Review: Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Time to head on over to Artist Point in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge!

OK, so I’ve had a couple of really good meals here in the past couple of years, and they almost made up for the less-than-stellar meals I’d had at this Signature Restaurant in the years prior.

But, based on my last visit, Artist Point may be on the way back down the ladder when it comes to my recommended fancy dining spots in Disney World. Let’s take a look… .

Atmosphere

If you’ve ever visited Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, then you are familiar with the decor here. Enter into the lobby of the hotel, and you are transported to Pacific Northwest hideaway. Lots of Arts and Crafts touches echo that sentiment, and Artist Point refines the aesthetic.

artist point wilderness lodge

Glass Sign at the Entrance

Where natural wood and stone and warm hues dominate most of the resort, here, you see a lighter touch. Walls are painted a warm white, and woodwork has been whitewashed. The overall feel is much less “lodge-y” and rustic than the rest of the resort — more of a “wide open spaces” kind of vibe.

artist point

Seating

Seating is comfortable, with high-backed, generously padded chairs. The views here are normally quite lovely, as the windows look out over the grounds and the lake.

Beautiful View

Beautiful View

I say “normally” because the evening I visited, all of the windows were blocked by a frosted film, presumably to block the view of the construction taking place below. While I understand that it was necessary, it was kind of a bummer to be seated by a window with no view. (But I still wanted you to see the view, so I’m sharing pics from a previous visit.)

View

View

Murals reside high above the dining room, and depict sweeping panoramas of national parklands. They are the work of celebrated artist Thomas Moran, well known for his “larger-than-life interpretations of the West during the late 1800s.”

Mural

Mural

The colors are gorgeous!

Mural

Mural

Smaller paintings also cover the walls, and are inspired by the work of Albert Bierstadt, who sketched landscapes of the Shoshone Indian country in 1859.

Overall, the restaurant is subdued and understated under its soaring ceilings, and I absolutely love the expansive view of Bay Lake (when you can see them).

Eats

Because Artist Point is a signature restaurant at Disney, you can expect that the menu will change here frequently — sometimes daily or weekly. I checked, and several of the items that we ordered aren’t on the menu right now. Still, you may see them again in the future, and they certainly still give you an idea of the type of food served here.

Appetizers Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Appetizers Menu — Click to Enlarge

The menu theme is Pacific Northwest, so you usually see a mix of seafood and some interesting game meats. There’s normally a buffalo and/or venison option, and you’re likely to encounter some Pan-Asian influences.

Entrees Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Entrees Menu — Click to Enlarge

We began the evening with a customary Bread Basket, served with Butter sprinkled with Black Salt. These were standard, but quite good.

Bread and Butter

Bread and Butter

I decided to begin my dinner my customary bowl of Smokey Portobello Soup, which was just as good as always. This was probably the highlight of the meal for me. (Note that you can often get this next door at Territory Lounge as well!)

Smokey Portobello Soup

Smokey Portobello Soup

My friend opted for the Duck Confit Strudel. This one was, well, weird. To begin, it was cold, which totally threw us. We asked our server if it was supposed to be cold, and he said that it was.

Confit Duck Strudel

Confit Duck Strudel

We also had problems discerning the different components. In the end, while it wasn’t really bad per se, it did not at all wow us — which his unfortunate since I’m usually a huge duck fan, and I’ll practically eat a cardboard box if it’s prepared confit. (I’m still not convinced this dish was supposed to be cold.)

Confit Duck Strudel -- Up Close

Confit Duck Strudel — Up Close

On to the entrees! I chose the 64°C Buffalo! Buffalo!! Buffalo!!! (being from Buffalo, NY, I figured this was an obvious choice for me). As you may have guessed, the dish included Buffalo served three ways — a Strip Steak, Chipped Buffalo Mac and Cotswold Cheese, and Buffalo Sausage.

It was served with English Peas, Crispy Shallots, Braised Cabbage Apple-Cranberry Slaw, and Blackberry Demi-glace. That is a whole lot goin’ on. While the Strip Steak and Sausage were good, the Buffalo Mac and Cheese was the stand out on my plate. However, it was really because of the cheese; the buffalo didn’t add a lot in terms of flavor here. Overall, the dish wasn’t nearly as memorable as previous entrees at Artist Point.

Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo

64°C Buffalo! Buffalo!! Buffalo!!!

My friend opted for the house specialty, Cedar Plank Salmon. The King Salmon was served with Sweet Potato Puree, House-Smoked Bacon, Autumn Vegetables, and Apple Cider Gastrique.

