Resort Review: Boulder Ridge at Wilderness Lodge
Boulder Ridge is a Disney Vacation Club resort at Wilderness Lodge. The resort is in the Magic Kingdom Resort area, with villas for families of every size. The theme of the resort is the railroad leading to the Pacific Northwest. Evergreens populate the grounds and each building is created to resemble large rustic lodges. At Boulder Ridge you can enjoy all the benefits of Wilderness Lodge with the peace and tranquility of the smaller neighbouring building. With its own pool, separate lobby, own concierge desk, it has the feeling of exclusivity without the extravagant look. Ideal for families who love the outdoors without actually staying in the outdoors. The rooms are heavily themed, right down to the faucets in the bathrooms. Boulder Ridge is connected to Wilderness Lodge via a covered pathway. This beautiful resort is one of our favourites to stay at. The location is ideal, you can access Fort Wilderness Resort and the Contemporary with the resort boat. Which really expands your options for dining on non-park days. You are a boat ride or 5 minute bus ride away from the Magic Kingdom. The resort itself has so much to see and do that you’ll want to spend a day just exploring it all. Let’s jump into the details that make Boulder Ridge a great place to stay.
Boulder Ridge shares its transportation with Wilderness Lodge. There are two methods of transportation: bus and boat. The boat launch is on the eastern side of the resort. Follow the pathway closest to the water and you’ll find the boat launch on your right. Don’t mistake the boat dock for the boat rentals for the boat launch. To get to the bus stop from Boulder Ridge, you exit as though you are making your way to the main lodge and hang a left before entering the building. This pathway takes you to the bus stop. The bus stop has a sign which will let you know an approximate wait time for each destination.
This is the best way to get to the Magic Kingdom from Wilderness Lodge. Especially if you want to make it for park open. The park is so close, which means the bus trip is incredibly short. It takes no more than 5 minutes. Because of its close proximity the bus is constantly coming back to pick up more guests. So you can be assured if you just missed one bus the next one will be there in moments.
The boat only operates 30 minutes before park open. So if you want to be in the park by park open I would not take the boat. The boat ride will last at least 15 minutes because you will be stopping at the Contemporary resort on the way to pick up their guests. This is a fun way to come back from the park, especially if you’re doing so later in the day, not at park close. The Wilderness Lodge boat launch at the Magic Kingdom is found directly in front of the Magic Kingdom exit. If you are leaving the Magic Kingdom you are going to walk straight ahead. It is to the left of the Grand Floridian’s boat and to the right of the main Ferry Boat.
The only way of reaching Epcot from Boulder Ridge is with a bus. On the map, Epcot does not appear to be that far away. You would be right. But this bus is shared with Fort Wilderness Resort, which is a little out of the way because the guests are picked up at the main entrance of Fort Wilderness. So your 15 minute ride turns into 20 to 25 very quickly. On our last vacation we were trying to make a 8:15am reservation at Akershus Royal Banquet. We were at the bus at 7:30am, which we thought would give us lots of time. We waited about 5 minutes for the bus to arrive. The ride to Fort Wilderness was another 10 and then there were three scooters that needed to be boarded which added another 10 minutes. Needless to say we had to run to our breakfast reservation. Us and another family on the bus. Not the way we wanted to start our day at Epcot. So be sure to give yourself plenty of time when you are heading to Epcot from Boulder Ridge. The up side to this is you will be the first to be dropped off when coming back from Epcot. Ideal when you are exhausted from a very full day at Epcot.
The only method of transportation to Hollywood Studios is by bus. Expect some delays right now because Hollywood Studios is in the middle of major renovations in their transportation area with the new sky way, making the bus area very congested. Be sure to give yourself 45 minutes to be able to arrive at Hollywood Studios when you want.
Buses are the way to get to Animal Kingdom from Boulder Ridge. Animal Kingdom is a great distance from Wilderness Lodge and you share this bus with the Contemporary. You are the first picked up and the first dropped off. You have the best bus stop at the Animal Kingdom, with the number 1 bus stop at this park. So you won’t have to walk very far when exiting the park. Give yourself half an hour before you’d like to arrive at the Animal Kingdom. When we went to Animal Kingdom we left Wilderness Lodge at 7:40am and arrived at the Animal Kingdom within 15 minutes.
