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Thread: Fort Wilderness Cabin

  1. #1
    Senior Member Anne's Avatar
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    Fort Wilderness Cabin

    Just returned from a 7 night stay in the cabins 2/7-2/14/15. Myself, husband, my mother (spry 73), two boys 2.5 years and 4 years. Overall my feeling is "meh". There were some good parts, some not as good parts. Overall I didn't feel the value was there for us. We probably would have been better off with a 1 bdrm DVC. I don't think we'll return anytime soon.

    Dave's information on the cabins is, of course, spot on and the most complete information I found in one nice concise spot:

    http://yourfirstvisit.net/2014/09/17...ness-resort-3/

    Check in:
    Probably the low point of the week. The least friendly check in I have ever had at a Disney resort. We had a change in cabin number after we had left the check in desk and it was not a smooth process and all in all it took an additional hour to get ourselves and luggage to the right spot. The CMs were not particularly helpful during the process and there was some miscommunication. It also probably seemed a more stressful process because we had tired, hungry young children.

    Loop requests:
    Some of the cabins are in a lovely camping-feeling setting and some are not. They are all very close together. Everything was smaller and closer than it appears on the online photos. Some loops and cabins back close to a road with only a thin strip of land between the road and the cabin. So for that reason I would avoid loops 2200, 2400, 2600 if you can. They are sandwiched between the 2 main roads running north/south through the campground. Especially try to avoid being placed in the upper numbered cabins of the 2600 loop (2640s and above I think but am not certain). Those cabins back to Peacock pass and have the smallest strip of land between the cabin and road and on our trip the area was also flooded so you wouldn't be able to enjoy the "yard" area of the cabin. We ended up in 2422 despite our requests to specifically avoid these loops but there was at least some land with trees between the back of the cabin and the road. The road noise was not bad and did not interfere with mid day naps. The real daytime noise that interrupted nap were the maintenance crews which you really can't avoid.

    The Cabin:
    I was struck by how much smaller it felt than I had expected based on Disney's online photos. It is just so narrow. I guess if you are familiar with a standard trailer that is what these are, trailers with siding made to look like a log cabin. We were inside 2 different cabins during the course of the trip and the other thing that struck me was the wear and tear was showing, at least in the 2 we saw close up. Again, not what I was expecting based on the online photos. The main problem with our cabin was that the dishwasher didn't work and despite a call to engineering it wasn't fixed during our stay. I wasn't up for changing cabins again once we were unpacked and after the prior experience so we hand washed the whole week. Although we were told housekeeping will do your dishes, they did not hand wash the dishes. They placed them in the dishwasher and started it, even when we left a note saying the dishwasher didn't work. A lot of little things did not work well. We had to keep tightening the screws on the door handles because they'd loosen up and not turn, the tub didn't drain well, the fan on the furnace didn't go off when it was supposed to.

    More to come later...

  2. #2
    Senior Member ChristineOH's Avatar
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    Bummer. Hopefully the parks part of your trip was better than the cabin part.

    We have 5 in our family, so I've looked at the cabins, but I'd rather cram into a room at a moderate. My kids are older than yours, though, so I'm past the point of wanted a separate sleeping area for them.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member beachta1's Avatar
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    Sad to hear that. I've always thought staying in cabins would be fun with a family but they do look small and a little worn out. I hope the rest of your trip was fun!
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Anne's Avatar
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    I guess I should have started the review by saying we still had a wonderful trip and even though I wouldn't stay in the cabins again anytime soon it wasn't a bad experience, just maybe not exactly what I expected and a little bit of a dissappointment. Part of it also has to do with value. Even with inflated Disney prices I felt like the price was higher than what I would have expected for the room and service provided. If we had paid $100-$200 per night for the cabin I would probably feel a lot more positive and be singing it's praises. Even with the 25% room only discount and travel in low season (except that our thursday and friday night rates at the end of the week were considerably higher due to the upcoming president's day holiday) our total with all taxes and fees for 7 nights was $2300 or $328 per night. Add to that $60 + tax per day for golf cart rental and we were spending close to $400 per night for a room that felt like motel quality and transportation that we wouldn't have gotten if we had stayed elsewhere (which I realize we could have gotten cheaper if we had rented off site, but that story is to follow) . $400 per night is still less than the rack rates for a 1 bedroom DVC, but proably comparable if one were to rent points or rent directly from Disney with a discount code. In retrospect even if it had cost a little more I wish we had stayed at Wilderness Lodge in a 1 bedroom DVC and taken the boat to Fort Wilderness to enjoy the outdoor activities on our non-park days.

