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The New Oven in The Cabins at Fort Wilderness



By Dave Shute

In which I Test the Oven, and the Oven Tests Me -- from yourfirstvisit.net

Correction: as an alert reader pointed out to me, these ovens max out at 450, not 425 as I had mistakenly thought!

The Cabins at Fort Wilderness are almost through a refurb that includes a fundamental change to the old kitchen–replacement of the old “real” oven and separate microwave with a combined microwave/convection oven.

I’d noted the overall changes to these cabins and what’s happening in the kitchen after my December stay in a refurbed cabin, and have published a full photo tour of a refurbed cabin here.

But that visit didn’t leave enough spare Cabin time to put the oven through its paces, so I stayed in a refurbed cabin longer on my January visit to Disney World–my fifth stay in one of these cute little cabins.

The Oven at the Cabins from yourfirstvisit.net

Disney has noted that the oven has a “limited cooking/baking capacity compared to a traditional oven.”

To find these limits, I put the oven through a number of tests–roast beef, cheesy potatoes, pizza, cornbread, and cinnamon buns–and here’s the short version of my results:

  • It won’t go hotter than 450 degrees, so no broiler, and recipes that need 475 will take longer and may brown more slowly than you want
  • There’s only 6 inches of space between the top of the rack and the top of the oven, so no tall food (The inside dimensions are 21 by 14 inches–it’s plenty long and wide, just short.)
  • Everything I baked–full report in the rest of this post–took 15% to 50% longer than I expected
  • The controls are a little tricky at first–more microwavish than ovenly

THE NEW OVEN AT THE CABINS AT FORT WILDERNESS

The old kitchen had a range with a full oven below and four burners on top, and microwave–see below.

The Old Kitchen The Cabins at Fort Wilderness from yourfirstvisit.net

Old Kitchen The Cabins at Fort Wilderness

The new kitchen moves the sink out of the corner, drops two of the four burners, drops the full oven, and replaces the microwave and full oven with a combined unit, above the two burners.

Kitchen Refurbed Cabin at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

New Kitchen The Cabins at Fort Wilderness

The first thing you should know is that new kitchen or old, the tools the Cabin provides you with are limited.

Ovenware The Renovated Cabins at the Wilderness Lodge from yourifrstvisit.net

There’s two pieces of ovenware–in the upper right of the image above–a covered dish and a rectangular pan.

That’s probably enough for most families, but for my tests–so that I didn’t have to keep cleaning between them–I bought two more items, the 8×8 glass and the 9×14 metal pans that you can see in the photo at the top of the page and in various images below.

(The Cabins come with a measuring cup, but I did not remember that, so I bought another one.)

Utensils Refurbed Cabin at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The prep implements are a little thin, and are shown in the drawer above.  You get six steak knives but no other knives, a bottle opener, can opener, corkscrew, and a plastic spoon and plastic slotted spatula.  That’s it.

Pot Holder Refurbed Cabin at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

There’s one green oven mitt in the drawer above, and I used the towel also in the drawer for two-handed grabs.

Microwave-Convection Oven The Renovated Cabins at the Wilderness Lodge from yourifrstvisit.net

The first step in using the oven is removing the orange plastic-ware at the bottom that supports the base glass microwave platter.  I removed both to be safe, and my wife is astonished that I remembered to remove either…

Rack Oven The Renovated Cabins at the Wilderness Lodge from yourifrstvisit.net

Next you find the oven rack, at the right bottom of the cabinet just below the stove…

Oven The Renovated Cabins at the Wilderness Lodge from yourifrstvisit.net

…and put it into the oven.

Pizza Dimensions Oven The Renovated Cabins at the Wilderness Lodge from yourifrstvisit.net

The oven is 21 inches long by 14 inches wide.  That’s big enough for almost anything–a standard pizza is about 11 inches in diameter–but there’s only six inches of clearance between the rack and the top of the oven, so you can’t cook any tall food.

Instructions Oven The Renovated Cabins at the Wilderness Lodge from yourifrstvisit.net

Working the oven controls is a little tricky, and I did not get comfortable with them until late in the test. The instructions are quite clear–it’s just that the steps don’t tie to usual oven workflows, and more to microwave workflows.

