SATURDAY SIX: 6 Reasons We Love Disney’s WILDERNESS LODGE

by on October 7, 2017 7 Comments

Filed under: Resorts, Saturday Six, Walt Disney World (FL)

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We Love Disney’s WILDERNESS LODGE. Disney has three classifications for their resorts: Value (including Pop Century and Art of Animation), Moderate (Port Orleans Riverside and Fort Wildnerness), and Deluxe (The Poly and BoardWalk). Today we are going to look at one of the Deluxe offerings with Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

 

Inspired national park lodges and inns of the early 20th century, Wilderness Lodge was designed by Peter Dominick, an architect who also was a major influence in Disney’s Grand Californian Lodge and Florida’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Sitting alongside Bay Lake, Wilderness Lodge is in between The Contemporary and the Fort Wilderness campground and offers relaxing boat rides to both locations as well as the Magic Kingdom. Like many other guests, we here at the SATURDAY SIX have fallen head over heels in love with Wilderness Lodge, and today we are going to count down our reasons why, starting with…

# 6 – Fire Rock Geyser

With the entire resort in effect a tribute to our great American national parks, the hourly eruption of Fire Rock Geyser gives guests a taste of what people experience when seeing Old Faithful at Yellowstone in Wyoming. Taking place at the top of every hour, Fire Rock Geyser’s explosion of water is a unique event at the Wilderness Lodge and a true piece of “Disney Magic” that separates the mouse house from its competitors.

Fire Rock Geyser.

Fire Rock Geyser erupting its plume of water at the top of every hour.

Fire Rock Geyser. (photo by Daisy Lauren)

# 5 – The Lobby

Like its sister hotels the Grand Californian and Animal Kingdom Lodge, Wilderness Lodge’s lobby will have your jaw dropping to the floor the minute you step inside. The gigantic 8-story atrium lobby is nothing sort of majestic and is a nature lover’s dream. The amount of exposed wood definitely evokes feelings of the Pacific Northwest, and all around are elements of Native American culture (including the large lighting features overhead.) The lobby is expansive, and has plenty of seats to sit in to just relax and enjoy the ambiance. There are two giant totem poles in the lobby – with artwork steeped in Native American history – along with the resort’s signature 80+ foot fireplace. At the far end of the lobby is a bridge going over running water. This water runs outside into the Silver Creek Falls. The Wilderness Lodge lobby is hands-down one of the greatest hotel lobbies you will ever experience, and you should make a point out of checking out the free Wilderness Lodge tour which goes into great detail on many of the things you will see throughout the resort.

Wilderness Lodge Lobby. (photo by Tom Bricker)

Lobby. (photo by Daisy Lauren)

Mercantile with the fun Disney character inspired totem pole.

A smaller version of the Disney character totem pole is available inside the gift shop.

Bridge in the lobby.  The bridge is over bubbling water, which – in story – runs outside to a peaceful creek, to the Silver Creeks waterfall, into the main pool area, and out to Bay Lake. (photo by Daisy Lauren)

Railroad handcar in lobby. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Photo frame with elements of the giant fireplace, the bridge in the lobby, and the Disney character totem pole.

PRO TIP: At the front desk ask for a copy of the Hidden Mickey Hunt. It is a two page sheet which gives clues are where to find various Hidden Mickeys at the Wilderness Lodge, several of which are cleverly hidden in plain sight.

Details can be found in the woodwoork.(photo by @TheDCLBlog)

As we get closer we can see something in the wood…(photo by @TheDCLBlog)

Now THAT’S a “hidden Mickey!” (photo by @TheDCLBlog)

# 4 – Whispering Canyon Cafe

Directly off the Wilderness Lodge lobby is one of most family friendly restaurants on property with the Whispering Canyon Cafe. One of our favorite parts of eating at 50s Prime Time Cafe at DHS is the type of “sass” offered by the servers and the fun they have with guests that you don’t see at many Disney restaurants. Whispering Canyon servers may actually be even more liberal in handing out the “smack talk” and playful banter, along with being much louder. This is not the place you want to go for a quiet date night meal, but it is definitely the place to go for a fun time and a great meal. While Whispering Canyon has a full menu to order from a la carte, the big draw is the all-you-care-to-eat-skillets and the bottomless milkshakes. With breakfast and lunch/dinner skillets available, you can eat your weight in vittles at just about any time of the day. Another feature we loved was that any time someone at a table ordered too many refills of a drink, the server would come back with an enormous mason jar that always drew laughs. Whispering Canyon is also home to the 10 Gallon Hat dessert, one of the most impressive at Walt Disney World.