    There were definitely some positives, primarily the setting and activities available at Fort Wilderness. Hopefully I will have a chance to add more details tomorrow.

  5. #5
    Senior Member GaDawgfan's Avatar
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    Another way to stay at Fort Wilderness in a better location and cheaper is to use one of the companies that rents and sets up campers. Some are pop-ups and other are huge units. Doing that, you can be in some of the camping loops that are closer to amenities like the pool and Settlement. Most of the companies provide everything you need for a complete experience.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Anne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaDawgfan View Post
    Another way to stay at Fort Wilderness in a better location and cheaper is to use one of the companies that rents and sets up campers. Some are pop-ups and other are huge units. Doing that, you can be in some of the camping loops that are closer to amenities like the pool and Settlement. Most of the companies provide everything you need for a complete experience.
    That is definitely something we considered and very well might do in the future when our kids are a little older. Our youngest still sleeps in a crib and ideally we like to have two seperate sleeping spaces which is why we went with the cabin. We are still at the stage where sleep for the kids has to be our number one priority or we have behavior problems that make travel no fun for anyone. Well rested they are delightful to be with, not so much if we get off schedule.

    I have fond memories of driving and tent camping at the fort when growing up so we might even give that a try when the kids are older.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Anne's Avatar
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    Storage:
    When we first arrived I was in a bit of panic about where everything would fit. With 2 small children we did not pack light and had 5 large checked suitcases to unpack along with about 7 carry-ons of various sizes. It turned out we were able to get everything unpacked and put away in a designated space. There were only 4 small dresser drawers in the bedroom and 2 even smaller drawers in the nightstand. Those were sufficient for the children's clothing. There are 2 large cabinets flanking the murphy bed and my mother used one and I used the other for our clothing. No shelves so we just kind of folded and stacked everything but it worked. Then my husband used some of the pantry shelves for his clothing and some for the food. Plenty of space for toiletries on shelves in bathroom and a little counter/mirror/hairdryer space in the bedroom corner next to the closet. The one closet in the bedroom was sufficient for us as we had only a few "dress up" items that needed to hang. I have a hard time with clutter and really appreciate getting things out of suitcases and organized on the first day. We just lined the empty suitcases up along the hallway, they didn't fit very easily under the bed. We also put a chair and a couple suitcases in front of the external door in the back bedroom and that deterred the kids from trying to mess with the door. The front door has a safety chain up above but the back door does not and was a huge temptation for the little guy.

    Sleeping spaces:
    The shortness of the beds was noted by Dave in his review and was probably a little worse than we anticipated. I don't think of my husband as overly tall, he's 6'1" and the double bed in the master bedroom was too short for him to sleep comfortably. He ended up sleeping diagonally and instead of trying to squish in next to him I opted for the top bunk. The bunk was actually perfectly comfortable as an adult for sleeping, I'm 5'4" and didn't feel it was too short. 4 year old took the bottom bunk. He was devastated to not get the top but knowing him it would definitely not be a safe proposition even with the sturdy bed rail. There is a permanent sign attached to the bunks stating only children 6 and older are allowed on the top bunk, probably a legal CYA for Disney. My mother slept on the murphy bed and said it was very comfortable. It has a box spring and fairly thick mattress so it is far superior to a pull out couch bed. She's 5'6" and had no trouble with length. The 2.5 year old still sleeps in a crib at home and we rented a collapsible full sized crib for him from Kingdom strollers (delivered to bell services by the rental company and then delivered to the cabin by bell services once we checked in). It worked REALLY well, easy to fold up and push out of the way up against the murphy bed wall when not in use. It didn't fit in the back bedroom so he slept out in the living room with grandma. He has the earliest bedtime of everyone and won't go to sleep if anyone else is in the room with him so we ended up putting him down and then having everyone else quietly reading in the back bedroom until he was reliably asleep before grandma crept back out to her bed. This was a better option than things we've had to do in the past with a standard hotel room. The early bedtimes weren't so much of a problem as we were all pretty tired and all tend to be early to bed early to rise anyway. For nap time the adults hung out on the deck while one boy was in the bedroom and one in the living room and that worked well except for our one rain day. Then I just hung out on the top bunk with the ipad/ipod and relaxed a little and grandma and my husband were tired enough to naps as well.

