Wilderness Lodge Resort and Villas

Wilderness Lodge Logo

I think the Wilderness Lodge is spectacular! Modeled after the Old Faithful Inn (circa 1904) in Yellowstone National Park, this resort is themed to evoke the atmosphere of the Pacific Northwest. And it succeeds. I’ve visited this resort dozens of times and I’m still awed by its magnificence.

Your adventure begins when you turn onto Timberline Drive and see the stately arch spanning the roadway. And after a short drive through the backwoods the lodge comes into view. Rough hewn timbers and a green slate roof allow this structure to blend in naturally with the surrounding forest. It’s hard to believe you’re in Florida and not Wyoming or Washington when visiting here.

Wilderness Lodge Archway

Wilderness Lodge Exterior Shot

Valet parking is available as is self-parking. Bellmen are on hand to help you with your luggage and direct you to the check-in desk. But before you venture inside, be sure to check out the topiary buffaloes just outside of the porte-cochère. A sharp eye will also notice their footprints embedded in the nearby walkway.

Buffalo Topiary

Once you enter the lobby, your jaw will drop. This seven-story cavernous area is impressive. Giant totem poles, tepee chandeliers, wood carvings, Native American artifacts, and log-construction combine to create a breathtaking room. You’ll find the check-in desk to the right as you enter. Check-in time for the Lodge is 3pm and 4pm for the Villas. However, if a room is available earlier, you will be given access at that time. If your room is not ready early, Bell Services will be happy to store your luggage. Check-out time is 11am.

Check-in Desk

Now let’s take a look at some of the unique features that make up this impressive lobby, starting with the four massive chandeliers that hang from the rafters. Resembling tepees, these fixtures use hand painted rawhide stretched over a structural framework. Inside each tepee are 48 bulbs which provide 2,880 watts of light. Each fixture is 12 feet, 6 inches high and 9 feet, 4 inches in diameter and weighs 600 pounds. The tepees are surrounded by a bronze and steel ring that features riders on horseback and buffaloes.

Tepee Light Fixtures

One can’t help but notice the large amount of natural wood used in the construction of the lobby. A total of 85 loads of “Lodgepole Pine” logs were delivered from Oregon and Montana for this structure. The Lodgepole Pine is a tall, slender tree that is highly adaptable and can grow in all sorts of environments. It’s one of the first trees to invade after a wildfire as its cones are protected by a seal of pitch that require fire or heat to release the seeds.

Lodgepole Construction

Supporting the roof area are four log-bundle columns. Native American legend says that these bundles “hold up the heavens” as well as the roof. If you take a closer look, you’ll notice that each log is topped with a unique animal carving.

Log-Bundle Supports

Animal Carvings

There are three hand-carved totem poles in the lobby. The two large poles (Raven and Eagle) are each 55 feet tall and depict various Native American legends. A 10 foot totem can be found in front of the Mercantile shop and features Humphrey Bear, Donald Duck, Goofy and Mickey Mouse. Crafted by local artist William Roberson, this totem required months of work to accurately recreate these famous characters.

Lobby Totem Poles

Mercantile Totem Pole

The multi-colored fireplace represents two billion years of erosion and the strata of the Grand Canyon. More than 100 shades including black, green, magenta, buff, red, and brown were used for this depiction and the layers are proportionate to the strata found in the Grand Canyon. At 82 feet tall, this stone structure is as high as Chickapin Hill at Splash Mountain. A fire is usually crackling away and rocking chairs invite weary travelers to sit and relax.

Grand Canyon Fireplace

Grand Canyon Fireplace

A number of Native American artifacts have been recreated and are displayed throughout the lobby. The tribes of the Cheyenne, Crow, Sioux, and Blackfoot are all represented.

Native American Artifact

On the second floor of the lobby are a number of seating areas. As most guests are unaware of these pleasant getaways, these spots make the perfect locales to curl up with a good book or write a postcard to your envious friends back home.

Second Floor Seating

Second Floor Seating

Second Floor Seating

Second Floor Seating

The Wilderness Lodge is full of Hidden Mickeys. But I’m not going to tell you where they are. You’ll either have to find them yourself, ask a cast member, or buy Steve Barrett’s book.

The Whispering Canyon Café is a great spot for families. Located adjacent to the lobby, this full service restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and offers down-home cookin’ and lots of laughs. To see their current menu click here.

As with the rest of the resort, a strong western theme is in play here. The works of noted “cowboy” painters Charles Russell and Bill Gollings are on display and a large picture window looks out onto a pine forest.

