Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Disney Fort Wilderness Campground: Is it Really An Affordable Alternative to Disney Resort Hotels?

Our first trip to Disney was nearly six years ago. My kids enjoyed pin trading, meeting the characters throughout the park and eating our way around the World Showcase. We loved our trip and the only thing we swore we’d do differently if we ever returned was to stay at one of the Disney resorts.

Since we planned to stay at Disney for only one night we wanted a hotel that would give us the most bang for our buck. Turned out, it wasn’t a hotel at all, but the Disney Fort Wilderness Campground, that fit that description.  

The cast member that checked us in was very friendly and helpful, just what I remembered from our previous Disney experience.

We found our site relatively easy and were mildly surprised by the size of the sites, which were much larger than I expected them to be. I also appreciated that each loop of campsites is located within close proximity to a comfort station that not only includes the cleanest bathrooms I’ve ever seen at a campground, but also a laundry facility as well.


Our loop of campsites was located directly across from the pool and hot tub - that is open 24 hours a day. 

   FLORIDA 367

There are also volleyball nets, a playground and a small game room for campers.


The Meadow Trading Post sells souvenirs, basic food items that you may run out of and snack items.  

I was excited to find several penny pressing machines at various locations (the Meadow Trading Post, Settlement Trading Post, outside the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue, and the Outpost Depot) throughout the campground. Don’t leave home without a stock pile of pennies and quarters!

In addition to scheduled crafts, activities and organized games, each night the Disney Fort Wilderness Campground welcomes special guests Chip ‘n Dale for a Campfire Sing-a-Long followed by a movie.  

The Sing-a-Long was really fun and upbeat and I couldn’t help but think of how much fun my kids would have had staying at the campground when they were younger!

They may be teenagers but they didn’t pass up their chance to have their picture taken with Chip! I appreciated that Chip ‘n Dale took the time to pass through each row of seats one by one to welcome each guest.

If you want to spend a bit more money you could take a horse drawn carriage or wagon ride. You could also purchase tickets for the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue. Or you could take advantage of more freebies on the property.  

The beach at the boat launch is the perfect spot to watch the Electrical Water Pageant and if you stick around afterward you’ll also be able to see the  firework display from the Magic Kingdom.

The video starts a little slow, but stick with it, it gets better.

Sounds wonderful doesn’t it? Well, in all honesty I have to tell you that I am more than a little bit disappointed with the campground. I went to the Disney Fort Wilderness Campground expecting to see and hear a lot of  kids. I even thought I’d see some young children that were badly in need of a nap and  a bit cranky. I fully expected to put up with a bit of noise.  What I didn’t expect was to have loud, bawdy drunks beside us.

I know  Disney couldn’t predict that those guests were going to be such a disruption, but my husband was extremely disappointed by the way security handled things on each occasion.  

While my son and I were having the time of our lives at the Star Tours Meet-up, the rest of my family were being terrorized by the drunks next door. When I returned with the van at nearly 3 in the morning, we packed up our tent and headed out. Which is why we spent the rest of the night not in the tent, but in one of the cabins at the Disney Fort Wilderness Campground. I guess we could thank our neighbors for the upgrade.

The cute kitchen, dining room, and living area is fully stocked with dishes, pots, pans and dish towels. There is also a Murphy bed that pulls down from the wall, which is where my husband and I slept.


We gave the kids the bedroom and they were excited to see the folded Mickey towel that welcomed them. You can never be too old for those extra touches.

Though my husband still was not appeased, the kids and I were happy that we didn’t need to search for a hotel room in Orlando at 3 in the morning- or worse, sleep in our van! 

If you’re considering a trip to the Disney Fort Wilderness Campground, I suggest that if you think you’ll have any problems at all with your neighbors, call the Outpost early in the day and request a new campsite. My husband’s suggestion? If your neighbors give you as much grief as he had, skip Disney security and call the police. 

