Liliane Opsomer, coauthor of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids, recently stayed at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Here is her report.
Over the years, Disney has opened very fine resorts and added luxurious properties to its DVC portfolio. Many offer amenities and views that are unparalleled, such as the Bora Bora Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Resort; however, with the Copper Creek Villas & Cabins, Disney has outdone itself.
First of all, it is all about location, location, location. Steps away from Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, the villas and cabins are a quick boat ride away from the entrance to Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
Guests of Copper Creek Villas & Cabins have access to all the lodge has to offer, including fine dining at Artist Point, where one can enjoy Pacific Northwest cuisine while watching the Copper Creek Geyser go off near the waterfront. The geyser, fashioned to look like Yellowstone’s Old Faithful, shoots a plume of water 120 feet in the air and erupts on the hour from early morning through 10 p.m.
Two pools make it difficult for kids and grown-ups to ever want to leave the resort. Boulder Ridge Cove is a zero-depth entry pool close to Geyser Point Bar & Grill. The pool has plenty of shaded seating areas available without charge on a first-come, first-served basis. Vintage mining equipment underscores the theme of the resort. The two main pieces are actually repurposed from Catastrophe Canyon, part of the former Studio Backlot Tour at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. How cool is that?
The Copper Creek Springs pool has a 67-foot waterslide built into rocks, as well as hot and cold Whirlpool spas. The Copper Creek Springs children’s splash area is every kid’s dream. Parents, beware: You will get wet if you need to retrieve your toddler!
The entire resort is impressively themed after the national-park lodges of the early 20th century. The decor of the rooms is a nice combination of rustic and modern.
My 1,105-square-feet, two-bedrom villa came with a full kitchen, an amazing Jacuzzi bathtub, and two separate showers. A two-bedrom villa can accommodate a total of eight guests.
Each bedroom and the living room had a giant television, and a small private balcony offered views of the Copper Creek Springs pool.
The kitchen was very well equipped with a large-size fridge; full electric stove; and cabinets filled with pots, pants, and dining ware, to cook up a storm if a guest so desired.
If cooking is not part of the equation, there is a second full-service restaurant at the Wilderness Lodge. At the Whispering Canyon Cafe, waiters encourage young guests to get into all kinds of shenanigans. The family-style meals get totally out of hand if you ask for ketchup. Don’t do it, trust me!
For a quick meal, the Roaring Fork (also at the Wilderness Lodge) is perfect. For drinks and small bites, check out Territory Lounge.
My favorite, however, is the Geyser Point Bar & Grill on the shore of Bay Lake. The menu at this al fresco location includes something for everybody. I loved the salmon rillette served with sourdough crisps ($9) and highly recommend shrimp on a wire with miso-lime vinaigrette, peppers, and aïoli ($13), served on the lounge menu at the bar. For a bigger hunger at lunch or dinner, try the bison cheeseburger or the grilled salmon salad served with apples, seasonal berries, and hazelnuts. Both dishes are priced at $13.99.
The resort also has a fitness center, brand-new salon, and a spa. Watercraft and bicycle rentals, a barbecue pavilion, and a campfire site round up the offer.
During my visit in November, the entire resort was ready for Christmas. I cannot think of any Disney property where I would rather stay during this special time of the year.
The resort has wonderfully appointed common areas that—even when they are not decked out for the holidays—invite guests to linger. My favorite room is the Carolwood Pacific Room, adorned with artifacts of Walt Disney’s fascination with trains.
The room and its connecting areas are made for some quiet time with a good book in front of an open fire.
Make sure you take some time to explore the beautiful outdoor areas, follow some of the trails around the resort, or hop on a boat to the Ft. Wilderness Campground to walk through the 750 acres of pine and cypress forest that house the campsites.
Ft. Wilderness Campground offers unique recreation, such as archery, horseback riding, and canoeing. Last, but certainly not least, it is also the home of Mickey’s Backyard BBQ and the famous Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue. If you have never seen this hilarious, high-spirited dinner show, make sure to book a reservation well in advance.
During the show, guests are served all-you-care-to-eat fried chicken, smoked BBQ pork ribs, as well as salad, baked beans, fresh-baked cornbread, and an amazing strawberry shortcake.
Strolling around Copper Creek, I also discovered the 26 Cascade Cabins, which are now on my list of where to stay next.
The cabins sleep up to eight people and have a full kitchen, a living room, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms.
The 1,737-square-foot waterfront cabins come with a fireplace and a screened-in porch with a built-in hot tub.
Fun fact: Two seemingly abstract pieces of art hanging in the Cascade Cabins’ kitchens are deconstructed logos from two former Disney railroads: the Carolwood Pacific Railroad (the miniature train that famously carried family and friends through Walt Disney’s backyard) and the Fort Wilderness Railway (which traversed Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground from 1973 to 1980).