Magical Keep within the Forest: A Evaluation of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

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While you pull as much as Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, you may really feel such as you’ve left Central Florida for a nationwide park crammed with tall timber and ample shade. To be extra exact, you’re feeling such as you’ve been transported to the historic Outdated Trustworthy Inn inside Yellowstone Nationwide Park.

Whereas the actual Outdated Trustworthy Inn is totally completely different expertise that’s completely price a go to, staying on the Disney model is a bit simpler, a bit extra upscale and much more attainable, with considerably extra rooms and year-round operations.

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Disney’s Wilderness Lodge opened in 1994 alongside Disney’s Bay Lake, a ship trip away from Disney’s Magic Kingdom and was certainly impressed by the nationwide park lodges of the American West. Walt Disney World offers households a pair dozen themed resorts to select from when planning a Disney World trip (to not point out the array of off-site choices). Some resorts have extra immersive themes than others, and Wilderness Lodge is undeniably one of the closely themed resorts, and we have been thrilled to attempt it for the primary time on a current spring break go to.

Earlier than we get into the small print, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is to not be confused with the fully separate Disney’s Fort Wilderness or different similar-sounding resorts which are truly situated on the bigger Wilderness Lodge grounds, together with Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and the Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. These two properties, on the identical grounds as Wilderness Lodge, are Disney Trip Membership properties which are distinct from the lodge itself however nonetheless strong choices for households trying to have an analogous total expertise.


Whereas at Animal Kingdom Lodge for a brief Christmas go to to Disney World final yr, we noticed a proposal in our room to e-book a future Disney stick with a 30% low cost. Between journeys to the parks, I known as up the quantity on the flyer and booked a spring-break keep at Wilderness Lodge for $373 per night time in a room with one queen mattress and bunk beds. Wilderness Lodge is traditionally one of many least costly of the deluxe Disney resorts.

You’ll be able to e-book Walt Disney World Resort motels utilizing some sorts of factors (such Citi ThankYou factors from the Citi Premier® Card through the Citi Journey Heart), however we paid money for this keep at Wilderness Lodge by reserving instantly with Disney to attain the 30% low cost.

Rack charges for entry-level rooms at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge often vary from about $300 to $500 per night time, however Disney gross sales and reductions can drop that worth to underneath $300 per night time sure instances of the yr.

To remain at one of many on-site Disney Trip Membership properties (Copper Creek or Boulder Ridge) you would lease Disney Trip Membership factors and doubtlessly pay much less. Not solely does this spare you from the $24-per-day parking price however, as outlined right here, you may fairly simply save 50% on the retail worth of the keep at Wilderness Lodge. There are trade-offs (equivalent to the shortage of every day housekeeping), however stays within the least busy season of the yr in studios at these properties begin at 15 factors per night time. Disney Trip Membership factors rented from David’s Trip Membership usually price $17 per level, leading to an all-in price of $255 per night time.

We used our Chase Sapphire Reserve to earn 3x factors for the keep, however reserving with discounted Disney present playing cards is one other path to saving cash.

You could possibly additionally use Uncover it Miles or Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard to e-book your Disney keep after which use the miles from these playing cards at a price of 1 cent per mile to cowl the cost.


Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is on Bay Lake, only a quick boat trip of Disney’s Magic Kingdom. We discovered the boat rides to take lower than 10 minutes from dock to dock. Typically, inside half-hour of strolling out of our room on the eighth ground at Wilderness Lodge, we have been strolling into the Magic Kingdom.

It helped that you just cleared safety on the dock of the Magic Kingdom slightly than within the common safety traces (so attempt to be one of many first off the boat if each minute counts).

For one early morning begin, we as an alternative utilized the on-property Minnie Vans, and that joyful door-to-door trip took 11 minutes and value $22, together with a $5 tip. Nonetheless, the look ahead to the Minnie Van was noticeably longer than on all earlier journeys to Disney World, so think about some buffer time earlier than assuming that it is quicker.


The grandness of the foyer at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge was rivaled solely by Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, which was designed by the exact same architect a number of years after Wilderness Lodge.

We entered Wilderness Lodge as a drained group of 4 vacationers round 1pm, and there was no line to verify in. We have been hoping for early check-in to leap straight into afternoon naps, regardless that regular check-in does not come till about 3pm. Nonetheless, fairly rapidly, there was a difficulty. The girl working the desk appeared shocked that there have been two adults and two kids in our group, because the room was apparently solely booked for one particular person on her finish. Usually, I would simply take the blame and say I in all probability sailed by means of the net reserving too rapidly and did not add everybody, however I booked this over the cellphone with Disney and extremely doubted that I simply informed them the room was for one particular person — particularly as a result of I particularly booked a room with bunk beds.

