There is just something about the Wilderness Lodge that cheers “Christmas!”, don’t you agree? If you’re planning to do a little resort hopping this holiday season, you’re going to need this handy Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Christmas Guide!
Filled with pine forest nature trails, murmuring creeks, and towering totem poles, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge celebrates American craftsmanship while honoring the majesty of the untamed wilderness.
Whether it is the crackling embers of the Grand Fireplace or the rustic rocking chairs that sit nestled beside it, the lodge’s cozy National Park motif shines brightest at Christmastime.
Come with me and find out why!
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Visiting Disney’s Wilderness Lodge for Christmas At a Glance:
- No admission is required to visit the Wilderness Lodge; however, you may need a dining reservation to be able to park onsite. You can avoid this by parking at Disney Springs and taking the bus over to the resort.
- You’ll be able to explore all of the beautiful Disney Christmas decor at Wilderness Lodge
- Be sure to wear some festive and holiday-themed clothing to get the best Disney Christmas pictures while you’re here
- Don’t forget to check out the incredible food and entertainment on property
Keep reading to get a full guide on how to explore this Disney resort like a pro!
Outside Disney’s Wilderness Lodge at Christmas
Cheerful vibes abound from the moment you arrive at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Lodge!
Starting at the passage way, you’ll find garland swags hanging from the railings, spays of pine straddling the lanterns, and a giant tribal wreath welcoming guests from far and wide.
Even the bus stop is decked out with decorative garland and a traditional Christmas wreath.
You can tell from just one glance, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Christmas go perfectly together.
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A Rural Retreat: Why We Love Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Christmas Decorations
Tranquility is a word you rarely hear to describe Walt Disney World. Yet, at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, it is the first word that comes to mind.
Since 1994, this pastoral lodge has served as a peaceful rural retreat for its guests, especially during the holiday season.
The enormous 8-story naturalist lobby lends itself to the addition of pine trees, garland, and wreathes.
Each carving and totem pole is accentuated by holiday décor, while the oversized rocking chairs in front of the fireplace add a warmth (literally and figuratively) to the surrounding space.
Unlike the Life-Size Gingerbread Display at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, the themeing isn’t forced, nor does it take over the entire footprint of the lobby. In fact, quite the contrary.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Christmas Tree
Inside the lobby stands a towering 60-foot fan-favorite Christmas tree, festooned from limb to limb with a unique collection of ornaments that pay homage to western, southwest, and Native American culture.
Look closely and you will find woodland critters, faux antlers, glowing teepees, tiny canoes, Dreamcatchers, and miniature lanterns with silhouettes of varying wildlife.
Out of all the resort Christmas trees at the Walt Disney World Resorts, this is the most popular. Now, you can see why!
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The Little Christmas Trees at Wilderness Lodge
When it comes to stature and theme, there is no greater display than the aforementioned Disney’s Fort Wilderness Christmas tree.
However, there are also several smaller trees scattered throughout the resort, adding a little touch of good cheer everywhere you go.
I especially love these trees because they offer an easy going photo opportunity, while their size allow you to still capture some of the lodge’s interior architecture.
And speaking of photo opportunities…
A Beautiful Bridge at Wilderness Lodge
One of the things fans love most about Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is the Disney in the details, such as this adorable little cross bridge.
This cozy spot features a garland clad bridge set over a babbling brook. No, really! The water literally runs outside into the Silver Creek Falls! How cool is that?!
So, take a break from the traditional “in front of a tree” pose and try something a bit more rustic and romantic, along with a healthy dose of natural light, due to the floor to ceiling windows throughout.
Take a Sleigh Ride at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Ever wish you could take a cozy “sleigh” ride through a winter wonderland without freezing!? Well, now you can!
Get in the spirt of the season by traveling through the scenic tails of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge festive campground.
Perfect for couples and families, this unforgettable horse drawn ride is $75 (price is subject to change at anytime) to ride and fits up to 4 adults.
Just be sure to book in advance, as space for this cozy carriage is extremely limited.
Special Holiday Treats and Food at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Starting mid-November, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge will present an array of specialty holidays treats to enjoy.
These little sweet delights are packed full of sugar and spice and everything nice!
Be sure to keep an eye out on the Disney Parks Blog for their annual holiday foodie guide.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Christmas Feast!
There are so many delectable food options at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, especially at Christmastime.
It’s not just the season menu changes, but the selection of food and feasts fits just right for the holiday. Why? Because no matter where you go from grub, it’s all comfort food.
Storybook Dining at Artist Point
The Storybook Dining at Artist Point is a Character Dining experience, allowing guest to meet and interact with Snow White, the Evil Queen, Grumpy, and Dopey.
