Disney, Disney Springs, Family Fun

Wilderness Lodge Or Art of Animation- Which Is Right For You?

Wilderness Lodge or Art of Animation-which is right for you? With magical places to stay, what better way to bring in the new year than visiting the Walt Disney World Resort and ringing in the new year together.  Two “Gals” of the Disney Gals team did just that.  Staying at the Wilderness Lodge or Art of Animation, these two gals got “the dish” on the two resorts to help you decide which one is the right resort for your family.  So let’s take a closer, side-by-side look so you can decide for yourself. Wilderness Lodge or Art of Animation-which is right for you?


Opening in May of 2012 The Art of Animation is considered a value resort (although this Christmas it was no value at 209 per night for a standard room).  This resort gets an A+ in its life-size theming which takes its guests right in the middle of  Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid.  The first three are family suites (1120 in all) housing up to 6 guests at 565 sq ft.  I long to stay in Radiator Springs however, I am reporting The Little Mermaid section which houses 864  standard size rooms at 277 sq. ft. From check-in, guests are immersed in the world of animation!    

animation hall Wilderness Lodge Or Art of Animation- Which Is Right For You?


Check-in – delightfully helpful cast members!


The walls of the lobby show animation in action.

cars photo on wall

Hundreds of sketches fill the halls of the lobby.

Animation stations set up outside the lobby.  

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Wilderness Lodge Or Art of Animation- Which Is Right For You?


From the moment you drive through the gate, you can see why staying Disney’s Wilderness Lodge means you are in for most magical stay as only Disney can provide.Wilderness Lodge Or Art of Animation- Which Is Right For You?

One of the Walt Disney World Deluxe Resorts located right on Bay Lake and the Seven Sea Lagoon across from the Magic Kingdom, you quickly forget that you are in the heart of Florida instead of America’s great Northwest.

Disney's-Wilderness-Lodge Wilderness Lodge Or Art of Animation- Which Is Right For You?

You are immediately transported to a place not ever thought of in conjunction with the Florida everglades from being surrounded by the forest where the lodge is located to the rustic majesty of the Wilderness Lodge itself.  Inspired by turn-of-the-century National Park lodges, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge celebrates American craftsmanship and honors the beauty of the untamed wilderness.

Disney's Wilderness-Lodge Wilderness Lodge Or Art of Animation

Throughout the expansive property, you are able to truly soak in the splendor of the great outdoors, from nature trails through pine forests to rocking chairs that overlook a murmuring creek.

Disney's-Wilderness-Lodge Lodge Wilderness Lodge Or Art of Animation

The lobby is adorned with those special touches throughout from towering totem poles, headdresses, and more. There is just nothing better than sinking into a plush leather armchair in front of the roaring fireplace or sitting out on the deck in one of the rocking chairs and enjoying the serenity the Pacific Northwest can bring.


It is attention to Disney detailing at its very best.

Disney's-Wilderness-Lodge Lodge Wilderness Lodge Or Art of Animation

A place to put your head down…

Time to sleep at the Art of Animation!  Our room was delightful although a tight squeeze for a family of four.  You can sleep on a full-size clam bed,  check your itinerary at a small table with two chairs, or unpack with three small drawers in a tv stand with a fridge hidden inside.  This room had the basics (minus the coffee pot) and was clean and well maintained.  No complaints from my three non-loving mermaid boys as the decor is tastefully decorated and Ariel is only on the shower curtain!  I loved the theming and princess/mermaid loving children would be delighted! (side-note: I’m 5’8″ and my legs hung off the end of the bed).


inside the shower…

shower c

room divider

The Outside… positively enchanting but make sure you have your walking shoes on (see “on the go”)

mermaid rooms

The Little Mermaid – Building 8 – farthest away from the world…


King Triton -Building 9 – views of pool and parking

Ursula – Building 7 – views of pool, lake and Pop Century Resort


Some of Ariel’s treasures

Putting your head down in luxury at The Wilderness Lodge

From the moment you enter your room at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, it’s the first-class luxury from start to finish. From the Northwest theming throughout and of course those special hidden Disney touches, the room boasts in beds so soft I thought I might never leave them, free in-room wi-fi, coffee maker, in-room mini-fridge and a sink area separate from the bath area.  The spaciousness of the room will comfortably fit up to a family of 4 and at night enjoy the private deck and sit back and watch the Electrical Water Pageant right from the comfort of your room or watch the sun come up over Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon as you get ready to start your day.  It’s easy to see why Disney Wilderness Lodge is rated deluxe from start to finish.

