Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground at Walt Disney World is a favorite among a lot of repeat guests. After all, it’s difficult to imagine a quiet, scenic woodland setting bustling with native wildlife in the center of Orange County, Florida.
This area tends to bring forward visions of a Walt Disney World Resort hotel — complete with tourists, palm trees, Mickey Mouse souvenirs, and kid-focused activities — but not nearly as crowded as Pop Century or the Polynesian.
There is one place, though, that successfully wraps all of these ideas into one fabulous experience, and it’s none other than the campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.
Campers regularly observe free-ranging deer, rabbits, armadillos, and turkeys, and awake to the chirping of songbirds and views of ducks paddling on the water.
Fort Wilderness Campsites & Cabins
The sites are suitable for all campers and RVs, and although placed in close proximity to one another, are separated by native palms and vegetation for privacy.
Every full hook-up campsite has water, cable, and electrical hook-ups, a simple standing charcoal grill, and a well-maintained picnic table. A selection of sites are meant specifically for tent setups, and the cabin rentals are popular as well.
A single Fort Wilderness campsite covers the cost of up to ten adults, which is a generous allotment and great for families traveling together.
Most of the sites include a sewer hook-up (these are an excellent capped system, superior when compared to the rustic style available at many other campgrounds) and permit pets.
There’s even a spacious, fenced-in dog park centrally located in the campground — one side meant for smaller breeds, and the other meant for larger.
Fort Wilderness Campground Public Spaces
The feeling of being “in” Disney is apparent throughout the whole campground – many campers decorate their campsites with Mickey-themed lights and flags, while the on-site restaurants serve Mickey-shaped food (waffles, ice cream pops, and more).
Guests can visit the stables where Magic Kingdom’s horses reside and are groomed before their daily acts. Kids’ pony rides are available in this same area for an additional fee, but arrive early since it’s popular and the line gets long.
It’s completely acceptable to stay at the Fort Wilderness campground even if you’re not visiting any of the Disney parks — there is plenty to do within the campground boundaries, and it’s an excellent commuter location to the area’s other major attractions.
There are two spacious pools with separate whirlpools located at Fort Wilderness. The Wilderness Swimmin’ Pool is meant to be the quieter, calmer setting — open to all ages. The Meadow Swimmin’ Pool has a corkscrew waterslide attached and an adjacent splash park — it’s undoubtedly THE place to be on hot days. There’s a lifeguard that staff stands guard at the pool throughout the day, ensuring all the rules are followed.
There are also basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts at Fort Wilderness. Volleyball and tennis equipment is available to check out from the Bike Barn, and the basketball courts each have a box of basketballs to use.
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Health & Safety
Campground staff takes COVID-19 precautions very seriously, and the mask rules vary (check the campground website for current rules). As of January 2022, masks are required in indoor venues at the campground and on campground transportation. They’re not required outdoors, and are not allowed on water slides or in the water.
To mitigate the risk of COVID-19, staff regularly spray disinfectant on the many lounge chairs located around the pool.
Fort Wilderness Dining
Most indoor dining has reopened, and the campground maintains a few different takeout options. Meadow Snack Bar and the Chuck Wagon “culinary camper” are popular, serving up standard snack-style food.
Two on-site restaurants, P&J Southern Takeout and Trail’s End Restaurant, serve basic breakfast, lunch, and dinner options that are delicious — even with a limited menu. An open-air counter-service venue, Crockett’s Tavern, serves a small menu of appetizers along with a large variety of cocktails, wine, and beer. Disney has made no-contact takeout even easier with the use of an online ordering app.
The famous Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue in Pioneer Hall is a popular feast-and-show-in-one serving things like barbecue ribs, fried chicken, corn, salad, baked beans, and strawberry shortcake. However, it has remained closed since the COVID-19 outbreak began, and there is no estimated date for its reopening.
Transportation at Fort Wilderness Lodge
The campground is located in the city of Lake Buena Vista, home of Walt Disney World’s official mailing address. Being situated within the Magic Kingdom resort area, the campground provides daily shuttles — in the form of a water taxi or bus — to and from the Disney park. Buses are also available to Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Disney Springs.
Since the Fort Wilderness property is huge, free internal buses are provided within the campground and there’s an entire fleet of golf carts available for campers to rent. Adult and children’s bicycles are also available to rent, which is another great way to get around.
Fort Wilderness Pricing & Other Information
The whole family can participate in on-site horseback riding — another popular activity here — and an archery course, fishing, and canoe rentals round out the outdoor fun. Horse-drawn carriage rides are also available for an additional charge of $55 for a 25-minute ride.
The campground also offers recreational events for families, such as the popular Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-a-Long. It includes a singalong around the fire, as well as Disney movies under the stars.
Currently, all marina rentals — including kayaks, canoes, and motorboats — are currently postponed in response to COVID-19 without an official date for reopening. Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-a-Long has also not yet returned.
For some families, this is a benefit since the reduction in available amenities and families refraining from traveling during this time has allowed some sites to open up at this campground, which is usually booked solid up to a year in advance.
It’s important to note that all of these great amenities and extras do come at a price. Standard nightly rates to stay at Fort Wilderness at a partial hookup/pop-up campsite hover around $100. Standard full hookup sites are up to $180 as of January 2022, depending on the week (and this is the off-season). Preferred campsites, premium campsites, and premium meadow campsites are also available.
Self-service laundry facilities, an ATM, and free high-speed internet are all available at Fort Wilderness.
Your admission into Fort Wilderness does not cover admission into any of the Disney parks or Disney attractions — these are a completely separate purchase.
If the Fort Wilderness fee was reduced to reflect the reduced amenities, it would be a home run for many families. Campers have to enter with the mindset that this is still a Disney resort, and costs are higher because of the tourism factor and its excellent location.
Regardless, this campground has it all — from the spirit of Disney to immaculate cleanliness — you won’t be disappointed with your stay. For more details and to start the reservation process, visit the Disney Resorts website.
- Address: 4510 North Fort Wilderness Trail, Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830-8415
- Phone Number: (407) 824-2900
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By Loren Tucker
This article was originally published in May 2021. It was updated in January 2022.