Having witnessed many, many Cedar Plank Salmon dishes make their way through this dining room, we knew to expect a certain amount of theater. But when it came our time to enjoy this dish, well…there was none. It arrived tableside, overcooked. My friend, who really loves wild salmon, was completely underwhelmed by the dish.

Cedar Plank Salmon

Cedar Plank Salmon

Determined to salvage the dining experience, we decided to order a few desserts. I went with the seasonal Cheesecake, which was an Apple Caramel version. It was fine, but not something I’d order again. The dipped caramel pretzel was a fun accompaniment.

Cheesecake

Cheesecake

And of course we had to see what form the Berry Cobbler was taking these days. In contrast with her entree, my friend really enjoyed this. Currently, the “cobbler” is a cakey version, not a biscuit or streusel topped, crumble-type dessert. But it’s delicious and there’s always a great balance of house-made ice cream and cobbler. So this was a win. (However, the dessert was VERY small. I remember it being bigger in the past for some reason.)

Berry Cobbler

Berry Cobbler

Overall

Artist Point has always been high on my list of drastically inconsistent Disney World restaurants. This place seems to vacillate between being fantastic, and being sorely lacking. There’s very little in between. On this visit, none of the ordered dishes stood out as being all that memorable — and when I dine at a signature restaurant, I always like for there to be at least one or two truly out of this world items to remember fondly.

But in all honesty, I think that the issue that overshadowed our entire experience was lackluster service. Once again (geez, I must have some really bad server karma lately) our server was not up to par. A chat with a manager didn’t really make us feel any better about the situation.

A peek at the current menu piques my interest for a return trip here. But honestly, I’m a little nervous. When you are paying Artist Point prices, you expect to be Wowed. Delighted. And we just weren’t. Not at all.

For my time and money, I think I’ll stick with Territory Lounge for pub grub or Whispering Canyon for lunch, and leave the fine dining to some of my other favorite spots on property.

But of course, I want to hear what you have to say, too. How does Artist Point rate with you? Leave a comment and join the conversation below!

Comments

  1. Gigi Burton says

    Don’t you hate going out for a nice dinner only to have it ruined by poor service?! It’s a shame that it seems this is slowly becoming a trend at Disney restaurants. Sounds like this meal was a combination of lackluster service and mediocre food. Double whammy. Hopefully your next restaurant experience will be better!

    BTW – do you happen to know if the Portabello soup is vegetarian? It looks delicious!

  2. says

    I couldn’t agree more with your comments — inconsistency is the hallmark of Artist Point. I’ve had a couple fabulous meals here, but I’m afraid to go back because the last two visits were dismal. Now my go-to for a signature meal is Flying Fish.

  3. Tara says

    As a reader of DFB, I thank you for your honest review of Artist Point and not glossing over it. If enough light is shown on their lacking quality, taste and service, maybe a change can come of it. While we haven’t eaten there (yet), we have considered it. It’s nice to know what we could possibly walk into if we did go. Keep up the fantastic work, AJ!

  4. Judi Lazoff says

    I agree with you about the inconsistency of just about everything here! It’s a beautiful space, there is no doubt about that. It has enormous potential, but I’ve found that more than half the time, it just doesn’t live up to it. Signature restaurants are supposed to be unique, and special … and seriously, cedar-planked salmon? You can get that at Outback! LOL Come up with something fresh & inventive. Cedar plank the buffalo, or scallops. Vegetable Lo Mein as the sole vegetarian option? Sheesh … c’mon Disney, you can do better than this! Fine diners are ‘over’ the whole pork belly phenom too — again, for these prices, I’d like to see a little more effort.

  5. Mike says

    We ate there a couple of months ago and it was by far the best meal we at during our 4 day stay at Disney World. We left the Magic Kingdom before it even opened because we and our 5 year old were too hungry after breakfast at Crystal Palace. It was the most disgusting swill I have ever tasted in my life and our son refused to eat any of it, I don’t blame him. We took a taxi off property and had a wonderful breakfast and never did make it back to MK.

    Artist Point was the highlight of our trip as it was comparable to the cafeteria at Ikea which is about 1/10th the price. if Artist Point was a cafeteria I would have been reasonably satisfied with the quality and taste of the food. Fine dining … that is a joke.

  6. Kathy says

    Thanks for the honest review AJ! Does this come back to the discussion that the dining plan is killing good service at Disney? From what I have seen, it sometimes looks like the servers have too many tables and they seem rushed. A lot of the quick service restaurants have added great dishes over the years. I almost feel more comfortable and relaxed there then wondering what kind of experience I’ll be having at a sit down or maybe it’s just that Food and Wine is getting closer and that has really spoiled me.

