Top 5 Things to Love about Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

The Walt Disney World Resort is home to more than two dozen hotels including deluxe villas, deluxe hotels, moderate hotels, a campground, and value resorts. You might have your favorite, go-to, must always stay there resort hotel. Or maybe you like variety and stay somewhere different each time you visit.

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In all of our travels to Disney World we've stayed in every level of resort and there are just a few individual hotels that are still on the ol' bucket list. But we have our favorites. And today we're going to look at the top 5 reasons to choose Disney's Wilderness Lodge, a deluxe resort.

5. The Lobby: Honestly this is where our love affair with the Wilderness Lodge started. As soon as we first walked in to the lobby we were in love. The totems, the fireplace, the feeling of "are we really still at Disney World? really does take your breath away.

Lobby at Wilderness LodgeLobby at Wilderness Lodge

The Wilderness Lodge lobby surrounds you with eight floors of Lodgepole Pine imported from Oregon, 55-foot-tall authentic totem poles, and that amazing 82-foot-tall fireplace. And let's not forget about the bubbling spring that starts in the lobby and flows outside. Take a few minutes to relax in one of the rocking chairs in front of the fireplace too!

If you're lucky enough to visit Wilderness Lodge during the holiday season, the iconic (and massive) Christmas tree is an amazing centerpiece of the hotel's decorations. The tree is decorated with native American-inspired ornaments and the railings in the lobby are decked with ribbons and garland.

The Wilderness Lodge lobby decorated for the holidaysThe Wilderness Lodge lobby decorated for the holidays

4. Location, Location, Location!: One of the best things about staying at Wilderness Lodge is its proximity to the Magic Kingdom (if you happen to want to spend a lot of time at that park). It might not be one of the "Monorail" resorts but all it takes is a quick boat ride and you're at the Magic Kingdom! You're also a short boat ride from Disney's Contemporary Resort and Fort Wilderness - two spots with great dining options including California Grill and the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue!

The boats launch from the Wilderness Lodge Boat Dock and the "red flag" boats go to the Magic Kingdom, while the "blue flag" boats head to the Contemporary and Fort Wilderness. There is something so relaxing about taking the boat to the Magic Kingdom, traveling through Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon. Plus, hearing the boat whistles in the morning or late at night is one of those familiar sounds that we just love at Disney.

View of Bay Lake from the boat docksView of Bay Lake from the boat docks

And, taking a boat back to your resort after a long day at the Magic Kingdom beats waiting in a queue for a bus on any day! You can also get a great view of the resort when you're on the boats (and watch out for wildlife too - last fall we saw one of the resident gators in Bay Lake on our way to Fort Wilderness).

3. Silver Creek Springs Pool: Sure, the main feature pool at Wilderness Lodge doesn't boast any over-the-top themeing but that's kinda way we love it so. It's a relaxing pool that fits in with the rustic theme of the resort. There's a water slide for the thrill seekers and in the early morning hours before the pool opens you might even see some of the hotel's resident ducks chilling in the pool.

During the day, we love lounging poolside while sipping on a grownup drink from the Trout Pass Pool Bar! The Pina CoLava is a personal favorite, even though you can get it just about everywhere on property. The Banana Cabana - made with Cruzan Mango Rum, Coruba Coconut Rum, Creme de Banana, with Orange and Pineapple Juice and a float of Grenadine - is another great choice.

The Silver Creek Springs Pool was fenced in during a refurbishment in 2014, which means you need a MagicBand to enter the pool. During our last visit there was a cast member giving guests wristbands to enter the pool area.

Pina CoLAVA from the Trout Pass Pool BarPina CoLAVA from the Trout Pass Pool Bar

2. The Resort Grounds: One thing that sets Wilderness Lodge apart from other Disney World hotels is that it is easy to forget you're at Disney World when you're walking the ground of the resort. Whether you're checking out Firerock Geyser or relaxing on your balcony, there is a sense of calm and serenity at the resort (yes, even with the current construction).

