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Review of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (and why it’s my Family’s Favorite Resort)

Review of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (and why it’s my Family’s Favorite Resort)

Review of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Arriving at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, you immediately feel like you are entering a warm, rustic and very charming cabin, but at the same time, on a grandiose and most impressive scale.   Modeled after the infamous Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge provides a cozy, at home feeling with roaring fires, pine trees, and wood carved details everywhere.  It is one of Disney’s Deluxe Resorts, providing its guests with an authentic Pacific Northwest feel.  It is our favorite resort so I want to share my review of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

As you approach the Lodge, you will drive under an archway that sets the tone for your stay.  It feels as if you are arriving in Wyoming or Montana with the stone and wood details and you are immediately surrounded by tall wooded trees.

The Wilderness Lodge has architecture reminiscent of a rustic mountain lodge.  Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort opened for guests on May 28, 1994.  Much to Disney’s character, The Disney architects and designers spared no detail with design.   Wood was brought in for the lobby from the state of Montana.  Also in the lobby, there are four large dome shaped chandeliers.  These chandeliers weigh 600 lb each, and the teepee’s on the chandeliers are made from actual rawhide and are hand painted.   My general feeling about the Wilderness Lodge is that if you ever stay here, you will never want to stay at another Disney property because you feel so much like you are at “home” while on vacation.

Entering the lobby of the Wilderness Lodge, you are transported to the famous lodges of American National Parks from a century ago. You will immediately notice rustic wood beams, carved totem poles, and a large fireplace with plenty of rocking chairs to be enjoyed by the guests.  The 82 foot tall stone fireplace is a stunning focal point and was designed to mimic the rock structure of the Grand Canyon’s South rim strata.  The fireplace was modeled after the smaller scaled fireplace at the Grand Angel Lodge, which is located at the grand Canyon.

At the back of the main lobby area, there is a hot spring that flows from the lobby to a waterfall which leads to the swimming pool outside.

The Wilderness Lodge is magical at Christmas time fully decked out.  The main tree in the lobby is typically set up mid November as the Lodge is transformed into a wilderness wonderland.

Location and Transportation at The Wilderness Lodge

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is located on Bay Lake which means you are just a boat ride away from the entrance to the Magic Kingdom.  This is convenient since you don’t have to take the monorail or a ferry to the TTC.

PRO TRAVEL TIP – Complimentary bus transportation picks up and drops off at the front of the entrance to the Wilderness Lodge, close to Boulder Ridge Villas.  Lots of guests take the boat ride to the Magic Kingdom but choose to grab the bus back to the Lodge because it is faster.

Transportation to all 4 theme parks is available by bus which runs 45 minutes before park opening until 2 hours after the park closes.  The buses also take you to Disney Springs (available from 9am to 2am) and also to Disney’s water parks with service available from 30 minutes before park opening until 1 hour after the parks close.

Guests staying at the Wilderness Lodge who plan to park a car on Disney’s property will be charged a $25.00/per night fee.

Rooms at The Wilderness Lodge

The rooms at the Wilderness Lodge continue with the log cabin theme of the lobby.  Think warm and cozy rooms with carved headboards and details given to such things as carved animals and wood detail.  Although the rooms are not ornate and luxurious, attention to warming details are given to continue the theme of the Lodge.

The headboard is a scene carved with a woods theme.  Different varieties of animals such as rabbits and squirrels are carved into the headboard.

Standard rooms are about 340 square feet with balconies either overlooking the pools or wooded areas.  They offer different bed options, usually two queen beds or a queen bed and bunk bed combination.  The bathroom area provides adequate space with two sinks and room on the vanity for toiletries.  Maid service cleans the room and provides fresh linens and towels daily.

Food Options at the Wilderness Lodge

There are both counter service and table service options available at the Lodge.  The Whispering Canyon Cafe is located in the main atrium of the Lodge and is one of Disney’s table service meals on the meal plan.  They serve lunch and dinner and this restaurant counts at one table service meal if you are using the dining plan option.   Food choices include pork ribs, barbecue, smoked chicken, several sides, and ice cream sundaes for desserts among other options.  The Wilderness Canyon Cafe is a family friendly environment.  The staff interacts with you to make it a very entertaining place to eat.  But if you ask for ketchup, be prepared!

The Roaring Fork is a counter service option that is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  They serve pork sandwiches, burgers, fries, cupcakes, and several other options.

The s’mores cupcake from The Roaring Fork was fabulous and a must try if eating there.

An outdoor counter service option is Geyser Point Bar and Grill which is located directly on Bay Lake behind Silver Springs Pool.  It is open for lunch and dinner and offers a counter service window in addition to sit down seating.  We ordered the Bison Burger and it was so good that we went back the next day for another one.  We also sampled the fish and chips platter and my daughter ordered the crab cakes.  We will definitely be back to visit the Geyser Point Bar and Grill and it is now one of my top meals at Disney World.

The Bison burger at Geyser Point Bar and Grill.

Crab Cake with onion straws and a spicy cabbage slaw.

Fish and Chips from Geyser Point Bar and Grill.  The open patio seating on Bay Lake was a relaxing treat.

The Campfire brownie at Geyser Point Bar and Grill was fantastic.

Artist Point Restaurant is a table service meal where you can dine with the Story Book characters from the film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  Snow White, the Dwarfs, and the evil queen are the characters that may make an appearance during your meal.  Foods served include prime rib, chicken, fish and several dessert options.  I have not personally dined at the restaurant but have plans to do so soon.  It is a very popular table service option so if you are interested in eating there, book your reservation early!

Pool, Amenities, and Recreation

The Silver Creek Springs Pool area consists of two pools and one toddler splash pad with water slides. The main pool is fed by a stream that flows from a rock waterfall.  This rock stream starts in the lobby and leads all the way to the pool in the back of the hotel. The largest area of the pool has a 67 foot water slide built into a rock formation.  My kids thoroughly enjoyed this slide and pool area.  There are lifeguards on duty to assure safety around the pool.

There is also an additional smaller pool area which is separated from Silver Creek Springs Pool. It is located at the Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Towels are available in both pools so no need too bring your towel from the room.

Other recreation activities at the resort includes campground fires with an opportunity to roast marshmallows, outdoor movie nights, bicycle rides (additional fee), and jogging trails.  There is also a arcade and a gift shop available.

Disney staff provides a schedule of poolside activities every day for the guests.  They offer outdoor and seasonal activities such as bingo or cookie decorating, to name a few.

A Few Other Details:

Volleyball Courts: Volleyballs can be checked out at Teton Boat & Bike Rentals.
Jogging Trail: West Wilderness Road (2.5 miles).
Buttons and Bells Game Arcade: Open 6am-closing times var
Guided Fishing Excursions: For a fee, an expert guide will host your party on a fishing excursion.  Call (407) WDW-BASS for reservations and more information.

Have you stayed a Disney’s Wilderness Lodge?  We would love to hear about your experiences there!