This is a review of the Disney Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground Cabins. The pros and cons of the Disney version of the American frontier.
What is Fort Wilderness Resort?
Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground is Disney’s version of the original American Frontier. It’s 750 acres! It is considered a moderate resort. They have areas for tent setups, hookups for RVs, and they have cabins for the “glampers” out there. It gives access to the parks, but it is also set up for outdoor activities such as kayaking, canoe rentals, fishing, and even has a ranch.
My Personal Experience at the Fort Wilderness Cabins
I should preface this by telling you that I am not a fan of camping. I’m a girl who loves comfy spaces, air conditioning, showers, and makeup vanities. My friend that I stayed with in the Fort Wildness Cabins is also not a camper. We actually ended up staying at the cabins last minute due to not being able to get reservations due to Disney’s cheer week. So, this is a review from a regular non-camping mom.
However, I didn’t hate the cabins. There are a lot of pros and cons to the cabins that I think you would have to weigh and think about what is right for you and your family on your trip. I think it also depends on what you want out of your trip.
When we checked in, we were greeted kindly by a Disney cast member and given a map of the campgrounds. (WOW, didn’t realize it was so huge!) It has its own little settlement of restaurants, and the major thing that sets it apart is that it has its very own transportation system.
We were starving, so we jumped a bus to the settlement to eat. From there, we ended up at P & J’s Southern Takeout. We had some fried chicken and sides. The fried chicken tasted delicious but I wasn’t a fan of the sides. That particular restaurant had a buffet at night, but we went in the day when it was a carryout option only. We ended up having our food at the picnic tables in the front, which was just fine.
There are plenty of other restaurants at the Settlement, as well as an arcade. It really does have the feel of a small frontier town.
The settlement is where you also go to catch the boat over to Magic Kingdom. The boat docks are just beyond the settlement buildings.
The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort
We got to our cabin and found it was very cozy. I liked the decor, however, the feel of Disney is not there. The only Disney marks I could find was a picture of Bambi on the wall and our Tinkerbell door hanger. You definitely don’t feel like you are at Disney – so that could be a pro or a con depending on your desire. I love Disney, and like the Disney feel when I’m there.
However, if you wanted away from the chaos of the parks and don’t enjoy being completely submerged in Disney, you may enjoy the cabins.
The cabin had a living area that was large and spacious.
The living room has a sofa that turns into a double bed. (We did not need this, so I can’t speak to its comfort.) The bedroom is a queen size bed with two bunk beds right next to it. It’s a little cramped, to be honest. This is supposed to be able to accommodate 6 adults, but honestly, I’m not sure that could happen with comfort. I think a family of 4-5 could easily do it, though.
It has a little breakfast/lunch area and a kitchen. The kitchen looked perfect for making food for a small family. It had a nice full-size refrigerator. It also has two countertop burners, a dishwasher, and a microwave. You could easily cook in the cabins without difficulty. You can even have groceries delivered to the cabin and have it fully stocked when you arrive.
The bathroom was a decent size. The shower was great (nice water pressure).
The Internal Transportation System at Fort Wilderness
That evening, we went to Disney Springs. We realized you have to take the internal Disney bus that stays in Fort Wilderness to the main bus stop (Outpost Depot) and then wait for another bus to go to Disney Springs. It’s a lot of bus hopping. Then, that evening, our entire bus seemed confused about how to get back. The bus driver was very irritated with the whole lot of us because we couldn’t figure out where to go. (This is the first Disney cast member that I’ve ever came across who was rude. Very out of character for a Disney employee.) I can honestly say I didn’t like the bus setup. I thought it was confusing and time-consuming, however, I guess that’s the trade off for being nestled into the forest far away from the chaos.
That night, it rained and rained and rained. Honestly, I had the best sleep I’ve ever had. It was a comfortable bed, the rain was hitting the roof and that’s all I could hear. It was quiet. That night of peaceful sleep made the cabins so worth it to me.
The next morning as we waited out the rain, we realized we had plenty of space to wait. We weren’t on top of each other like we would have been in a hotel or other resort. I was able to curl up in the chair and knit while my friend did a little work spread out on the couch. The table could be a great set up for a board game for kids as well. It was nice to have that much space.
