Looking for a laid back Walt Disney World vacation and not really sure where to start? Trust us, we totally get that! Every time we take a trip to Walt Disney World, we always feel like we need another vacation from our vacation. A lot of that rushing around mentality has changed since we became Annual Passholders. But sometimes it’s just a little hard to escape when you’re at Walt Disney World. That is, until recently, when we stayed at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds and found a whole new way to do Walt Disney World!
Fort Wilderness Resort Makes you Feel Like Your On Vacation
We had stayed at the Cabins at Fort Wilderness in November, but only for one night and mostly just to take in some holiday ambiance. Mainly with the goal to drive around and see the Christmas lights and decorations from the campers there. It was such a quiet and relaxing atmosphere that we knew we wanted to make a trip back to be able to explore more and see what this resort is really all about. So when we had the opportunity to stay at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground again during Festival of the Arts, we knew we had to check out as much as we could while there.
Fort Wilderness Atmosphere and Theme
Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground boasts a classic American frontier theme, with all the beauty of nature tied into one. This resort is an expansive 750 acres of pine and cypress forests reminiscent of backcountry of the U.S. With beautiful woodland trails, lakes, and wildlife abound. This nature retreat will feel worlds away from Walt Disney World, all while being surrounded by its magic and conveniently located near Magic Kingdom.
The atmosphere at Fort Wilderness resort is probably one of the calmest and quietest we’ve seen at a Walt Disney World. And those who are used to campground settings will feel right at home here. We grew up camping and we immediately felt the serenity rush over us as we stepped out into nature, taking in all the sights, sounds and smells. We loved that mornings were quiet and relaxing and that we never felt rushed or felt the hustle that we many times we feel when staying in the resorts. The pace is a little slower at Fort Wilderness Resort and we think that is one of its best qualities!
Fort Wilderness Campgrounds Layout
As a very very large Walt Disney World property, its good to get a lay of the land for exploring purposes. There are 21 loops at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground and it can be a little confusing about where you should stay. First of all, its important to know what kind of accommodations are available at Fort Wilderness. Campsites for traditional tents, fully equipped sites for RVs and Cabins for a more glamping type of experience.
Fort Wilderness Campsite Types
There are 5 types of campsites currently available at Fort Wilderness and they are as follows:
Tent or Pop-Up Site, which has room for pop-up camper or camper van type vehicle and up to 2 tents. These will be your least expensive option and can sleep up to 10 adults.
Full Hookup Campsite, which has room for an RV plus a tent. This type of site also comes with hookup for sewage and can sleep up to 10 adults
Preferred Campsite, which has room for an RV plus a tent, along with hookup for sewage. This type of site is close to the marina and also sleeps up to 10 adults
Premium Campsite, which has room fora larger style RV, hookup for sewage and sleeps up to 10 adults. The difference between this and a preferred site is that the concrete pad for equipment is considerable larger than a Preferred or Full Hookup
Premium Meadow Campsite, which has room for a larger style RV, hookup for sewage, with the larger concrete pad for equipment and also sleeps up to 10 adults. This type of campsite is actually a newer option and generally the most expensive. However, this type of site is also one of the most convenient as it is located near The Meadow Trading Post, Recreation area, Bike Barn and Campfire area in Fort Wilderness.
The Best Sites to Stay in at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds
One of the biggest things we heard about was the importance of choosing the best sites. As its a huge property, location can be everything! Thankfully, we stayed in the Premium Meadow Campsite and found it to be super convenient to everything we needed. The best loops we were told are found between the numbers below.
- 900-1100’s- these loops are close to the Meadows Area and are very convenient to where all the action is in the middle of the resort
- 100-200’s- these loops are near the Marina, Pioneer Hall and most of the food options
And of course, if you’re looking for a more luxurious experience, we love the Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort. They are located near check in, the Ranch and The Outpost Bus Stop.
The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort
The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort sleep 6, with one queen bed, two bunk beds and a pull out sofa in the living room. With an eat-in kitchen, full sized bathroom and large deck, this is a great choice for families looking for room to spread out. Be sure to read our review of the Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground for more info and pictures.
