Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Happiest Campground on Earth: Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort!

To see more pictures of Fort Wilderness, click here!

I recently had the opportunity to spend a week at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort  This is a resort that I love.  I have stayed many times in the past, although it had been 6 years since my last visit.  Seeing The Fort through fresh eyes made me remember and appreciate just how beautiful and peaceful it is, and I can guarantee I will not let another 6 years pass before staying here again!  Here you can feel like you are away from it all, but still hear the faint whistle of the train at the Magic Kingdom in the distance. 


Fort Wilderness is located in the Magic Kingdom area, along Bay Lake. There is an efficient internal bus service that will transport you between the Settlement Depot, near the Marina, and the Outpost Depot, near the entrance.  From these depots you can catch transportation to your desired destination.  Transportation to the Magic Kingdom is by boat, while all other parks, water parks, and Downtown Disney are by bus (from the Outpost Depot).  A second boat loop connects this resort with Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Contemporary Resort; the Wilderness Lodge is also accessible by bus, or by walking the nature trail that connects the two resort.  We enjoyed this path both by foot, and by renting a surrey bike from the Lodge.

There are 788 sites available throughout the 20 loops, or sections.  The loops are divided into four categories: Preferred, Premium, Partial, and Full.  Premium sites can be found in loops 400-1400, and feature larger, level concrete pads for trailers that are longer or have multiple slide outs.  They can accommodate one trailer and one tent, although the tent will be on the concrete pad, and not sand.  Preferred loops are 100, 200, and 300- located furthest from the entrance and closest to the Marina, Pioneer Hall, and the Settlement Trading Post (which sells souvenirs and Disney merchandise, as well as some groceries and supplies you may need).  Also, some of the premium and full loops are pet friendly; you may stay here with your pets for an additional $5 per day. Wi-fi is not yet available at the campsites- but it is available at the Settlement and Meadows Trading Posts, as well as Crockett’s Tavern and Trail's End restaurant. Complimentary internet access is available at the campsites via a modem kit, which can be rented at check in for a refundable $125 deposit.
Comfort Stations are located at almost every loop, although a few smaller loops share.  The showers and restrooms are very modern and clean, and laundry and ice are also available in the same building.  They are open 24 hours, although your room key is required for entrance between midnight and 6 am.    




We are a camping family and love to connect with nature but I also love modern amenities!  I am very thankful that my trailer has a full kitchen, air conditioning, and even heated mattresses.  There are plenty of people who come here and stay in a tent, and while I admire their enthusiasm and sense of adventure, I just couldn’t do it myself!  If you want to experience the beauty and serenity of this resort but don’t have a trailer of your own, then a great option would be to stay in one of their 407 cabins, located throughout 8 loops (2100-2800). They sleep up to 6 guests, with a full kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and living area.  Cable and complimentary wi-fi are provided, as well as a deck with a grill.  For those who need an accessible cabin, these are available as well in loop 2800 (make sure this is notated on your reservation before you arrive).

The first thing I noticed this visit was the magnificent beauty of the resort.  I love the attention to detail that Disney always dedicates to its landscaping, and Fort Wilderness is no exception.  You could spend an entire day just roaming the grounds and marveling over the various trees and flowering shrubs, but you will also want to take some time to enjoy the many activities offered!

Here is a sample of recreational activities available:

-From the marina, you can rent a Pontoon or Sea Raycer boat, in increments of 30 minutes.
-Private 25 minute Carriage Rides take off between 6 and 9:30 pm each night in front of Crockett’s Tavern (reservations are suggested, but walk ups are welcome if there is availability) 
-Wagon Rides depart nightly at 7 and 9:30 in front of Pioneer Hall- first come first serve
-Swimming, Tennis, Volleyball and a playground are located at the Meadows Recreation Area; a second pool is located near the cabins loops, and additional playgrounds are located at Pioneer Hall and Creekside Meadow
-A leash free dog park is located near the 300 loop
-Tri Circle D Ranch, near Pioneer Hall, offers guided horseback tours and pony rides
-Bike rental at the Bike Barn near the Meadows Trading Post
-Fishing is free in the canals; poles may be rented by the hour or day, and worms are available for purchase
-The Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue, an all-you-can-eat family style dinner show, at Pioneer Hall
-Mickey’s Backyard BBQ, a buffet dinner with a live band, dancing, and some of your favorite characters
-Chip and Dale’s campfire sing along, held nightly near the Meadow Trading Post, and followed by a featured movie on a large outdoor screen
-Electrical Water Pageant passes the marina nightly at 9:45 pm. If Wishes is shown that night, you can view the fireworks over Bay Lake. It is not the same experience as seeing it in the park (you cannot see Cinderella’s castle or the lower bursts)- but the music is piped in and it is still very enjoyable!
With so many fantastic resort choices at Walt Disney World, you may not have considered a stay at Fort Wilderness.  I encourage you to take some time on your next visit to come explore this serene hideaway.  You just may fall in love the way I have!

Carissa

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