First, when I originally heard this being discussed I was excited. We have kicked around the idea of joining the Vacation Club, and even took the tour and listened to the speech on more than one occasion. In the end, however, we realized that it wasn’t a smart financial move for us. The bulk of our trips are camping trips, and to use DVC points to stay at Fort Wilderness would not be wise. So when I heard there was possibly going to be a DVC resort themed in a similar fashion to Fort Wilderness, and within walking distance to the amenities that I love, I thought it was perfect. We could have the best of both worlds. Then I considered the ramifications of building a new resort that would basically share those amenities and I started liking the idea less.
The beauty of Fort Wilderness is that it is a campground, first and foremost. Sure, there are subtle—and not so subtle—hints that remind you that you are at Walt Disney World, but you still feel as if you are a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the parks. Everything is expertly themed to make you truly feel as if you are in the wilderness, and I wonder how much of that would be lost in the area of Clementine Beach, Pioneer Hall, and the Tri-Circle-D Ranch if a new DVC resort area is built.
Adding to that tranquil feel is that the campground is rarely packed to the gills, as some other resort hotels can be. Typically, a table can always be obtained at Trail’s End without a reservation, and this is by no means a slight to the food there. Guests who are not camping at Fort Wilderness tend to be turned off by the amount of time and effort it takes to travel within it, and therefor tend to shy away from taking in meals at Trails End, or the Chip N’ Dale Campfire sing along (in my opinion, two of the best kept secrets on Disney property). A DVC Resort would provide easier access to Fort Wilderness by allowing people to drive directly to the DVC accommodations, just as they do to the Wilderness Lodge. However, a walk from the new DVC resort would be significantly shorter and much more enticing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think everyone should experience Fort Wilderness and all it has to offer. I just have concerns with how introducing an abundance of additional guests on a daily basis will affect the quaint, serene feeling Fort Wilderness currently provides.
I am also curious to see how adding this extra location will affect boat transportation. Adding an extra stop to the triangular route consisting of Fort Wilderness, Wilderness Lodge, and the Contemporary will surely slow things down. And anyone who has waited at the end of the Contemporary dock after a late dinner at California Grill knows this route is already slow enough.
Ultimately—though I have the utmost confidence that whatever the Disney team would erect over former River Country would be spectacular—I have to say I see more downside than upside for Fort Wilderness regulars. As I said, this is merely speculation and may never even occur, but I thought I would share my feelings on the subject, even if it never comes to fruition.