Wilderness Lodge or Contemporary, DISNEY?

Posted on: Fri, 12/31/2004 - 2:38am
SusieT-R's picture
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Disney travelers.....Which have you stayed at? Please tell me any thing you can, positive/negative about either. My daughter is PN/TN. If we stay at Wilderness Lodge how long do you have to wait for boat rides to get to MK? Is this a pain with an 8 year old? Is the Contemporary really that much better because it is on the monorail?

Posted on: Fri, 12/31/2004 - 3:49am
cooper's picture
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Joined: 12/20/2002 - 09:00

Hi Susie T-R. We've stayed at the Wilderness Lodge before and loved it. Have also stayed at the Polynesian on the monorail. The monorail is a bit more convenient, but the boat ride from the Wilderness was fun too. I don't remember ever waiting long for it to arrive. My kids loved the theming at the Wilderness and the pool. I think it's hard to choose since each hotel has something unique to offer. I've read that a common complaint about the Wilderness is that the rooms are small and dark. We had bunk beds and an adjoing room - didn't find it especially small or dark, but certainly not plush or anything either. I love walking in to the hotel lobby and hearing the music playing after the long trip to get there. I can't think of any complaints we had.
We stayed at the Polynesian 18 months ago, and many years ago, the Contemporary. The Polynesian was recently refurbished, and it was wonderful to be on the lagoon. The Contemporary seemed sort of typical hotel-like to me, not sure how things are now. I've heard great things about the Yacht and Beach Club hotels, I think that's what they are called.
Sorry, way off track. There are lots of bulletin boards out there with Disney info - maybe you've checked into those as well? I found those helpful, also the Unofficial Guide to Disney book. Good luck with your decision!

Posted on: Fri, 12/31/2004 - 4:09am
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[quote]Originally posted by cooper:
[B]The monorail is a bit more convenient, but the boat ride from the Wilderness was fun too. I don't remember ever waiting long for it to arrive. My kids loved the theming at the Wilderness and the pool. I've heard great things about the Yacht and Beach Club hotels, I think that's what they are called.
Cooper, Thanks for this info! Where does the boat from the Wilderness take you? Do you then have to take the monorail to get into the Magic Kingdom? I guess I am worried that if we are in MK late at night and then a cranky 8 year old has had enough, we will have a long trip back to the hotel.
How did Wilderness deal with the food allergies? We really wanted to stay at the Polynesian--that was the first hotel we looked at but with A's PN and TN allergies we got a bit scared with the themes in the restaurant.
Would love to also hear from anybody who has stayed in either of the wings at the Contemporary.

Posted on: Fri, 12/31/2004 - 9:25am
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

we haven't stayed at Wilderness Lodge or the Contemporary, but we've camped at Fort Wilderness, Disney. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]

Posted on: Fri, 12/31/2004 - 3:06pm
Marian's picture
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Joined: 08/23/2001 - 09:00

The Chefs at the Contemporary are fantastic! Chef Micky's is a buffet, but the chef brought DS's food made fresh from the back. California Grill was so accomodating that we ate there 4 nights. if you decide to stay concierge, the California Grill does all the food for the lounge. Besides the food, the monorail is a great convenience when you want to go back and forth quickly. Check out reviews on the Disney info sites and you will find fans of both places. Whichever you decide, Disney is great!!

Posted on: Sat, 01/01/2005 - 12:33am
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I've been to the Wilderness Lodge to eat at their restaurant (the barbeque style one, but it was before my son developed his food allergies so I can't offer advice on that particular restaurant), so I can tell you that it is a really fascinating place, very cool. I didn't stay there, so I can't give you any first-hand info about the rooms or transportation to the Magic Kingdom. The transportation to the other hotels (bear in mind, this was 6 years ago) at the time was quite slow. But that was quite a while ago, and transportation between the Disney hotels is probably very different from transportation between the hotels and the parks.
Three years ago (after my son developed his food allergies), we made another trip to Disney World for a family reunion. We ended up staying at two different Disney hotels, one of which was the Contemporary. As far as the Contemporary goes, I liked it. The first advantage, of course, is that it's on the Monorail, so you have fast and fun access to the parks. The second advantage is that the rooms in the Contemporary are larger than the rooms in any other Disney hotel, which means that if you have any down time in your room during the day, there's enough room for everyone to hang out -- little ones can nap, older kids can stretch out on the floor to read or do a puzzle, etc. The Contemporary has a pretty good food set-up, including a snack bar and the Chef Mickey's character buffet restaurant. We phoned ahead for reservations at Chef Mickeys, told them about my son's food allergies, and the chef came to our table to tell us what my son could eat and what he should stay away from. The only problem with that was that the chef was even more conservative than I was -- he was afraid to let my son eat some rolls because they'd been made with all-purpose flour, and he couldn't be absolutely sure that the flour mill had never made any nut flours. I explained to him, though, that we had that same low-level risk whenever my son ate any food made with flour, even things I cook myself. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] The decor in the rooms at the Contemporary is Jetson-esque, which is kind of fun. There are nice pools and stuff, as well.
I don't know if you're considering other hotels, but the Disney hotel I really, really loved was the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We stayed there for part of our visit 3 years ago, and it was by far my favorite, even above the Contemporary or the Grand Floridian. We paid extra for a room overlooking one of the areas with the animals, and it was well worth it. I can't explain how cool it is to walk to the patio door of your room and see a giraffe (or whatever) right near you. The transportation to the parks from the hotel was by bus, and it was very fast and efficient. They also had really nice pools, and the rooms were the second-largest of the Disney Hotels, which made for a more comfortable stay. The restaurant was African-themed, which had me concerned, but once again the chefs were very knowledgeable, and there were actually very few foods that my son couldn't safely eat there.
Hope this helps,
Debbie

