Great visit to the VWL!
We just got back from our first trip to the Wilderness Lodge Villas. Our trip included me, DH, DD(7), DS(4) and DD(1). We tend to spend a good bit of time at the resort, all of my kids do well taking an afternoon break, and none can hang at the parks too late at night. We enjoyed time at the pool, Cubs Den, Arcade, and one of DS's favorite movies played on the beach one night.
We stayed in a dedicated 2BR on the 5th floor, our view was of the woods and Bay Lake. The room was large, clean and we enjoyed seeing some of the Electric Water Pageant from the balcony. If we looked sharp to the left we could see some of the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom each night.
To the left:
Straight out to BL where the EWP was visible at night:
I didn't take any pictures inside the room. We loved having the kids in their own room, the baby stayed in a portable crib inside the closet in the 2nd bedroom. There was plenty of room and it was perfect to put the monitor and the noisemaker in there. She slept great and it was nice to have her in her own space for afternoon naps as well.
It was fun to take the boat from the resort to the MK. Here are a couple pics I caught from the path to the boat on our way to Rope Drop one morning:
The big kids enjoyed the pools, the slide was fun and my DS loved the hot tubs. The baby was a bit more challenging at the big pool. She was happy in the baby pool for a little while, but really struggled being held in the water of the main pool. I spent a lot of time walking her in the stroller on the paths surrounding the pool area. (She loved seeing the geyser go off!)
In front of the waterfall between the resort and the main pool:
The bubbles were a huge hit in the Hidden Springs pool. Here is one of the baby and DS where you can see the bubble jets behind them:
We swam every day but one, it was a bit rainy and the baby was happy sleeping the afternoon away. I took the big kids down to the Cubs Den for craft time. Both enjoyed playing there and at the arcade while she napped.
Up next: A few shots of the new fantasyland and an afternoon at the Paddock Pool!
We were very excited to catch a soft opening of the Voyage of the Little Mermaid! The ride was bright and fun and the kids all loved it. We were glad we got to ride when we did, two days later it was closed off again. I wish I had taken a few more pictures of the area while it was open. Here is a picture of Prince Eric's castle.
We also got to ride the new Dumbo ride. I loved the old one as much as anyone, but we were never willing to wait in that slow moving line longer than 10 min with toddlers. Pure torture. The new ride is set up brilliantly. For those that haven't been on the new Dumbo, you enter the ride line (which offers a FP now too!), and are welcomed into a playground inside the big top. The CM takes a count and hands you a pager. It buzzes when it is your time to ride. There is bleacher type seating for parents and a fun toddler area inside as well. We rode quickly since it was early but the kids wanted to come back to play longer. The lighting wasn't the best but I took a few pictures anyway.
Inside the big top:
Center ring is toddler play area:
We did have a car with us, but we wanted to give the Disney buses a try for the first time. We took a bus to DTD one night to eat at TREX. It took a good 35 min to get there, but we didn't mind since we didn't have a set ADR. If you haven't tried TREX it really is worth a trip. My kids love it there, the Dinosaurs and ocean creatures are cool and the food is quite good too. We had a great time that night racing lego cars and enjoying the DTD atmosphere. The bus back wasn't quite as long, or maybe it just didn't seem as long since the baby was tired and didn't squirm quite as much ;)
I am glad we tried Disney transportation this trip! DH took both little ones back to the room for lunch one day while I stayed with my older DD at the MK. We rode a few more rides and opted to take the bus back instead of the boat. It was the fastest trip ever. We arrived at the bus stop at 1:25, a bus arrived 2 min later. We got on the bus and it was 1:28. We unloaded at the WLV at 1:35. Nice :thumbsup2
Our last afternoon we wanted to check out the new pool at Saratoga Springs. I had seen a few pics and thought it would be a good choice for our little ones to try. We drove to SSR and were not disappointed! The new Paddock pool was fantastic! The big pool slide was awesome, my 7yo and I loved it (although DH holds to the clown slide being the best he's tried so far). The splash area was AWESOME for little ones. My 4yo went down the big slide at WLV once all week. It was a little scary for him. Well, the splash area at the Paddock had 2 little water slides and he LOVED both. It was nice because both slides were slower and there wasn't a rule against having a small child ride on your lap. Baby took several trips down with DH and I and had a blast! Here are some pics:
The main pool from the zero entry side:
The kiddie splash pad from the bridge:
The backside of the main slide from the splash area:
One of the small water slides:
The stairs on the other side:
Beautiful SSR grounds from backside of pool. We all want to stay at SSR sometime soon!
