By Melissa Fegely
Whether you’re staying at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, stopping by to have at meal at one of the restaurants there, or merely just visiting the resort, it’s truly an amazing place. The rustic-looking exterior in no way prepares you for the grandeur that waits inside. The 8-story resort reflects the magnificence of National Park Services lodges in the Northwest during the late 1800s and early 1900s, specifically the Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone National Park. Drawing his inspiration and creativity from nature, the architect, Peter Dominick Jr., also designed Disney’s Grand Californian Resort and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge also includes the Villas, which are part of the Disney Vacation Club and offer studio and one- and two-bedroom accommodations.
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As one of the best themed resorts on Walt Disney World property, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is a perennial favorite with guests for many reasons. Here are a few of the most-loved features of this resort.
6. Picturesque Pools.
The main feature pool actually begins its path as a babbling brook inside the lobby and becomes Silver Creek Falls outside, then eventually forms the main pool, Silver Creek Springs. The pool area is very lovely and includes a water slide, hot tub, and children’s water play area. Lounge chairs and tables are available. This resort also features another pool, Hidden Springs, located between the Disney Vacation Club villas and Bay Lake.
5. Top-Notch Restaurants.
Guests can choose from several dining options at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. A popular choice is Whispering Canyon Café, a family-style eatery with a cowboy theme. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Whispering Canyon Café enlists the help of its servers to entertain guests with amusing antics. “Horse races” regularly take place for the younger diners. Guests celebrating an anniversary may be invited get up and have a special dance, and servers get playful when asked for drink refills, extra straws, or ketchup. Meals can be served family style for the table to share, or individual entrees are available as well.
If you’re looking for a more sophisticated meal, Artist Point is the place to go. This signature restaurant features delicious menu choices from the Northwest like Cedar Plank-Roasted Salmon and Alaskan Halibut.
Diners interested in a casual dining experience can check out Roaring Fork for a counter-service meal. The Territory Lounge and the Trout Pass pool bar are also available for small snacks and drinks.
4. Inspiring Lobby.
The lobby at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is truly jaw dropping. The atrium area is made of lodgepole pine imported from Oregon. Looking down from the fifth floor, you can make out the beautiful Native American design created in the hardwood lobby floor from four different types of wood. The lobby also features an impressive 82-foot fireplace with layers that mimic the Grand Canyon’s rock strata. Even more spectacular are the two totem poles, specifically made for Walt Disney World by a Native American totem pole artist and historian. Each totem pole has an interesting story to tell. Around Christmas time, the lobby is made even more beautiful with an enormous Christmas tree. Tables and comfortable chairs are scattered throughout the lobby area to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
Take advantage of the Wonders of the Lodge Tour, offered daily, to discover the secrets and stories of the lobby and the Lodge in general.
3. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Flag Family.
One of the extra special touches Walt Disney World offers guests is the chance to be the Wilderness Lodge Flag Family of the Day. Families staying at the lodge can request to help with raising the flags on the roof of the lodge. Note that this has to be requested upon checking in to the resort.
2. A Faithful Geyser.
Adding to the spot-on theming of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is the Fire Rock Geyser, situated by Bay Lake and Silver Creek Springs pool. The geyser shoots up a fountain of water once an hour, so you have plenty of chances to get a fun picture or video.
1. Scenic Boat Launch.
While Disney’s Wilderness Lodge offers bus transportation to the parks and Disney Springs, boat travel is another popular option available. Boats offer a relaxing trip to the Magic Kingdom or to Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. A lovely path through the woods from the Lodge takes you past the pool out to the boat dock. Stop back to the boat dock in the evening at around 9:30 p.m. to catch the Electric Water Pageant. Lasting about 10 minutes, this nightly light and music show parades across Bay Lake.
Beginning in the fall of 2015, construction efforts began at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge to several areas of the resort, including the Hidden Springs pool, jogging paths, and the beach area. Once it is finished, this resort will offer even more amazing amenities and accommodations for its guests, including waterside bungalows nestled along the shoreline of the lake and large pool areas.