Disney’s Water Transportation
When we ventured out to Magic Kingdom (MK), the only choice to get there directly was by boat. We could have done a LOT of bus hopping, but there is no bus directly to MK. We would have to take the internal bus to the main bus stop, take a bus to another destination like Disney Springs or another park, then hop ANOTHER bus to Magic Kingdom. So, we took the boat. It was actually a great little ride and you get beautiful views of the lake, Fort Wilderness Lodge, and the Grand Floridian. We also took it back after spending the day in the MK, and the ride back was just as nice. We also got to see a bit of the electrical water pageant on the way back, which was fun.
There are a lot of things we didn’t experience at the cabins that may have swayed my thoughts. We didn’t go to the pool or to the nightly Chip and Dale campfire. You can also rent a golf cart to get around the resort without using the internal bus system, but we weren’t there long enough to feel that was necessary or cost-effective.
Related Disney Review Posts: Minnie Van Review
All in all, these are the pros and cons I found of staying at Fort Wilderness Campground:
Pros of Staying in the Fort Wilderness Cabins
Quiet! Like I mentioned, it was very quiet at night. With the sound of the rain hitting the roof and a comfortable bed, I managed to get the best sleep of my life. If you are seeking peace, look no further.
Tons of space. The cabin itself is spacious and you won’t feel like you are right on top of one another. This is especially good if you plan to stay in your resort a little more than you would the parks. There is plenty of room for the kids to play games and for the adults to kick back.
You can have pets. I haven’t mentioned this previously, but when we checked in we were asked if we had pets. They allow dogs! They allow 2 dogs per cabin. If you want a vacation that you can take your best furry friend along, this would be perfect!
If you enjoy the outdoors and don’t live where the outdoors are readily available, this is for you. From our little porch, we could see a small stream and even saw a few deer! While we didn’t get immersed in their recreation activities, you can canoe, fish, participate in archery, sing around the campfire with Chip and Dale, and more!
Cons of Staying in the Fort Wilderness Cabins
You can only get to Magic Kingdom directly by boat. I almost didn’t list this as a con. However, it was rainy the day we went to MK and I might have preferred the bus. The boat had a roof covering though so we weren’t wet. It was a nice way to see things, too. I’m just a girl who likes options.
The bus system is a bit difficult, and you have to hop bus to bus to get anywhere. This is my LEAST favorite thing. The bus system!! It’s just a huge campground, so I get they need the internal bus system, but it is time-consuming. It also was a bit confusing at times.
This leads us to transportation times! If you were to have a character breakfast (or any meal) at another resort, it would be almost impossible to do it in a timely manner. However, you could use the Minnie van service for a bit of extra cost. It might be worth it if you want to stay in the cabins and have a character breakfast at another resort.
The typical Disney feel is not there. Again, it’s hard to call things con or pro when it may be exactly what someone else would want. For me, it was a con because I LOVE Disney and the Disney feel. However, if you aren’t the biggest Disney fan or don’t want it in your face all the time, I could see it being a pro for you.
Dark! When we got to the cabins late from the parks, it was super dark and nothing is very lit up. I understand you wouldn’t want a lot of lights so you could keep the woodsy camping feel, however, it was really hard to find our way. We ended up using our cell phone flashlights, so I would recommend ensuring you have a good light/flashlight with you.
I think Disney Fort Wilderness Resort is a great option for some families. I think this resort depends on the type of family you are, what you desire in your Disney vacation and personal thoughts/feelings about the outdoors!
This resort and how you enjoy it is solely dependent on your personality and style.
Would I go back to the Fort Wilderness Cabins?
Yes, I would. I’d like to go with my son to see if he enjoys it. I’m sure we would do more resort themed things, such as the campfire and their pool. They even have an archery experience he would like. What my reservations are with this, however, is that we live in a rural area and he has the ability to experience archery and campfires in our very own back yard. I’m not sure I want to pay a Disney price to do things we have access to. This might be more for those who live in big cities and can’t just experience this on a daily basis.
If you have stayed in the cabins at Fort Wilderness, let me know how you liked it! What pros and cons did you feel it had?