So, Artist Point… we meet again.
Okay, I know… “Melodramatic much?” Maybe. But here’s the thing: this Signature Restaurant in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and I have met several times now. And years ago, I would commonly say that I never knew what to expect. Some visits were terrific, while others… well, just weren’t.
But over my past few visits, I have come to a more regular expectation: that I simply won’t be wowed by the experience.
And — believe it or not — that’s exactly why I keep going back. Because if you’ve been with me here on DFB for any length of time, you know that the only consistent thing about Disney restaurants is that they can be really inconsistent. So I always want to give places a chance to up their game.
Well, that and I just straight up love Wilderness Lodge.
So, how did this last visit treat me? Let’s step inside the Lodge…
… and find out!
When you set foot inside Artist Point (and, really, anywhere in Wilderness Lodge), you’re no longer meant to feel as though you’re in the Sunshine State.
Instead, you’ve entered the Pacific Northwest.
This is primarily evidenced by the sweeping views outside the large, numerous windows featuring the lake and plentiful pine trees (so, window tables here are for sure a score).
Otherwise, the room takes the more rustic feel of the Lodge as a whole with woodwork in softer hues and exposed beams on the ceiling.
A unique touch throughout the room are the cast iron, Japanese-style lanterns. Not only do they provide a lovely touch in terms of lighting the space, but they also help tell the story of Wilderness Lodge.
As the “history” of the Lodge includes westward expansion, these symbolize the way movement towards the west opened up trade with countries overseas. And you’ll see a lot of Asian influence on the menu as well.
The story is also told in the murals in the atrium. (Be sure to look up, or you might just miss them!)
You can even learn about them when you sit down and look at the menu.
And speaking of the menu…
There are a few ways you can try the cuisine at Artist Point. You may prefer to go a la carte, as I did. You’ll find Appetizers and Soup and Salads listed alongside the currently Featured Wines. (Just click to enlarge any of the menu images.)
At Artist Point, you’ll always find a take on Cedar Plank Salmon on the Entree list, which is listed below the Butcher’s Cuts featuring a 32 oz Aged Bone-in Rib Eye for Two.
House Sides and Enhancements are found listed above the second way you might choose to try the offerings. And that’s the Taste of the Pacific: a five Course meal for $75.00 (wine is an additional $25.00 per person).
This includes your choices of Appetizer, Shrimp or Salad, an Entree (two meat choices and one seafood), and dessert, all finished off with friandise (a small bite of something sweet).
Bread service has remained the same since my last visit: a rustic basket of warm bread served with fresh butter topped with pink sea salt. Pretty standard, but nothing to complain about. (At least it’s still free.)
But trust me when I say that you’ll want to save some room and order up the Smoked Mushroom Bisque. No matter how my overall visit goes at Artist Point, I can depend on this savory, creamy bowl garnished with sunflower seeds and a bit of veggie, with a chicory sauce to add a little more depth to the flavor.
It simply never disappoints.
The Land Greens Salad tops said greens with pear, radish, seed granola, and goat’s milk cheese. It’s finished off with a pear vinaigrette.
Any time I see that the supplied greens for a salad come from The Land Pavilion in Epcot, I know it’s going to taste incredibly fresh — and that was definitely the case here. And for something that sounds like a simple green salad, the mixture of flavors and textures (especially the pairing of the cheese with the pear) give this one a little something more.
The Braised Short Rib Bolognese features Farm Egg Pappadelle Pasta and Alba Mushrooms, and is garnished with aged cow’s milk cheese.
The nicely tender rib meat swimming in gravy when coupled with the pasta is a rather unique listing as an appetizer, because it’s almost too filling. But it’s a decent option if you’re going with one of the fish or vegetarian selections and still want to sample some of the house beef.
That said… I totally went for some of the house beef . Yachtsman Steakhouse debuted a Porterhouse for Two on the menu a few years ago, it’s not been terribly uncommon to find them in other spots in Disney World. And The BOATHOUSE in Disney Springs serves sharable steaks, as many steakhouses outside of Disney World have for some time. My dining companion and I decided to give Artist Point’s 32 oz Aged Bone-in Rib Eye for Two a go.
