I received a very exciting email a couple of months ago that literally made me squeal out loud. I then immediately forwarded it to my husband with the title “!!!!!!!!!!!!!” The kind folks at Disney invited us to spend a long weekend at their newest Disney Vacation Club (DVC) resort at Walt Disney World, Copper Creek. Yes, please! We only recently became DVC members this past spring and have our first official trip booked for November, but there was no way we were going to turn down such an amazing opportunity. Plus, any true Disney World lover knows that there is no such thing as going “too often” back to the most magical place on the planet.
We set out early Friday morning and a hop, skip, and a plane ride later we checked in at Disney’s Magical Express at the Orlando International Airport. We usually rent a car when we travel to Disney World, so this was a new experience for us. CC, our daughter, very much enjoyed the bus ride, especially the old Mickey & Pals cartoons they played on the way. We arrived at the Wilderness Lodge, where Copper Creek is located, checked in, got our magic bands (your room key, charging capabilities, and theme park tickets all in one handy place) and were escorted up to our room.
Disney transformed half of the Wilderness Lodge resort rooms into the Copper Creek Villas. We had a one bedroom villa, which included a spacious living room with a full kitchen and eating area as well as a separate bedroom with a king bed, and an enormous two-section bathroom with both a tub and a shower.
Between our 20 month old toddler and one tired pregnant mama, we spent most of our time over the weekend in our villa. It was very comfortable and provided ample space for us to play and rest. One of the things I love best about DVC villas is how well they cater to families. The kitchen and in-room washer and dryer are super handy when traveling with little ones!
The PR team was so kind to us not only with their hospitality but also by spoiling us with snacks and souvenirs. CC especially loved the Mickey spatula and oven mitt! Even after a long day of travel, by the time I had unpacked and everyone was settled we were all smiles and ready for dinner.
We ate at Whispering Canyon Cafe, a family-style restaurant conveniently located right in the hotel lobby that features “hearty western fare and antics.” One of said antics is the hollering for ketchup in the restaurant, whereupon loads of children from other tables will descend upon whoever inquired with every bottle of ketchup within arm’s reach. It gets a bit loud, but it’s good fun and good food to please all ages. Disney sure knows how to stick to their shticks!
We spent some time relaxing in bed the next morning watching CC’s favorite show, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, before heading down to Roaring Fork, the quick-service dining option in the resort. CC was all about the Mickey waffles!
After breakfast I joined the other bloggers who were also being hosted for the weekend for a tour of the new villas and cabins. We were able to see a two bedroom villa, which looked exactly like our room with the addition of another connecting bedroom (which is actually a studio, featuring a kitchenette and full bathroom). We were then taken to tour one of the brand new cabins built along Bay Lake.
The cabins are stunning! They fit in with the rustic mountain lodge vibe of the resort, but with a modern feel. The master bedroom is connected to the wrap-around porch that looks out on the water. The master bathroom is beautifully appointed with a hug tub and shower. The second bedroom includes a queen bed as well as a twin size pull-down bed. There is an unattached second bathroom split into two sections with a shower.
The main living area is open plan style, featuring a full kitchen, huge dining table, and seating area with pull out queen and pull out twin sleepers (you can sleep up to 8 in the cabin). The screened in porch is right on the lake and includes a hot tub, dining area, and fireplace. The cabin is beautiful, rustic, and luxe! I’m so glad I had the opportunity to see one.
After the tour, Don, CC, and I spent some time at the brand new Boulder Ridge Cove Pool which opened at the same time as the new villas and cabins (July 2017). It’s quieter than the main resort pool and was perfect for our toddler who enjoyed wading and playing in the spacious shallow end.
We popped over to Geyser Point Bar & Grill, the new poolside dining spot at the Wilderness Lodge, for lunch. Don had a tasty bison burger and I enjoyed a scrumptious grilled portobello salad. CC had waffle fries for the first time. This girl loves her french fries! I wasn’t sure if the larger size and different shape would disinterest her, but she gobbled them right up!
We all enjoyed a restful afternoon in our villa before getting ready for a fun evening out. Having the space for her to nap in the living area (the resort provided us with a pack-n-play) while Don and I rested in our room was great for all of us. CC absolutely loved the enormous tub in our room! She got all dolled up in Minnie gear from head to toe for our special dinner.
