Hotel Reviews

Wilderness Lodge Review

Wilderness Lodge is a deluxe resort at Walt Disney World.  The hotel and grounds are inspired by the Pacific Northwest, with a beautiful lobby and brilliant landscaping.  Wilderness Lodge opened in 1994 and has expanded several times since.  Even with expansion, the resort remains on the smaller side of Walt Disney World hotels.  Grouped in with the Magic Kingdom Resorts, Wilderness Lodge is known for being a little quieter and more peaceful than anywhere else on property.  We recently stayed at Wilderness Lodge and this review will cover that experience.

Wilderness Lodge stream

Melissa and I live in the great northwest and love it.  The mountains and ocean are both within a couple of hours.  We get to experience all the seasons and the views are breathtaking.  With that said, Wilderness Lodge never appealed to me all that much because… Well, I live in the place that the hotel is loosely themed after.  After experiencing the hotel first hand, I could not have been more wrong.  Wilderness Lodge is now one of my favorite spots in Walt Disney World.

The northwest isn’t the only inspiration for Wilderness Lodge, national parks play just an even bigger role.  This is immediately clear once you step into the lobby.  Rustic, charming and larger than life, this 8-story lobby is one of the best in all of Walt Disney World.  The lodge has a log cabin feel to it, even in this huge lobby.  This is reminiscent of the huge lodges throughout our national parks.

WL inside

The lobby features a beautiful fireplace, comfortable seating, and a look out area on the floor above.  A ‘hot spring’ bubbles in the lobby (where you can walk over it) and flows down outside to a geyser.  If you’ve experienced the grandeur of Animal Kingdom Lodge or the Grand Californian then this will feel similar as they were designed by the same person (Peter Dominick Jr.)

WL bridges inside

While the lobby is one of the centerpieces of Wilderness Lodge, there is certainly plenty more to look at.  The geyser, which erupts every hour, and stream down to it are both incredibly beautiful.  The greenery around the area is striking.  On top of that Wilderness Lodge sits right on the lake and boats leading to Magic Kingdom come and go.  The walk out to the dock is peaceful, as is the view from most hotel rooms.

Wilderness Lodge pool night

The pools are also gorgeous with the main one playing off the rock-work and landscaping of that stream and geyser.  Another pool recently opened at Copper Creek, Wilderness Lodge’s latest expansion.  Both pools are large and some of the prettiest at Disney World.  No, neither are up to the level of Stormalong Bay at Beach/Yacht Club but they certainly do the trick.

Rock stairs WL

Copper Creek is a nice little area to walk around, and features a new counter-service restaurant that is well thought of called Geyser Point Bar & Grill.  Wilderness Lodge also features Roaring Fork (counter-service), Artist Point (signature), and Whispering Canyon Cafe (table-service) in the way of dining.

Wilderness Lodge Copper Creek

All in all, Wilderness Lodge offers all the amenities and beauty you could possibly want.  The lobby is stunning, as are the grounds and pools.  The restaurants are all well thought of and have a good variety.

Another bonus Wilderness Lodge offers is the location.  As I previously mentioned, there is boat transportation to Magic Kingdom.  I always prefer boats to buses and the ride is roughly 10 minutes long.  Bus transportation (or boat and monorail to Epcot) is offered to all other parks and no rides seemed to take very long.  With a lower amount of rooms, the wait for buses seemed shorter.  Let’s get to the rooms…

Wilderness Lodge room

Like the lobby, the room has a rustic theme.  The warm, deep wood tones carry the room and while the carpet is a little busy it’s a nice contrast to the simplistic walls.  From a Disney World standpoint, this was one of my favorite rooms we’ve stayed in as far as decor.  The headboard on the beds are a subtle touch, with beautiful carvings.  I also liked the dresser far more than other rooms, not that I used it.

Wilderness Lodge room otherway

The beds were comfortable and we both slept well.  Of course, this was near the end of our trip where our energy was running low so maybe don’t take my word on that.  The above photo gives a closer view of the headboard and the cool light features throughout the room.

Wilderness Lodge bathroom

Here’s a look at the bathroom and entrance of the room.  This area was pretty run of the mill, although I liked the flooring and how it kept the wood lodge feel going.

Wilderness Lodge shower

I really liked the shower, with the light wood and Bambi tiles.  While I would rather have a stand alone shower than the bath/shower combo, that doesn’t happen often at Disney World.

Wilderness Lodge courtyard

While the room is very nice, the deck and view from the deck is even better.  There’s only one hotel that has better deck views in Disney World – Animal Kingdom Lodge.  As you can see from this photo the log lodge is not just for show in the lobby and continues throughout the main building.  I keep saying this but the hotel is quite beautiful.

As far as value goes, Wilderness Lodge is one of the cheaper deluxe resorts.  Now, that still isn’t cheap.  If you time it right and find the right discount, rooms can be had for a little more than $200 a night.  More often than not they will cost around $300.  This is a pretty penny to pay but cheaper than other deluxe resorts.  If the price was under $300 and you have a bigger budget then I would say you’re getting a good deal, relative to other Walt Disney World hotels.

Wilderness Lodge inside

All in all, Wilderness Lodge is one of my favorite resorts in Walt Disney World.  The landscaping is absolutely beautiful and a joy to walk around.  The lobby is beautiful and one of the more relaxing places on property.  Not only is Wilderness Lodge beautiful but it’s peaceful and inviting.  A perfect respite from a day at the parks.

Overall Rating 10/10

Wilderness Lodge night

Have you stayed at Art of Animation?  What are your thoughts and questions on the resort?  Let us know in the comments!  Thank you for reading Wandering in Disney, if you enjoy what you’re reading please subscribe to the blog and like our social media pages.  You can do both of those things on the right side of this page.  Have a great day!

– Andrew

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5 replies »

  1. Absolutely gorgeous. Your photos are stunning. I haven’t stayed in WL since 2002, when I was 11 years old. In May, my husband and I took a bus to it just to walk around, then took the boat back to the magic kingdom. We felt like we stuck out like sore thumbs (as we were value resort guests and can’t afford WL), but I’m sure no one really noticed us. We love to just walk around and take in the beauty of the deluxe resorts. It’s on our bucket list to stay at WL at some point…we just need to stop going to WDW to save money…buuut instead we’re gonna keep going to WDW. lol!

    Great review!

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    • Unfortunately, no. I’ve only walked through the campground which is actually Fort Wilderness. This is a short bus ride away from Wilderness Lodge. I have had a few meals at Fort Wilderness, including the dinner show (Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue). The area is fun and different from the other hotels at Disney World. The food was good too!

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