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Review: Roaring Fork at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

You know how much we love the food at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge around here. All of the restaurants here — Whispering Canyon Cafe, Artist Point, and even Territory Lounge — offer incredible food in unique settings.

But despite my many trips to Roaring Fork, I just realized I’ve never put together a full review for you guys!

Located conveniently mere steps away from both the lobby of the hotel, as well as the pool area, Roaring Fork is a great place to grab a quick meal or snack on the go as you head out for a swim or to the parks.

Atmosphere

Entering into Roaring Fork, you get that same Pacific Northwest Territory adventure vibe present all around Wilderness Lodge, with more of a hint of the rustic here.

It’s awesome how the signage around Wilderness Lodge has a sense of flow to it. You really do feel like you could go outside and hop into a white water raft, bound for some rapids!

Roaring Fork Sign

There’s an abbreviated menu board located outside so you can tell at a glance if the selections here will appeal to you.

Menu Outside of Roaring Fork -- Click to Enlarge

One thing to note about Roaring Fork is the fairly small inside seating area. There are more tables outside near the pool deck, however. And I’ve never had a problem securing a table. (Sometimes it’s fun to take your food out to the beach and have a picnic, too!)

Indoor Seating Area

Because Wilderness Lodge is surrounded by lots of water and forest, you probably are a little more prone to see natural wildlife here. Friendly reminders on the outdoor tables caution you against sharing your meal with the birds…or the occasional warthog. (That churro cracks me up.)

Warning on Outdoor Tables Not to Feed Animals

Time to head in and explore our options!

Eats

Much like the dining area, the restaurant service area is quite small. But it really isn’t small on options and unique goodies. This is one of those awesome spots that offers some truly one-of-a-kind goodies on Disney property.

Queue and Ordering Area

This teeny tiny menu gives you the lowdown on what you can get all day at a glance. Don’t worry; I have bigger versions of the lunch and dinner menu! But just in case you wondered about breakfast — and you’ve heard about those amazing specialty Mickey waffles! — I wanted you to see the morning offerings.

Breakfast and Lunch Menu -- Click to Enlarge

We were here for lunch, however, so we were choosing from the combination lunch and dinner menu. The first board featured an array of Sandwiches, Salads, Pasta, and Kids’ Meals. There were a couple of hot items to choose from here, but most of the choices on this board were cold.

Menu -- Sandwiches, Salads, Pasta, and Kids' Meals -- Click to Enlarge

On the next menu board, there offerings from the grill as well as Flatbreads  and other hot items.

Note that there are different serving times for the various categories of food. Most of the items on the first board are only available until 10 p.m. Grilled items are available until 11 p.m., and flatbreads can be ordered here until midnight.

Menu -- Grilled Sandwiches, Flatbreads, and Kids' Meals -- Click to Enlarge

There were a couple of display sandwiches in the case, so you could see what you were getting before you ordered.

Display Sandwiches -- Turkey and Dill Havarti

Display Sandwiches -- Ham and Cheddar Panini and Barbecued Pork and Slaw Sandwich

There was also a plate that displayed options available as side items for the Kids’ Meals. I personally love these visual aids. I think it’s a really great way to help guests see their options and it’s especially helpful when you’re trying to help kids choose.

Kids' Side Items Options

The menu also featured a Pasta Creation of the Day and a Chef’s Flatbread of the Day. Boards describing your choices for these items are displayed separately.

The pasta sounded pretty tasty — Pasta with Sausage and Creamy Marinara Sauce.

Another Chef's Special -- Pasta with Sausage and Creamy Marinara Sauce

The chef’s flatbread did as well — a Veggie Pesto Flatbread with Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheese. I think this would make an excellent vegetarian option. But I had something with a little more red meat in mind…

Chef's Special -- Veggie Pesto Flatbread

There are no fancy self-serve kiosks here, like you’ll find at Contempo Cafe (check out their ordering process here) or Captain Cook’s Snack Company (you’ll find a lots of pics of their kiosks here).

Nope, you order here the old-fashioned way: you step up to one of the two counters and tell the human person there what you would like from the menu board above their heads. And they magically make it right before your eyes. :-)

Sandwiches are freshly made to order — something I always appreciate, even if it does require a little waiting. That means you can make sure than any dietary needs or picky eater concerns are attended to.

Sandwiches Are Made Fresh To Order

While you’re awaiting your order, you can have a look around at what else is available. Admittedly, the space doesn’t flow very well, but it’s normally not very busy, especially in the middle of the day.

To the right of the ordering counters, you’ll find a selection of self-serve soups. On the day we visited you could choose from Minestrone or Roaring Fork Chili.

They’re available for a Disney Dining Plan snack credit, which is pretty awesome, since they could easily make light meals.

