Construction at the Wilderness Lodge and Villas
By Dave Shute
Note 3/5/2017: The Wilderness Lodge refurb should be complete by mid-summer 2017. See this.
Note 1/31/16: The construction impact on the Wilderness Lodge itself will be much more extensive than implied below. See this.
Wilderness Lodge guests who book courtyard-view rooms should largely be isolated from view issues.
Villa guests who avoid Bay Lake views will be better off than those who don’t–but since these rooms are not directly bookable as such, Villas guests will be facing more of a challenge.
The images below are from December 2015 from the top floor of the Bay Lake side of the Villas.
Above: from the old Villa pool area to the Wilderness Lodge.
CONSTRUCTION AT THE WILDERNESS LODGE
Most construction is between the southeast edge of the Wilderness Lodge and the northwest side of the Villas, with another smaller area affected at the northwest side of the Lodge.
See the map (click it to enlarge it), where using my sophisticated image skills I’ve put blue boxes in the affected areas.
On the map, the Lodge has the green roof, and the Villas the red roof.
Major construction will include removing and re-doing the smaller pool outside of the Villas (the main pool in the middle of the Lodge wings was updated in 2014 and will remain open), adding a restaurant between the Villas and the beach, and adding bungalows along the shores.
As a result, the small pool, beach, boat rentals and playground on this side will be closed.
This area as of December 2015 is all screened off with construction fabric. Interestingly, these are printed with woods, and are somewhat see-through.
The see-through means you can tell better than in most recent Disney projects what is going on.
For example, the above is not one of my usual lousy photos, but rather the result of holding my lens right up against the construction fabric.
Well, I guess to be precise it is one of my usual lousy photos, but this time at least I have an excuse…
Main Lodge guests who book courtyard views will largely escape the construction.
Views on the Lodge side between the Lodge and the Villas will be affected, and the beach and marina are closed. Below is the construction wall by the beach:
There will also be construction on the far side of the Lodge, but as of December 2015 all that has happened here is some preliminary watershed protection:
It will be a lot harder for Villas guests to avoid, as while one can request a “woods” view at the Villas that might avoid the construction, this is not a separately bookable category.
So despite the panic out there on the internet, any first-time Lodge visitors who can afford the upcharges of the Courtyard views (about $100/night, depending on the year and season) should not much worry about this construction.
We had a courtyard view in our December 2015 Wilderness Lodge stay, and thus zero impact from the construction other than a note left in our room (top of page) and some fun pins:
Villas guests will have a harder time.
About half of Villas rooms will have views dominated by construction, so it will be much harder to avoid.
I’d advise avoiding the Villas at the Wilderness Lodge at least until we all have a better sense of how these rooms feel.