Do you own an RV or dream of owning an RV? Have you visited Walt Disney World or dream to go one day? Combine the two and you’re a perfect candidate for a trip to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground.
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Our family loves RVing! We love it so much that in June 2017 we decided we are going to RV full-time by the summer of 2018.
We also love all things Disney. So it’s a no-brainer that one of our favorite camping spots is at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground in the Orlando, Florida area.
Fort Wilderness is an RVers dream. From fully paved sites with full hook-ups to excellent wi-fi, clean comfort stations, laundry facilities, pools, restaurants, and more. I can’t even begin to fully describe our love for this campground, but maybe one lady’s statement to her son at the resort pool today can sum it up:
Let’s tell your boy scout troop that we don’t ever want to camp anywhere else but here.
My sentiments exactly! I think I could camp here forever. There are so many things to do, see, and experience and not enough time in a week (or even two) to do it all. Let’s dive into what amenities make this campground so magical.
Fort Wilderness Magical Amenities #1: Campsites
Let’s start with the campsites. Fort Wilderness has four types of campsites: tent and pop-up sites, full hook-up sites, preferred sites, and premium sites. There are also cabins which some might include in this list, but for the purposes of RVing, I am just listing the first four.
Each type of campsite sleeps up to 10 adults and includes parking for 1 vehicle. The premium sites are the only sites with a fully paved pad while the others are partially paved near the front of the site with the rest of the site being gravel. The tent or pop-up sites are the only sites that do not include sewage hook-ups.
Campsites are situated in loops throughout the campground. Loops 1500 and 2000 are the tent or pop-up sites. If you prefer full hook-ups, loops 1600-1900 have full hook-ups and are located closest to the Outpost Depot where buses take you to any Disney park other than Magic Kingdom. Loops 400-1400 are the premium sites which also have full hook-ups. They are located around the center of the campground near the Meadows Trading Post, Chip ‘n Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long, and main swimming pool. And loops 100-300 are preferred sites with full hook-ups and are located nearest the marina where you catch the boats to Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
(Magical tip: we love loop 900 because it’s equal distance to the marina and Outpost Depot, has a comfort station in the loop, and is directly across from Meadows Trading Post, the campfire sing-a-long, and main swimming pool.)
Fort Wilderness Magical Amenities #2: Comfort Stations
Comfort stations are Disney’s version of bathhouses. Let’s just say they are nicer than most master bathrooms found in homes and definitely nicer than any bathhouses we’ve experienced at other campgrounds.
At each comfort station, you will find toilet stalls, sinks with mirrors, shower stalls with an attached dressing area, baby changing stations, and laundry facilities.
Even though we have a shower in our RV, we still like to use the showers at the comfort station located in our loop. Myself and one of my daughters both love long, hot showers and Disney doesn’t disappoint. The water gets to a nice, hot temperature and has never turned cold during our shower…not even when all 4 showers are being used at the same time.
The stall doors are nice and tight leaving little visibility into your stall from the seating area outside the stall. The shower curtains cover the entire opening into the showers, and there are ledges at arm’s reach on which you can put your shampoo and soap.
The only complaint I have is that like many other campground showers, the water pressure is lacking. It’s not horrible, but it could use a bit of improvement.
The laundry rooms are fabulously set up but are the only other amenity with which I have a complaint. The laundry area has 5 washing machines, 6 dryers, a large washing sink, a soda vending machine, a detergent vending machine, and a large countertop where you can fold clothes. It’s a great set up if you have lots of laundry to get done.
However, when doing laundry some of the washing machines had caked on detergent or fabric softener in the dispenser, and some of the dispensers were clogged or had pieces of the plastic broken off. This was a bit disheartening when I needed to do 4 loads of laundry in a laundry room with 5 washing machines. I got it done, though, after using a bit of elbow grease to get the caked on detergent and softener cleaned out.
I have no complaints about the dryers. They worked great and dried our clothes in less time than allotted on the machine.
At the time of writing this post, the cost of washing and drying is $2.75-$3.25 per wash/dry. Wash cycles are typically about 35 minutes and cost $3.00 per cycle. Dry cycles vary from $2.75 for 55 minutes of drying time to $3.25 for 65 minutes of drying time. Credit or debit cards are the only method of payment available for starting the machines.
(Magical tip: if doing more than one load of laundry, stagger your washing times to save some money. Put one load in the dryer and start your second load washing. Pay for the longest running time on the dryer, and those clothes can dry while the other load is washing. When the second load is done washing, the clothes in the dryer should be dry. Remove the clothes in the dryer and use the remaining time for the second load of clothes.)
Fort Wilderness Magical Amenities #3: Restaurants
We love food! And Disney knows how to do food. Some of the best restaurants on Disney property are right here at Fort Wilderness.
Trail’s End is a casual dining restaurant located near the marina. We chose to have breakfast which is an all-you-can-eat buffet. Endless mickey waffles anyone?
The buffet had so much variety that we didn’t know what to eat first. From cold cereals to fruits, cheeses, meats, seafood, biscuits and gravy, grits, fried potatoes, eggs, cinnamon rolls, croissants, muffins, and donuts, there was definitely something for everyone. Trail’s End is our #1 pick for breakfast at Walt Disney World…and I hear brunch and dinner are just as good.
We have yet to try P & J’s Southern Takeout, but all the RVers rave about it. However, when we are camping in our own RV and have access to our own food, we tend to only pick and choose a few meals to pay for while staying on Disney property and eat our own food the rest of the time. P & J’s is an extension of Trail’s End, so I know the food has to be delicious and we’re looking forward to trying it next time.