Soups -- Available as a Disney Dining Plan Snack Credit

Beyond the soups, you’ll also find the bakery case — one of my favorite stops! For this, my friends, is where you’ll find DFB favorites like the Carrot Cake and S’mores Cupcakes, as well as the Magic Cookie Bar.

Other delicious looking pastries, cookies, and brownies are also available.

Bakery Case with Some DFB Favorites!

To the left of the ordering counter, you’ll find additional cold grab and go selections sharing space with some bottled beverages, including beer and wine.

Additional Grab and Go Cold Items

Up close, you can see the detail on the Roaring Fork Veggie Salad, which looking pretty delicious.

Grab and Go Veggie Salad -- Up Close

Another fridge houses bottled water, energy drinks, soda, and lemonade.

Bottled Drinks

Kids’ items are neatly displayed beneath a cooler with some other grab and go options.

Kids' Picks Items

A stand in the middle of the space offers up an assortment of items, ranging from breakfast cereal and fresh fruit to wine, chips, fresh fruit, and Mickey krispie treats.

Grab and Go Snack and Sides

And if you need an ice pop or Mickey ice cream bar or sandwich fix, you’ll find those here, too.

Ice Cream Novelties

This handy placard provides a quick reminder about what items are covered under the Quick Service Disney Dining Plan.

Disney Dining Plan Information

Once you’ve made your selections and you have your food, proceed to the check out area where the cashier will tally your bill and provide you with cups. Pay, and you’re on your way to the next station.

Check Out

Even though the space is small, the seating area actually contains two microwaves, in addition to the standard toaster. These are super handy for heating up items that you’ve brought with you, or toasting your bagel or bread.

Microwave and Toaster

You’ll also find an assortment of jams, jellies, and peanut butter.

Microwave, Jams, and Jellies

A Fixings Bar provides additional toppings for your entree. There are also lemon wedges here for drinks.

Fixings Bar

Salad dressings, sauces, and standard condiments are displayed in a neat and orderly fashion.

Additional Condiments

A self-serve beverage station ensures that you have access to a set of standard beverages. This is also your stop for refilling your refillable souvenir mugs during your stay.

Coca-Cola Self-Serve Fountain Drink Station

Standard Nescafe coffee is available, as is iced tea, and you’ll find creamer in a dispenser. There are no gourmet coffees available here…yet! And we expect the Nescafe to be gone soon, if it isn’t already.

Coffee Station with Creamer and Condiments

Hot chocolate and a standard selection of Twinings tea are also provided.

Hot Chocolate and Tea Selection

After I chose my drink, I was ready to sit down and enjoy my selection.

Of all the menu items, the sandwich that really stood out was the Roast Beef and Blue Cheese. All of the sandwiches on this portion of the menu board could be ordered with a side of Cucumber Salad or House-made Chips.

You know how much I love Wilderness Lodge’s house-made chips. So I’m pretty sure you can guess which one I chose! (Now, if I could just have gotten my hands on some Truffle Aioli…)

Roast Beef and Blue Sandwich

And I have to tell you — this sandwich was pretty incredible. A generous portion of sliced roast beef is topped with tons of crumbled blue cheese. There’s a bed of lettuce in there to give it a little texture, and the bread is tender focaccia.

The only way this could have been any better is if they had pressed it under the panini iron for a couple of minutes.

Roast Beef and Blue Sandwich -- Up Close

Next came dessert! I decided to go with two options — one for now, and one for later (“later” being five minutes later…as I got into the car to drive back to my resort).

So by now, we know each other well enough that you get my carrot cake obsession. I love it! And the Carrot Cake Cupcake here is one of the best examples of this dessert anywhere at Disney.

Carrot Cake Cupcake

It’s not flashy, and doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles or fancy fillings. It’s just classic, moist carrot cake, topped with rich, creamy, smooth cream cheese frosting. And lots of it. Which is probably the kicker for me.

I also think the garnish of candied carrot shreds is pretty interesting, although they looked a little different this time — more dehydrated than soaked in sugar syrup. Still, this was awesome, and it’s totally worth a trip to Wilderness Lodge if you love carrot cake like I love carrot cake.

Carrot Cake Cupcake -- Inside

I also snagged a Magic Cookie Bar, which I saved for later (the aforementioned car trip).

Magic Cookie Bar

When I first tried this killer bar cookie after tips from DFB readers sent me looking for it, I couldn’t wait to share it with you! (We even gave you a recipe in case you wanted to make some at home.) But it’s so good that it’s worth showing you again.

Magic Cookie Bar -- Unwrapped

A graham cracker crust is layered with coconut, nuts, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips before the whole thing is smooshed together and baked.

Magic Cookie Bar -- Up Close

The result is a rich, chewy cookie bar that is so much better than the sum of its parts. Really. These are incredible! And the sprinkles give it a nice little pop of color.

Magic Cookie Bar -- Up Close

This was a super satisfying meal, and dining outside at Wilderness Lodge among the beautiful pine trees and view of the lake was a perfect escape from the bustle of the parks.

