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Then the Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort is perfect for you!
Not to be confused with Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, which is a resort down the road, the Campsites at Fort Wilderness are legitimate camping locations on 750 acres of open nature.
There are four types of campsites, plus the Cabins at Fort Wilderness. For all four campsites, you provide your own camping equipment – tent, RV, pop-up – while the Cabins are freestanding buildings that you book for your stay. The entire camp group has access to the two pool areas, all the walking trails, and of course, you get the perks of an on-property Disney guest.
Fort Wilderness also offers the most unique experiences in terms of recreation out of all the Disney resorts. Where else can you ride horses, practice your archery, paddle a canoe, or go fishing – all while at Disney World? That’s not even the end of the outdoor fun!
Table of Contents
- Fort Wilderness Snapshot
- History of Disney’s Fort Wilderness
- Fort Wilderness Resort Amenities
- Recreation Activities
- Fort Wilderness Resort Location
- Contact Information
Staying at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
A vacation at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort is not like staying anywhere else on property. Usually, we discuss what the rooms are like, the theming of the resort grounds, and other key elements. While there is still the Disney touch, at Fort Wilderness you’re bringing the accommodations with you (unless you stay in one of the cabins).
There are four different types of campgrounds at Fort Wilderness Resort: tents and popups, full hook-up campsite for RVs, a preferred campsite for an RV and a small tent, then the premium campsite to accommodate a larger RV. You can also get a premium meadow site, which gives you a closer proximity to some of the amenities on the campgrounds.
Each campsite, regardless of size, has a charcoal grill, picnic table, cold-water tap, and privacy-enhancing landscape to ensure that this is your own little camping oasis. Guests also have access to WiFi on the grounds, which is a nice upgrade from more “rugged” style camping locations. You get the feeling of that camping vacation you love, with all the Disney magic nearby.
History of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campgrounds
Opened in 1971, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campgrounds was one of the original accommodations at Walt Disney World. This camping location fit with Walt’s love of the outdoors and family time, and was a perfect location for one of his childhood favorites – a train stop. In fact, from 1973 to 1977, you could even take a train straight from the campgrounds to the Magic Kingdom theme park!
The original grounds included Tri-Circle-D Ranch for the horse riders, the Settlement Trading Outpost, Fort Wilderness Landing for boat transportation, as well as the biking and hiking trails. There were six total loops, three comfort stations, and 232 campsites. In 1974, the well-loved Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue opened in Pioneer Hall, drawing in off-site guests for the food and musical comedy. By the mid-1980s, Disney had finished construction on more of the recreational areas, including the pool complex.
In the late 1990s, construction began on the Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort, which continued into the 2000s to what we have today. Fort Wilderness shows firsthand what Walt always said – that these parks and the surrounding areas will never be finished. There is always room for growth and change, with that special element of history still preserved.
Amenities at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
There are several types of accommodations at Fort Wilderness Resort, which helps you to vary how in the great outdoors you actually want to be. From the campgrounds to a comfortable cabin, you’ll have just the camping experience you want on your trip.
As we previously mentioned, there’s four different campsite options. The first is a tent or popup space, which has room for two tents on a solid paved area and a drive-in spot for your popup or small camper. This is right next to a picnic table and cold-water hook up, as well as a coal grill, which you can find at all the campsites.
The next step up is the full hook-up site, which fits a larger RV and a tent. What makes it a full hook-up is that it has a place for the sewage line to your RV, as well as the room for a bigger vehicle. A preferred campsite is the same size as the full hook-up, with the benefit of close proximity to the marina.
For those with a much larger style RV (think house on the road kind of RV), the biggest campground is the premium campsite, which fits that size of comfort vehicle. You’ll have the full sewage hook-up, cold water, picnic grove, and a full 18 x 60 feet concrete pad for all your equipment. If you want to guarantee a spot close to all the activities and amenities at Fort Wilderness, the premium meadow campsite puts you right by the Meadow Trading Post, Meadow Recreation Area, Bike Barn and Campfire Area.
Looking for the comfort of an RV, but don’t own one yourself? Don’t worry, you can rent one when you get to Fort Wilderness! While you don’t rent through Disney, they work with two local RV companies, Luxurious RV Rentals LLC and Meacham’s RV Rental, to get an RV delivered right to your campsite. It takes all the stress out of having to drive it yourself, and you still get that RV camping experience.
Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort
Is an RV a bit too rough for you, but you still want that outdoor-camp experience? Try one of the Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort! Sleeping up to six adults, these cabins are nestled into their own private areas and great for large families. Including a separate bedroom with a queen bed and two bunk beds, a small kitchen space, full bathroom, dining and living areas, and pull out sofa bed, the cabin gives you that back-woods feeling with the comforts you want.
Each cabin also has its own deck with a small grill, and doors on the deck into the main common room and straight into the bedroom. You also have your own parking space right outside your cabin, so there’s no need to worry about finding a space!
