Maybe you are the outdoor type who truly loves to “rough it” and get back to nature. Or maybe you are a hard core Disney fan and you have your punch list to stay at every Disney resort. Or maybe you are looking for a way to save some cash as you go on the Disney vacation of your dreams. For all of you, and many others, Disney’s Fort Wilderness campsites have plenty to offer.
Maybe you are asking yourself, are there good things to do at Fort Wilderness? The answer is a big yes! You could easily spend several days taking in all the activities that Fort Wilderness has to offer, and never step foot in a theme park. Of course, you are so close to the Disney magic that you will surely want to do that, but there are still plenty of other options. Here are some to consider:
Walt Disney himself was apparently a fan of horses. He used them in many of his movies and there are plenty of historical pictures of Walt with a horse. Fort Wilderness continues that connection with horses. Visit the Outpost Depot and ride a full sized horse for about an hour – but be sure to remember your closed toe shoes. Little kids can head to the back of the campgrounds and ride a pony as long as they are under 80 pounds. And kids and adults alike should check out the stables where all of Disney World’s horses reside, including the huge Percheron horses, which at up to 2,200 pounds each are a sight to behold.
Rent A Golf Cart
OK, it’s not a thrill ride, but renting a golf cart to get around can be fun. You see, Fort Wilderness is purposefully not very car-friendly. Most people walk, ride their bikes, take the shuttle buses, or rent a golf cart. This is especially important since there is basically no parking for cars at the Settlement where several restaurants, shops, boat launches, and the beach are located.
Get Some Snacks
It seems that everyone who goes camping needs an occasional extra bag of ice – or maybe even a box of salt water taffy from Goofy’s Candy Company. There are small shops that sell basic food items as well as fun Disney merchandise both in the center of the campgrounds as well as at the Settlement area at the end of the park.
Get A Full Meal
Even though it is a fun family activity, after a few days cooking hot dogs over the open fire can get a little old. It is nice to eat a full meal in air conditioned comfort. Fortunately there are several choices at Fort Wilderness. One of the most popular is the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review. Enjoy an all you can eat dinner of chicken and ribs together with a fun, if just a bit hokey, dinner show. If you prefer to skip the air conditioning and have a liking for Western music, check out the other “all you care to eat” dinner show at the nearby Mickey’s Backyard BBQ. And, if you really don’t want a show interrupting your dinner, make your way over to the Trail’s End Restaurant for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Enjoy the buffet, a la cart offerings, and even take out.
Paddle A Canoe
If you like to check out nature, head over to the Bike Barn and rent a canoe. You can paddle for about 30 minutes and get to see the grounds from a unique perspective while you get a little exercise and also have a little fun. The canoe rental includes paddles and life vests.
Make A Button
There aren’t a lot of activities at Disney that make you say “now that is truly a good deal,” but making your own button might just be one of them. For $1 you can pick out a Disney character. There are dozens of them printed on paper in books that contain about 20 pages of options available. During select times at the Bike Barn, pick out your character, pay for the button, get you own round piece of paper, and express the artist in yourself using colored pencils or magic markers. You can make Mickey Mouse, characters from Cars, Princesses, and many many other Disney drawings come to life with your own imagination and your own colors. When you have finished your little round masterpiece take it back to the window and a helpful Disney cast member will press it into a button. Pin it to your shirt or hat – great fun!
Go For A Swim
The Fort Wilderness campground has a terrific pool. It has a great circular slide that is fun for all ages and dumps you into the pool. A kid’s play area has fountains. In addition to the big pool, there are bathrooms nearby as well as outdoor showers where you can use fresh water to rinse away the chlorine. There is a snack bar where you can purchase basic food and drinks – perfect for a relaxing day around the pool
Check Out The Residents
Have you, or maybe a kids you know, ever wished they could actually live at Disney World all the time? Did you know that here are actually a hand full of real people who are doing just that? Some people have purchased full size RVs and rent the same spot at Fort Wilderness day after day – in effect, living at Disney World full time. These folks have put up lamp posts and decked out the RVs in great Disney style – some with dozens of plush animals in the windows, others with scale sized Cinderella Castles parked in front. If you drive around Fort Wilderness near Christmas time you will see that these full-timers decorate their camp sites just like regular folks decorate their houses.
And Yes, Even More
Surprised at all the fun things you can do at Disney’s Fort Wilderness campground without even stepping foot in a theme park? But wait, there is more. You can take in tennis, biking, volley ball, archery, watercraft rental, and fishing. Wow, that is a huge list of fun things to do at the campgrounds! And, after you have finished off all those items, you can make your plans to visit the Magic Kingdom (just a short boat ride away) or any of the other amazing Disney theme parks. Have fun campers!