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“Proper planning will help with this resort”

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The Campsites at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort
Certificate of Excellence
Duluth, Georgia
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Proper planning will help with this resort”
Reviewed February 5, 2013

First, I'll cover the good: The campground is pretty and well kept. It is quiet and, since you are in an idividual unit, you have no noise from upstairs or nextdoor neighbors. You have the advantage of having your vehicle parked right outside your door. They have a full kitchen so that you don't have to spend tons of money on park or resort food. The cabin is not very big, but it was ok for five of us (two adults and three small children). They do have housekeeping service everyday and the ladies always leave cute little towel animals for the kids. There is also a bbq grill on your site and a picnic table on a pretty sizeable deck, so bring charcoal and grilling equipment because the cabin is not equipped with it. They do have bus service to anywhere you want to go, but I'd rather die than get on a crowded bus, so you can also drive to all the parks and the parking is free with the keys to the kingdom. They have a nightly campfire sing a long with Chip and Dale that was lots of fun. They do sell smore ingredients, but I suggest you bring your own.
Then there's the bad: Check in was not very efficient. Their computers were down. We requested to have the ability to charge on our keys to the kingdom card and they didn't do it, so we had some issues with that. Our card did not work on the front gate, so we had to go in and get a new one, which did not work either. Each time we went in there were long lines that did not move very quickly at all. The check in area itself is old and outdated. Not a very good first impression at all! The "cast members" were not very friendly and really did not look like they wanted to be there. I had read that in other reviews as well. I don't understand why because it certainly isn't one of the least expensive places to stay. In fact, we visited one of the value resorts, Art of Animation, and the cast members there were nothing short of delightful. None of the employees that we interracted with had the Disney spirit and that tends to be a mood setter. Once you check in you really can't get anywhere withing the campground unless you ride a crowded bus or rent a golf cart for $60 a day. They have two convenience/souvenier shops that are pretty decently stocked. Again, the staff members there were not very pleasant. On our last day we went in to the Meadows Shop and were making a rather large purchase of sourveniers and other items. The girl at the check out, Judy, was especially short with us. My animated seven year old son said hello to her and she COMPLETELY ignored him. Theat really bothered me because he had a confused look on his sweet little face. She acted very put off by us and even said, "wait, just stop" and proceeded to re-arrange the items we had put on the counter and start the check process anew. This was not a favorable final experience for us and it certainly does not leave a positive impression in our minds.
We only had dinner once from one of the restaurants on the property, Trail's End, and it was simply not fit for human consumption. We ended up throwing most of it away and munching on the few snacks we had left.
As I mentioned, you can't really get anywhere without renting a golf cart. This includes the restaurants, so the expectation is that you walk to a bust stop, wait for a bus, and ride the bus to the restaurant. If you like doing take out, as we do, this is not very convenient at all.
We did voice our concerns to the manager on duty, Andrew, who was very polite and seemed sincerely concerned. He really attempted to make things right and, although we were very grateful to him, the rest of the experience was just not what we have come to expect from a Disney resort.
The cabin was not as clean as we would have liked, but we tend to be very meticulous where that is concerned. We brought some cleaning supplies and found ourselves using them upon arrival as it appeared as if the cabin had only had a cursory cleaning. We did inform the front desk about this and they did a more thorough cleaning the following day. The cabins will comfortably sleep six, however, there is very little storage. There is a small drawer bank in the bedroom and a small closet, but not enough room for clothing for six people. We had to pack lots of clothes since there is no washer/dryer in the units.
Overall, I'm not sure if we will return to this resort. We enjoyed the privacy and serene setting that the cabins provided, but convenience is not there. Certainly the attitude of the cast members goes a long way as well, as we discovered. This seems to be an ongoing problem with this resort, as it is mentioned in other reviews. It is our hope that this can be corrected as it was this one factor that determined the "poor" rating that I gave this resort. Everything else could be overcome.

Room Tip: Go for a cabin on the outside of the loop and furthest away from bus lines for optimum serenity.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
5 Thank menmarty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Bradenton, Florida
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed February 3, 2013

I'll start out by saying that, overall, Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground is a great place. If you enjoy camping, the great outdoors, or just like spending quiet, quality time with your family while on vacation, this is the place for you. First opened in 1971 (it was one of the original Disney World resorts), Fort Wilderness originally opened as a campground. Since then however, they have added cabins making it a "resort" as well. Themed after the American pioneer days, Fort Wilderness is a beautiful, well kept gem. Everything about the resort has a rustic flair. Situated on a huge lake, there are numerous things to do at the resort. So much in fact that if you do plan to stay here, I recommend that you factor in at least a day to enjoy what the resort has to offer. I have only stayed in the cabins as I do not have an RV so this review will be slanted toward the cabin aspect but I will include some information later on for you campers out there.