The Room Is Luxury Start To Finish

Disney's-Wilderness-Lodge Lodge Wilderness Lodge Or Art of Animation



With Those Special Disney Touches




And A Bathroom That Makes It Possible For Everyone To Get Ready At Once


Disney's-Wilderness-Lodge Wilderness Lodge vs. Art of Animaltion-which is right for you?

And Those h2O Products You’ve Come to Love


On the Go (transportation)

The bus stop at Art of Animation ROCKS!  There is one main bus stop located in front of the resort.  The buses made only one stop and were frequent.  We never waited more than 5-10 minutes and this was Christmas week.  The rides to all four theme parks seemed quick and reasonable.  Actually we spend a long time getting to the bus stop from our room than waiting for a bus.  (weird note: when you take the bus and it lets you off at the gift shop and you have to walk through).  Request buildings 7 or 9.  We did months in advance because they were closest to the bus area.  However, we were in building 8 in the last room.  It was a long-distance from anything.


gift shop

Ink and Paint Shop – the gift shop you walkthrough

On the go from the Wilderness Lodge


One of the best parts of staying at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is the wide variety of transportation options. For me, it was all about starting the day off by walking over to the boat docks and hopping aboard one of several boats for an easy and relaxing journey across Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon to either the Magic Kingdom or directly to the Wilderness Resort & Campgrounds as well as Disney’s Contemporary Resort. From the Contemporary Resort, it was easy to board the monorail to head over to one of the other deluxe resorts that are a part of the monorail loop, or to the Ticket and Transportation Center for a quick monorail ride to Epcot. Between boats and monorails, it was like starting your magical day before ever stepping foot inside the Parks.  Of course like all of the other Walt Disney World Resorts complimentary bus service is readily available to take you to wherever you need to go.

Swimming Time

“Under the Sea” has never been such fun swimming at the Art of Animation Resort.  There are three themed pools: The  Flippin Fins Pool in the Little Mermaid area,

mermaid pool Wilderness Lodge vs. Art of Animaltion-which is right for you?

The Cozy Cone Pool in Radiator Springs,


and The Big Blue Pool the largest pool in a Disney Resort.

blue pool

This picture doesn’t do this pool justice.  It is beautiful!  There is music piped in under the water so make sure to take a dive! There are lots of activities that take place during the day!  Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming! Also, make sure you visit the poolside bar – The Drop Off! Tell then Nemo sent you!

the drop off

Swimming in the Wilderness

Surround yourself in the Silver Creek Springs Pool and the Hidden Springs Pools, complete with a children’s splash pool.


Silver Creek Springs Pool


Follow the bubbling Silver Creek to discover a dazzling heated pool surrounded by pine trees and boulders. At Silver Creek Springs Pool, zip down the exciting 67-foot waterslide built into the rocks, and relax in the hot and cold whirlpool spas. Children can even splash about in their own kiddie pool.

Sadly the Hidden Spring Pool was undergoing a magical transformation along with the Spa and the Cub’s Den Children’s Center.

Recreation Time

As much as there is to see and do at each of the Parks that make up Walt Disney World, some days it’s just nice to take the day and enjoy all of the many amenities that the resorts have to offer. From the New Balance Running Trail to bike rental to being able to sit right on the beach and watch the Electrical Water Pageant which because of the location of my room, I could actually sit out on the balcony each night and enjoy, there’s something for the most active or laid back lifestyle and everything in between.

Bike Rentals


Ride along tree-lined paths, through lush meadows, past tranquil canals and more. Both adult and children’s bikes are available, and a number of children’s bikes have training wheels. For extra fun how about a Surrey Bike for 2 or 4? Choose a 2-person, 4-person, or 6-person Surrey bike for an outing that’s fun for the whole family! Bikes are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, and helmets and child seats are complimentary with bike rentals.  Florida law requires bicyclists under 16 years of age to wear helmets, and Guests must remain within the Resort area where the bike has been rented.

