My family of 4 stayed in a $900-a-night villa at Disney's Wilderness Lodge. The resort was dreamy, but I'm not sure the hefty price was worth it.
My family of four stayed at Disney's Wilderness Lodge using our Disney Vacation Club points.
It's in a prime location, close to Magic Kingdom, and I love that it feels like a mountain lodge.
My family loves this property, but if we didn't use DVC points, I doubt we'd pay the high rates.
My family stayed at Disney's Wilderness Lodge using our Disney Vacation Club points.
Disney's Wilderness Lodge, located in the Magic Kingdom area, has rooms and suites in the main lodge plus additional villas and cabins. It's often mixed up with Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, which can be confusing, but they're not the same thing.
We've been Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members since 2018, which means we pay monthly dues to be part of a timeshare at Disney World. As members, we're able to cash in points at the resorts across the property throughout the year.
DVC members also get priority booking for one-, two-, and three-bedroom deluxe villas. But anyone can book them when they're available.
We snagged a one-bedroom villa at Wilderness Lodge on a recent trip to Disney World.
It's in a great location if you're planning on visiting the parks.
Although Wilderness Lodge isn't located on the monorail route, there are free buses that go to the four theme parks and Disney Springs. There's also a boat service that goes straight to Magic Kingdom.
Although there are technically no resort-to-resort buses at Disney World, it's also easy to get to Disney's Contemporary Resort. The Disney Springs buses and some of the resort-to-park buses from Wilderness Lodge stop at the Contemporary along the way. The drivers will usually announce where the bus will stop — if not, just ask.
Once you're at the Contemporary, there's a walking path to Magic Kingdom, and the park is only about 10 to 15 minutes away on foot. You can also hop on the monorail at the Contemporary and explore the other resorts on the route (Grand Floridian and Polynesian).
I love the mountain-cabin vibe of the resort.
The lobby resembles a huge log cabin, and it's easy to imagine yourself at a mountain lodge. If you've ever been to Animal Kingdom Lodge, the architecture is very similar, but with an entirely different theme.
The architecture, decor, and furnishings are very rustic. There are cozy fireplaces, lots of seating options, and floor-to-ceiling windows that look out over a man-made waterfall.
The lobby also features Indigenous artwork and artifacts.
The theming of the resort continues throughout the grounds.
The rustic, mountain-lodge feel continues outside, with pine-tree-lined paths that wind around cozy-looking cabins.
Small touches, like animal tracks in the concrete, pull the theme together.
Fake animal tracks decorate the concrete, which really makes you feel like you're in the wilderness.
There's even an onsite, man-made geyser.
The geyser blows steam and water periodically.
Our one-bedroom villa was spacious.
Our villa had a bedroom with a king bed in addition to a bathroom, living room, and kitchen.
I love that the villas at deluxe resorts have more homelike amenities than regular hotel rooms, like full kitchens and a washer and dryer.
Having access to the washer and dryer helped us pack light.
I liked being able to wash our clothes in the villa during our stay.
We made use of the kitchen and living room.
The kitchen is great for quick breakfasts or lunches on non-park days.
I also liked having a door between the bedroom and the living area, so I could have some space away from my kids.
There were plenty of outlets for us to charge our devices.
One of the things I liked most about this room is the number of electrical outlets and charging ports — I counted 16.
But I'm not the biggest fan of the bathroom setup in the villa.
The design of the bathroom has improved since we stayed here in 2018 — back then, there was transparent glass between the bathroom and the bedroom. You could see the jetted tub from the bed, which I didn't love.
Now there's at least a more opaque piece of artwork on the wall over the tub, but it's still not my favorite design feature.
The bathroom setup also affects the light in the bedroom.
There's no longer a transparent window between the bathroom and the bedroom. But if you turn on the bathroom light at night, you'll probably wake up whoever is sleeping in the bedroom because the light streams through the glass artwork.
Some of the bedroom features were hard to use as well.
There were lovely lamps installed on the headboard of the bed, but they were too high up to turn off without getting up.
We had two small balconies — one off the living room and another off the bedroom.
Each balcony had two chairs, but they were separated by a shoulder-high wall.
If we all wanted to hang out outside, we'd have to split up, and we wouldn't have been able to see each other clearly.
There are two pools at the resort.
Copper Creek Springs is the main pool area by the lobby, but there's also the Boulder Ridge Cove pool further into the property.
I really loved the onsite restaurants.
Disney's Wilderness Lodge has two sit-down restaurants: Artist's Point and Whispering Canyon Cafe.
Artist's Point offers Story Book Dining, a "Snow White"-themed character experience. It looks cute, but I can't say I really understand how it fits with the rest of the resort's theme.
Whispering Canyon Cafe is another immersive dining experience.
Whispering Canyon Cafe is a fun, Western-themed restaurant serving breakfast, brunch, and dinner.
Its servers are known to act out antics and draw guests into their shenanigans, which is a lot of fun.
There are also spots for a quick bite.
Roaring Fork and Geyser Point Bar & Grill are the resort's quick-service options, offering à-la-carte and grab-and-go selections.
I like the onsite bar, Territory Lounge.
Territory Lounge is one of my favorite spots on the property. It's worth carving out time to go have a drink or appetizer there.
You can watch Magic Kingdom fireworks from the back of the resort.
You can't see the castle from the resort, but you can see the fireworks over Bay Lake. The music is even piped in.
Wilderness Lodge guests can also see the nightly Electrical Water Pageant, which features several glowing floats traveling across the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake.
Even with all the amenities, it's pretty pricey for a hotel stay.
If we were paying in cash, our one-bedroom villa would've cost about $900 a night. If you can snag one during Thanksgiving or Christmas week (when prices tend to rise at Disney World), it goes for closer to $1,200 a night.
In comparison, a standard room with two queen beds at the resort is typically about $490 a night.
The most expensive accommodations at the resort, two-bedroom villas and cabins, usually go for between $2,000 and $4,000 a night. But they sleep more people and could potentially be split with another family.
We liked Wilderness Lodge overall, but we wouldn't stay there without our DVC points.
I love the theming of the resort and think it offers nice amenities. But the $900-a-night rate doesn't include park tickets, food, or the other little expenses that add up at Disney World.
If we weren't using our DVC points to pay for our stay, I probably wouldn't book a villa at Wilderness Lodge.
Correction: March 20, 2023 — An earlier version of this story misspelled a word used to describe the artwork and artifacts in the lobby of the Wilderness Lodge. The intended word was Indigenous, not Ingenious.
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