New Menus Coming to Wilderness Lodge!
Walt Disney World has announced new food coming to Wilderness Lodge this month. In this post, we’ll dispense with dish details, plus photos and thoughts about the enticing entress, savory snacks, and decadent desserts coming to the best resort at Walt Disney World.
Naturally, I won’t pass up an opportunity to plug Wilderness Lodge. Whenever I hype up an unsung spot at Walt Disney World, there are invariably some readers who don’t want the secret to get out. In reality, there’s a bigger danger of hidden gems being ruined or replaced when Disney tries to “fix” their poor performance, rather than those locations being overwhelmed with a sudden surge of popularity.
When it comes to Wilderness Lodge, the case could be made that the “secret has gotten out.” It went from having a fan following and great discounts–but not much mainstream appeal–to one of Walt Disney World’s most hard-to-book hotels and one that often is undiscounted. Part of this is probably a reduction in the room inventory due to DVC conversions. Another element is the crowd-pleasing new rooms. Then there’s the addition of Storybook Dining at Artist Point. However, I can’t help but think the online hype has played a role.
But as the kids say: can’t stop, won’t stop. Paying more and having a harder time booking the resort obviously isn’t ideal, but I’m ecstatic that Wilderness Lodge is finally getting the love it deserves. This blog’s whole existence is premised around hyping the things I enjoy and criticizing my enemies out of existence (your days are numbered, Dino-Rama!), and Wilderness Lodge is at the top of my ‘best of Walt Disney World’ list. I love that other fans are discovering and falling in love with this resort.
Not only that, but Wilderness Lodge is right up there with Animal Kingdom Lodge as the most immersive and lavishly-designed resort at Walt Disney World. The success of Wilderness Lodge is proof-positive that guests, even casual ones, like transportive and ambitiously-themed hotels.
In a just and logical world, this would mean fewer resort reimaginings that homogenize and dilute the design, or produce new rooms that evoke the antiseptic aesthetic of hospitals. (To Walt Disney World’s credit, recent resort redos have better balanced themed design and luxurious or modern accommodations.)
Finally (at least as far as this rambling and off-topic preface goes), the holiday season is a little over one month away at Walt Disney World. I will once again remind you that Wilderness Lodge is Walt Disney World’s BEST Christmas Spot. Not just best hotel during the holidays, but the best spot at Christmas, period. (Keep in mind that Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is an event, not a location.)
Anyway, let’s get to the point of this post by taking a look at what’s cooking at Wilderness Lodge. Starting today (October 4, 2022), Territory Lounge has some new menu items to try.
The Territory Popcorn Sampler features the chef’s take on popcorn with spicy, caramel, sea salt, truffle, and BBQ flavors. For the Artisanal Cheese and Charcuterie, Chef Brian Knox carefully selected Oregon and Utah cheeses with a focus on smokey notes and even a cheese wrapped in honey and sea salt, accompanied by fresh honeycomb, pickled vegetables, and handcrafted bread.
There are also some flavorful flatbreads new to the Territory Lounge menu. The Loaded Baked Potato Flatbread is topped with bacon, potato, chive cream cheese, and crème fresh while the Salmon Run is topped with an in-house dill-cured gravlax salmon with truffle cream cheese, fried capers, onions, black sea salt, and dill.
On the one hand, I feel like artisanal flatbreads–or whatever you want to call these–is a foodie trend that ran its course several years ago. On the other hand, these both sound really good to me, and I’m generally a sucker for flatbreads (or any pizza, really). Walt Disney World went flatbread-wild for a while, and has since backed off. I feel like the amount of flatbreads we’re now seeing as appetizers and at lounges is generally appropriate.
Rounding out the new menu items at Territory Lounge are the Bacon on the Wire and the Bone and Brie. The Bacon on the Wire is an “elevated dish” with black pepper candied bacon cured in smoked paprika and bourbon, cold smoked, and roasted perfectly with a bourbon glaze. In addition to bacon, it features deviled eggs topped with fried shrimp, chipotle beef jerky, and salmon candy with a bourbon drizzle.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a bigger bacon enthusiast than me. I love the stuff, and I don’t discriminate–I’ll even devour a plate of the rubber bacon cut with a paper slicer served up at Walt Disney World buffets. However, I am sick and tired of this “bacon on a clothesline” trend. Instead of 3 pieces of candied bacon presented obnoxiously for $16 (or whatever this ends up costing), just give me a bowl of bacon without any frills for the same price. This is amateur hour–bacon for people who don’t actually like bacon.
