Glamping, but Make it Disney
Table of Contents
If you’ve never stayed at Fort Wilderness before, you need to add it to your list of “Must-Stay” Resorts. And yes, I did say Resorts. You may think that the accommodation choices of “Cabin” or “Campsite” could resemble something you remember from camping with scouts as a kid, but don’t forget, Fort Wilderness is “Camping,” Disney Style, so really it’s a lot more like Glamping, and a lot less like roughing-it.
In fact, Fort Wilderness is one of the most highly booked Disney World Resorts, with Cabins and some Campsites filling up, often as soon as available dates are released. So keep in mind that a stay at Fort Wilderness will probably require planning a long time in advance, maybe even longer than you’re used to for a Disney Vacation, but as always, your favorite Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Agent is ready to help you every step of the way!
As mentioned, the available accommodations at Fort Wilderness include Cabins or Campsites, but even within those, there is more variety and there are more options than most people realize.
If you’ve ever dreamed of staying in a log cabin in the woods, The Cabins at Fort Wilderness should be at the top of your list for your next Disney Vacation. Each Cabin comes complete with a bedroom, living area, full bathroom, fully equipped kitchen (with a dishwasher, even though housekeeping will do your dishes!), and patio (with charcoal grill), and can sleep up to six adults.
And although many of us already use the trick of ordering groceries to our Disney Resorts as soon as we arrive, at The Cabins at Fort Wilderness, you can actually pre-order your groceries days or even weeks in advance to be ready for pickup at Meadow Trading Post upon your arrival. Comfort cookies after a day of traveling? Yes, please!
Contrary to popular belief, The Campsites at Fort Wilderness are not just for people who own an RV or their own camping equipment. Of course, if you love to camp and have all your own gear, or if you do own an RV, The Campsites are perfect for you! But, thanks to sites like RVShare, even people who don’t own their own RV can try it out, and even at places like Fort Wilderness. Some RV rentals come fully set up at your Campsite without you having to worry about hooking everything up properly or even driving (and parking) it correctly. Talk about Glamping!
And yes, there are still places to pitch a tent and camp the traditional way, too, because there’s nothing like getting out into nature and connecting with the Earth for a few days. That’s why The Campsite sizes are so varied at Fort Wilderness, with sites offering just enough room for two tents and a vehicle, all the way up to sites with ample space for a large RV, plus all Campsites come with a picnic table and charcoal grill, and some even allow pets.
Options For Your Stay
Since Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground is 750 acres of forest, one of the popular add-ons to a Cabin or Campsite is renting a Golf Cart for the duration (or even part of) your stay. Zipping around (carefully) in a Golf Cart is a super fun way to make sure you get to see and do everything Fort Wilderness offers, especially if you arrived in a large RV without a car for short trips during your stay.
Another fun option that has become popular among Fort Wilderness guests is decorating Cabins and Campsites. While there are a number of rules Disney has in place for guest safety, there is still plenty of opportunity to show your own unique Disney Spirit with decorations, whether you’re visiting for Holidays like Halloween or Christmas, or any time of year if you just want to make your stay at The Cabins or Campsites extra personalized and special.
The activities and things to do for recreation at Fort Wilderness aren’t endless per say, but they’re pretty close to that for sure. If you’ve ever been to a camping resort, you know they are generally teeming with activities, and since Fort Wilderness is a Disney Resort, you can expect everything to be above and beyond what you’d normally find anywhere else.
Here are a few activity highlights that make staying at Fort Wilderness a step (or staircase) above other camping resorts:
With over 90 horses, Tri-Circle-D Ranch is the place to be for equine fans! And they are not just any horses, either, Tri-Circle-D Ranch is home to Cinderella’s Ponies, as well as the magnificent Clydesdales, Percherons and Belgians who pull the Trolleys down Main Street U.S.A. with style and elegance.
Besides visiting with the horses, there are many other opportunities for interaction. Kids can take part in pony rides, and if everyone is old enough, the whole family can go horseback riding. There are also carriage and wagon rides available to reserve as well. As always, be sure to check times and availability ahead of time.
Fort Wilderness has multiple pool areas, the Meadow Swimmin’ Pool, and the Wilderness Swimmin’ Pool, both equipped with all-ages pools and also adult whirlpools. Meadow Swimmin’ Pool also has a large corkscrew slide that big kids (and even adults) love, in addition to a splash-play area for smaller kiddos. Note: Meadow Swimmin’ Pool will be closed for refurbishment from January 2023 – April 2023, but the Meadow Snack Bar and Wilderness Swimmin’ Pool will remain open for guests to enjoy.
Chip ‘N’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long and Movies Under the Stars
Many of the Disney Resorts have Campfire activities and outdoor movies most nights (depending on weather). At Fort Wilderness, characters make an appearance to create an extra special experience for guests; as Fort Wilderness is 750 acres of woods, it’s only appropriate that Chip ‘N’ Dale are the characters who come to share in s’mores making and songs! Once it gets dark, stay for the Disney movie of the night under the stars!
