VIDEO: Disney’s Fort Wilderness – at Halloween!

Posted In: Disney, RV Lifestyle, Video

Recently, someone asked us to name a few favorite camping locales we’ve discovered on The Long, Long Honeymoon. I’m partial to remote, rural, dry camping sites out West, in obscure places far removed from civilization. But my wife has different tastes. Her favorite is probably that little full hookup spot we found down in Florida. What was its name? Oh, right… Walt Disney World. Perhaps you’ve heard of it?

Airstream RV Blog #57 – Disney’s Fort Wilderness from Sean Michael on Vimeo.

Any way you slice it, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground offers an outstanding RV camping experience. Here are a few thoughts about camping with Mickey…

The campground itself is divided into multiple loops. It’s actually a nice design, a refreshing break from the “Sardine Can” approach taken by too many corporate campgrounds. Arranging the RVs along these curves has staggered the space between rigs. Certain loops are labeled standard (water and electric), full hookup, and “preferred” sites — the last category have a slightly better location (closer to the beach area) and include cable TV. We’ve stayed in both preferred and non-preferred sites, and didn’t see a whole lot of difference.

The individual sites are rather spacious. Thanks to some strategic landscaping, they can also be private. It depends a little bit on the luck of the draw (some sites are more private than others) but we’ve stayed there several times and have always been pleased — that is, we’ve been pleased once we got our RV squeezed into its parking space.

Yes, you may have a few issues getting into your site. Since the campground was originally designed in the 1970s, it’s not always “big rig friendly.” The loop roads are narrow and lined with fixed obstacles like fire hydrants and lampposts. There are very few “pull-through” sites; most are of the “back-in-cussin’” variety. I’ve been told that some loops may receive an overhaul to accommodate the larger RVs that are more common today. Don’t get me wrong; you’ll manage to park your rig just fine. It just won’t be the easiest experience you’ve had.

The sites themselves are clean, clean, clean. Every site is thoroughly cleaned prior to the arrival of a new guest. All sites feature asphalt paved parking pads. The surrounding landscaping is mature. And there are a few unusual amenities: at Fort Wilderness, there’s no need to hike a mile to find the nearest dumpster. Every loop has several convenient trash cans which are collected every morning. Every loop also has several paper, glass, and plastic recycling bins.

What about wifi? One of my chief annoyances with Fort Wilderness has been Internet access. Sure, Disney offers wifi — but it costs an extra $10 per day, and its coverage is inconsistent at best. The next time we stay at Disney, we’ll appreciate our Wifi in Motion kit, through which we now have our own wifi network. But hopefully, Disney will soon get with the times, invest in some decent wifi coverage, and bundle the price into the overall campground fee. Internet access should not cost campers $10 a day.

Fort Wilderness is a massive campground, covering some 740 acres. To travel throughout the campground, you’ll want to either walk, use a bike, or ride a golf cart. There’s not really much (if any) convenient parking for extra vehicles within Fort Wilderness. Yes, there are a couple of campground stores, but even those stores do not have parking lots. Disney offers golf cart rental, so you will frequently see golf carts darting to and fro.

Fort Wilderness is not cheap, but it’s not outrageously expensive either. Prices vary; we’ve paid from $45 to 80 a night. So on average, we usually pay around $60 a night. I know some people will say, “$60 a night? That’s outrageous!” But it’s really not. (We paid $65 a night for a noisy roadside campground in California — now that was outrageous.) Fort Wilderness costs $20-30 more than a regular campground, but this is not a regular campground. It’s Walt Disney World. As “on site” Disney accommodations go, it’s reasonably priced.

Of course, the three key upsides here are location, location, and location. Since you have access to the Disney transportation system, Fort Wilderness is an ideal launch pad for forays into the nearby Magic Kingdom and Epcot parks. Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are not far away. And if you want to drive your own toad or tow vehicle, staying here affords you the privilege of free parking at the parks.

But you may have such a good time at Fort Wilderness, you skip the theme parks completely. Sound far fetched? I know a family who recently — upon the children’s request — did just that! They spent a week RV camping at Disney World without ever setting foot in the theme parks. Fort Wilderness offers swimming, fishing, horseback riding, campfire sing along shows, dinner shows, boating, kayaking, fireworks viewing, on site restaurant dining, and a variety of other fun family activities.

It’s not exactly boondocking in the Rocky Mountains, but Disney’s Fort Wilderness is undeniably a good time. The campground runs like a Swiss watch, and there’s no shortage of things to do.

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