Lodging at Disney World is one of the biggest expenses you’ll need to budget for when planning your trip, especially if you have a larger group. People looking for a better deal may decide to stay at a cheaper, offsite hotel; however, they’re losing out on the perks Disney World resorts provide to their guests.
If you’re driving to Orlando for your trip, or traveling with a large group, staying at Fort Wilderness might be the resort for you. With 788 campsites and 409 cabins, Fort Wilderness is one of the best places to stay in Disney World with kids. And in this review, we’re going to discuss what makes Fort Wilderness stand out so highly amongst the many different resorts you can stay at on Disney property.
Fort Wilderness Campsite Types
The resort has 4 different types of campsites for RVs and tents that each sleep up to 10 adults and 3 cabin options that sleep up to 6 adults. The cabins all have similar layouts, but are either non-accessible, hearing accessible, or wheelchair accessible.
Disney World has provided each site with privacy barriers and boundaries by enhancing the natural landscape of the resort. Water and electrical hook-ups, as well as a stand-up charcoal grill, picnic table, and WIFI access are provided at all sites. You will need to put a deposit on a modem kit if you would like to use WIFI at a campsite.
- Tent or Pop-Up Campsite:
Enough room for either a pop-up camper or up to 2 tents. A concrete pad up to 10’x25’ will accommodate any equipment you may bring (including a vehicle). Pets are not permitted at this site.
- Full Hook-Up Campsite:
Enough room for an RV, plus a tent. A concrete pad up to 10’x50’ will accommodate any equipment you may bring (including a vehicle). This site also includes cable TV and sewer hook-up. Pets may be permitted at this site.
- Preferred Campsite (room for an RV and a small tent):
Enough room for an RV, plus a tent. A concrete pad up to 10’x45’ will accommodate any equipment you may bring (including a vehicle). This site also includes cable TV and sewer hook-up. Pets may be permitted at this site.
- Premium Campsite (room for a larger style RV):
Enough room for an RV, plus a tent. A concrete pad up to 18’x60’ will accommodate any equipment you may bring (including a vehicle). This site also includes cable TV and sewer hook-up. Pets may be permitted at this site.
- Wilderness Cabin:
A fully furnished cabin including 1 Queen-Size bed, 1 bunk bed, and 1 Double-Size sleeper sofa. The cabin includes 1 bedroom, a living room, 1 full bathroom, a full kitchen, and a private patio. The kitchen includes a refrigerator/freezer combo, dishwasher, microwave, and 2 electric, countertop burners.
Although the cabins say they can accommodate 6 adults, it can feel cramped. The bunk bed and queen-sized bed are both in the bedroom and the sofa sleeper is in the living room. If you’re staying in a cabin with 6 adults, there isn’t much space to move around once you’ve all unpack your belongings.
It’s a little more doable if you’re staying with 2 adults and 3 children. Since there’s only 1 bathroom to share, you may also want to get up and go to bed in shifts. If that doesn’t suit your family, there are 15 Comfort Stations throughout the resort that have bathrooms and showers open to the entire resort. Be sure to bring your Magic Band with you though, you may need to use it to unlock the Comfort Stations at night.
Disney World Weather
Camping while at Disney World is an experience you and your family will never forget. However, you need plan your trip accordingly, or you may become miserable while visiting the “Happiest Place on Earth.”
Summer: June-August are popular months to visit Disney World since children are out of school, but be prepared for humidity and possible rain throughout your trip. June is the beginning of hurricane season, which can dampen your Disney experience. If you are visiting in the summer, temperatures can reach the 90s or 100s with near 60% humidity during the day. Temperatures tend to stay in the low 70s throughout the night. Since you are camping in a forest, bring plenty of bug spray if you plan to participate in any outdoor activities while at the resort.
Fall: September-November are popular months to visit Disney World due to Halloween events, but it’s not nearly as crowded as the summer months. Hurricane season hits its peak during September, which can be uncomfortable to camp in. If you are visiting in the fall, humidity is at its peak, with temperatures averaging around the mid-80s during the day, but they tend to dip into the 50s to 60s during the night. You will need a light jacket or sweatshirt if you plan to participate in any outdoor activities while at the resort.
Winter: December-February attendance is similar to fall attendance due to the holiday season events (Thanksgiving and Christmas parades, New Year’s Eve, etc.). Hurricane season is over at this time, with average daytime temperatures in the mid-70s. Nighttime temperatures average in the 40s during the winter months. Although it won’t snow, you may wake up to frost on the ground. You will need a heavier jacket or sweatshirt if you plan to participate in any outdoor activities while at the resort.
Spring: March-May have low attendance compared to the rest of the year; however, attendance can pick up around spring break times. Daytime temperatures average in the 80s with increased rain. Average nighttime temperatures fall between the 40s and 50s. If you are visiting in the spring, you should pack a rain jacket, poncho, or umbrella. With the increased rain, you will need bug spray and a light jacket or sweatshirt if you plan to participate in any outdoor activities while at the resort.