The cabins are a little over 500 square feet and feature an almost all wood interior. They sleep 6 and offer a full kitchen and bathroom. The bedroom, with a bunk bed and double bed, sleeps 4 and there is a pull down Murphy bed in the main room that sleeps 2. While the beds are comfortable, for someone who likes a little room while they sleep (like me) they can be a little tight. But the fact that the beds are at opposite ends of the cabin is nice as you can put the kids to bed while you and your significant other have some quiet/alone time. The kitchen is fully stocked with a refrigerator, microwave, sink, oven, and all cooking utensils. The only thing you have to bring is food. Having the kitchen can be a huge money saver as you all know Disney's food prices are far from cheap. We eat every breakfast at the cabin and quite a few lunches/dinners. There is also a charcoal BBQ grill outside. The cabins feature a maid service everyday just like a hotel room and they will even do the dishes. I found the cabins to be clean and the maid service very competent. They even make animals for you out of the towels which is kind of neat as my kids looked forward to returning to the cabins every day wondering what kind of animal would be waiting for them. In my opinion, the cabins are vastly superior to a regular hotel room. While not huge by any stretch, they are certainly big enough for the average size family. Each cabin also features 2 TV's and a portable/fold-out crib for those who might need one. WI-FI is available but is an extra charge. Prices for the cabins range from $265 to almost $400 per night depending on the time of year. But Disney does offer numerous discounts throughout the year. You just have to keep an eye out for them. The best prices I have seen are around the $180 per night range.

The resort's grounds are absolutely beautiful and very big. In fact, at over 700 acres, the campground is more than one mile from end to end. Because of this, the resort offers a few different methods of transportation as aside from using your car to enter/exit the park, you are not allowed to use it to get around inside the resort. The first is an internal bus system. The buses run continusously throughout the day and seemed to be fairly convenient. Most of the poeople I talked to said they never waited more than 15 minutes for a bus. I never used the buses as we always opted to rent the golf carts that are available. Folks, I have read dozens of reviews about Fort Wilderness that say that the golf carts are an unecessary expense as the buses are perfectly adequate. I will tell you that if you do not have children, this may be true. But if you do have kids, the golf carts are absolutely indespensible. The convenience of being able to load up and go whenever you want without having to walk to a bus stop and wait for a bus is a major plus in my book. Yes, at $62+ per day the golf carts are expensive, after all this is Disney, but they are well worth the expense. They seat 4-5 and there are charging stations at each cabin and all over the resort. My kids had a blast riding around on it. In fact my brother, a notorious cheapskate, recently visited Fort Wilderness for the first time and repeatedly told me he would not pay for a golf cart. Well that lasted for about 6 hours and he did admit that with kids, the golf cart was a necessity and well worth it. I very much recommend Tee Time Golf Cart Rentals. The owner Kenny is a pleaure to deal with and his carts are every bit as nice and 1/2 the price of Disney's. He drops the cart right off to you and picks it up right at the resort. It couldn't be easier. So if you opt for a golf cart, look Tee Time up on the web. Bicycles are also available for rent which would be my choice if I did not have any kids.

As far as on-site activites go, there is a lot to choose from. The resort offers 2 pools. One is fairly generic offering no themes or adornments but the second is a blast. There is a water slide, kiddie play area, hot tub, and snack bar. Both are clean, heated, and very large. There is a petting zoo, horse and pony rides, a marina where you can rent power boats or book a fishing trip, horse & carriage rides, a huge white sand beach on the lake, canoe rentals, a few children's playgrounds, and a video arcade. I have saved the best for last which is a Chip & Dale campfire sing-a-long that takes place every night. This is an absolute hit with the kids as Chip & Dale arrive in person each night for pictures and autograph signings. There is singing, a campfire marshmallow roast, and a free showing of a Disney movie all of which takes place outside under the stars. The movie changes nightly so you never have to worry about the kids getting bored with the same one.