A number of activities are always taking place at Whispering Canyon like “horse races” and “napkin twirling.” And the servers get into the act with antics of their own. If you’re looking for a quiet, relaxing meal, skip this establishment.

You can order a traditional “plated” meal or family-style where platters of food are placed on a lazy-Susan with all-you-can-eat portions. And not everyone must eat family-style. One diner may opt for a traditional meal while everyone else gorges themselves.

Oh, and one more thing, no matter what meal you’re enjoying, be sure to ask for the catsup. If you want to know why, you’ll just have to eat here and ask.

Whispering Canyon Café

Whispering Canyon Café

Whispering Canyon Café

For a quieter, more upscale meal, check out Artist Point. Considered one of Disney’s signature restaurants, this eatery is inspired by the dining rooms found in the National Park lodges across the Pacific Northwest. High ceilings, large windows, wrought iron light fixtures, and an abundance of wood create a rustic yet elegant environment in which to enjoy a romantic meal. Open for dinner only, the food and wine draw inspiration Washington and Oregon. The menu changes seasonally but the house specialty, cedar plank roasted salmon, is always available. Click here to view the current menu. Dinner is served from 5:30 to 10.

The large murals found high above the tables were recreated from the works of famed American wildlife artist Carl Rungius. Rungius was an avid sportsman and earned a reputation as the most important big game painter and the first career wildlife artist in North America.

Artist Point Restaurant

Artist Point Restaurant

Artist Point Restaurant

Artist Point Restaurant

Adjacent to Artist Point is Territory Lounge. This watering hole draws its inspiration from Teddy Roosevelt who signed legislation creating our first national parks. More recreations of the works of Carl Rungius can be found here. Territory Lounge is very dark and very cozy. If you’re looking for a romantic rendezvous, this is the spot. I have lightened the following pictures significantly to allow you to see the décor. Territory Lounge is open from 4:30pm to midnight.

Territory Lounge

Territory Lounge

In the mood for a quick bite? Then head down to the lower level of the resort and check out Roaring Fork. This counter service restaurant serves cereal and pastries from 6am to 10:30am and full breakfasts from 7am to 11am. Sandwiches, salads, burgers, pizza and more are available from 11am to 10pm. I’ve eaten here a number of times and have always been pleased with my selections.

Walkway to Roaring Fork

Roaring Fork

Roaring Fork

Seating for Roaring Fork is in an adjacent room, but to be honest, I think this area lacks the charm typical of most Disney establishments. I feel like I’m eating in a dark closet. A better choice is to secure one of the tables just outside and eat al fresco.

Roaring Fork Dining Room

Outdoor Seating for Roaring Fork

Wilderness Lodge Mercantile offers the typical array of Disney souvenirs plus some exclusive merchandise created specifically for this resort. Be sure to check out the Lincoln Logs set that contains everything you need to build a miniature Wilderness Lodge. At the back of the store are refrigerators and food items intended for those staying in the Villa rooms with kitchens.

Wilderness Lodge Mercantile

Wilderness Lodge Mercantile

Wilderness Lodge Mercantile

Near the Mercantile is a lovely bridge and bubbling hot spring. A close observer will notice that this newborn brook travels under the nearby window and outside into a beautiful meadow to become “Silver Creek.” As the creek travels further it grows in size and eventually cascades 15 feet over “Overlook Point.” If you continue to follow Silver Creek downstream you discover it eventually empties into the swimming pool.

Hot Spring

Silver Creek

Silver Creek Waterfall

Silver Creek Springs Pool looks like it was carved into the rocks by years of erosion. Complete with a slide, this pool offers a wonderful escape from the hectic parks. Plenty of lounge chairs are on hand for relaxing and sunning. Towels are available at the pool so there is no need to bring them from your room.

Silver Creek Springs Pool

Near the pool is Trout Pass Bar. This spot offers panoramic views of the pool, lodge, beach and Bay Lake. A number of tables and chairs can be found on the backside of this watering hole. Trout Pass Bar opens daily at 11am. Closing time changes with the season.

Trout Pass Bar

Trout Pass Bar Seating

Beyond Trout Pass Bar is a wonderful white sand beach. A number of activities can be found in this area. First, more lounge chairs are available, some with great views of Bay Lake. This is also the perfect spot to watch the Electrical Water Pageant presented each evening at 9:35pm. At Teton Boat & Bike Rental you can rent a mini power boat or pontoon boat for a zippy or leisurely tour of Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon. Bikes and surreys can also be rented here and a nearby pathway connects Wilderness Lodge with Fort Wilderness and an abundance of scenic trails. A play area for the little ones is also offered.

