Wilderness Lodge Christmas and Construction and Merchandise, Brief MK Visit, Territory Lounge Wings and Nachos – 12/10/14

We’ll set out for Wilderness Lodge to check out the holiday decorations, pool construction, merchandise, and Territory Lounge and then very briefly pop over to Magic Kingdom in between.

Hailing from the pacific northwest myself, I may be a bit biased, but I’ve always “felt” like Wilderness Lodge “feels” the most Christmas-y of the various resorts:

Just pretend like the tree shot works.

And yes, just about any time I see a wreath, tree, or lights, we’re going to get one of these views.

Wilderness Lodge’s Silver Creek Springs feature pool closed in early September for a refurbishment that was expected to continue until late November. The refurbishment went a few days long and reopened earlier this week.

There are no discernible changes to the pool itself, other than the fact that a gate now surrounds it. It’s not RFID-enabled like the gates that surround the Art of Animation pools. It’s strictly a safety thing.

Construction was working past 10pm to get the resort’s new kids’ water play area up and running.

It’s very similar to the Alice in Wonderland installation at the Grand Floridian.

Or the pirate-themed area at Caribbean Beach. It will be a nice addition.

Resort merchandise here is plentiful:

It’s a much larger variety than we saw at the Yacht Club.

A look at a variety of other items available in the gift shop:

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Other resort gift shops would have a similar variety.

We took the boat over to Magic Kingdom to use a Seven Dwarfs Mine Train FP+ and take a look around.

Here in the heart of Mickey’s Party Season, non-Party dates at Magic Kingdom are pretty wild. Main Street is a mess with about 90 minutes until the first Electrical Parade steps off.

Not much else to report when it’s so dark out. Baymax apples are available for the same price as the much more intricate designs.

You wonder how long until everything is wrapped in Olaf.

Cute kids’ shirt.

Something no child anywhere has ever said.

2015 merchandise is out in force. We’ll take a closer look in a separate post.

Territory Lounge at Wilderness Lodge might be my favorite on property. Artist Point, the restaurant next door, is rarely so busy that people waiting for their tables clog it up. That’s a big problem after 5pm at something like Tambu Lounge at the Polynesian or Mizner’s at the Grand Floridian (which is made much worse with the DVC addition).

A shot earlier in the day before the lounge opened at 5pm. Seating is relatively comfortable and the location is darker, quieter, and more intimate than most. Kids are welcome of course, but this location doesn’t seem to attract as many families.

Food is well above average too.

Drink menu:

This is a bit of a changeup compared to what’s been served for the last year or so. Things are a bit confusing because there are actually a couple different beer menus. There’s another that includes Abita Harvest Series, Cigar City Moduro Brown, Left Hand Milk Stout, Napa Smith Hopageddon IPA, Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale, Petrus Aged Ale, Schofferhofer Grapefruit, St. Bernardus Abt 12, and Unibroue La Fin du Monde.

On the plus side, Territory offers Widmer Hefeweizen, Redhook ESB, Moosehead, and Bud Light on draft.

I tried the “Blue” version of the Moscow Mule after enjoying the regular version at Kona a few nights prior. This one adds what I thought was an off-putting, artificial blueberry syrup that overpowered the other flavors and made it difficult to drink.

Unfortunately, Lisa didn’t enjoy her Raspberry-Ginger Mojito – Finlandia Raspberry Vodka, Ginger, Mint, Raspberry Puree, and fresh Lime Juice topped with Coconut Water any better. It suffered from a viscous, syrupy quality with an overpowering, metallic raspberry flavor . I’m not sure if other people have had better luck since going 0 for 2 is rare at Disney where drinks follow standard recipes resort wide. The Wilderness Lodge stirring sticks are a nice touch.

The food was significantly better. The Territory Lounge Crispy Chicken Wings with Celery and Bleu Cheese Dressing – $9 were a heaping portion of 12+ large, plump, freshly fried and crispy wings. They had a natural, acute spiciness that didn’t particularly linger – by far the best wings I’ve had on property and a tremendous value compared to what’s available elsewhere, including the chicken nuggets downstairs at Roaring Fork that would cost you more money. The highest recommendation.

The Pulled Pork Nachos – In-house smoked pulled pork, house-made tortilla chips, sharp cheddar cheese, cilantro sour cream, hard-apple cranberry salsa, and pickled hot peppers were a triumph at $12. Delicious tangy pork is piled high on top of the complementing sour cream and salsa. Very fresh, delicious, and a large portion for the money. The highest recommendation.

Wilderness Lodge is relatively convenient from Magic Kingdom. You can take the boat or bus over and enjoy any of the resort’s public areas. Head up the stairs or take the elevator up to enjoy some of these quieter areas next to the fire.

That’s what’s going on.


