Where to Stay: Disney's Wilderness Lodge at the Walt Disney World Resort
Published: June 7, 2014 at 5:06 PM
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.