Overall

I know I’m repeating myself, but I just love Wilderness Lodge. It’s such a gorgeous hotel anyway, but then you add in all of the fantastic restaurants, and it is just such a special place to visit. Really, I think I could probably spend an entire Disney visit just exploring the menus at this hotel. And even Roaring Fork, with its “we aim to please” menu, offers some delicious and unique items.

If you are looking for a place to escape the madness of Magic Kingdom for a quiet lunch, I urge you to skip the monorail queue and head straight for the boat that takes you to Wilderness Lodge. It may be just a boat ride away, but you’ll feel like you’re in another world.

What’s your favorite Roaring Fork menu item? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!

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14 Comments

  1. Chris says:

    Thanks for this article! We are staying at the WL villas for the first time — in about 2 1/2 weeks! Great timing on this info! Here’s a question. On our day off, mid-week, we have reservations for breakfast at WC, but will probably cancel due to budget and timing. If we want to do Mickey waffles on a Wednesday from Roaring Fork, any tips for avoiding the crowd? Is it more crowded really early, when folks are trying to get to the parks? Thanks again!

  2. Tricia says:

    We always try to make a trip over here from the MK when we are not staying at WL. Best counter service in a resort I think.

  3. Kristina says:

    I LOVED my stay at WL. It is such a cozy hotel that makes you feel like you are not in Orlando.

    Looks like they took the vegetarian quinoa sandwich off the permanent menu? It was so yummy!!

  4. Bret says:

    WOW chris we will be there about the same time. This will be like our 20th time staying at the lodge or villas at the lodge and we love the place too. I think the food is great here and you have to check out the specials that they have every day as stated. Breakfast time for us is a bounty platter we split it and have more then enough food. Cant wait for the in just a few weeks.

  5. Katie says:

    The roast beef sandwich and the fudgy brownie define our honeymoon :)
    Our latest creation at Roaring Forks that even piqued the interest of the cast members working there was to get a plate of the homemade chips and top them with grilled onions and blue cheese crumbles from the sandwich. They were fantastic! We also love getting a side of cucumber salad and dipping our chips in there too ;)

  6. Diane says:

    Last time we were at WDW, it was in July. My SIL is a school teacher so we had to work around her schedule. We had already been in Charleston for 4 very hot days and then in the parks all day for 3 days in a row (98 degrees with 95% humidity – and not one single drop of rain) . On the 4th day at WDW, my sister and I refused to step foot in a park. We were staying in a cabin at Fort Wilderness (other family members were in their RVs). We took a boat over to Wilderness Lodge and had the nicest afternoon. I loved my turkey sandwich at Roaring Fork. It had all the right combinations of flavors and textures. I also had what has to be one of the biggest cupcakes I have ever seen. I’m a vanilla girl and this one did not disappoint. Often vanilla cupcakes are just a bit too plain but the one from RF had really great vanilla flavor. We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch. Although we were there right around noon and did have to avoid running into people because of the bad flow, we did not have a problem finding a seat. We spent some time after lunch wandering around the resort and relaxing in some lovely outdoor (nicely shaded) and indoor spots.

  7. Anna says:

    Not a lot of gluten-free items and it would be nice if the children’s selections were more imaginative (PB&J, burgers and chicken nuggets are our choices of last resort), but otherwise it’s a nice place in a lovely setting that we enjoy.

  8. Kimberly says:

    I love love love the Grab & Go Roaring Fork Veggie Salad! It has golden beets, dried cherries, and crumbled goat cheese.

  9. Victoria V says:

    The Wilderness Salad is really yummy and they make it right in front of you! And if you don’t want a certain item in, just tell them! My husband isn’t a nut fan so he asked for his without walnuts and they obliged and added more apple instead. :)

    And I looooove the S’mores cupcake they have. The last time we stayed at WL, I’m pretty sure I had 4 or 5 over our week-long stay.

  10. We shared a late-night “Veggie Pesto” flatbread of the day a couple of weeks ago and it was awesome! A very interesting & flavorful veggie option, and we were impressed they still kept the flatbread service running up until midnight. Loved the grab&go hummus and creative salad option too. Yum!

  11. Resident_Hippie says:

    Darn! Looks like the southwest quinoa wrap is gone. We loved that!

  12. Logan says:

    Thanks for this post! I’m a little ‘homesick’ now. :) We’ll be there soon enough (Oct), and happy to see all the new additions to the menu!

  13. Jojo says:

    Roaring Forks Chilli is Awesome… we live in constant terror that they will take it off the menu, as they did at the Gasparillas at the GF.

  14. Beth Landry says:

    The roast beef sandwich at Roaring Folks is the best sandwich I have ever eaten. Ate it 3 times in 5 days at the Lodge. Got it with extra sauce and dunked the chips in it. Can’t wait to have another one soon.

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