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
The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort is one of 5 moderate resorts at Walt Disney World:
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, the first Disney World hotel to be designated a moderate, which opened in 1988
- Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort (opened in 1991 as Disney’s Port Orleans Resort)
- Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort (opened in 1992 as Disney’s Dixie Landing Resort)
- Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort (opened 1997) and
- The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, officially classed as moderate in 2008, but opened (as the Wilderness Homes) in 1986. (Fort Wilderness Campground opened much earlier, but precursors to the Cabins did not arrive until 1986.)
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–other than a limited oven
- 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
Because 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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
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.
…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.)
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.
Don’t click “near the pool” unless you mean “near the quiet pool.” Ignore ridiculous items like “upper floor.” These are one-floor buildings…
Six person families seeking a full kitchen at lower prices than at the DVC resorts.
Families with mobility issues; families with several taller members; families seeking a convenient resort; families seeking a particularly kid-appealing resort.
This review continues here!