Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort Review

Wilderness Lodge is calm, secluded, serene and a wonderful deluxe resort at Walt Disney World. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort is a single site comprised of a variety of types and sizes of hotel accommodations to create an upscale experience.  

The lodge is only a short boat ride away from the busy Magic Kingdom but feels far enough away to unwind and relax from the hustle and bustle just inside the woods. 

Copper Creek Falls is a beautiful water feature between the hotel lobby and main pool

Check out more reviews from our family when we’re able to take family trips.

Overview of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort

Visually the lodge is grand and has beautiful features, but it blends into the natural setting at the same time.  Reminiscent of a lodge at a national park like Yellowstone it’s easy to feel like you’re in a much larger woods. 

Just like everything Disney does the experience is unique and unlike any other Florida hotel.

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The lobby hosts the Whispering Canyon Cafe, fireplaces with rocking chairs and several other cozy seating areas for visiting and relaxing on a cold or rainy day. Just around the corner is Artist Point Restaurant which prior to closing in March 2020 featured Storybook character dining with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. As of August 2021 that restaurant still has not re-opened.

Wilderness lodge lobby and Whispering Canyon Cafe

A surprise is a bubbling geyser or water feature with a bridge by the large picture windows. The feature leads outside and creates a stream the feeds into the main pool. 

Bubbling water feature inside lodge lobby

Where the stream pours into the pool is my kids favorite place to play and jump into the pool.  

The gift shop is just behind the front desk and features unique items to the hotel and clientele as well as items I did not see in the parks.

Gift shop with logs and lodge theme

Our family chose to stay at Wilderness Lodge for a day and a half rest day. We justified the higher price in our minds as about the same price we would pay to take our family to a water park in a nearby city (over the cost of a value resort). We were also really hopeful that Storybook Dining at Artist Point would open up, but unfortunately it did not for our trip.

Notably absent are any innuendos to hunting and trapping.

If you love outdoorsy places like Sedona and family trips to national parks in Arizona, this is the lodge for you!

Reasons to Stay at Wilderness Lodge:

  • Planning a rest day(s) after exhausting days at the parks
  • Desire for easy access to the Magic Kingdom for a regular day at the park or a special event. 
  • Desire for a calming yet magical escape from a busy and stressful every day routine
  • Affordable comfort all the way up to the most luxurious villa or cabin which come at higher price points
  • A standard view room at Wilderness Lodge is the most affordable deluxe resort we found in Disney property. 
  • Better food in the food court and at the pool side bar and grill
  • When open the Storybook dining with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is amazing 
  • Easy access to other deluxe resorts and restaurants like the Polynesian & Grand Floridian
  • A variety of activities throughout the day like crafts, poolside games, tie dye (for an additional $18), roasting marshmallows and movies under the stars.
  • Many rooms have a great view of the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom
  • You know and love Disney and want to add a little something extra to your trip
  • Hands down the most relaxing 24 hours I’ve ever experienced on Disney property 

Map of Wilderness Lodge

The lodge feels large, but is easy to navigate and doesn’t take more than 5 to 10 minutes to get where you need to go.

2021 Map of Disney's Wilderness Lodge

Pools

The main pool is Copper Creek and features a water slide and stream entering the pool with a small force that is fun for kids to play in.  Unfortunately the water slide was broken during our stay.

The main pool with a waterslide and kid play area called Cooper Creek Springs Pool

Through another gated area next to Copper Creek pool is a splash pad and water playground with small slides, multiple buckets and other water features for kiddos under 48”.

Water park for kids with slides, fountains and more

We thought our 4 year old would love this area, but the water was surprisingly chilly in August and she never really wanted to play there. This area never got very busy during our stay.

Keep walking through the edge of the splash pad to get to two spas that remind us of hot tubs. 

The second pool that is open from 7a.m. to 11 p.m. but does not have lifeguards on duty is the Boulder Ridge Pool.

Boulder ridge pool at Wilderness lodge

After spending some time early one morning in this pool we realized it is a bit quieter and typically hosts a more mature audience than the other pool.

The pool does not have a ledge, but the water comes up to the top and the drain is several inches from the edge of the ledge. There is one spa at this pool.

I was especially impressed with the shaded poolside areas to relax or enjoy a meal. These would be fun to use with a group of family or friends.

