REVIEW: Geyser Point Bar and Grill’s Shine Fades After Menu and Policy Changes

Geyser Point Crispy Chicken Sandwich
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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

Geyser Point Winter Menu
Geyser Point Winter Menu

All of the above items are new, we tried everything except for the popcorn.

Geyser Point Spiced Manhattan
Geyser Point Spiced Manhattan

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.

Geyser Point Frosted Cranberry
Geyser Point Frosted Cranberry

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.

Geyser Point Chili Waffle Fries
Geyser Point Chili Waffle Fries with Queso, Creme Fraiche, Green Onions $12.00

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.

Geyser Point Crispy Chicken Wings
Geyser Point Crispy Chicken Wings with Teriyaki Sauce, Sesame Seeds $14.00

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

Geyser Point Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Geyser Point Crispy Chicken Sandwich with Chili Aoli, Lettuce, and Tomato on an Artisan Roll $10.49

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.

Geyser Point Dark Roasted Coffee Infused Chocolate Gelato
Geyser Point Dark Roasted Coffee Infused Chocolate Gelato $4.69
Geyser Point Dark Roasted Coffee Infused Chocolate Gelato
Geyser Point Dark Roasted Coffee Infused Chocolate Gelato $4.69

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.

Geyser Point Sunshine Margarita
Geyser Point Sunshine Margarita $12.00

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.

Geyser Point Frosé
Geyser Point Frosé $11.00

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…

Geyser Point Bourbon & Strawberry Sour
Geyser Point Bourbon & Strawberry Sour $12.00

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.

Geyser Point Blueberry Lemonade
Geyser Point Blueberry Lemonade $11.00

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.

OVERALL

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.

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Topher Wallace

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11 Comments

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  • I never tried the Salmon BLT, but I am glad to see they still have the Lump Crab Cake Sandwich on the menu, which I did try this past summer.

  • I noticed the same and totally agree. We stopped over on Wilderness Lodge on 12/30 to try Geyser Point. When we got there we came from the lake path and just sat down. (did not see a sign) I min later was asked to check in at the podium.

    There was plenty of open seats and we just wanted to relax, have a drink and maybe order food. I was a little dumb founded on this formality at a bar and ended up just getting some quick serve beers at the place next door and sitting at an open table about 50 ft way from Geyser Point. Watched this happen to others.

  • Sounds like this won’t be too big a problem once people get used to checking in for a table. I’m guessing (hopefully) the bar is still available to be walked up to & sat at on your own.
    I do understand why this is happening. On our September stay at the Wilderness Lodge Villas, I spent a ton of time eating & drinking at Geyser Point, popping in and out as I used the pool. Several times I did see families or couples planting themselves at a table & squatting for hours. Hopefully, they did spend some money in there, but it did seem a bit ridiculous. One particular couple were in there on their laptops for hours on end several different days. They we’re drinking Powerade bottles the entire time. I did see them order fries once.
    Hopefully this new policy moves these types of loiterers to the beautiful lobby.

    • understand concerns as listed above. people working for tips I am sure would scream . but this is a vacation resort. Disney does not understand the concept if it isn’t broke don’t fix it . hence some of the changes we see at some of our favorite places on property. usually brought about by new management wanting to put their stamp on things.

  • Let me tell you as a former cast member of Geyser Point, it was so hard with the “come sit enjoy care free me I’m on vacation” guests who don’t know how to tip, but want to sit and “relax” at your table. I had people who literally would fall asleep at tables after leaving a two dollar tip on their $50+ families meal. Disney cast members are supposed to be able to make a living off of making your vacation the best it can be, but unfortunately for some cast members to make a decent living while only making $5 an hour, they had to make changes in order to support them. Please give them a chance, I love that place a lot, and love that cast. They love being able to make your stay magical, and they do so so much for guests day in and out, help them by supporting a system that is trying to help them.

  • When we were there in the fall we ordered at the Quick Service Counter and then took our food to one of the several open tables by the water. How does the Quick Service work now and has that menu changed?

  • I think we were there early on in the changeover right after Christmas. The servers (ours at least) seemed very frustrated by the removal of the QS items from the menu. We went for lunch, and were seated at one of the lounge sofas right next to the water. After deciding that we wanted something more substantial, I went to the QS counter and ordered a burger to share while my fiance ordered drinks. I came back with the food pager, then the server comes back with our drinks and tells us that we could have ordered the burger through him. Suffice to say we felt bad and ended up tipping him for the burger as well.

    At several points while we were eating and enjoying drinks by the water we saw some families come camp out on one of the other couches (despite the signs in the middle of the sidewalk saying that they were for customers only), only to be shooed away by managers or servers. I understand the “it’s a vacation resort and I’m paying a lot to be here” argument, but at the end of the day, the servers get a significant portion of their income from tips, and there are plenty of other places to relax where you’re not taking money out of someones pocket.

  • We visited in the first part of December. The seating arrangement didn’t bother me, was fast and easy. However, we visited on a very cold afternoon and I would have moved our seats over into the sunshine once some others had left had we not been specifically seated where we were.

    Food was good, but we were cold.

  • Disney should make it quick service, and pay the cast members accordingly. Nothing but a lame attempt to get guests to pay cast members their wages for what is effectively a quick service location.

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