Today in Disney history in 1971, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort opened, making it the third available resort option at Walt Disney World.
Walt Disney World is known for having uniquely themed hotels and accommodations. Whether you want to be whisked away to a European grandeur, a beach paradise, or something in between, there’s a Disney resort for you.
When most people think of Disney hotels, they typically think of the beautifully designed lobbies, with rooms and grounds to match. Each resort provides a distinctive experience based on its location, theming, and price range. However, did you know that you can camp at Disney World? That’s right. Not only can you camp in a cabin or trailer. But you can even camp in a tent just around the corner from Magic Kingdom!
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort Opened to Guests in 1971
On November 19, 1971, arguably the most unique (yet possibly the most overlooked) Disney resort opened its grounds. Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, (not to be confused with the popular Wilderness Resort) is a camping resort that offers a truly different way to experience Disney World. But beyond the lodging, there are many amazing things that Fort Wilderness offers.
Fort Wilderness is located on Bay Lake in the Magic Kingdom resort area. It’s near the aforementioned Wilderness Resort but is also in close proximity to the 3 monorail resorts: Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Because of its location, guests of Fort Wilderness are able to view the Magic Kingdom fireworks (from a distance) and the Electrical Water Pageant from along the beach.
The resort is split into two sections: the campground and the cabins. The campground is where you can find sites for either stay in a tent or an RV. Even if you don’t own an RV or trailer, there are third-party methods to rent one to stay in during your visit.
While tent camping is usually a great way to unplug while out in nature, each site does provide electricity and Wi-Fi. So it’s up to you how much you want to disconnect. There are of course Comfort Stations that offer restrooms, shower facilities, and laundry for campground guests.
If you want something a little more established but still rustic, a cabin rental may be right up your alley. The cabins at Fort Wilderness are large enough to sleep 6 adults and include a kitchen, full bathroom, patio, and grill. It’s perfect for those who want the camping feel but don’t want to rough it too much.
Recreation at Fort Wilderness
While other Disney resorts have great recreation options available, this is where Fort Wilderness truly shines with some activities that are unavailable anywhere else at Disney World. These include:
- Enjoy some wet fun at the pools and whirlpool spas, including a 67-foot long corkscrew waterslide
- A campfire sing-along with Chip ‘n’ Dale where you can also roast marshmallows
- Archery – that’s right, you can shoot a real bow and arrow at Disney World!
- Ride in a sleigh, a wagon, or on a pony (if you ever run into a trivia question that asks where you can ride a horse at Disney World, now you know the answer)
- Enjoy some fishing either through a guided excursion or dockside
- Rent a variety of transportation options, including bikes, canoes, and kayaks
- Want a less physical method of getting yourself around? Rent a golf cart and cruise around the resort in style.
- Looking for something even more unique? Take a tour of the scenic backroads on an all-terrain Segway!
- Get some exercise on the jogging trails or hit up some friends on the basketball and volleyball courts
- Playgrounds and arcades are also available for younger visitors
There’s so much to do at Fort Wilderness that you could easily spend a few days on-site without going to a theme park and still have plenty to do!
Don’t forget another great part about visiting Disney World… the FOOD. And Fort Wilderness is no exception. You won’t just be eating basic campfire meals. There are some great restaurants available at this resort that are worth visiting even if you’re staying at another hotel. Highlights include:
- Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue: this 2 hour dinner show is a fan favorite, and for good reason. Not only do you get quality entertainment featuring dancing, singing, and comedy, but you also get all-you-can-eat country cookin’! This includes fried chicken, BBQ ribs, salad, cornbread, mac-and-cheese, coleslaw, beans, and dessert. And don’t forget the unlimited adult drinks for diners over 21.
- Trail’s End Restaurant: an American-style restaurant with breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus including items like biscuits and gravy, pizza, and fried chicken.
- The Chuck Wagon: a food truck serving burgers, hot dogs, sides, and more.
- Crockett’s Tavern: a bar lounge with a small food menu.
It’s easy to let the grandeur of some of the other Disney resorts capture your attention. But don’t let Fort Wilderness slip your mind! It provides some of the cheapest accommodations on Disney property, fantastic dining options, and possibly the best set of recreation activities that a single Disney resort offers.
So grab your camping gear and head over to Fort Wilderness for a Disney resort adventure you won’t ever forget!