The cabins are in their own clusters, with about fifty cabins all on one loop. All the cabins are in their own section of the resort, and have a dedicated bus stop and pool space. You do also book the cabins through their own page on Disney’s website, even though they are still considered part of the Fort Wilderness resort area.
Like many other campgrounds, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort has comfort stations spread throughout the resort area. These stations include restrooms with showers, an ice machine, and the laundry facilities. You can use cash or card to pay for your laundry, although you can’t use a MagicBand.
You do, however, need a key or MagicBand to get you into the laundry area and into the bathrooms in the middle of the night. Each comfort station also has a resort phone and a pay phone that dials out, just in case you don’t have your own phone.
There are two pools at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort – the Meadow Swimmin’ Pool and the Wilderness Swimmin’ Pool. The Meadow Swimmin’ Pool is the larger of the two, part of the Meadow Recreation Area in the center of the campgrounds. This pool also features a sixty-seven-foot waterslide, a whirlpool for the adults, and a fort-themed splash area for your littles. Nearby, you’ll find a refreshment station as well as some of the other sports and recreation options.
The Wilderness Swimmin’ Pool is in the Cabins area, and is considered the leisure pool at this resort. However, since this pool serves all the cabins, it is likely to not be as quiet as some of the other leisure pools at different resorts. The Wilderness pool is also right by a comfort station and a sports area.
Chip N’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-a-long
You’ll never believe it – this experience is absolutely free! The only cost you might incur is purchasing marshmallows if you don’t have your own, but you can bring your own, making this some of the rare free family fun at Disney World.
Gather ‘round one of the two campfires to roast your marshmallows while you sing songs with Chip, Dale, and a friendly Disney cowboy (or girl) Cast Member. After the singing, Chip and Dale will come around to say hi (please let them come to you) before you settle in to watch a Disney movie on the outdoor screen. The whole thing doesn’t cost you a dime, and is plenty of fun!
Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue
One of the most well-known and beloved Disney shows, the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue has almost a cult following. This is technically a dining experience, as it is a dinner theatre, but most will tell you that you’re coming for the show rather than the food.
Enjoy an all you care to eat barbecue meal while you’re entertained by the slap-stick and wild frontier-esque performers. You never know quite what’s going to happen with this crew, even if you’ve been before, which is what has guests coming back again and again! If you’re staying at Fort Wilderness, it’s an experience you won’t want to miss.
Parking & Other Vehicles at Fort Wilderness Resort
Each campground has space for one personal vehicle aside from your RV, camper, or popup. This parking is complimentary, which means there isn’t an additional parking fee for the personal vehicle. Fort Wilderness Resort is one of the only places that still gives complimentary overnight parking, so enjoy it!
Vehicles and Recreational Devices
As Fort Wilderness Resort is huge, it makes sense that you might want to rent or bring another, smaller vehicle to help you get around the property. However, it is important to read the official rules first regarding these vehicles, especially if you plan to bring your own. For instance, regardless of what you let your kiddos do on your own property, only guests sixteen and older that hold a valid driver’s license can operate golf carts at Fort Wilderness. You also cannot take golf carts off-road, or bring off-roading vehicles onto the property.
In addition, there are limits to the kinds of personal transportation devices guests bring. For example, you can have your own skates, bike, or scooter, but you can’t bring a skateboard or hoverboard. Guests also cannot bring a motorized dirt bike or scooter, or any personal (non-Disney owned) watercraft. This is all for the safety and comfort of the other guests on the property.
Long story short, read the rules, and you won’t have any problems!
Recreation at Fort Wilderness Resort
One of the best parts of a stay at Fort Wilderness is the different types of recreation you find here. These aren’t the typical activities of other Disney resorts – you really get to take advantage of the campground aspect of Fort Wilderness.
Fort Wilderness Archery Experience
Over by the Bike Barn, reserve your spot for a 75-minute archery experience, which includes instruction how to hold the bow properly and the correct shooting techniques. Guests seven years old and up are welcome at this onsite excursion, and the price is $45 per person.
While reservations are highly recommended, you can always walk up to see if a class has any space. Family and friends can also come to watch you from the observation area, although they cannot be down on the range with you if they are not part of the class.
There are so many different activities down at the Tri-Circle-D Ranch! Reserve space to do a horseback riding experience, or take your little ones over for one of the pony rides to introduce them to riding. There are even old-fashioned wagon rides, accommodating groups up to 35 guests!
All of these experiences are an extra cost, with the trail rides being the most expensive at $55 per person. You do need to reserve the trail rides and wagon rides in advance, but the pony rides are completely walk-up. Just check the daily schedule to see when they will be happening!
Reserve a spot for a catch and release fishing excursion, taking you out on the lake by Fort Wilderness for fishing up! All of your equipment is provided, and you can choose between two and four hour excursions. Life jackets are also provided, making it easy to feel safe out on the boat. You do want to reserve your spot in advance, so be sure to call (407) 939-2277 to get your fish on!