Whispering Canyon Cafe.

Whispering Canyon ‘warning’ out front.

All-You-Care-To-Eat lunch and dinner skillet. (photo by Kristen Helmstetter)

Breakfast skillet. (photo by Daisy Lauren)

The soda you just may get if you ask for too many refills, and a “bottomless” milkshake.

10 Gallon Hat. (photo by Brandon Glover)

# 3 – The Theming Throughout the Resort

Wilderness Lodge is the type of Disney resort you want to spend as much time in as to possible enjoy the actual hotel and the grounds outside to see all the amazing details. The little things start right away as in the parking lot you will see “animal tracks” in the cement. Not surprisingly, there is a lot of actual wilderness at the Wilderness Lodge for guests to explore, including the jogging and nature trails. Everything is meticulously landscaped and brilliantly designed, and everywhere you go there is something interesting to experience. I’m a big fan of water features, and I enjoy just sitting on a rocking chair listening to the bubbling Silver Creek water pass by.

Sign at Wilderness Lodge.

Tracks from parking lot going towards the main building.

Tracks near Boulder Ridge Villas.  (photo by Brandon Glover)

Overlooking the Silver Creek area. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Silver Creek Falls. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Topiaries. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Disney used rocks from the former Catastrophe Canyon for this feature. (photo by Brandon Glover)

A room at the Wilderness Lodge Boulder Creek Villas has a fun pull out sleeper with a great design featuring animals. Also check out the cute chair designs.

# 2 – Geyser Point Bar & Grill

We’ve mentioned Whispering Canyon, but the Lodge has several other dining venues in the main building to enjoy including Artist Point, Territory Lounge, and Roaring Fork. However, the most recent dining experience opened up outside along Bay Lake with Geyser Point Bar & Grill. The quality of food offerings – along with actual plates and silverware – make Geyser Point transcend your average Disney Quick Service. Guests can enjoy their meal with picturesque waterside views along with the nearby Fire Rock Geyser and main pool area.

Geyser Point. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Geyser Point bar. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Northwest Iced Tea at Geyser Point. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Shrimp on a wire. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Grilled portobello mushroom salad

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Salad. (photo by Tessa Koten)

Bison burger with Tillamook cheddar and marionberry jam

Bison burger with Tillamook cheddar and marionberry jam. (photo by Tessa Koten)

Elysion Space Dust IPA at Geyser Point. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Chocolate brownie mousse

Chocolate brownie mousse with caramel popcorn and toasted meringue. (photo by Tessa Koten)

# 1 – The Cascade Cabins at Copper Creek

There are three areas you can book a room at Wilderness Lodge. There is the main building itself, the Boulder Ridge Villas (DVC), and the new Copper Creek Villas and Cabins (also DVC.) The Copper Creek Cabins have immediately become a Disney “bucket list” item, and are like the love child of the Polynesian bungalows and a Fort Wilderness cabin. The lakeside cabins at Copper Creek sleep 8, have all the modern conveniences, and just think of all the activities you’ll have space for with 1737 square feet. The cabins include a screened-in wraparound porch (with hot tub), a open kitchen, and a double-sided fireplace that you can enjoy from inside the cabin or outside on the porch. Unlike the Poly bungalows, the cabins have their own gated parking area that allow you to park much closer, which can be a nice convenience when you’re staying with the family and have a lot of stuff for the week to trek back and forth. But just like the Poly bungalows, one of the most enjoyable things – for us – was sitting back and watching Disney boats on the water while just taking it all in.

