Visiting Wilderness Lodge from Fort Wilderness

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August 6th 2019
Published: August 10th 2019
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We made it to Disney World! We got up early for our 6am Central flight, ran through our connection in Atlanta, and arrived in Orlando at 11:15 Eastern. Disney is absolutely excellent at helping make people's vacations easy to enjoy. We made our way through the airport to the Magical Express, boarded our complimentary shuttle, and left almost immediately for our resort. The kids enjoyed watching the Disney videos on the shuttle, and we arrived at our Fort Wilderness Resort around noon. I'll go into more detail on our resort on another blog post. For now, I wanted to share our first dinner experience.

There's another Disney resort, Wilderness Lodge, that is a short ferry ride away from our resort. Disney has two complimentary ferries that do a loop, going from Fort Wilderness to Wilderness Lodge to The Contemporary and then back to Fort Wilderness. So, even though we're staying at Fort Wilderness, it's easy to hop over to Wilderness Lodge for their amenities (and vice versa).

Wilderness Lodge has a newish character meal at Artist Point called Princess Storybook Dine. Snow White, the evil queen, Dopey, and Grumpy are there. We snagged reservations for 5:50pm. At 4:45, we went to hop on the ferry. The captain of our ferry was so kind. I tried to take a quick photo of Joanna with the ferry while we waited for Andrew and Oliver, who were just down the dock. He insisted Joanna pose with the ferry so I could take a proper photo.

We arrived at Wilderness Lodge about 5 minutes later. It's a short walk to the main lobby area. The Wilderness Lodge pool was jumping and full of people. There was a splash pad area the kids wanted to play in, but the pool and splash pad are only open to resort guests (that is, you need to be a guest of Wilderness Lodge to use that pool and splash pad). I checked us in. It wasn't even 5pm yet, and the woman checking us in let me know they were running about 10 minutes behind. She took Andrew's cell number and said we'd get a text when our table was ready.

We checked out the lobby area. I'd heard so much about how impressive the lobby and fireplace were. I thought it was just kind of cute. Maybe I wasn't impressed because it was hyped up so much! It reminded me a lot of Park Meadows Mall in Lone Tree, Colorado. So, to me, it felt like being in a mall. There were even a number of shops throughout the area. We walked down to the geyser area. Disney has created a geyser like Old Faithful. We arrived and chatted with a nice couple who were local to the area. They told us the geyser goes off on the hour, and we had just missed it. We weren't going to sit outside for an hour, as it was hot and muggy. So, instead, we ended up playing at the arcade for awhile, which was a ton of fun. They had good games (I played pinball).

A few minutes after our reservation time, I checked in again just to see how long the wait would be. There was still awhile to go. We walked back down to see the geyser, which was actually kind of cool. It made me want to take the kids to Yellowstone some day soon.

After the geyser, we went back to the lodge and waited some more. We used restrooms, browsed the shops, and finally hung out in chairs near the hostess stand. At this point, we were absolutely ravenous. We had a very small breakfast at 4am that morning, and we grabbed a slice of pizza when we arrived at our resort at noon. Now it was after 6pm, and the kids were going to melt down. We were finally led to our table, but the server took a long time to come. Oliver started to cry about how hungry he was. Even though every table gets the same appetizers, they still took a long time to come. I think it was because we were so hungry, but the slow service felt ridiculous. Once the first round of food came, we were in much better moods and enjoyed our experience.

Snow White came dancing in when it was our time to meet the queen. The queen glared at her. After Snow White left, I leaned in and said to the queen, "Wow, she's lovely, isn't she?" The queen was not pleased.

Snow White, Dopey, and Grumpy went around meeting people at tables. Dopey was the best. Joanna told him she loves the part of the movie when he eats soap and it comes out of his mouth and ears. Dopey started laughing and miming the soap coming out of his ears. It was really cute!

The food was all OK. Almost everything was done for show. Unfortunately, sometimes, it seemed the taste of the food was compromised for presentation. The menu had recently changed. I was looking forward to a butternut squash soup, but it was a mushroom bisque. I like mushrooms, but it had an almost overpowering mushroom flavor. I was the only one at the table who would eat it. I think it's mushroom to look like a witch's brew inside the miniature cauldrons the soup came in. Kids are brought veggies and fruit, and theirs was presented on a plate spilling out of a flower pot. It had some sort of "dirt" all over it, which was probably crushed Oreos, but the kids wouldn't touch it.

For drinks, Andrew and the kids each got a magic color changing lemonade. Lemonade was brought out, and then the server poured in a magic potion (blackberry syrup, I think) that changed the color of the lemonade to blue. I decided to try an adult drink called the smoking mirror because it sounded cool. It was pretty cool. They brought out a glass filled with wood smoke. The smoke poured out, and the server poured in various drink ingredients. Unfortunately, the drink was very strong. I couldn't drink it. At least it didn't cost us any extra on the dining plan, and it looked cool at the table.

Our entrees were the best part. The gnocchi I'd ordered was very good. Andrew's vegan chicken was a bit too rubbery, so we split my entree. Joanna ordered chicken and seemed pleased. Oliver ordered plain pasta, no sauce, and was pleased with his plain pasta.

Now onto the dessert! This was another showy part of the meal. Everything is brought out as little tasters, which is really perfect after a large meal. We had two miniature poisoned chocolate apples for the kids, and two vegetarian apples for Andrew and me. The kids got some sort of mining cake in a little glass. It had layers of "dirt" and "mud" with candy gems inside. They got little shovels to dig out the gems and eat them, which delighted them both. Andrew and I got a tapioca pudding instead, and it was flavored with something I still can't put my finger on (perhaps rose?). Lastly, the server brought out the huntsmen's heart. It might sound a bit morbid. Actually, maybe it was a bit morbid! Again, presentation was a big part of this. The server came out with a chest. He opened it, and the smoke from dried ice (or something) poured out. He opened a smaller box and revealed blood-red chocolate hearts and caramel corn pieces, which he poured out onto a plate, which was served on the fanciful tree at our table.

In all, the meal was showy and memorable. Our meal was slow to start, but we forgave them once we had food in our bellies. It was an excellent value on our dining plan. Still, I'm not sure I'd do the meal again. The food just wasn't that good. Perhaps I'd go again if my kids asked for the meal or really wanted to meet the dwarves again. Otherwise, if it was up to me, it'd be a pass.

After our meal, we walked down to the docks. The ferry came almost immediately. We had a different captain this time, but he was just as wonderful. He sang Disney songs the whole time we were on the boat. He sang Tale as Old as Time and Can You Feel the Love Tonight. We enjoyed our ferry ride very much, and Andrew tipped him for the "show."

It was pretty late when we got back, so we decided to stay there at the beach for the fireworks. The kids played checkers at the checkers table until they started. I was impressed with how much we could see--they didn't seem that far away! I'll share more on our resort (Fort Wilderness) soon!

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