Teddy Roosevelt would exclaim “bully” to Disney’s dramatic depiction of an early 1900s national park lodge. I challenge you to keep your jaw from dropping open on your first encounter with its impressive eight-story lobby. A marvel of timber, sheer walls of lodgepole pine logs, and rugged rock surround the vast, open expanse filled with oversize leather chairs and Native American crafts of beaded moccasins, feathered headdresses, textiles, and drums. Two authentic 55-foot Pacific Northwest totem poles overlook rustic stone and hardwood floors topped with Native American rugs, tepee-topped chandeliers, and a bevy of “park ranger” staff who roam the lodge attending to guests. A favorite pastime is relaxing in rocking chairs, fronting the massive, 82-foot-tall fireplace composed of rockwork replicating the diverse strata of the Grand Canyon. Another is finding peace and quiet in the charming nooks and crannies on the floors above the lobby or on the back porch rockers that overlook a serene scene of natural beauty.
Seven floors of guest rooms are found above the lobby level, and two six-story wings composed of quarry stone, chunky logs, and green tin rooftops are surrounded by an enchanting scene of roaring waterfalls, rushing creeks, and towering pines. What begins in the lobby as a bubbling hot spring turns into Silver Creek which in turn widens to become a sparkling waterfall emptying into the boulder-lined, hot springs–style Copper Creek Springs Pool, one of Disney’s best. Listen for crickets chirping beneath the bridges and along the meandering pathways lined with natural grasses, junipers, sotols, and wildflowers. On the shores of Bay Lake, the resort’s very own re-created geyser, surrounded by a steaming expanse of geothermal activity, erupts at the top of every hour from early morning to late night. Wait until after dark when the waterfall is lit and the scenery even more spectacular.
Geyser Point Bar & Grill gives guests the perfect spot to enjoy the outdoors from a deck located poolside along with drinks, sandwiches and salads, and perfect views of beautiful Bay Lake.
725 rooms. 901 Timberline Dr., Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830; 407-824-3200; Fax 407-824-3232. Check-in 3 p.m.; Check-out 11 a.m.
Those who have experienced other deluxe Disney resorts may be surprised at the smallish guest rooms here, measuring only 345 square feet. However, the new room renovations make the size seem more efficient, with space under beds to stash luggage and a smaller stackable table and chairs. And the replacement of faux wood laminate floors in place of carpeting adds a sense of space that wasn’t there before. Bedding is either two queen-size beds or a king-size bed. Crisp white sheeting is quite stark, but mattresses and pillows have been replaced and are quite comfortable. Behind the beds are padded, tan leather headboards with an arrow motif and a nature-inspired accent wall, which adds a much-needed pop of color. Personal reading lights are built into the headboard, and additional sconces surrounding the bed make for excellent lighting. A large flat-panel TV hangs above a charcoal-hued marble top dresser with plenty of drawer space, and next to that are two native print chairs and small stackable tables. Kitchy “Camp” and “Cabin” signs on each side of the beds are a fun addition to the room. Forest leaf motif curtains lead to a small balcony with a table and two chairs featuring views according to the room category.
A wardrobe closet in the entry featuring an electronic safe is attached to a marble countertop coffee area with a Keurig coffeemaker and an under-counter refrigerator. There is no iron and board, but rather a handheld steamer. Tucked behind barn door sliders is the bathroom, a few feet smaller than other deluxe resorts, which has white and gray granite countertops in the separate vanity area holding two small sinks with bronze faucets. A pane of light with geologic shapes is near the sinks and can light up on either side of the bath and bedroom. An adjoining bathtub/commode area is embellished with a barn door-style sliding glass shower enclosure, and the rain shower–style showerhead and handheld are a plus. There’s a lighted makeup mirror and a full-length mirror.
Room view choices include Standard View with a look at either the parking lot or rooftops; Nature View facing the trees or Copper Creek Villas and Cabins; Courtyard View of the pool, waterfall, and/or Bay Lake; and a Nature Fireworks View with a partial view of Magic Kingdom fireworks. Sixth-floor rooms in the outer wings closer to the lake come with dormer balconies that require standing for a view.