Disney Springs is the shopping, dining and entertaining district located on the far reaches of the Walt Disney World resort property. This bus is not shared with any other resorts so you can expect it will take 15 minutes depending on the traffic.
When Typhoon Lagoon is open, the Disney Springs bus is shared with this water park. With the stop at Disney Springs be sure to give yourself a half hour before you want to be there. Also be sure to change at Typhoon Lagoon when you are ready to come back to Boulder Ridge. The park is so far from the resort you can be waiting a long time for the bus to return.
Blizzard Beach shares its bus with Animal Kingdom. Both are extremely far away from Boulder Ridge. You can expect a lengthy wait for the bus and a long bus ride. After you’re through with your day at Blizzard Beach be sure to change so you don’t get a chill from waiting for your bus or on the bus.
There are two pools available to the guests staying at Boulder Ridge at Wilderness Lodge. Boulder Ridge Cove Pool and Copper Creek Springs Pool.
Boulder Ridge Cove Pool.
This pool has been recently renovated. When we stayed here four years ago it was your basic quiet pool. The whole pool area has been redone now. All the evergreens that used to shade this area are now gone. The pool is surrounded by rocks, with water falling down the side and then into the pool. There’s industrial looking cranes that appear to be abandoned bordering the pool. This is a zero-depth entry pool, there’s no slides or specific play area. But it’s ideal for young ones. When we were last here, the littles were the only ones in the pool. It’s not very deep. There are no pool activities by this pool, leaving it relatively quiet. Pool deck chairs surround the pool with umbrellas. There’s restrooms nearby as well as a whirlpool. This pool is only available to guests of Wilderness Lodge. You’ll need to use your Magicband to gain access to this pool area. No pool hopping here. Lifeguards are not on duty at this pool.
This pool has a beautiful view of Wilderness Lodge. You could just hang pool side and admire all that is Wilderness Lodge. There’s a 67-foot long water slide at this pool. It’s only open when it’s the right temperature outside. So if you’re vacationing in December or January you may not be able to enjoy this slide. The coolest thing about this pool is the river trailing into this pool. The pool is U shaped. At one side of the pool is the exit of the waterslide. On the other side of the U is the end of the river. It’s a beauty. This pool has poolside activities, giving guests some entertainment along with their day by the pool. This pool does not offer much privacy. With many pathways surrounding the pool and the geyser nearby. It’s a beautiful setting to spend the day. There are lifeguards at this pool. Whirlpool is nearby.
In this area you’ll also find a water play area. With two slides and a big water bucket. Littles can run and slide and play. This area is gated off so you don’t have to worry about your little running off. Adults are not allowed sliding on these slides. They are built for littles only. There are deck chairs in this area, giving parents a place to lounge while their kids have a ball. This area is nicely shaded. A perfect place to play out your little before nap time.
There are no restaurants located in the Boulder Ridge building but there are five dining experiences located on the Wilderness Lodge. Also, by being in the Magic Kingdom resort area you are a simple boat ride away from Fort Wilderness’ dining, which includes Trail’s End restaurant, and the Contemporary’s restaurants. Grand Floridian and Polynesian are also in close vicinity. If you want to stay put though you have two resort table service restaurants, two lounges, two quick service restaurants and one signature restaurant.
This quick service restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night snacks. They’re open from 6am until 12pm. It’s the earliest place to grab a cup of coffee in the morning or a quick breakfast before heading to the park. You can find this restaurant from inside the Wilderness Lodge. When walking from Boulder Ridge via the pathway, enter into the Wilderness Lodge’s grand lobby and follow the signage to the Roaring Fork. You’ll walk through the lobby with the water on your right. Down the ramp and the restaurant will be to your left. It’s a cafeteria style restaurant. Order what you want, pay and then grab a table and wait for your buzzer to let you know your food is ready. If you’re coming from outside, make your way past the Copper Creek Springs Pool into the lodge from the ground floor. Roaring Fork will be directly in front of you. You can expect your typical burgers and fries here but also there are some grab to go meals. The menu is fairly limited. You’ll get more selection at the neighbouring Geyser’s Point Bar & Grill. This restaurant is not made for large crowds. There’s minimal seating inside, there’s a couple tables in the hallway and the largest selection of seats is outside.
Geyser’s Point Bar & Grill.