The Fort Wilderness Archery Experience
At the Fort Wilderness Archery Experience, you can channel your inner Merida with lessons from an Archery Guide. With only ten spots per 75-minute session, each aspiring archer will receive plenty of individualized attention and target practice. Reservations are recommended, though walk-ins are permitted as space allows, and all archers must be at least seven years of age to participate.
Besides these unique recreational options at Fort Wilderness, there are also activities that you would expect to find at any well-appointed campground. There are canoe and kayak rentals, fishing, bike rentals, hiking trails the whole family can enjoy, basketball and volleyball courts, playgrounds for the kiddos, and even two arcades. With Campsites starting at just over $100 per night, it’s a good thing you can reserve up to 30 nights; you might need that much time to experience everything Fort Wilderness has to offer, and that’s without even taking into account visiting any Disney Parks!
As with activities, there is no shortage of dining options at Fort Wilderness, including one of the most beloved Disney Dining Experiences throughout all of Walt Disney World, The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue! Dining experiences range from quick service snack bars to sit down meals in order to accommodate whatever type of meal you’re in the mood for, and don’t forget that both Cabins and Campsites come with charcoal grills, and Cabins also have kitchens and grocery service, too!
Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue
This Classic Americana-Themed Dinner Show is two hours worth of singing, dancing and comedy featuring spirited performances by the Pioneer Hall Players. Between songs, classic BBQ options of ribs, fried chicken, cornbread, coleslaw, mac’n’cheese, and salad are served all-you-can-eat style, with strawberry shortcake for dessert! Guests from all Disney Resorts, as well as local Floridians often try to get reservations to this fabulous Musical Dinner Show, so if you’d like to make this part of your Fort Wilderness experience, make sure to make your dining reservations as soon as your window opens (don’t worry, your Love of the Magic Travel Agent will remind you when you are able to make dining reservations, and will help you as much as you need!).
Trail’s End Restaurant
As the main sit-down restaurant at Fort Wilderness, Trail’s End serves traditional American family-style breakfast and dinner. Since Fort Wilderness sits on 750 acres of forest, many guests of Disney World think of it as too far out of the way for just a meal without a dinner show (clearly they have not checked out the plethora of activities available throughout the campgrounds), but that may not be a bad thing for guests staying at The Cabins and Campsites of Fort Wilderness, since they get to enjoy this relatively undiscovered gem without the entirety of Disney World vying for a seat at one of the tables.
With a breakfast menu featuring smoked brisket and eggs, cheesy potato casserole and, of course, Mickey Waffles, among other offerings, and a dinner menu boasting skillets of pecan-smoked brisket, smoked chicken, pulled pork, and other meats, along with side staples like corn-on-the-cob and roasted potatoes, plus a host of delectable desserts, Trail’s End just may be the best value and best kept secret dining option throughout all of Disney World.
The other dining options at Fort Wilderness are different varieties of quick service restaurants where you can grab a bite to eat without too much planning ahead. The Chuck Wagon is an RV-style food truck, Meadow Snack Bar is perfect for whenever you work up an appetite from swimming, P&J’s Southern Takeout serves breakfast, lunch and dinner to go, and Crockett’s Tavern is where to find drinks at Fort Wilderness. All in all, Fort Wilderness provides a great variety of dining options, especially for a campground where most guests have an available kitchen, or at least a charcoal grill.
To Park or Not To Park
And no, I don’t mean cars. I mean the Disney Parks: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. Because of the size of the campground, many people assume getting to and from the Parks from Fort Wilderness is a hike, but with Magic Kingdom just a short ten minute boat ride across the lake, transportation isn’t actually so bad.
However, Fort Wilderness has so much to offer on its own that it’s more comparable to Disney Resorts in other locations, such as Vero Beach and Hilton Head, with the bonus of being close enough to the Parks that a Park Day is always just a boat or bus ride away. Like Vero Beach and Hilton Head, Fort Wilderness has all the Disney Magic you love and expect from Disney Resorts, like character interactions, Disney-themed activities, and of course the highest level of hospitality, plus a ton of recreation options to fill a full week (or more) of vacation time, even without ever stepping foot in one of the Disney Parks.
Of course, most of us who make the trip to Florida go there FOR the Parks, but it’s still nice to know that with a stay at Fort Wilderness, there’s plenty of Disney to experience with or without visiting the Parks. In fact, Fort Wilderness makes a great vacation destination for Florida residents who maybe don’t always feel the need to venture into the Parks, but still want the quality of a Disney Vacation. And it’s also a great option for people who are super into the RV lifestyle, since The Campsites at Fort Wilderness are significantly less expensive than The Cabins and most other Disney Resort options, anyone traveling with their own RV can stay for longer to enjoy the best of both worlds, quality time at a Disney Resort, and the Magic of the Parks, too.
Ready to Plan?
Now that you know everything Fort Wilderness has to offer, are you ready to plan your next Disney Vacation to this fantastic Disney Resort and Campground? Or do you have another Disney Resort where you’ve been looking forward to staying?
I would love to help you plan your next Vacation to Disney, or anywhere else you’ve been dreaming of going! Contact me today at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can start planning together!