The Bone and Brie is a “foodie adventure” with roasted bone marrow, honey-baked brie baked in a cast iron skillet with marionberry onion jam. As for this Bone & Brie, I’m willing to wait before passing judgment. This is also a tad on the trendy side, but to my knowledge, there’s no ‘marrow alternative’ that’s less fussy and frill-free. It comes with the territory here, and this dish actually sounds promising.
In addition to these mouthwatering eats, there are new handcrafted alcoholic beverages joining the Territory Lounge menu. The National 95, a coast-to-coast twist on the classic French 95 cocktail, combines Whistle Pig Rye from the East coast with simple syrup, and sparkling Argyle Brut from the West coast while the Lewis and Clark-inspired L&C G&T features Fords Gin, St. Germaine, and elderflower tonic, garnished with a cucumber ribbon and fresh flower.
The Orchards Bounty is made up of Ketel One Peach & Orange Blossom Botanicals vodka, house-made pinot gris syrup, Dolin Blanc vermouth, and Aperol. Sangria fans will love the Orange Spiced Sangria, a drink with Chateau Ste Michelle cabernet, Cointreau orange liqueur, apple cider, and house-made orange spice syrup. The Northwoods masterfully brings together Bulleit Rye, house-made rosemary syrup, citrus juices, and maple into one delicious cocktail.
For a campfire feel on a classic cocktail, the Smores Old Fashioned has Elijah Craig bourbon, toasted marshmallow syrup, and chocolate bitters garnished with toasted marshmallows. Finally, the Timeless Elias is a smoking libation featuring Macallan 12 yr. scotch, house-made vanilla bean syrup, and Courvoisier VSOP.
Turning to Roaring Fork, the underrated counter service restaurant at Wilderness Lodge, which also has new menu items beginning on October 11, 2022. Kickstart your day at Roaring Fork with one of the new breakfast options. The Meat and Potatoes Quiche with broccoli, potatoes, bacon, ham, and gouda. The Vegetable Lover’s Quiche with peppers, onions, leeks, green peas, potatoes, broccoli, fresh herb, and cheddar. Both look to be delicious options to fuel up on before your adventure.
For some sweet starts, indulge in the Warm Freshly Baked Cinnamon Roll with fresh blueberries and blueberry cream cheese frosting or the extra-large Warm Grizzly Bear Claw with mixed nuts and raisin filling. Both of these look incredibly promising, although I do wish we could get marionberry, boysenberry, or huckleberry cream cheese. Blueberry looks good, but those would be more unique–and fitting for the National Park themed lodge!
For lunch and dinner, there are some more items recently added that you need to taste. The Asian-Style Noodle Salad is quite refreshing with tofu, mixed vegetables, crispy rice noodles, and fried wontons. You can even add chicken or shrimp for extra protein. The Heirloom Tomato Salad with pickled wild mushrooms, burrata cheese, red pepper pesto, and basil is also a tasty, lighter option.
If you’re looking for a heartier dish, there are two more for you. The Country-style Baked Meatloaf features buttery green peas, chunky mashed potatoes, and gravy for a classic meal. The Barbecued Brisket and Burnt Ends with potato hash, fiery coleslaw, and cornbread features some comfort BBQ fare packed with flavor.
These last three items sound fantastic to me. Already planning our next meal at Roaring Fork, and planning on ordering that trio for the two of us, as it sounds like the perfect mix of light and heavy dishes. My guess is that the meats are similar to those served in the skillets at Whispering Canyon Cafe, which is good by me!
Finally, there are quite a few new desserts available all day long that are joining Roaring Fork’s menu. The Almond Walnut Bundt Cake is a must with a coffee glaze and cream cheese icing. If you’ve got a taste for blueberry, the house-made Blueberry Thyme Crumb Pie is a seasonal item that will change flavors throughout the year, so you can keep coming back. The adorable Bear Mousse Cake brings together raspberry mousse, almond cake, and dark chocolate ganache into a treat that is almost too cute to eat – almost.
Lastly, Humphrey the Bear has a passion for honey and the new Humphrey Bee Hive Cake is the perfect sweet eat for him. This delightful dish is made with chocolate cake, passionfruit mousse, sugar bees, and a white chocolate Humphrey on top.
I’m totally on board with all of these desserts. My only minor quibble is, again, with blueberry instead of a more unique berry. Otherwise, these all sound ambitious and, mercifully, lacking in food coloring and (hopefully) artificial flavors. My only hope is that the bear dessert ends up looking ‘less-perfect’ in person. Totally a personal thing, but I find there to be tremendous comedic value when Walt Disney World tries to make a dessert look like a person or critter, and instead it turns into a monster. Perfect timing ahead of Halloween!
