Pull up a rocker, it's a Wilderness Lodge Trip Report!
I recently posted a WL/CL review in April. This time around is more of a TR than a review. My BLT TR is coming up soon!
DD13, DH and I stayed club level at Wilderness Lodge's Old Faithful Club from 8/21 - 30. We were celebrating our 25th anniversary and this was our 3rd stay totaling 27 nights at WL/CL in the past year. We also stayed a total of 7 nights between BWI/CL and BLT this past year.
We spent 3 wonderful nights at BLT in a one bedroom villa then drove over at 0930 to WL in four minutes flat. As usual, we were met in the port cochere by a smiling club level greeter/runner who wished us a happy anniversary and escorted us up to the 7th floor after DH parked the car.
Sterrie checked me in while DH made his way to the lounge for some pineapple, ('pre-breakfast breakfast' - more on this later). I was given two anniversary pins with "25" marked in Sharpie which we wore once to each park.
The room I had requested, 7127 was ready! It is one of only two rooms that directly face the WL courtyard and Bay Lake, 7035 is the North Wing equivalent. The newly rehabbed room looked even better in person and a CL welcome gift of chocolates was on the bed:
Our Lodgekeeper, Jonnett is a gem and is part of the reason we have twice requested 7127. She is very creative and generous with towel animals:
She truly surprised us on our last day with the most unexpected, generous and thoughtful gifts for DD:
Jonnett is an excellent housekeeper with a great attention to detail. I did notice, however, that this visit toiletries weren't being replenished. When I left a note with the tip once, I received one of each toiletry, but that was it the entire stay. (I don't know who the housekeeper was that day.) I asked the club level manager if housekeepers were now supposed to leave fewer toiletries, but he wasn't aware of any change. Later that day, I found this smiley-faced bag on our door from the manager:
We upheld our check-in day tradition of what we like to call a 'pre-breakfast breakfast'. DH has some pineapple, etc... in the lounge and then we head to WCC where he has the skillet breakfast:
All You Care To Enjoy $16.49 per person
Scrambled Eggs, roasted Red Potatoes, Bacon, Sausage, Waffles, Buttermilk Biscuits, and Sausage Gravy.
DD and I tried the spinach and feta egg white omelet and it was delicious:
Egg White Omelet - served with spinach, pico, feta, and chipotle barbecue served with roasted red potatoes and a Biscuit $11.99
As always, we were entertained by all the fun antics of the servers and DD was happy to be given a menu signed by 'Slim,' one of the hilarious CMs.
In honor of our anniversary, we ate at Artist Point on our arrival night. Our anniversary was noted in our reservation and we received two complimentary glasses of sparkling wine, (DH kindly offered his glass to me;)) and we also received some amuse bouche (a small serving/tasting of soup in this case).
DH and I ordered the Buffalo Strip Steak:
Our buffalo was disappointing as portions were inedible (tough) and the accompanying side was rather small, but quite tasty. The waitress noticed we had left some of the steak on our plate, admonished us for not telling her it was tough:confused3, then told us she had taken our most expensive appetizer off the bill, which we appreciated.
For appetizers, DD and I ordered the Smokey Portobello Soup and it was delicious:
DH loved his Alaskan King Crab and Sweet Corn Fritter. One complimentary serving of berry cobbler and three spoons was brought out for dessert which was quite tasty, but DD doesn't like cobbler, and we were never asked by our server if we wanted to order dessert so DD later ate a club level dessert.
Our server had a tendency to speak to us as she walked away to fetch water, bread etc... I would have to turn around to listen to her as she would be walking away from our table, then returning. For this level of Disney dining, I felt both the service and our main course just didn't cut it for us to want to return anytime soon.
We have really enjoyed our meals at Trail's End. We had only previously tried the TE dinner buffet which was very good. This trip, we tried the breakfast buffet and lunch and they were wonderful, too.
The best buffet dish (IMHO) is the BBQ pulled pork Eggs Benedict - wow! It was so delicious that DH doesn't care to go back to Kona Cafe for their pulled pork hash dish (The Somoan). They also offer Mickey Waffles, fresh fruit, quiche dishes, breads, eggs, meats, gravy, biscuits...
Lunch was also great! I had the catfish which was lightly breaded and pan cooked with 3 large, fluffy (not hard and crunchy) hushpuppies, a great spicy remoulade sauce and cole slaw that was warm not cold. DD and DH had the Johnny Cake BLT with a side of Hoppin' John and turnip greens, (not DD, she had the homemade chips;)).
Dessert was a big hit with this ice cream devotee. I had the Sticky Bun Sundae: Butter pecan ice cream with caramel sauce, pecans, whipped cream and a small sticky bun in the middle - served in a jar! DH liked, but wasn't crazy about, his pecan pie with a Jack Daniels whipped cream. But, DD loved her S'mores dessert made with chocolate mousse, large marshmallows and chocolate sauce.
Trail's End is located next door to Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue (Pioneer Hall), in between the horses/ponies and marina at Ft. Wilderness. It's an easy and pleasant 15 minute walk from WL or you can also take the Blue Flag boat or even the FW bus.
He (she?) watched over us both meals since we had the same table twice, but different servers:
In addition to fresh fruit, cottage cheese with pineapple, yogurt, etc... and a dessert section...
Breakfast pizza, eggs, BBQ pulled pork Eggs Benedict:
The BBQ pulled pork Benedict is delicious! It is an English muffin served with BBQ pulled pork, a bit of BBQ sauce and topped with a poached egg. It is similar to The Samoan at Kona, but DH declared it, "Even better!" This is now his favorite WDW breakfast:
BBQ pulled pork, hash browns:
Sausage links, bacon, biscuits:
Oatmeal, cheese grits, gravy:
French toast sticks, Mickey waffles, Cinnamon rolls, apple tart:
Back to WL...
