Podcast Episode 181: In Depth – Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground

Continuing on with our In Depth series, this week we tackle the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground!  We let you know what kinds of amenities, activities, and accommodations you can find at this classic Disney resort.  This place is so big there’s surely something there for everyone!

Happy listening!

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Cabins at Fort Wilderness Review

img_0125Back in November, the ladies of Dole Whipped stayed at the Cabins for a girls weekend. None of us had stayed there since the refurbishment in early 2016 so we thought we’d try them out.

First of all, the cabins measure at approximately 504 sq ft and sleep up to 6.  Each cabin has a main living area with a sleeper sofa, an arm chair, a dining table, plus a fully stocked kitchen with a full size side by side refrigerator.  There is a large bathroom and then a bedroom with a queen size bed plus a set of bunk beds.  Each cabin comes with a deck and a picnic table.

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The cabins are very attractively furnished and outfitted.  They’re just really cute!  We loved the kind of rustic feel of them, but they were still comfortable.  The kitchen was outfitted with almost everything you’d need to make a simple meal, provided you don’t need a full size oven…because there is no oven!  They do have a combination microwave/convection oven, but if you thought you were going to be able to cook up some frozen pizzas or bake a cake, think again!

Because the cabins are in the Moderate resort category, you get the basic soaps and shampoos.  There is housekeeping service every day and they’ll even do the dishes for you!

Fort Wilderness is a lovely resort.  We saw lots of wildlife just hanging around which was very cool, however, you do feel a bit isolated and out of the “Disney bubble”, in my opinion.  There are very limited food options within the resort.  They do have Trail’s End and PJ’s Southern Takeout, but if you’re looking for a good quick service option, there is none.  There are a couple of outposts that sell things like fresh fruits and vegetables, deli meats, canned goods, boxes of prepared pastries, sodas, and the like.  It’s a good option if you need ingredients, but not so much if you’re looking for a ready to go meal.

Transportation to the parks is via water taxi to Magic Kingdom, and buses to everywhere else.  You could opt to take the boat to Magic Kingdom, then hop on the monorail to the TTC, then change to the Epcot monorail.  The boat to Magic Kingdom was great, but we opted to drive (we had Tara’s car) to the other parks.  It’s not the most conveniently located resort for parks that aren’t Magic Kingdom.  The buses for the other parks are located up in the front of the resort so if your cabin or campsite is in the back, you’ll have to take the internal bus to get to the front.  There are a couple of other options to get around the resort, which we’ll talk about in a minute.

The other issue that we ran into during our stay internal resort transportation.  The resort is huge.  Our cabin was near the front of the resort where the check in desk is but the boat launch to Magic Kingdom was near the back of the resort.  We’re talking a good mile or more from our front door to the boat launch.  That’s not always going to be doable.  There is an internal bus system that you can use, but we weren’t sure how regular it passed through.  We also wanted to note that there are no car parking lots at the resort other than the front lot at check in and the parking spaces available at the cabins or the campsites.  You’re not able to drive your car from your cabin to the boat launch as there wouldn’t be anywhere to park the car!

How we opted to solve this problem was by renting a golf cart for our stay.  They are available for rent up by the check in desk.  The prices start at around $59 plus tax for a four seat cart.  We found the cart pretty much necessary for convenience plus it was just a lot of fun to drive!


We found the cabin very nice and a good way to get a lot of beds in a small space, but logistically, it was a bit of a pain.  The resort itself was so large that getting around was inconvenient.  The price may be right for larger groups or families, but we’d prefer to be a bit more centrally located.

P&J’s Southern Takeout Review


So on our girls trip back in November, the first restaurant we tried was Trail’s End/P&J’s Southern Takeout.  As we’ve mentioned before, we found Fort Wilderness a bit lacking in available food options.  It was about 1 or 2 in the afternoon by the time we stumbled upon Trail’s End, and at that time they were at the tail end of their brunch buffet.  None of us were in the mood for brunch, however, we found out that P&J’s inside Trail’s End does a few takeout lunch options.

Now, the keyword here is “takeout”.  I don’t believe you are meant to eat your food at the restaurant there.  There are a few picnic tables outside, however, when we were there all the tables under cover were occupied, and it had started raining.  Since the brunch buffet was over, there was no one eating inside Trail’s End, so we asked one of the cast members there if we could sit inside and eat.  They very nicely allowed us to do so.

The menu at P&J’s is quite limited.  You can choose from a large cheese or pepperoni pizza, a BBQ pork sandwich, a turkey wrap, a salami/ham/turkey sandwich on focaccia bread, a caesar salad with chicken, and fried chicken.

