When you enter Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, the lobby has a breathtaking effect on you. The lobby, which is the heart of the Wilderness Lodge, welcomes you home with its exquisite details.
You’ll feel like you’ve been immediately transported to the Pacific Northwest. There are not many places that rival the resort.
This review of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge will explore the resort in detail. We’ll look at everything from the magnificent lobby to the types of rooms available. Additionally, I’ll go over options for dining, transportation, recreation, and other resort amenities.
Whether you are visiting for a week-long vacation or only for a meal, the Wilderness Lodge makes you want to stay a little longer. From its rustic vibe to its proximity to Magic Kingdom, the resort is one of the most tranquil places to reside while visiting the Walt Disney World Resort.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Review
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge falls under the deluxe resort category and is part of the Magic Kingdom Resorts Area. Additionally, the resort is home to two Disney Vacation Clubs: Copper Creek Villas and Boulder Ridge Villas.
Related: Copper Creek Villas Review
You’ll feel like you have entered a national park as soon as you arrive. All hints of Florida’s landscape vanish. Suddenly, you are surrounded by large, towering trees reminiscent of great Redwoods. Spanish Moss, a Florida native, hangs romantically in the balance.
You are in for a treat when you arrive at the Wilderness Lodge via one of the Magic Kingdom boats. The dock steps off onto a wooden walkway that journeys through the woods as it wraps its way around to various areas of the Lodge.
The Wilderness Lodge’s front entrance greets those that arrive by vehicle. A mix of wildflowers and stunning landscaping adorn the walkway up to the lobby from the parking lot.
As you enter the Lodge, expect to be greeted with a “welcome home” from the cast members attending the area. Then, you’ll suddenly feel a cool, comforting breeze and realize you’re not in Florida anymore. Well, not in spirit, anyway.
A fireplace crackles on the far side of the lobby. It’s hard to remember you just escaped the “it feels like 110 degrees” temperature outside. And the idea of the Disney Parks being only a short boat or bus ride away seems preposterous.
If you’ve visited the resort before reading this review, I can only imagine the goofy smile on your face right now. You know it’s true. Every deluxe resort at Disney provides some sort of transitional feeling upon arrival. But the Wilderness Lodge mesmerizes guests.
Maybe it’s the sheer starkness of the atmosphere combined with a bit of Disney magic? Whatever it is, you’ll know it as soon as you enter. The only comparable resort I’ve encountered is Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, and I think most will agree.
Related: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Review
Now that you’ve gotten an idea of the appeal let’s look at the details in the lobby that contribute to this mood. Inside you’ll encounter an open seven-story lobby with balconies and viewing galleries on most floors.
An 82-foot fireplace sits in the far corner. The stone is designed to look like rock formations from the Grand Canyon.
Several totem poles decorate the space providing all the artwork such a large area could ever need.
Make sure to notice the wood carvings and details. They are all very intricate.
Usually, a couple of traditional Native American headdresses are on display.
They are, at the very least, interesting to see.
However, most will enjoy learning more about the pieces. Thankfully, informational plaques are provided.
A shadowbox of moccasins is part of the exhibits. Additionally, you’ll find a few other pieces on display from time to time.
The lobby tends to be a space that invites guests to linger. It’s one of those hotels where you probably won’t want to spend much time in your room. Don’t get me wrong, the rooms are nice. It’s just that the resort is so peaceful.
There are a variety of seating areas in the lobby. It’s a wonderful place to meet up with family or friends during your travels.
In addition to the main fireplace, several upper floors have sitting areas that overlook the lobby. One of my favorites is this private space with a sofa, chair, and fireplace. Anyone staying here or visiting the resort is welcome to enjoy these areas.
For those visiting during Christmas, a trip to the Lodge is a must-do to see the great tree and decorations.
Back down in the main lobby is where you’ll find the starting point of Copper Creek Springs. Yes, there is a spring inside the lobby with a bridge over it. Your children will want to cross it at least 1000 times throughout your vacation.
As we follow Copper Creek Springs, we end up outside in the resort’s scenic backyard. You can see below where the creek continues from inside the lobby.
There is a cave to walk through that runs adjacent to the spring.
Additionally, an overlook in the area provides views of Copper Creek Falls and the surrounding areas.
As we make our way down the winding path, another bridge crosses in front of the waterfall.
Notice the door to the resort in the photo below. It is a separate entrance for Copper Creek Villas. If you are staying in this Disney Vacation Club Resort, you can cut through here without having to trek through the rest of the resort to get back to your room.
Here is that ever-popular photo of the Wilderness Lodge from the base of Copper Creek Falls.
The resort’s feature pool is directly behind the waterfall, the Copper Creek Springs Pool.
The pool has a 67-foot-long waterslide toward the center.