Here’s what you do:

1. Press the convection/bake button

2. Press the button that ties to your temperature goal.  This is not as simple as entering the three numbers. Rather, each number is assigned a temperature, and you press the one number that fits that temp:

Control Panel Oven The Renovated Cabins at the Wilderness Lodge from yourifrstvisit.net

Although you can’t see it in my lousy photo, temps max out at on “0” at 450, so no broiling, and foods that are meant to cook at 475 or higher will take longer and/or brown differently than you expect.

3. Press start

4. The oven will ding when it has pre-heated.  You open the oven, stick your glop in, then press start again.

Everything took longer than I expected… which cost me a FastPass+.

Roast Oven The Renovated Cabins at the Wilderness Lodge from yourifrstvisit.net

First up was a three pound roast, which turned out just fine but should have taken around an hour at 375 but rather took 90 minutes. (I bought the instant read thermometer–there’s no thermometer supplied by the cabin.)

Cornbread Mix Oven The Renovated Cabins at the Wilderness Lodge from yourifrstvisit.net

While the roast was cooking I mixed up the cornbread…

Cornbread Oven The Renovated Cabins at the Wilderness Lodge from yourifrstvisit.net

….and ended up cooking it about 25% longer than the package instructions. The body of the cornbread was done before the top had browned to my liking, so it tended up a little dry. (Note that that’s one of the pans I bought, not a Cabin-supplied pan.)

To test the cornbread done-ness with a toothpick, you have to shut the whole system down, and then re-start all of steps 1 through 4 again.

That is, unlike an old-fashioned oven, you can’t open the door while it stays at the temperature you’ve set–you have to shut everything down to open the door, and then restart everything if your stuff needs to cook longer.

Melting Butter Oven The Renovated Cabins at the Wilderness Lodge from yourifrstvisit.net

A minor note–the cornbread recipe required melted butter, but since the roast was occupying the microwave, I had to melt it on the stove.  I hadn’t melted butter on a stove for decades…

Pizza Oven The Renovated Cabins at the Wilderness Lodge from yourifrstvisit.net

Next up was a standard frozen pizza, which took 25% longer than the package directions but turned out fine.

Cheesey Hash Browns Oven The Renovated Cabins at the Wilderness Lodge from yourifrstvisit.net

The cheesy potatoes took about 25% longer than expected. They weren’t as browned as I like them to be, but I was unwilling to let them cook longer as I didn’t want to dry them out.

Cinnamon Buns Oven The Renovated Cabins at the Wilderness Lodge from yourifrstvisit.net (2)

The cinnamon rolls took about 15% longer than the package directions…

Cinnamon Buns Oven The Renovated Cabins at the Wilderness Lodge from yourifrstvisit.net

…but turned out fine (my pan, not a Cabin pan).

Frankly, I would rather Disney had left the old layout alone, and simply changed to new versions of the old appliances.

That way you could still broil and cook at 475, and roast tall food like chickens or turkeys, and would still have four burners.

But the new layout is much less cluttered, especially around the sink, and I think the two burners and less capable oven will fulfill the cooking requirements of 95%+ of families staying here.

Tip Oven The Renovated Cabins at the Wilderness Lodge from yourifrstvisit.net

(By the way, I did leave a mess for Mousekeeping, but tried to make up for it…)

Have you used one of these ovens?  Did it work for your needs?

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13 comments

1 Mike { 02.08.16 at 6:27 pm }

Dave,

You ARE the man, and my go-to in all things planning, but this is down in the weeds! I love Ft Widerness, and the opportunity to cook a meal or two, but I have to think I’m in the majority (I may be wrong), when I say pot roast with potatoes and cornbread is probably not on my vacation menu. I can do that at home! That’s the beauty of this site though….there is somebody out there that falls in the Venn diagram of “staying in FWC”, and “Cooking a rack of lamb”, and they have only you to turn to. Keep it up! You’ve improved more than one of my vacations…and for that I thank you.