I am undecided why it was such an enormous drawback to easily add the extra folks at check-in (possibly we had been modified to a room with only one king?), but it surely was a difficulty. After 10 to fifteen minutes of typing and cellphone calls, the agent gave me a sly smile. Whereas I by no means understood the total difficulty with our reservation, she stated she had excellent news: We had now been upgraded to a club-level room with two queen beds. The bunk beds have been apparently not meant to be, however I did not press, as this was approach higher. Disney’s membership stage is an actual deal with that always provides about $200 an evening to the value in case you e-book it outright (although you must at all times inquire at check-in about improve costs, in case you are ).

Our room was in the end not prepared till the 3pm check-in time, however we have been instantly escorted to the Outdated Trustworthy Membership on the eighth ground to finish check-in and seize a spherical of snacks and drinks. As soon as our room was really prepared, it was accessible with our Magic Bands with out additional human contact required.

Outdated Trustworthy Membership lounge.


Nonetheless on a little bit of a pixie-dust excessive over our free improve (our first at Disney), we entered the room completely happy and impressed. Now, this can be a good time to elucidate that we’re used to grading on a Disney curve. A $374 room at Disney might be extremely themed and accompanied by strong service, however not essentially as luxurious as you may count on for the value nearly anyplace else.

Such was the case at Wilderness Lodge, the place the usual room was round 340 sq. toes with a balcony, two queen beds, elaborately carved-wood headboards, Native American accents and an total log-cabin really feel (cabin not included).

However we did not discover luxurious facilities or a lot of USB shops and the like. However I used to be completely able to working all of the old school gentle switches and the air-conditioning panel, which is not at all times true in some high-tech, fancier rooms.

The log-cabin fashion carried by means of to the desk, dresser and TV cupboard.

My one grievance in regards to the room was within the lavatory, with a considerably awkward self-importance.

The self-importance had good counter area and two sinks, however washing make-up off was a frightening activity, because the shelf above the sinks protruded to such a level that I used to be consistently fearful I might bang my brow as I washed my face within the sink. In any other case, the room greater than met our wants, and housekeeping got here twice per day — as soon as to wash the room and within the evenings for turndown service.

Meals and Beverage

For those who keep on Disney’s membership stage within the Outdated Trustworthy Membership at Wilderness Lodge (as we lucked into at check-in), you will have entry to snacks and drinks all through the day and night. The posted schedule is:

  • 6:30am: Espresso service
  • 7:00am to 10:30am: Continental breakfast
  • 11:00pm to 4:00pm: Snacks and drinks
  • 5:00pm to 7:00pm: Hors d’oeuvres (you would make a dinner out of this in case you needed)
  • 8:00pm to 10:00pm: Cordials & desserts

We discovered the breakfast to be completely adequate for a fast meal earlier than hitting the parks (although it does not begin early sufficient for some predawn Disney begins).

Throwing water bottles and juice packing containers from the membership in our backpack earlier than visiting the parks was an actual cash saver.

The noon snacks on membership stage weren’t definitely worth the effort of trekking again to the lodge only for a fast chunk, however they have been extra substantial than once we stayed on the membership stage of the Modern final yr.

For those who needed to make a dinner out of the night provides, you simply may, so long as you have been OK with consuming early and weren’t too choosy. Dinner (or hors d’oeuvres, as they’re known as) is technically out there till 7pm, however once we arrived to the lounge a couple of minutes earlier than 7pm, what was left did not look nice. There’s a posted menu every day, so you will get a way of whether or not the objects will give you the results you want.

The scene was seemingly a lot better earlier, however not preferrred simply earlier than closing time.

My favourite a part of club-level entry was the night desserts and drinks. Who does not need sweets and glowing wine to finish their Disney day?

I particularly like if you end up at a Disney membership lounge, equivalent to this one, and, because the day ends, the music to go together with the night fireworks is piped in. Right here, the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom have been viewable over the timber from the lounge’s two balconies.

Outdoors of the lounge have been a lot of different eating choices at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, starting from informal to character eating. On the informal finish of issues was the counter-service restaurant, Roaring Fork, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (they delivered objects to your desk after you ordered). On this menu have been objects equivalent to chili, burgers, pulled-pork sandwiches and french fries. A lunch for the 4 of us right here often rang in round $40 and was heartily loved.

An out of doors informal choice at Wilderness Lodge was Geyser Level Bar and Grill. When the climate was good, this regarded like an important spot for a night cocktail by the lake. To go together with the cocktails, equivalent to Huckleberry Punch, they served lunch and dinner objects together with a bison burger, grilled portobello salad and a kids’s finger-food sampler with a facet of lakeside views.