Mickey’s Backyard BBQ is also located at Fort Wilderness. This is one of Disney’s popular dinner shows. It is an all-you-can-eat BBQ dinner with music, line dancing, and an old-fashioned hoedown. Here you can get photos with some of the Disney characters like Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and/or Chip ‘n Dale without having to wait in long lines inside the parks. We hope to experience the BBQ on our next visit to Fort Wilderness.
A second popular dinner show located here is Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue. We absolutely love this dinner show! We attended Hoop-Dee-Doo in 2017, and our table was front and center.
The food here is good ole down home cookin’ served family style.
The show is full of vaudeville type comedy with lots of audience participation. I personally think the show is better than the food. Don’t get me wrong, the food was good…it’s just that the show is pretty awesome.
Our boy had a grand time playing the washboard at the end of the night.
(Magical tip: make a reservation for brunch at Trail’s End and you’ll get to experience two meals in one!)
Fort Wilderness Magical Amenities #4: Pools
Fort Wilderness has two pools: Meadow Swimmin’ Pool and Wilderness Swimmin’ Pool.
Meadow Swimmin’ Pool is the main pool and is located in the middle of the campground. This pool area consists of a large swimming pool, waterslide, whirlpool spa, and splash pad. This is also where you can join Disney Cast Members in daily activities like Disney Trivia, Smarter Than A Fifth Grader, sidewalk chalk art, etc. There is also a nearby snack shack that serves food, drinks, and desserts. This is one of our favorite spots to hang out on non-park days or when we have some downtime.
Wilderness Swimmin’ Pool is nestled within the cabins and is known more as the quiet pool. There is no water slide or splash pad at this location, however, it does have a whirlpool spa. And of course, I didn’t manage to get a picture of that pool.
(Magical tip: all Disney swimming pools are heated, so even if the weather is cold, the pools remain open for swimming.)
Fort Wilderness Magical Amenities #5: Activities
Of all the resorts on Disney property, this one has to have THE MOST activities. I mean c’mon, people actually come camping here and NEVER set foot in the parks.
One of our most favorite things to do is bicycle through the campground. People say golf carts are a must at Fort Wilderness, but we say bicycles are a must. Golf carters (is that a word?) miss out on so much of the scenery and wildlife because they have to stay out on the road. Just the other evening we were bicycling back to our site from the Outpost Depot and right next to the bicycle path was 4 or 5 deer just staring at us. Seriously, so cool!
There are quite a few trails as well. We’ve seen bicyclers, walkers, and joggers on many of these trails. There are even designated pet walking paths. A trail we just followed on our bicycles took us over to Wilderness Lodge. Such a fun little morning or afternoon trek.
The loop that we stay in also has a basketball hoop and a tetherball pole. That’s where you find our kids right after we pull in and start setting up camp.
Another one of our favorite activities is Chip ‘n Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long. This is located at the small outdoor theater near the main pool. Every night they light two campfires where you can roast marshmallows, hang out and get pictures with Chip n’ Dale, sing along with some fun country tunes, and settle in for a Disney movie under the stars. If you’re hungry you can grab a bite to eat at the food truck. The burgers are delicious!
Other activities around the campground include archery, horseback riding, pony rides, boat rentals, carriage rides, playgrounds, and self-guided tours of the Tri-Circle-D Ranch stables. The beach is a wonderful location to see the evening fireworks at Magic Kingdom and the Electrical Water Pageant on the lake. And there are other seasonal activities available around Halloween and Christmas that are super popular.
(Magical tip: purchase your s’mores supplies for the campfire prior to entering Disney property to save some money!)
Fort Wilderness Magical Amenities #6: Transportation
When we initially looked into staying at Fort Wilderness, the bus system seemed so overwhelming. Really, it’s not. It DOES, however, take up a little extra time getting to and from the places you are wanting to go than it does at most other Disney resorts. The reason is that there is an internal bus system that takes you from places within the campground to external transportation that will get you to the parks. So you’re actually having to board two different busses, or a bus and then a boat.
There are a couple of ways to get around having to take two forms of transportation because let’s get real, having to take two different busses to make it to rope drop at a park by 8am with small, hangry children in tow is just plain crazy!
Our favorite way…bicycles. Take the scenic and more healthy option and pedal yourselves down to the Outpost Depot or marina and skip waiting on that internal bus. Each location has areas where you can lock up your bicycles while you’re gone. No bicycle? You can rent them at Fort Wilderness.
A second way…golf cart. Well, you know my thoughts on this one, but I completely understand using this option if you have super young children who you know won’t ride their bicycle all the way back to the campsite after a long day at the parks. Fort Wilderness rents these as well.
Another way…drive. You can drive from your campsite all the way to the park you are going to, OR you can drive from your campsite to the parking lot located near the entrance of Fort Wilderness and walk across the street to the Outpost Depot to catch a bus to the park you are going to. However, keep in mind that you CANNOT park near the marina. Taking a bicycle, golf cart, or internal bus is the only way to get to the marina.
Finally, you can walk…but who wants to do that when you’re clocking 20,000+ steps a day walking around the parks?
(Magical tip: if you have a pre-park opening breakfast at Magic Kingdom, take the boat to the Contemporary and walk the 5 minutes to Magic Kingdom. The boat from Fort Wilderness to Magic Kingdom doesn’t start running until 30 minutes prior to park opening.)
We have yet to see and do everything this campground has to offer. It’ll take numerous trips to experience all of it. But hey, it’s a great reason to get back to Walt Disney World!
So what are you waiting for?!? Pack up your RV and get yourself down to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground! You’ll enjoy yourself.