When this restaurant first opened it was a quick service restaurant for lunch and a table service restaurant for supper, similar to Be Our Guest at the Magic Kingdom. There was a lot of confusion over this so it is now a table service restaurant inside and there is a counter service outside that is quick service. Geyser’s is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’s also a bar area, where you can sit and order a meal or apps off the menu or just enjoy a pint. The food here is delicious. We ate at the quick service window twice on our last vacation. Once we ordered and stayed, eating at the tables located close to the Copper Creek Springs Pool. The second time we took our meals back up to our room. They have a few draughts on tap, a stout, IPA and an Ale. I enjoyed the stout so much I had it twice. You can find Geyser’s Point Bar & Grill just past the Boulder Ridge Cove Pool or if you’re coming from the main lodge it’s just past the Copper Creek Springs Pool.
This fun, family friendly restaurant is located in the lobby of the Wilderness Lodge. I consider this a must do at one of your visits to Walt Disney World. Whispering Canyon Cafe is a table service restaurant that offers you an all you care to enjoy skillet or items off their regular menu. This is true of their breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. I recommend getting a reservation for this restaurant before arriving. If you think you’d like to eat here at some point during the day either head down to the concierge desk or reserve a table on the My Disney Experience app. The food here runs with the Western theme found throughout the resort. You’ll enjoy pork roast, ribs, corn bread, mashed potatoes. What makes this restaurant fun are the servers. Hollering out for more ketchup, getting the kids up running around the dining room. They have large tables for big groups. Making it a popular dining experience for large families. Whispering Canyon Cafe is open for breakfast 7:30-11:15, lunch 11:45-2:30 and for supper 5:00-10:00.
Found at the entrance of Artist Point, this lounge is a beautiful place to spend a quiet evening. With a large selection of wine and cocktails, you should come prepared to indulge. They also offer a few appetizers and desserts to amouse your bouche. The lounge is open from 4:30-midnight.
The rooms available at Boulder Ridge are all villas, which means they’re not your standard hotel room. The villas have kitchenettes, playpens, mugs and coffee makers. These rooms can be booked by guests of Walt Disney World and Disney Vacation Club members. All of these rooms are heavily themed in the pacific northwest, with dark colours, rustic taps and dark wood. Even the light fixtures remind you of a time before electricity. The views available for all these rooms are lake view/pool view (depending on your floor), Wilderness Lodge view, Courtyard view, or Woodlands view.
These rooms can sleep up to five people. In a deluxe villa at Boulder Ridge you’ll find a queen size bed, a double size sleeper sofa and a twin-size murphy bed. When you walk into this room you’ll have a closet on your left, and then your kitchenette. The kitchenette has a sink, a small coffee maker, a small refrigerator and you’ll find some cutlery and kitchenwares. The bathroom is on the opposite side of the room. With a separate space for the toilet and shower/bath tub. Giving everyone space to prepare for the day while someone else gets showered or bathed. There’s another closet in this area as well. The main living space has a queen size bed and then a large sofa which pulls out to a bed. Across from the couch is my favourite part of these rooms, the tv unit. The bottom of the TV unit is a table and when you pull on it, it pulls out a hidden twin size bed. This bed is comfortable and the wall behind it has a beautiful scene of Bambi and his mother with all the woodland creatures. When all the beds are pulled out it doesn’t leave much space but that’s okay because there is a patio. So if you’ve got littles who need to go to bed early, you can sneak out to the patio and enjoy a drink, the sunset, a game of cards or the Electrical Water Pageant.
$418-576 per night. 15-24 points per night. These vary depending on the season.
These villas can accommodate 4 people. With one bathroom, a shower and a whirlpool tub. There’s one balcony or patio depending which floor you’re on, and a full kitchen. When you walk into your room there’s a large closet, giving you lots of space for jackets, suitcases, sweaters. In this entry way is where we normally house our stroller, instead of constantly collapsing it. The main area is home to the pull out sofa, kitchen, breakfast bar and table. There is room enough around the table for all to eat. The kitchen has a full fridge, a full stove, microwave, full sink with garburator, and dishwasher. Dishes, utensils and cooking ware are provided. In this main living space is a closet with the washer and dryer. You’ll be provided with some detergent. The bedroom has a king size bed, TV, dresser, bed side tables and a lounge chair. Off the bedroom is the patio or balcony. The master bedroom is open to the whirlpool, a sink and a walk-in closet. The main bathroom, with shower, sink and pocket door to the toilet has a door access from the master bedroom and from the main living space. These villas are very large. If you have young ones you can accommodate more than four with the use of playpens, cribs, and makeshift beds with couch cushions.
