Every once in a while, Disney Vacation Club surprises us with something brand new and unexpected. On April 20th, 2023, DVC announced a brand new (sort of) resort is coming to Walt Disney World. The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort – A Disney Vacation Club Resort will open in 2024! This one is quite interesting and we have a lot to talk through. When it opens, this will be the 17th Disney Vacation Club resort globally and the 12th at Walt Disney World. First, let’s go over exactly what Disney shared below.
Photo via Disney
The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort – A Disney Vacation Club Resort Announcement
“Walt Disney World Resort and Disney Vacation Club today announced proposed plans to bring refreshed cabin hideaways to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, offering guests a private retreat in the midst of nature with many of the comforts of home.
“For more than 50 years, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground has offered guests the opportunity to explore nature with their loved ones while staying in the heart of Walt Disney World Resort,” said Bill Diercksen, senior vice president and general manager of Disney Vacation Club. “We’re excited to continue to build upon the resort’s rich legacy and elevate the cabin experience for our Members and all guests to enjoy for years to come.”
Nestled across 750 acres of scenic woodlands, proposed plans call for more than 350 new cabins to replace the existing cabins at the resort, which have delighted guests for many years and will soon be ready for a refresh. Additionally, the proposed cabins would be built with an eye toward the environment, utilizing the footprint of the existing cabins and taking advantage of more energy-efficient features.
Design concepts offer a fresh take on the current cabin experience and are inspired by the resort’s idyllic setting, while also paying homage to the resort’s unique culture and heritage through the magic of Disney storytelling. Each proposed, stand-alone cabin offers spacious accommodations, sleeping up to six adults, and features a bedroom, bathroom, living room, full kitchen and private patio. A select number of cabins are also expected to be dog-friendly.
As with all Disney Vacation Club resorts, the proposed cabins will continue to be open for reservations to all guests, including those who are not Disney Vacation Club Members, based on availability.
The planned cabins are part of a collection of improvement projects underway at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground that are designed to enhance the guest experience. Examples include proposed pool and walking trail enhancements as well as new expanded dining experiences at Trail’s End Restaurant and Crockett’s Tavern, with more exciting news to come.
Located right in the heart of Walt Disney World magic and a boat ride away from the Magic Kingdom Park, Members and guests would have easy access to the theme parks and be able to enjoy the resort’s cherished amenities, including horseback riding at the recently updated Tri-Circle-D Ranch, fishing, walking trails, pools, playgrounds for the little ones, Chip ’n’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long and rootin’ tootin’ dining and entertainment at Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue. Campsite accommodations will also continue to be available for guests.
The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort – A Disney Vacation Club Resort is projected to open in 2024 and would be the 17th Disney Vacation Club resort. Additional information regarding project details, the start of sales and rental bookings will be released at a later date.”
The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort DVC Details
So, in short, these cabins will replace the existing cabins but still sleep up to six people which is nice. The DVC cabins also have a private bedroom and full kitchen, two details loved by many Members. There will be more than more than 350 DVC cabins. There seems to be an emphasis that these will be new which is important given that DVC accommodations are expected to be more luxurious and themed than other room options.
Are The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort Replacing Reflections?
We’ve heard nothing about Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge for years. Many have presumed the project cancelled as construction never resumed on the cleared land. The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort DVC addition is probably a replacement for that DVC property at Fort Wilderness. I would be surprised to see Reflections move forward though it’s not impossible. Some resorts have more than one DVC resort at them. Many have noted the new Polynesian DVC tower looks a lot like Reflections did in renderings, adding to the idea that Reflections has been cancelled as we knew it.
Dog Friendly DVC Resorts?
The current cabins at Fort Wilderness allow dogs and as Disney says about the new ones, “A select number of cabins are also expected to be dog-friendly.” Does that mean this will be the first dog friendly DVC resort? This is a very exciting thought for those of us with furry best friends. As of now, Disney World has pet friendly hotels but just one in each resort tier. No Disney Vacation Club rooms have allowed pets up until this point.
