Fort Wilderness Campground

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If you have been following my adventures through my blog posts, you may remember that I camped on my last trip.  Kristen? Camping? Really?  Well, yes I was convinced to give it a go since several of my fellow Disney geeks were doing it for Tentfest.  Since the last time I camped I was approximately ten years old, I was pretty apprehensive about this segment of my trip.  Along with the appeal of Disney geeks in the woods, I have the long range goal of staying at every Disney resort, so I figured this was just another step closer to achieving that goal and I signed up.

I have to say it was more fun than I thought it was going to be.  It probably helped that Disney geeks gathered for a barbecue earlier in the day and we all had a great time hanging out.  While it was quite chilly the night we camped, I made out ok thanks to the advice of my friend who’s an avid camper.  The worst part of the evening was when I had to get up in the middle of the night in the cold to use the lady’s room.  I’m not saying I’m going to make camping a regular part of my travels, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be, and I’m sure I would do it again.  Shocked?  Amazed?  Yeah, me too!

My friend who convinced me to camp, Neil, is an avid camper and it is his opinion that Fort Wilderness is among the nicest campgrounds in the country.  So I’m thinking my camping experience was greatly enhanced by the Disney magic.  Camping at Fort Wilderness is not exactly roughing it in the middle of no where.  There are nearly 800 campsites all having electrical and water hook ups.  Preferred and premium sites ideal for larger RVs even come with cable, sewer, and internet!  Each site also includes a picnic table, charcoal grill, and a paved area for parking cars or RVs as well as a sandy area for tents, and The sites are situated in loops, most of which have their own comfort station with bathrooms, showers, and a laundry facilities. The comfort station in our loop was well maintained and clean, but I opted to go back to Pop Century for a shower being the princess I am.

For those less adventurous guests, the camp ground also offers cabins.  The Fort Wilderness Cabins are considered to be moderate accommodations and can house up to six people, although that would probably be pushing it.  These air conditioned vacation homes offer a double bed, a set of bunk beds, a Murphy bed, living area, and a small fully equipped kitchen.  The cabins would be a great option for a larger family who might normally need more than one hotel room.  They are also beneficial for those folks who don’t mind making their own breakfast or lunch while they are on vacation.  Guests could save quite a bit of money not eating out for every meal.  Readers of the Unofficial Guide give high praises to the cabins.  I’ve always wanted to try one out, but it still remains on my Disney geek bucket list.

One of the most important things guests who are thinking about a stay here should know is Fort Wilderness is that it is huge.  There are several loops for tent and RV camping, 409 cabins, and several recreational areas.  To maintain the quiet and nature filled atmosphere these areas are spread out over more than 700 acres.  Guests may drive their own car to their campsite, but there is no parking at any of the recreational facilities.  Likewise visiting guests must leave their cars at the main parking lot near the entrance.  People can walk anywhere within the property, but it could be a bit of a hike from your campsite to the pool or marina.

If you’ve had enough walking after touring the parks all day there are some alternative modes of transportation unique to this resort.  First of all Disney provides bus service within the campground property.  There are three internal bus lines (purple, orange, and yellow) to shuttle guests between the Outpost Depot near the resort’s main entrance, The Settlement Depot near the marina and restaurants, and other recreational areas.  This system can be confusing and might require waiting around at bus stops to get from point A to point B.  Many guests opt to use a golf cart instead of the free bus.  Many bring their own (some of which are seriously tricked out), but Disney also offers them for rent for $54 a day.  Bicycles are also available to rent for fun or as a way to get around the grounds, but by all means use your own if you’ve got it.

One of the most unique things about Fort Wilderness are all of the activities offered throughout the property.  There two pools, two video arcades, walking trails, hay rides, horseback riding, boat rentals, and even a petting zoo.  Those activities just scratch the surface of those available at the campground!  If your family needs a break from the parks one day why not make a day out the fun waiting for guests at Fort Wilderness?  You could rent fishing equipment in the morning, play some tennis and go for a swim in the afternoon, and finish the day off with a campfire sing-a-long.  You don’t have to be staying at the campground to partake in these festivities, so any guests are welcome to head over to visit the animals in the petting zoo or take part in a segway tour.

All in all I enjoyed my time at Fort Wilderness Campground.  With so much to do among the quiet setting away from the hustle and bustle of the parks, it’s a great place to visit.  Have any of you stayed at the campground recently?  What did you think of it?

Next week I’ll take you on a culinary adventure to Jiko…

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Posted on May 3, 2010

14 Responses to “Fort Wilderness Campground”

  • I *would* have stayed at the campground this coming Christmas…. IF, that is, they had any RV reservation spots open since before February! Bah!

  • Hi Nancy! From what I’ve heard there are a lot of people who basically move into the campground for the winter with their RVs. Many of these people decorate their campsites for the holidays! While I was writing this I thought it might be the most affordable away to do New Years at WDW, but if you say there’s no availability I might have to think of a new plan. I’m determined to spend NYE at Epcot one year. Thanks for reading!

  • Hmm, thanks for the info! (Jerks!!) Tent/camper spots are still available for 2010 but no RV spots. I’m hoping to get online in time to nail down an RV spot for Christmas 2011 (after failing miserably to land one for 2010). I’ve heard registrations for December 2011 open up in August 2010 – do you have any confirmation of that? I want to find out exact date and time they open so I can be first in line!

  • I love all the activities at Fort Wilderness. There’s so many options and many are unique to that resort so it’s a great place to go spend a few hours.

  • by Josh Hendy on May 9, 2010, at 8:42 pm EDT

    If you use Google earth/maps, maps.live.com, etc. to check out camping places around there, you can see that pretty much every campground in the Orlando area is really lousy compared to Fort Wilderness. Basically just an angled parking space in a field which is about 1/2 grass and 1/2 asphalt, with a couple of trees here and there.

    Only the state parks have the same kind of trees and natural type setting as Fort Wilderness, but of course they are lacking in amenities and activities compared to almost any private campground (I like the wilderness and wildlife and stuff but my family prefers swimming pools, stores, coffee shops, laundromats, arcades …)

    I concluded that probably WDW has a tremendous advantage in terms of property taxes, which allows them to offer a really large, spread-out, natural type camping experience compared to non-Disney campground operators. In other words, nobody else but Disney with their special arrangements and state parks with zero property taxes could afford to be so extravagant in their campground layout. Otherwise there would be a lot more really, really nice campgrounds like Fort Wilderness out there.

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  • Kristen, I loved this story. I’ve been going to WDW on our family’s annual pilgrimage south since I was 6 years old and hands-down, Fort Wilderness Campground is my favorite place to stay. I say this even tho I’ve stayed at most of the resorts on property, from deluxe to value. It just has a relaxed family atmosphere like no other, in my opinion. A couple of years ago I wrote an article about it published in Celebrations Magazine. I recently wrote about it again on my blog. I think you might enjoy reading it. Thanks again for a great article on one of my very favorite places!
    Rod Wheaton
    WDWMousenger.com

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