Kelis was living in Europe at the time of the album's release. Wanderland was more experimental than her previous album, Kaleidoscope, and was a modest success chartwise. According to Kelis, Virgin Records, her US record company at the time, did not like Wanderland. The record executives from Virgin felt the album's material did not have strong enough singles and therefore did not release in the United States, being limited to Europe, Asia, and Latin America only.
The album spawned only one single, "Young, Fresh n' New", which became Kelis' third solo top forty hit in the United Kingdom. However, the single was not a particularly big hit elsewhere.
Despite the album only being a moderate success, two tracks from Wanderland went on to be used elsewhere. "Flash Back" (retitled "Flashback") would make Kelis' subsequent album Tasty, while a new version of "Popular Thug", which replaced Pusha T of Clipse with Nas, was featured on The Neptunes' 2003 album The Neptunes Present... Clones.
Wanderland received mostly positive reviews from music critics. The Guardian critic Alexis Petridis described the music on the album as "clever, exhilarating and original" and praised it as The Neptunes' "most adventurous work to date". Mark Bautz of Entertainment Weekly commented that "Kelis' brash blend of Curtis Mayfieldsoul, techno-Zeppelinfunk, Jobim-lite bossa nova, and ultrasmooth R&B shows a more coherent artistry than many recent boundary-busting experiments." Rupert Howe of Blender believed that "[t]he best thing about Wanderland is that [Kelis] seems finally to have begun celebrating her eccentricities." He also stated that "[a]side from the idiosyncratic lyrics [...] she switchbacks from parodying '70s mack-stylin' (the Funkadelic 'Daddy') to an '80s soul croon ('Scared Money')." In a review for the Irish website entertainment.ie, Andrew Lynch commended Kelis' "aggressive vocal delivery and intriguing, if sometimes confusing lyrical imagery", while calling the album itself "[b]rilliantly produced" and "strikingly original".
Andy Kellman of Allmusic stated that "the album's first three songs—'Young, Fresh n' New,' 'Flash Back,' and 'Popular Thug'—are on an even standing with the best of the singer's debut", adding that "[a]fter that solid beginning, the album continually loses steam and gains it back." Stephen Dalton from the NME referred to the album as "a solid sophomore effort", but felt that "there is way too much filler here for a hotly hyped alterna-soul princess with her eyes on the big prize" and that "[t]here's nothing here as arresting as 'Caught Out There'."Rolling Stone 's Barry Walters noted that musically, Wanderland "doesn't venture far from its predecessor, Kaleidoscope: The Neptunes are still matching jaunty beats to techno sonics. But her pen is busier now, and the result is smarter, more nuanced but no less confrontational." Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine opined that the album is "far from rote, but the Neptunes's rehashed retro beats and synths are beginning to sound derivative of Britney Spears's 'I'm a Slave 4 U.' Much of the disc's hooks are unchallenging and repetitive at best." He nevertheless complimented tracks like "Daddy" and "Perfect Day".
The hidden track "Star Wars", which is an extended mix of "Intro", can be found on some editions at the end of "Little Suzie". Other editions can also have the track "I Don't Care Anymore" (Phil Collins).