If you’ve been following the blog, you might remember that my May trip split between Pop Century and the Wilderness Lodge. I’ve stayed at Pop several times and will probably blog about it another time. Today I’d like to focus on our few days spent at the Wilderness Lodge. While I had visited WL several times, I never stayed there. I was really looking forward to spending a few nights here. I had heard mostly good reviews, and it always seemed as though this resort had a lot going for it. The public areas of the resort are beautiful. It has a beach where guests lounge in the sun during the day or watch the Electrical Water Parade in the evening. And especially appealing is the boat ferrying guests directly to the Magic Kingdom’s gate.
With all of these things in mind, I thought these few days would be a highlight of our trip. So imagine my disappointment when we had a less than Disney-like experience. Now, before I delve into the negative bits I must admit that there were some good things about our stay. Like I mentioned, the amenities and the beauty of the common spaces were enjoyable. The Cast Member who checked us in was warm, friendly, and very helpful. But that’s where the pleasantries ended. Our room was ready late and the valets were less than friendly when we unloaded the car to move it to the room. When we made the long trek to our room, we were surprised at its small size. I knew WL was originally meant to be a moderate resort, but talk about tiny. After settling in a bit we discovered small bugs in the tub, holes in the towels, and refrigerator that didn’t work very well. It took two calls to actually get someone to the room to check out the fridge. The man who came was snippy with us and told us it was our fault it wasn’t working properly. I couldn’t believe the lack of service at a deluxe resort. Without yammering on about all of the bad details I’ll just say I will never stay here again. I will visit (especially to see the lovely Christmas decorations) and enjoy the resort’s restaurant offerings, but never make another reservation.
The results for the 2009 Unofficial Guide’s Reader Survey were recently posted on our website. It’s not surprising to see the Wilderness Lodge slid in this year’s ratings and only 71% of people would recommend the resort to friends. An interesting observation about the restaurant portion of this year’s results was that people seemed to be looking at the more expensive options with a more critical lens in these economic times. People are expecting more for their money since they are doling out so much on their WDW vacations. A lot of the reader comments about these establishments are beginning with “for what I paid…” I’m sure that the same can be said of the resorts. Before this observation was even published, my friends and I said exactly that about the Wilderness Lodge. For what we paid for the room, even with a UK resident discount, we were very frustrated with it and the service.
Next week I’ll start my series on drinking around the world…