How convinient is it getting from Fort Wilderness to the theme parks?? All I can say is that once we park our car when we arrive at our cabin, we don't touch it again until we leave for home. Like Fort Wilderness, the entire Disney resort complex has a bus system that runs continuously all day taking you to wherever it is you want to go. At the front of Fort Wilderness is a bus depot where you can catch the bus you want. The bus' destination is clearly marked on front. Just wait for the one you want and hop on. During our past 3 stays at Disney, I have never waited more than 15 minutes for a bus. One of the best features of staying at Fort Wilderness is that to get to the Magic Kingdom theme park, you can take a water taxi across the lake. It's about a 15-20 minute ride and could not be more convinient dropping you off right at the front gates. Plus the ride itself is very scenic and relaxing.

One of the only cons I can think of for staying at Fort Wilderness is the few choices you have for food. There is a buffet style eatery (Trail's End) that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and a tavern that serves alcohol, pizzas, and sandwiches. The food ranges from average to good. In my opinion, for a resort as large as Fort Wilderness, there should be at least 1-2 more restaurants on-site. But this is a relatively small con as the buffet is rather large and you could eat there a few times and have a different meal each time.

There are also a couple of dinner shows on-site. The first is the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue. A long-time family favorite, the Hoop-Dee-Doo is hosted in a rustic dance hall, with high energy, country-western dancing, singing and zany vaudeville comedy. You can usually hear the show and audience laughter when walking by outside. Food is all you can eat and consists of ribs, chicken, corn, etc.. I have as yet to see the Hoop-Dee-Doo as it is kind of expensive at more than $60 for adults and $30 for kids but it must be good as every night there is a line out the door and around the building waiting to get in. I will say that I have never heard anything bad about the show......except for its "Disneyesque" price. The Hoop-Dee-Doo runs year round.

The second on-site show is Mickey's Backyard BBQ. This is a seasonal show that is a rootin'-tootin' good time. We did it last year and are going again next trip. The show is approximately 2-3 hours of country music, dancing, skits, and Disney characters including Mickey & Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck. Food is an all-you-can-eat buffet with country style cuisine such as burgers, hot dogs, chicken, potato salad, etc.. While not cheap at $49.99 for adults and $29.99 for kids, it is worth every penny as the kids can run and dance around and the Disney characters are there almost the entire time for photos and interaction.

Ok, I thought I'd include a little information for you campers out there. There are 4 different types of campsites ranging in size from 25' to 65' feet and in price from $48 for a partial hookup site to $126 per night for a premium site. Tents all the way up to 40+ foot RV's are welcome. There are comfort stations (showers, toilets, etc..) scattered about and I have never read a single review that said they are anything other than spotless. Depending on the site you choose, they feature water, sewer, electric, cable, and internet access. They also all have a picnic table and BBQ grill.

Now I'll mention some general information about the resort. The cabins and campsites are a little closer together than I originally thought they would be. This was mostly remedied by the very lush and densely wooded grounds but last year, they had to do some major brush cutting due to fire hazzard. While I understand it was ordered by the State Fire Marshall, it resulted in a more open feel throughout the park. It still is beautiful, but not as georgeous as it was 2 years ago. There are limited groceries available on-site but be prepared to pay a premium if you need anything. I highly recommend you bring everything you need from home. The horseback rides are for the extreme beginner so unless you are a die-hard horse fan, if you have even the slightest bit of horse ridding experience, this will be a boring ride. Even though I did see some deer, I was disappointed. There are laundry services on-site and jogging trails for you fitness buffs. There is also a kennel on-site which is a fantastic feature for those of you with pets as you can check them in and enjoy a full day of the theme parks without worrying about Fido. Also, don't forget the electrical water pagent parade that takes place everynight right off the beach. From the beach, you can also clearly see the firewworks at the Magic Kingdom every night. They pipe in whimsical music and you can sit back and enjoy the show.

Lastly, and this is another con, Disney does not allow you to have a fire at your cabin or campsite. I was very much dissapointed by this, I mean come on, a campground without fires?? But, I guess the risk of a forest fire isn't one Disney is willing take.

So there you have it folks, I know it was a long review but there was a lot to cover. As you can tell, I highly recommend Fort Wilderness. If you enjoy the outdoors, Disney, and "roughing it" just a little, then this will be the perfect vacation for you.

For more information, I recommend going to youtube.com. There are tons of videos posted that will give yo a good feel for the place.