Fort Wilderness Reception Outpost
The main building at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground is located in an area of the resort known as The Outpost. The outpost is where guests can check in, rent golf carts, catch the Magical Express and is the main bus stop for guests at Fort Wilderness.
Restaurants and Dining at Fort Wilderness Resort
Most restaurants and dining options can be found in the Settlement area of Fort Wilderness, in Pioneer Hall. This is located right near the boat launch and beach for easy access to those traveling from Magic Kingdom just to eat. Fort Wilderness Resort has several dining options, all of which fit perfectly with its American Frontier theme.
The most elaborate and expensive dining option in the bunch is the Hoop De Doo Musical Revue. This is a full dinner and a show experience that we hear is an absolute must do and is fun for the whole family.
Trail’s End is the main restaurant on property and offers Breakfast, Brunch on Saturday and Sunday and Dinner. We tried brunch while we were there and we have to say, it is quite possibly one of the best brunch values on Walt Disney World property.
P&J’s Southern Takeout offers southern comfort food with the convenience if takeout. This is the resort’s quick serve restaurant and while there is not seating here, you can take your food back to your site, eat at the picnic tables near Pioneer Hall or have a picnic at the beach.
Crocket’s Tavern is also available at Pioneer Hall and offers pizza, beer, nachos, appetizers, beer and more. This frontier themed bar has rocking chairs available on the porch so you can kick back, relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of the wilderness.
Amenities at Fort Wilderness Resort
The amenities at Fort Wilderness are pretty extensive and one of the reasons we love it so much!
Complimentary Standard Parking when you are staying at a campsite. If you’re familiar with having a car at Walt Disney World, then you’ll know free parking is a treat! And at Fort Wilderness Resort, parking is free when staying at a campsite
Complimentary Internet. All Walt Disney World resorts offer free high speed internet, but we weren’t entirely sure how that would work in a camp setting. Never fear, internet is still free and pretty reliable even in the wilderness!
On-Site Laundry. Self Service Laundry rooms are located in Comfort Stations throughout Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, so whether you’re staying a week or a month, you have the convenience of home!
Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds Transportation Options
Transportation at Fort Wilderness is pretty simple, once you get the hang of it! All transportation at Fort Wilderness is via the busses. The exception here is if you’re going to Magic Kingdom, Wilderness Lodge or The Contemporary. Magic Kingdom is a quick 10-15 minute boat ride from Fort Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge and The Contemporary are about the same amount as well. The Magical Express is also available to guests of Fort Wilderness Resort.
There is internal bussing that will take you to any of the 21 loops at the campground, so if you don’t have a golf cart, this is the next best option. We highly recommend having a golf cart to get around. Bu,t they can be expensive and are often sold out if you don’t reserve one ahead of time. So just know that if you are unable to get a golf cart, the buses can get you pretty much anywhere you need to go.
Fort Wilderness Bus Stops
There are two main bus stops. The Outpost, which is located near the main entrance. And The Settlement which is located near the beach, boat launch and restaurants. The buses at these two stops will take you outside of the resort to the Parks, Wilderness Lodge and Disney Springs. Thankfully, the bus drivers can clarify any questions you have if you find yourself turned around.
Fort Wilderness Campgrounds Family Activities
Fort Wilderness is really a destination all its own and part of that is due to the fact that it just has so much to do! Whether you’re looking for free activities or some extra fun to budget in during this trip, there are tons of activities to enjoy whether you’re traveling as a couple, a family, or on a girls trip!
Chip N Dale Campfire Singalong
S’mores, a campfire, corny jokes, Chip and Dale… what more could you want? The Chip N Dale Campfire Singalong is fun for the whole family. With a guitar playing cowboy leading the show and Chip and Dale being, well, Chip and Dale, this free event at Fort Wilderness is sure to be fun for everyone. It’s located in the theater with stadium style seating, so be sure to bring a cushion to make this jamboree a little more comfy!
Watch the Happily Ever After Fireworks show from the beach!
Complete with music from Magic Kingdom’s Happily Ever After Fireworks show, we love this unique take on this classic show. Watch from the beach or the dock and enjoy the beauty of the fireworks without the crowds and chaos of the Parks.
