Deluxe or Deluxe-Adjacent: Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge

Boulder Ridge Villas
3/20/19-3/22/19
Two Bedroom Villa
96 points DVC / $1285 per night cash

After my first official stay at Boulder Ridge as a DVC member, it took about an hour for me to have a particular thought: These are NOT deluxe resort rooms. That’s not to say they aren’t VERY nice – they are, and I want to state up front that I really enjoyed my stay. I booked a two-bedroom villa for my mother and me, we had a great time and I was more convinced than ever that I made the right choice in taking the DVC plunge.

However, these are billed (mainly by Disney) as ‘Deluxe Accommodations’. At the risk of sounding like a pompous jerk, I’ve stayed at every deluxe property Disney has to offer on both coasts. While my 2 bedroom villa at Boulder Ridge was very nice, the accommodations weren’t what I would consider ‘deluxe’. More like ‘Deluxe Adjacent’. For example – the furniture. While the kitchen appliances were in great shape, the furniture was showing some wear. Our couch had stains on it, not to mention dirt. The chairs in the unit were in similar shape and considerably past their prime. Even when they were new, the quality of the furniture is not what Disney would put in a deluxe resort. The same can be said for the beds and bedding. While the bed I slept on was comfortable enough, it was definitely not the same type of bed I’d find in the main building.

None of this is to say that I think DVC was a bad idea. However, I’m a firm believer in managing expectations. I like larger accommodations when I travel – space is important to me. Even the deluxe studios are considerably larger than the rooms at most deluxe resorts (Poly and Contemporary are exceptions). When it comes to one and two bedroom units, space is magnified exponentially, not to mention the included amenities of a full kitchen and washer and drier. For me, those things more than make up for the differences I notice on the deluxe side.

Now, on the positive side – I have to say the lobby of Boulder Ridge Villas was gorgeous. I can’t imagine a more comfortable, secluded spot. Especially on a chilly night (in Florida, 50 degrees constitutes chilly), sitting in one of the oversized chairs by the fireplace seems like heaven.

In the interest of fairness, it’s been quite a while since I stayed in some of the DVC properties, so I’m basing this solely on my experience at Boulder Ridge. Several people have told me that I will be pleasantly surprised when I experience some of the other resorts, and I take them at their word.

So, the moral of the story – separate truth from marketing hype. DVC is great, and I’m excited to be a member. That being said, I’m going to try hard not to let my investment or my excitement in joining cloud my judgment.

My verdict on Boulder Ridge: definitely Deluxe adjacent. The rooms are in desperate need of a refresh, but the point values here are pretty fantastic. This room would have cost $2570 if I had paid cash – so for 92 points, that’s a value of almost $28 a point, so that certainly eases any disappointment I had with the quality of the room.

5 thoughts on “Deluxe or Deluxe-Adjacent: Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge

  • May 2, 2019 at 9:20 am
    Permalink

    I haven’t been to Boulder Ridge since 2016, but my family and I love WL – BR. We own in OKW, BCV and SSR. We always choose WL when we can. That being said, WL has slid since the first time we stayed there. Didn’t notice what you noticed though. We noticed the rugs were wearing and hallways were smelling of cooking – very unusual when we first got there or at other DVC resorts. We cook in our rooms, but the smell doesn’t emanate out of our rooms. As for the size, there are some 2 bedrooms that are bigger within WL/BR, as the first time we were there we stayed in one of them. The front desk even told us that, They don’t seem that much smaller than the other two bedrooms we have stayed at in WDW other than OKW which are much bigger and bigger than my first house.

    Reply
  • May 2, 2019 at 11:51 am
    Permalink

    I cannot disagree with your comments about BRV. We had the opportunity to stay in a dedicated 1 bedroom in 2015. We too found the room a bit worn (and dark). That said, my home properties of VGF, BLT and BCV (after the rehab) could fairly be described as Deluxe Villas; certainly when compared to the deluxe hotel rooms they are “adjacent”.

    Reply
  • May 2, 2019 at 12:38 pm
    Permalink

    I feel like that you have experienced is has been a long time consensus among many DVC owners. While the rooms are usually a tad bigger, they always feel like somewhere between a moderate and deluxe, or as you put it, deluxe-adjacent. I too have stayed at Deluxe resorts and there is definatly a difference and even so, when you don’t have have house (mouse) keeping everyday, its hard to feel ‘deluxe’. I do think that the DVC villas that are attached to a deluxe resort feel a bit nicer just because they have the deluxe amenities (central lobby, multiple restaurants) when compared to SSR or OKW (both of which I still greatly enjoy). Great article! I hope you enjoy your future experiences!

    Reply
  • May 2, 2019 at 1:16 pm
    Permalink

    Pete- if you don’t already know, DVC rooms are refurbished on 7 and 14 year schedules. Every 7 years there is a ‘soft goods’ refurb (paint, carpet, linens, curtains, etc) and every 14 years there is a ‘hard goods’ refurb (full boat- bathrooms, kitchens, furniture, hard flooring, appliances).

    IMO this schedule needs to be accelerated nearly 2X- maybe soft goods every 4 and hard goods every 8. 14 years is far too long.

    Reply
  • May 2, 2019 at 7:37 pm
    Permalink

    I’m really glad you didn’t experience the beach club villas pre-refurb. They were unacceptably worn and broken beyond belief. DVC went through some “management hiccups” (mostly called “Aulani”) and apparently we all felt the brunt of it. They’re finally starting to catch up on the refurbs, so credit where it’s due there. I’m sure Boulder Ridge will be done during or after Saratoga.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: