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Old 09-24-2012, 05:48 PM   #1
GrandCalifornian
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Sept 2012 Wilderness Lodge Mini Resort Report

We stayed at the Wilderness Lodge from September 8-17, 2012. We had the most amazing trip, and being at the Wilderness Lodge was a huge part of it. We will cover the trip day by day in a longer trip report, but for the Resorts forum I wanted to summarize the parts of WL that we really enjoyed.

We checked in about 9PM on Saturday after flying in from California. We had done the online checkin 10 days earlier, and our only request was two rooms near each other, connecting if possible. We had booked Standard view, and anxiously waited to see what rooms we ended up with. We were given rooms 6094 and 6093, which are on the sixth floor directly above the registration desk and were the two rooms closest to the front of the hotel. Ours was a two queen bed room, and it connected to my parents king bed room. Both had been refurbished, and were beautiful. Here is the view out the front of the rooms into the lobby:


Here is the basic interior of the room:


And here is our view looking out the balcony:


Finally, here is one balcony from the other:


The open balconies were nice, and we enjoyed sitting out there in the mornings watching the early busses.


Since they were sixth floor rooms, they would be considered Woods view, and were a nice pixie dust upgrade from the lower Standard view rooms above the loading dock on the North side of the hotel. One thing worth mentioning is that we could hear the trucks that deliver luggage since their loading area was right below our balcony, but for us it wasn't a problem at all. On our prior stay we had a sixth floor North wing Courtyard view, and while the view of the pool and the lake was amazing, we really preferred this room, since for us having it open out into the lobby was more impressive than we had expected. The walk to the elevators was quick, and we were looking over the edge and taking pictures the whole time, which was more fun than walking down a long regular hotel hallway.


After seeing the rooms, we made our first visit of many to Roaring Forks. I had a cheeseburger and part of a chocolate brownie, and saved the rest for breakfast or later dessert.


I can't emphasize enough how happy we were with Roaring Forks. It was particularly impressive this trip because with the light crowds it was never a problem to find a table, and we sometimes were the only people in the dining area. During the trip we resort hopped to many other quick service locations, and I enjoyed the food here more than any of them. Since we were on the dining plan getting extra drinks with meals and using our mugs worked great, and we got to try lots of great desserts too. Even paying out of pocket though the food here is a comparatively good deal. We shared a plate of Mickey waffles with strawberries and whipped cream for breakfast at least three times during our stay. While it doesn't have the variety of some of the food courts, the quality of food was really good and with their daily specials there was always something different to try.


One thing that surprised us was how little we swam compared to what we expected. We only went to the pool once, and it was at 9:30 at night. We got to watch the ELP from the hot tub deck, then swam some more with only a couple other people around. We would have liked to swim more, but always ended up being somewhere else during the day. Here is a picture of the pool one afternoon though, as we were on our way to rent a boat:


We got really lucky with weather during our trip, but we did start off with rain on our first full day. With our two year old and stroller we weren't as mobile in the rain as on our honeymoon visit, so we really appreciated the WL all being under one roof. When we looked at other resorts, we kept thinking about the walk in the rain to the busses or mug refills, and it made us appreciate WL even more.

Speaking of transportation, this was one of my biggest reasons for wanting to stay at WL. I really enjoy the boats, and I liked having them as an option for MK and Fort Wilderness. With that being said, I think in almost every case it would have been quicker to take the busses. MK was 15-20 minutes on a boat, but only 5 or so on a bus. We still generally preferred to take the boat. The wait times for boats were usually very short, and they did a great job scheduling boats for peak times. They use two different size boats, and the larger ones allowed us to roll the stroller right on, but the smaller ones ran more frequently and with folding the stroller they worked out well too.


Many of our boat rides were to Fort Wilderness, as we ate at Trail's End three times and did Hoop De Doo. Last trip we frequently walked between WL and FW, but with grandparents along and plenty of park walking this trip we stuck to the boat or bus. We are very fond of WL's neighborhood though, and liked to go visit. On the boat one morning we got this shot:


We checked out Port Orleans Riverside, Coronado Springs, Pop Century, and Art of Animation at various points of our trip, all as possible options for a less expensive future stay. While we liked different aspects of each of these resorts, our love for WL grew this trip and by the end of it we booked our bounce back for the same time next year, with 10 days at WL.
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Old 09-24-2012, 06:01 PM   #2
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Awesome post! We LOVE WL. We can't always afford it, but when we can we do! I know exactly what you mean about everything being under one roof. It's so convenient. Glad you had such a great time!
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Old 09-24-2012, 06:05 PM   #3
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Yup! The WL is AMAZING!!!