On the sit-down facet of issues, there was the Whispering Canyon Cafe in the principle portion of the lodge, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu included maple-chipotle barbecue, slow-smoked pork ribs, barbecue pulled pork and citrus-herb hen and the like. Most I’ve talked to have really helpful the all-you-can-eat platter with numerous barbecued meats and sides.

Whereas we’ve not dined there ourselves, I’ve heard that Whispering Canyon a fairly enjoyable and interactive dinner with sassy servers, gags, video games and extra. In different phrases, possibly do not come right here for a romantic dinner for 2, however deliver the household for a enjoyable (and rowdy?) meal.

For a quieter grownup second, we may’ve grabbed a drink within the Territory Lounge, which had a darkish and comfy environment.

On the expensive finish of the spectrum, the restaurant Artist Level was not too long ago remodeled into the house of Storybook Eating at Artist Level. Open just for dinner, it had a set menu whereas Snow White and a number of the dwarfs mingle and dance about. However they weren’t the spotlight.

The spotlight of Artist Level was undeniably assembly the Evil Queen, adopted intently by the meals. We had a depraved shrimp cocktail, slow-roasted veal shank, butter-poached snapper and a finale of a trio of shared desserts within the three-course line-up.

Critically, come hungry and also you completely need to meet the Evil Queen. Costs for the three-course meal have been $55 for adults and $33 for kids 3 to 9. It was an actual deal with to have entry to a relaxed however participating character meal in our personal lodge. You’ll be able to try the total evaluate of that eating expertise right here.


There are some rooms at Disney resorts that I like spending time in past simply sleeping hours (savannah-view rooms at Animal Kingdom come to thoughts), however for essentially the most half, you keep at a deluxe Disney resort for the situation and facilities, not the room. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge was fairly wealthy in facilities, although maybe not fairly to the diploma that I had hoped.

On the facilities facet of issues have been two swimming pools and one toddler splash play construction. The principle pool, the heated Copper Creek Springs Pool, was merely breathtaking, fed by a stream that flowed from the large waterfall behind the lodge. Really, it was a picturesque scene.

It was not essentially the most extravagant pool in Disney’s line-up, however there was a 67-foot waterslide and a few theming with the boulders across the pool’s edges. There was additionally a small scorching tub, but it surely was at all times filled with visitors on my visits to the pool space, so I wasn’t capable of snap a great picture.

There have been two extra toddler-friendly slides within the splash space adjoining to the principle pool.

At Wilderness Lodge was the Boulder Ridge Cove pool, with a zero-entry space close to the Boulder Ridge villas and the place visitors rented fishing boats. This pool was open later than the principle pool throughout our go to, however there have been no lifeguards current throughout our nighttime swim.

The web site lists bike leases as an amenity at Wilderness Lodge, however they weren’t out there throughout our keep, reportedly due to building on the pathways.

Frankly, there have been fewer facilities and actions on the entire at Wilderness Lodge than I anticipated. Many of the outdoorsy facilities like horseback driving, pony rides, archery, and so on. have been a ship trip away at Disney’s Fort Wilderness. In order for you all these actions at your fast disposal, take a look at Fort Wilderness as an alternative of Wilderness Lodge. Or simply plan on taking a ship trip in the other way from the Magic Kingdom.

Nonetheless, there have been boat leases and fishing charters that gave the impression to be out there on the dock at Wilderness Lodge, together with a number of outside video games.

For indoor actions, there was a Buttons and Bells Arcade.

Within the night, Wilderness Lodge was house to a campfire and complimentary outside film, simply as at most of the reasonable and deluxe Disney resorts.

Total Impressions

We really loved our two nights at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, as it’s near Magic Kingdom but nonetheless serves as a relaxed refuge after frenetic park days, with nice service and a nod to wilderness cabins (with out all of the disagreeable components of tenting). Whereas I might not hesitate to return to Wilderness Lodge, I feel we are going to attempt Disney’s Fort Wilderness on our subsequent camp-themed keep at Disney World, as a result of having a number of extra actions at our fingertips would make for some enjoyable days exterior the park.

Although they’re already robust within the eating division, it might be good to see Wilderness Lodge add a number of extra on-site actions or facilities (just like the every day line-up at Animal Kingdom Lodge) to take full benefit of its attractive location, theme and environment. Some sort of Disney junior-ranger program can be an ideal match for the in-lobby geyser!

In case you are making an attempt to determine which Disney World (or Disney Springs) lodge is best for you, listed below are extra TPG critiques that can assist you resolve:

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