As requested in the comments section of the Morocco post, we do what they call a “pivot” in the business world and head to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. It really rolls right off the tongue. At least I think that’s what they call a “pivot.” I have never had a job before.
I have traveled to Wilderness Lodge at least four times with the express intent of posting a construction update, but something has always come up. Above is what the area behind the main Villa building looked like in April.
This is last week. I guess that’s a lot of progress in five months? The outline of the new pool is at least visible.
Too wide from September: https://www.easywdw.com/reports13/copper_canyon.jpg
Too wide from June: https://www.easywdw.com/reports13/copper_creek_june.jpg
I believe the building here on the far left is supposed to be a new restaurant, which is a somewhat surprising addition considering Wilderness Lodge is already home to Artist Point, one of the least popular signature restaurants on property, in addition to the casual Whispering Canyon Cafe. And they’ve also got Territory Lounge, which offers a robust menu of its own. Roaring Fork is a small quick service that is adequate for the size of the resort, but perhaps not so much with the new additions. On the other hand, Disney elected to build the Villas at the Grand Floridian without any new dining options, causing Mizner’s to be overrun most nights as guests paying $750+ per night compete with Disney bloggers ordering Diet Cokes without ice.
Perhaps this will end up being a grocery store with some kind of window serving food. It would not be particularly convenient from most guest areas in the main building.
Speaking of picturesque, or a lack thereof, it doesn’t seem like the cabins’ placement along the shoreline is particularly pretty?
While an eyesore for just about everyone not standing on the deck, it’s hard to beat the Bungalows’ view across Seven Seas Lagoon of Cinderella Castle. I feel like the room types on the Wilderness Cabins are going to be “Weeds” or “Murky.”
If your Villa is on the water side, your view will be of the construction. I haven’t read that it’s been particularly disruptive to most guests, but you might chime in if you have experience.
Back inside the main building, these rooms remain walled off and have been for 6+ months.
While those on the other side remain uncovered.
One potential advantage of staying at the resort at the moment is that with so many rooms out of commission, there are very few people around, which means easy access to pool chairs, few people clogging walkways, and a more private overall experience. I’ve been to Territory Lounge two or three times in the last couple of months and the most other people that I’ve seen in there with us is six.
If you’re interested in what I think about the Wilderness Lodge Villas, then you can check out my full 1-Bedroom review here: https://www.easywdw.com/easy/resorts/villa/wilderness-lodge-1-bedroom-villa-disney-vacation-club-review/. That includes a full look around the resort as well.
For now, we’ll return to Whispering Canyon Cafe for lunch.
According to Disney: “For a rowdy, rootin’ tootin’ good time, round up the whole family for hearty western fare and antics aplenty.”
“Aplenty” might be a bit of an exaggeration as there is basically one gag that they still do. Every three minutes. The ketchup.
Anyway, like 50’s Prime Time Cafe, the number and variety of the antics has been drastically reduced over the years as the number of guests that “don’t get it” increases. I might bring a case of ketchup on my next visit and set a bottle down on every table so I don’t have to deal with it. On the other hand, it is kind of dumb to go to a restaurant where you know for a fact that all they are going to do is yell about ketchup and then complain that that is all they do. The restaurant was reasonably busy and most people looked like they were having fun.
Like most resort restaurants, lunch is a relatively inexpensive affair:
With the Pecos Bill Taco Burger at Magic Kingdom coming in at $16 and Cosmic Ray’s version topped with pork coming in at $15, these sandwiches for the same money seem like a good value virtually no matter what’s served.
The drink menu offers some unique options with the Troy & Sons and Tap 357.
The bottomless milkshakes are always popular.
We started with the $12 Gold Rush Western Chips with Chili-Queso Dip.
The response to the picture on Twitter was, “did you really just spend twelve dollars on chips and salsa. josh did you really [sic]”
And the answer is yes, I did. But the dip is packed with hot cheese, beans, and beef and there is quite a bit of it though not nearly enough to cover the overwhelming number of chips that it’s served with. If you’re sharing this among four people, it comes out to $3/person and is plenty to share. I’m not sure that it demands a purchase, but there is potentially some value here and perhaps even more so if you are planning on sharing an entree.
Speaking of Pecos Bill, this is what they serve for $12.
On a previous visit I tried the quesadilla back when it was an entree. Very good too.