White Sand Beach

Teton Boat & Bike Rental


Children's Play Area

Situated between the pool and Bay Lake is Fire Rock Geyser. This recreation of “Old Faithful” erupts on the hour from 7am to 10pm and shoots a plume of water 120 feet into the air. The geyser is computer controlled and erupts with realism. It even has on-line input adjustment for wind drift.

Fire Rock Geyser

A wonderful way to travel to the Magic Kingdom from Wilderness Lodge is by boat. To me, this is an often overlooked but extremely magical way to spend time at Walt Disney World. Launches depart ½ hour before the Magic Kingdom opens until 1 ½ hours after the park closes. So even on days when Extra Magic Hours are offered, you can get to the Magic Kingdom in plenty of time. Boat service is also offered to the Contemporary and Fort Wilderness from 6:45am to 11:30pm.

Boat Dock

Magic Kingdom Boat

Contemporary/Fort Wilderness Boat

Bus service is also available to the theme parks (including the Magic Kingdom), water parks, and Downtown Disney. Once again, they are timed appropriately to get you to and from the parks, even when Extra Magic Hours are offered. To reach the pick-up and drop-off area, walk past the Mercantile shop and down the long covered walkway. Signs clearly mark the way.

Walkway to Bus Stop

Bus Stop

Bus Stop

On the way to the bus stop you’ll pass by Buttons and Bells Game Arcade. Here you’ll find state-of-the-art video games to challenge the novice and expert.

Buttons and Bells Game Arcade

Buttons and Bells Game Arcade

If you’d like to know more about the Wilderness Lodge, sign up for the “Wonders of the Lodge” tour offered on various days beginning at 9:30am. A “ranger” will escort you and your group around the resort and share interesting facts about the lodge’s distinctive construction, theming, and artwork. Check with the Front Desk for the schedule of tour days and availability.

In November 15, 2000, the Disney Vacation Club expanded and opened the Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. This expansion contains 181 units and is situated in a five-story building adjacent to the original lodge. As with everything that Disney does, this new structure also has a storyline. In this case, the Villas “pre-date” the Lodge with a design that is reminiscent of the 1860’s hotels built by the early railroad workers in the old West national park region.

DVC Villas at Wilderness Lodge

DVC Villas at Wilderness Lodge

The railroad theme is obvious in the Game Room. Besides finding tables specifically designed for afternoon diversions, memorabilia and photographs of Walt’s beloved Carolwood Pacific Railroad are on display.

Game Room

Carolwood Pacific Railroad Sign

Lilly Belle Railroad

Picture of Walt on a Handcar

The Villas’ lobby offers a number of cozy seating areas including a fireplace to curl up in front of. Beneath a covered porch are a number of rocking chairs that are just begging to be used.

Villa Lobby and Fireplace

Villa Porch and Rocking Chairs

The Villas feature studio, one, and two bedroom units and are not restricted to DVC members. If there is availability, anyone can rent one of these rooms. I recently stayed in a studio and what follows are pictures of my room.

When you enter the unit, the first feature you encounter is the kitchenette. Here you’ll find a small sink, under-the-counter refrigerator, microwave oven, toaster, coffee maker, dishes and utensils. Obviously you can’t cook a full meal here, but quick breakfasts and snacks are a cinch. One and two bedroom units offer full kitchens with a complete set of pots, pans, and other cooking necessities.


Opposite the kitchenette is the vanity which includes one sink, a hair dryer, large mirror and a number of towels. On one side of the vanity is a large closet. Inside are a small wall safe, vacuum cleaner, highchair, and crib. This is also where you’ll find the cable to connect your computer to the high speed internet. The outlet is near the table in the main room. On the other side of the vanity is the toilet and shower room.

Bathroom Vanity

A studio unit sleeps four. Two on the queen sized bed and two on the sleeper sofa. The sleeper sofa is incredibly easy to unfold and is comfortable. Extra blankets and pillows can be found in the closet.

Bed and Sleeper Sofa Closed

Bed and Sleeper Sofa Open

Opposite the bed and sofa are a table and chairs and chest-of-drawers. A flat-screen TV and DVD player can be found in the upper section of the chest.

Table & Chairs and Chest of Drawers

The units also have a small balcony that’s just large enough to accommodate a table and two chairs. This was the view from my room.