Although the weather during the summer can seem unbearable, it truly is the best time to visit Disney World. It’s not yet hurricane season, so you won’t be camping in mud; however, the heat and humidity can affect your mood and desire to spend the whole day at the park. If you decide to skip the parks for a day due to the weather, there are tons of activities to enjoy at Fort Wilderness.
Fort Wilderness Transportation
Getting around a 750-acre campsite can seem like a daunting task, but it’s something you don’t have to worry about when it comes to Fort Wilderness. The resort provides free bus transportation around the sites as well as to/from Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT.
In order to get to and from Magic Kingdom, you will have to take the ferry, since there is no bus transportation between Magic Kingdom and Fort Wilderness. You may be stuck waiting in line for a while if you’re trying to catch a ferry during the Hoop De Doo Revue or Mickey’s BBQ, since these events are open to all Disney World guests. Click here for more information on ferry routes.
If you prefer not to wait for a bus just to get around the campground, you can rent a golf cart or a bike. Golf cart rentals are available for anyone over 18 years old with a valid driver’s license. You can drive the golf cart if you’re 16 or 17 as long as you have a valid driver’s license—you just can’t rent it.
Pickup for golf carts start at 1:00 PM and must be returned by 11:00 AM on your return date. All bike rentals come with complimentary helmets and child seats and must be returned by 5:00 PM each day.
Accommodations and Amenities
Purchasing meals at Disney can get expensive. Ordering groceries ahead of time from Walt Disney World or other online grocery providers can cut down on that cost. If you order them from Walt Disney World, the groceries will be brought to your cabin after 5:00 PM on the day you check in.
You can either email, fax, or mail your order along with your cabin reservation details to Fort Wilderness. If you order them from an online grocery provider, you will need to tell them to deliver the groceries to Bell Services along with your cabin number and name. Bell Services will also need to know which items are perishable so they can store them correctly.
Sometimes we don’t want to worry about cleaning up after ourselves when we’re on vacation. If you’re that type of vacationer, housekeeping will do your dishes for you if you stay at a cabin.
Did you make it all the way to Disney World only to realize you forgot something at home? You won’t need to drive out to the local CVS or Walmart in order to pick up those supplies if you stay at Fort Wilderness. The resort has two trading posts, the Meadow and Settlement, on site that have anything from basic groceries, to camping supplies, to Fort Wilderness souvenirs.
Make sure to look at food prices before you buy them though. Just like anything else you purchase at Disney World, the supplies at the trading posts are going to cost more than if you bought them off site.
Disney World truly is the “Happiest Place on Earth,” unless you or someone in your party loses a prized souvenir that was purchased earlier in the day. In order to help prevent that from happening to you, Disney provides complimentary deliver to any guests staying at one of their resorts. All you have to do is tell the cashier that you would like to have the souvenirs delivered to your room. The cashier will have you fill out a form with your name and hotel information. Once the form is completed, they’ll give you a copy and will set your items aside to be shipped.
But what if you don’t want all of the souvenirs shipped? Just let the cashier know, and they’ll give you the items you want to carry. Although this is a great service, make sure you ask when the items will be shipped to your room. There are delivery cut off times for each day; so if you’re shopping right before the Magic Kingdom fireworks, but don’t want to risk losing your purchases, they probably won’t get to your resort until the following day. This can be a problem if you’re leaving the following day, but your items won’t get shipped until after you leave.
Fort Wilderness Atmosphere
Are you or your kids looking for some summer camp fun while staying on Disney property? If so, Fort Wilderness offers archery lessons, kayak, canoe and boat rentals, pony and wagon rides, as well as a campfire sing-a-long with Chip and Dale. If you’re looking to keep active during your stay at Fort Wilderness, there are also basketball and volleyball courts, running trails, playgrounds, and swimming pools.
Whether you want to relax, or participate in some summer camp fun, Fort Wilderness has you covered during your break from the parks.
Nothing makes you feel like you’re at summer camp more than roasting s’mores or hotdogs over a campfire. Campfires are allowed on all cabin and campsites as long as they are contained in a portable fire pit. Fort Wilderness does not supply the fire pits, and don’t have any to rent, but you can find a list of approved fire pits here.
Disney World is known for their extravagant fireworks shows and parades, but many people have yet to see the electric parade on water. Bay Lake hosts the electric water parade every night and it can be seen from the Fort Wilderness docks starting at 9:45 PM. Sing along to your favorite Disney songs as the parade floats by, just make sure you remember the bug spray!
Worth Booking a Reservation?
Whether you want to “rough it” Disney style or rent a cabin, make sure you reserve a site as far in advance as possible. Fort Wilderness is a popular resort and sites fill up months ahead of time.
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