At the DVC Duo house, Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge has a very special place in our hearts. We all have had a dining experience that we’ll remember like it was yesterday. Artist Point is that restaurant for us. From the wait staff, food preparation and creativity, ambience – everything was outstanding. We even saw the hidden Mickey in the mural above the restaurant. Hint: look closely at the trees. We know the reviews and experiences at Artist Point have been mixed over the years, but it will always be special for us.
For the past few months or so the rumor mill around Artist Point at the Wilderness Lodge has been churning. The restaurant will be shutting down starting October 28, 2018. Disney Parks blog announced last week that Artist Point will reopen this winter as Character Dining with characters from Snow White and Seven Dwarfs. Here are some of the details around the updated restaurant, “This immersive character dinner takes place amidst the rustic elegance and exceptional dining that Artist Point is known for. You’ll enjoy a uniquely themed prix fixe menu, including shared starters, a choice of individual plated entrees and ‘sweet spells’ to finish the meal.” Is this good thing or bad thing? Let’s look at both sides.
Great Idea or Square Peg in a Round Hole?
Character Dining is a great idea and something you should experience at Walt Disney World. It’s never about the food, it’s about the experience and memories. If you want both, check out the Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, great food and you can high-five Donald. Regardless of your age, the interactions you and your family will have with the characters, are the ones you’ll remember for a lifetime.
I think we could agree that Snow White and Seven Dwarfs is classic Disney. Some may say it’s Disney at its best. The popularity of Disney princesses is at an all-time high and honestly there is no place in the Magic Kingdom to add this type of Character Dining experience. The closest spot would be the Wilderness Lodge. With the struggles in the kitchen to put out a consistently good meal at Artist Point, it makes sense to change directions.
Is Disney trying to put a square peg in a round hole? There will definitely need to be some “imagineering” to tell a good story as to why Snow White is at the Wilderness Lodge. If memory serves, she is German ;). Theming and storytelling are areas that Disney excels in, no detail is too small. With the Wilderness Lodge being themed after the Pacific northwest, Disney will have to make a decision. Either keep the Pacific Northwest theme or ignore the German heritage of Snow White. My gut says they would ignore the German heritage. It is a very small piece of the story that many people have forgotten as the years have past.
Adding Character Dining to The Wilderness Lodge doesn’t feel right. Most of the Deluxe Resorts on Walt Disney Property have a Signature Restaurant (not a Signature Character Dining Experience). From Jiko at Animal Kingdom Lodge to Flying Fish at Boardwalk, the Signature Restaurant is a key piece to any Deluxe Resort. Over the past few years Disney has put a lot of work into the Wilderness Lodge. The additions of the Copper Creek Canyon Villas, Geyser Point and the new cabins, one would think this resort needs a Signature Restaurant. DVC Duo thinks the menu needs to remain true to its origins with inventive yet approachable fresh Pacific Northwest cuisine. In order to regain popularity it needs to return to its roots and perhaps make the kids menu more approachable to make it more family friendly.
If we know one thing for sure, Disney is usually on point with these types of updates. Could we finally be getting outstanding food and characters? Time will tell. For now, we’ll always have our great memories of Artist Point. No pressure, Dopey! 😉