Wilderness Lodge Update: New Rooms, Merchandise & Photos
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.
This shirt is pretty cool.
The white shirt to its right is an awesome Reyn Spooner Yosemite National Park shirt. (There’s also a Joshua Tree NP shirt I love even more.)
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!
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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!
Durable Berber carpet doesn’t bother me, but I understand the move to a hard surface and am not bothered by it. I definitely appreciate the high beds allowing storage underneath and some of the other ease or stay type changes. That’s more or less where my approval of the updates ends. I don’t see why they feel the need to make the furniture and decor so bland. Even if they want to tone some of the busier or brighter stuff down, there is more than enough room to do so while keeping on theme. Whichever hotel I chose, I want to clearly see that choice when I walk into the room!
“I’m a glamper, not a camper.” Blasphemy indeed! If you ain’t in a sleeping bag, on a sleeping pad, in a tent, you might as well be in a hotel!
Glamping… As horrendous as my grammar!
I love WL and its shares the top spot of my WDW resort with Poly. With that being said, I stayed recently at Copper Creek studio villa and I was underwhelmed by the modern style of the room compared to the studio villas at Poly or Boulder Ridge. Just like you I love the highly themed rooms and wish they would leave them alone.
I went to Whispering Canyon also on my recent trip and I enjoyed it. I am glad they didnt change the atmosphere because its seemed everyone was having a jolly time in the restaurant with the servers’ hijinks. We ate the land and sea and it was delicious. I was surprised my favorite part of the dish was the spicy vegan sausage and I am far from being a vegan or vegetarian.
I love the WL merchandise. I bought one of those new style tshirts. The National Parks should use these ideas with their merchandise. I hope the continue to use the Mickey/Donald/Goofy/Humphrey totem pole in merchandise. I think I bought every piece of merchandise with the totem pole including the two in your photo. At least when Disney puts those “witty” sayings on merchandise, like the camper mug as you stated, my wallet stays safe in my pocket since those sayings are annoying.
I have a friend staying at WL currently with almost the same view as you – she is a bit to the left. Anyway, they just cut down that tree! She stated the first night the tree was blocking the castle and realized the next day they could see the castle. She posted a before and after shot, so maybe the room you stayed in will be perfect now!
I wonder if you’re able to ask for a room with a view of the fireworks…?
We have stayed at the lodge since it opened. We bought at copper Creek and the decor is NOT Wilderness Lodge appropriate. They need to stay with the theme.much agreed
Boulder ridge is much better than Copper Creek. Have stayed at both and boulder has more of the Wilderness charm.
I we just returned from a splint stat WL deluxe room fit our family of 6 and Bay Lake Tower. I was immediately saddened by the sterility of BLT. I missed the cozy warm details of WL.
We lucked out and got pretty much the same view when we stayed there last December. We watched the fireworks from our bed! It’s definitely going to be hard to top that, especially for our kids who also lucked out with bunk beds! It was amazing! My husband got me the picture frame for Christmas and I love it! We don’t really have a rustic theme going, but it’s a nice addition to our Disney memorabilia cabinet. We fell in love with Wilderness Lodge and my kid’s want to go back just to visit now.
We will be heartbroken if they change the feel of the rooms at Wilderness. It is our favorite resort as well due to the feel of the rooms. Stop making everything so blah and boring already. I know where you got that picture. We discovered that view 4 years ago. People walked by and thought we were crazy for standing there, but by the end we started to draw a crowd. Now we hang there every trip!
How do you get to the picture of the fireworks at WL? What hallway and is it tight viewing?
I am hoping that wasn’t club level.
Yes I’d love specific directions to that window!
We just stayed at the wilderness lodge for the first time last weekend and I loved the theming in the room! There are so many small details that matter like the headboard, the lamps, and the tiles in the shower.
I’m not the biggest fan of either room design. The original looks very busy, and the oversized furniture is too big for the room, making it feel cramped. That’s not a good feeling for a deluxe resort. The new room looks too plain and not well themed.
Wow! That last pic of MK is amazing. WL is where we always stay. Did not realize that view was available…I guess the “new” villas (less trees) has opened that up. I’m guessing high floor rooms on that wing have the same view?
Ugghh that honeymoon sweet looks like you’re staying at Bible camp. All these “chic” re-designs are devoid of charm. Who is this re-designer and why hasn’t he and his entire family been sent to the gulags???
Right on the money…Bible camp, not that I’ve ever been. But that room would struggle to be blander. Not what I remember fondly about WL.
We were there this past December for a weekend and I bought that frame. It is starting to become a tradition for my souvenir to be a frame from the resort we are staying in.
It is an incredible frame!
That top room is hideous ugly. Why do resorts feel they need to make everything look chic boutique. Another big name kids waterpark resort chain is doing the same thing. They are removing all the rustic wood furnishings to modernize. Arent these places for kids and kids at heart. Disney needs to stop ruining everything
My thoughts exactly!!! If they want to update Wilderness Lodge, update it the “right” way not the standard refurb that apparently Disney wants to do to all their resort rooms. It used to be each resort you got a different experience in the room you stayed in. It seems now, the only diff experience you get is out in the resort, ends at the door way when you enter the room. I guess it’s time to start booking at my Bonnet Creek Resorts.
Hey what was the room number..lol
Of all the resort clothing I’ve seen so far (thanks to your reporting) this is by far more along my personal taste where I’d wear it around everyday.
As for the view, wow. I’m wondering if there are views on the other side where any possible tree clearing and construction of Reflections is visible. I was so sad to hear that the walking paths between Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness will be closed when we’re there in December. Not sure how we’ll get to Trail’s End for breakfast! Bike rentals will be out as option.
Thanks for the update!
I’m very excited for hardwood floors (I think it looks nicer and it will match the CCV side) but I wish that change didn’t have to come with a general de-emphasizing of theme. Even a darker wood would help it feel more rustic.
If any decision makers from Disney are reading this — pleeeease don’t mess with the headboards, which are fantastic. Also, the red and dark blue color scheme adds much needed warmth to the room, leaving it woodsy yet cozy. Every room in Disney does not need to look like a moderate hotel or a college dorm room, stripped of all personality! BTW, my sister and I are going to Disney in December. We’d love to see the fireworks from that hall. Where is it?
I had seen that mug when we stopped into Wilderness Lodge last month and I had the same reaction. I’m also a camper but I just thought it was funny to sell to people who are going for an outdoors vibe to declare them basically not outdoorsy. I hope they don’t pare down any new room refurbs as much as they did the honeymoon suite. Feels like some of the wilderness essence is gone. Thanks for the update!
We stayed in club level in April and that was the view we had. Absolutely love this resort. We had thought the Polynesian was our favorite, but the Wilderness Lodge was a pleasant surprise. Going back again end of August.
To add a little note info: we had reserved a “cheap” stay at Coronado Springs for the last week on August, but after our experience in April at Wilderness Lodge and then the AP discount, we made the switch to stay there again.