    Kitchen:
    I don't know how this kitchen compares to the DVC kitchens having never stayed in a DVC 1 or 2 bedroom. It was pretty minimally stocked with cooking implements and I don't think it would have been easy to make a real full meal. I ended up giving up on making French toast. There is only 1 small frying pan with poor non-stick coating and it would have taken forever so after one batch I gave up and made scrambled eggs (a large portion of which stuck to the pan). There also were not any mixing bowls but there were 2 pyrex rectangular glass pans. 2? sauce pans? The knives were not very sharp. Otherwise we kept our cooking to sandwiches, cereal, and anything microwavable. There is a grill but we didn't try it out due to a combination of laziness and safety concerns with unreliable grabby preschoolers. There is a dishwasher but as noted above ours didn't happen to work.

    Bathroom:
    Adequate other than the small hot water heater capacity and the slow running drain. All 3 adults could not shower in succession without running out of hot water so some showered at night and some in the morning. The bathroom is all in one space but the bedroom mirror with hairdryer made a big difference. Once person could be showering and another could brush their teeth at the kitchen sink and a third could be drying hair in the bedroom. It might be a problem if you have teenage daughters with you but for 3 adults it seemed to work out fine and didn't slow us down getting out in the mornings.

    Pool:
    The pool was perfect for us. It probably wouldn't be super exciting for older kids but it was just right for a 2.5 and 4 year old. The 4 year old was thrilled with the slide and the 2.5 year old really enjoyed the splash zone.

    I had the most bizarre visual flashback on the slide. Walked my 4 year old to the top of the slide the first time he went on it (after the first time he was fine going up on his own) and standing at the top I suddenly saw a vivid picture of the view from the top of that slide when it was at river country and I was about 7 or 8 years old. I even remembered the swim suit I was wearing, red with white piping. Totally crazy to have a memory unlocked like that. Really made me nostalgic for my childhood trips and so thankful my mother could be with us on this one.

    Transportation:
    We didn't end up using the internal buses so I can't comment on that. We originally were only going to rent the golf cart for the first 2 nights. I had some great recommendations from people here about using off site golf cart rental (thanks!) but because we originally thought we'd just do 2 nights I didn't follow through with that. Which I later regretted. After using the cart the first day we were hooked and took the more expensive but easiest/lazy person's path of extending the rental from Disney for the full week. I cringe that the cart was more expensive than a rental car. The kids really did love zipping around in the cart and it was just so convenient to get from place to place.

    The boat to magic kingdom was fun for the kids and the boats came frequently every time we were traveling. We only had one appreciable wait and that was predictable, when we were returning to the fort right after the 3 pm parade the line was long enough that we didn't make it onto the first boat and had to wait for the next one.

    Restaurants:
    Really enjoyed the hoop dee doo. I was originally concerned that it might be too long a show for the little guy but it was so engaging and there were so many breaks built in with the various food courses that it was no problem keeping his attention. It was also really easy to slip in and out to the bathroom if you have little ones in the potty training stage who need to go NOW when they need to go. The little guy has a dairy allergy and there was no problem getting him a dairy free version of the items he couldn't have. We noted it on the reservation and they were all set for the request. This was especially a relief since he is under 3 and he "eats free from a parent's plate". All through our trip he was brought whatever he needed to make the meal dairy free without reference to whether or not we were actually paying for him. I offered once to pay for a meal for him if needed to get the meal dairy free but was told by the server it wasn't necessary and they do this all the time. I can't say it enough, Disney really is amazing for travel with allergies!

    We also had the breakfast buffet at Trails End and that was wonderful too! It wasn't busy and very easy to go back and forth to the buffet. And the price was great by Disney standards.

    We had food at the pool one day due to lack of planning. I would definitely recommend bringing your own snacks or lunch to the pool. One family had a full sized hard sided cooler complete with drinks. Now that's thinking! The food at the pool is not even a real quick service location. Just a table set up in the arcade with prepackaged sandwiches/wraps/fruit in a cooler and then hot dogs and pulled pork in steam trays.

