Opening Day at Copper Creek Villas and Cabinsby Donald and Bonnie Fink, contributing writer
If you happened to cruise by the shores of Disney's Wilderness Lodge sometime in the last twenty months, you may have noticed some rather intense construction. The new buildings spread out along either side of the boat landing would be for the 26 new Cascade Cabins portion of Copper Creek Villas and Cabins, a new and dramatic project by the Disney Vacation Club.
The offering is open now, and we had the opportunity to attend the grand opening on Monday, July 17. We were given a tour of the grounds, which included the Studios, the one and two bedroom Villas, and the spacious three bedroom Grand Villas. Next, we were treated to a tour of one of the Cascade Cabins, which were the buildings you would have seen under construction along the shoreline.
Copper Creek Villas and Cabins represents the fourteenth resort for Disney Vacation Club, and the tenth resort to be located on Walt Disney World property here in central Florida. There are 26 cabins along the shore, but all totaled, there are 184 new accommodations at Copper Creek Villas and Cabins.
Here are the musicians that provided some of the entertainment at the grand opening for Copper Creek. They're called Sam and the Copper Creek Boys, but we suspect this was their only performance, which was quite good. If you spend a lot of time at Walt Disney World, look very carefully at these guys. We're sure we've seen them around on the property, performing other roles. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
This project is said to have been inspired by the Pacific Northwest, and by Walt's love of railroads. The backstory says that a company mining town, long abandoned but near a Pacific railroad, was repurposed as a resort. You can see remnants of some of the equipment around the Boulder Ridge Cove Pool, which is apparently an abandoned quarry. You can also see remnants of equipment and building materials in the rooms of the Villas, with the I-beams left over from mining and railroading, and even old cog-wheels made into lighting fixtures in the Cascade Cabins. In addition to the metal highlights, much of the theming is from Western Red Cedar, which would be typical from the Pacific Northwest.
The Villas include Deluxe Studios that sleep up to four; One and Two bedroom Villas, sleeping between four and eight guests; and the three bedroom Grand Villas, which will accommodate up to twelve people. Our impression of these rooms is that every one of them stretch the imagination and bring home a level of comfort that goes beyond the normally great rooms on Disney property. During the opening ceremony, Disney Vacation Club Senior Vice President Ken Potrock spoke about the goals of the Vacation club, and what they were trying to provide for their guests. He summed it up by saying:
"They look for a resort that will provide them with what I call a respite; an opportunity to escape. We can have all the fun we want in the parks then come back to a beautiful resort and really chill and relax."
We think they hit the mark on this one. We're not DVC members, but we have friends who are, and as a result we've had the opportunity to tour several Vacation Club properties over the last couple of years. While they've all been impressive, we think Copper Creek just might be at the top of the list.
There are 26 cabins lining the shores of Bay Lake, on either side of the boat dock at Disney's Wilderness Lodge. Each cabin has two bedrooms and two baths. They sleep up to eight guests. Some of the interesting features of these cabins were the open floor plan in the main living area and the seamless transition from the living area into a screened, wrap-around patio, encompassing two sides of the standalone cabin. There was a ground level built-in spa enclosed within the patio, and a secluded side area where guests could enjoy the gas-fired fireplace from the outside. There is access to the patio from the common great room or directly out of the master bedroom.
.The Cascade Cabins were decorated individually, with different art displayed in different units. The thoughtfulness of the decorating was remarkable. For example, in one unit of the cabins, there is an art piece hanging on the wall that is actually a deconstructed logo from two Disney railroads. One is from the Fort Wilderness Railway, which ran in Fort Wilderness Campground from 1973 until 1980. Another is from Walt Disney's backyard.
Mitch Miorelli, Senior Project Manager from Walt Disney Imagineering shared a few remarks about Copper Creek and the process involved creating this special project. Video by Donald Fink.
This swimming pool at Disney's Wilderness Lodge is located at Copper Creek. The backstory maintains that this is a repurposed rock quarry, originally owned by the Boulder Ridge Railway and Mining Company. Photo by Donald Fink.
There's a new pool at Disney's Wilderness Lodge that goes along with the new theme from Copper Creek. It's called Boulder Ridge Cove Pool. According to the backstory, this was an abandoned rock quarry owned and operated by the Boulder Ridge Railway and Mining Company, and was re-purposed into a swimming hole at the Copper Creek Villas and Cabins resort. In fact, you can see some of the old abandoned mining equipment left over, rusting away on the side of the pool. If this equipment looks familiar to you, it might be because some of it was actually used on the set at Catastrophe Canyon in the Studio Backlot Tour at Hollywood Studios.
Lots of mining and railroad equipment was left behind when the Boulder Ridge Railroad and Mining Company closed up shop. When Copper Creek was re-imagined into a resort, most of it was left in place. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
A few months ago, a new restaurant opened at Disney's Wilderness Lodge called the Geyser Point Bar and Grill. It is artistically themed to match the décor at Copper Creek villas and Cabins, using huge wooden beam construction for the open air structure. While it's open to the outside, it's covered and protected from the sun and Florida rain. We had the opportunity to have a meal here a few months ago and we can certainly recommend the hamburgers. Definitely a gourmet experience.
Last April, Alan Dalinka toured this project as it was nearing completion. He was able to make contact with several of the key people involved with the construction and imagineering and reported about it here. It's an interesting perspective about what went into building Copper Creek.
We were impressed with everything Copper Creek has to offer. We think that if you've ever been interested in investing in the Disney Vacation Club properties, this would be a good choice. Of course, as we mentioned before, Copper Creek is but one of the fourteen different properties Disney Vacation club has to offer, so if a DVC lifestyle is for you, it's a good place to start.
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