And there’s a water play area for smaller children sitting on the opposite side. These splash play areas are a nice option and seem to provide more fun than a kiddie pool.
A hot tub sits to the immediate left of the splash area.
Between the feature pool and Bay Lake, a geyser (Fire Rock) is designed to look like Old Faithful.
Fire Rock erupts at the top of the hour daily between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
Additionally, the creek we were following down from the resort’s lobby flows through this area and eventually makes its way out to Bay Lake.
The Boulder Ridge Cove Pool is down on the other end of the resort. This pool is an additional feature pool that offers a zero-entry and a whirlpool spa.
It has several nice shaded seating areas along with lounge chairs.
Behind the Boulder Ridge Cove Pool is the Sturdy Branches Health Club. This serves as the fitness center or gym for Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
There is a large lounge and recreation area down in this area. Make sure to take advantage of these extras if you are a Disney Vacation Club member. This area is similar to Community Hall over at the Boardwalk Villas.
Related: Disney’s Boardwalk Villas Review
There is a nice large grilling area for guests at Reunion Station.
Across the way is the Teton Boat and Bike Rental. You can learn more about boat rentals here. Unfortunately, the walkway between Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness Campground closed a few years back. Since it closed, I haven’t seen any bike rentals available at Wilderness Lodge. You can, however, rent bikes at Fort Wilderness.
Hopefully, the pathway will return to service in the future, along with bike rentals. In the meantime, the Wilderness Lodge does have a dedicated area to jog. But if you are looking for a long trek, you might want to take a boat to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. There’s plenty of trail area to run there.
Lastly, the resort has an arcade called Buttons and Bells. The arcade is located in the breezeway directly behind the gift shop.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge has plenty of options when it comes to dining. Below, we’ll cover each dining location at the resort.
We’ll start with Roaring Fork, the resort’s counter-servicing dining location. However, if you want more details, check out our dining guide for the resort.
Related: Wilderness Lodge Restaurant Guide
Roaring Fork is located off the resort’s main lobby. They accept mobile orders. Or you can walk in and order if you like. This is one of my favorite places at Disney to pick up a treat like a cupcake or magic bar.
Roaring Fork serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So you can expect traditional counter service food like burgers, chicken fingers, salads, and sandwiches from this location.
Geyser Point Bar and Grill sits behind the feature pool. This location serves as a stand-alone lounge with a full menu. It also doubles as the resort’s pool bar.
Geyser Point is a trendy dining location that does not take reservations. Therefore, you might have to join a walk-up list with a wait time to enjoy a meal here.
The restaurant serves anything from charcuterie platters and fried oysters to a fried chicken sandwich with fries. It’s a popular place where typically everyone can find something to enjoy.
Related: Geyser Point Bar and Grill Review
A long concrete sidewalk sits behind Geyser Point. It’s a relaxing place to enjoy the scenic water views and a wonderful place to enjoy the Electrical Water Pageant as it floats by nightly. You can see Bay Lake Tower in the distance.
Related: Bay Lake Tower Review
At night, the audio from the fireworks performance and water pageant is broadcasted in the immediate area. Unfortunately, the view of the fireworks isn’t great. So I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch them from this location.
Some better fireworks viewing locations include:
- The observation deck at Disney’s Contemporary.
- The beach at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
- The boat dock at Disney’s Grand Floridian.
Back inside the lobby, Territory Lounge is an excellent place to partake in a meal. The bar and lounge are not only stunning but have delicious food offerings making it an attractive place to dine without reservations.
Additionally, the former Artist Point sits adjacent to Territory Lounge. It’s now a signature dining restaurant turned Disney character meal that goes by the name of Storybook Dining at Artist Point with Snow White.
The restaurant has had mediocre food reviews since it first opened a few years back. However, the unique character experience featuring the Evil Queen is kind of hard to top.
Lastly, Whispering Canyon Cafe is the resort’s primary table service restaurant. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We’ve dined here for breakfast many times and thoroughly enjoy it.
Now I do have to warn you. This restaurant involves a little friendly horseplay and a few shenanigans. So make sure to go with a good attitude and be prepared. Oh, and don’t forget to have someone ask for ketchup at some point during your meal!
If none of these restaurants strike your fancy, you can always pick up a snack in the resort gift shop, Wilderness Lodge Mercantile. This store is another staple of the Lodge’s lobby, with a totem pole at the entrance featuring classic Disney characters.
Wilderness Lodge Mercantile is a great place to pick up souvenirs and resort-branded merchandise. Rare is the day I stop in at the Lodge without browsing the gift shop.
Related: Wilderness Lodge Mercantile
As far as accommodations, the Wilderness Lodge offers over 727 guest rooms, not including the two Disney Vacation Club Resorts. Additionally, the rooms in the main portion of the Lodge were recently updated.
Here are a few photos of the new rooms from Disney’s website. This room is a standard guest room.