Whispering Canyon Cafe
The Whispering Canyon Cafe is also a popular table service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Fitting the theme, the restaurant serves up its meals in all-you-can-eat skillets.
Known for its zany antics, this is a great lighthearted and filling option for a big group meal. OH – And be sure to ask for ketchup while you’re there!
A Very Merry Meal on December 25, 2023:
Whispering Canyon Cafe Christmas Meal
- Savor cornbread
- A fresh house salad
- Your choice of 3 all-you-care-to-enjoy skillets—including the Holiday Skillet: a skillet featuring Moonshine-glazed ham, slow-smoked pulled pork, Western-style sausages, maple-chipotle pork ribs, apple-cornbread stuffing, sautéed green beans, buttered corn, and smashed Yukon potatoes.
Be sure to leave room for some dessert!
Pricing for This Disney Holiday Meal
- Adults (ages 10 and up): $47 per person, plus tax and gratuity
- Children (ages 3 to 9): $28 per person, plus tax and gratuity
Geyser Point Bar and Grill
The Geyser Point Bar and Grill is a bit of a hidden gem! Serving some of the best quick service food in all of Walt Disney World, this scenic restaurant provides lakeside views.
Enjoy dining from the comfort of your lounge chair or at a table on the restaurant’s spacious outdoor deck.
Last year, Geyser Point Bar and Grill showcases a holiday special, served as either a complete flight or individual drink order, Martinis Around the World:
- Key Lime Pie – Lime juice, simple syrup, and rum with green sugar rim
- Poinsettia – Brut Champagne and cranberry
- Italian Manhattan – Bourbon, vermouth, bitters, grenadine, and cranberry with maraschino cherries
- Caribbean Cream – Rum, cinnamon cream liqueur, and cream with nutmeg and green sugar rim
The Roaring Fork is the second quick service location at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
Normally, I would tell toy that there isn’t much here to write home about (especially in comparison to the other three).
However, this holiday season, Roaring Fork just may be the place to be! Especially if you use their mobile ordering – leaving you ample time to get back to your festive activities.
Roaring Forks Holiday Treats begin mid-November and are available till late December. The past year offerings have been:
- Pumpkin Mousse Cake
- Christmas Tree Mousse
- Santa’s Forest
- Molasses Crackle Cookie
Disney Holiday Merchandise at Wilderness Lodge
Even Wilderness Lodge Mercantile (a woodsy general store with wilderness-themed merchandise) gets all decked out for the holiday.
Here, you will uncover plenty of garland and decorations hanging from the rafters, as well a holiday-specific merchandise!
While most of it tends to be what you might find someplace else, there is usually an item or two that tends to sway in the Disney’s Wilderness Lodge exclusive direction.
Two of my favorites Disney Wilderness Lodge Christmas Merchandise includes:
- Disney Parks Chip and Dale at Campfire Figurine Ornament Camping
- Wilderness Lodge Resin Picture Frame
Transportation at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
One thing you don’t want to overlook when planning a trip to Walt Disney World is the importance of transportation.
While this may not seem to directly correlate to Christmas, it has a lot to do with it. Why?
Because if you thought the parks and resorts were busy before, just wait till the hustle and bustle of the season.
Whether you’re staying up late for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party or park hoping between Sunset Seasons Greetings at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays, it is important that you have close (and quick) proximity to the parks and your resort!
How to Get from Wilderness Lodge to the Magic Kingdom?
One of the best things about Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is how close it is to Magic Kingdom, while remaining a bit more remote and economical.
But unlike the other Magic Kingdom resorts, you cannot walk to Magic Kingdom. This may seem like a deal breaker, but believe it… it shouldn’t be. Why?
After a busy day in the parks, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge encourages you to take a relaxing boat ride back to the resort. This short but relaxing journey will do your soul some good, I guarantee it.
There is also additional bus transportation to/from Magic Kingdom, as well as Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Disney Springs, and the water parks.
Wilderness Lodge Christmas Guide: What to Know Before You Go
Now that you know what to expect at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, let’s go through a few of the most commonly asked questions.
When does Disney Wilderness Lodge decorate for Christmas?
Although times may vary year-to-year, you can expect to see the holiday decorations go up at Wilderness Lodge the week leading up to Thanksgiving. So, don’t be disappointed if it will not be up during your visit in November.
You can still check out other Disney Christmas decor as early as the first to second week of November in places like the Magic Kingdom.
Can you see fireworks from Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Cabins?
While you can see some fireworks from a few select (and unspecified) cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Cabins, it is not guaranteed.
If you want to make sure you can see the fireworks, be sure specifically book a fireworks view.
