Last week we spent an entire week at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. We learned a lot during our week stay, especially since this was our first time camping after purchasing a popup. Here are some fun tips and ideas that we learned to make our stay exciting and without spending a ton of extra money.
First, a little about Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort Campground. There are four different categories at the Campsites of Fort Wilderness: tent or pop-up campsites, full hookup campsites, preferred campsites, and premium campsites. The tent or pop-up campsites are only for tents or pop-up vans and include water and electricity. Price for these varies between $55 and $118 per night. The full hookup campsites include a level paved pad campsite (for a camper, RV, motor home, etc.) and electricity, water, and sewer. Price for these varies between $74 and $139 per night. The preferred campsites include a level paved pad campsite and electricity, water, sewer, cable, and high speed internet. Price for these varies between $84 and $149 per night. The premium campsites include a level paved pad campsite in a premium location (closer to recreation, bus stops, etc.) and electricity, water, sewer, cable, and high speed internet. Price for these varies between $91 and $154 per night. All campsites sleep a maximum of 10 people and include a charcoal bbq grill and picnic table and nearby comfort station with laundry facilities, private showers, ice machines, restrooms, and pay phones.
Things to bring:
- Towels: Towels are not provided at the Fort Wilderness pools so you’ll need to bring your own for the bathhouse and pool.
- Clothesline: The laundry room cost $2 per load to wash and $2 per load to dry. We cut down on having to use this by hanging our towels on the clothesline after pool or shower. If you are planning to wash clothes, don’t forget your detergent! The vending machine has some, but they also come with a price.
- S’mores Fixings and Roasters: If you buy them at Disney, you’ll end up paying a fortune. Every night there is a Chip and Dale sing-a-long and marshmallow roast that you’ll want to join. It’s free, except for whatever food you buy, hence bringing your own.
- Flashlight or Glowsticks: After dark, it gets REALLY dark at Fort Wilderness. You’ll need a flashlight or glowsticks to keep your group together after those late night park visits.
- Charcoal and Lighter: If you plan on using the grill on the site, you’ll need charcoal and a lighter.
- Trashbags: Most sites have a trashcan very close by, but it was a touch annoying going to it for every piece of trash.
- Folding Chairs: There is a picnic table on each site, but if you want something else to sit in, bring your folding chairs. These also come in handy at the sing-a-long. On busy nights, the seats will fill up quickly.
- Extension Cord and long sewage hose: We found that our regular size sewage hose wasn’t long enough and ended up having to go to Walmart for another. The power box sometimes is far away from the sewage area, so make sure you bring long enough ones of both of these.
- Broom: The sites are mainly concrete, with the exception of the popup/tent sites, but all seem to have an area of sand. Of course our kids liked to play in the sand and tracked a ton into the popup. This was something we ended up buying while at Walmart for the item above.
Things to Do:
Swimming: Fort Wilderness has a nice size pool, water slide, a kiddie pool, hot tub, and a toddler slide area. There was something for everyone in our family of 6 to do! The pools are heated, so if it’s not a super warm day, the pools still will be warm. Various times during the day, they offer crafts and games by the pool. You can check the schedules when you arrive.
The water slide was great. Everyone from my 3 year old to myself rode it and had fun. It has a red light/green light at the top to show when it is safe for the next rider. For the pool, you’ll want to remember to bring your sunscreen and towels. There is a nice bathhouse by the pool where you can shower or change. There is also a snack bar, picnic tables, and even an “outpost” store.
Chip and Dale Sing-a-Long: As I mentioned above, you’ll definitely want to bring your own fixings for S’mores. This was one of our kids favorite things. They start off with marshmallow roasting and then a cowboy leads everyone in songs. Funny story, my 4 year old asked us if it was time to “marsh” the “mallows”. LOL. So I think forever we will be referring to roasting as “marshing”. During the sing-a-long, they encourage everyone to dance and sing a long, but not to run up to Chip and Dale. During the songs, they wander through for photo opportunities and autographs.
After the Sing-a-Long, they offer an outdoor movie. This varies every night.
Rentals: You can rent bikes, golf carts, canoes, fishing, or tennis equipment. We opted to not rent a golf cart, although many many people had them. The carts ran around $59 per day plus tax and I just didn’t feel we’d use it that much plus walking is great exercise. There were times that we had to wait a bit for a bus, but I don’t feel like we missed out on anything great by not having a cart. I just couldn’t justify that extra expense when the buses and our feet/strollers worked just fine.
- Get to know the bus loops. In Fort Wilderness, there are 3 loops – orange, yellow, and purple. In order to get to the Magic Kingdom, you must ride the bus to the back to the Settlement Depot and from there walk to the Marina and get the boat. To get to the other parks, you’ll ride the bus to the front toward the Outpost Depot and catch the park bus. Make sure you get on the right way or you’ll find yourself on an extra long bus ride.
- Take time to visit the Trading Posts. They are actually fun to look around, have checker games to play, and often do pin trading.
- Schedule time during your trip to stay in the campground. There are so many free things to do there. My kids love playing on their playgrounds and just exploring the grounds and pools.
- Pony rides are available for $5 during the day. It’s a fun thing to do, however there are maximum heights and my 7 year old and 10 year old were too tall. The 3 and 4 year olds loved it.
- In the evenings, you can take a carriage ride or hay ride around the campground. It’s fun, but costs. $45 per carriage ride (holds probably 4-8 people/children), $5 per child on hay ride and $8 per adult.
- At 9:45pm, be at the marina and find a seat in the sand to watch the electric water parade. This is short but cute. It’s probably one of my favorite things and I love the music. Afterward, you can remain on the beach and watch the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom.
This was definitely my favorite place to stay out of all the ones that we had stayed. We will be back!
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Do you have any tips to add? Leave a comment and let me know!