Concierge rooms on one half of the seventh floor (the other half being the Copper Creek villas) include standard-size rooms with a variety of views and the Yosemite Suite. All 7th-floor concierge rooms have dormer balconies that require standing for a view.
Although none are located on the club level’s seventh floor, Deluxe Rooms do come with concierge privileges. At 500 square feet and sleeping six, these rooms offer a comfortable, but not sizeable balconied parlor area holding a cherry red queen-size sofa sleeper, a small table and two chairs, coffee table, flat-panel TV above a bureau, wet bar with Keurig coffeemake and small refrigerator. The bedroom is decorated similar to standard rooms but with a desk and chair, separated by a frosted glass French door from the parlor, has two queen-size beds, a TV, and a French-style, stand-up balcony. The double-sink bathroom with a separate commode and shower area is accessed from either the bedroom or the foyer. Most of these rooms come with some sort of water view, and because of the distance from the concierge lounge have their refrigerator stocked with beverages on request. These rooms sleep 6. View Disney’s Wilderness Lodge on Disney’s Travel Professionals YouTube channel.
Concierge guests receive the services of an accommodating private staff and access to the Old Faithful Club. Additional concierge amenities include robes and nightly turndown service. A scattering of tables around the balcony overlooks the lobby, and adjacent is a small lounge with a small stand-up balcony adding to the appeal. And those that like a brewski will love that this is the only concierge lounge offering beer on draft. Concierge food and wine menus are posted each day just outside the serving area. Breakfast consists of fresh fruit, juice, yogurt, pastries, cereal, oatmeal, mini muffins, bread and bagels, and afternoon snacks are make-your-own trail mix, fruit, gummy bears, olives, crudités, homemade chips with dip, and cookies along with tea, lemonade, Geyser Grog, and spa water. Evenings bring hearty food catered from Whispering Canyon Café. Cold items could be antipasto salad, crab orzo salad, ceviche, greek-style salad, and always an artisanal cheese platter, and hot dishes include a hearty soup, wild game stew, BBQ chicken skewers, sweet and sour venison meatballs, and house-smoked pork sandwiches. Wine offerings are Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut sparkling wine, Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling, North By Northwest Chardonnay, Milbrandt Cabernet, and Cloudveil Pinot Noir. There’s also a self-service cappuccino machine. After dinner, wine and cordials come with scrumptious hot cobbler, mini cupcakes, s’mores in a jar, cookies, macaroons, brownies, and rightly famous Magic Bars.
The 885-square-foot Yosemite Suite is outfitted in upscale Western featuring rawhide curtains, branding-iron towel bars, Native American artwork, and lodgepole trim. The suite offers a living area with a gray-green and ruby red chenille sleeper sofa, two leather easy chairs, oversized ottoman coffee table, desk, framed Southwest prints, oversized flat-screen TV, DVD player, and stereo. Flat-weave carpeting is centered with a Navaho-style area rug, and a wooden walk-in bar is complete with swinging doors, microwave, under-counter refrigerator, sink, blender, Keurig coffeemaker, and two leather-topped barstools. The small dining room has parquet flooring with a rustic, circular table and Navaho-print area rug. Off the entry hall is a half bath with a single sink. A lovely balcony wraps around the living and dining area with marvelous views of the resort’s pool and geyser as well as sparkling Bay Lake. In the bedroom is a twig-style king bed with white coverlet bedding accented with rust-red throw pillows and a Native American-style runner, a bureau with a flat-screen TV, and green leather easy chair and ottoman. The only disappointing aspect of the suite is the master bath’s ultra-sensitive, automatic motion-detector vent fan that turns on upon entering the bathroom for irritating 30-second intervals. But the pluses outweigh with a freestanding tub over which is another TV. Double above-counter, white porcelain basins are set on the cream and gray granite vanity, and, in a separate area, is a commode and large shower. A second guestroom can be added to make a two-bedroom suite. The Yosemite Suite is one of the better-priced suites at the Disney Deluxe properties and certainly one to consider for a nice upgrade.
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