Hello again Mickey Maniacs! Guru Joey here to fill you in on what kind of experience you can expect at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. A little disclaimer first, this happens to be my FAVORITE Disney hotel. If you want to jump to a specific topic, just click the rating.
Lobby(Back to top)
When you cross the threshold of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, be prepared to travel about 2300 miles in an instant. The Wilderness Lodge takes its inspiration from the Iconic Old Faithfull Inn in Yellowstone National Park. The attention to detail is spot on! Its lobby is a masterful work of timbers that stretch up forever, almost, above your head.
Near the back of the lobby is a cutout section of the floor where you will find a faux thermal spring. This spring bubbles continually and feeds a small stream that flows from the spring, under a bridge, and out of the building to a larger stream that cascades down the various boulders and around trees through the inner courtyard and to the pools below.
The back of the lobby is a wall of windows that look over the cascading stream to the forest like gardens of the inner courtyards. From there you can admire the replica of the forests of Yellowstone, and every now and then, even catch a glimpse of a geyser eruption of two.
The lobby also sports a massive fireplace made of stone with rocking chairs in front of it climbing to the rooftops. The seating is comfortable, and there is plenty of it. Believe me, I could happily sit in that lobby for hours and admire its architectural beauty if I had to, but of course, this is Disney, so we hardly have to wait to get checked in to our room.
Check-in (Back to top)
The first time we stayed there, we had booked a room for our family and one for my wife’s parents. When we approached the desk to check in, we were told they were having technical difficulties and we would need to wait a few minutes to get our rooms.
We told them that would not be a problem even though we had just come from a long flight and bus ride; we were quite happy to be there. That seemed to surprise the hosts as I guess there were other guests that were not so patient.
The issue only lasted about 10 or so minutes, and the staff proceeded to check us in as well as my in-laws. They were ridiculously apologetic, which I thought was unnecessary. Because of our “inconvenience,” they had given us an upgrade and put my in-laws and my family in side-to-side rooms. Wow!
To top it all off, when we entered our room, there was a foot-tall, entirely chocolate 3D model of Donald Duck with other various goodies spread around on the table with a note that said, “Thank you for your patience. From your Disney Pals!”
That was our first experience. All the others have been about as smooth as you can get.
Room(Back to top)
We have only stayed in the general hotel rooms and studio suites. These come with either one queen, a double pullout couch and a pulldown twin (the studio at boulder ridge), or one queen and a bunk bed set. Since we have little ones, we loved the bunk bed room and so did they! The studio, however, can accommodate more people. The room is decorated like a lodge type hotel room. Plenty of forestry fixtures and appropriate wilderness-themed Disney characters throughout. The bathroom is very fancy and large so you can bath your little ones without feeling cramped. The vanity area is also separate from the toilet and shower for even more efficiency when getting ready. The best room views are of the courtyard and the pools. The other rooms offer either a view of the surrounding trees or other hotel rooms.
Transportation(Back to top)
One of the only downsides of the Wilderness Lodge is that it is a little out of the way compared to other resort hotels. It does have a ferry that takes guests to and from the Magic Kingdom directly, which is a plus. Besides the ferry, there is a bus stop section with buses to all the parks and most of the hotels. The wait times for the buses are better than average compared to other resorts, and the buses usually run with efficiency. My family has never really had any trouble with transportation when staying at this hotel.
Food(Back to top)
As with most dining in Disney, if you want to eat here, make reservations. This restaurant is high-end dining. When we visited the first time, the menu didn’t even have prices for the meals. It’s funny because we thought the wine price was the price for the meal. Imagine the surprise when we got the bill! Yikes!
The food was certainly delicious. We enjoyed the meal thoroughly. But a trip to Artist point can do some damage to your pocket book. Don’t take kids. Though I have heard they do a character dining experience with Snow White. We have not experienced this.
Whispering Canyon Café
This is the hotels main casual dining restaurant. We enjoyed this place. It is traditional western American food.
Reservations for breakfast have not really been necessary in the past, but this may have changed. Breakfast is a buffet style (usually character experience), and the food is better than average. If you are hoping for a quiet meal with the family though, you may want to look elsewhere and definitely don’t ask for ketchup.
For dinner, you will want to make a reservation. It is traditional country cooking, reasonably priced, and portion sizes are more than enough, even for the hungriest of guests. The atmosphere is more relaxed around dinner time, but always be prepared for shenanigans.
This is a typical Disney quick serve facility. You can get a quick Disney breakfast, sandwiches, flatbreads, or burgers for lunch and basically the same for dinner.
Geyser Point Bar and Grill, Territory Lounge
Besides your preferred libations, these two bars have a few special menu items that are quite good. The bison burger for one. The options are not many, but they are good for someone who does not want to make a reservation and wants a decent bite to eat.
The Territory Lounge is a little more high-end though and the prices will show that, but it is a fancy lounge and the service is top notch.
On a cooler night, try ordering a hot chocolate, and then go sit in a rocking chair by the fire. Mmm, cozy!
Pools(Back to top)
Copper Creek Springs Pool is the main pool at the base of Wilderness Lodge. It is a good size and has good visibility on all sides in case you bring some little ones. There is also a nearby kid’s pool and play area with its own set of water features and slides. The spring pool has a waterslide that looks like a cascading waterfall down some boulders and is not fast but fast enough to be fun for all ages. One big bonus, this pool is heated.
For a little bit more privacy (possibly), you can try Boulder Ridge Cove pool. This pool does not draw as many people. It is a zero-depth pool meaning the depth gradually increases from zero like a ramp down into the water. There is also a whirlpool nearby for some thermal soaking.
Activities(Back to top)
Besides swimming and going to Disney parks, the wilderness lodge also offers activities such as bike rentals, boat rentals, fishing on Bay Lake, outdoor campfires, an arcade, a fitness facility with running trails, and movies under the stars. These extras are probably great if you are staying in the hotel for long stretches. If so, I’m jealous. We have never tried doing many of these things because we love to spend most of our time in the parks. By the time we get back to the resort we are pooped, and we just want to relax.