Thinking of staying at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge? Then this article is for you. You’ll learn about the resort, room options, dining locations and more so you’re prepared for your stay at this charming upscale resort in Walt Disney World.
There is no shortage of Walt Disney World hotels to pick from when it comes time for your Walt Disney World vacation. While I’m partial to staying on-site when I visit the theme parks in Florida, I do like to switch things up when it comes to my hotel stays. It’s rare that I stay in the same hotel more than two times. While my heart was set on staying at Disney’s Riviera Resort this time, it was unfortunately, completely booked for our travel dates. I spent days agonizing over booking a Garden View room at the Contemporary, Coronado Springs or The Wilderness Lodge. Ultimately, I settled on Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. It totally exceeded my expectations and quickly became my favorite of the deluxe resorts. I spent the week exploring everything so you don’t have to!
Let’s take a closer look at why and why this might just be the last resort I’ll ever stay at and why you just may love it as much as me.
Two years ago after our Halloween on the High Seas Cruise, we booked a 2-night stay at the Boulder Ridge Villas, the DVC portion of the hotel. To say I was less than impressed is putting it mildly. I swore I’d never, ever, EVER stay at the lodge again after that trip.
From screaming kids running the halls all hours of the night to a backed up drain in the kitchen sink (and water everywhere) it was that furthest thing from a relaxing vacation that I ever had.
Wilderness Lodge was always a dream resort of mine to stay at and my last experience left me heartbroken. Since we were staying in a fireworks view room in the main lodge this time, I figured it was worth one last chance to see if my opinion could be salvaged.
We arrived the day after Labor Day at around 9 pm. Traffic was horrendous on the drive down and I was just ready to get out of the car and unwind before we hit the parks early Tuesday.
Much to my surprise the lobby was fairly empty and we were able to unload the car, check in and even get some dinner at Roaring Fork, more on that dining location in a little bit, before turning in for the night.
ABOUT DISNEY’S WILDERNESS LODGE
The Lodge is a AAA Four-Diamond Award winning resort hotel inspired by turn-of-the-century National Park lodges. One glance around and it’s easy to see why. The resort first opened on May 28, 1994 and is located in the Magic Kingdom Resort Area on Bay Lake. Not to be confused with Fort Wilderness, the cabins and campground located right next door, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort is home to 727 guest rooms in the main buidling, offers 5 different dining locales and plenty of majestic pools to keep you cool in the Florida heat. There are nature trails and pine forests at every turn making you feel like you really are in the great Northwest.
According to the Disney Parks Blog, over eight-five eighty-five truckloads of Lodgepole Pine where brought in from Oregon and Montana to construct the seven story lobby.
While you’re in the lobby be sure to stop and enjoy a chair around the 82-foot fireplace that duplicated the layered rock strata of the Grand Canyon in Yellowstone National Park. Everywhere you look you’ll be inspired by the rustic majesty of America.
Admire in awe at the majestic totem poles that grace the lobby and the historic headdresses and other Native American art and cultural pieces throughout the hotel.
The lobby is also home to one of Walt Disney World’s most famous restaurants – The Whispering Canyon Cafe. The restaurant is know for it’s food and fun and crazy antics. Be sure to ask for some ketchup when dining here.
You’ll also find the gift shop also known as the Mercantile here in the main lobby right next to the front desk.
ROOMS AT DISNEY’S WILDERNESS LODGE
The Wilderness Lodge has 727 guest rooms in the main lodge and offers everything from suites to Concierge level rooms. During our stay, we stay in Room 6046 – a Fireworks View Room. Our view off the balcony saw a small lake in front of the Cabins and off over the tree line a beautiful, unobstructed view of Cinderella’s Castle, Space Mountain, Astro Orbiter and the Contemporary Resort.
Available hotel room types at this resort are:
- Standard Rooms and Suites (sleep up to 4 adults)
- Rooms and Suites with Club Level Service (sleep up to 6 adults)
- Deluxe Studios (sleep up to 5 adults)
- 2-Bedroom Cabins (sleep up tp 8 adults)
- 1-, 2- and 3-Bedroom Villas (sleep up to 12 adults)
INSIDE A FIREWORKS VIEW ROOM
Our Fireworks View room was located in the main building on the 6th floor, 7th is Concierge, and had two Queen-size Beds along with 2 chairs and a small nesting table.