One morning, I noticed that all of the bushes were being removed from the area between the WL side entrance and the bus stop. By the afternoon, all of the mature foliage had been removed and in its place were small shrubs:
This happened in almost the blink of an eye, and if I hadn't seen it in progress, I probably wouldn't have even noticed, that's how quickly everything was replaced. I asked a worker why perfectly good bushes were being removed/destroyed. He said that Disney is worried that people could hide in tall shrubbery near common areas, like walkways and bus stops so they want everything replaced with short shrubs:confused:. The next day we walked from the TTC to the Poly and workers were doing the same thing near the walkways there. Some mature bushes had been left, but they had been completely stripped of their leaves and were bare:sad2:
Club level lounge offerings were basically the same as in April with the welcome addition of sushi (and tons of wasabi) on Wednesdays:
These are the daily menus, subject to change :
Some lounge photos from August:
This WONDERFUL sign in front of the lounge made only a short appearance before the Disney Gods decided it needed formal Disney God approval (or disapproval:mad:):
Unfortunately, the beloved nightly cobbler variations/recipes changed from our previous visits. Artist Point prepares a few cobblers everyday which are served for dessert in the CL lounge. Usually there is a berry cobbler, most notably a strawberry-peach, or an apple cobbler.
This visit, a blueberry cobbler was added. The blueberry itself was delicious, though one evening the topping was undercooked underneath. A cranberry cobbler made with canned apples was also introduced, but in our opinion, it wasn't tasty. IMHO, cranberry isn't an ideal fruit for a cobbler and it tasted rather bitter and seemed more like a coffee cake rather than a cobbler. After mentioning the changes we noticed to the CL manager, he spoke to the new Artist Point cook and kindly requested the return of the strawberry/peach and apple cobblers. Unfortunately, instead of sliced apples being used in the apple cobbler, as in the past, it was being made with small apple squares from a can. And, when the strawberry/peach cobbler returned, the peaches were no longer fresh, but frozen and they were unripened and hard.
None of this is earth shattering, but it is a noticeable change we saw in the 4 months between stays and it was disappointing, but beyond the control of CL staff.
As of our departure 8/30, Flag Family was still on hold due to the continued roofing work, as seen in this photo:
I have more VWL/WL information on the first page of the WL THREAD and I will be updating the first page soon with more recent photos. I leave you with some random shots of WL/VWL...
Great TR!! Glad you enjoyed your stay at WDW:cool1:
Thank you Kook!!! It was wonderful reading your report and reliving our trip!!
I notice they must have gone through and replaced the headboards....because they hadn't done ours yet, though we had a refurbished room, we still had the brown headboard.
And we didn't get the blankets across the bottom.
And we didn't get SUSHI!!!! The menu looks fantastic!! We did have the version chili, scallops wrapped in bacon, and chicken wings...but the rest of the stuff looks amazing too!!!
You know, I had changed (of course), to a 5/5 split stay between Yacht Club and Poly CL....but this report definitely makes me think twice....oh, how I love the WL!!! :goodvibes
Hi KOOK :wave2: welcome home! Just quickly read the TR, I am on my way out to a meeting, so I couldn't study the menus etc. However, I will re-read tomorrow morning at my leisure, cup of coffee in hand :coffee: So, glad you had such an amazing trip!
Thank you for your awesome review! I enjoyed reading it and looking at your pictures.
Kookalicious! Back to reality. Boo! Thanks for this most lovely trip report...
:cheer2: You're really making me want to stay there. Adore the sign on the bear; maybe it will mysteriously reappear.
It's a gorgeous lounge, isn't it? Looks very spacious. Sorry about the cobbler shenanigans, shame when they mess with a good thing.
Very curious about those shrubs being taken out. :scratchin
Okay, now I'm REALLY ready to get back to WL. :goodvibes As always, love your report and your opinions (though I *am* hoping your Artist Point experience was a fluke -- we'll be dining there in November).
Thus far unable to convince my husband we need to IMMEDIATELY go to WDW when our house closes, so my new plan is to quietly add a few days to our November reservation. Shhhhh....:rolleyes1:
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and photos!
kook I'm here enjoying your trip report .... just sittin in my rocker waiting for my turn at WL!!! :rotfl2:
Thank you so much for posting this! You have officially convinced my husband to switch our ALK CL trip to a WL CL trip simply due to the food options!
Can you tell me what you think of the pool and if from your room you were able to see the ELP? I am thinking that your view is EXACTLY what we want!:goodvibes
Thanks wdwkook we love the WL!!!! We are heading down Oct 30th!! Can't wait!! We love all the pictures and info you post!! Our 2 DD's get all worked up every time they see pictures of the WL!! Just wanted to thank you for putting the effort in!! Thanks again!!
Ooops forgot to ask you .... We also stay on he club level, but we're wondering about bunk beds ours 2 DD's love bunkbeds!! Do they have them? in the past we only had 2 queens!! Can't wait for Sunday night scallops in bacon!! Yumm. Thanks again!!
Thank you for the TR Kook and all the pictures! Between your report and that of my co-worker who just returned to work today after her first stay at WL I'm soooo excited for our upcoming stay I can hardly stand it!!!:yay:
What a fantastic view from your room too!!
Oh gosh... I almost wish I hadn't looked at all your wonderful pics & read your report!
I'm going to miss the WL SO MUCH!! I dearly hope we like the CR - the WL is just going to be so hard to beat!
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