The Cabins at Fort Wilderness: Disney’s Next DVC Project!

By Jason Swain / May 2, 2023

By now, you have likely heard about the newest plans to convert the current Cabins at Fort Wilderness into DVC Cabins. Now that you have had time to digest the information, how do you feel about it?

If you don’t know about the plans yet, let me share some information that has been going around. This past week, Disney announced their plans to reimagine the Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campgrounds, with an expected opening in 2024!

That’s right, 2024!  We could have our 17th DVC property available as early as next year! Disney will convert about 400 current Cabins into a luxurious new DVC option of about 350 new Cabins. We can expect the peaceful serenity of nature to envelop us while comfortably enjoying the lavish DVC accommodations we have come to love in the Deluxe Resort category.

View from Bay Lake Tower

Artist Rendition of DVC Cabins Courtesy of Disney

The Pros of DVC at Fort Wilderness: 

If you have not stayed at Fort Wilderness, you may have missed the biggest hidden gem at Disney World. This resort will give DVC Members an option that differs from almost everything we know as Disney Vacation Club.

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From the minute you check-in, you feel whisked back in time to the landscape of the American frontier. From ponds with canoes to rolling landscapes, it is relaxation at its finest.

Magic Kingdom ChEAR Squad AreaImagine scooting along the roadways in your golf cart with the wind in your hair, the sounds of nature all around you, and feeling as though you are back when the family camping trip was the be-all-end-all annual getaway. It’s a resort already storied in history and with a loving fan base.  From the activity schedule for kids, the panning for gemstones, and the much-loved Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, this resort already has so much to offer.

DVC Vero Beach Ocean View

Gem Panning  – This is one of our favorite spots to hunt for natural gems, stones, and arrowheads.  

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It’s so exciting to feel the rush of water along the sluice as sand and mud wash away to reveal your hidden treasures! We have encountered beautiful jasper, twinkling quartz, large amethyst geode fragments, and more. 

runDisney Community Hall This option will appeal to so many families and larger groups who don’t want to be amongst the hustle and bustle of the parks but want to still be engrossed in the beauty and magic of Disney.

A water taxi to the Magic Kingdom – The green route carries guests from the Magic Kingdom to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground in just under 15 minutes. It’s always great to have transportation options!

Full kitchen – The current cabins have a less desirable kitchen offering no dedicated oven and only a two-burner cooktop. We need our full kitchens! 

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Accommodations to sleep six, and I suspect they will be cheaper than a sleep six option in a Villa. The sleeping arrangements will have to be altered as well, given that the current layout, in my opinion, is not ideal. DVC members will want private sleeping quarters and a much-improved television upgrade for the bedroom(s).

Current Sleeping Quarters in Cabins

Pet-friendly options – This is something many DVC members have wanted at the Deluxe resorts available. Fort Wilderness already offers pet-friendly options, which are unique for DVC members.

Dining – While I have enjoyed the former Trail’s End restaurant, P&J’s Southern Takeout, and of course, Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, I suspect that with the expansion of DVC into this resort, Disney will invest some money into enhancing the dining options.  The current dining would not compete with what we have become used to at our Deluxe Resorts.

May ROFR data

P&J’s Southern Takeout

Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue – It would be great to continue to enjoy this fantastic dinner show which might be the best entertainment available on the property for dining and smiling simultaneously. From the highly talented cast to the tremendously impressive servers and everyone in between, this dinner show is top-notch! Great food and lots of fun! 

New Layout for the Living Area – I suspect the interior design will change significantly from what the current Cabins offer. I don’t find the present Cabins conducive to enjoying the large, flat-panel television. Our typical DVC 1-bedroom villa offers superior space and much more comfortable use of the sleeping quarters and living space. That said, I am excited to see what the re-imagination of these Cabins brings us regarding layout.

Current Cabin Living Space

Tri-Circle-D Ranch –  If you have not visited the Tri-Circle-D Ranch, make the time to mosey on over. Yup, beyond Pony, Wagon, and Carriage Rides, you can enjoy visiting all the magnificent horses of Main Street, USA.