I tried the $12.50 Moonshine Flight (3/4-oz pour), which arrives with Troy & Sons Platinum, Troy & Sons Oak Reserve, and Troy & Sons Blonde Whiskey. I think this must have been .75 metric ounces or whoever was pouring thought it meant .75 ounces total because the whiskey was liable to evaporate on the way to the table. We all put our hands over the top immediately after it arrived.
A double Canadian Club might be smarter.
Ashley ordered the $13 Canyon Grilled Cheese on Multigrain Bread with Tillamook Cheddar, Apple Butter, Onion Jam, Arugula, and Tomato served with your choice of French Fries, Sweet Potato Fries, or Cucumber Salad.
You know I have been to the Tillamook Cheese Factory and it is just as transcendent as you would expect. I will say first and foremost that this is not a grilled cheese but a “melt” as Reddit has taught us. Otherwise, the apple butter and onion jam contrast nicely with the melted cheddar, which there is a relatively thick layer of. Personally I could do without so much tomato but they would be happy to leave it off or you can always remove a slice. Everything was fresh and served hot with crispy bread. Very good for the money overall.
Tom ordered the $19 Chopped Bison Burger with Double Smoked Thick-cut Bacon, Jalapeño Jack Cheese, and House-made Boursin Cheese Spread with Onion Rings and Potato Wedges which is QUITE the production I must say with one of the thickest patties of meat that I’ve encountered in some time. The freshly battered, crispy onion rings and potato wedges were an outstanding change of pace compared to the usual frozen fries. It would be nice if they were offered with the other entrees though some of that probably has to do with the high price tag. The jalapeno jack cheese had a nice kick and contrasted nicely with the flavorful, creamy cheese spread. The bacon was the best that I’ve had on property and the vegetables were thick cut and fresh all in between an impossibly fresh roll. Probably the best burger that I’ve run into in a while. It’s also available with a beef patty if you prefer.
I was a bit less lucky with my Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Roasted Red Peppers and Onions, Fresh Greens, and Olive-Herb Goat Cheese Spread with your choice of French Fries, Sweet Potato Fries, or Cucumber Salad. I suppose they are trying to offer something that isn’t barbecue, but the chicken was mushy and the vegetables were just kind of wet, which made the roll soggy. It was also incredibly herb-y from the spread.
I did appreciate that they tried to grill a fresh piece of chicken rather than going with one of those circular pucks. Overall, it was a bit of a disappointment, but okay overall. I’m not mad.
I tried the cucumber salad, which I thought was a little heavy on the vinegar and red onion. If you like that sort of thing you will be in heaven though.
On a past visit, I ordered the Applewood-smoked Turkey Sandwich on Toasted Multigrain Bread with Arugula, Tomato, and Cranberry Mayonnaise, which I deemed to be a “proficient sandwich.”
A good value, particularly with quick service prices rising so much. Interestingly, chips aren’t offered as a side item anymore.
The Pulled Pork Sandwich is good here too – much higher quality than anything that you’ll find in the Parks with a healthy side of sweet potato fries and cowboy beans. Very good.
We also like the Quinoa Cakes, which I think is one of the better vegetarian entrees. A lot of fresh flavors coming together nicely.
And of course, the skillet is always popular, though it may be potentially uncomfortable to stuff yourself silly in the middle of the day. The lunch version is $7 less expensive than dinner, but omits the beef brisket.
We ended the meal with the $9 S’mores Crème Brûlée, which had a little bit of a thinner consistency than a more traditional presentation, but the pudding-like custard had a nice chocolate flavor to it and the marshmallows and graham crackers were kind of fun on top. Not an overwhelming portion, but split three ways it was a nice few bites to finish the meal.
Overall, like a lot of the resort restaurants open for lunch, Whispering Canyon Cafe exceeds expectations considering the relatively reasonable prices. I wish the shtick was a little more varied – they really only do three or four different things these days, all apparently deemed innocuous enough for even the most curmudgeon-y of bloggers.
We’ll close out this post with a few pictures of the art around what will become the Boulder Ridge Villas, one of the more pleasant areas on property to sit and relax:
Overall, just about every amenity at the Lodge remains intact. There is potentially some construction noise near the Villa wing, but that shouldn’t disturb those staying in the main building. A portion of the upper floors inside the main building remain behind walls, but that shouldn’t have a great effect on most people’s stays. And on the positive side, so many rooms out of commission potentially means a more pleasant stay with fewer people around.
It’s food and wine time!