My friend recently went camping at Walt Disney world and I asked her to share her experience with us. Her trip report makes me want to buy a camper and head on down to what I know is the most magical campground in the world! Check out their trip-
We are a family of four (plus one chocolate lab!) who has been vacationing at Walt Disney World Resort since 2007. We’ve stayed at resorts in all three categories…including the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Port Orleans French Quarter, Pop Century, and others. Two summers ago, we purchased a 28 foot travel trailer. Since then, we have taken road trips to many destinations across the U.S. The destination we have longed to conquer in our RV is Disney’s Fort Wilderness resort. We have heard from other campers that it is the ULTIMATE in camping: A family and pet friendly resort with so many amenities and activities to offer, one never has to leave the resort to experience Disney Magic. Time and other plans have kept us from being able to make the journey to this magical mecca. This summer, however, when our southeastern beach-and-mountains road trip turned rainy, my husband decided it was the perfect time to pack up and travel the extra hours to our family happy place.
We arrived at Fort Wilderness following 5 days at a rather rustic beach campground. There were other campers at all of the turnpike styled check in gates. A cast member approached our vehicle to say that the guests at Gate 3 were nearly finished checking in, and we could pull up right behind them. At that moment, we knew we had arrived at a Disney Resort…we were receiving the white glove, anticipating our need service we had come to know when visiting Walt Disney World.
The cast member who checked us in was friendly and efficient, despite informing us that the check in system had been down all afternoon. She assigned us a site, but gave us a phone number to call if we were unhappy with the site she assigned. She also informed us that, even though booked at the last minute, we would be receiving Magic Bands. These Magic Bands would be programmed when the system was back up and would be brought to our campsite.
We were assigned a site in the 1900 loop. This is a pet-friendly, full hook up loop. Full hook ups, for non-campers, means the site would include hook ups for electric, water, sewer, and cable. Other perks offered at all Fort Wilderness sites that are not offered at many campgrounds are leveled concrete pads, free internet hook ups, and charcoal grills.
When we arrived at the site, we realized that for our short stay, it was important to us to be closer to the pool and other amenities. One quick phone call to the front desk and $12 extra per night got us moved to a site in a pet friendly “Preferred” loop. The site had all the same feature as the former site, with the exception of a longer concrete pad and it was close to the marina, the dog park, and a short bike ride to the Meadows Pool. Our site also had a large grassy area that bordered a canal that ran through the park.
In the center of our loop was one of the resort’s famed “comfort stations.” A comfort station is a fancy name for the building that houses the bathroom and laundry facilities. There is also an ice machine, a pop machine, and a bulletin board with pertinent information about the resort at the comfort station.
I do not usually frequent campground bathhouses, but I had been tipped off that the comfort stations at Fort Wilderness were not to be missed. When I stepped into the Women’s side of the frigidly air conditioned comfort station, I was speechless. There were Corian countertops, natural stone floors, and tasteful, nature theme tiled walls. Everything was spotless and smelled freshly cleaned. The individually doored showers had massaging shower heads! At a campground! What’s more is that there are 15 of these comfort stations scattered around the park-1 station per camping loop. For the record, I stopped into the comfort station at different times of the day over our 4 day stay and found the same, spotless conditions each time.
As far as activities, you cannot beat Fort Wilderness. Those who say you could never visit a Theme Park while staying at Fort Wilderness and always have something to do are absolutely correct. Here is a short list of things to do: swim at the Meadow Pool*, bike ride on the trails*, go fishing in the pond and canals*, ride the boats to the Magic Kingdom, the Wilderness Lodge or the Contemporary Resort*, watch the Water Pageant and Wishes Fireworks from the beach*, see the Hoop Dee Do Revue, eat at Trails End, go horseback riding, attend the Chip and Dale Sing Along and campfire*, watch a movie under the stars at the amphitheater*, and much, much more! (All of the events I starred are at no extra cost!) We especially enjoyed the pool (it has a water slide!), the Sing Along, and the Pageant & Fireworks from the beach.
Because the resort is so large, we enjoyed biking throughout the campground. One thing that struck me as we travelled around was that there were all kinds of friendly campers staying at the Fort. Some were staying in travel trailers similar to ours. Some were staying in million dollar rigs, some in pop ups, and some were in tents. There are deluxe cabins that you can rent, so if you want daily maid service and four solid walls, you can have that, too! Apparently, there are also businesses that will rent RVs and camping gear, if you do not have your own, setting it up for you on a Fort Wilderness site to enjoy.
Many people staying at the Fort rent or bring golf carts to get around. There is golf cart parking throughout the campground, and each site has a post with an outlet to charge your golf cart when it is necessary.
Bus transportation is available throughout the park if you do not have a bike or a golf cart. The busses circulate on the main roads outside of the loops. You can catch a bus from your loop to the reception building, to the pool, to the marina, or to the main bus stop where you can transfer to a bus that will take you to any of the theme parks, except the Magic Kingdom. To get to the Magic Kingdom, you can take a boat from the marina directly to the front gates of the Magic Kingdom. This alone is a benefit of staying at Fort Wilderness…no parking and then waiting at the TTC for a monorail! We did visit the theme parks on one day of our trip and used both bus and boat transportation. We found both to be timely and convenient.
Our family loved our short, unexpected stay at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. We will absolutely return and stay much longer the next time. We hope to return at Halloween or Christmas, when many of the campers transform their sites with lights and inflatables. We know that we have found a full service camping resort with something that will please every member of our family, whatever season we return.
Note: Staying on a campsite at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort will cost between $85-$115/night during peak seasons. Site prices are based mostly on location, as all sites have the similar amenities. Disney rarely discounts the campsites, but if you have an AAA membership, you can get a 20% discount by calling WDW reservations to reserve. Staying at a campsite does make you eligible for all park amenities such as free parking at the Theme Parks and Extra Magic Hours.