When you spend an extended vacation at Walt Disney World, you won’t be at the parks all the time.
Instead, you’ll hang out at your hotel some as well. In fact, you may visit some other resorts just to see whether you’d be interested in staying there at some point.
Disney calls this resort hopping, and it’s something I do a lot. I find the various Disney hotels almost addictive in that I hate leaving them.
One such resort embraces the national park lodge style that has driven American tourism for decades now.
Here are eight reasons we love Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, arguably the most tranquil of all Walt Disney World hotels.
I already spoiled this one in the intro. Many years ago, then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner plotted a new resort that would attract attention.
He turned to a noted architect of the era, Peter Dominick, and requested a tribute to the national park lodges of the Great Northwest.
For many years, people have traveled to these parks and brought up at the hotels for relaxing vacations. They were the ideal trip for fans of the great outdoors.
The idea of building one near Disney seemed ambitious. After all, this resort would reside within minutes of Magic Kingdom. How serene could it be?
Friends, this is an excellent example of how Disney dares to try the impossible and often achieves it to boot!
When you walk on the grounds of Wilderness Lodge, you’ll forget that you’re at Disney.
Everything within eyesight is so rustic and lush that you’ll believe you’re at a national lodge.
Nobody does theming better than Disney, and Wilderness Lodge embodies that statement. It’s the gold standard in hotel immersion.
The Character Meal
For the longest time, Wilderness Lodge fans praised Artist Point and begged others to visit the restaurant.
Sadly, few did. It was one of the easiest reservations to book at Walt Disney World.
Eventually, someone at the hotel had the bright idea to add a character meal. They picked something that harkened back to the “one with nature” setting of the resort.
Enter Storybook Dining at Artist Point with Snow White. It’s a meal set in the woods where Snow White and her friends, the Snow Dwarfs, live.
However, the Evil Queen hosts the proceeding. So, you get the best of both worlds with a highly detailed meal that tells a story.
Meanwhile, your favorite characters appear. And all this takes place against what I can only describe as a Christmas backdrop, as there are trees and lighting on display.
Now, Storybook Dining at Artist Point is arguably the hottest reservation in Orlando, and it justifies the hype!
Better yet, you’ll find it close to the hotel lobby at Wilderness Lodge!
I’m mentioning three consecutive restaurants here because, for whatever reason, Wilderness Lodge is overflowing with impressive ones. Each of them is unique as well.
At Geyser Point, you’ll find what I believe is the only indoor/outdoor restaurant on the Disney campus.
The walls here feature an open-air setting, but it’s like a domed stadium. As a result, management can close the area during inclement weather.
So, you’ll eat outside most of the time and relish in the natural setting by the lake. When it’s too windy, cold, or raining, the place converts to an indoor restaurant.
As for the food, it’s terrible. In fact, if you like unusual flavors from the Northwest, it’s among the best places at Walt Disney World!
Yes, all Disney restaurants offer ketchup. What’s special at Wilderness Lodge is when you order the ketchup at Whispering Canyon Café.
Servers at this restaurant will stop what they’re doing and turn toward you. Then, they’ll start hootin’ and hollerin’ as they bring you DOZENS of ketchup bottles.
Over the top shenanigans like this represent the Whispering Canyon Cafe experience, and you don’t even need to eat here to hear it.
The restaurant resides directly across from the hotel lobby’s check-in desk.
Also, like the other two eateries, the cuisine here will delight your palate. In fact, it’s my favorite of the three.
Whispering Canyon serves bottomless skillets of frontier flavors. You can eat to your heart’s content, and you will love every second of it!
The main pool at Copper Creek is visible when you exit the back of the hotel lobby. So, it’s simple to find and delightful as a hangout spot.
However, I favor the newer pool, which is only a few years old. Disney built it with the theme that it’s an abandoned area.
The Boulder Ridge Railway and Mining Co. was, you know, mining here, but the company left the place. They didn’t pick up their old equipment, though.
Somehow, this backdrop oozes charm, and children especially love it. Somehow, their minds adapt better to weird, inexplicable backdrops.
Most of the theming at Wilderness Lodge centers on wood. I mean, the entire hotel lobby consists of this stuff.
That’s not the singular intent of the hotel’s design, though. Instead, Disney planned it as the national park accompanying the park lodge.
So, you’ll find plenty of trees and secluded areas here. They’re exceptional hangout spots when you want to spend a day being at one with nature.
Even the main pool here feels isolated, even though it’s just a few steps away from the heart of the resort.
Disney has built a hotel that somehow feels private…but it’s just a 10-minute boat or bus ride away from Magic Kingdom!
You’ll marry a trip to Walt Disney World with a romantic getaway to a nature resort!
Some of my happiest memories at Walt Disney World have involved Friendship Boat rides to and from the parks.
The one at Wilderness Lodge is particularly relaxing in that you’re staring at the resort campus as you leave.
I highly recommend that you ride the boat to and from Magic Kingdom whenever possible.
Buses can get so stressful at Disney. These Friendship Boats are the polar opposite.
Plus, when you exit the boat, you’re only a short walk away from the hotel lobby!
Okay, this one qualifies as more of a bucket list idea rather than something practical you’ll do regularly.
A few years ago, Disney added new Disney Vacation Club villas at Wilderness Lodge. Imagineers wanted to create something unique, though.
Disney built standalone A-frame cabins at the resort. And they’re spectacular. Here’s the Parks channel showing off these cabins:
That place blows your mind, doesn’t it? You’re not alone. Fans covet a night or two in one of these rooms.
They’re NOT cheap, but you want to do this at least once in your life.
Feature Image: Disney