View from the Room

Room sizes:


Standard room: 340 square feet
Junior suite: 500 square feet


Studio: 356 square feet
One bedroom: 727 square feet
Two bedroom: 1,080 square feet

For more information about the Wilderness Lodge, click here.
For more information about the Villas at the Wilderness Lodge, click here.

The Wilderness Lodge is a deluxe property and is one of the more expensive resorts at Walt Disney World. But if you can afford it, this hotel will not disappoint. You truly feel like you’re in the Pacific Northwest, not Florida (except for the humidity). As I said at the beginning of this article, I have visited here many times yet I’m still amazed each time I return. It’s always just a beautiful as I remember. And if you can’t afford to stay here, I would highly suggest making reservations at Whispering Canyon or Artists Point restaurants. This will allow you to soak up some of the atmosphere while having a great meal.

I have created an eight minute video highlighting the resort and a Studio room. Enjoy.

This is a video of the Studio at the Villas at the Wilderness Lodge

Related Links:

Wilderness Lodge Fact Sheet
Photo Gallery
Reader Reviews
Concierge Club Reader Reviews

Villas at the Wilderness Lodge Fact Sheet
Photo Gallery
Reader Reviews

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47 Replies to “Wilderness Lodge Resort and Villas”

  1. Have you given any thought at all with translating your web page into Chinese? I understand a small quantity of translaters here that will would help you do it for totally free in the event you wish to make contact with me personally.

  2. Hi Jack!

    Love your blogs and overviews of all the resorts. I have an ADR for Whispering Canyon Cafe at the WL. I use a wheelchair to get around. Is the restaurant accessible?? All of the pictures I’ve seen only show the view of the restaurant from the lobby of the resort and the steps leading into it. Where is the ramp, if one is available? Thanks for the great blogs

    Jack’s Answer:

    Disney has got you covered. The ramp is located just to the left of the stairs. It’s really not noticeable in the pictures, but it’s there.

    Whispering Canyon Café is a great place. Be sure to ask your server for some catsup.

  3. Hi Jack,

    The Lodges, Wilderness and Animal Kingdom, are my favorite Disney resorts.
    I will never forget the first time I walked into the Wilderness Lodge lobby, it was around 11pm and no one was in sight and the soundtrack from Dances with Wolves was playing, my jaw dropped, literally.
    It was one of those Disney-does-it-again-kind-of-moments that I will always remember.
    One of my favorites things to do is park at the Lodge and walk the trail to the Campground, it’s so relaxing.

    Thanks for another great blog.


  4. Jack! Amazing post as usual. You need a book deal.

    I have a question about WL. I’ve stayed there 3 or 4 times and have spent a whole lot of time hanging out in the lobby (really the only resort I make time to do that) and exploring the grounds. On the second floor, directly above the entrance is a landing with automatic doors that open to a very wide balcony that looks primed to be a monorail platform. I could never get a clear answer when I asked cast members about it. Do you have the inside scoop? My only guess is maybe they built it to fit just in case they expanded the line but now they don’t plan on it?


    Jack’s Answer:

    I have ALWAYS believed that this platform was designed to be a monorail station. The cost of designing this into the initial structure would be minimal compared to adding it in later. So why not spend a few extra bucks just in case you someday decide to extend the monorail to this deluxe resort.

    But like you, I have never been able to verify this — which is why I did not mention it in my blog. Also, I wouldn’t hold my breath for this to happen. The expense of expanding the monorail makes this prohibitive.

  5. While our DVC home location is the Boardwalk we so love the time we spend at the Wilderness Lodge. We love to take the boat to and from the MK and the Roaring Fork is our favorite counter service location on property. If we did not have so many DVC points at the Boardwalk we would surely be purchasing at the Wilderness Lodge Villas. We are taking my 80> year old parents to Disney for Thanksgiving and have dinning reservations at Whispering Can. just so my Dad can see the Wilderness Lodge!!

  6. Hello Jack!
    Great blog of Wilderness Lodge, as always.
    Having stayed at WL I have to ask: “How did you get your pictures so light?”
    It’s very dark inside which does add to the resorts charm, but makes photo talking a challange.

    Again nice job!!

  7. It’s like going home the minute I step through those big doors into the magnificent lobby of the Wilderness Lodge!!! The pictures brought back so many wonderful trip memories. I can’t wait to stay there again sometime.

  8. Jack,

    Always love your reviews! This weekend I will be booking a week for the family at the Wilderness lodge and am very excited! We have been to WDW several times and have always wanted to stay at the WL. Finally doing it this time!! I know we will love it.

