One of Walt Disney World’s hidden gems can be found in an original Disney World resort, which many people don’t know exists at all, Fort Wilderness Campground. Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground opened in November 1971, and currently has just over 400 cabin accommodations and 799 camp sites.
As a child, I stayed at Fort Wilderness numerous times, staying in my grandparents’ RV, and developed a love for the resort, which has a plethora of activities (campfire sing-alongs, carriage rides, a petting zoo, horse stable, pony rides, etc). Today though, I’m writing about one specific accommodation type, which is tent camping.
Recently, we were unsure if our family would be able to afford a trip to Walt Disney World. Since we were a group of nine, we needed multiple hotel rooms, and were unsure if we could swing the expense. Luckily, I remembered all of the wonderful times we had at Fort Wilderness, and realized that using our large tent, we could all fit on a campsite at the resort for a very reasonable price! Some of the members of our travel group were harder to convince than others, but eventually, we took the plunge.
A basic/partial hookup campsite at Fort Wilderness consists of a dirt site, water, electric, a picnic table and a grill. This meant that we were able to equip our tent with many of the amenities we would have had in a hotel, including a mini fridge and an air conditioner. Yes, air conditioning does work in a tent, and we made good use of it. We also brought along a screen tent, where we kept some chairs and a drying rack for swimsuits and towels, as well as a cover to shade our picnic table. The site felt specious even for all nine of us.
We found everything at Fort Wilderness to be exceptionally clean and well maintained. Anything we needed to purchase was found easily at one of the two trading posts, including several trips to the slushie machines for mid-afternoon treats.
There were a few days when we did not visit the theme parks at all, instead enjoying the resort and each other. Staying at Fort Wilderness gives you an opportunity to slow down, even though you’re just a short boat ride from the Magic Kingdom. In fact, one of the things I looked forward to each day was hearing the sounds of the Magic Kingdom railroad train tooting and the friendships boats honking. It was a wonderful way to wake up in the morning. At night, we could sit on the beach and watch the Electric Water Pageant roll past us, or gather around our grill to make s’mores.
I am pleased to report that tent camping was a huge success for my family, and I highly recommend it for other guests, especially if you’re looking for a new experience and/or trying to keep your accommodation costs at a minimum. Fort Wilderness is a beautiful place, and probably the most comfortable place to try tent camping. I hope others can have the same unforgettable experience that we had.
Have you ever thought about tent camping at Walt Disney World or have you ever actually done it?
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