  7. John says

    At this point I just sound like a broken record, but the trend in Disney Dining since the introduction of the Dining Plan is homogenous menus, no significant differences between restaurants, a focus on high profit concepts (lots of pasta and pork), a dramatic decline in service levels and skyrocketing “menu” prices (which I guess are supposed to make people think they are getting some great deal by prepaying for their meals). Comparing Disney’s dining scene today to what it was 10 years ago makes me sad. It’s definitely the point where we don’t do Table Service each day of our trip anymore like we used to … and if the trend continues, it’s going to be time to start checking out some of the other fantastic restaurants in Orlando.

  8. Galloping Gourmond says

    I was there once and wouldn’t bother to go back. It wasn’t bad per se, it was just that like your experience everything seemed a little off. To me the problem wasn’t that the food tried too hard and just had too much stuff in the dishes. Take a look at that buffalo three ways.
    The idea behind any “three ways” dish is to showcase the main protein. The strip steak would do that nicely, but the others sure don’t. Any mac and cheese is often as much or more about the cheese as the meat portion. That’s certainly the case here. The meat is swimming in cheese. I can’t even see it in there. The sausage, while a good idea, is bathed in slaw and demi-glace. Then throw in the few peas and shallots and, wow, there is a lot on that plate.
    I’d have been a little nervous right from the start if I got cedar plank salmon and it was yellow. And then all the other things there – bacon, which if not used carefully undercuts other flavors, sweet potato, and a vegetable mix. Wow. Too much.

  9. Melissa says

    As always, thanks for your helpful reviews! I don’t think it’s you that’s had lackluster service lately. Our last trip at the end of April into early May left us with a bit of a sour feeling about Disney cast members in general from servers to CMs working throughout the attractions and bus drivers too. Not the exceptional service I’m used to. We’re twice a year Disney people, so I’m hoping our fall trip will turn things around. Trying some new places, but it doesn’t look like Artist Point is going to make the cut!

  10. Kate M. says

    We debated having my husband’s 30th birthday dinner here and ultimately decided on Narcoossee’s. Have you done a review there lately? I’d be really curious to hear what you think! Thanks!

  11. Kee G says

    So glad to know we aren’t the only ones disappointed, of late, in Artist Point, which used to be one of our favorite places to go, particularly for special occasions. Have eaten there many times in the last several years, but the last two times were a huge disappointment. My husband has a food allergy, which he mentions to the waiter and which used to be met with a personal visit to our table by the che and a discussion of what to avoid and what is ok. Great personal attention! The last visit my husband mentioned his allergy to the waiter, who then disappeared for what seemed like forever and then returned with “the chef says”, followed by a convoluted explanation, which basically we interpreted as “not sure what you can eat from this menu.” We were wide-eyed! And quite honestly, are not even sure our waiter actually spoke to the chef, but just took a shortcut In any event, the service was awful, the food mediocre, and because this was the second time in a row we had been there and received a lackluster meal, in every regard, we have not been back……and this is after several previous years of at least once-a-year stellar dining experiences at Artist Point. This is not quick service, folks! Not sure if the dining plan, as others have suggested, is the issue here? We are Orlando residents, so we can….and do….often take advantage of all the restaurants, on every scale, Disney offers, frequently combining it with a get-away resort stay, with Wilderness Lodge a favorite resort. It’s a shame to have to leave WL to travel to Jiko or Sanaa for the kind of meal and service Artist Point used to deliver. For an upscale dining “experience” Artist Point has really slid. What a shame. Hoping the powers that be at Disney ARE listening and the new chef will turn things around.

  12. Mike says

    one of my favs. i was here again this month and it was good. had the mushroom soup (had it at Territory lounge the night before too) the salmon was Copper RIver and the waiter allowed me to exchange the sides for the ones served w the Buffalo. the wine was good. service was ok. there was a waiter there that has worked there for years.

  13. Caroline says

    Ugh, that is too bad about the meal.

    Tip here is go sometime in May… I believe towards the end of the month when they have the copper river salmon. This is the BEST salmon I’ve ever had. They ship this into Artist Point when it’s in season. Absolutely delicious! Yum yum yum!

  14. Keith says

    Another Artist Point review?…why not a review on Capa or Ravello? They have been open for 8 months and thriving, yet we get another retread.