Shaded lounging area poolside at wilderness lodge

Be Sure to See the Geyser

Between the pool and the lake is a Geyser that shoots off at the top of every hour. When you start to hear a loud rumbling noise look towards the geyser for a spectacle that is pretty unique!

Geyser going off at the top of every hour at Wilderness Lodge

How Much Does It Cost?

We paid $864 including taxes and fees to stay 2 nights, Sunday and Monday nights August 22 – 24, 2021 in a standard view room with two queen beds at The Wilderness Lodge. This was definitely a non-peak time and the cheapest room class in the resort was booked about 5 months in advance.

There was supposed to be a sale or special on deluxe resorts at the time but we were told all of the sale rooms were sold out.

Is Wilderness Lodge Worth the Money?

Yes, we believe the atmosphere and amenities take your vacation to a higher level of enjoyment at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. As one of the smaller resorts you feel less rushed, more relaxed and enjoy more of a personalized experience.

We saved for this trip for a year and a half to make sure we had two nights in the budget. A value resort like All-Stars or Pop Century or a moderate like Caribbean Beach are just fine when trying to keep the price down as much as possible.

Where is the Wilderness Lodge in Disney?

The Wilderness Lodge is less than a mile and about a ten minute boat ride from the Magic Kingdom. Keeping with the style and theme of the resort it is mostly hidden in a wooded area just beyond the park but many rooms have a fantastic view of the fireworks and some even have a distant view of the castle.

The lodge is on Bay Lake and lies just beyond the monorail line that circles the Seven Seas Lagoon and goes through the Contemporary resort right outside the gates of the Magic Kingdom.

When you see a boat at the Magic Kingdom with a red flag on the front it is headed for the Lodge.

Boats leaving Magic Kingdom with a red flag go to Wilderness Lodge

Standard View Room at Wilderness Lodge

We were not only pleased, but impressed with our very modern room and that has been recently renovated at Wilderness Lodge. The rooms have vinyl floors, glass shower doors that sparkle, a beautiful night light and seem to be very clean.

Standard view room at Disney Wilderness Lodge with two queen beds

The beds and pillows are impressively comfortable and this comment is coming from a pair of pillow snobs!

All price points of resorts we’ve stayed in offer double sinks and doors by the sink and restroom creating two separate private changing areas.  

There is a nice sized mini refrigerator in the Wilderness Lodge rooms that hold a half gallon of milk as well as several other drinks and food. Right above the fridge is a drawer with cups and pods for the Keurig coffee maker.

The bath tub and shower combination features two shower heads, one on a hose that makes cleaning up little kids so much easier. There is also a retractable clothes line that is perfect for drying out swimsuits.

A wonderful surprise of being in room 4050 was having a spectacular view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks show from our balcony.

view of fireworks from standard view room in Wilderness Lodge

A couple of us relaxed in the outdoor chairs and others stood to take in the beauty of the show. We visited with other guests that absolutely love drinking coffee or beer depending on the time of day on their balcony.

Geyser Point Bar and Grill Review

Just outside the pool is Geyser Point Bar and Grill.  It is an easy walk between either pool and offers the option to dine in or place a mobile to-go order on your app and enjoy poolside or at several other tables in the area.  

The food at Geyser Point Bar and Grill is excellent and has something special when compared to typical food court meals at Disney.

We enjoyed the Bison Burger which had a special jam, lots of thick bacon and several other flavors to enhance the meal. The house made chips are wonderful and left us craving more. There are also plenty of fun adult drinks available.

My husband and I split this meal on a pool day when we had reservations for the generous skillets at Whispering Canyon Cafe later in the evening.

Our daughter enjoyed the kids meal with chicken fingers that were juicy and had a better than average breading.

Chicken fingers kids meal from Wilderness Lodge

Whispering Canyon Cafe Review

An all you can eat family style meal features a variety of smoked meats, vegetables, smashed potatoes and cornbread with honey butter.

The meal is fine and will definitely fill you up, but we didn’t find anything special about the meat (other than the pig wing which is unique). We felt like a bag of microwave vegetables with butter added is comparable to the sides in the skillet.

A silver lining to the meal was that we could only eat about half of what was served to us and if you bring along a couple baggies or can snag a secret box the leftovers are great. We enjoyed the meat better cold for lunch the following day than we did when it was served warm the first time.

