Disney's Wilderness Lodge & Boulder Ridge Villas (Thumbnail)

As the Country Bears once sang, “Ain’t nothing like the great outdoors to ease your soul!” Nature has a way of calming us down, and I definitely experienced this effect at Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. While my sister and I didn’t get “back to nature” in the traditional camping sense on our most recent stay, we did have the privilege of experiencing a truly unique resort. We were immersed in the beauty and majesty of the Pacific Northwest, while just minutes away from our favorite Disney parks. Read on to hear all about our impressions of Boulder Ridge Villas and the resort as a whole!


Theming

 Copper Creek Falls at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Copper Creek Falls at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is themed to reflect the national parks and lodges of the Pacific Northwest, as is evident by the log cabin appearance of the exterior of all the buildings. The property is colored with earth tones, dotted with large trees and foliage, and features grand water features. Stone walkways and wooden bridges wind through the resort, inviting guests to explore the natural beauty of this resort by the lake. Wilderness Lodge consists of two main buildings; one houses the Resort Accommodations and Copper Creek Villas, while the other houses Boulder Ridge Villas. The rear of the property is dotted with twenty lakeside cabins, the Cascade Cabins, which are part of the Copper Creek Villas & Cabins.

 Cascade Cabin 8018 at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Cascade Cabin 8018 at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

As soon as you step in the lobby you are transported to a place far from Central Florida! Walt loved a grand reveal, (hence the Train Station before the Castle), and this lobby keeps with that tradition of pleasantly surprising the guest. As guests walk through the doors, they are greeted by a grand lobby that is open to the sixth story of the resort. The lobby is “supported” by four large sets of wooden beams and adorned with two equally large totem poles. Animal carvings are present on all the poles and throughout the lobby.

The lobby is a grand representation of what the resort represents: a blending of natural beauty, Native American traditions, and the change brought on by the introduction of transcontinental railroads. Native American artifacts are peppered throughout the lobby, in a way that feels purposeful but not like a museum. A bubbling geyser and brook with a bridge adorn the back of the lobby and invite guests to look out onto Copper Creek Falls and Bay Lake. An old railroad car and several model trains invite guests to learn about the technological innovations that connected the country.

Photo Tour of the Lobby of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Most Disney Vacation Club buildings have an entrance that mimics the main resort lobby to some degree, and Boulder Ridge Villas definitely kept his tradition going! The lobby was a scaled-down version of the main lobby, but just as breathtakingly beautiful. The main area featured a large birdcage, crafted to mimic the resort’s architecture, and also had ample, comfortable seating and a small fireplace. In an area behind the main seating area were tables set up with different board games, another small fireplace, more seating, and nods to Walt’s love of trains.

 A Disney Vacation Club topiary greets guests as they walk to Boulder Ridge Villas.
A Disney Vacation Club topiary greets guests as they walk to Boulder Ridge Villas
 Wooden Walkway to Boulder Ridge Villas
Wooden Walkway to Boulder Ridge Villas

Photo Tour of Lobby of Boulder Ridge Villas

My Experience

This resort is perfect for those who want to go “glamping,” which means to experience the wilderness with modern luxuries. The resort felt warm and instantly welcoming, despite the imposing size of its lobby, and all of the guests I interacted with seemed very laid-back and relaxed in the Lodge’s tranquil setting.

The aesthetic of this resort was gorgeous and really reflected the feel of the Pacific Northwest, but personally, it is not my taste. I come from an area with a lot of beach towns, so I’m used to decor featuring light blues, greens, yellows, and whites with an open-air feel. This resort felt cozy, but just a little dark to me.

Location & Transportation

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is classified as a Magic Kingdom Resort. It sits along the shoreline of Bay Lake, just south of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The park is approximately a 10-minute bus ride or 20-minute boat ride from the Magic Kingdom, and the other parks are a bit more distant.

Wilderness Lodge offers boat service to the Magic Kingdom. Guests utilizing the boats should allow a bit more travel time than the buses, as this mode of transportation is generally slower. Boats may be shared with nearby resorts, such as Fort Wilderness and Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Guests should also keep up to date on local weather conditions, as the boats are suspended during thunderstorms.

 Boat Dock at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Boat Dock at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Guests wishing to visit Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs, or Disney World’s water parks will utilize the resort’s bus transportation. Keep in mind that these buses may be shared with nearby resorts, such as Fort Wilderness, so be sure to allow ample travel time to your destination. Buses to the Magic Kingdom, Fort Wilderness, and the Contemporary are also offered on a sporadic basis.

