10 Outstanding Things about Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World

Lobby, wilderness lodge, walt disney world
Credit: Disney Dining

By Cassie

Wilderness Lodge is an outstanding resort and at least worth the boat ride from Magic Kingdom to check it out. You won’t be disappointed. The lobby is breathtaking.

10. Shopping-Wilderness Lodge Mercantile has the feel of a general store that you would expect to see in an old log lodge. They have items you may need at a resort however. Where else can you enjoy a warm fireplace with swimwear nearby? If you are foraging for food, like the resorts mascot likes to do, you will find a nice selection in here as the Villas have full kitchens so prepared and frozen foods, beverages, books, groceries, are available. Medicinal items, gifts, games, pins, candy, plush, coon skin hats, apparel, Lincoln Logs, and of course merchandise with Wilderness Lodge emblazoned on them.

9. The Sports Enthusiast will find the jogging trails, bicycle rentals, boat rentals, and a health club, Sturdy Branches will keep them busy. There is a 2 ½-mile long trail between Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. There are smaller trails extending off of that one. Sturdy Branches is located in the Villas section of the resort. It is open for workouts from 6AM to 9PM but guests can request 24-hour access at the front desk. If you are not a guest of the Wilderness Lodge then you will have to pay but the fee is less than $20 a day. There is a full menu of massages and spa treatments available to really get you relaxed. Bass fishing is a popular sport and guests of the Lodge can reserve morning or afternoon fishing excursions. Gamers can check out the Buttons and Bells arcade.

8. Children’s & Family Activities – These are available poolside every afternoon with fun games, some crafts. There are arts and crafts sessions in The Cub’s Center at night. There is a playground down near the beach to practice skills and wear little ones out. They may play in the white sand beach but no one is permitted to swim in the lake. There is a child center, The Cub’s Den, for kids ages 4 to 12. If the weather is bad and you want to stay at the resort for the day, ask the lobby Concierge for a list of hidden Mickey’s to find in the resort. There are a number of artifacts, historical maps and artwork, and even a rock display near the large rock fireplace that are interesting to see. In fact, there is so many details included in this resort that there is a Wonders of the Lodge Tour you can take. Ask at the Concierge if there is a tour on the day you are interested in taking it. They usually occur at 9AM on Wednesdays through Saturdays. A Flag Family is selected each day to go on the roof and put up the United States flag, the Florida state flag, a Walt Disney World flag and two Wilderness Lodge flags, each morning, and you can volunteer for this at check-in. There is a nightly camp fire and a viewing of a Disney movie at the main pool area.

7. Landscaping and Curb Appeal-Wilderness Lodge sits on 450 acres along the sides of Bay Lake. There are tall pine trees surrounding the Lodge giving you the feel that you are deep in a National Park, particularly the Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park (built in 1904). I remember pulling up to that Inn in our family car many decades ago and I felt that same “Wow!” feeling when I pulled up to the front of the Wilderness Lodge for the first time. Along the paths you will see beautiful field flowers. There are large rock outcroppings some you walk through others on the sides of the stream and waterfall. There is a bubbling hot spring inside the lobby. From there it flows to the outside, forming the Silver Creek which then becomes the Silver Creek Falls. Below the swimming pool is the geysor designed after Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park, they both erupt on the hour! There is an elevated wooden walkway that takes guests out to the docks, winding through the tall pines. This resort is in the midst of nature and feels very comfortable and peaceful. Perhaps that feeling is a result of the Blessing of the Four Directions that takes place in the fall of each year. A Native American ceremony is performed during the month of November and its purpose is to purify the resort and drive out anything negative from it for one year. November is National Native American Month and the ceremony is performed by nationally recognized Native American’s.

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6. Big Style-This large resort is patterned after the large wooden lodges that were built in the National Parks out west in the 1900’s. This style lured guests to go out into the wild and have a comfortable lodge waiting for them after their daily adventures. The same is true of Wilderness Lodge. It is the wooden log construction look, mission-style furniture, colorful rugs, and large carved animals in wooden support columns, huge 55-foot high carved totem poles, light fixtures that look like tee-pees, well in actual tee-pee size! It is stunning to say the least. The lobby is 8-stories high. The floors are hardwoods. The Wilderness Resort is the first Disney resort to have a mascot, which is a Brown Bear. You will see the Brown Bear motif repeated around the resort. There is a wing for DVC members too, and it is patterned after railway worker lodges of an earlier period. It is in this wing that guests can see displays about the railroad. The railroad was a big part of Walt Disney’s life and one he treasured. Walt had at one time built a small railroad on his own property called the Carolwood Pacific Railroad. Walt’s daughter donated two of these train cars to the Lodge and are round in the Carolwood Pacific Room in the Villas section.

