The Wonder of Wilderness Lodge Tour

Behind the scenes tours are a great way to experience Walt Disney World, but even with the various discounts offered to Annual Passholders, Disney Visa Card holders, Disney Vacation Club members, and AAA members, these tours can be a little bit pricey. Fortunately, there are a few free tours on Disney property as well! Although the Ballyhoo Tour that explained the links between the Boardwalk Inn and Villas and the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey has been a victim of recent budget cuts, the Wonders of Wilderness Lodge tour is still in operation as of March 2016. The tour meets by the grand fireplace in the lobby of Wilderness Lodge at 9:00am Wednesday " Saturday. The tours tend to be small - there were four people on our tour - and they last for about an hour.

Take A Tour of Disney's Wilderness LodgeTake A Tour of Disney's Wilderness Lodge

On the tour, you'll discover more about the roots of the resort's architecture in the style of lodges from the Pacific Northwest, but mostly the Yellowstone Hotel. The lobby has won several awards and commendations for its celebration of Native American culture and symbolism. From the totem poles that adorn the lobby and the symbolism that permeates the floor patterns to the artifacts in the cases and the reliance on animal imagery, the resort is a treasure trove of stories about the Native American experience.

The Grand Fireplace Mimics The Strata of the Grand CanyonThe Grand Fireplace Mimics The Strata of the Grand Canyon
Animal Elements Are Found Throughout the LobbyAnimal Elements Are Found Throughout the Lobby

In the building that houses the Disney Vacation Club villas, you'll find more than one reference to the building of the Trans-Continental Railroad and even a commemoration of Walt Disney's own love of trains. The floor by the fireplace is modeled after a train roundabout that was used for changing a train's direction or transferring to another line. One of the original cars from Walt Disney's Carolwood Pacific Railroad is on display as well as photos of Walt's backyard railroading project. The entire building is accented with details that show that the workers on the Trans-Continental Railroad were a nomadic crew.

The Carolwood Pacific Room Houses Some of Walt Disney's TrainsThe Carolwood Pacific Room Houses Some of Walt Disney's Trains

In the Territory Lounge and pool area, you'll see the influence of Teddy Roosevelt from Rough Rider memorabilia to Roosevelt's influence over the National Parks. See the Wilderness Lodge "Old Faithful" geyser launch a stream of water from Bay Lake into the air. Even if you miss the tour, you can catch this spectacle at the top of the hour from 7am until 10pm daily. You'll also be privy to an inside secret about how the water appears to flow from the indoor water feature all the way through the pool area and out into Bay Lake without endangering the swimmers or upsetting the delicate Florida ecosystem.

Silver Spring Bubbles Up Right In The LobbySilver Spring Bubbles Up Right In The Lobby
Silver Spring Creek Flows Down To The Feature PoolSilver Spring Creek Flows Down To The Feature Pool

This is a very interesting tour and it is a great way to kick off any day at Walt Disney World. If you're taking a non-park day, catch the boat over to Fort Wilderness or enjoy the natural beauty of the 1-mile walking path between the Lodge and the campground. It is recommended that you call in advance of the tour to make sure that it will be offered during your visit.

The Wonders of Wilderness Lodge TourThe Wonders of Wilderness Lodge Tour

A big thanks goes out to regular Guest Author Holly L. for sharing a little bit of her knowledge of Disney tours and activities with us. If you'd like to read more about Holly's Disney Adventures, you can find her sharing on our member forum.

Kristen K. wrote on Sun, 03/20/2016 - 14:23:

Kristen K.'s picture

I love the Wilderness Lodge, and have always wanted to take this tour, it's such a beautiful structure and the storytelling behind all of the design is so much more than most guests ever realize.

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