Please welcome our very special Guest Paula of The Magical Mouse Pad and Magical Blogorail Black. Paula is a self-proclaimed Disney freak and mother of two who writes about Disney for the sheer enjoyment of it. She shares her passion in much the same way as Walt Disney did. As he did not create the theme parks as a business venture with the sole goal of making money, but to provide a place for families to enjoy together, so Paula writes her blog about Disney to bring others that same magical enjoyment. As she says on her blog, “So in the words of Walt, ‘To all that come to this happy place, welcome.'” [Note: All photos below are property of The Magical Mouse Pad.]
One of the 5 moderate resort options at the Walt Disney World complex, the Fort Wilderness Cabins provide spacious and unique accommodations for families looking to try something new in terms of lodging. The Cabins are located in the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. This resort is located south east of the Magic Kingdom on the shores of Bay Lake. The resort opened in 1971 as a destination for campers, but over the years added Cabins for families who aren’t the “camping type” or don’t have access to an RV or tent.
The Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground has 799 campsites and 409 cabins covering over 700 acres of lush pines and cypress trees. The cabins, according to the Disney World website, “provides all the comforts of home wrapped in a rustic, American Frontier theme”. Indeed, these cabins look like mini-log homes, but they are basically small module homes wrapped in a veneer to look like logs.
These cabins are roughly 12’ wide x 42’ long. There is a wood deck on the outside with a picnic table and charcoal grill. Inside, the cabins have one bedroom with a double bed, bunk beds, and a TV; a full bathroom with tub/shower; full kitchen; living area with TV, dining table for six, sofa and a pull-down Murphy bed. The cabins comfortably sleep six guests. The full kitchen has nearly every amenity you’d need to prep a meal. Also in the kitchen, you’ll find a full-size coffee pot, microwave, full-size refrigerator, electric stove, and dishwasher. A bonus is that Mousekeeping will do the dishes for you!
Inside the confines of the resort, there is plenty to see and do. There are two pools at the resort, a smaller quiet pool, and the Meadows Swimmin’ (no “g”) Pool where the daily activities occur. The main pool features a wet play areas for little ones, a slide, and a hot tub. Down by the marina, there is a variety of watercraft to rent for exploring Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon. Horseback riding is available for guests over 9 years old. If you can’t find fun by the pool, there is an assortment of other activities offered including hiking, tennis, volleyball, horseshoes, shuffleboard, archery, bike riding, and canoeing. At one time a real steam train traversed the ground of the Fort. If you choose to check out one of the many walking trails around the property, you may see the remnants of the original track.
Pricing for cabin accommodations range from $285 in the value seasons to $450 is the peak holiday seasons. Standard Disney resort guest perks are included: Magical Express, daily Mousekeeping, room charging privileges, Extra Magic Hours, package delivery to resort, bus/boat transportation, etc.
- Room for 6 – we were traveling with my Mother and it was nice that she could have her own space (living room/murphy bed)
- Spacious cabin with room to spread out, inside and outside. As soon as the kids are dressed and ready, we pushed them out the door to explore around the cabin while the rest of us got ready.
- Full kitchen. Loved having a full size coffee maker (you have to bring your own coffee, though)!
- Two TVs.
- Quiet and peaceful surroundings. It’s hard to imagine you are in the middle of a sprawling theme park complex when you are at the Fort.
- Wildlife. We saw lots of animals, bugs, and reptiles that my kids loved. I didn’t care too much for the lizard in the closet, though.
- Boat access to Magic Kingdom. There is something special about arriving at the Magic Kingdom via boat.
- Pool amenities – the Meadow’s Swimmin’ Pool is large and nicely laid out. Nice splash area for the younger kids.
- Size. The Fort is a sprawling complex. It’s not easy to walk from the cabins to entertainment areas, or the front reception area.
- Transportation. I hated the internal buses. The Fort used to be serviced with open-air trams. As a kid, it was fun to ride these trams. Plus they had cool names for each camping section or loop, like “Jack Rabbit Run”, or “Armadillo Way”. The driver would announce each stop distinctly. Now the drivers barely know what loop number they are at. Plus, I don’t like riding the bus from the pool in wet bathing suits. We rented a golf cart during our stay and only experienced the buses when our group separated. I would highly recommend to anyone staying at the Cabins to rent a golf cart. It was a life-saver, but added to the cost.
- Lack of quick service dining option/food court. Because the Fort’s main purpose is for campers who have their own cooking facilities, there is little in the way of quick service dining options. We were on the dining plan during our visit and had to plan our quick service meals at other locations (parks or other resorts). We did use the Meadows Snack Bar a few times and the food was good, but it’s not open very late.
- Distance from everything. Boat to the Magic Kingdom often shared with Wilderness Lodge, and bus service everywhere else. It took some time to get to our destinations.
Gather round the campfire and enjoy some ‘smores! If there’s no campfire handy, here’s a fun recipe from Food Network to make some yummy goodness in your own kitchen.
Indoor S’mores from Foodnetwork.com:
• 32 miniature graham crackers or 8 regular size graham crackers, broken in 1/2
• 2 milk chocolate bars, the kind that can be broken into squares
• 8 marshmallows
• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
• Lay 1/2 of the graham crackers on a cookie sheet.
• Top with chocolate pieces to cover.
• Use kitchen scissors to snip the marshmallows in 1/2 horizontally if using miniature crackers and place 1/2 a marshmallow on top of each graham cracker. If using regular size crackers use a whole marshmallow.
• Bake until the marshmallows are puffed and golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes.
• Remove from the oven and top with the remaining graham crackers, pressing down slightly to make a sandwich. Serve immediately, while still warm.
My son came up with a delicious twist to plus traditional s’mores. Peel an orange. Cut the peel into 2-inch x ¼-inch strips. Place the orange peel between the chocolate and the marshmallow. When you remove the tray from the oven, remove the peel from the marshmallow before topping with other graham cracker. It adds a delightful citrus flavor to a tasty campout treat!
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