

CVW
09-10-2004, 10:47 AM
It's ironic that I've been talking about Big Cedar on another thread just now located right here (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=641526)

We own a week at a cabin at Big Cedar Wilderness Club as well as time at BCV at Disney. BCWC is truly a great resort. We've always taken the kids to Branson once or twice a summer. Now that we own at Big Cedar, we think of it as going to Big Cedar INSTEAD of going to Branson. The only thing we do off the resort anymore is Silver Dollar City.

It's funny, but when Johnny Morris (owner of Big Cedar Lodge and 49% owner of Big Cedar Wilderness Club) first entertained offers for timeshare development, Disney Vacation Development actively pursued talks with him.

Disney was concerned with slow sales off WDW property, and Johnny Morris felt that expiring "right to use" contracts wouldn't fly in the Branson market, so it wasn't a good fit.

It's too bad Marriott or Hyatt didn't take it. But Bluegreen wants to use Big Cedar as its entry point to the high-end market. Time will tell. Leaving BCWC on RCI (instead of II) is not a good way to start.

The biggest problem with BCWC is that they're owned by Bluegreen. Bluegreen is trying to make headway in the high-end timeshare market, but for now, Big Cedar is their Lexus in a fleet of Yugos. If you ever consider buying at Big Cedar, please talk to me first. The sales folks at Big Cedar possess the same slime levels in their serum as lesser timeshares. NOT the professionalism that you'll encounter at Marriott or Disney.

They're on a combination point/deeded week hybrid system. But the value of a Bluegreen point significantly devalues Big Cedar. I was able to negotiate a Big Cedar deeded week for SUBSTANTIALLY less than their asking price, simply because I understood the Bluegreen system.

DVC'ers best bet is to try a direct trade on TUG. It would be a great value. It might be tough right now, because BCWC is so new that most owners aren't ready to venture off yet. But in a couple of years, I think it holds promise to be a popular trade because the family demographics are so similar.

Bottom line: Big Cedar is a better resort than DVC. Almost without question. (The problem is, well, you're in Branson.) If you're tired of the WDW parks but want a family friendly resort, you'll be very pleased there.

CVW
09-10-2004, 10:58 AM
WDWorld 2003,

Sorry I missed your post before I clicked "enter". You're probably talking about Thunderhead Point, which stretches around on the other side of the cove, so the non-pet owners never know you exist. You're right, it is probably about an extra mile of driving to get to those cabins. You're required to make a $100 deposit if you're bringing pets.

It's not on a river. (The only river is their privately developed Dogwood Canyon, which is about ten miles off property.) But it's on Big Cedar's cove on Table Rock Lake. There's a fishing dock on that side of the cove, but I don't think there's a marina. I think you'd have to drive around to the other side for that.

WDWorld2003
09-10-2004, 11:05 AM
Thanks CVW.... Are they nice or are we better off staying somewhere else. We are also looking at Cooper Creek Resort just outside of town. Thanks for any info....

CVW
09-10-2004, 11:27 AM
I've never been inside a fishing cabin. They are not as well-appointed as the honeymoon cabins. (No deer-antler chandeliers, jacuzzis, or "car wash" showers.) But they are otherwise fully furnished, maintained by Big Cedar, and you still have full access to the resort.

Personally, I'd say stay at Big Cedar just because I like the resort so much. I've never heard of Cooper Creek Resort, so I can't help you much there.

If you feel Big Cedar isn't worth the money, I could recommend Still Waters Resort off Indian Point. It's nice. And it's very convenient to Silver Dollar City.

DisFlan
09-10-2004, 11:51 AM
TonyS20 -

You'll love the Honeymoon cabins!

We've stayed in them several times and we have a reservation for one Dec 2 - 5. We go almost every year at this time for an annual medical conference that's held right in the resort. The resort Christmas decorations are just wonderful.

Some of the Honeymoon cabins have a loft w/bed. The other Honeymoon cabins have a queen bed and a fold out sofa. The kitchen is great, the wood-burning fireplace is VERY nice in December, and the view of the lake from the deck is wonderful. In the past there have been Christmas lights (like Santa's sleigh) around the lake shore.

We also usually go to Silver Dollar City for the Christmas festivities. (My son used to work there - before he was in the Disney College Program at WDW. :hyper: )

I also love the large bathroom - it has a jacuzzi and a separate "multi head" shower.

And for me, there's...ta dah!...great room service! Which is rare for a resort that is so spread out. The service in general at Big Cedar is excellent.

