5 Reasons to Buy a DVC at Boulder Ridge and 2 Reasons to Look Elsewhere
The Disney Vacation Club (DVC) operates 15 different resorts and has two more that will debut over the next few years. With so many options for your Home Resort, you will likely wonder which one is best. In this continuing series, we discuss the pros and cons of each one. This time, we’re heading over to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Here are five reasons to own at Boulder Ridge Villas and two reasons to look elsewhere.
The Negatives of Owning at Boulder Ridge Villas:
Opportunity cost plays a factor in any DVC purchase. You want to choose the Home Resort that will suit your needs for the next few decades. Since ownership interests at Boulder Ridge don’t expire until 2042, you’ll have plenty of time to relish your purchase.
However, this Home Resort isn’t necessarily the best one. And I don’t mean in the entire DVC lineup. I’m just talking about Wilderness Lodge. Disney hosts two DVC properties at this hotel. Copper Creek Villas & Cabins also sells contracts here, and those ownership interests don’t expire until 2068.
That’s a difference of 26 years at the same physical hotel. Plus, the Copper Creek rooms are newer, and the Cabin room type is sublime. Owning at Boulder Ridge certainly makes sense compared to not buying into the DVC program. However, it may not be the smart play out of the two Wilderness Lodge options. A lot depends on your age and whether you have children that you intend to will your DVC contract.
The Walt Disney Company lists Wilderness Lodge as a Magic Kingdom property, and it totally is. The distance from the hotel to the park is only 3.3 miles, which Google suggests requires a modest seven minutes of travel time. Google assumes bus transportation, but that’s an accurate assessment for a boat, also.
Wilderness Lodge provides boat service to and from Magic Kingdom. You may take a direct path or visit some other hotel areas first. The straight path takes less than 10 minutes, too. All of this sounds like great news, I know.
Unfortunately, in execution, hotel transportation here is mercurial, even by Walt Disney World standards. I’ve legitimately waited an hour for a boat before. I’ve waited 35 minutes for a bus, too.
Now, to be fair, I was just there six weeks ago. At 10 pm, I waited no time whatsoever to catch a ferry from the hotel to Disney’s Contemporary Resort, where I was staying. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it took 25 minutes for a boat to transport me from Magic Kingdom to Wilderness Lodge at 8 pm, a time when the park was still open.
Here’s the worrisome part. Out of the four theme parks plus Disney Springs, the water parks, and ESPN Wide World of Sports, Wilderness Lodge is closest to Magic Kingdom. It should theoretically have the best logistics to that park and go down a sliding scale from there. The problematic transportation is why Magic Kingdom fans may prefer a monorail hotel as a DVC Home Resort.
The Positives of Owning at Boulder Ridge Villas:
I feel like I’m cheating whenever I list this positive for every DVC resort…but it’s true. DVC represents the top of the food chain for official Disney hotels. Imagineers really nail the theming for these high-quality resorts, as they should.
Anyone paying out of pocket for a night’s stay will have high expectations for that price. The glory of DVC is that you exchange points for a night’s stay instead. It’s a better deal.
I mention all of this as a preface to the fact that Wilderness Lodge’s theming rivals anything in the DVC library. Seriously, I would rank it in the top five at a minimum and possibly top three. The rustic setting at this hotel hearkens back to classic national park lodges from generations ago.
Disney hired an architectural genius named Peter Dominick to build the blueprints. He did so well that the company hired him again for Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. That one man is responsible for the look and style of four out of the fifteen DVC resorts!
A stroll through Wilderness Lodge will take you back to yesteryear. You’ll feel at one with nature while you roam the grounds here. And the majestic hotel lobby will inspire and soothe you with its multi-story chimney and authentic totem poles. Even when you don’t stay here, you should still take a relaxing boat ride here and then luxuriate in the serene setting. My family does this a lot.
At Wilderness Lodge, the boat dock has two sides. One heads to Magic Kingdom, while the other leads to Fort Wilderness Campground. When you stay at the resort, you’re only a short and lovely boat ride away from an exciting tourist destination.