Shannon:  Tara and I had the pepperoni pizza.  It was made to order and served hot.  While it’s not Via Napoli, it was actually pretty good, I thought.  I’d eat it again.

Tara: The pizza was good. It was not the room service cardboard type pizza (thankfully!) and it was a decent pizza. I would definitely order it again and enjoyed it.

Jillian: I chose the Chuckwagon Wrap, which was smoked turkey, provolone cheese, lettuce, and basil aioli on a sundried tomato wrap for my first Disney meal.  It was filling without being so heavy.  The portion size was great and the chips were so delicious!  I love a homemade chip and these were perfectly cooked and salted.  Plus it came in a cute to go box!  I would definitely order this again!

Jamie: I had the “Lone Rider” which was 2 pieces of fried chicken with cornbread, plus a choice of 2 sides: macaroni and cheese, coleslaw and mashed potatoes. I chose the first two. The chicken was very good! Pretty typical fried chicken, but it hit the spot since I was so hungry. Neither the mac and cheese or coleslaw were very good in my opinion.

Overall, I feel like the food we had was fine, but Fort Wilderness is maybe not the best place to be if you’re looking for a lot of quick food options.


Podcast Episode 118: November Girls Trip Report

Join us as we talk about all the fun things we did during our recent girls trip to Walt Disney World!  We tried new food (hello, Food & Wine Festival!), new attractions, and new shows!

Happy listening!

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Hoop De Doo: I promise It’s for YOU!


Yes, I think I failed at making the title rhyme/singsong but I tried. But, what I hope not to fail at is convincing all of you naysayers to hop off the fence and make your Hoop De Doo reservations for your next Walt Disney World trip now! I was one of you and thought Hoop De Doo was not for me. I was not into Western musicals or theming and considering I could not find myself ever in the campgrounds it did not seem to be convenient. But, all that has now changed and I am singing praises and fun from the barn roof.

We decided to go to Hoop De Doo as a request from a friend who loved it as a child and wanted to see it again as an adult. We grudgingly made the reservations and took the latest show reservation at 8:30pm (so not to miss too much time at the park) and handed over our 2 TS credits (well you do not actually hand them over but for dramatic effect I thought it worked). One good thing was because we did the later show we got an upgraded category and had good seats! Anyway, it is always 2 TS credits but the earlier shows only Category 2 and 3 are available for DDP. If you wait until the latest show you can get Category 1 as well as an option. Anyway, needless to say we had good seats and truly not a bad seat in the space – though personally Category 3 being upstairs is probably not desired but still decent.

We took the boat over from Magic Kingdom to Fort Wilderness and it was a nice and quick boat ride and then we arrived at the campground. I had never visited the campground so I looked around some and I am guessing these campgrounds are much nicer than other non-Disney campgrounds and if you are a camper – go for it! Before dinner you also have an opportunity for a photopass picture and there were some different Western props, etc. to make cute pictures. The show was in Pioneer Hall and it was a great space and good atmosphere.

Two main parts to review

012f2195b75a45fa038646e966e21d0a1547fb9daeFood – the food was amazing. It was served Family style and it was so good. It is salad, ribs, fried chicken, corn, baked beans, and strawberry shortcake. There were many of us in a food coma by the time dinner was over. I would definitely be ready eat!

Show – great interaction and so funny! It was a vaudeville type show with the actors including the audience and improving and kept me laughing and entertained the entire time. The Pioneer Players really know how to keep you laughing and playing along. It was one hundred times better than I imagined and I would go again!

After the show we boarded the boat back to Magic Kingdom and tried to keep our eyes open or at least our mouths closed and snoring to a minimum as it was over pretty late (shows last about 2 hours) and we were not at our resort.

I am not an easy person to please in certain type shows. I get bored and do not thing cheesy things are funny (sorry this is just the way I am). So, I am shocked I loved it so much – but it is Disney and they always do things pretty well and once again this time they did it again!

The Cabins at Fort Wilderness – Resort Review


There’s a well-kept secret of sorts on Disney property…a standalone cabin that will hold larger families (up to 6), with a fully-equipped kitchen, 2 full size beds, and a set of bunk beds, and a private parking pad.  Where can one find this fabulous gem?  At Disney’s Fort Wilderness, right close to the action in the Magic Kingdom area!  Just a short boat ride away from good ol’ MK, these little wonders are perfect for families who like some space to spread out, needs more beds for more little bodies, or just want the convenience of a kitchen to prepare meals every day.  We stayed in a cabin as a family of 5 and found the layout to be ideal for us.

