Staying at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort

If you were to ask me where my favorite place in the world is, you will probably be surprised to find that my answer is Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort in Walt Disney World.

When I was little, maybe eight or nine, my parents took me to Wilderness Lodge to have dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe. At that age the only thing I wanted to do at Disney was be in the parks. Resort hopping and dinner at uniquely themed restaurants wasn’t a priority for me so I unfortunately did not appreciate everything this resort had to offer.

In fact, it wasn’t until I travelled to the Pacific Northwest (PNW) of British Columbia that I found the environment that best accommodates my personality and spirit. Once those memories of the Cascade Mountains took root in my mind though, I found that Disney’s Wilderness Lodge did a phenomenal job of carrying over the theme and feel of the PNW right in central Florida, so much so that I’ve been known to shed a few tears when I finally get to revisit this resort after too many months away.

It wasn’t until my family joined Disney Vacation Club that I was able to finally stay at this resort. Just remember, only you can prevent crappy vacation accommodations (by joining DVC).

If you’re looking for a relaxing stay at a Disney resort that is set back from the main Magic Kingdom hub but still close enough to enjoy nightly fireworks, then Wilderness Lodge is the place for you. The emphasis on nature is present throughout the resort and the location of Wilderness Lodge makes for a quiet and peaceful stay that you may not find at other resorts.

If waking up to bird sounds, distant boat horns taking guests to and from Magic Kingdom, and a welcoming balcony or porch that offers views of waterways and native Florida animals that fit in with the PNW theming is your cup of tea, then Wilderness Lodge is where you need to book for your Disney vacation.

The main lobby is perhaps Disney’s most stunning, rivaling even the Grand Floridian in my mind. The lobby spans floor to ceiling with towering totem polls, a stone fireplace, and rustic furniture spread throughout.

Another highlight of the lobby is the starting point of the stream that runs through the main outdoor area of the resort and into the pool. You can walk over the bridge in the lobby to get a glimpse of the bubbling spring that starts out so calm and cascades into a waterfall in the heart of the resort.

At Christmas time this lobby transform into a space fit for a Hallmark movie set in the Rocky Mountains. If you’re visiting the Walt Disney World resort during the holidays, make it a point to hop over to this resort. The many Christmas trees, garland accents, and decorations make this already cozy resort even more welcoming.

Since this is a Disney Vacation Club Resort, there is also a separate DVC lobby for the Boulder Ridge villas. This small lobby features beautiful rustic architecture, fireplaces, comfortable seating including a bench window seat, and decor that pays tribute to Walt Disney’s love of mountain regions and the days of westward exploration.

Unofficially titled the “Train Room” due to the model trains placed throughout, this section of the DVC lobby is a must see for guests of this resort. When in the room it is all too easy to forget that you’re in Central Florida and instead will find yourself wondering what time the ski slopes open up.

The outdoor areas of Wilderness Lodge boast beautiful views of Bay Lake, unique nature-inspired features that you’d find in the western part of the US, and a grand waterfall at the center of it all. Seating at this resort is spread throughout and adds to the ambience of the resort with its natural wood and pops of color on the cushions.

When staying at Wilderness Lodge you’ll have quite a few options when it comes to room type you want to book. There’s three main sections of Wilderness Lodge, all with their own, unique theming: Boulder Ridge, Copper Creek, and the main section of Wilderness Lodge.

On my most recent stay I was in a Wilderness Lodge room that had a view of the boat dock and Bay Lake and had recently been rethemed with an accent wall, small Disney touches, and a beautiful geode light feature.

My favorite part of this resort to stay in though is Copper Creek which has a brighter feel than the other two.

Boulder Ridge is by far the most rustic with darker wood and fabrics and a true cabin feel. Even the exterior of Boulder Ridge has a darker, more mountainous feel than the other areas of the resort.

If a studio room is too basic for you and you feel like crossing off a bucket list item for a lot of Disney goers, then the Cascade Cabins are a luxury ($$$$$x10) option at this resort.

The standalone cabins feature two bedrooms and two bathrooms, a full kitchen and living area that will make your house back home jealous, and a wrap around porch with its own private plunge hot tub, picnic table, and view of Bay Lake.

While you can’t walk from this resort to Magic Kingdom like you can with the monorail resorts, Wilderness Lodge does have boat access to the flagship park. The walkway from the main part of the resort to the boat docks is beautiful and will have you wondering how you could possibly be in Magic Kingdom in just a few minutes since you’re obviously somewhere high in the mountains right now.