  1. William says

    I finally got to see Wilderness Lodge in person when we went in November. I didn’t know what to expect. It was easily my favorite resort I have ever been lucky enough to step into. The theming is on par and everything this have a very comfortable feel. I’m going to make sure we stay there one of these days

  2. Mike says

    Dumb question for Josh or anyone to help with our MK touring plan. Is the 7DMT FP+ entrance and ride exit farther left across from Storybook treats or further right across from Winnie the Pooh?

  3. Ellen says

    Excellent timing on this review! We leave for our stay at the Villas at Wilderness Lodge in three weeks. I think a dinner at the Territory Lounge is sounding like a great idea!

  4. Nolarookie says

    Ha! My 6 year old son got the t-shirt about crushing his to do list. He loved the pixelated Mickey, since he’s into video games. He made a photopass guy take a picture of the back of his shirt, twice.

  5. Carly says

    Thank you for this update Josh! Wilderness Lodge is tied witht the Beach Club for my favorite deluxe resort. And especially love when it’s all decorated for the holidays!

  6. Liz says

    We love to escape to the sitting areas on the upper floors of the WL. It’s like having our own private living room overlooking the lobby.

  7. Joanna says

    Love the reports! But on your merchandise pictures, there’s actually a Davy Crockett Mickey standing on a Fort Wilderness podium, not a Wilderness Lodge podium. I feel like I found a secret or something!

  8. Adge says

    Any idea why WL was decorated for x-Mas so late this year? We are going to stay here 11/15-11/21/15, kinda hoping this year was a fluke.

  9. TheLostGirlsMom says

    We had a wonderful experience with the Territory Lounge last trip. We ate apps and then ordered the kids dessert from Artist point. They loved having a puzzle to paint.

  10. Bec says

    Have Lisa try the Pimm’s Punch. It’s quite good and I am not a real sweet drink person. I got mine at Boma but they obviously have it other places.

  11. BoSoxGal says

    Wow it’s so pretty at Christmas! I am not sure we’ll ever get to stay there but we’ll def be checking it out next time we visit. Awesome pics of the decor Josh!!

  12. dusty cheatham says

    the wilderness lodge is in this humble mans opinion the best themed resort , followed by the grand flo . both sadly I cant afford to stay at . unless I only go once a year. couldn’t do that . so the ” PORT ” is my home .

  13. Dawn H says

    your photos are always lovely and make me long for a trip to Disney! I was hoping you would try those pulled pork nachos…being a non drinker I’m wondering if ‘hard’ in the description of the salsa implies alcohol content?

  14. BostonEd says

    Assuming they got the proportions right, the Manhattan should be an excellent drink. Bulleitt’s and Carpano Antica are both top-notch ingredient.

    P.S. the Moscow Mule does not traditionally have extra sweeteners (like agave nectar). Not sure why they’re adding it. (Obviously, the blueberry version is a different beast completely, but at least they’re calling it that.) I would definitely recommend trying the regular Moscow Mule, but ask that they hold the nectar.

  15. andrea says

    Love Territory Lounge..the atmosphere is spot on..and the bartenders have always been “Cheers” quality. I think that will be our night out destination this next vacation. Thanks for the great review!

  16. Steve says

    Hi Josh
    Good to meet you that night – pleased that the “jaunty” angled pics came out well and that the recommendation of the nachos held up – we managed them one more time that trip!!!
    Thanks again for all the plans and tips on the site!

  17. Kerrie says

    I love the Wilderness Lodge. I went there for the first time years ago with a 40% discount code and they got me hooked. My husband loves the territory lounge.

  18. Jill M says

    Are resort stirring sticks going to be the new “free” souvenir, now that we can’t count on Disney World napkins?

  19. Rachelle says

    How early do they put up the Christmas decorations here? Our next trip plan is to do MNSSHP and MVMCP in one trip. Is Wilderness Lodge all decorated by the time the first MVMCP happens or no? We are debating slightly where to stay. I mostly lean towards Polynesian but if the Christmas decorations were up, this would be a real possibility.

    • erin says

      We were there november 16-21 this year and the decorations were not up yet. There may have been some light decorations but no tree/swags like in these photos. Past years they have gone up around the 19th but it was later this year.

      Love both of those parties. I’d lean contemporary (walking to mk saves time and stress) with the mess that is Poly now. Is it supposed to be done by that time next year? Anyway wilderness lodge was nice and the boat transportation and busses were great. We had a letdown with some slightly unfriendly staff but a great resort overall.

  20. Kacie says

    Love WL! So did they take out baby pool to make room for the splash pad, or are they both there?

    Kinda pissed I didn’t think to try territory lounge. I guess I assumed kids wouldn’t it, but didn’t have to take them anyway. Oh well. I liked the quick service there.

    • Anonymous says

      We just got back from Disney and made a stop at the WL to see the decorations – we were super impressed with the new kids pool area – they replaced the baby pool with the splash pad – it looks like so much fun! Wish we stayed there!

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