Is Fort Wilderness ready for DVC?
All of the other Disney Vacation Club resorts are located at Deluxe resorts with top tier amenities. Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground has always been something special but it’s definitely different compared to other DVC properties. There is a bus system that operates within the resort because it’s so large. There are a few pools at Fort Wilderness but none are up to par with other DVC resorts.
When it comes to dining, there are very limited options at Fort Wilderness and it takes a lot of effort to get to them. The former Trail’s End buffet was a favorite at Disney World but it’s being transformed into a quick service restaurant. There is also a take out window. Aside from that, there is only the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show which costs a pretty penny and deserves a dedicated vacation night. As wonderful as it is, Hoop-Dee-Doo isn’t a place you just pop in for lunch.
In the past, there was a bus and walking route that connected the two Wilderness resorts, along with the Magic Kingdom boat that would stop at both. Including Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort opened up more dining options but only the bus transportation remains as of 2023. While this DVC cabins addition doesn’t seem to technically increase the Fort Wilderness capacity at all, another dining location should be built to elevate the property to DVC standards. It seems Disney knows this and is working on it, referencing dining options and sharing, “with more exciting news to come.”
There are some unique positives we should discuss too. At Fort Wilderness there is a treasured experience that’s included with your stay. Chip and Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long is a recreation offering at the resort where guests can meet the pair each night. While characters have been appearing at the resorts more often over the last few years, this is a long standing tradition and beloved part of staying at Fort Wilderness. At the campfire, guests can roast marshmallows and make s’mores in an outdoor movie theater where the nightly Disney movie is played. The other amenities, like canoeing, fishing and horseback riding, add a lot to Fort Wilderness as well. Just know they require an additional fee.
We’ll have to see how The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort Disney Vacation Club add on enhances the resort overall as amenities are plussed and things are added.
Let’s Talk About Seventeen Disney Vacation Club Resorts
With Disney Vacation Club resorts, there are such amazing options in an enchanting range of themes. Disney Vacation Club resorts are always located at Deluxe properties. Until now? Fort Wilderness seems to alway be in its own category. It has campsites for camping in RVs or tents and also has the cabins which are like small trailers. From what we’re seeing above, the cabins as we know them will be no more as the next DVC property makes its new home in the fort.
The First Fourteen Disney Vacation Club Resorts
The first fourteen Disney Vacation Club resorts operate like a group on their own when it comes to DVC resale. That includes Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas, Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Villas, Disney’s BoardWalk Villas, Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Disney’s Old Key West Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort at Disney World.
Over at Disneyland there is The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel. There are also the following resorts that are located outside of Disney World: Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas and Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort.
DVC Resorts Riviera and After Change Resale Rules
Things start to change after these resorts. In late 2019, Disney’s Riviera Resort opens on the Disney Skyliner route as the fifteenth DVC property and with a new set of rules. When it comes to resale DVC, those who purchase at Riviera can’t use their points anywhere else. Also, Members who purchase resale anywhere built before Riviera aren’t able to use their points to book at Riviera. They can, however, use their points to book at any of the other first fourteen resorts.
With The Villas at Disneyland Hotel, from our understanding, it looks like the same rules apply as Riviera. We will also assume The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort will operate the same way. Since Riviera, we can guess moving forward, any time a brand new Disney Vacation Club resort is built, resale DVC Members won’t be able to book there using their points. There are some exciting conditions to be aware of though. One exception is when a DVC expansion is built as one of the existing, original fourteen DVC resorts. For example, when another DVC section was added to the Grand Floridian, the building was still considered part of The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. When sales opened up for the expansion, contracts were sold for that same DVC property that opened in 2013. We’re pretty sure the tower being constructed at the Polynesian will also be part of Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows. So while both of these were built after Disney’s Riviera Resort, they are considered expansions of the original fourteen resorts and eligible for more flexibility in booking with resale. All of this is good to consider for those thinking about buying or adding on points via DVC resale.
DVC Resale Experts Makes Magic
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