Let’s start with the bedroom.  There’s a full size bed and twin bunk beds here, along with a small vanity area with electrical outlets, so one can get ready in the morning here instead of the bathroom.  There’s also a (very) small closet here.  You’ll also find a small chest of drawers, flat screen TV, and nightstand between the bed and bunks.  My husband took the full-sized bed, while my then 9- and 7-year-old sons took the bunks.

FTWMeanwhile, on the other side of the bedroom door (yes, a door! yay!), there’s a hallway with a bathroom (full size, long vanity, shower/tub combo), a housekeeping closet, and then your kitchen.  The kitchen is fully equipped, right down to paper towels, dishes, utensils, dish soap (but they will do the dishes for ya!), coffee, creamer, etc.  Truly everything you could need to put together a meal.  To the side of the kitchen, you have an eat-in dining area with a large table with seating for 6.

Moving into the living area, you have a full size Murphy bed, sofa, small table and chairs (child size), and another flat screen TV.  I co-slept with my then not-quite-2-year-old daughter in the Murphy bed and found it very comfy.

Once outside, you have a private deck with grill and a private parking pad.  The resort itself is vast.  They have an internal bus system that most find very confusing.  We decided to make it easy and rent a golf cart, which you can do up to 1 year in advance, but we got lucky and got one on-site.  The golf cart was great fun for the kids and a lifesaver for us.  We were able to park right by the marina and take the boat to Magic Kingdom every day without a long walk.  We thoroughly enjoyed tooling around on our cart but be aware that it does add about a good chunk of change to your total cost.  (Carts are currently $59 per day, pre-tax.)

I would absolutely, positively, 100% recommend a cabin to any family looking for a little more space and a little more bang for your buck!

Which Resort Is Right For Me? Adventurer Edition

As a travel agent, it’s very important to me that I find the resort that best fits my client’s needs and the needs of their family. That’s why I’m putting together a series of posts that help you decide which resort is right for you.

Is there someone in your life that thrives on adventure and seeking parts unknown?  If so, you might consider these resorts for your next Disney vacation:

Fort Wilderness – Deluxe

For this resort, you can choose from the posh lodge or the rustic cabins.  The Lodge is perfect for those outdoorsy people who prefer calling room service to hunting and gathering but still want to be surrounded by nature.  Rooms can sleep 5 and some even have bunk beds.

The cabins are set back in the woods for that real Davy Crockett feeling, yet still have all the comforts of home with soft beds, indoor plumbing and a fully stocked kitchen.  There’s even a pull out Murphy bed that’s sure to delight kids!

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort Pirate room – Moderate

If swashbuckling is more your speed, try these pirate themed rooms.  Two double beds are transformed into ships while a Jolly Roger curtain separates the main area from the bathroom.  Arrr!

Art of Animation Finding Nemo suite – Value

Maybe your crew would prefer to be 20,000 leagues under the sea.  These sea floor themed suites sleep up to 6 and have two full bathrooms, a master bedroom with a queen sizes bed, a sofa bed, a table that folds down Murphy-style into a bed, and a kitchenette. Just keep swimming!

If you have any questions or want to book your own magical Disney vacation, email us at dolewhipped@gmail.com!

4 Free Things to do at Disney World

You don’t need to tell me it’s expensive to go to Walt Disney World. Have you ever had a day where you did not buy park tickets, or have a trip without visiting one of the four theme parks? Perhaps prior to a cruise, you would like to spend a day or two in Disney World but not have to have the added expense of park tickets.

The following four activities are FREE to enjoy at the Walt Disney World Resort:

  • Park at one of the resorts at the Magic Kingdom or take the bus to the Magic Kingdom and take a monorail ride stopping at each of the three resorts: Contemporary, Grand Floridian or Polynesian. You can enjoy the views, take pictures, or have lunch at one of the hotels.
  • Stop at the Contemporary and take a boat to Wilderness Lodge there is a beach there with a nice playground.
  • From Downtown Disney you can take a boat ride to the Port Orleans Resorts and back it’s a nice river ride. Each resort has a playground open for anyone to use.
  • Campfire and Movie Under the Stars with Chip and Dale at Fort Wilderness usually around 8 PM, arrive around 7-7:30 (You can either bring your own S’mores ingredients or buy kits there, but the actual campfire and movie is free.) Check with your travel agent for the exact time for your trip.