Resort: Fort Wilderness Resort & Campsite
Rooms: 409 Wilderness Cabins; 799 Campsites
Wanna get one with nature at Walt Disney World? Then the Campsites and Cabins at Fort Wilderness may be the best spot for you! Nestled away behind Disney’s Wilderness Lodge lies Fort Wilderness Resort and Campsite, home to over 400 air conditioned cabins and nearly 800 campsites.
Guests travel from all over to occupy the Fort Wilderness Campsites, some staying for months at a time. But even if you’re not camping, Fort Wilderness is definitely worth a stop during your Christmas vacation.
One thing I’ve always loved about Disney is that you can’t always tells what’s “real” and what’s not. Of course, as I’ve gotten older, it’s become easier to recognize fact from fiction. Still, it’s easy to become engulfed within the magic and fail to recognize what’s intended and what’s fabricated. The Kilimanjaro Safari falls under that category. It took me a few years to realize that the “upside down trees” are fake. I still think some of the animals are animatronic, but we’ll save that for another day…
Anyway… The campsites fall under that category. You genuinely feel like you’re at a campsite.. and you are, but it’s a Disney campsite, so it’s safer and a bit for “cushy.” Disney does enough to make you feel like you’re “roughing” it in the great outdoors. It’s secluded the campsites far enough away to give you the true “outdoor” vibe. You may even see animals, such as rabbits, deer, armadillos and peacocks roaming the grounds. However, you’re at Disney and the resort is stocked with amenities (and also 15-30 minutes from most parks.)
Christmas Decorations & Theming: 9/10
What if I told you that the best decorated resort at Disney isn’t decorated by Disney? Sometime after Halloween, many guests start making their migration to Disney World for the season. Campers will set up shop and intricately decorate their campsite, with decor growing larger and becoming much more elaborate as the holidays near.
The decorations range from lights, to inflatables, to even a model train set that weaves in and out of a guest’s campsite. It’s truly a sight to be seen—and you can see it! Disney invites guests to visit the Campsite and tour the decorations. They even offer a horse-drawn carriage ride throughout the campsite. The carriage ride really adds to the experience and keeps you off your feet for around a half hour.
Guests staying at the campsite know what they’re getting themselves into. The campsite is large, but set up in an efficient manner. The campsites are scattered across 20 loops. Most sites are fairly secluded by a generous amount of bushes and trees. All campsites are back-ins and a combination of driveway and sandy path.
There are four categories of campsites, including premium, preferred, full-hookup and partial, with cabins throughout each of the loops. The campsite is fairly large and not exactly walkable.
Disney offers internal bus transportation throughout the campsite. The campsite includes two main depots: the Settlement and the Outpost. The Outpost provides bus transportation to EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs and the water parks. The Settlement Depot is located by the marina, which offers boat transportation to Magic Kingdom.
Bikes and golf carts are permitted throughout the campsite and I believe they’re also available to rent.
While Disney does its part to keep guests moving throughout the resort, getting to the parks can often seem like a hassle. You often have to make a transfer within the campsite just to grab a bus to the parks. The campsites only offer boat transportation to and from Magic Kingdom and resort hopping, even to the nearby Contemporary, can be a struggle.
If you’re just heading to Disney to camp, this isn’t exactly a problem. However, if you’re pressed for time or looking to stop by and check out the campsite, you may want to order a taxi or Uber.
You won’t find very diverse food choices at Fort Wilderness. All restaurants and Quick Service locations serve American comfort-style food. It certainly stays on theme, but can get a bit old after a while.
Still, Fort Wilderness is home to one of the more popular buffets at Disney in Trail’s End; and home to a very popular character meal at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ. Both serve comfort-style American food. Maybe it’s just my family’s taste, but I think you have to be in the mood for this style of food to really enjoy it. It has that “pot luck” feel to it. Personally, I love barbecue and a good corn bread. For those that don’t enjoy buffets, I think the food and ambiance can be a real turn off.
Fort Wilderness is a different kind of stay at Walt Disney World. Some guests stay at Fort Wilderness without ever going to the parks. Others stay because they prefer the outdoors to being stuck in a resort room. Some stay just to check it out. It takes a certain type of person to really enjoy this “resort.” I’m not an outdoors type of person, so I don’t think I’d ever stay there. However, it’s a must-do on everyone’s resort tour. The decorations are top notch.
Tips & Tricks:
- Most guests start decorating their campsite shortly after Halloween.
- Loop 2700 is apparently the “quietest” and most relaxing.