It comes in at $119, and is served with your choice of one of the House Sides. (We’ll check out my selection soon. I’ll give you a hint: there’s mac and cheese on the menu, sooo…. ). It’s the same price as the Yachtsman Steakhouse Porterhouse for Two. Which brings me to my point: Artist Point is not a steakhouse. The Rib Eye was good and flavorful and topped with some of that lovely fresh butter, but it’s not memorable in the way I would expect at that price point. It was… good, but not great.
As “hinted” at, I chose the Macaroni and Cheese as my included House Side.
If you’ve never tried macaroni and cheese alongside a steak, you simply must (though I’d probably recommend that you do so at Jiko… The Cooking Place instead). This mac was fine — but a bit bland.
We added the Local Mashed Potatoes as another House Side. These are thick, buttery, and creamy…a good version of mash.
My dining companion was torn between getting the Seared Diver Sea Scallops and sharing the Rib Eye with me, so our server kindly brought her a few to try when we decided to go for the steak. Note that this was an added cost.
Typically the full entree comes served with a root vegetable puree, heirloom apple, shiitake mushrooms, kale, and a horseradish confit. But on their own, as seen here, the scallops were tender and flavorful, if not particularly plump.
For dessert options, the Vanilla Bean Creme Brûlée is topped with poached pears, hazelnut, and honey.
Okay, you may be starting to sense a theme here: the Creme Brulee is pretty standard, and the accompaniments are lovely to look at. But, otherwise, it just doesn’t stand out as anything remakrable.
The classic dessert here is the Artist Point Cobbler served with Seasonal Berries and topped with Forest Berry Ice Cream.
It’s well known that menus at Signature Restaurants tend to change with the seasons (so, about once a quarter). The Cobbler here has stood the test of time because it’s a solid dish with its thick, golden, warm crust with the hint of salty butter playing against the fruity, bright ice cream and berries. (Though I do wish this was a crumble or strusel topping instead of the more cake-like crust.) But here’s a hint: you can also often find it on the menu right next door at Territory Lounge, which is honestly one of my favorite dining spots not just in Wilderness Lodge, but in all of Disney World.
We finished off with the Warm Donuts.
These are served with a Chocolate-Rose Hip Creme Anglaise. (Donuts = good. Rose Hip sauce = weird. Well, not exactly weird, but definitely too floral for me.)
I do like it when Signature Restaurants have a fun dish like this — the kind that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but still provides a bit of an upscale twist such as the anglaise seen here. This is a fun ending to a meal that, overall, I wish would have had more standout moments.
Nosh or Not?
You might want to visit Artist Point if:
- You’re staying at Wilderness Lodge and want to be familiar with every corner of it… and this is one of them.
- You are a Salmon connoisseur — it’s the specialty of the house.
- You’ve never had a chance to see Wilderness Lodge, and Artist Point gives you the opportunity while trying out the Lodge’s signature location.
You might want to skip Artist Point if:
- You want to be sure that your Signature Restaurant dining dollars (or two required Table Service credits on the Disney Dining Plan) are going to a more memorable experience.
- Great steak is your goal! Head towards The BOATHOUSE, Yachtsman Steakhouse, or Shula’s Steak House.
- You’d like to stay around the Magic Kingdom for your Signature Dining experience, but want the added perk of fireworks viewing, which comes with several alternate Magic Kingdom Resort dining options such as California Grill at The Contemporary, or Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian.
Now, here’s something to remember… my experience at Artist Point is not an indication of Signature Restaurants all over Disney World. It just goes to show that there is a great deal of variance in Disney restaurants even at the higher price points. You can check out all the options — which I’ve ranked based on my own experience — in the video below.
I know — and understand — that several readers who love Artist Point may heartily disagree with my assessment here. And I’m glad that other guests have truly enjoyed their visits. But even though I keep giving Artist Point a chance, it just never quite lives up to the experiences I’ve had at several other Signature Restaurants at Disney World, and I can’t give it a solid recommendation for the money it costs. If Artist Point is must-do dining for you, please let me know why with a comment below!
What has your experience been with Artist Point? Please comment below and tell us!