A calming quiet and an organic elegance; a hidden treasure for guests in a fast-paced routine. Nestled in the main building of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Artist Point defines signature dining at Disney. It is one of those restaurants at which you’ll memorize every second of the meal just because it is that good. The menu changes with whatever is fresh, in-season, and inspires the chef. The waiters there are incredibly knowledgable and seem as if they could prepare the entrees themselves. In between courses, guests can take in the rustic atmosphere featuring influences from the Pacific Northwest. Even though it is in the heart of a popular resort only a boat ride from the Magic Kingdom, you feel a million miles away in the rarely-crowded, quiet dining room. These are just a few of the things that make Artist Point one of my favorite things at the Walt Disney World Resort.
I’ve had the pleasure of dining here twice, and each meal improves with each visit. My first experience was on December 23, 2008. Before our meal began, I was left speechless as I entered the lobby of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge for the first time. The Christmas tree had to be one of the grandest on property. Bells and chimes echoed in the background from the performance of a live bell choir. It was exactly the way Christmas at home felt. I had one of the best steaks ever that night, a specialty for Christmas week, paired with an irresistible mushroom risotto similarly found at Le Cellier Steakhouse in Canada at Epcot.
Recently, on February 19, 2011, I returned to Artist Point for a birthday dinner. After a monorail ride from our resort, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, we took a short boat ride from the Magic Kingdom to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. The dock led us down a forested path that set the stage for the the rest of the evening. A little voice in my head happened to whisper, “Lindsay, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Florida anymore.” I couldn’t even fathom how Disney managed to transport Yellowstone National Park to sunny, central Florida.
We explored the grounds for a little while. I was immediately attracted to the seemingly natural beauty of Silver Creek Falls.
Our reservation fast approached, and we found ourselves looking at personalized dinner menus again after a three year drought. Ordering was a difficult choice, but I decided I needed to try one of their specialties- buffalo. Before our entrees were served, our waiter brought us irresistible bread accompanied by butter with black salt. It looked strange at first, but after trying it, I couldn’t stop coating my bread with its unique flavor. Our main course soon followed, and it was time to face the buffalo. I’ve had a number of five star steaks in my day, and let’s just say that buffalo trumps over any cow I’ve ever eaten. It was sweet, juicy, and tender, with a flavor I had never experienced. Even better yet, it was served with marinated Brussel sprouts and a crock of macaroni and cheese.
My parents also had best-meal-ever quality dinners with snapper for my mom and salmon for my dad.
Although our stomachs tried to tell us otherwise, we decided we needed dessert. We wanted to try their specialty, the Artist Point Berry Cobbler, of which, to our surprise, the waiter informed us had been changed by the chef too many times to keep track. After one bite, I was ready to march into the kitchen and say, “Don’t change a thing- it’s perfect.” This past week my grandmother made me a delicious crumb cake, but all I could think of is how much better it would be with warm berries and homemade ice cream, just as I had on that lovely February night.
Many restaurants can boast that they have a knowledgable staff, superb food, or stunning views, but there are few that can say they have all three. The thing that brings elegance to Artist Point is that it doesn’t have to brag. It’s simply what it is, and it’s one of those hidden treasures at Disney World that has a special place in my heart. When someone mentions Disney dining, I often smile and think back to my last meal at Artist Point. I’m still telling my friends of my buffalo-eating bravery! Overall, Artist Point has managed to turn dinner into an art, and I’ll be counting down the days until I return to one of my favorite things at Walt Disney World.
Faith, Trust, & Pixie Dust,