So, is the Disney Fort Wilderness Campground really an affordable alternative to the Disney resorts? Honestly, my opinion of Fort Wilderness drastically changed after hearing what my family put up with in my absence.  Yes, the campground definitely has some benefits, but so do a lot of other resorts.  Unless you are dead set on camping, or really can’t afford to stay at Disney any other way, I’d really think long and hard about tent camping at Fort Wilderness. We won’t do it again. Ever.

That doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t welcome another night in a cabin though.

I know some of you have probably experienced the Disney Fort Wilderness campground, and I hope it was more pleasant. Why not leave a comment and share how much fun you had?


  1. We've stayed at Fort Wilderness campground many times in a pop-up and never had any problems. It usually feels quite deserted, because most people are out at the parks all day. I'm sorry to hear that you had a bad experience!

    We've always loved the quiet peaceful respite of the campground right in the middle of the Disney experience.

  2. I just knew that someone had to have had a great camping experience there!

    We really LOVED all other aspects of Fort Wilderness and you are absolutely
    right- though you are at Disney- it's not crowded because people are in the
    parks. The pool wasn't crowded, the game room was deserted and the
    Sing-a-long had plenty of seating. Of course, we did go early in the season
    but there is so much to do at Disney and you really do want to make sure
    that you squeeze all value out of that park ticket, in the parks. :)

    We opted not to buy tickets this time around- it simply wasn't worth it to
    us for one day when we are planning a return visit (and we have been there
    before) but by the time we visited Downtown Disney and took part in the
    campground activities, none of us felt like we were missing a thing. I think
    the campground is a great way for someone to experience Disney without
    shelling out the money to go in the park...though I do think everyone should
    go to Disney at least once if they can swing it.

  3. I'm sorry you had such a rotten experience with drunks.  Too bad they didn't boot them out of the park right away!   Or give you the cute little cabin right away!  My kids would have l.o.v.e.d staying there!  :)  As we drove past them, we wondered what it looked like inside.  Now we know!  :)

    We camped at Fort Wilderness with my brother-in-law's family last November and it was really  nice!  We spent a whole day relaxing and playing in Fort Wilderness before going to Magic Kingdom & Epcott Center.  It wasn't crowded, the bathrooms, as you mentioned, were fabulous.  The laundry facilities were really nice and when I was doing my laundry it was on the scheduled maintenance day, so the repairman told me to put my wet clothes into the dryers that he had just started.  So I dried 2 loads for free!  :)  Another thing that we were very appreciative of is that they let our two families camp on one site together.  Across the little road, there were 3 couples camping on one site ( I think 3 brothers and their wives).  We loved the campfire sing-along with Chip & Dale and all 5 cousins (and their parents)  had a great time dancing and singing, as well as roasting marshmallows.  I would recommend, though, that you bring your own marshmallows/s'mores stuff, because it's quite pricey to buy their stuff.  (We only bought their sticks.)

    We enjoyed the fireworks on the beach, and took advantage of the pools and other fun things to do.  Everyone, including other guests, were super friendly.  Our kids had never been to Disney World, so it was really like a dream come true to be there.   The bus service within the campground was nice, too.  It was relaxing to just forget about driving.  (You're only allowed one car per campsite, so we were glad to have the bus service.) 

    My kids, too, enjoyed the penny press machines.  We live overseas, and big souvenirs aren't desirable to haul around the world, so the penny press machines made for some fun little memories to carry home.

    Our kids were 9, 10 & 12 at the time & our nieces were 7 & 9.  I thought the ages were perfect for every activity at the park.  If they were teenagers, I would have let them go to the pool as a group (without adults), or really just about anywhere at the campground.  It was a great & relaxing experience. 

  4. I absolutely loved our experience there.  I never travel during the busiest seasons though. NEVER ever. Disney is always busy but sometimes are worse than others. I've also stayed in a Disney hotel...and we missed the campground experience that time. I would go back to Fort Wilderness in a heartbeat. 


I love hearing what you think! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! Blessings!:)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...