This year marks the 50th anniversary of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. Fort Wilderness is one of the original Walt Disney World resorts—it opened just 1 month after Magic Kingdom Park in 1971. More than 1,200 campsites and cabins sprawl across 750 wooded acres, located less than 4 miles from Cinderella Castle. Fort Wilderness may be one of the most expensive campgrounds in the U.S., but it offers exceptional amenities. It’s also one of the most economical ways to book a dream Walt Disney World vacation.
Despite the high nightly rate, this campground is a must-experience for Disney fans. We booked our Fort Wilderness campsite the day after we purchased our fifth wheel. We were Disney fans prior to RV life, but RVing has added a lot of pixie dust to our Walt Disney World vacations. Full-time RVing has even allowed us to become Florida residents and Disney Annual Passholders.
Fort Wilderness has its own brand of Disney culture. It’s central to many vacation traditions, especially around the holidays. Many visitors return year after year, or book long stays. There are many reasons to RV, and some choose the lifestyle specifically to live at or near Walt Disney World part of the year. Whether you’re just stopping by to visit Mickey, or planning a longer escape to the vacation kingdom, you can’t miss the magic of this resort.
How to Book
High nightly rates don’t deter this campground’s popularity. Reservations can be made up to 499 days in advance, and campers who want longer stays or popular dates should book that early. The earlier you can reserve your campsite, the better—but it’s possible to pick up a less popular date or cancellation with shorter notice. There are three ways to book your campsite.
Online at disneyworld.go.com: This is the most straightforward way to book, especially if you already have travel dates in mind.
Calling Disney at (407) 939-1936: Hold times are long, but once you get on the line with a Disney cast member, they can often wave a magic wand. Call if you can’t find availability online, but have flexible travel dates. Disney reservation services will work with you to find available dates for your vacation.
Book with a Disney Travel Agent: This is the best way to book, especially if you’re trying to find a cancellation for a specific date, or if you’re planning a full Walt Disney World vacation. A Disney travel agent is like a Disney vacation FASTPASS, and often comes at no additional cost. Our go-to Disney travel agent is Christine Wilson at Two Ears East, because she’s an RVer who specializes in Fort Wilderness.
Types of Campsites
Fort Wilderness offers a range of accommodations for any type of camper. Rates change frequently and vary by season. Here’s what to expect based on the 2021 season.
Tent or Pop-Up Sites ($73 to $179 per night): The Fort Wilderness tent sites are the best value stay in all of Walt Disney World, especially because up to 10 guests can stay in one site. Sites include a concrete pad for parking, water, and electric hookups. Pop-ups, truck campers, vans, small Class Cs, and tiny trailers can also take advantage of these sites, though there’s no access to sewer hookups.
RV Sites ($110 to $250 per night): Disney offers four levels of RV sites fit for royalty, dependent on the site size and location within the resort. All RV sites are spacious and include a concrete pad and full hookups.
RV Rentals (night rate, plus $750 and up): Many local third-party companies will deliver an RV rental straight to your Fort Wilderness campsite. You still have to reserve the campsite in advance. Disney has two official RV rental vendors —Luxurious Rentals and Meacham’s RV—but other rental companies are allowed to deliver directly to your campsite.
Cabins ($360 to $800): Fort Wilderness also offers themed cabin rentals, which are convenient for family members and friends who don’t own an RV.
Fort Wilderness allows all types of tents and RVs with sites large enough to accommodate big rigs, including long fifth wheels and Class As. Unlike some high-end resorts, Fort Wilderness doesn’t have rules about the age of your RV. All sites are back-in, but easily accessible. Fort Wilderness doesn’t offer a dump station as all RV sites have sewer hookups.
Camping With Kids
Disney’s Fort Wilderness is a true Neverland for kids of all ages. The campground is designed for families first, and offers countless activities before you even make it to the theme parks. Here are a few tips specifically for families:
- Campsites near The Meadows offer easy access to the pool and playground.
- The campground is massive for little legs, so consider renting a golf cart to return your family from the resort transportation.
- Take advantage of the dozens of (often free) kids activities, and ask for an activities calendar at check-in.
The Disney Experience
Fort Wilderness is a beautiful campground, but the main reason to stay here is for the resort activities and proximity to the Disney theme parks.
Accessing the Park
Fort Wilderness is the only campground within Walt Disney World Resort. It’s less than 4 miles from Magic Kingdom, and less than a 15-minute drive from all four theme parks. It’s easy to visit the parks and return to your campsite for a midday break.
Free bus transportation, Disney’s Magical Express, is provided to all of the theme parks from the campground’s entrance. Boat transportation to Magic Kingdom is a special perk for Fort Wilderness guests—boats depart from Settlement at the back of the campground. All transportation arrives approximately every 20 minutes. Just remember to purchase park tickets and make park reservations before your visit.