$589-832 per night. 28-47 point per night. These vary depending on the season.
2 Bedroom Villas.
The 2 bedroom villas can accommodate for eight guests. With two queen size beds, one king size bed, and a queen size sleeper sofa. This villa actually has three rooms, the main living space and two bedrooms. When you walk into your villa you’ll be walking into a main living space, with a kitchen, table and chairs, sofa, breakfast bar and TV with TV unit. This main living space also offers a large closet in the entry way and a patio or balcony. On one side of the villa you’ll have the entrance to one of the bedrooms. On the other side of the main living space you’ll have the entry to the master bedroom. Off the main living space is also access to the “main bathroom”. This main bathroom has the stand up shower, sink and toilet. The master bedroom has the king size bed. A TV and TV unit, lounge chair and a master bathroom. This master bathroom has a sink, whirlpool tub and walk-in closet. This room has lots of drawers for your Disney attire and places to put your suitcases during your vacation. The other bedroom has two queen size beds, their own patio, a table and chairs as well as a TV. In this bedroom is a bathroom with sink, toilet and shower/tub. The laundry unit is found in the main living area. With this large unit there’s room for your whole party, and then some. You can have movie night right in your room, you can have a games night in the main room while the kids sleep in the second bedroom. It’s a great space for a multigenerational trip, a trip with multiple aged kids, or for a large family.
$976-1,645 per night. 37-63 per night. These vary depending on the season.
Take a look at all the things going on at Boulder Ridge, whether you’re looking to spend a whole non-park day at the resort or planning on doing some down time during an afternoon, there’s plenty to do.
Found just off the Wilderness Lodge lobby, as you are heading to Boulder Ridge is the Buttons and Bells Arcade. Perfect for a rainy or cold day, come in and play some classic and new arcade games. Open from 7:30am-11:00pm.
The basketball courts are tucked away on the southern side of this resort. To find them you’ll have to walk to the very end of the cabins in the Boulder Ridge area of the resort. Head to Teton Boat & Bike Rental to borrow a basketball. The rental hut is located on the water directly in front of Boulder Ridge Cove Pool.
Rent a bicycle from Teton Boat & Bike Rentals for $18.00. You can bike around the resort but the best bike path to take is the path connecting Wilderness Lodge to Fort Wilderness. Bike the path and ride around the Fort Wilderness resort. Maybe even head over there for lunch at Trail’s End restaurant or for a peak a Tri-Circle-D Ranch. You are required to return your bike back to Teton Boat & Bike Rental. During your bike ride you’ll have to stay in the Wilderness or Fort Wilderness resort area.
Head down to the fire pit for a nightly campfire. Every evening around 6:30pm, depending on the daylight hours, guests can enjoy warming up by the fire and some s’mores. The fire pit is located between Geyser’s Point Bar & Grill and Salon by the Springs. You get a great view of the geyser from here.
Spend some quality time as a family with this larger than life connect four game. Found outside by Teton Boat & Bike Rentals play in teams or one on one.
Located on the pathway between Boulder Ridge and Wilderness Lodge, join the recreation staff as they help you create a one of a kind Mickey Tie-Dye, a great souvenir to bring home. This does have a cost.
Electrical Water Pageant.
Every single night, guests of the Magic Kingdom resort area get to enjoy this light and music show on Bay Lake. At approximately 9:30pm you’ll see the pageant play out on the water. Music will be playing along with the light show. You can see this show from lake view rooms, both boat launches and from the copper creek springs pool area. Little Mermaid and Pete’s Dragon are featured.
Hop on board for a one of a kind viewing of the Magic Kingdom fireworks. Boats leave at 7:45pm off the Teton Boat & Bike Rentals boat launch. Guests will enjoy snacks and beverages and will take a cruise around Bay Lake before getting to their perfect spot for an unforgettable night. Call (407) WDW-PLAY to book a spot, additional cost required.