5. Rooms-decorated with western motifs, the look of carved wood illustrations above the padded head boards of the queen-size beds dressed with white covers and pillows. A blue, red and white spread adorns the bed along with a red print accent pillow. The colors are red, blue, tan and browns. The furniture is rugged looking and includes a dresser, table and arm chairs, nightstand, mission-style lighting, ceiling fan, comfortable chair with footstool, floor lamp, balcony with chairs and small table or patio on first floor, mirror, chest of drawers, coffeemaker, clock, granite double sink vanity in bathroom area, wood-look tiles in the showers with a character surprise, large shower heads, in-room safe, iron and ironing board, Free Wi-Fi, hair dryer, mini refrigerator, wall hooks, and some even have bunk beds! There is a concierge level on the seventh floor. Views are standard, woods, or water/courtyard view. Those carved headboards are amazing and there is a framed picture of a great waterfall on the walls. If you want to spread out even more get a villa with a full kitchen, DVD player, and washer and dryer. The only negative aspect of the rooms is that they sleep four where most of the other Deluxe Disney resorts will offer sleeping for five in the standard rooms. If you have more than four in your party you will need to reserve a Villa. Have a relaxing cup of coffee on your balcony or patio and enjoy the quiet surroundings.

4. Location- You are a short 10-minute boat ride away from Magic Kingdom, yet it feels like you are far away from the business of the rest of WDW when staying at Wilderness Resort. There is also bus transportation to MK and all the parks as well as Downtown Disney. The rooms are close to the main building if not in it making the rooms here very convenient to all forms of transportation. You can walk to Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground or take a short boat ride there. There are activities unique to that resort. The self-parking is conveniently located.

3. Water Features-at Wilderness Resort these two things look blended into one. Truthfully though, the bubbling spring inside the lobby that appears to roll outside, down a water fall, then flow into the Silver Springs swimming pool. Silver Creek, as it is called, does not actually flow into the swimming pool, the waters do not blend together. The large free-form pool has a twisty slide to the delight of the young and young at heart. They not only have a hot tub, they also have a cold tub! A kiddie pool is nearby for water play and a place for the parents to relax. There is a leisure pool and another hot tub near the DVC villas. Between the pool and the beach you will see Fire Rock Geyser that looks a lot like Old Faithful and it in facts erupts on the hour like its inspiration. It erupts every hour from 7AM to 10PM. While down at the beach area you can view the Electrical Water Pageant nightly at 9:35PM.

2. Fireplace-Your eyes will quickly be drawn to the large three-sided stone fireplace when entering the lobby. It is meant to be an illustration of the rock layers that formed the Grand Canyon. There is a rock display nearby that explains the different rocks in each layer. It is a magnificent fireplace and even on the hottest of days outside, guests are still drawn to sit in front of the burning fireplace, sitting in rows of rocking chairs. (Thanks to the AC it is still comfortable to do this even on hot days.) Be sure to explore the floor your room is on. Each floor has a quiet seating area by a small fireplace where you can stop and take a breather.

1. Dining-Spending time in the wilderness works up a big appetite so expect to get fed with great proportions here!

The signature dining at Artist’s Point is one of the most treasured dinner reservation to get. Try food specialties such as Pacific King Salmon, Buffalo short ribs, Venison Spring Rolls, or perhaps expertly cooked scallops or New York Strip Steak? Enjoy a wine flight from the extensive wine list. There is a house-made Berry Cobbler that is quite memorable. The dress code prohibits tank tops, swimwear, and hats for gentlemen, cut-offs or other tattered clothing. Men are expected to wear khakis, dress pants or shorts, with collared shirts. Coats are not required. Women are expected to wear skirts, dresses, capris or dress shorts.

Whispering Canyon Café, on the other side of the lobby from Artist’s Point is quite the opposite dining experience, but they both have great food. WCC is famous for its large skillet meals that are all-you-can-eat but please try additional items on the menu. Don’t miss the bottomless milk shakes, they are delicious! The all-you-can-eat breakfasts are a great value. There is a lot of cowboy humor and the wait staff may actually break out in song encouraging diners to join in!

Roaring Fork is the quick service location that is convenient to the courtyard area on the first floor of the main building near the Hidden Springs. This café can get pretty loud but you can take your food a few steps away at outside tables. Roaring Fork is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. There is a varied menu as well as grab ‘n go items. You can purchase your resort refillable mug here. There is room service available during breakfast and dinner hours.

Territory Lounge is at the entrance to Artist’s Point and has a western saloon set-up. While you are sitting in there having a before-dinner drink and you begin to think about the old west, look up at the ceiling to see a painting of Lewis & Clark’s travels. The supports for the bar are tree trunks with carved grizzly bears. Enjoy specialty beers, full bar and Artist’s Point’s extensive wine list. There are food items such as flatbreads and wings. Trout Pass Pool Bar sets up more than an afternoon beer or wine to cool off with. You can get specialty cocktails from their full bar as well as light snacks. Sit at the bar or at nearby tables.

About Cassie

Cassie L. I am a lifelong Disney fan. I attended Walt Disney World in 1971, and was there during the opening week of EPCOT, and have visited the Disney Parks for than 30 times. I have had the privilege of visiting Disneyland as a child, and then again with my children. My family recently moved from the northeastern United States to the Walt Disney World area. I now have cast members in my family and enjoy hearing the magical stories at the end of a shift. I love visiting all of the parks and getting to try more Disney food and being able to share it with you to help you plan your own magical day at Disney.