One of the things I love about staying at The Wildnerness Lodge is the boat ride to and from the Magic Kingdom. It’s not only convenient but fun! CC had never been on a real boat before and absolutely loved it. She kept saying “boat, boat!” whenever we said we were going somewhere. The Magic Kingdom was all decked out for fall and Halloween with pumpkins and fall foliage everywhere. Seeing the castle makes my heart flutter with joy every time and even more so now that I can share that magic with my little one.
We were fortunate to dodge the rain and managed to sneak in a quick go around on the carousel (CC’s favorite!) before heading to Cinderella’s Royal Table, a restaurant located right inside the castle, for dinner. After a quick meet and greek with Cinderella herself, we were whisked upstairs to the beautiful dining room where we met several other princesses, including Snow White, Jasmine, Aurora, and Ariel.
I can’t tell you how excited I was to snag a last minute opening for this dinner reservation at 3 AM that very morning (one of the only perks of my tiny pregnancy bladder was being able to check in the middle of the night). I have not had any luck securing a reservation for our November trip, even at 180 days ahead when reservations opened. My advice is to just keep checking if you’re keen on dining at this magical spot. People tend to be better about canceling since you have to pay in full in advance. I love the atmosphere! It’s super pricey but well worth the memories in my books. We all had a great time!
We were hoping to be able to join the blogger group to watch the fireworks later that evening, but by 7:30 we were ready to turn in. We made sure to grab a bucket of popcorn (my favorite!) on our way out of the park, because I can’t fathom going to Disney World and not having any. It turned into a beautiful night and we very much enjoyed our last glimpses of the castle at dusk on our way back to the villa.
We had an early morning meet up with the group, so we opted for room service for breakfast on Sunday morning. As you can see, Princess CC presided over the meal with pancakes and fruit (and in her Minnie Mouse pajamas, of course). We boarded a private bus with the group that shuttled us over to Animal Kingdom where we spent the morning at the newest addition, Pandora, The World of Avatar. All I can say is WOW. Talk about a full immersion experience! The amount of detail that went into creating Pandora is incredible.
We were given the opportunity to try out both of the new rides. The three of us enjoyed the Na’vi River Journey, a boat ride through the bioluminescent rainforest. Don was the only one out of the three of us who could go on Flights of Passage, a 3D ride on a mountain banshee (not for little ones or pregnant mamas). He said it was “really cool” and fun. We grabbed an early (delicious!) lunch at Satu’li Canteen in an effort to reenergize ourselves. As much as we loved exploring Pandora and wished we could have stayed longer, the extreme humidity really wiped us out, so we decided to take the rest of the day easy back at the resort. We cooled down at the pool before a nice long nap and quiet afternoon in our villa.
We decided it was best to stay at the resort for dinner especially keeping a long day of travel in mind for Monday. We snagged an early reservation at one of our longtime favorites, Artist Point, the signature dining restaurant located at The Wilderness Lodge. Afterwards, we took CC to the resort gift shop to pick our her souvenir from the weekend. What do you know, she picked Minnie Mouse! Let’s just say she’s a fan! 😉
We packed up and headed back to the airport via Disney’s Magical Express on Monday morning. CC made sure all of our luggage was in order. It was fortunately an easy breezy travel day for us. The bus is a really nice option if you’re not planning on renting a car. Even though there is only one drop-off location, the airport is small enough that it’s not a terribly long haul to get to any of the gates.
The one thing I regret not doing is getting a family photo taken during the weekend. I need to remember to use Disney’s amazing photographers at the parks when we return in November to make sure we get some good family shots. This was the only decent picture I managed to snag of the three of us together all weekend, waiting for the bus to pick us up. Just look at those happy faces, though!
I vlogged throughout our trip if you’d like to see more about our weekend adventure:
We had such a magical weekend at Copper Creek and couldn’t be more grateful for the amazing opportunity that our friends at Disney extended to us. They were gracious and kind hosts who were very flexible about our schedule and needs. We can’t thank them enough for their hospitality and generosity. And thank you, too! Without your support we would never have opportunities like this. I am so happy I can share these magical memories with you!
* This is not a sponsored post. Disney generously paid for our travel expenses, hotel room, park tickets, and some meals. I am not being compensated for this post or video. All opinions are genuinely my own. *