Electrical Water Pageant

Disney's-Wilderness-Lodge Lodge Wilderness Lodge Or Art of Animation

Whether it’s sitting on the beach or from your room, at 9:30 each night get ready for great sea creatures and twinkling flags cross the lagoon to electronic tunes in this playful nighttime water parade. Charming sea creatures both mythical and natural light up the lagoon, with a bright green sea monster leading the way! Delight to a variety of Disney tunes, in the same musical style as the Main Street Electrical Parade. As this nighttime parade on water progresses, the sea creatures are joined by flashing American flags with twinkling stars! A medley of inspiring patriotic songs plays along as the stars and stripes float on the shimmering lagoon surface.


Time to Eat!

Landscape of Flavors is the place to eat at Art of Animation.  This food court has rave reviews due to its fresh foods and a variety of flavors.  We were not impressed.  It seemed overpriced (13.99 make your own salad) and there was a very long wait every time we went.  There are several stations so while you waited for food in one station, your food from the other stations gets cold.  Please check the children’s menu before you go if you have picky eaters.  We found not that much to choose from and the portions were so small we had to order multiple meals.  We did hear several people complain to the cast members about portion sizes while we were there.  With that said the cast members were most likely overworked but positively happy and delightful! I think Gayle had me beat on food choices! I was jealous just looking at her room service plate.

menu pics

The Wilderness Lodge

Some of the Walt Disney World Resort’s best-known dining is right here at Disney Wilderness Lodge.  

Disney's-Wilderness-Lodge Wilderness Lodge vs. Art of Animaltion-which is right for you?

Roaring Fork For a quick service meal on the go, rush by for a rapid repast: continental and hot breakfast served in the morning and gourmet sandwiches, grill items, and pizza later on. Try a roast beef bleu cheese sandwich or a signature Wilderness Salad. Beer and wine are also available.

Roaring fork, wilderness lodge

Whispering Canyon- People from far and near come to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge just to eat at the Whispering Canyon Cafe.

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Located right in the lobby as you enter the resort, the atmosphere and the food cannot be beat. With fun served in oversized helpings, this family-style eatery is the perfect sit down meal for the entire family. Come hungry and don’t forget to ask for catsup!



Artist Point – Ask Walt Disney Resort experts to ask what is one of the best restaurants for fine dining and almost always the top response is Artist Point and it’s easy to see why. Here in the warm ambiance of this charming restaurant, inspired by the dining rooms of cherished National Park lodges complete with dramatic murals that capture the spirit and romance of the American frontier, and ornate iron lanterns are suspended from tremendous timber columns guests can select from specialties from the Pacific Northwest, with a focus on seafood, sirloin, and game. Though menu options change seasonally, the kitchen’s signature dish is a cedar plank-roasted salmon. For dessert, try the chef’s Artist Point Cobbler, made from seasonal berries, and topped with house-made black raspberry ice cream.

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Even room service at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge comes with that special Disney theming we’ve come to know and love. From custom made pizza’s to kid’s meals all the Mickey Healthy Check seal of approval to sandwiches, salads, and other delectable treats, there’s truly something for every pallet and taste.  Wanting to be at rope drop? No worries as your breakfast order can be placed on your door any time before 2:00 am and will be at your room bright and early at the time you requested.

Lodge Wilderness Lodge Or Art of Animation

We enjoyed our stay at Art of Animation and I am glad I can check it off my Disney “Bucket list”.  A family of three or a family of four with two little mermaid lovers would be perfectly suited for this hotel.  If I returned I would choose to stay in the Cars section but at over 380 plus a night for the family suite…I’ll save for Gayle’s choice – The Wilderness Lodge... did someone say “room service”?


I have to admit, although I was intrigued by Disney’s Wilderness Lodge because after all, it is one of the Deluxe Resorts of Walt Disney World, I had always put it off, thinking that it was similar to my very own Disney’s Grand Californian, located at my home park, the Disneyland Resort-but now that I’ve had the once in a lifetime experience of staying here for a week, nothing could be further from the truth.  With its perfect location, styling straight out of the best that the majestic Northwest has to offer and a room overlooking the Seven Seas Lagoon and all the serenity that goes with it, not to mention the most comfortable beds I have ever slept in, and a perfect location in the Magic Kingdom area of Walt Disney World.Wilderness Lodge Or Art of Animation- Which Is Right For You?

It’s easy to see what makes Disney’s Wilderness Lodge a Deluxe Resort and one of the very best of the best at that. Now it’s your turn. Wilderness Lodge or Art of Animation- Which Is Right For You?  For more information about all of the Disney Resorts visit https://disneyworld.disney.go.com.