  9. Jack,

    Another great blog entry. We’ve been at the Wilderness Lodge several times and it never disappoints. As my nephew said when we were there last year (his first ever Disney trip), “I could live in this hotel”.
    One of the plusses to this resort is that everything (unless you’re in a villa) is in the same building. So if it’s hot, you don’t have to walk across a property to get breakfast.
    Keep the great reports coming.

  10. We stayed at WL for the first time last October. We’ve stayed at All-Star Movies, Caribbean Beach, Port Orleans (both sides) and the Contemporary. By far, WL was the best. We loved taking the boat to MK, to Ft Wilderness to ride horses, etc. We had a woods view and enjoyed both the fireworks and electrical water pageant from our balcony. The flag raising ceremony in the morning was booked for the entire week of our stay. My son did get to take down the flags at the end of the day. He wore his Boy Scout uniform, and our cast member guide, Peter, was an Eagle Scout which made it even more special. This is where we will stay from now on. Thanks for the photo tour!

  11. Wow!

    This is one piece of Disney property we’ve never visited, and I’m blown away. We’ll definitely have to stop in here for an afternoon and look around.

  12. Hi! Thanks for all the pictures, etc. of the WL. After it was built it became our favorite for my mom and myself. I have done the tour of the WL and there is no charge. When we did the afternoon tour they would take you up to the roof. Which was amazing to be able to look out over all the Disney land for miles in every direction. At the time we could actually see them working on the building of the MGM Studios. Unfortunately, they do not go up to the roof anymore during the tour. They would also, in the afternoon, take you to the smoke house where they prepared the beef for Whispering Canyon and samples were always available. It is well worth doing the tour and you must do the one with Ranger Stan. He is absolutely the sweetest person you would ever want to meet. Everyone falls in love this sweet, gentle man after they have done the tour. I really recommend guest doing the tour if they have the opportunity.

  13. Hi Jack!

    We just returned from our 1st visit to WL (2nd to WDW) and all I can say is “WOW”! It truly is a beautiful resort and is a very calm spot to return home to after a long, hot day in the parks. Our last stay was at the Poly and I have to say that Roaring Forks does a better job of getting folks in and out for meals. We enjoyed the boat transportation a lot and found it to be quicker too. We did have a courtyard view and enjoyed it very much until it rained so hard we couldn’t see the other side of the lagoon. I don’t recall hearing much of the activities from the pool deck. My kids loved getting up in the morning and checking to see if the ducks were swimming in the pool! We did dine at Whispering Canyon and had the first seating for dinner. With that we were the first table to request ketchup! 🙂 I wasn’t overly impressed with the skillet (my hubby ordered it) but did enjoy my pasta dish and of course the milkshakes are wonderful! As always…you do a wonderful job with your photos and blogs…keep up the good work!

  14. A delightful post for a delightful resort! I leaves me with a bit of a challenge though… spend the money on a trip to Florida and a beautiful, idealized National Parks Rustic hotel or spend it on a trip to a National Park and stay in a real one! ^_^

  15. Hey Jack,

    I must say, those videos are awesome to watch. My parents are taking my best friend (since pre-k) and down to WDW for our graduation trip in July, and we don’t know where we’re staying! We told my parents to make it a surprise….Little do they know we have planned surprises (Massages and dinner) for them too 🙂

    If you had to pick between Boardwalk and WL, Jack, which one would you choose?

    Thanks Jack! 😀

    Jack’s Answer:

    Congratulations on your upcoming graduation.

    I would choose the Boardwalk. I think the WL is by far a more impressive resort, but I really like the location of the Boardwalk. From the Boardwalk you can walk to Epcot and take a boat to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You only need to take a bus for two parks. From WL you can take a boat to the Magic Kingdom, but must take the bus to three parks.

    Also, the rooms at the Boardwalk are 380 sq ft while at the WL they are only 340 sq ft.

    In addition, the Boardwalk is in close proximately to the Yacht, Beach, Swan, and Dolphin Resorts. This adds additional restaurant opportunities within walking distance.

    Of course, this is all subjective. Everyone has their own favorite and their opinion is as valid as mine.

  16. I always love reading your blogs.

    I don’t think that WL sells WL Linciln Logs anymore, unfortunately, unless they recently brought them back.

  17. Thanks as always for the great blog. And awesome pix. This is the closest we will get to staying at this resort. POR is our indulgence. Oh well, maybe one day. There’s always the lotto, right?