Fort Wilderness offers plenty of campground amenities, including:
- Fast WiFi
- Campsite grills
- Cable connection
- Clean bathhouses
- Pool with a waterslide
- Basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts
- Running trails
- Dog park
- Camp store
- Onsite dining and shopping
- Dozens of free and additional activities
- Disney Resort guest perks
Looking for the best breakfast or fried chicken at Walt Disney World? You don’t even have to leave the campground.
Trail’s End: This homestyle breakfast and dinner restaurant is all-you-care-to-enjoy. We highly recommend fueling up on bacon, sausage, and Mickey waffles before you hit the parks.
P&J’s Southern Takeout: The family meals to go might just be the best value of all of Disney’s dining options. We always crave the delicious fried chicken.
Cockett’s Tavern: Sip some moonshine on the porch by this walk-up bar.
Meadow Snack Bar and Chuck Wagon: Grab some basic campground fare like hot dogs, Mickey pretzels, and ice cream bars at these snack locations near the pool.
Food Trucks: Fort Wilderness often hosts local Orlando food trucks. Ask about the schedule when you check in.
Venture to the rest of the Disney resort to visit hundreds of unique dining options ranging from themed pizza to high-end signature restaurants.
Not only does Fort Wilderness offer impressive activities for any campground, they may take the prize for best activities of any Disney World Resort. You could enjoy a full vacation here without even visiting a theme park.
Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revenue ($66 to $74 for adults, $39 to $44 for kids): This rollicking Old West themed dinner show is an absolute hoot with a side of delicious fried chicken and cherry pie. Enjoy slapstick acts from exuberant performers alongside all-you-care-to-enjoy dinner and drinks. Put this at the top of your list and reserve in advance. The show hasn’t returned since the start of the pandemic, but rumor has it that it’ll be back in 2022.
Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long (Free): Roast marshmallows and sing Disney songs with the official mascots of Fort Wilderness, everyone’s favorite chipmunks, Chip and Dale. The characters aren’t currently meeting as the resort is still in the process of reinstating offerings. You’ll still find the nightly campfire, and Chip ‘n’ Dale will be back soon.
Horseback Riding ($55 per person), Pony Rides ($8 per person), and Carriage Rides (Call to book): The Tri Circle D Ranch, home to all Disney World horses, including Cinderella’s, is located at Fort Wilderness. Book horseback riding or pony rides, or just visit the ranch for free to see the horses. Carriage and wagon rides are also offered, including themed rides during the holidays.
Boat Rentals and Fishing ($8 to $90 per hour): From kayaks and canoes to fishing and pontoon boats, you can rent any kind of boat to float on the canals and lakes around the resort. You can even book a guided fishing tour or bring your own poles.
Archery ($45 per person): The budding Merida in your group can book an archery lesson.
Kids Activities (Mostly free): The rotating calendar of free or inexpensive kids activities include pool games, a nightly outdoor movie, arts and crafts, trivia, and more. Ask for the schedule at check-in.
Fireworks (Free): Enjoy a fantastic, crowdless view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks show right on the campground beach, no park ticket necessary. Stick around afterward, because the charming Electrical Water Pageant will float on by.
Holidays at Fort Wilderness (Free): Campers create their own magic around Halloween and the winter holiday season with all-out campsite decorations that rival the Griswold’s. Pour yourself a mug of cocoa and go for a dazzling nighttime walk around the campground.
50th Anniversary Celebrations: Both Fort Wilderness and Walt Disney World are celebrating their 50th anniversaries this year. Pick up some vintage-inspired merchandise at the Trading Post, and some of the exclusive treats on the Trail’s End and P&J menus. If you’re headed to the parks, don’t miss the sensational anniversary nighttime shows and “beacons of magic” lighting.
Here are some tips from seasoned Fort Wilderness adventurers to make your trip more enjoyable:
Bring Your Dog: Fort Wilderness is the most dog-friendly Disney accommodation. There’s a $5 per night fee, but your dog is welcome around the campground and at the large dog park. If you don’t want to leave your dog in the RV while you enjoy the park, Best Friends Pet Hotel is nearby.
Bring a Golf Cart or Bike: The campground is massive, and after clocking thousands of steps at the theme parks, a mile walk to your campsite can be daunting. Most families bring golf carts or bikes to easily get to park transportation. Rentals are also available.
Visit Wilderness Lodge: The campground provides bus and boat transportation to the luxury rustic-chic hotel next door. For a relaxing evening, stroll the grand lobby and sip a craft cocktail at the Territory Lounge.
Visiting the Park Before and After Your Stay: On your check-in and check-out days, you can park your RV in the campground’s front lot, then catch a bus for a few more park hours. Note that the theme parks also offer RV parking.
Disney Resort Perks: Take advantage of the perks of staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, including early and extended theme park hours, early booking access to dining reservations and Lighting Lane times, in-park merchandise delivery, and discounted Magic Bands.
Disney’s Fort Wilderness is a one-of-a-kind campground and a true resort. While it’s more expensive than your average campground or RV park, it’s a great value for a Disney World vacation. Be sure to plan at least one extra non-theme park day to enjoy everything Fort Wilderness has to offer.