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Thoughts on these new menu items debuting at Wilderness Lodge in October 2022? Have any hot takes about bacon on a clothesline, flatbreads, or other foodie trends? What about blueberry v. marionberry, huckleberry, or boysenberry? Non-issue or hill to die on for you? Do you agree or disagree with our assessments? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
It’s the charcuterie on the clothesline that kills me. Do you… un-clip the stack of meat you wish to partake of, remove one piece and then… re-clip the rest of it? I am flummoxed. Someone clearly decided that after Disney had invested in numerous Bacon Clothesline Presentation Devices (technical restaurant industry term) they needed to come up with other, meat-related uses. Who knows what will come next! (Totally down for the rest of it, tho.)
I honestly have the feeling that as Disney pulls back on theming with questionable redesigns, more people will try to book rooms in the better-themed resorts like WL and AKL.
Everything looks amazing. And with the sneak peek of the new rooms at Boulder Ridge in DVC Files I am ecstatic that our DVC home is getting the love it deserves! Curious you’re take on the new design. I thought of you immediately and your reviews of how so many of the refreshes have stripped all theming. Looks like they have hit a home run this time. Preserving the WL spirit but modern and clean. With a little dash of retro thrown in. And no bed runners in sight.
Just wanted to say my family had lunch at Whispering Canyon Cafe when we went to Disney World this past August. We stay off property but always try to dine at a new hotel each time we go. I found out about it from your blog and we had a blast. The food was great and our server was so funny. Definitely a highlight of the trip. Thanks for all you do to help others plan memorable trips!
@Tom – yeah, I figured the walk to MK would be worth it – particularly for the xmas party.
Also doing MK during two party days so hoping that leads to a less crowded park 🙂
Tom unrelated to this post sort of, but have you ever done Thanksgiving at Wilderness Lodge, Whispering Canyon? We have friends flying in to see us Thanksgiving day and booked Raglan road and Whispering Canyon. My guess is Whispering Canyon may be a better bang for our buck.
From the official Whispering Canyon Cafe page: “On Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, Whispering Canyon Cafe will offer a prix-fixe holiday meal for lunch and dinner. The breakfast menu will be served 7:30 AM to 11:00 AM, and the holiday menu will be served from noon until 10:00 PM.”
To my recollection, they’ve always done Thanksgiving platters in the past (which are like an enhanced version of the normal platters). Not sure if ‘prix-fixe’ is an error or omission, but that is mildly concerning.
I’d still do Whispering Canyon, but that’s just me. I’m incredibly biased towards WL. YMMV.
Have stayed here 3 times and we love it. After doing last December there, which was amazing for holiday time with the fires ,comfy furniture hot cocoa and cookies- and then again in April- we decided to try the contemporary for the first time this December. Fingers crossed it is fun in its own way
At the very least, you’ll be right on the monorail loop and walking distance of Magic Kingdom. Very easy to check out the other resorts at Christmas from that home base!
Well I broke down and renewed my annual pass while I was in Florida in Sept JUST IN TIME for my Florida residence on Pine Island to be rendered completely inaccessible due to Ian washing out the bridge and destroying a community I love and hold dear. So…now I have to make the pass worth the $$ and don’t have anywhere in Florida to stay but at Disney.
Hence…the relevance to this post. My partner was just telling me on our last visit how much they enjoyed the one stay we did at Wilderness Lodge in August 2020, and after seeing this I am literally heading to DVC rentals to check out costs for January. I’m so glad other people are discovering this place! Though…I’m also sad since it means much less of those awesome ‘last minute’ rentals are available. Still, it’ll be worth it since there’s so much more open than was there in Aug 2020 (unsurprisingly), as we ate at Geyser point for every meal and loved it but did start to get tired of eating the same delicious food over and over again. Especially traveling with a vegetarian, it can be rough to find items that are actually worth spending $$ on. (Not me, I don’t mind meat!)
That bacon looks just like the one at Edison’s only with less bacon somehow? But I’ll probably try it anyway just to see.
Now we just have to get more people to love Animal Kingdom Lodge…
Very sorry to hear that, Maggie. While the worst-case scenario thankfully didn’t play out for Tampa or other areas of the state, some of the devastation in South Florida has been heartbreaking to see.
Not sure how you feel about character meals, but Artist Point is a solid option with a good vegetarian option. You’ve just gotta be quick to book it!
Thanks, Tom. It doesn’t hit us as hard as it hits the permanent residents since we’re so far removed, but it’s still our second home and seeing places that we regularly ate or shopped at as literally bare moorings is still a shock.
I think character meals are worth doing at least once if the food and atmosphere is solid. We enjoyed Topolino’s Breakfast, and Be Our Guest/Cinderella’s Table, and I’ve liked the look of Artist Point in your reviews. Hadn’t even thought about it for this trip but now I’m realizing I *should* and will sit on it when the res window opens. Thanks again!