Is Disney World’s Artist Point Worth The Money?

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…

Disney's Wilderness Lodge

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

… and find out!

Atmosphere

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.

Artist Point

Artist Point

Instead, you’ve entered the Pacific Northwest.

Artist Point

Artist Point

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).

Beautiful View

Beautiful View

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.

Artist Point

Artist Point

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.

Entryway  and Lanterns

Entryway and Lanterns

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!)

Artist Point Mural

Artist Point Mural

Artist Point Mural

Artist Point Mural

You can even learn about them when you sit down and look at the menu.

Artist Point Murals

Artist Point Murals

And speaking of the menu…

Eats

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.)

Appetizers, Soups and Salads, and Featured Wines Menu

Appetizers, Soups and Salads, and Featured Wines Menu

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.

Butchers' Cuts, Entrees, Sides, and Enhancements Menu

Butchers’ Cuts, Entrees, Sides, and Enhancements Menu

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).

Taste of the Pacific Menu

Taste of the Pacific Menu

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.)

Bread and Butter

Bread and Butter

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.

Smoked Mushroom Bisque

Smoked Mushroom Bisque

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.

The Land Greens Salad

The Land Greens Salad

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.

Braised Short Rib Bolognese

Braised Short Rib Bolognese

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.

Aged Bone In Rib Eye for Two

Aged Bone-In Rib Eye for Two

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.

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

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.

Local Mashed Potatoes

Local Mashed Potatoes

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.

Seared Sea Diver Scallops

Seared Sea Diver Scallops

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.

Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee

Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee

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.

Artist Point Cobbler

Artist Point Cobbler

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.

Warm Donuts

Warm Donuts

These are served with Chocolate-Rose Hip Creme Anglaise. (Donuts = good. Rose Hip sauce = weird. Well, not exactly weird, but definitely too floral for me.)

Warm Donuts with Chocolate-Rose Hip Creme Anglaise

Warm Donuts with Chocolate-Rose Hip Creme Anglaise

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.

Overall

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!

Comments

  1. Disney Girl 87 says

    I agree with you completely! My husband has been going to Artist Point every WDW trip since he was a child (which adds up to a LOT of trips!). He has insisted on Artist Point the three times we have been together so far, and I do like it there so I’m happy to oblige. Mushroom soup is definitely the best part of the meal. But he just loves it so much- must be some of the nostalgia!
    I agree that if you want your money or meal credits to go the farthest possible at a signature restaurant, there are other and better choices, but as long as he keeps insisting on A.P., I’ll keep going and enjoying the wine and soup! :)

  2. Dave says

    We have had good experiences the few times we’ve been here. I go here for unique dishes so I get the Buffalo. My last trip they had the Buffalo! Buffalo! Buffalo! Buffalo 3 different ways and it was very good. App’s were good as was dessert. The Q is whether its worth, as is any Signature, the 2 dining credits. I don’t think any of them are now worth 2 credits especially when you can get an O’hana dinner for 1 credit. I agree, go to the lounges like Territory, Nomad, Mizner’s, Tutto Gusto, Brown Derby, and the bar areas in Yak/Yeti, California Grille, Tambu Tambu, The Wave and experience some/most of what you can get at the restaurants without feeling guilty sharing or not ordering a full meal and having the server look at you with that “cheap couple” look.

  3. Rod says

    We had never been before going in January – somehow this had escaped our dining excursions into the World. I have to say I agree with the article, for the price point, there is little that would compel me to come back to eat there (pre-entree was the best part. The bread is great. Pretty sure the mushroom bisque was awesome as my wife didn’t even let me try it. Undoubtedly the best beet salad I have ever had). I will say it was probably the best service I have had recently at any Disney Restaurant, but part of that was probably due to the fact that the place had fewer than a quarter of the seats filled.
    But fi you are going to shell out a couple hundred bucks on dinner for two, everything really should shine.

  4. Alex says

    AJ: You are spot on in your review. We went last year while we were staying here pre-cruise and I was underwhelmed. Before going back to Artist Point, I would easily hop on the boat and head over to California Grill, Narcoossee’s or Citricos or even grab an Uber/Lyft and head to the Four Seasons for Capa. We got the sushi and the bolognese options as appetizers and those were successful. However, the salmon entree fell flat. The atmosphere was also pretty sterile. Our server matched the food – just okay. It’s not a place I recommend to others .

  5. Jeffrey says

    Agree completely.
    Artist Point (along with Yachtsman Steakhouse) have been the only signature restaurants at WDW that haven’t wowed the Wife & I.
    But like you, we’ll keep trying.

  6. Brenda says

    I understand completely! Back in the day, way back when it opened, they used to have a sourdough bread with fresh apple butter for bread service. The soups would vary with cream of onion (so delicious!) and a potato leek (amazing!) along with the mushroom. I fell in love with Artist Point then, so much so that I had my wedding dinner there (small wedding-the food was amazing!). Since about 2008 though, it seems to have changed a bit, sometimes it is wonderful – scallops with roasted tomato risotto I am thinking of you – to the it is ok. I so hope it gets back to wonderful all the time, it is a beautiful restaurant and I have beautiful memories of it, seriously 20 years later apple butter. Until then, I adore the Territory Lounge. :)

  7. Patrick says

    I’ll agree that any Signature, save perhaps V&A’s, will fall below expectations to any number of people. Citrico’s and CA Grill come to mind for me. On the other hand, we’ve loved AP the past few years. They did hit a rough patch a few years ago, but with the advent of a new chef and manager, blossomed again of late. The ambiance is wonderfully romantic, and we like how it’s rarely crowded—that alone makes it a nicer experience to us.

  8. Kimberly says

    I loved Artist Point years ago, around 2010, when the buffalo had a dark chocolate/cherry reduction, which was incredible. They changed the buffalo to a very salty Asian style, and then to the Buffalo! Buffalo! Buffalo!, which paled in comparison. That ricotta cheesecake (gone) was divine, too, and this is coming from someone who hates cheesecake. The salmon and the beet salad were good, but pricing at Disney restaurants is way out of hand. All the signatures used to be that good, but now a very few are. Blame the Dining Plan? Plus, the credit card charge if you miss a reservation is scary, because you never know how traffic on I-4 will be. I used to go to Disney signature restaurants 2-3 times a week. Now it’s maybe once every 2-3 months. Just not worth it anymore.

  9. Heather says

    The Wilderness Lodge is our Disney home so I have eaten at Artist Point a lot! I absolutely love everything I have had there. However, if you’re note that into game, it’s probably not the best place for you. As far as service, we normally have good to excellent service here. However, there was one time when I was pretty sure that our waiter forgot we were there. I had to send back my food because it came out cold. I don’t mean it wasn’t hot. It was actually cold. We still go back every time though because it is one of our family favorites and it is usually excellent.

  10. Dean says

    My girlfriend and I had a wonderful experience at Artist Point, probably our most memorable and delicious meal of the trip. We’re from upstate New York so we really appreciated the atmosphere that the Lodge itself provides.

  11. Gretchen says

    I went to Artist Point Back in September and had a delicious meal. We got a charcuterie board which featured multiple exotic meats including rabbit, bison and duck. I like their Mac & Cheese as well but it is super super decadent. Can’t argue about the Boathouse though because that is our favorite restaurant on Disney Property. Ate there twice in one week on our last trip.!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *