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5 Reasons to Visit Fort Wilderness

Hey there, hi there, ho there, Disney Fans!

     I hope those of you who are in the Northern part of the States have been able to dig your way out of the snow safely. Looks like it was a crazy week up there! Us Floridians are back to warm temps around here, but I'm not rubbing it in. Simply reminding you why you should get your butt down here soon!

     This week, let's mosey on over to a unique and fun destination on Disney property, that many Guests often skip, without realizing what they are missing. That's right, we are talking about Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground! So, gather round, partners! Here's 5 Reasons To Visit Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground!!! Yeeee-haaaw!!!!!

1. Stick-To-Yer-Ribs-Good Dining!

     One of the often overlooked restaurants on Disney property is Trail's End, located next to Pioneer Hall at Fort Wilderness. You can access the dining hall by taking a boat over from The Magic Kingdom, or by bussing from another Disney Park or Disney Springs. If you're driving, you can park at the front of the campground, and take the internal bus system back to the Settlement area. It's an all-you-care-to-eat delight of country goodness, whether you visit at breakfast, dinner, or even brunch on weekends. (Lunch is offered a la carte most days.) At breakfast, you'll find everything: Mickey waffles, fresh fruit salad, eggs, skillet potatoes, and so much more! At dinner, smoked meats take center stage, including pulled pork, ham, turkey, chicken, sausage and beef. There's also fried chicken and ribs, along with tasty country sides like cornbread, green beans, mashed potatoes, peel and eat shrimp, baked beans and more, PLUS a yummy dessert bar, lined with banana pudding, red velvet cake, lemon bars and strawberry shortcake. And the best part???? This is one of the cheapest buffets on Disney property! And due to their somewhat out-of-the-way location, you can almost always get a reservation. My family and I dine there about once a month or so. We LOVE it!

     Looking for some entertainment with your meal? There's a super fun, (and often forgotten about), dinner show that you need to know about, called Mickey's Backyard BBQ. This outdoor, covered hoedown includes an all-you-care-to-eat BBQ dinner of burgers, chicken, ribs and more, and a live show that features cowboy rope tricks and a country band. You'll also be joined by Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Chip and Dale, all in their country garb, and ready to hit the dance floor with you for a line dance or two.

     But the real superstar of Fort Wilderness is The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue! The only indoor dinner show on Disney property has been around since 1974! That makes it only three years younger than The Magic Kingdom itself! Millions of Guests have seen and loved the show. In fact many, like my husband, have seen it twenty times and more. The country-style singin', dancin', goofin' around show features six actors who are there to make you laugh, clap and stomp your feet. The food is an all-you-care-to-eat feast of fried chicken, ribs and all the fixin's, and beer and wine are included as well. The show is a "Must Do" for anyone that has not seen it yet. Every Guest HAS to "Hoop it up" at least once... though I'm pretty sure that once you have seen it, you'll end up going again. And again.

2. Get Movin' in the Great Outdoors!

     If you're an active person, there's TONS for you to do at Fort Wilderness! In the Meadow Recreation Area, you'll be able to challenge your fellow Campers to a game of volleyball in the sand court. In the Bike Barn you can rent bicycles and helmets for your whole family, or rent cane fishing poles and fish right from the docks. Throughout the 700 acre campground, you can enjoy swimming poolsbasketball courtsplaygrounds, and plenty of jogging paths. It's so much fun to bike or run among the huge cypress trees! Keep your eyes open for local wildlife, like deer, armadillo, opossum, peacocks and more!

Awww... this pony is soaking up the sun!
     There are two "tours" available at Fort Wilderness. The Wilderness Back Trail Adventure is for ages 16 and up, and it will take you all around the Camp Ground, on high-powered, two-wheeled, all-terrain Segways. The second option is for ages 7 and up, and will consist of a 90-minute Fort Wilderness Archery Experience, where you can learn to let your inner Merida shine!

     Looking to get off your feet a bit? Saddle up and take a horseback riding excursion, or if the water calls to you, from the marina you can rent canoes, kayaks, motorized boats, or even go on a waterskiing or motorboat fishing tour! If you want to enjoy the scenery, but don't want to have to exert yourself at all, rent a motorized golf cart for an hour or two, and get lost driving around the wooded paths. (Not literally lost. When I stayed at Ft. Wilderness when I was a teen, my Mom and her best friend decided to take a golf cart out to pick up groceries from the Trading Post, and they ended up over at The Wilderness Lodge, totally lost. At least they find it hysterically funny... NOW.) There's so much to do and most activities are open to ALL Guests, regardless of whether or not you are staying onsite. (Pools are open to Camp Ground Guests ONLY.)

3. Keep the Youngin's Entertained!

    Kids of all ages will have a ton of fun here too! Aside from all of the outdoor activities mentioned above, there are great playgrounds onsite, the largest of which is right next to Trail's End.

    Everyone will LOVE Tri-Circle-D Ranch! The Ranch is located next to Pioneer Hall, and is home to pretty much all of the horses that work on Disney property. You can stop on by and visit Cinderella's little white ponies, or pop into the barn to see the huge horses that pull the trolleys on Main Street. Patting and feeding is not allowed, but little ones over the age of 2, under 80 lbs, and under 48", can ride a pony, for a small fee. The Ranch is a really fun place to spend some time, and enjoy something a little different from what you see in the parks.

4. Rip-Roarin', Fun-Filled Nights!

     Spend an evening at Fort Wilderness and you will have a blast enjoying some really unique activities! Start with a 25 minute wagon ride through the Camp Ground, or a private horse-drawn carriage ride, offered evenings, (weather permitting). During the holiday season, the carriage rides become "sleigh rides", with the carriages decked out in lights and garland. It's a festive and romantic date night outing.

     You can catch the higher fireworks from Wishes, complete with piped in music, from the beach by the boat dock. You can even see the Electrical Water Pageant as it passes by!

     One of the most fun nighttime activities in all of the "World" takes place at Fort Wilderness. Right near the Meadow Trading Post, folks gather 'round a nightly campfire for marshmallow roastin', camp song singin', and movie viewin' under the stars! Chip and Dale join a guitar or banjo-playin' musician, as you whoop it up and enjoy watching the stars twinkling and the fireflies lighting their night lights. Each night a family friendly Disney movie is shown after the musical part of the evening. Some nights, usually during the busier seasons, two movies are shown back to back. It's a really fun occasion, whether you stay for the music only, or all the way until the movie credits roll!

5. Make Yerself at Home!

     Fort Wilderness is a really amazing place to stay. Unlike any of the other Disney Resorts, the Camp Ground has three different types of accommodations. Since it is most commonly used by those with campers or RV's of their own, the Camp Ground provides hook ups (at a pretty reasonable cost) so that you can enjoy your own home-away-from-home, right on Disney property.

An RV with awning parked on a cement pad in a campsite after a rain
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     Don't have an RV? No problem! You can rent your own Cabin in the woods! The Cabins sleep up to 6 adults, and have a full, albeit small, kitchen. The bedroom has one set of bunk beds and a double bed, plus there is a pull-down double bed in the living room wall. Unfortunately there is only one bathroom. Two bathrooms would make this a really perfect accommodation for a larger family, but the single bathroom can be tricky.

A bench and a sofa near a dining and kitchen area with a table, wooden bench, 2 chairs and refrigerator
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A log cabin with a walk path to the steps leading to the porch and front door
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     Looking for a cost-efficient way to stay on Disney property and don't mind roughin' it? You can rent a tent at Fort Wilderness, complete with your own parking space, power sources, picnic table and charcoal grill. There are nearby hospitality buildings with showers and restrooms, by each pool.

Tall trees and bushes frame a campsite with cement parking pad and a picnic table
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     Staying onsite at Fort Wilderness means constant access to all of the fun recreational activities described up above, plus an internal bus system, transportation to the parks, and all of the benefits that Disney Resort Guests enjoy. It's especially cool if you stay at Halloweentime or Christmastime, when Campers usually go all out decorating their campsite with lights, blow ups, and every holiday decoration you can imagine. It really is a sight to see!

     Whether you visit for a meal, for some fun, or to stay for a while, Fort Wilderness is sure to provide your family with all kinds of rustic fun that you'll be talking about for years to come. And whenever it's time for you to mosey on back home, you'll hear the Cast Members saying, "Ya'll come back now, ya hear?" And you will want to, as soon as you can!

     For information on rates and availability, or to book tours, excursions or dining reservations, contact the crew at Kingdom Konsultant Travel! They will help you plan some country fun into your Disney trip.

     Until next week, have a good one, ya'll!

- Jenn aka "Tink"


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