Head out for a 2 or 4 hour excursion of catching and releasing on Bay Lake. You can choose from a 21-foot Sun Tracker pontoon boar that will allow for 5 guests or if there’s only 2 of you there’s a fishing boat. With an excursion you’ll be accompanied by an guide, you’ll have the use of a rod and reel, a tackle, bait, non-alcoholic beverages and you’ll receive a one year BASS membership which includes a magazine subscription. Call (407) 939-2277 to make a reservation.
Wednesdays-Saturdays at 9am meet at the Wilderness Lodge Resort Lobby and receive an hour long tour free of charge. You’ll be taken around the resort, shown the intricate details that make up the body of its elaborate design.
In the lobby of Boulder Ridge is the Carolwood Railroad Room, it’s on the right as you enter the building from Wilderness Lodge. Here you’ll find games for the whole family to enjoy and the space to do it. With tables surrounding the building’s stone fireplace, you can play a game of UNO or a long game of Monopoly. Perfect for entertaining older kids while younger ones are napping.
Sturdy Branches Health Club is found off the lobby of Boulder Ridge. It’s available to all guests and is open 24 hours a day. You’ll find ellipticals, weight machines, free weights, treadmills, it’s an impressive gym. You can expect to have the place to yourself with many guests not taking time out of their busy park filled vacation to work out.
Movies Under the Stars.
Enjoy a new or old Disney favourite outside, under the stars. Right by the water and in front of Teton Boat & Bike Rental is a turf area. This is where Movies Under the Stars is located. To find out which movie is being featured check your recreation sheet you would have received upon checking in, head to the lobby of Wilderness Lodge and check their board of information across from the Mercantile or simply ask a Cast Member. If the weather is poor, raining or too cold, the movie will be brought inside to the Boulder Ridge Lobby where you can enjoy the movie in the comfort of the great indoors. While we were here in January all the movies were inside because of the cold weather conditions.
Recreation cast members can be found at Copper Creek Springs Pool from 2pm until 5pm. These cast members will entertain guests with pool side games, including trivia, bingo, arts and crafts, chalk art. Prizes are given out as part of these games.
Wilderness Lodge is connected to Fort Wilderness Lodge by a pathway. Fort Wilderness Lodge is a huge resort so be sure to grab a running trail map from the front desk before leaving for a run. Click here to get the details on my experience running at Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness on our last vacation.
Wilderness Lodge Lobby.
This beautiful lobby has many things to discover and enjoy. Kids can play and run along the bridge that goes over the brook right in the lobby. The massive poles found throughout the lobby all have different animals crafted on them. Spend time sitting in one of the many comfortable seats and stare up. You could spend hours doing this and still not see all the carvings.
Monday and Wednesday mornings, in Sturdy Branches Health Club, enjoy a complimentary Yoga class. At 7:30am you’ll be led into downward dog and tree pose. Starting your day off with deep breaths and calming thoughts. There are only 20 spots available to sign up ahead of time at Teton Boat & Bike Rentals. Yoga mats and water provided.
Wilderness Lodge Mercantile.
The only proper shop at this resort is the Wilderness Lodge Mercantile, it’s found on the left as you enter the Wilderness Lodge lobby from Boulder Ridge. It is one of my favourite stores out of the resort stores. It isn’t just a store, it’s designed just like every other part of the lodge it inhabits. There’s a fireplace, all the tables are made of big logs. Going in here is almost an experience itself. Here you can expect to find essentials you may have left behind, like toothpaste, sunblock, feminine products, diapers and so on. Toys, swimwear and jewelry can be found here as well. What I love most about this shop is their one of a kind merchandise. Maybe it’s because I love this resort so much but their merch is again another element of the resort. The colours of the merchandise are deep woods greens and dark reds. You can of course find many of the items you’ll find elsewhere on property but you’ll find shirts and sweaters here that say Wilderness Lodge that you won’t find anywhere else. The store is open from 8am-11pm.
We’ve stayed at Boulder Ridge twice. Once in 2014 and once in January 2018. We love this resort. We love the location, we love the theming, we love the rooms. There is so much to do without even leaving the resort. Being at this resort I truly feel relaxed. Without being able to see any other resorts or any of the parks, we can stay at Boulder Ridge without feeling the need to rush out and spend time at the parks. The design is remarkable. Around every turn there’s beautiful landscaping, waterfalls, the majestic building. We will keep coming back here year after year. Happy Planning Friends.