Appropriations at Disney World Part 3: Disney Wilderness Lodge

In "tribal", American Indian, Disney, pacific northwest, plains, totem pole by Adrienne K.2 Comments

yeah, that’s a Navajo rug coke machine. Welcome to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge! The pictures that follow are all from the lobby of the hotel, which describes its decor as:

Taking inspiration from the early 1900s—a time when the spirit of the American pioneer soared—and cues from Native American cultures, the theme of being in harmony with nature winds through Disney’s Wilderness Lodge—inside and out. Authentic decor and genuine artifacts pay homage to ancient Native American cultures and the pioneering spirit of early American explorers

note the use of the words “authentic” and “genuine”. After the jump, a million pictures of “authenticity” at its best. I also recommend a look at their website here.

some gorgeous moccasins in a display case, but with no description or anything to note if they’re Native made, or where or when they’re from.

from farther away–Plains style, eastern woodlands style…all together.

The first of a couple “Native” headdresses, the description on it read “inspired by a 19th century crow headdress.” More like inspired by an ostrich.

This gem sits behind the check-in desk. If you can’t tell from the picture it’s a “peace pipe” with mickey mouse ears.

a line of cradle boards behind the reception desk (again with no descriptions or anything)

I found this juxtaposition nice…the Indian landscape with lincoln logs for the kids to practice being “pioneers”

Lamp at the restaurant

another “inspired by” headdress, this one “19th century Sioux”

apologies for the dark picture, but this is the totem pole that runs from the floor to the ceiling in the lobby

rug on the wall in the gift shop

Buckskin “dress” in the gift shop (it’s actually just one layer, made to look like a dress)

lighting in the gift shop

Tipi lighting in the lobby

drum lighting outside the bathrooms

Disney totem pole outside the gift shop

“inspired by a 19th century crow headdress” I believe the exact words out of my mouth were: “omygod it looks like an effing muppet”

back of the muppet headdress, sorry my camera is bad at low light photos

see? totally the same.
(gotta love the labyrinth)

northwest coast designs on the pool bar

random artifacts thrown in a display case. Monica pointed out that most people would assume the horse hair on the right was a scalp (it’s not).

Wall decoration: “inspired by 19th century sioux winter count”

Fireplace screen…they’re making smoke signals.

Finally, for comparison’s sake, the display case next to the fireplace. Rocks, Natives–same thing, right?

  • Anonymous

    gotta say that my favorite is the Tipi lighting. It is interesting how the description of the decor says it pays homage to “ancient” Native American cultures…further perpetuating the belief by Non-natives that Native culture in its “purity” is indeed ancient.

  • Anonymous

    I find it pretty annoying that Disney did not bother to label the items. This has probably left many Non-Natives who stay at the lodge in the dark about the complexities of Native nations; further perpetuating stereotypes. Having worked at NMAI, I’ve seen my fair share of casual museum-goers who halfway pay attention to the items on display. In the Disney Lodge’s case, having no information cards and “inspired by” items probably equals disaster. :)