This campground hosts countless outdoor activities like bike riding, tennis, and volleyball. The legendary Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue always performs multiple times nightly in this area.
Most importantly, the Tri-Circle-D Ranch is here. It’s a legitimate dude ranch located in the heart of Walt Disney World. In my conversations with casual vacationers, a lot of people don’t even know that this place exists, but Boulder Ridge owners surely do.
Guests can interact with the same horses from Cinderella’s coach and the Main Street U.S.A. parades. Kids delight in the entertainment options here. While Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge receives most of the attention, Fort Wilderness merits a great deal of consideration for parents with young children or couples planning to have kids. Tri-Circle-D Ranch can deliver many years of memories for such DVC members.
All DVC resorts operate spectacular restaurants onsite. Even against fierce competition, Wilderness Lodge towers above most other properties when it comes to cuisine. Four places deserve mention—two of which are Quick Service eateries.
Roaring Fork serves a lot of high-protein entrees like burgers, pork sandwiches, and Bratwurst sausage. Also, the Roaring Breakfast Platter has become a trusty starter meal among Boulder Ridge owners.
The newer addition is Geyser Point Bar & Grill, which sits by the water. It’s an outdoor space that can become enclosed during inclement weather, a rarity at Walt Disney World. And the menu includes a lot of hearty but unusual options, such as a buffalo burger.
While the counter service places are terrific, a Table Service restaurant stakes a claim as the most recognizable one at any DVC resort. You’ll hear Whispering Canyon Café the moment that you enter Wilderness Lodge’s majestic lobby. Still, you won’t truly appreciate where you’re at until the server delivers a skillet. Then, you’ll know that you’re in foodie heaven. And you’re not truly a DVC owner until you order the Ketchup.
Finally, Disney recently upgraded Artist Point with a character meal. Snow White, the Evil Queen, and the Seven Dwarfs hold court during a magical meal. It even comes with poison apples and Huntsman’s hearts! While many Disney character meals are more about the interactions than the flavors, this dinner is a foodie’s dream.
Seriously, you’ll never eat better at Disney than when you’re staying at Wilderness Lodge.
Let’s get down to business. You’re spending thousands of dollars for your ownership interest. You want to maximize and protect your investment. You should aim to pick the place that will give you the strongest value for your money.
Magic Kingdom fans simply cannot do any better than a Boulder Ridge Villas purchase. As I type this, most DVC Resale Market listings for monorail resorts cost $140 per point or more. Small contracts often sell at even higher per-point averages.
While Boulder Ridge isn’t a monorail resort, I reiterate that it’s a Magic Kingdom locale. When transportation is your friend, you’re only a 10-minute trip away from the world’s most popular theme park. And the per-point price difference here is staggering.
DVC Resale Market currently lists six contracts at this resort. Three of them have asking prices of less than $100 per point. Obviously, the per-point totals vary based on myriad factors; you might pay more than that depending on the contract that you covet. Still, that’s a baseline savings of $40 per point. On a 100-point contract, it’s a difference of $4,000!
A logical question is whether Copper Creek Villas sell for the same. They don’t, as the cheapest listed contract right now sells for $135 per point. However, these contracts won’t expire until 2068. It’s something of an apples-to-oranges comparison even though both DVC resorts are at Wilderness Lodge.
Overall, I believe that Boulder Ridge Villas provides the best economic value of all Magic Kingdom-based DVC resorts.
The Points Chart
This conversation mirrors the previous one. You’ll find that you get more from your DVC points at Boulder Ridge than at other Magic Kingdom resorts. A week’s stay in a studio here starts at 107 points.
Contrast that to a Standard studio at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows. It starts at 118 points, while a Lake View requires 148 points. The prices are similar at the other monorail resorts. At a minimum, you’ll save 11 points for a week and possibly as much as 95 points, depending on the season.
I’m only talking about 2020 here, as the 2021 Points Chart comes with significant changes that would require a more extended discussion. The song remains the same, though.
Boulder Ridge provides better value with its Points Chart, although the trade-off is worse logistics. Only you can decide which option makes the most sense for your family. Budget-minded guests should strongly consider Boulder Ridge as a Home Resort.