Best Way to Plan Your Disney Trip Staying at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
When I provide guidance to friends regarding their Walt Disney World vacations, something I stress is the importance of location. To newbies, it’s difficult to understand just how vast the Disney campus is. The place that you choose to stay determines more of your travel itinerary than you may realize. Keeping that in mind, here’s some advice on how to plan your Disney trip when you’re staying at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
Disney lists Wilderness Lodge as a Magic Kingdom resort. What they mean by this description is that you’re closer to this theme park than any of the other three. As such, you should stay here when you plan to spend most of your time in the Magic Kingdom area. Since it’s the most popular theme park by far, you probably intend to do that anyway.
Water park fans should favor Blizzard Beach, which is several minutes closer than Typhoon Lagoon, the other official Disney water park. Having said that, unless you plan to spend a great deal of time at the water parks, an extra few minutes on a bus on one day isn’t a big deal. In that situation, simply pick the water park that you prefer. I happen to favor Typhoon Lagoon, although the theming is unquestionably better at Blizzard Beach.
The wonderful aspect of a Wilderness Lodge stay is that you’re relatively close to everything, as we’ll discuss in the next section. You should plan to spend a lot of time wandering the resort campus, though.
This place is achingly beautiful. It’s modeled after many national park lodges, especially those in the Pacific Northwest. From the lobby to the pools to the restaurants, you’ll discover plenty of entertainment on site. In particular, the campfire events and Disney’s Movies Under the Stars are magical at Wilderness Lodge.
Transportation and Logistics
Walt Disney World transportation is more mercurial than an ex who won’t take the hint that it’s over. Sometimes, you’ll have an easy time moving from place to place. On other occasions, you’ll curse the very name of Walt Disney.
Keeping this in mind, I’m going to discuss the average travel times from Disney’s Wilderness Lodge to the main points of interest on the Disney campus. Should any of these prove inaccurate, don’t blame me; blame Google. I’m using their data rather than my own anecdotal experiences.
According to our search engine overlords, the next-closest park to Wilderness Lodge is Epcot, which they suggest is only an eight-minute bus ride away from the hotel. That’s only a fractional difference from Magic Kingdom, which is a seven-minute bus ride.
The “longest” trips are to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney Springs, both of which Google indicates are 12-minute trips. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is surprisingly only 10 minutes away, which means that Wilderness Lodge has better logistics to this park than most resorts on campus.
I should also mention the other form of transportation here, which is the Friendship Boat system. You can take a boat to Disney’s Fort Wilderness, which is only one stop away from your hotel. It’s a gorgeous boat ride that brings a lot more amenities into play, too.
Alternately, you can take a boat to and from Magic Kingdom. In my experience, these journeys are less consistent from a timing perspective. But the view is exponentially better. Plus, at night, you can aim to be riding the boat when Happily Ever After’s fireworks go off. That’s a lovely way to end the evening.
Since you’re closest to Magic Kingdom and Epcot, you should think of those parks as home base. Wilderness Lodge is a sneaky-great option during Epcot’s festivals due to its reasonable bus times to and from the parks. Meanwhile, you’re just a scenic boat ride away from Magic Kingdom.
My family finds that the Friendship Boats elevate our enjoyment of a Disney day. Also, some of the ship captains lead Disney singalongs during the voyage back to the hotel. These unannounced bonus events are often the perfect touch to end a fantastic day at the parks.
Given that the two newest themed lands at Walt Disney World, Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, are both at Hollywood Studios, you should accept that you’ll spend more travel time here. On the plus side, the distance to Pandora – The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom isn’t bad.
Still, Star Wars fans may want to consider other resorts like Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, which are in the same neighborhood price-wise but have more immediate access to the Millennium Falcon. All resorts with Disney Skyliner stations are also good ideas.
I’m of the opinion that the amenities at Wilderness Lodge are great enough to justify the additional travel time. Let me explain why.
Things to Do at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
This hotel features two impeccable pools. Copper Creek Springs Pool has arguably the best backdrop of any Disney pool. You’ll look out over the lush forestry in the area while you swim. On the other hand, the Boulder Ridge Cove has ample covered seating, making it an ideal hangout spot during a sunny afternoon.
The restaurants at Wilderness Lodge are why you’ll really appreciate booking a stay here. Artist Point is a Signature Dining experience that recently introduced Storybook Dining with Snow White, which is currently the most popular character meal at Walt Disney World. The food at Artist Point was already legendary, and the character meeting adds that special oomph.
Oddly, Artist Point isn’t even my favorite restaurant at Wilderness Lodge. In fact, it’s not even second! My favorite is Whispering Canyon Café, the madcap meal where your servers are your best friends but also sometimes your mortal enemies. They love to prank you while you eat, and it’s almost always hysterical to watch unfold. Plus, the hearty cuisine here is outstanding.
The other place I love is the new lounge at Geyser Point. This Quick Service restaurant and bar sits right by Bay Lake and is weather-protected, too. It’s an outdoor restaurant that can lower hidden walls to turn it into an indoor facility during inclement weather. And the food is decadent by any standard; it’s especially great for a table service joint, though.
Finally, I want to spell out what the Fort Wilderness access means. You’ll want to visit Tri-Circle-D Ranch while you’re there. All of the horses that you’ll see during Magic Kingdom shows live here. The restaurant here, Trail’s End, is well worth your time. And the legendary Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue show takes place multiple times per night here.
With so much to do at Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness, you may want to add an extra day or two to your vacation to experience it all. Speak to an agent at MickeyTravels about the best ways to maximize your budget during your stay.