Unfortunately, if you need to get to the other Disney parks you will have to catch a bus from Wilderness Lodge. Being so close to the heart of the magic in Magic Kingdom though is a perk that you don’t have with many other Disney resorts though.

As usual with me, one of my favorite parts of Wilderness Lodge is the food and dining that is available.

Geyser Point is easily my favorite restaurant/bar on Disney property due to its lakeside ambience, rustic-luxe theme, comfortable seating, and delicious food & drink offerings.

My go to at Geyser Point is the teriyaki chicken wings and homemade chips, but this whole menu is full of delicious and unique items that you’ll have a hard time finding at other Disney restaurants. The bison burger, salmon croquettes, and cheesy barbeque brisket are just a few items that make this lounge stand out from others on Disney property.

The drinks you will find at this bar are also a standout from other Disney resorts. You can occasionally find a seasonal margarita flight here and the beer and cocktail options are plentiful for all pallets.

There are two sit-down, reservations-accepted restaurants at Wilderness and both have unique elements that you won’t find anywhere else on property.

Artist Point, the signature dining experience at this resort, features a pre-set dining menu with some unusual methods of serving up your meal. The appetizers are served on a tiered tray and the dessert comes in a chest made to look like the Evil Queen’s possession from Snow White.

Speaking of Snow White, you will encounter the princess herself as well as a few of the dwarves here while dining.

A much different experience from Artist Point, Whispering Canyon Cafe, located off to the side of the resort’s main lobby, can be a little rowdy, entertaining, and more casual than other resort dining options.

For breakfast you’ll find some of the traditional Disney dishes here as well as a few hidden gems such as the fruit bowl with strawberry yogurt, granola, and candied apricot.

The dishes that draw people in to this restaurant though are the skillets that you can get for breakfast and dinner Filled to the brim with American favorites, the skillets are an all-you-can-eat option for when you’re so hungry you could eat a bear (bear is, thankfully and obviously, not on the menu, but bison is!).

Just like many of the other resorts, Wilderness Lodge is full of activities for both kids and adults. Wilderness hosts nightly movies and smores campfires and also has the proximity to Magic Kingdom to be graced with Happily Ever After Fireworks and the Electrical Water Pageant Parade.

Reunion Station, located next to Boulder Ridge pool, is the recreation center for this resort with corn hole, ping pong tables, and an indoor area where you can host events or attend resort events when they are taking place.

Next to Reunion Station is the boat rental area where you can cruise Bay Lake or spend a day fishing.

There is also a small arcade located off of the main lobby, a health club in the DVC Boulder Ridge building, grills and picnic tables located in the Cascade Cabins area, and a gift shop with unique to Wilderness Lodge and National Parks merchandise.

Of course the main outdoor recreation areas of this resort are going to be the pools and this resort certainly doesn’t disappoint with that.

While the main pool at Wilderness Lodge isn’t Disney’s most creative or unique, the way the main lodge frames the pool is stunning and will have you wondering how the sun is so hot way up in these mountains.

The waterfall that sits at the center of the outdoor area of Wilderness Lodge leads into the main pool, making for a natural spring feel. There is a small waterslide and plenty of seating around the pool. Since it is in the middle of well, everything at the resort this area does tend to get loud during peak swim times.

A little more quiet, private, and relaxing is the Boulder Ridge DVC pool set off to the side by Geyser Point. This pool has ample seating, including covered rustic “cabanas”, western railroad expansion theming, and a fantastic spa area for adults. This pool is a great way to relax during your resort day or after a long day at the parks.

No matter how many times I visit or stay at Wilderness Lodge, I never get tired of its vibe. There are places that everyone has that just feel like home, even when they are clearly not a permanent residence for the individual, and my second home is Wilderness Lodge.

I believe that there is a Disney resort out there for everyone and mine is this Pacific Northwest beauty. If a mountain escape is the vacation type for you and yet you find yourself at Disney, then this is the resort you’ll want to stay at. The rustic-yet-luxe feel is comforting and welcoming in all ways that other Disney resorts don’t make you feel. Sure, the Riviera is beautiful but does it give you that feeling of coming home to a warm and relaxing lodge?

Even if you have no desire to stay at Wilderness Lodge, I encourage every Disney goer to give this resort a chance, even just for a loud and rambunctious dinner at Whispering Canyon or a drink at Geyser Point. If after that you’re ready to leave Wilderness Lodge without a desire to come back, then what kind of life are you living, because this resort is practically perfect in every way! With that said, maybe my next Disney resort blog will be the resort for you.

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