Head into the wilderness for a stay in Disney World's cabins
Published: August 5, 2011 at 8:48 AM
Fort Wilderness is known to many as Disney World's campground, but Fort Wilderness also offers dozens of fully-equipped cabins. (They're officially a "Moderate Resort Hotel" in Disney lingo, listing from $275-405 a night.)
Now when I say "cabins," don't start thinking about rough-hewn log rooms with packed dirt floors - the type of structure where you'd find a young Abe Lincoln out front, splitting logs for the night's fire. These are modern cabins, much like those you'd find up in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada or the Smokies.
I hesitate to say this because of the connotation some people have with the phrase, but, essentially, they're mobile homes.
Spectacularly well-decorated mobile homes, I must say.
Wood paneling throughout makes the place feel like a wilderness cabin, and quilts and artwork on the walls brighten the room. You'll find a well-equipped full kitchen, but be sure to bring your own coffee filters (and food, of course.)
The need to stock the kitchen makes this a tough destination to rely on the free Disney's Magical Express service from and to the Orlando Airport. And if you're not going to use the kitchen or the grill out front of the cabin, what's the point of paying for them? Fort Wilderness is a more popular destination for people who drive to the Walt Disney World Resort.
A Fort Wilderness cabin can sleep a large family, too. You've got two bunk beds and a double bed in the bedroom, a double, Murphy bed in the living room, plus a couch that could sleep another child.
Unfortunately, the double bed in the bedroom gave me my worst night's sleep in years - the matress felt like a giant vat of lumpy rice pudding. I switched to the Murphy bed the next night and found it much more comfortable.
Don't neglect to check the entertainment schedule during a stay at Fort Wilderness. The kids enjoyed the free singalong and campfire, as well as games at the pool. Be sure to pick up fixins for s'mores at the grocery before you arrive, as well as something to use as sticks at the campfire.
We didn't splurge for tickets to the resort's popular Hoop-De-Doo-Revue on this trip, but if your budget allows, do. Just remember to do it when you book your stay - tickets go fast.
Instead, we ate at the adjacent Trail's End Restaurant - a hearty buffet that's serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Service was friendly and everyone enjoyed the food, but a few days later I'm struggling to think of anything remarkable to say about it.
A final tip: Spend the extra money and book a golf cart to use during your stay. The only places to park your car are at the front desk and next to your cabin. Nothing else around the resort, including the restaurants, boat launch to the Magic Kingdom or the pools is within reasonable walking distance so without a cart, you'll be waiting for buses to get around throughout your stay.