Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort provide a unique way to experience the Disney magic. There are five different categories of campsites available: Tent or Pop-up Site (accommodates up a pop-up camper or a camper van-type vehicle, and up to 2 tents), Full Hook-up Campsite (accommodates an RV and a tent), Preferred Campsite (accommodates an RV and a tent and close to marina), Premium Campsite (for larger RVs), and Premium Meadow Campsite (for larger RVs and closer to the Meadow Trading Post and recreation area). For those who don’t camp, The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort offers a less rustic, but just as fun, experience!
There are several activities to try as well. They include swimming at the two pools, archery, pony, wagon, and carriage rides, fishing, boat rentals, canoe rentals, kayak rentals, basketball, volleyball, and even a Segway tour! There is also the Chip ‘N’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long, a fun campfire experience (weather permitting) where you can roast marshmallows and meet Chip and Dale!
My Experience with Tent Camping
One cold, snowy day my wife sent me a text message saying that the temperature at Walt Disney World was 84 degrees. She jokingly suggested that we plan a trip as we had a long weekend coming up. I played it cool and said that could be fun. The next thing I know, I am talking to my Travel Planner specializing in Disney Destinations about what kind of trip we can plan. We wanted to spend as little money as possible since we didn’t have time to save up for a big trip, so we looked at The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. I have heard good things about it, but we had never been there. Also, even though we already had a 10-person tent, we have never tent camped.
So we took a leap of faith, booked our trip-one night at Disney’s Port Orleans-Riverside Resort, two nights at The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, and a two-day park ticket. Since we live 12 hours away from Walt Disney World, we ended up with a whirlwind four-day trip that we planned in two days!
We left early in the morning, but of course, with three kids, the drive took longer than twelve hours! It worked out well that we stayed the first night at Disney’s Port Orleans-Riverside Resort because it was almost 8 p.m. when we checked in, and putting the tent together in the dark would have been challenging.
Day one: Magic Kingdom and setting up the tent
The next day, we went to Magic Kingdom. We made Fast Pass + reservations, of course, but mainly focused on the low-key rides that typically don’t have long waits, like it’s a small world. We stayed until mid-afternoon. The long drive had taken its toll on us, and we were getting tired.
We drove to The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and checked in at the entrance booths. The check-in process is set up a little differently to accommodate campers and RVs, so they have cast members at the entrance booths do the process. We drove around the different loops as we headed to our campsite. There was so much nature! I was also struck by how many people we saw riding bikes and golf carts. We dropped the kids off at the Meadow Swimmin’ Pool and found our campsite. The campsite was a lovely area with a parking pad for our car and a large sand pad for the tent.
We were actually able to get our tent up really easily, which was surprising to me, and then we set up our air mattresses. After that, we met the kids at the pool and just relaxed. It was so nice-I may have dozed off in a lounge chair! We knew the kids would be getting hungry soon, so we checked the My Disney Experience app to see what reservations were available. This is a great tip: if you are wanting a low-key trip, and don’t have any “must-do” restaurants, you will typically find several day-of reservations! We found one for one of our favorite restaurants-Whispering Canyon Cafe. We had a couple of hours to kill, so we changed our clothes and decided to tour the Monorail Loop resorts until it was time for dinner.
Dinner and day two: Disney’s Animal Kingdom
We made stops at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa before catching a boat to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge for our dinner reservation at Whispering Canyon Cafe. Dinner was excellent, of course! My family and I love the atmosphere, food, and experience at Whispering Canyon Cafe. Don’t forget to ask for ketchup! We also had a front-row seat for the Electric Water Pageant as it was traveling near us as we took the boat back to Fort Wilderness.
The next day we went to Animal Kingdom and spent the day taking in the sights and activities. We wandered through the Maharajah Jungle Trek and the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. I recommend them both highly if you enjoy spending time observing and learning about animals. That evening we packed what we could because we had an early departure time the next morning.
Tips and Takeaways
One great benefit of any of the campsites is the parking. Your car is right there with you, so there is no need to trek across a parking lot. You may prefer driving to the parks as it is typically faster than navigating the different bus loops. The bus stops have maps that are labeled with the different bus loops, so pay attention to them and the signs on the bus. We got on the wrong bus our first time, and it added several minutes to our travel time. Make sure that you plan a little extra time if you are taking Disney transportation. There is a boat that goes to Magic Kingdom, so that may save time over driving to the Ticket and Transporation Center.
There is also a boat that will take you to Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort. If you are interested in visiting other resorts, this is a super convenient way to visit all the Magic Kingdom area resorts because you can hop on the Monorail at the Contemporary to visit Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
The showers and bathrooms are housed in buildings called Comfort Stations. Privacy isn’t an issue as the showers and toilets are all in separate stalls. I was impressed with the cleanliness, but really, do we expect anything less from Disney? I would recommend requesting a site near the Comfort Station to make bathroom breaks a little easier (of course, these requests are subject to availability).
All the campsites offer water and electric hookups, but it is a good idea to bring some extension cords for your devices! And don’t forget an air pump if you bring air mattresses.
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort has so much to offer, but it is a huge resort! If you plan on staying there for an extended period, you may want to rent or bring a golf cart to get around a little easier. Disney offers golf cart rentals, but there are also third-party vendors available.
I would recommend Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort to anyone looking for a low-key and fun vacation. If you like tent camping, or would like to try it, these campsites will give you a safe way to camp while getting all the perks of staying on-site, such as Extra Magic Hours and Magic Bands. You will have a fun, family-friendly vacation you will talk about for years to come.