We had the greatest 11 day trip WL CL in July and it could not be more magical.

I am kind of glad there wasn't an applicable bounce back in our room because I know that hands down we would have booked WL again, and we REALLY want to stay at every Disney resort. The WL definitely makes you forget about all other options.

Alas, we are moving along on our quest and are going to knock off YC/POLY from our list, but I am planning on incorporating the WL into our planned Feb 2014 trip because we really want to stay there again!
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Old 09-24-2012, 06:56 PM   #4
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Another family who Loves loves loves WL. I wish it was in the wallet to stay here every trip, but it isn't for us. Our room was on the 5th floor facing MK. We could see the monorail entering CR through the trees and watched the fireworks from our balcony. I do wish they would have the fireworks soundtrack available in the room but really that is my only complaint.

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Old 09-24-2012, 07:24 PM   #5
EmmaMagsMom
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Great report! We are 36 days away from returning to WL. We can't wait! Your pictures have gotten us excited
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Old 09-24-2012, 08:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EmmaMagsMom
Great report! We are 36 days away from returning to WL. We can't wait! Your pictures have gotten us excited
Oh neat. You should have a great time. Our initial plan was to go closer to the holidays, but we snuck in the trip before DD turned three. I am glad you enjoy the pics, they make being home easier too. Enjoy your stay and have a great trip!
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:59 PM   #7
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Thanks for your report . The WL is a beautiful resort and is one of our favorite places to stay. Roaring Forks is also one of our favorite CS places. Glad you had a great time and congrats on booking for next year .
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:35 PM   #8
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Yes, Thank you for this report! We'll be checking into WL for the first time in 26 days and I can't wait - It wasn't my first choice, but the more I read about it the more excited I am to be staying there!!
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:19 AM   #9
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LOVED your report and pictures! Glad to hear Disney honored your requests, with the added perk of a King bed for your parents and an upgraded view! The new rooms at the WL are totally tempting

What did you think about the week in general? We're thinking of roughly the same week next year (9/8-9/14) but there's some conflicting crowd reports out there Would love to hear a quick sum up of your thoughts (I know you mentioned you were writing a longer report!)

Thanks again
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:52 AM   #10
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Looks like a very nice resort - hope to stay there one day!
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:25 AM   #11
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Thanks so much for the photos - love your room view! Did the king room happen to be an accessible room?

I never expected to stay at WL because when we visited it when it was brand new, we far preferred the tropical ambiance of the Polynesian, the excitement of the Contemporary with the monorail gliding through or the BC for it's delightful stroll to/from International Gateway....but after reading so many rave reviews on the DIS, decided to give it a try late November a couple of years ago (and the price was right with an AP rate).

Bet you won't be surprised to hear I absolutely fell in love with the resort - still not crazy about those small rooms (or the previous color scheme - reburb is so much nicer), but the resort is so peaceful and lovely, especially when decorated for the holidays. We also enjoyed a Villa studio, which is larger than a Lodge room and it's such a pretty walk over there...and just as convenient as being right in the Lodge.

Your little one is as cute as can be!
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:26 AM   #12
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Only two more months until we are there for Christmas time! I am so excited I can't take it!! This will be our first at WL and first at a deluxe as a family
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:19 AM   #13
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THANKS FOR THE MINI VACATION!!!!
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:32 AM   #14
GrandCalifornian
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Princess-ish
LOVED your report and pictures! Glad to hear Disney honored your requests, with the added perk of a King bed for your parents and an upgraded view! The new rooms at the WL are totally tempting

What did you think about the week in general? We're thinking of roughly the same week next year (9/8-9/14) but there's some conflicting crowd reports out there Would love to hear a quick sum up of your thoughts (I know you mentioned you were writing a longer report!)

Thanks again
We were amazed at the lack of crowds. Our prior visit was in June and it was a lot busier. I think as long as you are after Labor Day it should be relatively calm.

We booked our bounce back for September 6-15 next year and are hoping for similar crowd levels.

We are doing a longer day by day trip report that will have lots more pictures and talk about all the other fun stuff we did.

Last edited by GrandCalifornian; 09-25-2012 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:48 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrandCalifornian View Post
We booked our bounce back for September 6-15 next year and are hoping for similar crowd levels.
.

Was that a FD BB or room only BB? Know the FD BB was out, but just wondering if a room only had come out yet. Thanks!
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