Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

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.

fortwilderness mapThe 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.

Disney's Fort Wilderness cabin exterior

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.

Fort Wilderness pool

Fort Wilderness little kids pool

A long-running specialty of Fort Wilderness is the nightly Chip ‘n’ Dale “Sing-a-Long” and marshmallow roast, followed by a Disney movie on a outdoor screen.  The “Sing-a-Long” is lead by a singing cowboy and Chip and Dale make an appearance to visit with guests and sign autographs.  You may bring your own marshmallows or buy them from the Chuck Wagon.  The Chuck Wagon also serves an assortment of light refreshments during the movie.
Fort Wilderness Chip and Dale
Speaking of refreshments, Fort Wilderness offers a few dining options.  The most well-known is the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, an all-you-can-eat dinner show held nightly at Pioneer Hall.  Mickey’s Backyard BBQ is a barbeque buffet with live entertainment, dance instruction, and appearances by Disney characters.  Crockett’s Tavern, located in Pioneer Hall, features beverages and snacks.  Next door to the Tavern is the Trail’s End Restaurant which provides a sit-down buffet at breakfast and dinner and a la carte items during lunch.  By the pool is the Meadows Pool Snack Bar which serves hamburgers, sandwiches, and assorted small snacks.
If you are looking for supplies for your cabin, there are two main shops:  The Settlement Trading Post located near the marina, and the Meadow Trading Post located in the Meadow Recreation Area.  Both trading posts feature the standard souvenirs and Disney merchandise, but also an assortment of groceries.  The groceries are on the expensive side, but if you need something in a pinch, you can find it there.  For guests with a vehicle, you may consider outside supermarkets for your supplies.
The Fort is serviced by the Magical Express, should you be coming from the airport.  The process is similar to the other resorts.  Your bags will be “magically” delivered to your room while you are bussed from the airport to the Fort.  Check-in is at the Reception Outpost.  Here you will receive all your resort information (room key, tickets, maps, etc), and a copy of the Fort Wilderness Gazette.  The Gazette will contain information on the campground, directions for transportation, campfire movie schedule, activity times and locations, and maps.
Driving, except to and from your campsite, is not allowed in the Fort.  A series of internal buses provide transportation throughout the resort. Guests can also rent golf-carts to get around inside the Fort.   Advance reservations are highly recommended for the golf carts.

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.

So, now you know the specifics, I know you want to know how the cabins really are.  The following is my review of the Cabins from my trip in June 2011.
I grew up camping at the Fort with my parents in the 70’s and 80’s.  We traveled in a RV and spent many fun summers there.  I have very fond memories of Fort Wilderness.  It was a great place for my brother and I to explore.  In 2011, I went back with my two children for 10 days and we stayed in the Cabins.  While I enjoyed the trip very much and it was perfect for our situation at the time, I’m not sure if I would consider the Cabins again.  For me, the cons far outweighed the pros.  But what may not be suited to my tastes, may fit another family extremely well.  The best advice would be to try it if you think you may like it.
  • 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.

Today’s Takeaway:
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!

SCHOOL SUBJECT: Family fun time!

©2013 Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, your Disney homeschool resource!

Creative Commons License
Magical Mouse Schoolhouse by Magical Mouse Schoolhouse is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://www.magicalmouseschoolhouse.com.

Every vacation is full of magical opportunities. Your 3D Travel Agent can unlock your vacation of all its potential magic before, during, and even after you go! Click the logo below to submit your FREE quote request today!

3D Travel Company

Dress your little prince or princess in the finest attire that's all MOM APPROVED! Some costumes now available in larger tween sizes!

Mom Approved Costumes

Add MAGICAL MOUSE SCHOOLHOUSE to your home library!

Magical Mouse Schoolhouse book
  • tonia

    We have always went to Disneyland but, now we are looking at going to Disney world. Thanks for this article because this is one of the places we were thinking of.

    • http://www.magicalmouseschoolhouse.com/ Jodi / MagicalMouseSchoolhouse

      You’re very welcome! I know you’ll enjoy a trip to Walt Disney World! Fire away if you have any questions about WDW :)

  • md kennedy

    Thank you for hte really detailed review, and your frank comments. My husband and I are planning a trip to WDW and we want to stay on the property, so this review came in very handy as we decide on where we will stay.

    • http://www.magicalmouseschoolhouse.com/ Jodi / MagicalMouseSchoolhouse

      Super! I’m so glad it was helpful and that you enjoyed it. I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful trip no matter where you stay :)

  • http://www.disneyonwheels.com/ Melissa – Disney on Wheels

    Great review! We’ve always wanted to stay at the Cabins. I think they would be perfect for a trip when we don’t plan on being in the parks from open to close.

    • http://www.magicalmouseschoolhouse.com/ Jodi / MagicalMouseSchoolhouse

      Oh yeah! Great place to just take your time and set a relaxing pace.

  • Rachel Hoye

    This is one place I have never been at Disney! Bucket list!

    • http://www.magicalmouseschoolhouse.com/ Jodi / MagicalMouseSchoolhouse

      Well, it’s a must-do! You could always do the campfire with Chip & Dale even if you’re not staying there. That might give you a good feel for what the area is like.

  • http://www.adisneymomsthoughts.com Beth Green

    GREAT info! I’d love to stay here at some point. The only negative thing I’ve heard is how small the beds are- even smaller than a true double bed. That’s hard for a hubby who is 6’4!!

    • http://www.magicalmouseschoolhouse.com/ Jodi / MagicalMouseSchoolhouse

      Oh, wow! That would be quite cozy 😉

  • Danielle Nydam

    I’d love to stay here during my trip to Disneyland. Looks like its so much fun.

    • http://www.magicalmouseschoolhouse.com/ Jodi / MagicalMouseSchoolhouse

      Well, this is at Walt Disney World in Florida, not at Disneyland in California, but I hope you do get there soon!

  • http://goddessofmath.blogspot.com Joanna

    I’ve eaten at the Hoop Dee Doo Revue, but I’ve never stayed at Fort Wilderness. It’s definitely up there on my list of places to try to stay though. Very neat experience. Looks like it’s so different than the other traditional resorts!

    • http://www.magicalmouseschoolhouse.com/ Jodi / MagicalMouseSchoolhouse

      Yeah, Disney really has something to offer to everyone, don’t they? You can be pampered at the deluxe resorts or fell at-home at the campground.

  • Laurie Nykaza

    This looks like such a wonderful place to stay with the kids lot of fun things to do to keep them buy the whole vacation too.

    • http://www.magicalmouseschoolhouse.com/ Jodi / MagicalMouseSchoolhouse

      It really is!