The marvelous members assemble! We have Shelby from episode 001, Valerie from episode 002 and Terry from episode 003. My wife Laura also joins in on the conversation to add a little more mom factor to the show.
First up is resort vibe and theme. The resort is beyond immersive. It will take you away to the pacific northwest. Shelby points out that this starts at the entrance when you drive up or even on the approach from the boat ride from the Magic Kingdom. Terry points out that from an Imagineering perspective, the trees change when you start to drive up. Jim Korkis mentioned this factor as well in episode 004 and episode 005.
Parking. Wilderness Lodge has a large rectangular parking lot outside the lodge. It’s a little bit of a walk, but it is not bad. The cabins have their parking lots at each end of the resort that is closer to the cabins. Members tend to rank parking at Wilderness Lodge in the middle to lower middle of the pack. Kidani is the top of the list where you park in the shade under your car. Poly has an excellent parking lot on the DVC side of the resort. Saratoga Springs and Old Key West have great parking right outside the room. Boardwalk was ranked the lowest parking in DVC. As a DVC member, you own the parking lot. You pay dues to maintain the parking lot. Hotel guests may have to pay a parking fee; however, those staying on points do not because we contractually own the parking lot.
Lobby. Wilderness Lodge offers one of Disney's best grand foyers. Terry pointed out that the lobby continually wows you with the height, the logs, the fireplace, totem poles and attention to detail. Shelby added that he enjoys the park rangers. Chad loves the spring in the lobby has the faux river that goes down to Bay Lake. Valerie points out that this was the same vibe in Jambo lobby at Wilderness Lodge but yet its unique.
Rooms. Valerie, Chad, Laura, and Shelby stayed in a two bedroom dedicated villa. Terry stayed in a one bedroom villa. These rooms are converted hotel rooms to DVC villas. According to DVCinfo.com, these rooms are the smallest DVC villas in the network. Every member unanimously ranked the kitchen at Copper Creek villas as the bottom of the list for all DVC villas. (Given the fact that this cast has stayed at every single DVC resort, the assessment has merit). The problem is that the galley style kitchen becomes a traffic congestion point. Eight people can sleep in a two bedroom villa. (Important note, due to the converted hotel room and smaller size, CC is the ONLY 2 bedroom villa that cannot sleep 9 and the only one bedroom villa that cannot sleep 5). Valerie has a family of 5. DVC occupancy rules mandate her family book at two-bedroom at CCV where she could have saved points by staying in a one bedroom elsewhere. The master sleeps two people and does not require passing through the galley to get to their sleeping area. However, the other six guests must pass through the kitchen to find space to sit, relax, lie down or enjoy the room. 75% of the occupants must continually pass through the kitchen. Shelby pointed out that his family had to use the outside balconies to move from room to room at times. Chad and Laura were on the 6th floor where the terraces do not connect because the roof design passes through the balcony area. These balconies were problematic for our smaller children as they could not see over the rail and induced parental heart attacks by climbing on the chairs.
Room Request Tip – If you have small children, request a room with connecting balconies. Shelby pointed out that Touring Plans recommends NOT staying on the top 2 floors for this reason. The room decorations are spot on and have exciting color choices. You can even find railroad ties in the kitchen as referenced by Jim Korkis in episode 004 and episode 005. Laura added that the abundance of storage space in Copper Creek villas is fantastic and problematic at the same time. Extra storage translates to extra work when you check out because you have an abundance of nooks and storage crannies to check. Our kids loved the kitchen cabinet that became the snack storage area. (This is quite possibly the most well-designed storage area in DVC). Terry pointed out that these converted rooms are more like hipster efficiency apartments you would find in Seattle than a deluxe villa. Chad, Laura, and Terry all prefer the Boulder Ridge area of the resort. Cast consensus is that the rooms are near the bottom of the DVC resort ranking. However, the Wilderness Lodge resort more than makes up for any shortcomings in the villas. (And for the record, Chad, Laura, and Shelby are proud owners at Copper Creek).
We have included photos and a diagram of the dedicated two bedroom villas at Copper Creek. The red arrow indicates where a person in the kitchen completely blocks passage for any of these everyday activities:
- Accessing the Fridge to put food in or get things out such as a beverage
- Washing a piece of fruit before eating
- Doing the dishes
- Using any major appliance in the kitchen such as the Microwave, Range, Oven or Dishwasher
The kitchen at Cooper Creek Villas is poorly laid out. Everyday kitchen tasks like using the sink, stove or microwave are difficult in limited space. This galley is the central pathway to the sleeping area for six out of eight occupants. While one can make due, the 5 DVC members all ranked the room layout as least desirable in DVC accommodations. Photo Credit Andrew Darden, CCV owner and moderator of the My DVC Points Community group on Facebook.
Had this been a lock off unit you could exit to the hallway and renter the studio side. However, you have to give up a regular bed to get a lock off. I included two photos of the roofline balcony. One photo from inside the villa is looking at my children and another from the ground floor looking upward). They could not see out over the edge and wanted to climb on the chairs which are quite dangerous due to the roof pitch. When you look at the roof photo, you'll understand our concern. The kids could be sliding down the steeply pitched roof and falling six stories before they knew what they were playing in a dangerous area.
The second picture shows the roof line balcony. The red arrow points out where the location of the children. While all 5 DVC members on this show do highly recommend Wilderness Lodge and staying at CCV or Boulder Ridge side; we do not recommend top floors with small children for obvious reasons in our photos. Once pointed out the danger, they stayed in the room and didn't use the balcony at this resort.
Boat Transportation. We all agreed that the boats are almost an attraction on their own merit. The walk down the wooden path and dock is very relaxing. As you'll see below, my family enjoyed all aspects of this resort. Shelby pointed out that Disney uses different sizes of boats during the day. Laura loves the ability to push a stroller across the ramp without the need to collapse it. (You have to fold strollers on a bus).
The conversation shifted back to the rooms. The three bedrooms and cabins are another story. The hotel space converted to three bedroom villas came out exceptionally well. The cabins fixed a lot of issues that Poly Bungalows have such as a heated pool. Terry pointed out that there is a world of difference between the spacious layouts of the cabins and grand villas compared to the deluxe studios, one bedroom, and two bedroom villas. Terry also commented that a studio is more than adequate for a couple.
At this point we wrap up episode 006; however, we continue this conversation in episode 007.
An essential post-show comment about the kitchen, this vacation was my parents first stay at a DVC resort or any timeshare. Growing up, our family always stayed off-property with family about an hour away from Disney. Seven years ago, we returned to Disney and stayed at Coronado Springs Resort. This vacation was a three-way “split stay” in dedicated 2BR. CCV, BLT, and AKV. When we arrived at CCV, my mother was blown away at CCV. It was her first vacation stay with a full kitchen. Couple full kitchen, theming and being on-property. She couldn't say enough good things about CCV. Then we moved to BLT, and she realized just how much better a DVC kitchen and villa could be. By the end of the trip, she agreed with our opinions on the CCV kitchen. However, I find it necessary to note, if you're brand new to CCV. You'll love it the same way my mother did.
Hope you enjoyed the show and post! Chad #MyDVCPoints
Management Note – Old Key West owners! Please direct your hate mail to TerryWeaver.com.
Photos by Melissa Ann Photography used with permission. Melissa is an independent family photographer who lives just north of Magic Kingdom. We love our home at Wilderness Lodge so much we had our annual family portraits taken here. We hired her for a family photo session; you can click the link to see if she's available for your family as well. She will meet you almost anywhere on or off-property.