Water Sport Rentals
In addition to the fishing, there are motorized boats for rental at the Fort Wilderness marina. Speed around the lake in the Sea Raycers, explore the sights in the slightly larger Boston Whaler, or take the whole family on a slow and smooth pontoon ride.
The Sea Racyers are particularly great, as they are light and fast. Built for two passengers, you’ll have a blast racing your family members…just be careful of other boats! Before I could even drive I car, I was able to captain a Sea Racyer, and I loved every minute!
Not only can you rent motorized boats, but there are also canoes and kayaks available. Enjoy a smooth paddle around the lake, taking in the nature beauty of the grounds.
Rent a bike over at the Bike Barn, and enjoy pedaling your way around the paths and nature trails on the campgrounds. There are bikes of all sizes to accommodate the whole family, including child seat attachments should you need them. Helmets are required, but you can get a helmet at the Bike Barn should you need to borrow one.
Walking & Jogging
Do you just want to get out in nature, or keep to your daily run routine? A walking and jogging path winds through the entirety of Fort Wilderness resort, perfect for that morning run or evening stroll. Enjoy the shade of the trees and the sounds of the birds as you move along the path – just be sure to stay aware of others around you.
In addition to the other activities, Fort Wilderness resort also has tennis courts, volleyball courts, basketball courts, and playgrounds. Let your kiddos run around and get out their energy, or host a friendly competition with the others in your group. Short story – you’ll never be bored during your stay!
With the horses on site, during the month of December, Fort Wilderness resort offers horse-drawn “sleigh” rides to celebrate the Christmas season. While it isn’t a true sleigh, as there isn’t any snow, you still will feel the holiday magic with the festive decorations on your carriage. It’s an ideal way to get yourself into the Christmas holiday spirit!
Fort Wilderness Resort Transportation Options
While you do have solid Disney transportation options at Fort Wilderness, it’s important to remember that you probably have a car with you on site (unless you only drove your RV).
With that in mind, it is often easier to take your car to the parks and other Disney destinations, rather than waiting for Disney transportation.
Given the spread out nature of the campgrounds as well, the time you spent getting to and waiting for their transportation could have put you halfway there in your own vehicle.
If you want to take Disney transportation, and you’re headed to the Magic Kingdom, your best bet is a boat.
Plenty of smaller water taxis travel between the docks right outside Magic Kingdom and Fort Wilderness, bypassing the Ticket & Transportation Center altogether. You couldn’t ask for a more direct route – this is even better than a bus!
Now, the boats are limited by the weather, meaning that if it’s not safe to travel on the water you’ll need to catch that bus. However, if the sun is shining, hop aboard!
To get to the other parks and Disney Springs, you’ll need to take a bus. If you’re trying to get to another resort, and you don’t have your own vehicle, try going to Disney Springs first or even over to the Magic Kingdom and catch a resort bus from there. Inter-resort travel can be tough, but those are good hacks to get you where you want to go.
There are also internal busses at Fort Wilderness resort to take you around the campgrounds, since everything is spread out. This is ideal if you’re down at the Cabins, for instance, and you want to get to the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue. Instead of quite a long walk, the internal bus will shuttle you there. This is also where an on-site golf cart comes in handy!
With all this in mind, make sure you know the location of the closest bus stop. Each section of the resort has one, but given your particular location, one of the busses in a different section might actually be closer. Also, remember which stop you boarded the bus, so you can get off at the correct stop on your return trip.
Fort Wilderness Resort Location
Since Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort is closer to the Magic Kingdom end of Disney property, it’s going to take a bit of maneuvering to get there.
First, regardless of the direction from which you’re coming, you want to get off I-4 (Florida 400) at the Epcot Center Drive exit.
From there, you’ll veer right onto E. Buena Vista Drive before immediately turning left onto Bonnet Creek Parkway (we know, sorry!).
Once you’re on Bonnet Creek Parkway, stay straight, going past the Port Orleans Resort area until it dead ends into Vista Boulevard. Turn left onto Vista Boulevard, and then the entrance to Fort Wilderness Resort is on your right. Hurray! You made it!
Fort Wilderness Resort Address
4510 North Fort Wilderness Trail
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830
Fort Wilderness Resort Contact Information
If you need to contact Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort directly, their number is (407) 824-2900.
As always, remember that you should call (407) 939-5277 if you have any questions regarding your booking or tickets.
Dining reservations, even the ones for experiences at Fort Wilderness, need to be made online.
Saddle up and get your pioneer on over at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort!
Grace Hoyos, Staff Writer
Grace is a life-long lover of all things Disney, particularly the parks at Walt Disney World. She is also an avid Disney Cruise Line enthusiast who regularly dreams of the white sands of Castaway Cay. Grace loves the fact that her Disney trips give her time to spend with her family, enjoy incredible food, and try new experiences.