Crane in the Boulder Ridge Cove Pool at Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

Why You Should Stay at Disney’s Boulder Ridge Villas

My family loves Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. I can not overstate this. We love going home to this resort. Walking into its lobby still gives me chills, 15 years after our first visit. Before we bought into the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) years ago, we stayed there exclusively. Why? Because it is beautiful and peaceful and awesome. Wilderness Lodge is the undisputed Walt Disney World Resort champion. Your mileage may vary, but probably not.

Disney's Wilderness Lodge

We recently went back to the Wilderness Lodge, this time to stay in the Boulder Ridge Villas. It was our first time in this part of the hotel. I already want to go back.

Before I go any further, it’s time for a history lesson…

Boulder Ridge used to be the only DVC option at the Wilderness Lodge. They were originally called the Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. But in 2017, the Disney Vacation Club renamed it Boulder Ridge. With the name change came a Wilderness Lodge overhaul. The hotel sold an entire wing to the DVC, which renamed it Copper Creek Villas. The DVC also added the Cascade Cabins.

Okay, the cabins…

These cabins are stunning. And incredibly expensive, points-wise. I toured them on our last trip, which will probably be the only way I’ll ever step inside one. They are spectacular.

Alright, back to Boulder Ridge.

Location

It’s an easy stroll from the Wilderness Lodge’s lobby to Boulder Ridge. A covered wooden walkway connects the main hotel to the Villas. Rooms near this walkway might have issues with noise. Luggage carts are incredibly loud when they roll down this path, although that should only happen during the day.

Wooden walkway connecting Boulder Ridge to Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Map of Disney's Wilderness Lodge, including the Copper Creek Villas, Boulder Ridge Villas, and Cascade Cabins
Click the map for a larger view

Theming

Water tower outside the Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

The Wilderness Lodge was designed as an homage to national park lodges in the western United States. Boulder Ridge feels right at home next to the main hotel, but its style is unique. The Villas are themed after 1860s railroad hotels but on a grander scale. The railroad theme is very present in the Villas’ lobby. We’ll cover that in a bit.

The Villas’ exterior features a deep red roof, brown wood siding, muted blue shudders, and green accents. It blends beautifully into the surrounding grounds. It’s a peaceful setting. If you enjoy quiet, I can’t recommend Boulder Ridge enough. It and Animal Kingdom – Kidani Village are my two favorite “quiet” resorts.

Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

The lobby

The Boulder Ridge lobby is much more intimate than that in the Wilderness Lodge. But it is beautiful in its own way. Adorned with model trains, historical Disney photographs, fireplaces, and plenty of comfortable seating, it’s the perfect area to unwind after a day of Disney park crowds.

Lobby of the Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Chandelier in the lobby of the Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Seating area in the lobby of the Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Seating area in the lobby of the Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Railroad map inside the Boulder Ridge Villas lobby

Carolwood Pacific Railroad Room

Walt Disney loved trains (almost as much as I love this resort). That’s apparent when you tour the Carolwood Pacific Railroad Room in the Boulder Ridge lobby. Two train cars from Walt’s personal collection can be found opposite a fireplace.

A cargo car from Walt Disney's Carolwood Pacific Railroad found in the Boulder Ridge Villas lobby
A caboose from Walt Disney's Carolwood Pacific Railroad found in the Boulder Ridge Villas lobby

A plaque on the display states the following:


Before the Disneyland Railroad existed, there was the Carolwood Pacific – a miniature one-eighth scale steam railroad Walt Disney designed for his family home in Los Angeles. These original freight cards, built by the first Disney Imagineer Roger Broggie, brought great joy to Walt and anyone who visited this five-acre property on Carolwood Drive.

— Carolwood Pacific Historical Society courtesy of the Walt Disney Family Foundation
Model train and photographs in the lobby of the Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Fireplace in Disney's Boulder Ridge Villas lobby

Sturdy Branches Health Club

In addition to great theming and history, Boulder Ridge also has an excellent workout facility. Sturdy Branches is stocked with treadmills, stationary bicycles, ellipticals, free weights, and weight machines. I don’t work out while on vacation — I let 20K steps a day take care of that — but our friend loves the facilities. He was in Sturdy Branches early every morning making the rest of us feel a little guilty, but not guilty enough to join him. Sturdy Branches is available to all guests staying in Wilderness Lodge.

Sturdy Branches Health Club at Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Sturdy Branches Health Club at Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Sturdy Branches Health Club at Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

Boulder Ridge Cove Pool

I regret that we didn’t get to enjoy the pool on our last visit. We’ve swum in the Copper Creek Springs Pool many times. The Cove Pool has a much quieter vibe, probably due to the lack of a water slide and a kids’ play area. The zero-entry pool is beautiful, as is the theming around it. The pool’s crane is actually recycled from Hollywood Studios’ Backlot Tour. It was featured in the Catastrophe Canyon scene.

Boulder Ridge Cove Pool entrance at Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Crane in the Boulder Ridge Cove Pool at Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Boulder Ridge Cove Pool at Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Crane in the Boulder Ridge Cove Pool at Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Boulder Ridge Cove Pool at Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

Boulder Ridge guests should also take advantage of Wilderness Lodge’s many amenities.

Dining

Wilderness Lodge has numerous dining options:

  • Geyser Point Bar & Grill (quick-service)
  • Roaring Fork (quick-service)
  • Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White (table service)
  • Whispering Canyon Cafe (table service)
  • Territory Lounge (no reservations required)

While each location offers great food, nothing beats the scenery at Geyser Point. It’s open-air and right on Bay Lake. Yes, it’s considered quick-service, but it doesn’t feel like a typical Disney quick-service restaurant. You can also mobile order if you’d like to take your meal back to your room.

Geyser Point Bar & Grill at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Geyser Point Bar & Grill at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

Copper Creek Springs Pool

Younger swimmers will love this pool’s slide and activity play area. The pool is fed by Copper Creek, which starts in the main lobby and cascades down waterfalls before entering the pool. This pool’s theming is the best in Disney World.

Kids play area at Copper Creek Springs Pool at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Copper Creek Springs Pool at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Copper Creek leading to the Copper Creek Springs Pool at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Bay Lake and Copper Creek Springs Pool at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

Water Taxi Service

Water taxis can ferry you to Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. Everyone gets a little tired of Disney buses by the end of their vacations. These boats are a much more peaceful way to travel.

Disney's Wilderness Lodge boat dock
Disney's Wilderness Lodge boat dock

Other recreation

Want to go fishing? Or watch the Electrical Water Pageant from Geyser Point? Or make s’mores over a campfire? A stay at Wilderness Lodge lets you do all of that. Oh, and you can play cornhole. If that doesn’t sell you on booking here, I don’t know what will.

Campfire at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Cornhole game at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

Closing thoughts

With its upgraded rooms and spectacular theming, Boulder Ridge has become a must-stay for our family. Disney World vacations can be chaotic and crowded. This resort is the opposite. It’s the perfect place to start and end your day at Disney World.