Where to Stay: Disney's Wilderness Lodge at the Walt Disney World Resort
Published: June 7, 2014 at 5:06 PM
For our recent trip to Walt Disney World, we allowed our boys to choose the resort we should try. Taking advantage of the seasonal offers that being Annual Passholders offers, we narrowed the boys' choices to a few resorts that we have always wanted to try. This trip, we allowed them to choose between the Yacht and Beach Club Resort and Disney's Wilderness Lodge
. After much debating, the boys decided on the Wilderness Lodge. The deciding factor for them was the bunk beds.
Having lived in Tennessee my entire life and spending most of my vacations within the Great Smokey Mountains, I am no stranger to the beauty and coziness that one receives from log cabins and lodges. Disney's Wilderness Lodge takes the theme of our national parks and takes it to a whole new level. When you first pull into the drive, Florida seems to disappear. The pine trees and softly lit lanterns lining the driveway begins the illusion that you are nestled away within the woods.
I have visited some of Disney's deluxe resorts and have always been intrigued by the detail that goes into the lobbies. These are indeed the beginning act of your vacation, and they are definitely aiming to start strong. I can remember the first time I stepped into the Grand Floridian to check-in. There was no where else that I thought was as lovely until I stepped into the Wilderness Lodge. The size of it stopped me in my steps. The wood beams, unique teepee chandeliers, and corner fireplace draw the eyes with wonder. The Native American designs on the furniture and rugs gives you the sense that the Wild West was not only exciting but also had a sense of elegance.
After taking in the lobby, we were more than anxious to view our room. Our room overlooked the courtyard and pool. The theme was still strong in our room. Wood, leather, and Native American pillows and accents decorated our beds. Looking close at our throw pillows, we saw that Thumper was part of the design. One item that was the most unique was the individual decorative lights for the bunk beds. My boys loved having control over their own lights. We don't have bunk beds in our home, so our stay here was a new experience for our boys. These bunk beds became forts each night. The bathroom had a special surprise when we pulled back the shower curtain. Some well known Disney characters that reside in the woods were on decorative tiles, adorning the shower wall.
Outside, the ambiance continues. The pool has a waterfall that trickles from inside the lobby, out over some rocks, and then continues into the pool. While we were there the waterfall was under maintenance. Walking past the pool and heading towards the docks, you are swept away by towering trees and a wooden walkway. This brought to mind the Pacific Northwest and, forgive me Universal Studios, I almost expected to see Elliot and E.T. gliding above us. Once at the docks, you are able to take a pleasant boat ride to the Magic Kingdom and on to Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground.
Food wise, this resort boasts two restaurants, Artist Point and Whispering Canyon Café, and one quick service eatery, Roaring Forks. We enjoyed each meal we had at Roaring Forks and our breakfast at Whispering Canyon Café. We were unable to make time this trip for Artist Point, but plan on trying it as soon as we can. I have to pause here and bring up one of the most delicious cupcakes I had at Roaring Forks. It was the Strawberry Lemonade Cupcake. This is a seasonal cupcake, and it is the perfect summer dessert. Strawberry cake is filled with lemon cream and iced with whipped strawberry icing, topped with a chilled strawberry. If you ever plan on exploring this resort, do so with one of these beauties. You will thank me later.
We enjoyed our stay at this resort. Along with the boats to the Magic Kingdom, this resort offers bus travel to all the theme parks. The only place we found a bit of a wait for our bus was at the Hollywood Studios. The cons we found for this resort was the size of our bed, which seemed smaller than usual, and the chaos of Roaring Forks. There was not a definite place to begin ordering your food. We stood there our first few times in a daze at not knowing where to go. There are a great many pros to this resort, which revolves around the immense detail that went into designing this resort. If you are looking to be swept away with the perfect storytelling ability that Disney is able to invoke, then you need to look no further than Disney's Wilderness Lodge.
Published: June 7, 2014 at 6:53 PM
I'm reading this sitting in front of the fireplace she's talking about and it is indeed a wonderful resort.
Also, there is a geyser on the way to the boat landing that erupts pretty much every hour on the hour. Keep an eye out for it.
Published: June 8, 2014 at 3:34 AM
I've not stayed at Wilderness Lodge but have eaten at Artist Point and can vouch for it big time. It was, without any shadow of a doubt, the best meal we ate anywhere in Disney World or beyond during a two week vacation. It was better than Cipricos, Narcoosees and Jikos, all of which we also sampled. Simply stunning in every respect.
Published: June 8, 2014 at 7:10 AM
I also vouch for Artist Pointe. What an incredible restaurant with simply amazing food!! Oh, it's a travesty that you weren't able to eat there while staying at Wilderness Lodge, but it sure isn't cheap so I can understand skipping it this time.
This is the resort my wife and I stayed at on our honeymoon, so I have fond memories. This was also the weekend when I was called and offered a promotion at work, so doubly good experience.
I agree that when you're driving up to the resort, it suddenly feels like you've left Florida. The landscaping with the towering pines and no palm trees in sight, to the brown and green color scheme of the resort, you simply feel like you're in another part of the country. It was impressive. And pictures will never show how massive and ornate the lobby really is. It is something to behold!
I don't recall my room itself very well, but I'm sure it was just fine. No bunk beds for me and the misses. Lol.
Published: June 9, 2014 at 6:48 AM
Let me ask you experts this. Which is better Animal Kingdome lodge or this Wilderness Lodge.
Published: June 9, 2014 at 7:02 AM
Great report! The pictures look wonderful
Published: June 9, 2014 at 9:24 AM
I stayed here a couple of years ago and loved it. The theme, grounds, and location, are perfect. Artist Point is also wonderful.
Published: June 9, 2014 at 3:28 PM
Brian, personally I liked animal kingdom lodge more. I could stay in my room the entire trip and just watch the animals out the window.
The thing that hurts AK lodge is the only transportation is bus. That's not nearly as nice or convenient as taking the boat over to the magic kingdom or other resort around the lake.
Published: June 9, 2014 at 6:40 PM
I will make one comment about Wilderness Lodge that was not covered in Amanda's great review.
For all you DVCers out there, the rooms are the smallest and I feel the biggest letdown of any of the DVC villas.
Published: June 9, 2014 at 8:31 PM
I love love love this resort! We went there when I was a teenager and enjoyed the atmosphere so much, I went back after graduating high school with some friends and was just as I remember it.
I actually refuse to go anywhere else and trust me I was tempted to try the Animal Kingdom Lodge (I believe they have THEE best breakfast anywhere at Disney.) But when my dad past away a few years ago, my mom paid for my brothers family and mine to go anywhere we wanted... so my 2 step daughters and wife picked Wilderness Lodge!!! (who would have thunk? lol)
Great place and coming back to your cleaned room is always a treat, wondering what special surprise the staff made up. For those who don't know what I am talking about... this resort is known for the cleaning staff to make Disney characters and other things out of pretty much anything laying around the room. Usually they use towels, but I have on occasion had stuff made with a variety of items.
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