What a great trip report, thanks for posting. You all look like you had a blast :goodvibes. For our 2014 trip we are planning on staying at VWL and can't wait. We have stayed in WL many times and it is by far one of our favorite resorts on property, the other is BC/BCV. Did you do any room requests before your stay? I would love to have a view like yours :goodvibes.
Thanks for reading Poohsfan! Since we had never stayed at the VWL before this trip I left the request up to fate. I knew there was a possibility of the dreaded "dumpster" view, but I figured I would roll the dice and see what happened ;)
I would request Bay Lake View and maybe you would end up on that side of the resort. High up seems to be better viewing for the EWP. I didn't mention it but if we looked far down to the right we had a glimpse of that dumpster, lol. But as high up as we were it was far from a bad thing!
DH laughed at me when I was out on the balcony craning my neck to watch the fireworks, but I was still pumped about it! DS, DD and I enjoyed watching the movie on the beach and we could watch most of Wishes from our seats.
Poohsfan how old were your kids when you stayed at the BCV? DD (7) saw that pirate ship slide and really wants to stay there soon. We enjoy Epcot and DTD a lot, so either SSR or BCV will be high on our list to try in the next couple years. I would like the baby to be a bit more independent before we tackle 3 kids at a pool that size though. I'm thinking the year she turns 3 may be a good time to try for it.
As for SSR, we own there and when we stayed there for the first time in January we were really impressed with it. We stayed in the Congress Park section which was nearest to DTD. If I was comparing which two resorts to stay in, here are some pros and cons to each:
-Storm along Bay
-Location, Location, Location (Epcot, BW, DHS)
-Dining. Yachtsman's Steakhouse, CMC in the same resort, and a ton more within walking distance on the BW and in Epcot.
-Size of the resort. Worst case you are a 2 min walk to the front desk.
-Direct transportation the Epcot (5 min walk) and Hollywood Studios (15 min boat ride).
-If you stay at the villas, there is no great view of the boardwalk because the villas are located behind the resort.
-It is our families favorite so we don't have many cons but I am sure there are a couple more.
-The rooms are bigger.
-Close to DTD
-They added a couple big pools that compete with Storm along bay.
-The view of DTD from the room if you stay on the lake side is great. If this is your goal, ask for the highest floor possible.
-Everything is a bus ride. The resort is huge (5 bus stops just for the resort itself). If you want to be by DTD, it is a bus ride to the front desk and pool. If you want to be by the new pool, there is no views of DTD and a bus ride everywhere. etc..
-very limited dining onsite.
-If you are close to DTD, it is still a 10 min walk to DTD.
Honestly though, it is Disney. Anywhere you choose will be a great choice. You really can't go wrong. Every family has there own things they are looking for in a resort. Good luck on choosing the right one for your family.
Great trip report, love the pics from VWL, that is such a beautiful area!
We just got back from SSR and loved our stay. We love the resort, I am a walker so I dont mind taking the time to head over to DTD (I dont find the walk bad at all). I know the kids get tired, our DD (8) has been going for the last 5-6 years, and this trip she was great with all the walking we did. SSR is beautiful.
We did rent a car, so I cant talk about the transportation, but we loved SSR.
Sounds like you had a great time. Your little ones are so precious! I can't wait to read more.
Poohsfan1 your comparisons are so helpful! Great point regarding the proximity of the pirate slide. A good consideration when I am keeping 2 eyes on 3 kids ;) I didn't realize that the rooms at SSR are bigger than at the BCV! And the walk to DTD is a nice selling point. How far is it to walk if you are staying in the Springs section? Doable or only from the Congress Park? I can see requesting both those sections and planning to drive over to the Paddock pool to swim.
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