Posted on: Sat, 01/01/2005 - 3:27am
MommaBear's picture
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Quote:Originally posted by DRobbins:
[b]We paid extra for a room overlooking one of the areas with the animals, and it was well worth it. I can't explain how cool it is to walk to the patio door of your room and see a giraffe (or whatever) right near you.[/b]
Completely understand. This is how I try to explain large mouth bass fishing to folk. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Anywhooooooooo. We too, thought the hotels had a lot to offer. Even tho we stayed at Fort Wilderness. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] The pools were great. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] All of them. The driver of the Monorail let us sit up front. (for several trips and despite my fear of heights [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img]) I was glad we brought towels and my sarong. It was air conditioned.
Quote:[b]The transportation to the parks from the hotel was by bus, and it was very fast and efficient. They also had really nice pools, and the rooms were the second-largest of the Disney Hotels, which made for a more comfortable stay. [/b]
Really enjoyed the ferry boat rides nightly and to watch the light parade and fireworks.
Transportation............hmmmmm. Yes. We went to downtown disney quite a few times and just couldn't really do the trip quickly. The whole changing buses during peak times thing. We rented a golf cart, but made it a point to purchase our own shortly after our first *real* road trip camping. We intend to bring it with to Fort Wilderness this comming spring. Ought to pay for itself soon.........
My oldest cannot wait to go back. Of all things, Disney Quest left quite an impression. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img] Go Figure.
Is Disney open during Christmas? We're thinking of booking accommodations at the Grand Floridian for next Christmas if they are. That or where-ever the most entertaining place would be at Disney during that time. I'm beginning to relish the idea of being "out of town" for the holidays [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img].

Posted on: Sat, 01/01/2005 - 4:35am
cooper's picture
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Joined: 12/20/2002 - 09:00

Susie T-R, you asked about transportation from the Wilderness Lodge to the Magic Kingdom. The dock from the Lodge is right behind the hotel, then the boat scoots across the lagoon and leaves you at the base of the Magic Kingdom, just below the monorail station. I hope I'm remembering this right. At that boat landing, you could take different boats to different hotels around the lagoon as well. So you are left right at the Magic Kingdom.
At the Wilderness Lodge, we ate at Artist Point, which was allergy aware. Also they have a cafeteria type place for breakfast or snacks. There's another restaurant we went to that is more casual. Can't think of the name of it, also aware of the allergies, but I felt a little uneasy because it was more hectic, more family style dishes, and just sort of messy, for lack of a better word. I don't think we actually ate at the Polynesian when we stayed there, so can't speak about that.
Debbie, we walked around the Animal Kingdom Lodge, and I thought it was beautiful too. Exceptional. I think there have been some posts about peanut butter, comfort zones, and the Animal Kingdom restaurant. I seem to remember that transportation to and from is a little more of an effort as well. But, it looked like an amazing place, and when we were booking our trip - it was a bit more affordable. We went with my extended family, there were not enough rooms available for all of us at the time.
It's been maybe 8 or 9 years since we were at the Contemporary - sorry I don't have info for you. One thing I do remember about the hotel wings is that my parents were able to park their van very close to their room, which was nice because my mother had medical issues.
HTH [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Sat, 01/01/2005 - 5:26am
SusieT-R's picture
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Hey! You are all so helpful! I have been apprehensive about the whole trip, but now I am really getting excited!
Has anyone else stayed at the Contemporary in a wing room and did not feel like they were missing out on great views of Magic Kingdom? The rate we have for Wilderness Lodge and The Contemporary WING rooms are similar and thats why I am having such a hard time deciding what to do!

Posted on: Sat, 01/01/2005 - 9:00am
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Joined: 07/19/2001 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by SusieT-R:
[b]Has anyone else stayed at the Contemporary in a wing room and did not feel like they were missing out on great views of Magic Kingdom? The rate we have for Wilderness Lodge and The Contemporary WING rooms are similar and thats why I am having such a hard time deciding what to do![/b]
That's what I forgot to say about the Contemporary. We stayed in the main part of the hotel and requested a park (Magic Kingdom) view, which gave us a beautiful view of the nightly fireworks over the castle. I don't know if if the wing buildings have similar views. You could always call WDW reservations or the Contemporary hotel itself and ask. I bet they get questions like that all the time.
Have you looked at the book "The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World"? I found it really, really helpful, and much better than the guide by Birnbaum (which is authorized by Disney). It has lots of information like this in it. Well worth the purchase price if your library doesn't have a recent copy of it. Here's a link to the 2004 edition. I don't know when the 2005 edition will become available.
[url="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0764526316/qid=1104623742/sr=2-1/ref=pd_ka_b_2_1/103-7055740-4952658"]http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0...7055740-4952658[/url]
There's also a website called something like Deb's Walt Disney World Guide site or something like that, that was full of detailed info, including the latest menus from the restaurants, which is helpful for those of us planning meals around food allergies. Hmm. Looks like Deb's site has merged with the AllEars site since I last used it, but here's the link:
[url="http://www.allearsnet.com/"]http://www.allearsnet.com/[/url]
Hey! It now includes a section about food allergies, in particular nut allergies. Here's the link to that section.
[url="http://www.allearsnet.com/din/guestfood.htm"]http://www.allearsnet.com/din/guestfood.htm[/url]
HTH,
Debbie
[This message has been edited by DRobbins (edited January 01, 2005).]

Posted on: Sat, 01/01/2005 - 10:54am
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Deb,
thanks, I was able to, on the links you provided, find Christmas information, information on Fort Wilderness as well as a photo gallery of the campsites, camp "resort" and even the cabins available to book. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/cool.gif[/img] I enjoyed reminiscing.

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