Disney's Wilderness Lodge!
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is one of my favorite places to stay at Walt Disney World! I am not a camper, it’s just not my thing, so don’t let the words Wilderness and Lodge bring images of campsites! The campsites are at Fort Wilderness which is down the road a bit, and while it certainly has its own charm, and tons of loyal fans, that’s not the place I’m talking about here. The Wilderness Lodge, while themed to the Pacific Northwest and National park lodges, is actually a beautiful deluxe resort! This resort has a wonderful design with details galore and deluxe accommodations. Honestly, I would be hard pressed to find any downsides to staying here. The location is fantastic as it is right across the water from the Magic Kingdom, and you can see the fireworks from some rooms! There are great dining options, boat and bus transportation and an awesome main pool. You will most likely want a full day without visiting any of the parks just to enjoy your stay here! There is also no other resort on Disney property that has a geyser erupting occasionally.
You can’t help but be impressed with this resort just by walking into the lobby! A lot of thought and detail went into designing this resort, and even if you don’t know every influence behind it, you can’t help but notice the amazing effort in the details. Inside the massive lobby, you will see the large totems, cozy chairs (really cozy chairs, try not to fall asleep in one while waiting for your reservation at Whispering Canyon Café) and the big, 82-foot tall stone fireplace! According to Disney the fireplace is a replica of the Grand Canyon’s south Rim strata. If you are visiting during the holidays you may want to put your kids in some flannel pajamas and head down here to enjoy the warmth. There are also details of animals throughout the lodge, so be sure to take some time and really take in your surroundings. Again, you need a full day to really appreciate where you are staying.
One of the best things about the Wilderness Lodge is the price. While it is still priced as a deluxe resort, it is on the lowest end of that price range. If you are looking for a deluxe resort, that doesn’t have the price point of the Polynesian, the Grand Floridian, or the Contemporary, The Wilderness Lodge is where you will find it. It’s not on the monorail line, but you do have the boat to Magic Kingdom and to the other resorts on the lake.
There are many room categories to choose from at the Wilderness Lodge. Standard rooms with two queen beds, rooms with bunk beds, as well as deluxe villas and luxurious cabins if you want to splurge a bit.
Most rooms are in the lodge proper, but the cabins line the outside of the property lakeside.
I could hang out at the pool here all day! The Geyser Point restaurant is close by and you can refill your drink mugs (refillable drink mugs are available for purchase at every Disney resort) out by the pool as well. Or it’s a very short walk inside to Roaring Fork for drinks and snacks.
Geyser Point is a fairly new restaurant here and I love the lakeside ambiance. The food and drinks are good as well.
Speaking of dining, Whispering Canyon Café is located in the lobby of The Wilderness Lodge and it is a favorite for many! My family loves to eat breakfast here, but dinner is good as well, as long you as you like “western food”. I’m from Texas, so I just call it food.
Let me caution you; this is not the place for a quiet, low key dinner! This is a rowdy, fun place to get ribs, catfish, or beef strip loin, watch your husband or boyfriend sing I’m a little teapot, and maybe get a little sass from your server. If your extra thirsty, be sure your server knows, because they will take very good care of you. And if you are wondering where the ketchup is, be sure to ask for it! If you are a good sport and like to have some fun during dinner, this is a great place to go. It’s not quite a dinner show, but let’s just say you will be entertained!
We have been a few times now and my kids, though older, still get a kick out of it. If you visit for the first time, look at the Canyon Skillet. It’s an all-you-can-eat skillet with ribs, chicken, pork sausage, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, baked beans, and corn bread. All of these are done very well, and you certainly won’t leave hungry. Breakfast is hearty, also served in a skillet, and includes; scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, Mickey waffles, country potatoes, house-made buttermilk cheddar biscuits and sausage gravy! Again, no one is leaving Whispering Canyon Café hungry! You may good to go until dinner after eating breakfast here.
If you would like a more whimsical, fun character dinner that is not quite as rowdy as Whispering Canyon Cafe, you can visit Artist Point for the new Storybook Dining experience with Snow White, The Evil Queen, and some of the seven dwarfs.
This is one of the newest character dining experiences at Disney World and it is the first character dining at The Wilderness Lodge. If you loved Snow White as kid, and still do as an adult for that matter, you will love the feeling of walking into an enchanted forest to dine!
The menu here is a bit unique, which I love! I also love it when I get to use the word whimsical to describe a dining experience! The appetizers and desserts are served for sharing by the entire table, so that everyone gets a taste! These are already chosen for you and include a Winter Squash Bisque, Hunter’s Pie, and the Wicked Shrimp Cocktail. I am not typically an adventurous eater, but I love the variety here.
Snow White, Dopey, and Grumpy will be visiting your table as you dine, but the Evil Queen stays in one spot and you go up to see her sometime during your meal, or at the end of it. This format works well if you have young kids that may be scared of the Queen. You can simply skip meeting her if that is the case.
Main entrees here include Bashful’s Butter-poached Snapper, Brother’s Grimm Roasted Chicken, Magic Mirror, slow braised Veal Shank and Royal Prime Rib Roast.
The desserts, as I mentioned are also served with intent of sharing with the table. Desserts include the Miner’s Treasures cupcake, the “Poison” Apple, and The Fairy Tale Gooseberry Pie.
Your meal is not quite complete until they bring out the final dessert; The Hunters Gift to the Queen! This is crackled maple popcorn and a Ganache heart.
There are so many things going for The Wilderness Lodge, its likely to become your favorite Disney resort if you decide to stay here. I’ll leave you with some fun facts about the resort that may enhance your stay!
- There are Hidden Mickey’s everywhere! Stop by the front desk and ask for the clues to help you find all the Hidden Mickey’s in the Lodge. This is a great rainy-day activity.
- The two giant totem poles in the lobby have names and they are both 55 feet tall. The Raven Pole and the Eagle Pole are their names. Start at the bottom of the pole and work your way up to read the story.
- There is an alcove on the 3rd floor, and some on other floors as well, with comfy chairs where you can sit and quietly watch the hustle and bustle down below. After a day walking through theme parks, you may want a cozy place to sit with a cup of coffee or a nightcap and just relax before turning in. This is a great place for that.
- For luck, some guests of the Wilderness Lodge like to rub the nose of Humphreys the bear. You will find him on the bottom of this totem pole outside the Mercantile.