Why you should stay at Disney World Fort Wilderness campgrounds

A guest at Disney's Wilderness Campgrounds sets up for Halloween at the RV camping sites.
A guest at Disney's Wilderness Campgrounds sets up for Halloween at the RV camping sites. /

At Disney World, you have a lot of options when it comes to staying on property. Fort Wilderness is a good one.

Fort Wilderness is often something that Walt Disney World travelers overlook but it’s actually an on-site option you should consider.

So you have decided to head to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida and you need a place to stay. The resort accommodations on Disney property are hard to pass up even though they tend to be expensive. Even the All-Star Resorts which are supposed to be family-friendly on the pocketbook are not. In fact, it has become increasingly harder to find places to stay on property for larger families.

There is one that many don’t know about and yes, in keeping with Disney tradition, it’s overpriced but is it worth it? The short answer might be no but the longer answer is, absolutely.

There are three ways to stay at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campgrounds. You can stay in one of the Cabins, you can pitch a tent in the reserved camping area, or you can bring your RV and hook it up.

Current prices range from $84.00 per night to as much as $142.00 a night for campsites and RV spots. The Cabins are considerably more expensive depending on the time of year.

There are several RV options. A full hook-up site has room for an RV and a tent. A preferred campsite will get you an RV and tent site along with a 10×45 concrete slab while premium sites are styled for larger RVs with larger pads up to 60′.

Fort Wilderness campsites
A guest at Fort Wilderness campgrounds decorates their RV pad with Mickey and Minnie Mouse. /

Location is also a consideration. Premium “Meadow” sites are closer to the Trading Post and recreation area (the swimming pool) while Preferred sites are closer to the marina. And this is where the value comes in compared to other on-property resorts.

The marina area is home to two restaurants and a bar as well as a “trading post”, a fancy name for a convenience store if you forgot anything. There is another by the main pool in the recreation area that is located in the central area of the property.

From the marina, you can catch a ferry boat that will whisk you over to the Magic Kingdom’s front door. Watch the fireworks on your way back and the water parade from the boat. The ferry is the best way to travel from any property and only the Swan and Dolphin resorts offer a ferry to a park, EPCOT. The Swan and Dolphin, however, are not Disney properties even though they are on the property.

To get anywhere, there are busses and this includes from your RV or tent site to the pool, the main office, the marina, the restaurants, and even the recreation area where you can watch the nightly Disney movie that is played on a big outdoor screen where you can roast marshmallows.

Need to get to Epcot but don’t want to take the bus? No problem! Take the ferry to Magic Kingdom and hop on the monorail, one-stop and a change to another monorail whisks you across the Disney property to Epcot. From there you can take the skyride to Hollywood Studios if you still want to avoid the busses.

Back at the campgrounds, night time brings about light decorations, especially during the holidays! Easter, Christmas, and Halloween are big events and your kids can “Trick or Treat” among the RV sites.

Know before you go: While the campsites rent golf carts to get around (it is so much easier) they are expensive. The new rates are in the $65.00 per night range and you should consider booking as soon as you know you are going. Off-site companies offer golf carts for less than half of that price but Disney no longer allows off-site companies to deliver them to you.

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In this case, you need to meet them off property, hitch the trailer to your rig, drop off the golf cart when you check-in at your site, and then return the trailer. Repeat this when you leave as most local companies do not allow you to keep the trailer. If you have your own, use it!

The Campgrounds at Fort Wilderness are great. They have sewer, water, and electric hook-ups for RV owners and full-size kitchens and bunks in the cabins. The tents, well you own those so you know what to expect.

If a resort property isn’t an option and you have the means to stay at Fort Wilderness, it’s a great stay that really allows you to be self-sufficient and unbothered. With all the parks a short hop by ferry or bus, you can’t go wrong.

And to think, I didn’t even mention the horseback riding that is offered as well!