Room Tip: For added privacy, I suggest the 2700 or 2800 cabin loops. They are the furthest away from the pool...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
19 Thank scott m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bel Air, Maryland
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed January 30, 2013

My family loves staying on the campground and having our own space. If you are staying in the cabin with little people who like the pool just remember location location location!!! Ask for a cabin near a pool or you may have a hike. They have golf carts which are fantastic if you dont mind paying for them and they are expensive!! They do make staying at the campgrounds more fun though. We love the campfire at night with the movies. The pools are great also having access to boat rides to Magic Kingdom AWESOME along with being able to see the fireworks at night from the beach + the boat parade! Have a great time!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Kimberly912012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jacksonville,florida
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed January 26, 2013

the cabins are expensive they charge by person not by cabin it has one big bedroom with a queen bed and bunk beds next to it, a closet and a table with a mirror with drawers..
bathroom has plenty of towels and comes complete with everything, kitchen is complely a kitchen with big range,fridge,microwave,coffee pot, ice cube trays, has a table and a sofa and a murphey bed, which is very comfortable, lots of windows you can open and a ac/heater unit each cabin comes with a porch and a picnic table..
its very very nice...2 flat screen tv and a vh system..and a telephone.

Room Tip: bring your own food as the food in their mini marts is very expensive also bring your own water
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank mynona
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Asheville, North Carolina
Level 6 Contributor
121 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 114 helpful votes
Reviewed January 24, 2013

We spent 6 days at Fort Wilderness over Christmas. Yes I was one of those crazy people who hauled their decorations there for 6 short days, but it was worth the hassle. We rented a golf cart from an off-site company, and even rented our 5th Wheel from a private owner. While not 'cheap' it was much, much cheaper than staying in the cabins during that time period. There's maintenance that come and clean off empty sites when someone leaves, so I'd go over and ask if they would blow the pine needles off our site too...and the guys were happy to. You won't find cleaner campground bathrooms, I don't know when they clean them, but they're always, always clean....we had the coquina sand at the rear of our camper, (Full Hook-up site) but next time I'd like a Premium site with nicer picnic tables, a little wider lot, and no sand to the rear....it'll cost more, but it's a once a year vacation, not like we do it all the time. It's Disney, so yes, the groceries in the store cost more...not a surprise, but if you really needed something, they were pretty well stocked and it beats having to get on the golf cart, ride to the parking lot, get in your vehicle (if you parked out there to make room for your golf cart on the parking pad like we did) then drive out to find a store....it is what it is, just come pretty well prepared and there's no worry about buying over priced food...crock pot dinners after a day at the park are just fine.

My husband and I have been married 22 years, he's not much of a fan of Christmas (we have no kids) and up until now, it's just been another day unless we went north to spend it with family....but this year, I watched as he put Christmas music on his Iphone as he decorated our site, he wore an Elf Hat and danced with Chip and Dale at the night Camp Fire, and wanted to go look at Christmas Lights and be with other people every night as we "looped". There's something Magical in them-there-woods....we already have reservations for next year, and it's 11 months from today away!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank NO2Diver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ohio
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed January 23, 2013

We returned to the Wilderness Lodge in July, having stayed there 5 years previously. When we planned our Disney vacation, this was our first choice of hotels. You can't be the location. While it is somewhat hidden in the woods, every park is easily accessible. We spend a lot of time at the Magic Kingdom so the boat transport was very convenient. The hotel is beautiful. Upon arrival we were given a free upgrade to a courtyard room. The pool area was clean and there were plenty of kids' activities during the day when we took a break from the parks. We have eaten at all of the dining facilities and enjoyed all of them. It's also a plus to have access to all of the activities at the campground just across the lake. Chip and Dale's campfire is always a big hit. We will definitely return to the Wilderness Lodge on another trip to Disney.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank international74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort McCoy, FL
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed January 20, 2013

The camp grounds are PERFECT! Clean, kept w/ power, water, cable and lots of shade and room for friends to come share in the fun~ The restrooms were immaculate and the General store just a short walk. There was a beach with activities, movies, free popcorn and smore kits and much, much more. Disney style and nothing less~!

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank sing4glorymary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Campsites at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort

Property: The Campsites at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort
Address: 4510 North Fort Wilderness Trail, Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, FL 32830-8415
Location: United States > Florida > Central Florida > Orlando
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 21 Specialty Lodging in Orlando
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — The Campsites at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 408
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Camp amid the magic of the great outdoors. Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground evokes the timeless beauty of the American frontier, with deer, rabbits, ducks and armadillos roaming the Resort's 750 acres of pine and cypress forest. Discover charming woodland trails, a pristine beach, spectacular pool areas and rip-roarin' entertainment at this picturesque backcountry retreat. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Disney Camping
Fort Wilderness Disney
Campground Orlando
Fort Wilderness Florida
Disneys Fort Wilderness Resort Campground
Ft Wilderness Disney
Disney Fort Wilderness Resort
Disneys Ft Wilderness Campground

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