How often does the geyser go off at Wilderness Lodge?
The 120 foot Fire Rock Geyser goes off every hour on the hour from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. It is easy to find too!
Just walk from the back of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge lobby and past the Copper Creek Springs Pool. There, you will find a walkway to the Geyser.
What time is The Electrical Water Pageant at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge?
You can expect to catch The Electrical Water Pageant at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge at roughly 9:30 p.m.
Here, it the typical schedule Disney Electric Water Pageant Schedule:
- Grand Floridian Resort & Spa at 9:00 p.m
- Wilderness Lodge at 9:30 p.m
- Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground at 9:45 p.m
- Contemporary Resort 10:00 p.m
Please remember that these times can change at anytime.
Recommended: The Solo Theme Park Traveler’s Guide
Can you walk to other resorts from Disney’s Wilderness Lodge?
There used to be a walking path that connected but it is no longer available due to construction. To travel between resorts from Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, your have the option of a bus or boat.
How long is the boat ride from Disney’s Wilderness Lodge to Magic Kingdom at Christmastime?
Typically, the boat ride Disney’s Wilderness Lodge to Magic Kingdom is roughly 10 – 15 minutes. Believe it or not, this doesn’t really change during Christmastime.
You can just expect each boat to reach capacity on each trip.
Does the Disney’s Wilderness Lodge connect to the Monorail?
Fort Wilderness Christmas Decorations
One of the best parts about visiting Disney’s Fort Wilderness during the most wonderful time of the year is the campsite!
Guests who are staying on the campground have made it a tradition to display their favorite decorations!
On a cool night, I suggest pouring yourself a cup of hot coffee or cocoa and taking a drive to look at all the neat displays.
More Festive Activities at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge for Christmas
There are several great activities that happen at the resort to get you into the Christmas spirit!
5 Best Things to Do at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge for the Holidays
- Check out gift shops with Christmas trinkets and gifts perfect for grabbing your holiday essentials.
- Explore the out-of-this-world gingerbread houses (a few years ago, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort received their own house, inspired by the majestic bears of the Great Northwest).
- Enjoy the fun-filled Chip ‘n’ Dale photo-op in front of the famous Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Christmas tree: You can see the bad boys of mischief decked out in their blue Christmas outfits, complete with an adorable Santa hat. (in the past, they’ve been “rockin’ around the Christmas tree” almost every single night leading up to Christmas Eve, starting on December 21st).
- Make your list and check it twice, because on Christmas Eve, you can meet Santa Claus in the Wilderness Lodge lobby from 5:00 p.m – 9:00 p.m. (double check before you go as this changes from year-to-year)
- If you’re lucky, you can catch The Hand Bell Ensemble playing yuletide tunes!
Christmas Day at Wilderness Lodge
On Christmas Day, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge brings out a few extra holiday themed activities, including movies and crafts!
But perhaps most exciting; Christmas Carolers can be found throughout the resort at varying times of the day.
And just as you’d expect from Disney, they are donning time period clothing and belting out memorable Christmas ditties.
Ready for your holiday vacation? Book your discounted room at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge TODAY!
My Final Thoughts on Visiting Disney’s Wilderness Lodge at Christmastime
As you can see, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is the perfect place to spend the holiday season! In fact, if the parks are looking a bit crowded, you can always book a resort only stay!
In my opinion, the lodge is perfect for locals who are looking longing for that old fashioned Christmas.
I really hope this Wilderness Lodge Christmas Guide helps you along you way and put you in the Christmas spirit!
Until next time, Happy Holidays Hipster!
If you enjoyed this, try the following articles:
- 5 Best Disney Resorts at Christmas (Enjoy Them for FREE!)
- Your Perfect Disney Resort Christmas Decorations Tour (and it’s FREE)
- Christmas at Disney Springs: Full Guide to Your Most Magical Season Yet!
- Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail (PHOTOS + Everything You Need to Know!)
- 25 BEST Disney Christmas Quotes to Get You in the Holiday Spirit!
About the Author
Ted Wioncek III is a professional Show Director, who specializes in developing highly themed experiences with immersive live entertainment. His work has garnered him a reputation as a “master in storytelling.”
In addition, he is also a Walt Disney World Annual Passholdin’-D23 lovin’-DVC card carryin’-theme park enthusiast, specializing in theatrical review, food critique, and double-blind Dole Whip taste testing. Ted lives in sunny Florida with his beautiful wife, daughter, and their adorable rescue beagle, affectionately named, Professor Indiana Bones. You can contact him at TheDisneyPassport@gmail.com.
(Original Article Date: November 17, 2022/Updated by Editor on October 27, 2023)