Out on the balcony there was another small table and two chairs perfect for sipping your morning coffee or watching the nightly fireworks show.
And the fireworks view? The best seat in the house in my humble opinion. No fighting for a spot amongst the crowds or piling on crowded buses as everyone files out of the parks.
We made it a point to be back in our room early every night just to enjoy the fireworks from bed or the balcony. In fact, I’ll probably never watch the fireworks any other way again.
But don’t fret if you don’t have a fireworks view room, just head downstairs to the docks and enjoy the view from there.
Take a look at my room tour below for a better view.
DINING AT THE WILDERNESS LODGE
Roaring Fork is where you can grab a quick bite to eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner. There is a small dining room to the back of the restaurant and this is where you can grab drink refills for your refillable mugs, coffee and tea.
The food options were average at best. Eggs, Mickey Waffles, cereals and some pastries are available at breakfast. Lunch and dinner offers some basics like chicken fingers and burgers along with a few BBQ options.
While decent, nothing we ate here, aside from the Mickey waffles, were our favorites. This dining location closes at 10:30 pm nightly so if you have a late park day or are staying for a party and think you might be hungry upon returning, plan accordingly.
Whispering Canyon Cafe
You may have heard to “ask for ketchup” when dining at Whispering Canyon Cafe and I”m here to tell you not to forget! While I had hoped to eat dinner here, our plans didn’t allow for it this time around. We did however eat breakfast one morning and while it was an okay meal, I don’t think I’d go out of my way to eat breakfast here again.
The kids enjoyed Mickey Waffles and I thought they were very accommodating for my son’s food allergies bringing him extra waffles and his own platter, but Disney is known for being great with food allergies so that was expected.
I had one of their egg skillets since I love, love, love O’hana’s breakfast and had high hopes it would be just as good. Sadly it wasn’t. It was just, well, eggs. Nothing to write home about.
I give it a B- mostly for the fun atmosphere, amazing service and just ok food.
Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White – A Character Dining Experience
This character dining is experience was one of my favorites. Here you’ll get to meet Snow White, Dopey and Grumpy. They’ll each come by your table for a visit, photos and autographs. Towards the end of your meal, your table will be called up to meet with the Evil Queen herself.
We’ve eaten here two times in the past and it was outstanding. The definitely changed their menu up a bit from then but the desserts were fabulous and most of our meal was enjoyable.
You’re definitely dining here for the experience first and the food second but I highly recommend it at least once.
Geyser Point Bar & Grill
This showstopper has to be my favorite spot to grab a bite to eat at Wilderness Lodge. Not only is it an absolutely stunning place, the views were amazing and the food? Probably the best on property. I only wish the menu offered a few more choices.
I highly recommend the Bison Burger. Everyone in my family had it at least once and raved about it. The juicy burger is topped with crunchy bacon, marionberry sauce, garlic aioli and crunchy onion straws. So, so good y’all!
Located next to Artist Point, Territory Lounge is a great place to grab a lite bite and some delicious drinks. I hear the cheese fondue and pretzel bread is amazing.
OTHER DISNEY MUST READS
- How to spend a rainy day at Disney
- 7 Reasons the Grand Floridian is the Perfect Resort for Preschoolers
- Your Complete Guide to Disney’s Riviera Resort
- 8 Reasons to Have a Car at Disney
- Dos and Don’ts on Your Disney Alaska Cruise
- The BEST Excursions for the Whole Family on a Disney Alaska Cruise
THINGS TO DO AT DISNEY’S WILDERNESS LODGE
The Lodge is the perfect place to spend your non-park days or days you just want to relax and unwind. The resort feels like you are miles away in the Pacific Northwest (minus the heat) with its pine tree walking trails and even a real Geyser that shoots off every hour on the hour.
Grab a rocking chair by the murmuring creek and just sit back and enjoy nature.
Grab a bite to eat at Geyser Point Bar and enjoy break taking views on the water.
If you’re looking for a little adventure, book a fishing excursion and spend the day bass fishing Bay Lake.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS WHEN STAYING AT THE LODGE
CAN PACKAGES BE DELIVERED TO THE HOTEL?
