Opening back in 1971, shortly after the opening of Walt Disney World, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground has been a cornerstone of the resort. With its 800 campsites and 409 Cabins, it houses a large number of guests regularly. One thing is for certain, all of those guests need to be kept well occupied, and this resort is well known for its activities. Some of which, like the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue are quite popular with its hootin’ and hollerin’ and eatin’. But it can be quite an expensive undertaking, and is therefore not for every budget.
For the more frugal guest, Disney does provide an excellent alternative, Chip ‘n Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long. This nightly event (weather permitting) includes soaking up the great outdoors and taking in a movie. Let’s not forget trivia and bingo nights, plus a guest appearance by the lovable scamps Chip ‘n Dale. There’s also singing, dancing, and… wait for it… campfires. How much would you pay for all of that? Well here’s the best part, this nightly event, including everything I’ve just mentioned, has the best price possible: Free.
What about eating? Well there is a concession stand called the Chuckwagon that sells various items at very reasonable prices. It should be noted that the prices do seem to fluctuate somewhat based on my research. Here are the prices at the time of writing:
Hot Dog – $4.79 (+$1 add Chili)
Nachos with Cheese $3.99 (+$1 add Chili)
S’mores Kit – $8.99
Marshmallow Roasting Stick – $0.59
Marshmallow Bag – $3.99
Popcorn – $3.09
Ice Cream Novelties – $3.29
Candy – $1.99
Chocolate-Chip Cookie – $2.19
Soda – $2.59
Bottled Water – $2.50
Apple Juice – $1.99
Coffee – $3.09
Hot Tea or Hot Cocoa – $2.99
Budweiser or Bud Light – $5.25
Mickey Straw – $0.49
* sales tax not included
And while these prices may be tempting, I highly recommend that if you have access to a car you should go off property to a supermarket and get your own supplies. The event has two campfire pits, and you’re not limited to roasting marshmallows in them. You can bring anything you like that you’re comfortable cooking over an open pit fire. So a stop at a supermarket can both save you money and give you a much better meal.
The best way to get to the event is to head over to the Fort Wilderness Outpost. There are several ways to do this. If you’re coming from I-4 you can take exit 64B toward Magic Kingdom and tell a castmember at the gate that you’re headed to Fort Wilderness. After the gate stay to the right and follow the signs to Fort Wilderness. If you’re familiar with Bonnet Creek Parkway you can take that past Old Key West, French Quarter, and Riverside before turning left onto Vista Boulevard – the Outpost will be on your right. From the Outpost take the Yellow bus line to the 1500 stop, also the stop for the Meadow Trading Post & Recreation Area. Across the bridge and past the pool you will find the outdoor theater that hosts the campfire.
Alternatively, you might be coming from Settlement Outpost, and would also want to take the Yellow bus line from there. You might be coming from this way if you boated over from the Magic Kingdom or took a bus from the Wilderness Lodge. There’s also the possibility that you are walking through the campgrounds, or are a Fort Wilderness guest traveling by golf cart. Follow the signs as needed to get you to the Meadow area.
Recently my friend Dan organized a group to head over to the Campground to attend this event. Along with us were Shelley, Dave, and their daughter, Zoe, as well as Emily, Shane, Shalon with some of her friends, and my wife, Cheryl. Considering that this group has people eating vegan (one of whom is also gluten-free), myself eating vegetarian (so I could have s’mores!!!), and some strange gadgets from Dan – we had a lot of different food items to choose from. There were hot dogs and sausages (regular and vegan), rolls (regular, gluten-free, and vegan), sandwiches, marshmallows (regular and vegan/gluten-free/kosher), graham crackers (regular, gluten-free, and special vegan ones hand-crafted by Emily of BabyCakes NYC!!!), etc.
We got there early, and one of the very first things I noticed was a stage dedicated to Doctor Terminus, the villain and charlatan from the movie Pete’s Dragon. The movie schedule and times can be found at several sites online, but is also posted on a small building in the back of the outdoor theater where you can find a few hidden Mickeys. Based on some suggestions by a castmember, we staked out an area near the front left that we were told was “the place to be.” Why is that? Well Dan picked this night because it was Halloween. And that meant some special additions were in effect that night. Never having been before I was excited.
Certain nights of the week will start with a round of Disney trivia or a game of bingo – for us we had a trivia night. Our group broke into three teams, and, 10 question later, two of our teams took first and second place. Each team won a board game, both of which now belong to Zoe. As soon as we were done dealing with our spoils, the campfires were lit and ready to go. People were cooking their dinner or jumping right to marshmallows. The campfires can get a bit busy, but if you have a long enough stick and don’t mind reaching a bit, you can get your food in there and cooked.
While eating, the singalong starts. It’s a mix of Disney music, campfire songs, and Disney-fied campfire songs. After the first few songs Chip and Dale come out onto stage to join in the fun. Because it was Halloween, Chip was dressed as a pirate and Dale as a vampire. They then gave out candy to all the girls and boys, young and old. And once we were all busy getting a sugar high and sorting our candy (Smarties go to Emily!!!), a real treat occurred. We got a visit from the Headless Horseman. This is a special Halloween-only addition to the campfire, and it was really cool. Remember that castmember telling us where to sit? The Headless Horseman turned around right in front of us. It was amazing.
Then, after birthday wishes and a group mosh-pit doing the Hokey Pokey, the movies started. We were treated to a showing of The Adventures of Ichabod; sadly, we did not also get to see Mr. Toad. During this time I made myself some s’mores, and there was a very special moment that night. Emily, city girl that she is, had never had s’mores before, and I got to talk her through making her first one. Her initial reaction was, “Why have I not had these before?” A question all non-s’mores believers really need to ask themselves right now. I’ll be asking Emily when I can get more of her homemade graham crackers and keep saying “s’mores cupcakes” when I see her.
Ichabod was followed by the movie The Haunted Mansion, but Cheryl and I couldn’t stay. Before it started, we left along with Shelley and her family. We all had a lot of fun that night, and we’re already planning to make it a regular event.
What about you? Have you been to the campfire before? Do you want to go now? Do you like Chip? Do you like Dale? Do you like campfires? Singing? Triva? Bingo? S’mores? Free? All that and a bag of chips?