See the Electrical Water Pageant
If you’ve never seen the electrical water pageant, we think you should! Even if you just watch it once, it’s super simple but very nostalgic and reminds us a lot of the Main Street Electrical Parade. It can be viewed from the beach at Fort Wilderness every night at 10:15 pm.
Rent a Golf Cart
Whether you rent one from Fort Wilderness, bring your own and get an RV rental that comes with its own golf cart, exploring the resort by golf cart is an event all by itself! Explore all 21 loops of the resort, check out the stables, drive to the beach or take a trip over to the Meadows area of Fort Wilderness. There’s so much to see and do and a golf cart can take you to it all!
Take a hike!
Pine and Cypress lined trails are in abundance at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground and we love getting a little dose of daily nature every morning before the day is in full swing. Most of the paths are paved, so no need to pack hiking boots, a good pair of tennis shoes should suit you just fine.
Horseback riding at Fort Wilderness Resort
Guests 9 and up can ride horseback on the beautiful trails of Fort Wilderness with on a guided tour to see wildlife and the beauty of this nature retreat! Prices start at $55 and you can call to reserve at (407)WDW-PLAY. For more info on horseback riding at Fort Wilderness click here.
Guests 7 and up can learn to shoot a bow and arrow just like Robin Hood himself with archery lessons at Fort Wilderness. Lessons start at $45 per person and can be booked by calling (407)WDW-PLAY
Relax on the beach!
Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground has a beautiful expansive beach located near the boat launch. With lots of chairs, umbrellas and plenty of room to spread, this beach was one of our favorite spots during our stay. Grab a good book and read, take out the sand toys and play with the kids, or just enjoy the sand between your toes.
Take a dip in the pool
Whether you love the water slide and high energy over at the Meadow Swimmin’ Pool or the laid back peaceful atmosphere of the Wilderness Swimmin’ Pool, Fort Wilderness has you covered for those hot Florida days.
Get out in the water
It’s still Florida, so no you can’t swim in the lakes and rivers here, but you can rent a canoe, kayak or motorized boat and enjoy some of the waterways throughout Walt Disney World. Prices start at $13 and you can find out more information here.
And if that doesn’t sound like enough to do, there’s plenty more! For a full list of recreational activities available at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground.
How much does it cost to stay at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground?
The cost of the campsites and cabins of Fort Wilderness can vary greatly depending on the season and availability. We recommend booking a campsite as early as you know you’d like to travel as sites fill up quickly and you can always call to have rates adjusted later should they be offered at a discount after you book.
Campsites start at $60/night, although this is for the smallest site and during the most inexpensive time to travel. For most RV sites, you can expect to pay up to $140/ per night on average, however don’t be surprised to see rates well over $200 per night during peak season especially for a premium Meadow site. We’ve noticed these prices around spring break, at Christmastime and sometimes during the peak of summer. Again, prices vary greatly, so be sure to check the Walt Disney World website to see what price points and sites fit your needs.
The Cabins at Fort Wilderness similarly vary greatly in price and although you can find deals for Annual Passholders and during promos, these cabins run anywhere from $300-$440/per night.
Why we love Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground for families
After being able to experience all that Fort Wilderness Resort has to offer, we truly believe this may be one of the best resorts for families. Not only does the resort have a ton of family friendly activities available in a quiet and picturesque natural space, but it also offers space for the most people of any resort at Walt Disney World. All sites allow up to 10 adults, which is perfect for larger families. And if you’re staying in an RV or cabin, you can easily cook meals while staying there which is a great way to save a little extra cash while on vacation. Don’t have an RV but would love to stay in one for a trip to Walt Disney World? Check out our tips for renting an RV at Fort Wilderness here.
Fort Wilderness Campgrounds Maps and Grounds
As you can see, the grounds at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground are pretty vast. Use this map to help you get acquainted with the layout of the resort! Overall, we absolutely loved Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground and we can’t wait to go back! We highly recommend adding this resort to your Walt Disney World bucket list if you haven’t already!