Accommodation Types

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is classified as a Deluxe Resort, while Boulder Ridge Villas and Copper Creek Villas & Cabins are classified as Deluxe Villa Resorts. The entire property offers a number of accommodations to suit almost any travel party. Since Boulder Ridge Villas are part of the Disney Vacation Club, I’m going to separate the rooms into two categories: Resort Accommodations and DVC Accommodations. Both of these categories are open to guests who are booking with cash.

Resort Accommodations

  • Standard View – views of service areas, rooftop, or parking areas; 2 queen beds, small dining table and 2 chairs, nightstand, flat-screen television, dresser under television; large double vanity, separate bathroom area with toilet and shower/tub combination; small patio or balcony with two chairs and small table; sleeps up to 4 adults.
  • Nature View – views of landscape, trees, or Copper Creek Cabins; 2 queen beds, small dining table and 2 chairs, nightstand, flat-screen television, dresser under television; large double vanity, separate bathroom area with toilet and shower/tub combination; small patio or balcony with two chairs and small table; sleeps up to 4 adults.
  • Nature View Bunk Bed – views of landscape, trees, or Copper Creek Cabins; 1 queen bed, 1 bunk bed, small dining table and 2 chairs, nightstand, flat-screen television, dresser under television; large double vanity, separate bathroom area with toilet and shower/tub combination; small patio or balcony with two chairs and small table; sleeps up to 4 adults.
  • Nature Fireworks View – views of landscape or Copper Creek Cabins; 2 queen beds, small dining table and 2 chairs, nightstand, flat-screen television, dresser under television; large double vanity, separate bathroom area with toilet and shower/tub combination; small patio or balcony with two chairs and small table; sleeps up to 4 adults.
  • Courtyard View – views of courtyard, pool, waterfall, or Bay Lake; 2 queen beds, small dining table and 2 chairs, nightstand, flat-screen television, dresser under television; large double vanity, separate bathroom area with toilet and shower/tub combination; small patio or balcony with two chairs and small table; sleeps up to 4 adults.
  • Courtyard View King Bed – views of courtyard, pool, waterfall, or Bay Lake; 1 king bed, small dining table and 2 chairs, nightstand, flat-screen television, dresser under television; large double vanity, separate bathroom area with toilet and shower/tub combination; small patio or balcony with two chairs and small table; sleeps up to 2 adults.
  • Courtyard View Bunk Bed – views of courtyard, pool, waterfall, or Bay Lake; 1 queen bed, 1 bunk bed, small dining table and 2 chairs, nightstand, flat-screen television, dresser under television; large double vanity, separate bathroom area with toilet and shower/tub combination; small patio or balcony with two chairs and small table; sleeps up to 4 adults.
  • Standard Room (Club Level) – views of woodlands, courtyard, pool, waterfall, or Bay Lake; 2 queen beds or 1 queen bed and 1 bunk bed, small dining table and 2 chairs, nightstand, flat-screen television, dresser under television; large double vanity, separate bathroom area with toilet and shower/tub combination; small patio or balcony with two chairs and small table; sleeps up to 4 adults.
  • Deluxe Room (Club Level) – views of Bay Lake, woodlands, or interior courtyard; queen-size sleeper sofa, 2 lounge chairs, wet bar, small dining table and 2 chairs, coffee table, flat-screen television, media table under television; 2 queen beds, wardrobe, nightstand’; large double vanity, separate bathroom area with toilet and shower/tub combination; small patio or balcony with two chairs and small table; sleeps up to 6 adults.

Disney Vacation Club Accommodations (Boulder Ridge Villas)

  • Deluxe Studio – views of woodlands, courtyard, or Disney’s Wilderness Lodge; 1 queen bed, 1 queen sleeper sofa, and single pull-down bed; closet; small dining table and 2 chairs, kitchenette, flat-screen television, dresser, nightstand; large single vanity, separate bathroom area with toilet and shower/tub combination; small patio or balcony with two chairs and small table; sleeps up to 5 adults.
  • One-Bedroom Villa – king bed in master bedroom; queen sleeper sofa; two closets; dining table and bench; seating at kitchen counter; flat-screen TVs; full kitchen; washer and dryer; jetted tub with large vanity area; separate bathroom area with sink and mirror, toilet, and shower; sleeps up to 4 adults.
  • Two-Bedroom Villa – king bed in master bedroom; 2 queen beds in second bedroom; queen sleeper sofa; two closets; dining table and bench; seating at kitchen counter; flat-screen TVs; full kitchen; washer and dryer; jetted tub with large vanity area (master bathroom); separate bathroom area with sink and mirror, toilet, and shower (master bathroom); full bathroom with double vanity, toilet, and shower/tub combination (second bathroom); patio furniture; sleeps up to 8 adults.

Photo Tour of One-Bedroom Villa at Disney’s Boulder Ridge Villas

My Experience

The One-Bedroom Villa at Boulder Ridge was almost identical to that at Disney’s Beach Club Villas. A few differences were in the scale of the rooms themselves, with the living room and entryway being bigger, while the bedroom’s closet and the bathroom were noticeably smaller. The earth tones of the furnishings and decor continued the comfy mountain lodge theme of the resort, making us feel at home in this villa. As I’ve said before, while beautiful, this is not my personal aesthetic and the rooms in the villa felt quite dark at times. The only way to really combat this and make everything feel bright was to have all the curtains open during the morning hours, and even then we had lights on throughout the villa. The furnishings were beautiful, but it was evident that these rooms have not seen a refresh in some time.

Dining

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is home to some very unique dining locations! From lounges to signature dining experiences, there is something for every guest staying at or visiting the resort.

Quick Service Dining

Roaring Fork – Quick service dining location, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night options. Must-try items include 10-Hour Pulled Pork-Cheese Grits for breakfast and House Smoked Turkey Sandwich for lunch or dinner.

 Menu at Roaring Fork at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Menu at Roaring Fork at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Table Service Dining

Whispering Canyon Cafe – Table service dining location, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner in all-you-care-to-enjoy skillets. Must-try skillets include The Heritage Skillet for breakfast and The Traditional Skillet for dinner.

 Whispering Canyon Cafe at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Whispering Canyon Cafe at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Storybook Dining at Artist Point with Snow White – Signature dining location, featuring character interactions with Snow White, a few of the Seven Dwarfs, and the Evil Queen. Must-try items include the Royal Prime Rib Roast and The Hunter’s Gift to the Queen.

Lounges

Geyser Point Bar & Grill – Counter service and bar location by the Copper Creek Villas, serving breakfast, lunch, and appetizer options and signature cocktails. Must-try items include the Bison Burger and Huckleberry Punch.

 Geyser Point Bar & Grill at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Geyser Point Bar & Grill at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Territory Lounge – Lounge adjacent to Artist Point, serving beer, wine, and appetizers. Must-try items include the Fruit Cobbler and Oregon Pinot Noir Flight.

 Territory Lounge at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Territory Lounge at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

My Experience

My sister and I enjoyed breakfast from Roaring Fork twice during our vacation. We liked that the restaurant had more choices than the Beach Club Marketplace, which we had tried during our last stay at Walt Disney World. Both times, she stuck with her usual bagel with cream cheese, so she was happy! On our first visit, I tried the Pulled Pork-Cheese Grits. I found the pork to be very tender and the barbeque sauce was just the right amount of sweet and spicy. Unfortunately, the grits far outnumbered the meat, so I actually stopped eating the dish once the meat was gone. On my second visit, I enjoyed a croissant, available in the dining location’s large pastry section.

Recreation

Copper Creek Springs Pool – The resort’s feature (main) pool, featuring a water slide and Whirlpool spas.

Copper Creek Springs Pool on a cloudy morning.

Boulder Ridge Cove Pool – The resort’s leisure (quiet) pool, adjacent to Boulder Ridge Villas. Features a zero-depth entry, Whirlpool spa, and ample lounge seating.

Sturdy Branches Health Club – Fitness center featuring state-of-the-art fitness equipment. Guests can also utilize the resort’s jogging trails, located nearby.

 Sturdy Branches Health Club at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Sturdy Branches Health Club at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Buttons and Bells Arcade – Recreation room featuring classic arcade and video games.

 Buttons & Bells Arcade at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Buttons & Bells Arcade at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Salon at the Springs – day spa, offering hair, nail, and skincare treatments. Adjacent to Copper Creek Springs Pool.

 Salon at the Springs at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Salon at the Springs at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Wilderness Lodge also features the following recreational activities:

  • Bike Rentals (currently unavailable due to construction)
  • Campfires
  • Fishing
  • Motorized Boat Rentals
  • Movies Under the Stars

 Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, as seen from Geyser Point Bar & Grill
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, as seen from Geyser Point Bar & Grill

This resort is perfect for the family or travel group that wants to be close to the Magic Kingdom, without the hustle and bustle that can be found in resorts on the Monorail Loop. Its location on Bay Lake makes it feel secluded and tranquil, while still being close to all the action of Walt Disney World. Wilderness Lodge offers a wide range of accommodations, dining choices, and recreation, so this would also be a great resort for groups wishing to do more of a resort-focused vacation.

Overall, the location of this resort and the lower point cost of the villas were very attractive to us! While the aesthetic may not have been one that we’re really into, it was great to try something totally different on our Walt Disney World vacation. The resort as a whole felt very comfortable, the Cast Members were extremely friendly, and the atmosphere of the resort made a jam-packed weekend feel a bit more relaxing!

Disney's Wilderness Lodge & Boulder Ridge Villas (Infographic)