    There is a carryout option at Trails end that we considered using one night but then didn't because of rain and laziness.

    Laundry:
    No laundry in the cabins. All the comfort stations in the campground have laundry. I did our laundry mid trip while the kids were napping at the building right next to the quiet pool which is right across from cabin loop 2600 and at the mouth of cabin loop 2500. There were 4 car parking spaces here with signs "for laundry only". There were 10 washers and 10 dryers and the washers took 30-40 minutes and the dryers would run for 45 minutes. $2 per load for the washer, $2 for the dryer, $1 for a single load detergent box (only standard tide in the vending machine). There was only 1 other person and there were always several available machines. It was really relaxing to start a load and then hang out on a deck chair by the pool without having to police small children. It's the little pleasures. If only I had thought ahead and brought a nice adult beverage. The quiet pool has vending machines with standard chips and candy and soft drinks and water.

    Pony rides:
    Pony rides right next to pioneer hall. Enjoyable for the kids. They do have to be able to hold on to the pony themselves and not have a parent holding them. The little guy did kind of list to the side a few times and I had to nudge him back up into the saddle and it didn't make the pony too happy, so I can see why they have the requirement.

    Wagon rides:
    Right in front of pioneer hall. Also a cheep and enjoyable option in the evenings for the whole family. There are individual carriage rides but we didn't do one this trip. Before the kids arrived my husband and I did one but I honestly don't recall where it departed.

    Playgrounds:
    Kids loved the playground between pioneer hall and the dock. There are several others that we drove by but this is the only one that they played at due to it's proximity to other things we were doing.

    Chip and Dale sing along
    Located by the main pool in the meadows area, not at pioneer hall. This was the highlight of the trip for the boys. They were chosen to wake up chip and dale and then got a meet and greet photo with both at the same time (otherwise during the main show you only get to meet either chip or dale but not both). The boys danced with the chipmunks up to the stage at the beginning of the show. We were introduced as the "magical memories family" for the night and it really was pretty fun! Unfortunately the little guy made a dash to follow them up on stage. They also got an autographed photo of chip and dale and a certificate.

    The sing along starts at 7 pm but the campfire and marshmallow roasting start at 6:30. We were there at 6:20 and the chipmunks were out doing informal dancing with the kids and I that's when the kids were picked for the extra experience. I think it was probably because the little guy was so thrilled and just wanted to hug them and follow them everywhere. About 6:30 the chipmunks went back to their house until they came out at 7 pm for the show. So even if you don't get picked for the special experience getting there early you may get some extra time with chip and dale and some candid photos dancing with them.

    I hope these details will be helpful for anyone considering a stay at the Cabins or Fort Wilderness

  8. #8
    Senior Member GaDawgfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne View Post
    That is definitely something we considered and very well might do in the future when our kids are a little older. Our youngest still sleeps in a crib and ideally we like to have two separate sleeping spaces which is why we went with the cabin. We are still at the stage where sleep for the kids has to be our number one priority or we have behavior problems that make travel no fun for anyone. Well rested they are delightful to be with, not so much if we get off schedule.

    I have fond memories of driving and tent camping at the fort when growing up so we might even give that a try when the kids are older.
    I also camped at the Fort as a kid. We're RVers, so we usually stay there. When my husband AKA my driver can't make the trip, I rent sometimes with a friend and our kids. I totally understand about sleep! Z is almost 6, but he's a sleeper.

    You missed our on Trails End takeout. The family meal is the best deal at Disney! Eating that at a picnic table with a couple adult beverages while our son plays on the playground is one of our favorite things.

  9. #9
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    We stayed in the cabins about 5 years ago and I wasn't thrilled. My kids, however, loved FW and thought tooling around in a golf cart was a blast.

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    Can you give us the name of the offsite company for the golf carts?

  11. #11
    Senior Member DisneyDanceMom73's Avatar
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    I have always wondered about the Cabins. They always looked kinda small to me. I'm glad you still had a great time!
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Anne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elder View Post
    Can you give us the name of the offsite company for the golf carts?
    I never ended up using an offsite company so don't have direct knowledge to recommend. GaDawgfan PM'd me with a name and number so you could check with her if that is still an option. Apparently it is officially against Disney policy for an outside company to deliver to the Fort but you can bring in your own or rented outside cart. You could also check on fort fiends discussion site.

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