So, you are ready to upgrade your Walt Disney World vacation to a deluxe hotel- the “Lodges” of Walt Disney World are a great choice for families of 4 (sorry, their standard rooms do not sleep more than 4 guests). Now which one to choose? Again, each family’s likes and dislikes are different as are their needs and wants for their perfect Walt Disney World vacation, that said- I asked Castle Dreams Travel agents which they preferred and this one was a tough one…
Agents love the feel of Wilderness Lodge. It’s totally surrounded by tall trees so you feel like you aren’t in Florida. The rooms are as modern as any others but with the wood edging and bed post carvings it feels rustic – without actually “roughing it.” They like finding the quiet places to sit and reflect. And there aren’t words to describe the majesty of a seven floor lobby with giant totem poles! Then there’s the Christmas tree at holiday time that is just stunning. Lastly, the calm boat ride to/from the Magic Kingdom, especially at night when the park is closing, feels like a winding down from the day as compared to the buses or even the monorail. Keep in mind, due to multiple resort refurbishment projects, guests will notice construction work in various areas now at the Wilderness Lodge. Noise may be overheard while this work is being completed, but construction will not begin until after 9 a.m. Certain pathways, including the nature trail, will be unavailable. The Hidden Springs leisure pool area (the leisure pool at The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge), resort beach, playground, Marina and Recreation fire pit will be unavailable through 2017. Their main pool was just reopened last winter, nearby the boat launch and Fire Rock Geyser that erupts hourly, and now includes a splash zone for kids.
Animal Kingdom Lodge is so unique and majestic- the restaurants are as beautiful as delicious and opportunity to see the animals outside your room is priceless for some guests. They also loved the drumming circles, fire pits, and African artifacts you can find in the lobby. The biggest “con” for staying here is the distance to the theme parks (except Animal Kingdom Park). It is harder to take a quick mid-day break while staying here due to the distance. Many guests also feel like they need to upgrade their view from a standard, lower priced view (which is perfectly acceptable at Wilderness Lodge) to a pricier savanna view to get the full experience there. That said, in our opinion, the upgraded view isn’t needed to take in the full hotel experience (if you are trying to save money) because it’s hit or miss how many animals are visible from your balcony when you’re in the room and there are great outlooks for viewing the animals up close. Plus the guides who are there interacting with the guests are knowledgeable and can answer any questions you may have about the animals you are watching.
General consensus was that Wilderness Lodge is great for a family of 4 because of price and location- once their renovation is completed. If you don’t mind some noise during the day- why not give it a try? Most construction is happening on the Villa side of the resort, most Lodge guests should not be affected. Animal Kingdom Lodge is a great option as well- especially when you are taking a longer vacation and don’t mind the longer commutes to the parks.
Both resorts have villa options with kitchenettes, full kitchens, washers and dryers that sleep up to 12 guests.