On our most recent trip to Walt Disney World, my husband and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. We wanted to indulge in a special dinner, and having heard recommendation after recommendation for California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, we thought we would land on that. After looking at the menu, however, I was less sure. While I’m sure the food is excellent, much of it just didn’t appeal to me personally. With a little more research, we landed on Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
We arrived at Wilderness Lodge nearly an hour before our reservation, but figured there was no harm in checking in. They were able to accommodate us, and allowed us to take our seats even though the restaurant was not due to open for another 10 minutes. We were seated next to a window, affording us a stunning view for our meal.
We settled in, took in the beautiful theming, and started to look over the leather-bound menu. After a few short minutes, our waiter came over to welcome us and wish us a happy anniversary. He quickly but thoroughly reviewed the menu with us, and over the course of our meal was attentive without being overbearing. I asked if they have a Moscato; he was disappointed to tell me they don’t, but brought me three samples of other wines he thought I might like. Two of them were not to my taste, but one was the first Riesling I’ve ever liked. It was so good that I actually ended up having a second glass. My husband, being a whiskey drinker, was after something a bit stronger. Our waiter was kind enough to bring a whiskey cart over to us and discuss the different options before pouring a glass.
We decided to start the meal with the Artisanal Cheese plate and the Braised Short Rib Bolognese. Encouraging us to celebrate with a leisurely dinner, our waiter offered to space out these appetizers, starting with the cheese. The presentation was so beautiful it was almost a shame to eat it. Two of the cheeses were not really to our liking, but it was nice to have the opportunity to taste something new. One of the cheeses was pleasant, but the real standout was the Lamb Chopper — a sheep’s milk cheese that left us wondering if we could find it at home. The buckwheat crackers, honey, and fruit all served as nice compliments.
Our waiter had the short rib plate split for us, and this proved to be a good move as it was delicious. Had it come out on one plate, I’m certain we would have fought over it. The meat was tender, and the pasta was perfectly cooked. The aged cheese on top perfectly elevated the flavor without overpowering it.
For dinner, I ordered the Chinook Cedar Plank Salmon, and my husband got the Filet Mignon over mashed potatoes. The salmon is always sourced fresh from the Pacific Northwest, and this is reflected in the quality of the filet. Seasoned and cooked perfectly, it flaked apart and melted in my mouth. Although my husband ordered his medium-rare, upon cutting into it he was not welcomed with the nice pink-red center he had hoped for. However, he was pleasantly surprised to find it tender and juicy and full of flavor. Our waiter apologized for it being overcooked, but my husband waved it off, insisting it was still delicious.
With just a little convincing, we summoned up the space in our full bellies for dessert. The Warm House-Made Donuts were sweet and light and completely worth every bite. As a special congratulation on the first five years of our marriage, we were each presented with a flute of Champagne. It was the perfect end to the perfect meal.
After finishing everything up, we headed down to the deck just off the lobby to relax in rocking chairs while we basked in the glow of a wonderful evening. All in all, I would say it was probably one of the best meals I’ve ever had. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a special night.