  18. that was great to read. I think I’m going to tell my husband we have to stay there! We might not even go to the parks! It looks so cool just for hanging out. 🙂

    appreciate all the picturs and info too!

  19. Excellent article, Jack, on my favorite resort! The scenery, landscaping, and theming of this resort is the primary reason why my DVC home resort is at the Wilderness Lodge Villas.
    The trail/walkway that connects to Fort Wilderness (another favorite resort of mine too) is abundant with deer and other wildlife, but at night makes for a very nice and relaxing walk with nature.

  20. Hi Jack,

    We have never stayed at the Wilderness Lodge, but we have to visit it each time we visit WDW. I live in the Pacific Northwest,in Oregon and it does remind us of home. We always have to get our picture taken next to the Silver Creek Falls sign because we live about 30mins away from the actual Silver Creek Falls. Somehow, we are going to stay at the Wilderness Lodge in the future. And we always ride the boat from the Magic Kingdom to get there.

  21. Hi Jack, thanks for the great description of Wilderness Lodge. My husband and I stayed there when we celebrated our 25th anniversary (10 years ago!)and fell in love with the place. It really is awesome! We were so impressed that we became DVC members while on that trip! We really liked coming back to the quiet, relaxed atmosphere of the lodge after a long and busy day in the parks. Each evening we walked along the foot path through the woods to Fort Wilderness. It was a great way to end each day. When we checked in, we were asked if we would like to raise the flags on the top of the lodge the following morning. Even though it meant rising early on the first day of a vacation without our children we were excited to be asked and were so glad we said yes! The view from the top of the lodge was spectacular! The ranger’s commentary was very informative and we got some great pictures. We have stayed at the villas since becoming DVC members and have been equally pleased with all they have to offer.

  22. Jack…the WL is our absolute favorite resort….possibly in the whole world. Last there in November, going again this November. Your video almost brought tears to my eyes!…LOL.

  23. Hi, Jack!

    My husband and I stayed at the WL for the first time this past year to be with the grandchild and loved it! We had always stayed at the Polynesian, but the WL is fantastic. We had planned to return to the Poly on our next visit this year, rethought our experience and changed it to the WL, it was just that good. Although our rooms were much bigger at the Poly, we liked the atmosphere and staff better at the WL. Your blog was excellent and now we can’t wait to return. Thanks for sharing those great photos and video!

  24. Hi Jack!!

    Thanks so much for this blog!! We are DVC members and this is our home resort, so we’ve stayed many times. It never gets old. I tear up every time we arrive at the WL on Magical Express and I walk into the grand lobby. Breathtaking!!

  25. hey jack
    the wilderness lodge is my favorite out of all the disney hotels. the detail that they use throughout the resort is absolutly amazing. It’s like you’re not even in Florida. can’t wait for your next blog and as always, keep up the great work.

  26. Hi Jack,

    Thank you for this wonderful blog. My boyfriend and I just booked the Wilderness Lodge for our stay in December. It will be our first time there and the hotel looks so beautiful. Now I have even more to look foward too. 🙂


  27. I always enjoy your videos – they are very well done. You usually include the title of the music you use – did I just miss it this time, and if so, would you please let me know what it was. Thanks, looking forward to the next video!

    Jack’s Answer:

    The music I used was, in this order:

    The theme from “How the West Was Won”
    The theme from “The Big Country”
    The theme from “The Sundowner

  28. Hi Jack! I was so excited to see your blog of this resort, because I will be staying at the WL with my husband beginning July 8th, for a long weekend. I have stayed here twice before, the last time being in 2001. So, I’m glad to be going back to one of my favorite resorts on Disney property.
    Your blog did this resort proud!
    One question, is there still boat service to the Contemporary, and the other MK resorts? We have some dinner reservations at the other resorts, and we’re hoping the boat would be able to take us…

    Jack’s Answer:

    Good news. The boat service is still available. But keep in mind, there are two different routes. One boat travels between the Wilderness Lodge and the Magic Kingdom. The other boat travels between the Contemporary, Fort Wilderness, and Wilderness Lodge. This information is very well marked on the pier.

  29. Great pics & awesome info. Last year was our 1st time ever to the WLV and we fell in love with them. The resort is HUGE. I remember thinking, “How is Disney gonna make this FEEL like the woods, when we’re in Florida?” Guess what? THEY DID!! Down to the bugs chirping. Amazing resort. Deluxe all the way. We are SO coming back!!

