BIG Changes for Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness
In less than seven days’ time, Disney has divulged two huge changes coming to the Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness Resorts. New dining experiences, a new Resort, and the closure of a Walt Disney World entertainment staple are among the announced changes, and it’s almost too much for us to wrap our heads around! Almost.
Since the addition of the Copper Creek Vacation Club Villas and the complete overhaul of Fort Wilderness Resort was completed, the assumption was that Disney would make moves to focus building up other Resorts, the Coronado Springs construction being the best example.
I should know by now that assumptions are never to be banked on, and that when it comes to Disney more often than not the assumptions are very, very off. But in the case of Wilderness Lodge and the adjacent campsites, rumor has it!
New Character Dining
Between the massively expansive Bay Lake and the newly remodeled Wilderness Lodge pool, Geyser Point Bar and Grill opened its doors to hungry and thirsty wilderness exploders just in time for the debuts of the Copper Creek Villas.
I like to speculate just as much as the next Disney fan, and my thoughts were that once the Copper Creek Villas opened, focus would be placed on other dining locations and other accommodations at other Resorts. Oh, how wrong I was.
In prep for the 50th anniversary celebration in 2021, Walt Disney World is adamantly focused on getting the Property-wide road construction finished to accommodate the traffic, and new Resorts built to accommodate the guests. And with the announcement of the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs dining experience coming to Artist’s Point, there are plenty of new experiences to get excited about!
An all-new Storybook dining experience is headed to Wilderness Lodge! As confirmed by Disney Parks Blog, the new experience is set to feature the most amount of characters at a table service experience in history!
Not only will the heroes from the film be meeting and greeting you as you dine on options from a yet-to-be-revealed pre fixe menu, but it’s the promise of a dark and sinister encounter with (the very rare to see) the Evil Queen herself that has me counting down the days until I can book my reservation!
Bye Bye BBQ?
As I type this, I’m sitting with a big-lip pout on my face- the type of pout that’s usually reserved for toddlers who are seconds away from launching into a crying fit. I’m a bit older than toddler age, but my crying fit might be just as severe, because we are in the final act of Mickey’s Backyard BBQ.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, so I’m trying to see it as ‘conveyor of information’, but I’m not happy to be the one who has to break the news: both the old River Country water park site and Mickey’s Backyard BBQ were identified as future construction zones for permits filed by Disney for what looks to be even more hotel accommodations coming to the Resort.
Disney’s only official word on the whole shebang is that Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue and the attached Trails End Restaurant and Crockett’s Tavern will all remain fully operational. Hey, at least we can still get that delicious cornbread from Trails End, right?
Although Disney promised a new experience to replace the Backyard BBQ, I felt as though the BBQ was one of the most underappreciated and most overlooked character dining experiences on Property. If you haven’t had the chance to whip out your best line dance moves with Mickey and Minnie, you’ve got until December to join in on the fun before construction begins!
Seeking Answers from the Past
No one on the web knows exactly what type of Resort is planned for the area, but a look back in time might provide more answers than appear at first glance. As it turns out, Disney actually filed building permits for the exact same area many, many years ago…and the approval permits weren’t the only thing that were released by Orange County. In fact, Disney had released some of their building plans all those years ago, and what they had in mind is more than a new Resort, but an entirely new town!
Picture living in Frontierland. Growing up, my childhood fantasies of playing cowgirl in my backyard were played out when I visited Magic Kingdom in the small shops and saloon-style eateries in one of the best-themed lands of the Park. As an adult, it looks like I’ll get the chance to really live in a town just like Frontierland…that is, if Disney follows through on those originally filed plans.
The original permits detailed not a new Bay Lake-esque high rise Vacation Club tower, but a town that appears to have been frozen in time! I think a western town-style Resort would perfectly suit the Campsites at Fort Wilderness, and would make for an exciting and perfectly located new spot to set up camp for the Resort’s 50th anniversary in 2021.
What do you think? Would you and your family like to stay at a Resort like this? Will you miss the Backyard BBQ, or are you happy to see it go? Let us know by leaving a comment below!
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Special thanks to Maria Salerno for writing this article: Hiya pal! I am a NYC-based writer thrilled to be a part of your Disney vacation planning! I’m a WDW Annual Passholder, so you can find me in the parks regularly throughout the year. In addition to being a Disney Parks loving girl, I’m also a Disney toy and merchandise collector, a runDisney enthusiast, and Disney music and movie aficionado. You can follow me on Instagram: NYCtoAP and find me on YouTube: NYCtoAP. Thanks for reading, hope to see ya real soon!