    AJ, I’m sure you would rather enjoy excellent cuisine as opposed to the same old average locations.

  15. Cherie says

    I have to agree – we’ve had some amazing meals/service there – and then some not – after the last one – two years ago – where several of us really didn’t enjoy much of anything on our plates and the service was mediocre we decided not to bother returning – too many other choices worth making

  16. Frank says

    Recently, my wife and I just wanted some bar food, so we sauntered into Territory Lounge (TL). We suddenly felt a bit hungrier. Our waitress was terrific. We ordered off the big menu and had it in the Lounge. Great food, great service. I’d probably do that again vs eating in Artist Point. Speaking of TL, we had been there a few years ago. Service was ambivalent to say the least. 3/4 filled drinks with no response from staff at the time. I must say it has changed. Current staff is very attentive. Drinks were great. We definitely had a positive experience during our recent stay there.

  17. Rob says

    We ate there earlier this year and found the food to be good, but the service abysmal. Even more disappointing was the lack of concern on the part of the manager when we expressed our dissatisfaction. Since then, they have brought Gary Lee over from the California Grill. He was a big part of making that team superstars. We have high expectations for this restaurant once Gary is able to whip into shape.
    On a similar vein, it is clear to us that Disney is pushing for volume and not quality adult dining experience with the DDP categories. They would have much higher spending if adults could linger and enjoy fine wine rather than leaving to avoid the unrestrained child that is bouncing all over the place.

  18. Frank says

    Rob, I have to agree with you. Turning tables is taking precedence.
    We have gone to the Italian restaurant on the Boardwalk twice now. First time, our waitress talked and moved so fast, I had to slow her down. Second time, our waiter was asking for a drink order before we had actually sat down. That’s no exaggeration.
    Another waiter, at another prime dining spot really tried to push the dinner experience. We ordered all appetizers, but sensing what was going on, waited until we were basically done with one before ordering another. At the end, he asked for my TIW Card and my credit card without showing me the bill. He was verbally irritated when I asked for the bill first.
    At that same restaurant, we ate at the bar once, about a year or so ago. Gave the waiter our TIW card which he forgot to run, he was sooo busy. I mentioned it and he brushed it off. He reconsidered when I told him he could have an 18% tip off the TIW or 0% if I sign off on the current bill.. which would have made up for my loss in TIW discount.
    Frank

  19. says

    Frank — It’s great to see you, my friend! Yes, Territory Lounge is a GEM right now! Glad you stopped in!

  20. NancyS says

    Disappointing to see the current state of dining at Artist Point. We currently have an ADR there in late November but now I’m having second thoughts. Here’s hoping the new chef will have a positive impact. And – does anyone know when the construction that’s visible from the restaurant is expected to be done?

  21. Mike V says

    I have said it on other write ups and will say it again. I think so many of these servers are so doen about the dining plan that it is taking it’s hit in the service.
    Granted you would think when the waiter gets your ticket that you get seated with and sees your NOT on the dining plan that he would put on their charm….obviously that is not happening.

    Ashame….dining out used to be a relaxing fun time that you could talk to the servers about where they are from, get little tidbits here and there, etc. And hardly ever did you have to worry about the inconsistencies from the kitchen.

    Now its get em in and get em out.

  22. Bethany says

    I dined at Artist Point earlier in the month and, by the sound of the new items mentioned on DPB, I was fortunate enough to sample Chef Michael’s menu tweaks. The food was great and the service was over the top fantastic. We were celebrating my brother’s birthday and our server brought him a complimentary *second* bowl of smokey portobello soup because it’s his favorite thing on the menu. Heck, she even offered him a second buffalo steak!! (And she WASN’T kidding!) I had ordered a custom mini cake for the occasion and the staff, again, went out of their way to make sure the cake was ready and that it stayed a surprise for the birthday boy. Along with the cake, we all received a flute of champagne to cap off the celebration. I do understand that Artist Point has had its ups and downs, but I’m really hoping it’s back on an upswing. Still one of my favorites and I’ll be back in August!

  23. Mireille says

    I ordered the salmon at my last (and only) visit, because I had heard so much about it. I never order fish in restaurants, because it’s always overcooked. But I figured, it’s their signature dish, they know how to make it, right? But no, overcooked again :( The soup was delicious however, and my dining companions seemed to like their entrees fine.

  24. Jason says

    We ate at Artist Point once, 17 years ago, on our honeymoon and had a very similar reaction to this review. Food didn’t wow us, service was lousy (we even had to ask a different server for help as ours was not to be found). Seems like the more things change…

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