  30. We stayed here in Dec. 2005. It was an awesome stay! We have been trying to stay different places each time. We’ve stayed at the All-Star Movies, All-Star Music, Coronado Springs, and Animal Kingdom Lodge. We are planning on going back in Dec. of this year. We were booked at the Caribbean Beach in the new Pirate rooms, however after reading this article and seeing the pictures drumming up memories, I quickly called Disney Travel and changed us to stay at WL. This is my favorite resort and as beautiful and magnificent as the lobby and surroundings are, they are even more beautiful and magnificent during the holidays. Can’t wait until Dec.!!!!!!

  31. I enjoyed reading your blog, as the WL is one of my favorite places to stay. You were spot on about not feeling like you are in Florida! I remember thinking that same thought the first time I drove up to the lodge. I recently stayed there in April 2010, club level this time.(being FL resident/AP I got a great rate, and it was my mom’s bday) There is so much to see and do there, that we never even went to a park until the day we left. We just enjoyed the pool, grounds, chatting with the castmembers and enjoyed a boat ride over to the Contemporary to have dinner at California Grill.In fact, I am staying there again in August,this time I am bringing two of my grandchildren. I can’t wait to show them around!. I am going to send a link to them about your blog so they can see where we will be staying. I do have one question, how can you become a Flag Family?

    Jack’s Answer:

    I have never been selected so I can’t attest to this. But according the Wilderness Lodge Fact Sheet on Allears, you can request to be the Flag Family while checking in. Of course, this isn’t a guarantee you’ll be selected, just a request.

  32. Thanks for an excellent blog, pics, and video. Staying at WL for the first time in December and now can’t wait!!

  33. Thanks for the great walk through of this resort. I have been a DVC member for 6 years and have always stayed at SSR. On our next trip I would like to try a new place. We live near a Great Wolf Lodge and have been there many times, we also live in a woodsy area, would anyone still recommend this resort? Thanks!

  34. Welcome Home Jack!!!

    Wilderness is our DVC Home and we Love It.

    I hope you weren’t driving while you were filming the drive up to The Wilderness Lodge. That could be tricky.

    Thanks for the Wilderness Blog.

    The only problem is, it makes me want to go sooner than our Christmas Trip 2010 with The In-Laws.

  35. Hi Jack,

    This blog was worth the wait…we love WL especially at Christmas time and we always make time to visit even when we’re not staying there.

    The pecan sticky buns at Roaring Forks are the best according to my husband who considers himself a connoisseur.

    I hope you continue to do this with all the resorts because your videos are such good quality they really give you the impression of being there. I also really love the music that you pair with the videos…it really adds to the experience.

    Let us know where you’ll be visiting next!

  36. Hey Jack,

    Thanks for a great blog about a resort I would love to stay at one day. Next to Fort Wilderness, Wilderness Lodge is my favorite WDW resort to simply walk around. It takes on a whole other beauty during Christmas-time. It is a must-see every year.

    I ate at Whispering Canyon for my 18th birthday. It was a great choice for a special celebration like that, but I am not rushing back. The food was okay (we had family-style), but the fun is what makes the restaurant. Our waitress was WONDERFUL and really made the experience. Along with asking for catsup, make sure to ask for refills, too! A fun restaurant now and then, but not every visit.

    Also, I must commend you on your excellent photography in this blog specifically. With the dimmer lighting in WL, it is very tricky to takes good pictures in there. I have tried many times and they don’t turn out nearly as great as yours!


  37. Hi Jack! We will be staying at the WL in July and after seeing all of your photographs I can’t wait! I do have 2 questions that you might know the answer to. 1. Is there a cost for the Wonders of the Lodge tour? 2. How long does the tour last?


    Jack’s Answer:

    I have never taken the tour, but I’m almost certain it’s free on a first come, first serve basis. I think it lasts about an hour.

  38. Jack: Great blog. We’ve stayed at WL 5 times (2 at Christmas which is special in its own way with the huge tree, decorations and music). We always feel at home there. We’ve stayed at Polynesian, Contemporary, Caribbbean Beach and the old Dixie Landings. We’d like to try the Grand Floridian, but we like WL so much, it’s difficult to book elsewhere. I’m almost afraid to say too much to let others in on the secret. WL seems to be much calmer than the other hotels for some reason, and the theming is the best in our opinion.

