6 Reasons to Stay at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Do you love nature? Would you prefer to spend the weekend hiking and camping rather than stuck in traffic in a metropolitan area? Fans of the outdoors and rustic settings won’t have any difficulty picking the best Walt Disney World resort. One towers above the rest…almost literally. Here are six reasons to stay at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
You won’t need long to understand and appreciate the theming at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. The moment you enter the hotel lobby, you’ll feel swept away by the awe-inspiring setting. The hotel’s interior celebrates the hotel lodges of yore, the places where guests visited during an outdoor excursion in the great unknown. These lodges were wildly popular in the mountain areas, one rife with vacation cabins.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge takes both its name and its theme from such locations. During the Disney Decade, then-CEO Michael Eisner personally recruited an architect named Peter Dominick Jr. who had built a career around his love of the great outdoors. His vision for the lobby of Wilderness Lodge remains to this day. It’s a celebration of family visits to national parks, ones that Dominick Jr. remembered from his childhood.
When you enter the hotel, you’ll see a giant fireplace that is 82 feet tall. You’ll also notice wood almost everywhere. It forms the backbone of the floors, the railings, and the load-bearing poles sprinkled throughout the lobby. The Wilderness Lodge is so influential that Disney has imitated it with their edifices at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. It’s the most rustic place at Walt Disney World, and memories of it will linger years after you stay there.
The New Pool Area
A couple of years ago, Disney revamped the Hidden Springs Pool area at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Basically, they tore everything down around the pool and started all over again. The current pool tells the backstory of Boulder Ridge, a sub-section recently introduced at the hotel. I will discuss these villas a bit in a moment, but the pool provides the view for them.
The theme of Hidden Springs Pool is that you’re visiting an abandoned quarry. The landmarks include a water tower and an abandoned mine cart. It’s frankly a bit surreal, but the precise nature of the theming will impress you. You won’t feel like you’re at Walt Disney World while you swim. Instead, you’ll feel like you’ve taken a step back in time, and the thought will soothe you during a hectic vacation day.
This resort features three of the best restaurants at any Walt Disney World resort. Each one is a different tier of the Disney Dining Plan, too. The Quick Service restaurant is the new Geyser Point Bar & Grill, which isn’t simply a good place to eat. It’s also a wonderful hangout, an outdoor sports bar located just by the water.
The Table Service eatery is Whispering Canyon Café, arguably the most entertaining meal in Orlando. Located just off the lobby of the hotel, it’s easy to find and hysterical to visit. When you want something upscale, you’ll eat at Artist Point, a Signature Restaurant that TripAdvisor voters loooove. It has the rare 4 ½ star rating, meaning it’s one of the best overall dining options in the city. The food options here are so good that Roaring Fork, formerly in the conversation for best restaurant onsite, is now clearly fourth. And there are two other selections in the area that we won’t even discuss for another two sections!
Wilderness Lodge is a Magic Kingdom resort. A lot of people don’t know this, because it doesn’t receive as much attention as the monorail resorts. Its logistics are almost as good, though. In fact, some people prefer them. At this hotel, you can take a boat directly to Magic Kingdom!
The Magic Kingdom boat system has four main routes. Three of them feature a stop at Wilderness Lodge. The Red Flag Launch is the direct path. It’s a one-way trip from the hotel to the theme park. The journey takes less than 10 minutes, making it an efficient way to travel back and forth from the Magic Kingdom.
The Blue Flag Launch is perfect who those who savor trips around Bay Lake. It stops at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground in addition to Wilderness Lodge. It’s a bit slower, but you’ll want to use it for a reason we’ll discuss in a moment. You can skip the Contemporary part of the voyage if you prefer. The Green Flag Launch heads straight from Magic Kingdom to Fort Wilderness. You will have to take the Red Flag Launch to get to your resort from there to Wilderness Lodge, but it’s smart to do because another strong selling point of the hotel is…
The Fort Wilderness Area
Did you know that you can ride horses at Walt Disney World? I’m not making this up. Trial Circle D Ranch is a full service stable that’s officially run by Disney! You can take a carriage ride, pet a pony, or ride a horse through the area. And that’s just a small part of the entertainment options available at Fort Wilderness.
Two of Disney’s three “dinner-and-a-show” options are hosted here. Mickey’s Backyard BBQ and Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue are thoroughly entertaining events, and the food is phenomenal at both places, too! At Fort Wilderness, you’ll find several terrific backdrops for unforgettable vacation photos, too. This section is technically standalone rather than an official part of Wilderness Lodge, but most guests inexorably link the two.
When you stay at the lodge, you simply MUST spend some time at Fort Wilderness. You’ll feel like you’ve doubled your vacation options. It’s a dude ranch at Walt Disney World! Best of all, it’s only a ride on the Blue Flag Launch away! In only a few minutes, you’ll arrive at Fort Wilderness.
Don’t you deserve the best possible Disney vacation? Of course you do! And Disney’s Wilderness Lodge has one room type that should be on your bucket list. Remember a few years ago when Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort added the bungalows? You’ll discover something similar at Wilderness Lodge.
Called the Cascade Cabins, these immaculate suites sit by the water at the hotel. It’s a two-bedroom suite that marries the seemingly opposed concepts of modern luxury and rustic living. From the outside, these cabins look like mountain vacation homes…and that’s basically what they are.
Each Cascade Cabin is 1,700 square feet in size, which is larger than a corresponding bungalow. Part of the difference is the screened porch area that technically counts in the square footage since it’s finished. The bedrooms and especially the bathroom and living areas are also larger. The indoor cabins even feature hot tubs, ones with roofs, making them superior to the ones at the bungalows.
The Cascade Cabins are currently the most luxurious accommodations at Walt Disney World, although that’s always been kind of a moving target. Until last year, the bungalows clearly held the title. Next year, something else even better may come along. For the moment, however, a night at one of these cabins should be at the top of your list dream hotel rooms. It’s the cherry on top of the wonderful hotel options at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
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