Yes, they can! In fact we had a Kroger delivery and several Amazon packages delivered during our stay. You can either pick them up at the from desk or Bell Services can bring them up to your room. But be advised, the resort does charge a fee for taking delivery of packages. I was charge $6 for EACH package that was delivered. It didn’t matter if I picked it up or bell services brought it to me.
If you do have something delivered to the hotel the address is:
901 Timberline Drive, Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830
CAN I WALK TO MAGIC KINGDOM FROM THE RESORT?
While you can’t walk to Magic Kingdom from Wilderness Lodge and it’s not a monorail resort, you can get to the park easily by boat service, bus or even a Minnie Van. By far, the ferry boat is my favorite way of transportation to and from the Magic Kingdom.
CAN I VISIT WILDERNESS LODGE IF I’M NOT STAYING THERE?
Absolutely! Lot’s of people who aren’t staying at the resort come over to take in the beauty. Plus two popular dining locations, The Whispering Canyon Cafe and Artist Point – Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White, are located within the main lodge.
So if you book one of these dining locations, be sure to head on over early or allow for time after dinner to walk around and really enjoy everything the resort offers.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:
- Check-in time is 3pm but you can do online check in through the My Disney Experience App and make note of your arrival time in there. There is always a chance your room might be available earlier. Although this is never guaranteed.
- Check-out time is 11 am.
- Be sure to head down to the dock nightly to catch the Electrical Water Pageant that makes it’s way around the resort
PROS & CONS OF STAYING AT DISNEY’S WILDERNESS LODGE
- Visually stunning resort with history and culture around every turn
- A resort you can really unwind and vacation at. You don’t feel like you’re on the go, go, go as you do at other Disney Hotels.
- A fun range of activities to do at the hotel for non-park days. From the pool, fishing, crafts, movies and more there’s always something fun for the kids to do
- Central location with easy access to Magic Kingdom. The boat ride to Magic Kingdom was literally my favorite, and only, way I traveled on this trip.
- Comfy beds. One of the best nights sleep that I’ve had at a hotel.
- There’s a Sauna! Now I didn’t get to use it because I only found out about it on my last night but I was excited to see that they had one and will be trying it on our next trip down.
- Modes of transportation other than the bus. I have low back and knee issues and there is nothing I hate more at the end of the night than walking, what feels like eternity, to a bus stop to only pile on a bus with tons of other sweaty people. That is NOT my idea of a magical vacation. Having a boat that brings you to and from the Magic Kingdom was a lifesaver AND having the boat stop right outside the gates? Well, I probably won’t ever stay anywhere else. To me, it’s worth the extra cost for convenience.
- Dining locations close early. If you have a late night at the park or take advantage of extra hours at the end of the night, don’t expect there to be anywhere to grab food or even drinks. The restaurants close at 10:30 pm and even the drink station gets locked up overnight so you can’t refill your mugs. We only we’re out late 2 nights but nothing was open to get drinks or food. Be sure to factor that into your late night plans.
- The food itself was a little lacking. In most, if not all, of the other hotels we stayed in I felt like I had unlimited choices when it came to meals. Here it felt like each place had similar meals and not enough variety. By my 3rd night, I was desperate for a slice of pizza or something other than a burger or BBQ.
- Restaurants were hit or miss with the food. This is really a personal taste issue and your results may vary but I was underwhelmed with just about everything I ate during our stay. I previously LOVED the Snow White dinner but this time I only at half due to it being undercooked and was sick the entire next day from it. The eggs from Whispering Canyon Cafe and The Roaring Fork were bland at best. The only meal I semi enjoyed was the Bison Burger from Geyser Point Bar but there’s only so many days in a row you can eat that. So if you’re looking for variety, plan on eating your meals elsewhere.
By far, this is my favorite deluxe resort and probably my favorite Disney Resort of all time. Despite the food, I’d totally stay here again and honestly can’t see myself staying anywhere else for the near future. After staying here it’s hard to justify staying at a moderate or even value resort in the future.
Do you have any questions about Disney’s Wilderness Lodge? Feel free to ask me here, send me an email or reach out on Instagram at @anewdawnn.
Ready to book your stay at this exquisite resort? CLICK HERE to book your stay through Disney’s website.