By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.



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Review: The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort



By Dave Shute

(For the first page of this review of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, click here.)

THE CABINS AT FORT WILDERNESS FOR FIRST-TIME VISITORS

Review The Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort is one of 5 moderate resorts at Walt Disney World:

The moderates have much more room than the value resorts, more amenities, and (except for Fort Wilderness) much better landscaping. See this for what you get by Disney World price class.

Disney’s Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort officially

“combine an American Frontier theme with all of the luxuries of home…” and are situated in a resort that is “…a picturesque haven of natural beauty. Wander quiet trails between log-façade buildings like the Meadow Trading Post and Pioneer Hall. Water canals snake through the cabins, campsites and common areas, adding to the sense of being far from modern bustle—as do roaming ducks, deer and rabbits.”

The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort were refurbed in early 2016, except for Loop 2100, where the cabins were removed.

The cabins are distinctive among the Disney World moderate resorts for several reasons.

Positive distinctive features include that they are

  • The only moderate option that sleeps six
  • The only moderate with multiple living spaces, including a separate bedroom
  • The only moderate with a full kitchen–fully equipped, other than a limited oven cabins
  • The only moderates located within America’s best campground–Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
  • The only moderate option with a deck and barbecue grill

But there’s also negative distinctive features here:

  • They have the lowest kid appeal, and lowest convenience, of any of the moderates
  • There’s only one bath for the 6 people held, and the hot water heater has scant capacity
  • They are typically around 50% more expensive than the 4-5 person traditional moderates
  • They are about $40 to $110 more expensive per night than some 6 person alternatives like The Family Suites at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and The Family Suites at All-Star Music

Review The Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground from yourfirstvisit.netBecause of these negatives, based on our January 2016 visit (our fifth stay in the Cabins since I started this site, and second in a refurbed cabin), the Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort remain the fifth best of the moderates for first time family visitors.

(For a review of the Campsites at Fort Wilderness, see this; for what the moderates provide, and how they compare to the other Disney World resort classes, click here)

You can have a wonderful visit at any Walt Disney World resort. However, this site recommends that first time visitors to Walt Disney World avoid the moderate resorts, while noting that these resorts are wonderful for visits after the first. (See this for why.)

That said, the moderates do represent almost 30% of the room capacity of Walt Disney World, and will be sought by some you regardless of this site’s advice, or because this site’s recommended resorts are sold out.

REVIEW: THE CABINS AT DISNEY’S FORT WILDERNESS RESORT

Resorts are ranked on this site for first time visitors based first on their kid appeal, and then on their convenience.

On this basis, the Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are the least good moderate resort for first time family visitors.

(Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is first, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort second, Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside is a close third, Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter is a very close fourth, and The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are a distant last.)

FLOOR PLAN OF THE CABINS AT DISNEY’S FORT WILDERNESS RESORT

As you can see from the image above, the Cabins are long narrow buildings that share no common walls or floors/ceilings with any other family’s space.

Parking is in front, and you’ll find a barbecue grill near it, and then steps up to a large deck with a picnic table.

Floor Plan Renovated Cabins at Fort Wilderness from yourfirstvisit.net

From the deck (dark brown in the floor plan of a refurbed cabin), there’s two entrances into the cabins.

The one closer to the steps is the main entry–it’s the one with the MagicBand lock.

Kitchen The Renovated Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

It opens into a small kitchen, with a refrigerator/freezer, sink, dishwasher, two burner stove combo, microwave/oven combo, coffee pot and toaster.  All the basic kitchen supplies–from steak knives to coffee cups to frying pans–are here as well.

Living Room The Renovated Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The rest of this space is a dining area that seats six, and a living area with a couch that folds out into a queen bed, footstool that serves as a bench for kids, and an easy chair

In the other direction, a short hall leads to a bath–small but adequate, except it barely generates enough hot water for three people.  (Each cabin has its own hot water heater.)

Back Bedroom The Renovated Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

At the end of this hall you’ll find the bedroom.

The second door from the porch opens into this room, with a dead-bolted, rather than keyed, door.  This was handy to leave open while grilling or using the deck’s picnic table, but a bit of a security concern otherwise.

In this room you’ll find two bunk beds and a queen bed.

The bunk bed mattresses are 66 inches long by 39 inches wide, and sleep a little shorter than that as they are enclosed by rails.

You’ll also find in this space the only real closet.

KID APPEAL OF THE CABINS AT DISNEY’S FORT WILDERNESS RESORT

Main Pool Disney's Fort Wilderness ResortThe theming of this resort, while charming, is so subtle that it will miss most kids entirely.

Yes, it’s at a great campground, and yes, the Cabins are charmingly rustic.

The main pool (at right) was renovated in 2009, and theming and a slide were added. It’s much better than it was, but still not great.

Bunk Bed Lights The Cabins at Fort Wilderness from yourfirstvisit.net
You’ll find charming details in the room, such as this light above a bunk bed…

Bambi and Thumber at the Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort

…and this wall art of Bambi and Thumper (and my camera flash) in the back hall.

But overall, the theming is not nearly so strong as that at the other moderates, and as a result, the comparative kid appeal is slight.

CONVENIENCE OF THE CABINS AT DISNEY’S FORT WILDERNESS RESORT

The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are remarkably inconvenient even compared to the other moderates, which can be a pain to get around.

While often thought of as out of the way, the resort is actually located just across Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon from the Magic Kingdom. Its inconvenience comes not from its location but rather from the internal bus system that the sprawling Fort Wilderness Resort uses.

To get to any theme park, two transportation actions are required—an internal bus to the appropriate transfer point, and then an external bus to the park itself. This can easily add half an hour or more to daily transportation times—adding up to a lost afternoon or so over the course of an eight-night visit.

BEST PLACES TO STAY IN THE CABINS AT DISNEY’S FORT WILDERNESS RESORT

This site suggests that first time visitors stay in standard rooms, not preferred rooms (because they won’t be spending much time in their rooms, or going to the main resort food area often; the single exception is visitors to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, who should always pay for savanna views.)

Map Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort

See the map of Fort Wilderness (click it to enlarge). The Cabins are in the lower center, loops 2200 through 2800.

At Fort Wilderness, there’s three areas worth trying to get close to:

  • The Settlement, at the top of the map, where you’ll find a store, the restaurants, the beach, the boat to the Magic Kingdom, and some other amenities
  • The Meadow area, in the right center, where you’ll find another store, the main pool, the outdoor sing-along and movie area, bike barn, etc., and
  • The Outpost, at the bottom of the map, where you’ll find the rest of the theme park buses and the concierge services.

None of the Cabin loops are anywhere near the Settlement.  Loop 2200 is closest to the Meadow. Loop 2800 is closest to the Outpost.  The other loops aren’t particularly close to anything other than the quiet pool in the middle of this area, near Loops 2500, 2600, and 2700.

For most families, 2200 is the best choice, for relative closeness to the pools, sing-alongs, and shop of the Meadow.

Disney lets you select loop preferences when you do on-line check-in.  See the image for the options you’ll be presented with.

The Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort Online Check-in from yourfirstvisit.net

Don’t click “near the pool” unless you mean “near the quiet pool.” Ignore ridiculous items like “upper floor.”  These are one-floor buildings…

BEST FOR:

Six person families seeking a full kitchen at lower prices than at the DVC resorts.

WORST FOR:

Families with mobility issues; families with several taller members; families seeking a convenient resort; families seeking a particularly kid-appealing resort.

A PHOTO TOUR OF AN RENOVATED CABIN AT DISNEY’S FORT WILDERNESS RESORT

This review continues here!

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16 comments

1 Anne { 01.20.15 at 7:27 am }

Hi Dave,
How far is the walk between the 2100 loop and the pool? We have a 2.5 and 4 year old and are about to make our room request. We’d like to be able to walk to the pool but if it’s far enough and we’d probably end up taking the bus anyway then we might prefer the 2500 loop to be close to the quiet pool. Thanks so much!

2 Dave { 01.20.15 at 9:25 am }

As the crow flies, it’s about 1200 feet from center to center, Anne–about a quarter of a mile. So with twists and turns figure less than half a mile.

3 Marilyn { 02.01.15 at 4:56 pm }

Hi, I am wondering if it would be a good idea to stay near the quiet pool with little ones, ages 1 & 2. We will have a golf cart to get around.

4 Dave { 02.01.15 at 5:32 pm }

Marilyn, at that age they won’t much care where they are. It’s hard to manage such young kids in a golf cart (unless you have three adults, two to hold them, one to drive) so aiming for near the quiet pool is a good idea–shorter walks.

