The campground at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort was by far one of the nicest we have ever camped at … but would we expect anything less from Disney? We have a lot to share about our recent trip to Disney, so I am going to organize this post into categories with pictures to accompany each section, which you can quickly navigate to by clicking on the hyper-linked text.
- The campground and sites
- Amenities and activities
- Bathrooms and laundry
- Tips, tricks, and frustrations
The campground and sites:
The Fort Wilderness campground is HUGE, which is why most people bring or rent a golf cart for their stay. The campground has nearly 800 campsites and more than 400 cabins on over 700 acres. After checking in at the Reception Outpost, we navigated our way through the campground along roads that were well maintained with limbs trimmed back. Once we pulled off the main road, the campground loop was rather narrow to drive through while pulling a large camper, and we found it difficult to back my dad’s 37-foot fifth-wheel travel trailer into our assigned site. All of the sites are asphalt, level, and well-maintained. We even spotted employees spraying off sites (including the sewer area) in preparation for new arrivals. Most of the sites had a nice hedge of vegetation on either side to give privacy, but the sites are close together (probably around 6-8 feet between them). Additionally, don’t plan to have a personal campfire unless you bring an approved fire pit. The sites did include a charcoal grill, however.
When you make reservations to stay at Fort Wilderness it is important you understand the difference in the types of sites offered. When we booked the trip online, we found the website to be confusing and not very specific about what type of site you were reserving. We ended up having to make several phone calls in order to successfully reserve a pet-friendly site big enough to accommodate the fifth-wheel. Unlike other campgrounds we have stayed at, you don’t get to pick your actual site, just the type and preferences (such as in a particular loop or a pet-friendly area).
There are four levels of camp sites:
- Tent or pop-up sites are small and short (less than 30 feet). They have a sandy area at the back to set a tent up on and they do have water and electric on site.
- Full hook-up sites are similar in size to the tent or pop-up sites but the whole pad is asphalt. Additionally these sites provide sewer hook-up. These sites are only about 30 feet long and are not large enough to accommodate large RVs and fifth-wheels.
- Preferred sites are full hook-up but are much longer in length. These sites are 60 feet long and 10 feet wide. There were many big RVs and fifth-wheels on these sites. However, if you have deep slide-outs on both sides of the camper, vegetation on either side of the site may inhibit you from fully extending all slide-outs.
- Premium sites are also 60 feet in length but they add an additional concrete pad to the width so they can accommodate slide-outs on both sides. We were able to get my dad’s fifth-wheel on this site with no problems and even parked our van next to his truck on the pad. Additionally these sites come with a very nice square picnic table.
Amenities and activities:
The pictures of the amenities speak for themselves! We even saw a Disney employee drying the dew off the playground slides early each morning so that they would be ready for the children.
We determined if/when we return to Disney we will plan to stay an extra few days in the campground just to take advantage of the many amenities and activities the campground has to offer. We knew that there was a pool and an evening campfire/sing-along/movie, but we had no idea the extent of the other available activities (both free and pay). Each day there are crafts for kids, pool parties with games, multiple playgrounds, nature tours, trail rides, fishing excursions, etc. Additionally, I suggest you bring a fishing pole (they rent them for a price) and try your luck in the stocked pond!
Bathrooms and laundry:
Just look at the pictures! There wasn’t a bug or cobweb to be found in the place. The hot showers included an adjustable shower head. Disney even goes the extra mile and cleans the bathrooms in the middle of the night so that you never have to worry about them being closed for cleaning when you are headed to take a shower.
Tips, tricks, and frustrations:
- Consider going with a meal plan. We looked at the the prices for some of our meals in the Magic Kingdom–$$$!!!–and we are fairly certain that we got a better deal with the plan.
- Plan to stay at least one or two days enjoying the campground in addition to your days in the theme park(s).
- Bring bikes or consider renting a golf cart … you will walk enough in the theme parks, so take it easy in the campground.
- Fort Wilderness is pet-friendly; in fact, it’s the only Disney resort area that allows pets. Pets are restricted to certain areas of the campground, so be sure to indicate you need a pet site when reserving.
- Even if you don’t have kiddos in tow we really enjoyed the 1900 Park Ave Character Dinner at the Grand Floridian. It counted as only one table service meal but the buffet dinner was AMAZING. Lots of variety–even simple sushi, and a specially designed kids buffet area.
- Transportation to and from the parks and resorts can be a bit of a pain (see frustrations) but your parking pass allows you to park in ANY resort parking lot. On the night we had the scheduled character dinner, we drove to the Grand Floridian and parked, then after our dinner, we used the monorail to go back into the Magic Kingdom for the fireworks show. After the fireworks, we took the monorail back to the Grand Floridian and drove back to our site avoiding long lines at the boat launch and bus depots.
- If you are going back into a theme park on the same morning you have to check out of the campground, there are plenty of RV/camper parking spaces in the “extra car” parking area where you could stow your rig while you make a few more memories.
- Transportation! Allow for way more time to get places than you expect it will take. We were attempting to make it to the morning rope drop ceremony (highly recommend) on our first day at the parks. However when we got to the boat launch (which is the main way to get to the Magic Kingdom from the campground) fog had prevented boats AND the monorail from running! The only way there was the bus (which takes about an hour due to all the stops).
- Disney’s website for making reservations, as well as their customer service hot line, were not very good in our opinion. We initially reserved a preferred campsite, but after receiving some mailings, we began to grow concerned the site might not have been the right size for my dad’s camper. It took several phone calls to determine that we needed a premium site instead. We wish Disney’s online reservation system had been more specific and streamlined so we could have avoided the extra hassle.