We haven’t dropped in on Wilderness Lodge since last Christmas, which is borderline criminal since this is my favorite resort at Walt Disney World. In this update, we’ll share new menu info, merchandise photos, take a stroll around the hotel grounds, and share photos of what are sure to be controversial new room designs.
Pictured above is the view from our balcony from Wilderness Lodge. This is by far the luckiest we’ve ever gotten in terms of Wilderness Lodge rooms–I don’t think we’ve ever had a view there of anything other than trees (still better than parking lots!).
It would’ve been even better one room to the right without that tree blocking Cinderella Castle, but it’s difficult to complain about this–especially after our last two Deluxe Resort rooms at Walt Disney World had only one person balconies for some odd reason. Anyway, on with the Wilderness Lodge update…
We’ll start with the update for which I don’t have photos: the new menu at Whispering Canyon Cafe. We plan to return in the near future, but a couple of things are worth noting for now. First, the hootin’ and hollerin’ hijinks are back. Perhaps not at quite the same decibel level as before, but the fun for which Whispering Canyon Cafe was known is definitely back in full force, and we could hear it outside the restaurant several times during our stay. So good news there!
Second, there are several new breakfast, lunch, and dinner skillets. For breakfast, there’s the Heritage Skillet or the Carnivore Skillet. The Heritage Skillet comes with country potatoes, hickory-smoked bacon, and pork sausage links. The Carnivore Skillet comes loaded with house-smoked ham, hickory-smoked bacon, pork sausage links, and oak-smoked beef brisket. Both also include house-made buttermilk-cheddar biscuits, scrambled eggs, and Mickey Waffles.
At lunch, there’s the Signature Lunch Skillet, which comes with maple-chipotle BBQ slow-smoked pork ribs, barbecued pulled pork, and citrus-herb chicken. On the dinner menu, the Traditional Dinner Skillet offers oak-smoked mustard BBQ beef brisket, maple-chipotle BBQ pork ribs, slow-smoked pulled pork, and citrus-herb chicken. The “Pig” Dinner Skillet with heaping helpings of braised pork belly, maple-chipotle BBQ pork ribs, slow-smoked pulled pork, and mustard BBQ “piggy wings.” Both of these particular skillets come with western-style sausage as well.
It’s not all highly carnivorous: the Land and Sea Dinner Skillet comes with house-smoked salmon, citrus herb chicken, vegan sausage, and charred portabella mushrooms. The Vegan Dinner Skillet offers maple-chipotle BBQ jackfruit, spicy vegan sausage, mustard-glazed beefless tips, and herb-brushed trick’n chick’n.
Moving to merchandise, I don’t think any of this is new new.
These are mostly items I forgot to photograph during our last stay at Wilderness Lodge, and some readers expressed interest in seeing what’s currently available.
I love stuff like this.
If we had a cabin or eclectic design, I’d buy that frame in an instant. It’s perfect.
Maybe it’s just because I’m a proud camper, but this mug rubs me the wrong way.
It also seems like a weird thing to broadcast on a mug. It’s otherwise a cool design, but the text unnecessarily limits its target audience. I’d buy it without that.
More stuff, namely the red shirt (right) and mug (left). Nothing else is Wilderness Lodge specific.
I’m not a huge fan of the mug. It’s a cool idea, but the way the middle section removes (via velcro) just feels a bit clunky and cheap.
This is great.
Nice colors, understated design, and sharp lines. I’d be highly tempted to this in a men’s cut (then again, I didn’t look at the price…so maybe not).
The hat I got around Christmas is still available.
I haven’t worn it in a while due to the weather, but come November and December it’ll go back into regular rotation. One of my all-time favorite pieces of Walt Disney World merchandise.
Now let’s take a brief evening stroll around Wilderness Lodge.
Geyser Point is still a solid option; visiting for sunset and ordering from the lounge menu is definitely the way to go here.
This is the one detail I like from the contrived railway storyline that was added during the last expansion.
Some of the trees are starting to fill in a bit more, but this area still has a ways to go. The significantly widened sidewalks (to accommodate emergency vehicles) will always be an eyesore.
Around the main lodge, the stream/creek and more intimate walkways are still delightful. This view is one of my favorites at any Walt Disney World resort.
The boardwalk around the geyser is also still beautiful and has a more ‘natural’ vibe.
It’s also tough to beat this view–or any view–inside the main lobby. Wilderness Lodge is great any time of year, but I really can’t wait until Christmas comes around again.
Moving on to a look at some of the rooms at Wilderness Lodge…
Above is the Honeymoon Suite. To my knowledge, there are four of these rooms on the 7th floor, each having a vaulted ceiling and a large room layout.
This room is newly-reimagined, debuting within the last couple weeks or so.
I’m not sure whether this is a testing ground for the inevitable room redesign for the standard rooms at Wilderness Lodge. I don’t have any inside information on this, but I’d expect that to occur sooner rather than later given what we’ve witnessed elsewhere around Walt Disney World. To my knowledge, Wilderness Lodge is one of the few Deluxes that has yet to receive a big refurb.
Simply going off of past precedent, elements of this room style that are almost certain to be incorporated into reimagined rooms at the rest of the resort. Namely, the wood floors and more low-key headboards. These are hardly groundbreaking insights; anyone who has seen a few other new rooms around Walt Disney World would surmise the same.
Above is the bathroom. Note the large shower, which I believe used to be a large jacuzzi tub.
Overall, I’m not a fan of this design. I can’t say I’m surprised, though. Wilderness Lodge’s rooms have a lot of texture, patterns, and rustic charm…basically three things at odds with the chic modern styles Walt Disney World has chosen for other room redesigns.
Above is our room for this stay. It’s showing some wear in places, but what it needs is a refresh with new goods, not a wholesale redesign. (It also, obviously, needs bed runners added.) The core look is great–and timeless.
If any resort should retain its highly-themed character, it’s Wilderness Lodge. (Actually, both lodges.) I understand bland one-and-done guests wanting bland style, but those people can book at one of the other dozen-plus resorts that has been generified.
Wilderness Lodge is an ornately themed resort and anyone with any sense knows exactly what they’re getting when they book here. For Walt Disney World fans like us, that is exactly why we book here. If we wanted a vaguely woodsy Marriott, we’d book one.
Similar to our standard room–at least in terms of the bedroom–the Deluxe Room is pictured above.
The big difference is the living room area, which makes it great for families or larger parties.
I personally love the style of this room. I also noticed the furnishings in this room looked nicer than ours; like the furniture had just been replaced or refreshed. It’s perfect–nothing about this needs to change.
Here’s a look at the bedroom through the bathroom to give you an idea of the layout. The living room is directly behind the bedroom.
All in all, it’s a nice design that could sleep up to 6 people. (That might be tough to juggle in terms of bathroom/shower use, but it’s feasible in terms of beds.)
Finally, we’ll end this Wilderness Lodge update with a look at Happily Ever After from the resort.
This was shot from the hallway near our room–I had no idea a view like this was even possible until seeing it. This now ranks as one of my favorite views for Magic Kingdom fireworks outside the park!
What do you think of the new rooms at Wilderness Lodge? Do you prefer these to the ‘busy’ old style, or do you think they’re thematically lacking? Do you agree or disagree with our take that Wilderness Lodge should be the last place to have its theme reduced? 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!