Cascade Cabins. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Cascade Creek Cabins. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Copper Creek. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Living Room. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Fireplace. This is Florida so it’s more of a “show fireplace” rather than one used for heat. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Master Bedroom. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Guest bedroom includes this pull down bed with a great Chip & Dale touch. It also has a Queen bed. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Kitchen and dining area. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Master Bath. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Hot tub. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Screened-in Outdoor Porch. (photo by Brandon Glover)

View of boat going towards Magic Kingdom area. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Not a bad way to spend an evening. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Grill area. (photo by Brandon Glover)

HONORABLE MENTION: Room Service at the Cabins

Room service at most onsite hotels is generally extremely limited, but the Copper Creek cabins (and Wilderness Lodge in general) have a “Miss Jenny’s” in-room dining menu that can compete with many Disney restaurants. Service across the board at Wilderness Lodge is terrific, and in-room dining was no exception. After placing an order for a variety of items, a server came about 45 minutes later and set everything up. The variety of options, from chips & salsa and french fries to grilled New York strip steak, catch-of-the-day seafood, and barbecue ribs, was spectacular.

Dinner is served. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Bread service. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Cornbread. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Western chips with salsa and queso. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Tuna melt on multi-grain bread. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Chipolte Chile barbecue ribs. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Salmon. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Granny Smith caramel apple pie. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Whispering Canyon chocolate cake. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Don’t forget to check out Angela Dahlgren’s Wilderness Lodge overview videos!

So there you have it: Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Wilderness Lodge! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).

Lobby Totem.

If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following:

6 Of Our Favorite Shows That Went To WDW (Including FAMILY MATTERS Staying At Wilderness Lodge)

Review of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort FREE TOUR

Six Family Friendly Desserts at Walt Disney World

Geyser Point Bar & Grill Impresses on Opening Day

The Six Best SHOWS at Walt Disney World

Six Things We STILL Can’t Believe Actually Happened at WDW

Six Most Unique Dining Experiences at Walt Disney World

Special Thanks to crack staff photographer Brandon Glover, Disney photography icon Tom Bricker, TouringPlans’ official foodie Tessa Koten, Scott “Captain Cruiseline” Sanders of @TheDCLBlog, Dynamite Daisy Lauren, and blogger to the stars Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Be sure to also check out Brandon on The Park Blogger podcast with goofballs co-hosts Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde , while fellow Potterheads may enjoy Meg’s work on the Central Florida Slug Club.

FINAL PLUG! Did you know The 2017 Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando has a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX in it? Finally, someone came up with an actual reason to read a book. ORDER this baby now!

Some guests bring home toiletries from their Disney hotel stay, but Len Testa brings home artwork. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Posted on October 7, 2017

7 Responses to “SATURDAY SIX: 6 Reasons We Love Disney’s WILDERNESS LODGE”

  • I can’t figure out where that railroad handcar is located in the lobby, from looking at the background. Is it a recent addition? Where in the lobby is it?

  • My favorite Disney resort, no question!

  • Gotta say that Artist Point deserves mention as well. One of my top ten meals ever.

  • by Angela from Ohio on October 8, 2017, at 8:45 am EDT

    This has been our home resort during November and December trips for many years . When our boys were younger I loved just heading down the elevator to pick up Mickey Waffles, rather than walking outside for a hike like some of the other resorts. After a long day at Magic Kingdom being able to roll a stroller with a sleeping child off the boat dock was wonderful.
    I can’t wait to visit the new Geyser point on our next visit.

  • Ten gallon hat is no longer available at whispering canyon cafe . But everything else is accurate about the cafe . One of Disney’s best !

  • We stayed at the Wilderness Lodge two years ago and loved it.

    Being from Atlanta, we usually drive our own car, when we arrived two years ago I was so impressed that as we pulled into the Lodge we had to slow down to allow deer and rabbits to cross the road ahead of us. At first I thought that they were not real, then I thought that Disney must have the animals living by the entrance sort of like AK’s Kilimanjaro Safari. But it was just a random occurrence, which we saw several times with rabbits wandering all over the property. With all the tall trees surrounding the location, it feels like you are in a national park.

    The lobby is the best lobby of any WDW hotel, maybe my favorite hotel lobby of all time. I could just sit there and relax all afternoon. The place is so calm and relaxing it does feel like home when the cast members say welcome home.

    We liked the ferry going to MK, several times my family was the only passengers. One evening going over there we crossed paths with the Electrical Water Pageant, the ferry had to wait as it moving across the Seven Seas Lagoon, so we had a private front row show for just my family.

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