Artist Point is another one of those "must do" restaurants, especially when staying at Wilderness Lodge, since that's where it is located (it's a bit more tricky when you're not staying there since it involves travel time). It is also a signature, but does tend to feel even more classy than the others I've reviewed, so we typically really spruce up for it. Plus, with the classier feel, there does tend to be less children there. But, because of this, it is extremely expensive if you don't have the dining plan, so you might want to take that into consideration.
It's a good meal after either a Downtown Disney day or a short park day since it doesn't open until dinner time and, like Raglan Road, needs extensive female "prep" time. We've varied our schedule on our Artist Point night to arrival night where we spent the day at Downtown Disney and needed the rest. We've also done it on an extra magic hour Magic Kingdom night, where we went back to the room after our meal and changed back into park attire, caught the 5 minute boat ride over and enjoyed our evening in the park. But the best way is close to the end of our trip and we used the free night afterwards to box up our purchases to ship home.
Similar to to Wilderness Lodge itself, Artist Point has a decidedly Northwestern, mid-century, lodge-type feel to it ,from the decor to the CM costumes. The foods are all Northwestern/Canadian and they serve things like Buffalo, Venison, and Salmon (which comes served on an actual cedar plank). I'm more boring and usually go with the steak (a cow steak that is). With any themed Disney restaurant, the foods and alcohols are all imported directly from the country/countries in which they represent, and Artist Point is no exception. But we're not that far just yet!
Unlike a lot of Disney resort restaurants, Artist Point is quietly tucked away, albeit in a very busy location, right beside the walkway that leads to the food court, pool, and boats to the Magic Kingdom. But, despite it's location, it is still a very quiet environment, a rarity at a Disney dining location.
it is also a bit dark and has awful photo lighting, but it's comfortable:
There is a very craftsman-like feel to the fixtures and architecture:
Throughout the years, I've taken pictures of the massive murals that line the very high walls, but none of them have really come out good enough to post. I try not to get other diners in my pictures, so I do miss a lot of "straight on" shots. Like the Lodge, it has a massive backstory (as does most things Disney), and if you care to read about it, try the Wilderness Lodge Unofficial Fan Site HERE.
Let's get on to the good stuff, shall we? Everything but my entree is a staple for me, as far as appetizers go, it's the Portobello Mushroom Soup (I don't like mushrooms usually, but there is just something about this soup!). Portobellos taste like steak to me, I just can't stand to bite into one due to the texture. And I'm sure the white stuff on top is creme fraiche or, god help me, sour cream, but if it is, don't EVER tell me! I just mix it up into the soup so I can't see it (often times, it's seeing the white creamy stuff that throws me off versus the actual taste of the white creamy stuff...and sour cream has an awful odor to it, but the mushroom flavor is so strong, it wipes it out).
As far as the entree goes, normally I'm a complete steak person, but the very first time I went, I got the Pork Chop with Tillamook Mac & Cheese (which is no longer on the menu) and I completely fell in love with it!
I got it again in 2006:
Now, I just try the steaks with their various sides. Here is 2012's with a mushroom pile (that got skipped) and a weird puffy, cheese-filled, potato thing:
And, last year, I went a bit more simple with a steak and vegetables, including creamed spinach:
Like the appetizer, there is really only one dessert you should ever eat there, and it's the berry cobbler! It is literally to die for, although, throughout the years, it's size has changed dramatically from year to year:
and last year's was the skimpiest:
And, of course, what would a dessert be without a glass of ICE WINE!! (I swear, I'm obsessed with the stuff):
I've had some really memorable experiences at Artist Point, the first being our first time there. Amber somehow managed to make friends with our waiter (he apparently looks like some sportscaster, a subject about which I know nothing). By the end of the night, they ended up posing for a picture together.
In 2006, my very first solo trip, after all the hassle's I'd had at restaurants with people asking me to sit with them (they apparently felt sorry for me sitting alone), I was pretty bummed when the same thing happened at Artist Point. It was a husband and wife and the husband did the inviting, much to the chagrin of the wife who looked at me like I'd better not dare try to join them. I politely declined (as I had all the other times) and went about enjoying my dinner. I did notice the wait staff were a bit "over attentive", but I just figured that they too felt sorry for me being alone. By the time I got back to my room, there was a message on my room phone from the manager of the restaurant hoping that I had an excellent time and that my food was to my liking. It wasn't a short message, rather long actually, and I debated calling him back to thank him, but then I kind of realized that they probably thought I was a food critic or something, and I chickened out. It was all very weird.
One year, Amber burned herself on her flat iron while getting ready and I had to walk down to tell them we would be late for our ressie (one of the hardest things I ever had to do, remember, me and social interaction don't play well together). Once we got down there, we had to wait a bit for a table (since technically we lost our original), so we ended up sitting at the bar where the sweetest bartender brought Am this burn cream that they use in the kitchens and it almost immediately stopped her pain (well, that and several tequila shots).
It's one of those places where you feel like your in a fancy restaurant, but you also feel completely comfortable and relaxed at the same time. It is still my favorite resort restaurant and will probably always be. Everytime I stay at Wilderness Lodge, you can bet I'll be eating at Artist Point!