One of my favorite things to do is to go camping at Fort Wilderness at Disney World. I have always loved to camp, however my dear husband has been dubious at best about it.
We have found the perfect happy place to make it work for all of us! We can camp here and there are so many things to do, no one is ever bored!
Being there while the campgrounds were all decorated for Christmas was extra special. It is so much fun just walk around the campsites and see how the campers decorate their sites. This last visit we stayed in the 2000 loop. At first I felt like it was too far from the pool, however we discovered that people had build little bridges across the canal and we could walk to the pool and the camp store in less than 5 min. We had so much fun “trekking through the wild” to the store (where I could get coffee) and of course to the pool.
Make sure that you look over your schedule when you get there so you don’t miss any of the fun!
There are two pools, one for adults (which truthfully, I have never been to) and one for everyone! The pools are heated and there is almost always some sort of entertainment going on there. There are crafts for the kids in the morning, and dance games, bingo and quiz games throughout the day. The snack bar is pretty good and handy too. This last trip was so cold, that we did not swim (well my hubby and daughter lasted about 10 minutes in the water). However we spent a good bit of time hanging out by the pool, playing games and making crafts.
There is a fabulous kiddie pool as well as a splash slide for the little ones. I love that the kiddie pool is shallow enough that the little ones can handle it without us parents getting too wet!
Of course there is the giant slide too! We were lucky enough to arrive first in the morning on one of our trips. The lifeguard asked my daughter if she would like to open the slide and gave her a train engineers hat and whistle. She was so proud of herself, she got to announce loudly that the slide was open, blow her whistle and take the first slide down. She still talks about it. This is the magic of Disney, where something rather ordinary becomes something special that is never forgotten!
Don’t worry there is a hot tube too!
One of the things that I love the most about all the Disney Resorts and Fort Wilderness are the lifeguards. As a former lifeguard myself, it is clear that they are all well trained and super alert. They are professional and always have an ice pack at hand for the occasional bump or boo boo. I know this because my daughter is adept at needing a ice pack!
In our wanderings around the campgrounds we have seen loads of deer grazing, bunnies, all kinds of birds, a hawk, an oriole, and some turkeys. Once a duck flew into the pool too, which the kids thought was hilarious.
Each camping loop has a couple of “Comfort Stations”. The bathroom, the loo, the toilet, the privy, the throne…..you get the picture. The bathrooms are always clean. Seriously, I have camped here when the grounds were completely full and the bathrooms have never been gross! Mind you I still wear my flip flops in the shower, but really they are pretty darn good. All the showers have a disabled shower in them too, this is particularly handy for those of us with little girls, being able to pick up the shower head to rinse out little ones hair (especially long hair) makes things a lot less ratty (pun intended).
Most sites have water and electric, there are tent sites and also big rig sites. So it seems that they can accommodate just about any type of camper that comes their way. I should not forget to mention that they have cabins for rent too. We have never gone that route, but if a tent is a bit too much for you it is always an option.
Most of the sites are pretty secluded so there is some privacy. Although, as a parent of an only child, I don’t mind that we can see all the kids playing in the center field of the loop.
Disney did not forget that kids love playgrounds! There are playgrounds tucked in here and there and everywhere and there always seems to be kids who want to play. Which in our case is a very good thing! The playgrounds gave loads of shade and are almost always surrounded by picnic tables and benches.
Tri Circle Farms is housed on site near the beach and the Trails End Restaurant. This is seriously cool! The kids (as long as they are under 48 inches) can ride on one of Cinderella’s horses. Yes, they are the very same horses that pull Cinderella’s Carriage. This time my daughter got to ride Bandit. As I was leading Bandit, I thought to myself How cool is this, I am leading one of Cinderella’s horses. At that moment I looked back at my daughter and she was grinning ear to ear and she said “I am riding Cinderella’s horse!” For $8.00, this is a memory that will be special for a long time!
Even if you are too big to ride, you can walk through the yard and visit with the horses. Don’t forget to check out the barn and see the working Calliope, see the Clydesdale and learn a little about Walt’s love for horses!
You can also take the family on a trail ride at Fort Wilderness, the horseback riding barn is at the front of the campgrounds near the reception. I don’t know what the fees are, but I can’t wait to take my girl on ride soon.
Campfire Sing Along, Bonfire and Movie
The campground hosts a Chip and Dale Sing Along and Bonfire that is included in your camping fees. You can buy marshmallows and a stick (or just bring your own). I prefer to do our smores at the campgrounds as it gets a bit much with tons of kids running around with sharp sticks and fiery marshmallows.
Fireworks and Electrical Water Pagent
Ask when you come into the campgrounds what time the fireworks and the Electric Boat Parade are. You sit on the beach in the evening and watch the fireworks at Magic Kingdom. The kids love it and while maybe not quite as impressive at it is in the parks, it is still a great view and a great time!
Monorail and Ferries
Not going into the parks this trip? No problem, you can still take a boat across to Magic Kingdom or the Wilderness Lodge. From Magic Kingdom you can take the family on monorail ride. The little ones love this and think it’s the best ever!
Trails End Restaurant
They do a sit down breakfast and dinner. We prefere the breakfast, however it is a little expensive. We don’t do it every time, but I love it. The food is really good and of course they have my favorite, Mickey Waffles!
Did you forget the hamburgers or did it rain on your hotdogs? Both of these have happened to us, the Trails End Restaurant is available to walk up order pizza or breakfast items, and i thought the prices were pretty reasonable. They also have a bar with a walk up window which makes waiting on the beach for the fireworks a bit more fun for adults!
The Trading Post store (there are two on the campgrounds) should have most things you might need. Everything from snacks to food, souvenirs and of course coffee! I always come prepared to make coffee at my campsite, however you can never have enough coffee in my opinion.
Disney has not forgotten the extras. Right outside the restaurant they keep a plastic horseshoe game and loads of hula hoops. It was so much fun to sit on the patio there and watch all the kids playing in front of the Christmas Tree.
Canoeing, Fishing, Archery, Wagon Rides, Boat Rentals, Fishing, Bike Rentals, Jogging Trails, Arcade, Walking Tours, Segway Tours, Bike Rentals, and Golf Cart Tours.
This last trip we took a canoe rental around the canals. It was fun, and rather comical. The young man who helped us get out the canoe indicated that we could not get lost, however that did not turn out to be the case. Anyhow we made it back to the Bike Barn (where we started) and we had fun. They have rental bikes for all sizes and even helmets too, so if you can’t get your bike to the campgrounds you are covered. All of these things do have extra fees. The canoeing was pretty reasonable, at around $6.50 for a half hour for all three of us including life jackets.