Beyond its four theme parks, Walt Disney World is known the world over for its array of immersive resort hotels. The 27 on-property hotels offer every kind of theme imaginable, from gigantic Disney characters to a re-creation of New Orleans to a tropical Polynesian getaway. However there’s one Disney resort that may take the crown as our favorite (at least for today, anyway!): Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
Built in 1994, the rustic resort is themed after the lodges in National Parks located in the western United States. Frankly, there’s a lot to love about the Wilderness Lodge, but we’ve narrowed down our five favorite things about this spectacular resort.
1. The Lobby
To put it simply, the hotel’s lobby is breathtaking. It’s eight stories tall, all built out of authentic Lodgepole pine imported from the forests of Oregon. Within the grand atrium, there are two 50-plus-foot-tall Native American totem poles, an 82-foot-tall fireplace that mimics the look of the Grand Canyon, and a “hot spring” that flows through the lobby and feeds into the massive geyser located outside the hotel.
The lobby becomes even more impressive during the holiday season, when a gigantic Christmas tree is installed right in the center of the atrium. Suffice to say, the hotel’s lobby is a sight to behold, and is worth a trip even if you’re not staying at the Wilderness Lodge.
2. The Rustic Theming
The hotel’s rustic, national parks-inspired theming goes beyond the lobby, of course. The grounds’ trees, rocks, geysers, and springs — particularly near the pool area — really do a great job of transporting guests out of central Florida… at least in their minds. The theming translates to the guest rooms as well, all of which have a homey charm that sets them apart from Disney World’s other resorts.
3. Artist Point
For many years, Artist Point was thought of as one of the hidden gems of Disney World dining. However, Wilderness Lodge’s signature restaurant has seen a major spike in popularity since the Storybook Dining with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was launched in December 2018.
The earthy ambiance of the restaurant, augmented by a great deal of plant life, including vines on the ceiling, combined with some rare characters (while Snow White can easily be found in the Magic Kingdom, neither the Dwarfs or the Evil Queen are commonly found anywhere else on property) make Artist Point one of the more unique character dining options in Disney World. Plus, the pre-fixe menu contains Wickedly Refreshing cocktails and meal options outside of typical Disney fare.
4. It’s Close to the Magic Kingdom… but Far from the Hustle and Bustle
Wilderness Lodge is located in the Magic Kingdom resort area. However, unlike the Contemporary, Polynesian Village, and Grand Floridian resorts, the Lodge isn’t located along the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon and doesn’t connect to the Monorail line. The property is located instead on the tranquil shores of Bay Lake, and guests can take a short boat ride to the theme park.
5. The Nightly Campfire
Each evening, a complimentary campfire is lit on the hotel’s grounds, complete and with s’mores and a crackling fire. Combined with the resort’s lush place-making and theming, the experience truly makes you feel like you’re relaxing on the grounds of a national park somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, and is the perfect capper to a Disney day.
Do you have any Wilderness Lodge memories you’d like to share or experiences you feel we left off the list? Let us know in the comments below.
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