Some of the dense forest has been removed to make room for the waterside cabins, but the grounds still maintain that rustic vibe. One of our favorite things to do at Wilderness Lodge is head outside early in the morning (after grabbing coffee at Roaring Fork) and walking around the area by the pool, geyser, and boat docks. It's quiet and peaceful and one of the reasons we keep going back to Wilderness Lodge.

The stream travels from the lobby to the pool at Wilderness LodgeThe stream travels from the lobby to the pool at Wilderness Lodge

1. The Restaurants: Wilderness Lodge is home to one of our favorite quick serve locations (Roaring Fork) and one of our favorite table service spots (Whispering Canyon Cafe). You'll also find signature dining at Artist Point and a great spot for relaxing after a day at the parks at the Territory Lounge.

Roaring Fork is a good spot to grab breakfast, lunch, or dinner while you're at Wilderness Lodge. The restaurant is VERY small inside, but you'll find more seating outdoors. One downfall (if you're an up-and-at-'em kind of tourist) is that you can't order food until 7 a.m. in the morning. You also don't get your food quickly, unless you're doing a grab-and-go from the pastry case. If you're planning on ordering one of the breakfast platters or specialty waffles be prepared to wait.

The breakfast service often has crowd control issues, but lunch and dinner tend to be less crowded. We strongly recommend the Beef and Blue Sandwich at lunch or dinner. And Roaring Fork is where you'll find the Magic Cookie Bar!

Famous Magic Cookie Bar at Roaring ForkFamous Magic Cookie Bar at Roaring Fork

The Whispering Canyon Cafe is a great place for breakfast, lunch, or dinner with the whole family. You can choose to participate in the fun antics or you can opt out thanks to the new-ish flip cards. All-you-can-eat skillets are the way to go at breakfast, lunch, or dinner - but you can also order a la carte entrees too! A few things to remember when dining at Whispering Canyon Cafe: always ask for ketchup, order a large drink, and ask for straws. ;-)

Earlier this year the restaurant was testing a new 10-Gallon Challenge Sundae and it is still on the menu. For $27 you and your friends and family can enjoy a Canyon Cowboy Hat filled with scoops of Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, and Mint Chocolate-Chip Ice Cream smothered in toppings plus a slice of apple pie, two cupcakes, two brownies, two sugar cookies, a banana, two Oreos, chocolate covered bacon, and more.

Ten Gallon Challenge Sundae at Whispering Canyon CafeTen Gallon Challenge Sundae at Whispering Canyon Cafe

The rule of thumb at Whispering Canyon Cafe: go hungry and have fun!

So there you have it: a few reasons why we love Wilderness Lodge! It should be mentioned that the resort is currently in the middle of an upgrade, with the Copper Creek Cabins and Villas being built waterside, a new pool being built at the Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge, and a new bar and grill set to open in the summer of 2017. As of press time certain areas of the resort are working construction zones by Disney is doing its best to make sure guests have a magical visit.

What do you love about Disney's Wilderness Lodge?What do you love about Disney's Wilderness Lodge?

Have you stayed at Wilderness Lodge? What do you love about the resort? Let us know in the comments.

Many thanks to the Disney Food Blog for use of their photos.

Kristen K. wrote on Mon, 12/12/2016 - 16:49:

Kristen K.'s picture

I really enjoy hanging out at the Wilderness Lodge, I'm looking forward to the new DVC expansion being complete.

Marc wrote on Tue, 12/13/2016 - 20:48:

Marc's picture

Last summer, on the (paved) trail between Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness I came across a family of deer. Now that's rustic! (and exciting!!)

Neil wrote on Wed, 12/14/2016 - 11:33:

Neil's picture

Agree with the above. It's a beautiful property and I would love to stay there but our home resort is Old Key West and there is no way I could ever persuade my parents to stay somewhere else.

My first visit was only a couple of years after our honeymoon in Vancouver and Vancouver Island and I was blown away by the architecture in the hotel. It almost 'Out-British-Columbiaed' British Columbia.

Would love to stay there one day.

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