5 Dan { 03.05.16 at 10:39 am }

Hi,

I’m thinking about booking a cabin. It seems that they are a very long walk from the boat launch, which would have been our preferred method of travel. Could you clarify how long the walk is from the cabins to the launch? Additionally, what method of transportation would you recommend to get from the cabins to the Magic Kingdom, and how long should we allow?

Thanks!

6 Dave { 03.05.16 at 5:28 pm }

Dan, yes they are. There is an internal bus system you can take to the MK boat docks. I’d be at you nearest bus stop an hour before you want to be at MK. There’s much less actual travel time, but if you just miss a bus, then just miss a boat, it can take that long…

7 Diana { 03.08.16 at 4:20 pm }

we have 11 in our group. I have reserved 2 cabins. Would I be wise to try to book loop 2500 so some of our group could use the comfort station to shower since the hot water supply in the cabins is minimal. Any other suggestions would be helpful.

8 Dave { 03.09.16 at 4:55 pm }

Diana, that’s a great idea!

9 Mary Jacob { 04.03.16 at 8:02 pm }

We reserved a cabin for October. We will be bringing our two 4 year old grandchildren and thought the cabin provided us the maximum space needed. There are a few things I’m curious about. 1. We will be driving and already have a golf cart rented. Is that overkill – do we need a golf cart if we have a vehicle? 2. I saw where you said the internal transportation is a pain. Do we need to use this if we have a golf cart? 3. Does the golf carts have enough space to bring a double stroller? This is our first time driving to Disney. In the past we’ve always flown and has been 100% dependent on Disney Transportation and liked that I didn’t have to worry about parking. Since we are taking a vehicle, I don’t know if we should plan on using that to go to all the parks except MK. Thanks for any advice and suggestions.

10 Dave { 04.04.16 at 2:52 pm }

Mary, what you likely want to do is use your car for the parks other than MMK, and use either your cart or the FW internal bus to get to the dock for the MK boat. You would then use your cart to also get around FW.

Honestly I do think the cart is overkill. Using the internal buses for the MK boat dock and other FW stuff should be fine…

The carts have two bench seats. If one of you plus the kids sits in the back one, then you can put the stroller next to the driver in the front seat.

11 Ralph Agostino { 06.01.16 at 10:17 am }

Dave, can you reserve a golf cart through WDW prior to arrival? What is the cost?

12 Kelly B - Destinations In Florida { 06.02.16 at 8:19 am }

Hi Ralph – Golf carts are available for rental at the Reception Outpost. Advanced reservations are highly recommended. You can do this by calling 407-824-2742. They are currently $59.00 per day ( Guest must be 18 and older to rent, 16 and older to drive. All guests must have a valid drivers license and have it with them while operating the vehicle). Rental pick up time is 1pm and must be returned by 11am.

13 Alfonso { 08.12.16 at 12:37 pm }

Dave,
Great site, thanks for all the insight. I have a cabin reserved for February 2017, we’re a family of five (wife and 3 daughters) going on our second trip (first for the youngest one) and taught that spacewise the cabins will be a great option. I’m getting worried about the transportation, I’ve been reading and it sounds like is somewhat difficult and lenghty to get around. On the same dates, the Contemporary is about $80 per night more than the cabins. I know we will be tighter in the room, but is it worth it for the ease of transportation to stay on the Contemporary instead? I will really appreciate in your insight on this. Thanks in adavnce!!!

14 Dave { 08.13.16 at 6:55 am }

Alfonso, the Contemporary rooms you are pricing are Garden Wing rooms which have their own challenges–no balconies, and for many distance from the main tower services, including its transportation.

If you don’t have a rental car, FW on average will add about 40 minutes a day to your transport. With a car, you can drive to AK, Epcot and HS (MK is still best via bus then boat) and have better times to these parks than either hotel without a car.

So what I’d do is stick to your cabin for the space and add a rental car…

15 Ann { 08.22.16 at 2:38 pm }

I too I’m getting concerned about the transportation and the internal bussing and feel we should have booked a different hotel. We are flying and will be there the first week of September. We plan to stay at the park mostly all day. Would it be best to rent a golf cart or just trust the internal busses? Thank you for you help. Also which loop would be best to request for our three kids?

16 Dave { 08.23.16 at 2:52 pm }

Hi Ann, a rental car would be a better choice than a golf cart–about the same prcie, but much faster to EPcot, HS and MK. (Still use the bus/boat for MK). Among the cabin loops, as noted in the post, for most families, 2200 is the best choice, for relative closeness to the pools, sing-alongs, and shop of the Meadow.

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