    To answer one of the questions, yes, the 2 person tables are still just outside of Roaring Forks, and they are comfortable since you are still in the AC. I don’t like Whispering Canyon. It is just too noisy for me; wish they had put it in a wing by itself as it does make the lobby very noisy at times. Artist Point is wonderful, but it always takes a minimum of 3 hours to dine. Sometimes that’s just too long especially if you’ve been at the park all day.

    From the geyser, to the brook that becomes the pool, to renting a 2 person surrey and riding over to Fort Wilderness, to the boat ride to MK, to the topiaries, to the beautiful themed music in the lobby–everything is just so well done here. Even the gift shop has unique items you won’t find elsewhere in Disney (which is a rarity). The new mattresses are absolutely wonderful.

    I do have one complaint however. We last visited in early December in 09 and had a courtyard view. You could not rest during the day because of the activities person at the pool on the megahorn. Not everyone needs to hear you calling out bingo numbers, etc. I always prefer the woods view, but there weren’t any rooms available when I checked. If I visited during the summer months (which won’t every happen again!), I would seriously reconsider a courtyard view. You’re going to want to rest during the day when it’s the hottest and you can’t do that with all of the noise.

    Thanks for the memories, Jack.

  39. I am always in awe everytime I walk into the building. It’s one of the best resorts on property. Whispering Canyon is a great place to eat as well. And yes, we asked for the Catsup….

  40. I’m always so happy to read your blogs anyway Jack, but this one was especially timely. I have been trying my best to give my mother-in-law a good idea of what the Wilderness Lodge is like. I haven’t actually stayed there, but my husband and I, along with our children, visit Whispering Canyon Cafe at least once each trip. My mother-in-law is now convinced that my father-in-law will enjoy the Lodge and she wants to stay there as well. It will be his first visit, and he isn’t convinced he’ll enjoy Walt Disney World yet. This will definitely help us make our case. Thanks for your hard work.

  41. Jack:

    I totally agree with your assessment of Roaring Fork’s seating area. It’s very sterile for such a warm resort.

    I’m not sure if they are still there, but there used to be small, two-person tables outside of the seating area in the hallway. It’s a great location because you get the comfort of air conditioning and can enjoy the natural light and landscaping through the large windows.

    The outdoor tables you mentioned are great, especially in the morning. When we stayed in 2007 we ate a few breakfasts there and a few more on our balcony which was directly above Artist Point. We used to watch people seated directly in front of the “don’t feed the wildlife” sign feed the wildlife. I even took a picture.

  42. Hi Jack,
    I love the resort videos. They make me feel like I’m there. Wilderness Lodge is on top of my wish list. We had lunch at Whispering Canyon last year and were amazed at the theming and grandeur of the lobby. It’s truly breathtaking.

  43. Nice blog.

    My family ate at Roaring Fork twice last trip, in August. We were staying at Fort Wilderness, in a cabin, and we were on the Quick Service Dining Plan. Not a good idea! The only eligible place at the Fort was a pool snack bar, for lunch. On the bright side, we got to experience the quick-service dining at the Lodge and the Contemporary, through the boat system.

    I agree that the boats are great. It’s kind of cool/creepy to catch glimpses of River Country and Discovery Island, and my family freaked out when we saw us floating over the road to the Contemporary.

  44. Thanks for a great blog. The wilderness Lodge was the first resort my husband and I stayed at when we started visiting Disney together 10+ years ago. It is also where we spent our honeymoon. Needless to say it holds a special place in our hearts. Disney truly excels at theming and this resort is one of the best if not the best themed resorts on Disney property. Anyone who has not visited this resort really must do so. A simple stroll around the resort really transports you to another world.
    Keep up the great work with the blogs Jack. husband and I will be visiting WDW this Sept and reading your blogs help make the wait bearable.

  45. Thank you so much for this blog! The WL has been our WDW home since we honeymooned there in 2002. You stated all of the reasons for why we stay at the Lodge. Unfortunately, now that I’ve read this blog, October won’t be here fast enough.

  46. Hi Jack,

    The WL is my husband’s favorite resort! When we stayed there I felt I hadn’t left central PA because the outside theming is so great. I love watching the reactions when people see the lobby for the first time.

    When we stayed at this resort we received an invitation to be the Flag Family and this meant we were taken up to the roof one morning and helped raise the flags. It was a neat experience.

    The tour was interesting too and when we stayed there this tour included a tour of their smokehouse and we were offered samples.

    This resort has a wooded and short path over to Fort Wilderness so you can enjoy this area as well.
    I just can’t say enough about this resort!

    Thanks again Jack for a wonnderful blog. I love your photographs.