Walt Disney was a big enthusiast of America's National Parks and the old west. The Wilderness Lodge is very similar in design to the Old Faithful Lodge, which is made of real lodge pine timbers, next to the very famous geyser in Yellowstone National Park. While there is very few "real" wood in the Disney Lodge, the Old Faithful Lodge is a grand fire hazard. The park rangers constantly sprayed water on it during the devastating Yellowstone fires in the 1980's. Disney's lodge also has some characteristics of the beautiful Ahwahnee Lodge of Yosemite National Park, as well as the El Travor Lodge at the south rim of the Grand Canyon. It also has some key features of wooden army fortifications used throughout the old west. There are some good pictorial books of these lodges in the general store on the first floor. Disney's new Grand Californian Resort in Disneyland also incorporates some of these feature. The geysers and thermal formations are very realistic to the ones found in Yellowstone. The only difference is the absence of intense heat and sulfurous odor. They really ought to build a hiking trail between the lodge and throughout Fort Wilderness. You can purchase real Giant Sequioa tree sprigs in the shop. I planted a couple in my north Georgia lawn, and they're growing quite well. If you don't stay at the lodge, then I high recommend eating breakfast there on your way to the Magic Kingdom. It's quite a treat, and the waiters and waitresses put on a funny act. They have open parking for the public, so long as you tell the guard that you're only going to eat breakfast.
REPORTED: Mark Thompson 10 JUL 01
A confirmation and amplification on the architectural origins of the concept for Wilderness Lodge... The style it is patterned after is known as "National Park Service Rustic". Many people know this, but few people know that a woman pioneered this rather rugged style. Her name was Mary Colter. She designed many famous examples of this style. The central theme was that the buildings should match their surroundings and compliment them. See if these sound familiar... One of Colter's hallmarks was the use of large oversized fireplaces in the central rooms of the structures. One in particular that should ring a bell with Wilderness Lodge veterans is the "Geologic fireplace" in her Bright Angel Lodge at Grand Canyon National Park. It was designed to mimic the structure of the rock strata of the Grand Canyon.
REPORTED: Geoff Miller 20 OCT 01