REVIEW: Geyser Point Bar and Grill’s Shine Fades After Menu and Policy Changes
Return trips to your favorite places at Walt Disney World are always fun. Whether it’s an attraction or a restaurant, it’s sure to bring back good memories and continue ongoing traditions. Geyser Point at Wilderness Lodge has continuously been a bar and lounge we’ve gone back to visit throughout the year, certainly numerous times since their opening in February of 2017. It even made our list of the seven best things that happened at Disney Parks in 2017! Unfortunately it appears that many of the reasons that we visited are just going to be good memories.
The once easy and accessible open-seating of Geyser Point has been modified to a hybrid table service, where you will need to visit a Cast Member at a podium to put your name on their waiting list for the next available table. This is accomplished by (temporary) signage posted at each entry to the establishment instructing you to visit the host stand before staking claim on a seat. Sadly, the podium is in the worst location and we witnessed tons of guests who would sit down, only to be instructed they had to go to the podium cast members, who then sat them at the table they went to in the first place. What once had the feel of a “welcome, sit, enjoy, take your time, relax” atmosphere now has the feel of a location that is trying to flip tables to increase occupancy and profit. Most other resort lounges on property use open seating and keep this feeling, but Geyser Point chose not to. To play Devil’s Advocate, I understand that guests don’t want to wait around for a table, but Geyser Point is very often not busy enough for this just not to seem silly as you walk past many open tables on the way to the “check-in podium”.
While we were given the regular bar menu (which had many changes), as well as a seasonal menu (covered just below), we were also invited to try the SECRET MENU, which our server said was only available through the app… meaning the Geyser Point Quick Service offerings. This apparently was done so they don’t have to hand out physical menus from the counter service restaurant and can push only the “lounge-only” menu items. These two changes to the way the bar runs cause an impact on the overall feel that can’t be shaken. This location has turned from a very friendly and extremely Disney hideaway to another low-level management fueled money machine.
There are some shining stars to be found within the mix however, let’s check out the seasonal menu.
Geyser Point Seasonal Menu
All of the above items are new, we tried everything except for the popcorn.
The Spiced Manhattan – Bulleit Bourbon, Sweet Vermouth, Maple Chai Simple Syrup, Bitters. This ended up being a well balance cocktail and a great seasonal representation of the Manhattan. Recommended, if this is available during your next visit. I would expect a similar cocktail to appear for the springtime.
Frosted Cranberry – Hendricks Gin, Cointreau, Cranberry, Ginger Beer. This one was coated with a sugar rim, similar to a very sweet margarita. Fortunately it tasted very close to one, making for a very refreshing and festive drink for the colder months.
The Chili Waffle Fries left a lot to be desired. When the plate came to the table we were impressed with the size and portion of food provided, but the entire plate falls apart once you realize that the chili just isn’t good. We’re really unsure how Roaring Fork can consistently make some of the best chili on property, but a bar 300 feet away can’t produce similar quality.
Nothing says “I’m in the Pacific Northwest” like some teriyaki chicken wings. Seven (YEAH, SEVEN) wings joined this basket on a journey into mediocrity. They were chicken wings served at a bar at Walt Disney World, and I feel that’s enough words on the subject.
Again, all of the aforementioned items are listed on a special printed seasonal menu. They may not be there during your next visit, but we can’t really recommend the food so that may not be a bad thing. Next we’re checking out changes and continued good eats on the regular menus.
Standard Menu Updates/Changes
We ordered this Crispy Chicken Sandwich with a salad and it came out with french fries. Not the worst thing in the world, but after having a lot of fries with the chili waffle fries, we were looking for a change. That being said, this chicken sandwich is sizeable for the price and is perfectly crisp, albeit waiting nearly 25 minutes for the item after ordering at the window. The only real gripe is that the chili aoli didn’t stand well on its own with the sandwich (almost tasting nonexistent), leaving a lot to be desired with sauce which the condiments bar wasn’t able to solve. This sandwich replaced the glorious Salmon BLT sandwich on the counter service (OR SECRET) menu, sadly.
The desserts menu labels this dark roasted coffee infused chocolate gelato out to be a house-made ‘definitely doesn’t come in a prepackaged container’ type deal, but here we are. It’s not bad, but you can do a lot better for $5, especially with ice cream and gelato options at other Walt Disney World properties, such as a frozen yogurt machine at Contempo Cafe.
Sunshine Margarita – Lunazul Reposado Tequila, Cointreau, and Sweet-and-Sour with Juices of Orange and Lime. As far as margaritas go, this one was a better version of the typical Disney margarita. We wouldn’t seek this drink out alone on the menu, but it’s a refreshing take on the classic concept.
Frosé – Featuring Meiomi Rosé and Tito’s Handmade Vodka. We can’t recommend this, we can’t even fathom why something that sounded extremely refreshing and good came out tasting like the stem of a strawberry instead of the actual berry part. Avoid this at all costs, go with the margarita or maybe even the next drink…
Bourbon & Strawberry Sour – Bulleit Bourbon, fresh Lemon Juice, Strawberry Puree, and Sweet-and-Sour topped with Sprite. For being a drink with sour in the name, it doesn’t have a huge sour flavor. In fact the sweetness and the sour work together very well with the bourbon, making for a well-balanced and very enjoyable drink. We had two…or three, it was that good.
Blueberry Lemonade – Three Olives Blueberry Vodka, Bols Blue Curacao, and Odwalla Lemonade with Juices of Lemon and Pomegranate topped with Sprite. It woudln’t be a Disney drink menu without some mention of Odwalla Lemonade, and here we are. The drink was exactly what you’re expecting by just the name, but the alcohol content will make you wonder if you really paid $11.00 for what felt like a very weak pour.
The changes to Geyser Point removed numerous favorite drinks (Moscato Colada, Apple Mule) and also removed the Grilled Salmon BLT which we raved about in our first review, but the drink additions are solid items. We didn’t have a bad track record with drinks during our time, which was a lot to be said considering the food did not compare with previous visits. We might return to Geyser Point in the future should another menu change (and may be some policy changes are enacted), but it’s going to take some time to let the wounds heal.