It appears that solid surface flooring was added, along with platform-style beds. The guest baths look nice, and I think the geodes artwork looks good from the photos.
A standard room at Wilderness Lodge comes with two queen beds and sleeps up to four adults.
The following views are available
- Courtyard View (pool, courtyard, waterfall view)
- Standard (parking or rooftop view)
- Nature (landscape or view of the villas)
- Nature Fireworks (Lodge and partial view of Magic Kingdom fireworks)
And if you are looking for something extra special, you might consider upgrading to the club level. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is home to the Old Faithful Club, which is located on a separate floor and provides guests with private lounge access.
Throughout the day, different food and beverage items are offered in the Old Faithful Club Lounge. While I haven’t had the opportunity to try this club level, we have stayed on the concierge floor at Disney’s Beach Club many times.
Related: Club Level at Disney’s Beach Club
Additionally, there are options to reserve a Copper Creek Villa or Boulder Ridge Villa. Here is a photo of our Copper Creek studio. These rooms have one queen bed and an additional queen sofa sleeper.
The main difference between the villas and standard guest rooms is that a villa comes with a small prep area. The kitchenette includes a microwave and a mini-refrigerator. The fridge is a bit larger than a standard one.
In addition, Copper Creek offers cabin rentals for those in need of more space. The cabins are two bedrooms and sleep up to eight guests. They have a kitchen and private patio that has its own private hot tub.
Unfortunately, I haven’t had the opportunity to stay in a cabin, but I can’t imagine there would be any complaints. However, I do have room tours of two other comparable size properties at Disney:
These cabins are located on both sides of the resort. The first section of them can be seen from the water when you arrive back from Magic Kingdom via boat transportation.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure how much time I’d spend in the parks if I were staying in a cabin.
Since we are on the topic of the boats at the Wilderness Lodge, I wanted to go over the different transportation options you can expect. Disney’s bus service is the main form of transportation available. The buses travel back and forth daily to the following destinations:
- Magic Kingdom
- Hollywood Studios
- Animal Kingdom
- Disney Springs
- Blizzard Beach
For those interested in having a meal or two at Disney Springs, browse our list of the best restaurants at Disney Springs. It includes links to full reviews of our favorite dining experiences to date at the venue.
In addition, the Wilderness Lodge provides boat service back and forth to Magic Kingdom. This service runs back and forth to the theme park and is an absolutely wonderful way to travel.
When available, there is an additional boat service on the right-hand side of the dock that takes guests to Fort Wilderness Campground or the Contemporary Resort. This boat service travels in a bit of a triangular pattern between the three resorts.
Related: Disney’s Contemporary Resort Review
The extra boat service makes it nice for guests wanting to travel to the Contemporary for a meal. Or you could use it to travel to the Disney World monorail. Then take the monorail on around to the Polynesian or Grand Floridian.
Related: Grand Floridian Resort Review
You could also take the boat to Fort Wilderness for a jog or to see the newer horse stables. However, if you are visiting for a horse ride, that’s done on the opposite side of Fort Wilderness. You’ll want to take an internal bus to the front of the resort once you get there.
The newer horse stables are located near the boat dock and are open for touring usually until about 3:00 p.m. daily.
Final Thoughts on this Wilderness Lodge Review
It’s taken me quite a while to get to this review of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. I’ve been fortunate enough to stay at the resort several times over the years, and I’m always the better for it at the end of my stay.
When I’m not staying at the Wilderness Lodge, I still visit regularly. You might run into me reading a book by the fireplace in August in one of those higher-floor galleries off the lobby.
Or you might find me out at Geyser Point, enjoying a hot drink on the coldest night Orlando has to offer. They put out space heaters when it gets chilly.
And if I’m in the mood for mushroom bisque, I’ll most definitely be at Territory Lounge. Can you blame me?
For those planning an upcoming stay, make sure to visit our entire list of Walt Disney World Resort Reviews. It links to every resort review we have available on the site and provides a brief summary of each one. In addition, you might enjoy some of these picks:
- Disney’s Polynesian Resort Review
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Review
- Disney’s Coronado Springs Review
- Pop Century Resort Review
- Art of Animation Resort Review
Additionally, you might like to browse an overview of Disney Moderate Resorts or Value Resorts for comparison. For more information about the Wilderness Lodge, all of our articles are listed in a resort guide:
I hope this Wilderness Lodge review provided you with the information necessary to make a decision about staying here. The resort is a tremendous place and offers so many amenities that you don’t want to miss out on during your visit.
Walt Disney World is a big place, and I find the more prepared you are in advance, the more likely you are to have a successful vacation.
Now that we’ve completed our review of the Wilderness Lodge, what do you think? Are you looking forward to staying here? If you have any questions, leave them below, and I’ll be happy to answer them based on my experiences.