Pools, Trails, and More – The resort is already chock-full of amenities and natural beauty, but I feel that with the DVC expansion into Fort Wilderness, perhaps a new Pool would be welcome.  

Given that they are reducing the number of Cabins, I hope the extra space will be used for park, water, and/or hospitality features. Disney has already announced that there will be a new pool and trails. I would love a DVC arcade and/or Community Hall as well. The current quiet pool that is located nearest the Cabins location is a bit underwhelming, in my opinion. It can also get super busy.

This resort has so much to offer DVC members. I really hope that we can pay for our Golf Cart Rentals with points AND book the Golf Carts at the time of Reservation Booking!

Race Expo Interactive Zone

We could also get a small Mercantile Store near the Cabins. I love the current Trading Posts – Settlement and Meadows, but wouldn’t having a small Hospitality area built into the cabin’s location for convenience be great?

The Cons of DVC at Fort Wilderness:

Pet-friendly options – Understandably, many people will not like this option being available for various reasons relating to noise, whether pet owners will be responsible, et cetera.

A new tier of DVC to include expansion into Moderate Resorts?  We don’t know how this will work, but I’m hopeful that the amenities and price per point work in unison to support the endeavor. I love staying at Disney’s Riviera, which successfully shares land with a moderate resort.

Restrictions?  Riviera and the Villas at Disneyland Hotel are both primarily criticized for the applicable resale restrictions placed against them. It will bother some and won’t be much of a concern for others. We will see how things unfold. Will the DVC Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness become housed under the contractual umbrella of Copper Creek Villas? Given the new Grand Floridian units and the currently under-construction Tower at Polynesian, it seems reasonable that this is the direction Disney will take.   

There Goes the Neighborhood?  While some are assuming that this new expansion might change the whole vibe at Fort Wilderness, I’m optimistic that all changes at the resort will be for the better. Have you seen the upgraded Golf Carts and luxury Recreational Vehicles at the Campground? If the DVC entity does not alter the pioneer setting or immensely natural landscape, I have no reason to believe the atmosphere will change.   

Having stayed in the current Cabins, I felt pretty separated from the Campground. I can’t imagine the revamped Cabin area having any more of an impact on the look or feel of this resort or interfering in any way with the passionate campers who are concerned.

march 2018

The Appetite for Expansion

Cost Per Point will be a huge deciding factor for many. I suspect the price point will not be far removed from what we see today with other DVC properties. Again, people will pay if the amenities and upscale touches are present. Disney is obviously paying attention to what members prefer, as seen by the widespread refurbishments and renovations that include clean, modern looks and full-sized Murphy beds to replace sofa beds. The renovated Boulder Ridge Villa rooms already look far superior to the relatively new Copper Creek Villa rooms.

The price per point will likely be in and around the $190 per point mark, with early incentives offered to members who wish to add on.

What are Current DVC Members Saying?

I asked a few Disney Vacation Club members about their thoughts, and they had the following to say:

“We like options. It’s wonderful that there are options beyond the traditional hotel rooms and beyond the theme park.”  Chia C.

“Very excited for the DVC Cabins at Fort Wilderness! I would love to see DVC continue to branch out and explore additional and perhaps even more affordable accommodations at other resorts, e.g., Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, etc.” -Cassandra L.

“I’m super excited for the new Cabins! My family loves nature and Disney, so this will give us the best of both worlds! It will feel like two vacations in one.” -Maritess P.

“I have heard chatter about adding a Moderate resort to a Deluxe category of stays lowering value, but I think if the sales point reflects a Moderate resort pricing, then it’s an opportunity for more families to potentially enjoy and enter the world of DVC.” -Renee J.

runDisney Bus SignWhat do YOU Think?

Is this a good move by Disney? Are you excited by the news about the Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort – A Disney Vacation Club Resort? What concerns do you have? Much of this piece is based on my own opinion, and I value that my opinion may not align with everyones. I would love to hear your thoughts about this exciting development.

Posted By:

Jason Swain