Whispering Canyon Cafe was not worth the money to our family for average BBQ and vegetables. At $34 per adult and $16 per kid under 9 with drinks, salad and dessert at an extra charge we will not be in a hurry to visit this restaurant again.

I got the Pig Skillet and the rest of my family got the Traditional Skillet. As long as everyone gets an all you can eat skillet you can mix and match the pieces that you eat as substitutions are not permitted. The skillet was fine, but I ate another piece of cornbread for dessert.

Basket of cornbread with honey butter

Our waitress dropped a pile of straws in the middle of the table and said ‘Time to play pick up sticks.” But that was about as roaring of a good time as the shenanigans got at our table.

Roaring Fork Food Court Review

The Roaring Fork cafeteria is perfect for a la carte items or a quick and easy meal. We love getting the Mickey waffles here while staying at Wilderness Lodge.

Grabbing a few Mickey shaped snacks and themed desserts make vacation a little more special.

We enjoyed testing the popular Chicken and Waffles which is an all-day breakfast item at Roaring Fork.

We also got the Ranger Hash with brisket, but didn’t find or taste much brisket in the potatoes. The scrambled eggs were perfectly prepared and seasoned!

How to Get Just Mickey Waffles

Order three Mickey waffles a la carte at any of the cafeterias for a better value when feeding the kids breakfast on a Disney vacation.

A la carte order of 3 Mickey Waffles

Recreation at Wilderness Lodge

The recreation department provides craft times, pool games, tie dye, marshmallow roasting, a movie under the stars and more at each resort.

The most challenging thing is finding where the activities are and where they will be in case of a weather change. Ask for a schedule at the front desk or go to Reunion Point and snap a picture of the schedule on the door.

List of monthly activities at Disney resort

Unfortunately by the time we figured out where activities are we missed most of them. However my kids did enjoy the pool games and as parents we had fun watching the kids enjoy the afternoon.

What makes this a Deluxe Resort:

  • Rain shower head with a second hand held shower head making bathing small children easier
  • A night light feature that doubles as artwork
  • A single cup Keurig coffee maker that is clean enough to want to use
  • A decent sized refrigerator that hold several bottles of water, a half gallon of milk and more
  • A balcony
  • A luggage rack
  • A night stand in the middle of double beds with a small shelf on the outer edge of the beds so each person has a place for personal items
  • An electric water parade at night on the lake
  • Pillows are amazing and offer great support and comfort. We all slept great every night. 
  • Temperature control is spot on and easily adjusted inside your room which is not always the case in older rooms or value resorts
  • Covered walkways from the bus stops  to hotel and you can walk to your room without getting wet
  • More personalized service, when my magic band broke the front desk helped replace it
  • Better quality food available in the quick serve, sit down and reservation only restaurant when compared to cheaper resorts
  • Specialized items in the gift shop for the theme and audience
  • A salon, boat and bike rentals and more that were not open during our stay, but hopefully will open again in the future 
  • Specialized coffee, drinks, meals and desserts like the Campfire Cupcakes, Roaring Smores, etc.

Cons:

  • Higher cost –  I always ask myself if I would rather have more trips at a cheaper resort or fewer trips with more upscale amenities. 
  • Tricky to figure out what the resort recreation activities are – as of August 2021 I think they are still trying to figure out how to re-start and re-open some of the traditional perks
  • The water slide in the pool and Storybook Dining at Artist Point were closed and we were hopeful to enjoy both of these amenities on our stay.

More Info on Disney:

Another resort with a calm, serene more natural feel is Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside.

For a quintessential Disney animation experience we love the Art of Animation Resort and its cheaper value resort price point.

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Our all-time favorite day at Disney is on Castaway Cay, Disney’s Private Island. We absolutely love going on Disney cruises and share tips and tricks here.

3 Comments

  1. That looks like a blast! We need to get a vacation in the books. We are torn between Disney and Alaska.

  2. Thank you so much for this info! At Roaring Fork, I don’t see Mickey Waffles a la crate on the menu. How were you able to order them? (This is perfect for my kiddos.)
    Do you have to mobile order or can you go to the counter?
    Thank you!!

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey There! Thanks for sharing the article is helpful! It wasn’t very busy when we were there, so if I couldn’t find something on mobile ordering I just went to the counter to ask for options and try to save some money 🙂 Hope you have a great trip!

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