Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is a breath-taking resort, and it completely immerses you in the theme of the Pacific Northwest, the National Parks, and the great Lodges of the 20th Century. The Designers got everything right with this one from the jaw dropping lobby, to the authentic details, and all of it is enveloped in an elaborate backstory. If you are lucky enough to stay at the Wilderness Lodge you owe it to yourself to spend (at least) a day enjoying the resort. And here are my tips for what you should do during your day:
Even though this is a “break” day from the parks, I’m going to encourage you to get up early. Depending on the room category you booked, you might have an amazing view overlooking Bay Lake. Go out on your private balcony with a cup of coffee and enjoy the early morning sun and the resort coming to life. This is one of my favorite times of the day when it is quiet, but you can watch the bunnies and ducks who call Wilderness Lodge home, watch the boats as they start to make their way across Bay Lake, and relax. Ahhhh.
Now, it is time for breakfast. My recommendation is to head down to Whispering Canyon Café where you can find some delicious breakfast food in a very lively atmosphere. There are three options for all-you-care-to-eat skillets including the Heritage (with Mickey Waffles), the Carnivore (we’ve got the meats), and the Lighter Side (for those of you who are behaving while on vacation). There is also an a la carte menu. Be sure to participate with all of the shenanigans of the servers to make for a fun morning.
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Day Time Fun
There are a lot of options for having a great time during the day at the Wilderness Lodge. While your big breakfast settles I’m going to suggest looking into a tour that will help you explore the Lodge. On select days and times you can take a guided tour. We did this several years ago and it gave me a whole new appreciation for the Lodge, the details of the design, and the authenticity of the construction. There are also options for self-guided tours that you can pick up at the Concierge Desk—one takes you around to find Hidden Mickeys which is always fun! You’ll want to make a point to go over to the Boulder Ridge Villas section of the resort and visit the Carolwood Pacific Room in the lobby. It is nice and peaceful, but it also has some trains that belonged to Walt Disney himself.
Before the day gets too hot you might want to look into renting a bike or a boat at the resort. You can take the boats out on Bay Lake, and even cross over to Seven Seas Lagoon (we love renting a boat when we are staying in the Magic Kingdom area). Or, if you rent a bike there is a really neat nature path that takes you over to Fort Wilderness Campground.
If you are really looking for some outside the box activities while on your Walt Disney World vacation you may want to take the boat from Wilderness Lodge over to Fort Wilderness for horseback riding or archery lessons. You’ll want to reserve these activities in advance, but we have done both and had a great time.
For lunch I recommend grabbing a lighter bite at Geyser Point Bar & Grill. The menu here is great, and you can’t beat the comfortable seating and views of Bay Lake. Geyser Point offers sandwiches, salads, and burgers on their lunch menu, along with a Lounge menu with “rustic fare” like Cheesy Barbecue Brisket, Teriyaki Chicken Wings, and Crispy Fried Oysters (along with several specialty drinks).
And, of course, no day would be complete without spending some time at the pool. The main pool “Copper Creek Springs Pool” (formerly Silver Springs) is a great feature pool with a fun slide. Adjacent to the pool is a splash play area for little ones. And you have a great view of the regular Geyser eruptions while you lounge by the pool. The Boulder Ridge Cove pool by the villas is another great spot to relax.
Speaking of relaxation, if the pool is not your thing, look into the Salon by the Springs where they offer manicures, pedicures, and hair services.
My recommendation for dinner at Wilderness Lodge is going to be the Storybook Dining at Artist Point. This newest character meal features Snow White, The Evil Queen, Dopey, and Grumpy, along with a prix fixe menu with shared appetizers, your choice of entrée, and shared desserts. The appropriately themed menu includes things like: Royal Prime Rib Roast, Brother’s Grimm Roasted Chicken, and Magic Mirror Slow Braised Veal Shank, for entrees, and for dessert a trip of “Poison” Apple; Fairy Tale Gooseberry Pie; Miner’s Treasures (sponge cake with chocolate gems); and The Hunter’s Gift to the Queen, (cracked maple popcorn with a ganache heart). This is a finer dining experience than you will find for some of Disney’s character meals, but a children’s menu is available with favorites for every palate.
If you aren’t interested in a character meal, I would recommend visiting Fort Wilderness Campground next door for dinner and a show at Hoop Dee Doo Revue. This long running stage show is hilarious for guests of all ages, and keeps you entertained throughout your delicious dinner of comfort foods like fried chicken and barbecue ribs.
For either dining experience you will want to make reservations, and they are both popular, so you will want to be ready when your dining window opens up 180 days before your check-in.
After dinner you may want to take it easy. Find a great spot at the resort to watch the Electrical Water Pageant float by, and maybe even see some of the higher Magic Kingdom Fireworks. There are usually some evening activities offered by the resort’s recreation staff too like a campfire with marshmallows to roast, and a movie under the stars.
If you are celebrating and want to splurge, you can look into one of the Happily Ever After Fireworks cruises that depart from the resort’s marina nightly. You need to make advance reservations for these (up to 180 days before your vacation). The cruise will take you around Bay Lake, and into Seven Seas Lagoon where it puts down anchor for a great view of the Fireworks, and the music is piped in so you don’t miss a thing. Usually the sailing also includes watching the Electrical Water Pageant on the water. This is the perfect way to cap off an amazing resort day.
What are you favorite things to do spending the day at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge?