1. Old Faithful Inn
  2. 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 Mary Colter
    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

  3. Shortly after Wilderness Lodge opened, they started to receive complaints from guests with lake view rooms concerning the "geyser". The complaint was that winds were blowing water onto their balconies. To address this, Disney World installed a wind gauge in the hotel's marina. The computer that runs the geyser now senses the wind speed before each "eruption" and adjusts the height of the water accordingly.
    REPORTED: Geoff Miller 03 FEB 01
  4. Except for the totem poles, all of the "logs" used in the lobby area are fake. They are gunnite covered steel rods. Gunnite is most commonly used as a swimming pool lining. Using real wood would have made Wilderness Lodge a fire hazard.
    REPORTED: Geoff Miller 03 FEB 01
    The wood in the lobby is real. All but the main support beams are real lodgepole pine from the standing dead forest of Oregon. There are over 85 truckloads of pine in the lobby alone.
    UPDATE: Tom 16 DEC 01
  5. Each morning one family is allowed to ascend to the roof of Wilderness Lodge and raise the five flags (US, Florida, WDW, and 2 WL flags) on the staffs on top of main lobby building. The view up top is breathtaking. Afterwards you receive a certificate as a momento of the occasion as "Flag Family". You sign up to be Flag Family at the Guest Services desk in the main lobby. We were Flag Family once during our visit in January, 2001.
    REPORTED: Geoff Miller 03 FEB 01
  6. If you look at the hotel from a boat at night, it looks like a Bear Face. I even ask the contractors and they built it that way.
    REPORTED: Gary Heimbach 13 SEP 99 pict from hiddenmickeys.org
  7. If you find all the Hidden Mickeys on the Wilderness Lodge's Hidden Mickeys List you receive this pin!
    REPORTED: Melanie Emmons 22 AUG 98
    They have a hidden Mickey scavenger hunt throughout Wilderness Lodge.
    CONFIRMED: Chris Scauzillo 23 DEC 99
    While they still have the Hidden Mickey scavenger hunt, they no longer give out a button for finishing. They had out clue sheets at the Guest Services desk and you are on your own from there. Many of the Cast Members are helpful. Oh - one of the HM is in the 7th floor, but you can only get there if you stay on the 7th floor (or get someone to let you in on the floor) - concierge level.
    CONFIRMED: Chris & Amy 08 JUN 01
  8. As you are going from the bus area to the doors to the lodge on the right, you will hear the sound of crickets. I believe the cricket sounds are being played through the speaker in the ceiling about 15 feet from the door. They may play the sounds in other areas as well.
    REPORTED: John Quilhot 10 SEP 97
    The cricket noises are coming from the speakers, if they were real crickets, stomping on the bushes would silence them. Recently, they've been played at the Poly as well.
    CONFIRMED: anon 03 FEB 98
  9. Across the street from the buss stop, there are black bear tracks in the sidewalk.
    REPORTED: Tom & Renée Shaw 28 DEC 98
    CONFIRMED: Lindsaye 18 APR 99
  10. The postcards they sell of Wilderness Lodge are printed backwards. They're the ones looking from the pool area to the main building between the guest room wings.
    REPORTED: anon 18 APR 98
  11. Next time you are at Walt Disney World, go to the Wilderness Lodge guest services desk and ask about the "Legends of the Magic Kingdom tour." They don't advertise it and will only tell you about it if you ask. The tour begins at about 7:00 am, leaving from the Wilderness Lodge by bus you go to the Magic Kingdom with a tour guide before the park is open to guests. The cast member guide takes the group on a tour all around the Magic Kingdom showing how things are built, forced perspective, traffic patterns and many other Disney secrets. After walking down Main Street you actually go back stage and into the tunnels for a short tour down there. You then walk around all the different worlds looking at the imagineer's details (including Hidden Mickeys!). The tour guide will answer any questions you have about anything Disney. The tour lasts about 2 hours and ends with the Rope Dropping ceremony as the less priviledged guests enter the park. The only bad part is that you have to leave the park and return to the Wilderness Lodge at the end of the tour. When my wife and I took the tour there was only about 9 people with our group. You have to be 16 to take the tour and it costs about $35. I highly recommend it to any Disney enthusiast!!!
    REPORTED: Tony 07 MAR 97
    There is that one and about 7 more, including scuba diving in the Living Seas. Ask to see the whole tour list. See the Tours page.
    CONFIRMED: anon 03 FEB 98
  12. As a former recreation host at Contemporary, we used to give tours of the lakes at night via pontoon boat. One of the best observations was if you look at the Wilderness Lodge from Bay Lake the shadows on the main tower makes a bear. I was so curious about it I asked Gen. Manager of the Lodge Wayne Wincey and he verified that it was deliberate. The lodge was the first of now all the new resorts to have its own mascot. There's is a bear!
    REPORTED: Ryan Rickerds 22 JAN 97
  13. I got the "Official" Wilderness Lodge Resort Hidden Mickey List from a security Cast Member that we were talking to. If you want one you can ask for one at the front desk.
    REPORTED: Morna Brown 11 JAN 97
  14. We took a tour of Wilderness Lodge in 1994. The Cast Member conducting the tour told us that the even though the spring that starts up in the lobby looks like it goes all the way down to the pool, it doesn't. There are three separate water systems: one begins at the spring and ends at the walkway near the head of the pool, the second is the pool water, and the third feeds the geyser and goes out to the lake/bay.
    REPORTED: Melanie Emmons 22 MAR 95
  15. Wilderness Fireplace . . . The massive, 8-story-high stone fireplace in Disney's Wilderness Lodge was built using the same stone colorizations as the Grand Canyon. He also told us the Grand Canyon fireplace is in real geologic layers; you can even see some fossils!
    REPORTED: Melanie Emmons 22 MAR 95
  16. The cruisers that service the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds and Wilderness Lodge can also serve as tugboats. When the steamboat from Frontierland needs refurbishing, a Cruiser is send back through a water channel (where the Electric Water Pageant barges are stored), through a series of locks, and the steamboat is tied to the stern of the Cruiser, The Cruiser then tows the steamboat out of the water channel, across the Seven Seas Lagoon, through the Water bridge channel, and then back to drydock. The stacks of the Steam boat are removable so the steamboat can make it under the monorail track as it makes its way through the water bridge channel.
    REPORTED: Matt Fierro 08 JAN 04
  17. The most maneuverable boat operated by Magic Kingdom Watercraft is the ferryboat. The boat is 120 feet long, and weigh nearly 300 tons, yet╩the boat can be rotated 360 degrees╩on it's own axis, it can move completely sideways and it╩can even round corners...sideways. During training, pilots are usually taken to the Grand Floridian dock and told to plant the bow╩a few feet off the dock, then "walk" the boat sideways, turn it around the corner of the dock and then "walk" it sideways down the side of the dock.╩Guests are usually surprised to see this manuever and it╩was alot of fun to do. The ferryboats can also be driven through the narrow waterbridge channel, with only about 8 feet of clearance on each side during the most narrow part. Each ferryboat must make this journey at least once a week to go to drydock for fuel. This╩manuever is also a very fun thing to do.
    REPORTED: Matt Fierro 08 JAN 04
  18. I stayed at the Wilderness Lodge in April of 1994 just after it had opened. The fireplace on the first floor originally was a real fireplace, but after many complaints of smoke on the seventh floor, where my family was staying, Disney decided to change it to a fake fireplace.
    REPORTED: Amanda Cola 22 MAY 01
    The fireplace is still real, it just no longer burns wood. The wood burning fireplace was raising the humidity level of the lobby, and cracking the wood in the totem poles, so it was changed to a gas burning fireplace. That, and gas is safer. (one day a food and beverage manager put too much wood in, and the monorails reported flames comming out of the top of the lodge)
    UPDATE: Tom 16 DEC 01
  19. We were at Disney World and went on the tour through the Wilderness Lodge. The tour guide pointed out that the lights that hang in the halls with the roaming buffalo on them were all the same except one on each floor. On all but one on each floor the buffalo were facing counterclockwise, on the rest they were going clockwise. It about drove us nuts trying to find them!
    REPORTED: Jennifer Alley 13 JUL 98
  20. I took the Institute's Disney Architecture class recently and learned of a secret at the Wilderness Lodge. If you look down on the ground in the area near the pool, creek, etc., you will find pine needles (as if you were really in the mountains). Funny thing is that there are no long-needle pine trees anywhere in the area. They actually bring bags of these pine needles and scatter them around the property to enhance the pine forest feeling!
    REPORTED: Kathleen Kramer 31 OCT 96
  21. There are random animal tracks in the cement on the walkways -- deer, raccoon, bison, etc., as if the wild animals wandered through the property when the cement was wet.
    REPORTED: Melanie Emmons 22 MAR 95
    CONFIRMED: Mark Yovorsky 07 JAN 97
    CONFIRMED: anon 03 FEB 98
    CONFIRMED: Tom & Renée Shaw 28 DEC 98
  22. The water in the geyser area looks quite warm but isn't occasionally several ducks swim around in the water, giving a quite comical effect and leading to many sarcastic remarks about "Duck for dinner at Artist's Point tonight".
    REPORTED: Stephen Buddin 28 NOV 98
    The hot spring in the Wilderness Lodge's inside is not as hot as it looks. It is given this effect by four misters on all sides.
    CONFIRMED anon 01 JUN 00
    At the Wilderness Lodge it is true that you can find certain wildlife while walking the grounds. When I was there in September 2001, on the first day I spotted a large snake by the swimming pool. The snake then went into some bushes and I never saw or heard of it again. This was very odd, it made me feel that I was really in the wilderness. Two days later while swimming in the pool two ducks wanted to join the party and they came in. They didn't even seem to mind all of the people in the pool.
    CONFIRMED: Steve 06 MAY 01
    Checkout the animals that can be found on property.

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