You'll love it.

DisFlan

OKWKirt
09-10-2004, 12:36 PM
I get on this thread late and almost all of the good info is already said. The honeymoon cabins are very nice and some have a loft (that's what we had out first stay). It is basically one big room with the bathroom carved out in one corner. Your walk into the living room with the open bedroom to one side and the kitchen straight back. Not a lot of privacy but we loved it. The loft is open also. These cabins are part of the lodge and not the Wilderness Club. The BCWC has two bedroom cabins and lodge rooms similar to DVC (studio, one and two bedrooms).

The fishing cabins are like said at Thunderhead Point. We stayed in one and it was a two bedroom, not sure if they are all two bedrooms or not. It was small and plain but fine for the four of us. I have never in my life seen such a small shower and no tub. I'm not large (5'10" - 170 #) and I barely (no pun intended) fit in. A really nice screen-in porch. The cabins are designed for guys roughing it and fishing. But again we stayed there to save money on one trip. I'm too spoiled to do that again.

I can't say much about the timeshare people and their sales tactics because my experience was different than you will ever find. I saw the add in a magazine and called to set up a visit (got the great deal with the fishing cabin). Before going I faxed questions to my guide to see how it compared to DVC and my other Branson timeshare. I knew everything I needed to know before we arrived. When we met the guide we talked for maybe 15 minutes about last minute questions I had and we left with our coupon for money to spend at the lodge. I told him we would call him in a couple days and make our purchase. The only thing he refused to do for me was to take my other Branson timeshare for a trade into the BCWC, lol. You guessed by now how much I love Big Cedar.

The only thing I'm concerned about, and I've told Laura (dizneeluvr), is how the amenities (restaurants and other activities) will be affected with the size of BCWC. Right now I believe Big Cedar has three lodges and maybe 50 cabins. The plans I've seen for BCWC is 13 lodges and maybe 90 cabins. A lot of people sharing the same existing activities.

Sorry this went on so long. What was your question? I won't be back on until Monday so if you have any questions bare with me - I will be back. Kirt.

CVW
09-10-2004, 01:12 PM
Keeping amenities up to pace with capacity is a concern for a lot of us. The latest lodge, however, is supposed to have its own pool. They're going to put playground equipment in front of the Phoenix Lodge. And ALLEGEDLY they'll put in another restaurant on the BCWC side where the sales staff is currently located.

We'll see.

TonyS20
09-10-2004, 01:16 PM
Thanks for all the great advice!! I didn't know much about the resort besides what the person said on the phone last night.

I didn't realize they had a separate area that is their timeshare. I'm interested to see the accommodations and hear how their timeshare is structured.

Since the honeymoon cabins sounds more "open", I'm glad we decided to come by ourselves. I'm looking forward to the fireplace and the "car wash" shower.

We love Christmas lights and Christmas celebrations. If there are any tips of things not to miss that are only available during the Christmas season, feel free to PM me about it. We are looking forward to our little getaway!:sunny:

OKWKirt
09-10-2004, 02:42 PM
CVW - I had not heard about BCWC having a restaurant in that area. That will be needed but I'm more concerned about the Buzzard Bar and being too crowded to hear Clay. Only those who have been there know what I mean. There is a pool now at BCWC with a lazy river but I'm not sure that will be enough for BCWC plus I hear they are allowing the lodge people to use "our" lazy river Sorry, the possessiveness came out. We can use the lodge stuff but don't come use ours.

Tony - Go on the Big Cedar website to see more info, including a map showing the lodge and BCWC. Go on Branson.com and get tons about Branson. It is great at Christmas time with a large drive through area north of town all lit up. Silver Dollar City llights up a ton for Christmas and all the shows are changed for a Christmas shows.

BCWC is very similar to DVC and better in one area. When you bank your points you are just adding another years use onto them. An example I saved "banked" my points one year and then needed (I thought) to borrow from the next years to extend a reservation. I was politely asked why I wanted to borrow because my points were still available for the current year. The first time I asked to bank my points they had no clue what I was talking about, for them you save your points. You have to really keep your timeshares, and terminology, straight or you come off like a dummy instead of an expert with four timeshares.

Bluegreen also has a great resort in Branson called Falls Village. We have used our BCWC points twice there when we couldn't get into BCWC. It is really nice. Bluegreen currently has 35 resorts to use your points for in 10 states and Aruba. You can go on Bluegreen website and learn some there.