2 Dave { 02.09.16 at 7:21 am }

Mike !!!

If you’d asked me ten years ago how I’d be spending the last weekend in January 2016, testing ovens would not have hit my top 1000 options…

But all over this site–and in my book–I say that the Cabins are the least expensive way to get a full kitchen. So the functionality of the oven–was it still a full kitchen?–became a big deal in my life!!!

3 Elizabeth { 02.09.16 at 10:38 pm }

Thank you for this post!! We will request 2100 loop if it is still there when we hope to come in June – was truly hoping for the kitchen for a 10 day stay (for cookies if not for roast) so was glad to find your info! Don’t feel like learning “new” appliances on our vacation. 😉 MANY THANKS!!

4 Dave { 02.10.16 at 4:51 pm }

You bet Elizabeth! Although by then they may have decided want they are gonna do with 2100…

5 Maria { 02.11.16 at 2:03 pm }

Did you happen to notice what type of coffee filters the coffee maker takes? Do they take a basket filter or the #4 cone filter? We’ll be staying in a cabin when we visit in March 2016. We drink lots of coffee. Thanks!

6 Dave { 02.11.16 at 5:21 pm }

Maria, they are basket filter coffee pots.

7 Maria { 02.12.16 at 7:30 am }

Thank you, Dave!

8 Anonymous { 02.14.16 at 4:29 pm }

We spent our recent Christmas trip here and requested every way possible to get a non-refurbed cabin for the oven, the big food pantry, and the kids table and chairs. We rarely watch TV while at WDW and our kids LOVE the Murphy bed so we didn’t want to try the sofa pullout. Anyway, it was a dream and we are still trying to get over the sadness of the refurb cabins. We’ve stayed both 2100 (hope Disney keeps the old layout here) and 2500 before it was refurbed and really appreciate your throughly detailed reviews.
Three quick questions:
1) Was the new sofa pullout bed really as comfy as the Murphy and where did you store the extra pillows from the sofa bed since they probably won’t fit in the folded up bed like they did with the Murphy? Also was there a side table that was easily used for a light as the Murphy bed had the built in switch to the private light you could reach from bed to turn it out after reading? Lastly, with regard to the change to a sofa bed, did you have to put it up in the morning to move around and or did housekeeping do it for you?

2) Did the bedroom space feel significantly smaller with the bigger queen bed in it now?

3). Do you think a small holiday turkey could be cooked in the new convection/microwave oven?

4). Did you have any storage issues, especially with all of the towels they provide, due to the bathroom drawers that are new and replace the space where they stacked all of the extra towels?

Thanks again for all the updated and continued details.
Kim

9 Dave { 02.15.16 at 9:33 am }

Hi Kim,

1. the sofa bed was fine, though the Murphy bed was more comfortable. There’s no particular feature for reading lights for it, and you stick the pillows in the cabinet to the left of the dresser/TV. Since I was gone in the mornings I left it for the housekeepers to put away, but easily could have put it away myself.

2. I was surprised at how little different the back bedroom felt. It was never spacious, and continues to not be spacious, but not materially worse.

3. If it is less than 6″ tall, yes.

4. No.

10 kerrie miller { 03.06.16 at 8:34 pm }

I have a mw/convection oven combo just like this in my own kitchen. Mine is also a vent hood like this one but it must be a little higher end then these model because I dont have to do all the swapping of parts as youve shown here. Your results are right on with what I experience with my own mw/convect oven. We always drive and bring lots of extra stuff with us. If you are able you can always bring a crock pot. A whole chicken in the crock pot or a roast is always good. We average 2 meals a day back at the cabin. The only meal I see this effecting is the traditional holiday meal. But even that meal can be worked with. Try a turkey breast in the crock pot.

11 Dave { 03.07.16 at 10:01 am }

Thanks, Kerrie!!

12 Junkpix { 06.14.16 at 1:29 pm }

Dave –

I did notice the “0” on the oven is used for 450.

13 Dave { 06.16.16 at 6:53 am }

OMG thank you! I’ve fixed it and am ashamed of myself since the 450 showed up in my own photos…

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