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Updated: Fort Wilderness: A Wonderful Place to Stay

Get ready to celebrate! Next year, 2021, will mark the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort!! Package bookings for 2021 should open up this summer. From now until then, we will be revisiting our 5 Reasons to Love series about WDW resorts to help you decide where to stay next year.

from, the Walking Down Main Street team


On our last family vacation to Disney World we shared a cabin with my in laws and we all had the best time. Here are some of the reasons you may enjoy staying or just stopping by Fort Wilderness.

Each cabin consists of a living room with a pull-out sofa, TV, a table and chairs and a full kitchen stocked with all the supplies you’d need to cook and eat a meal. A full bathroom, a separate bedroom with a queen size bed, twin bunk beds and its own TV. Then a deck with a picnic table and grill plus your own parking spot right out front.

Fort Wilderness is an expansive resort with an internal bus system to get you around the property and to the other parks and resorts. To save you time and for the added convenience Disney rents golf carts to guests for around $62 per night. That was one of our favorite parts of the trip, riding around on the golf cart each day, so simple yet so fun!

If you love the idea of Fort Wilderness but the cabins are not in your budget, check out the campsites. They are some of the most affordable accommodations on property and can sleep up to 10. They have full hook up sites for campers with cable and electrical hook-ups and tent / pop-up sites. Most call this 'glamping' but if you love the great outdoors you'll forget you're in Florida! Comfort Stations are positioned around the property with restrooms, showers, ice machines and laundry. I still love seeing the campsites decked out in decorations. People often stay for weeks at a time and decorate with lights and lawn ornaments. Around the holidays they are really festive!  I stayed in both a camper and in a tent with my family when we visited in the '80s and '90s. We stayed in the camper for 2 weeks. How wonderful would it be to stay at Disney for 2 weeks!!   

Along Bay Lake is a boat launch that will take you to the Magic Kingdom, Wilderness Lodge and the Contemporary.

The Meadow Swimmin’ Pool and Meadow Snack Bar area is enough to keep a family entertained for hours! The pool has a slide and they even have themed activities for kids at certain times of the day. Need to get out of the sun? Head inside to the arcade or General Store right next door for some souvenirs or snacks to bring back to your cabin. Hungry? Meadow Snack Bar serves salads, sandwiches and pizza plus has a soda fountain to refill those drink mugs you got with your dining plan.

There is also a large playground, bicycle rentals, carriage rides, pony rides (for an additional charge), tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, an archery experience (for an additional charge), boat rentals and a sandy beach to sit, relax and watch the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom. They even play the music that you hear in the park.

For the animal lovers visit the Tri-Circle-D Ranch located at the Outpost Depot or the resort entrance. We watched the animals while we waited for the park bus!

Chip ‘n Dale host a nightly campfire celebration followed by a Disney movie and it’s free, even if you’re not staying at Fort Wilderness! The party starts with a cowboy up on stage singing an assortment of country tunes. Everyone is invited to get up and sing and dance. There is a food truck to purchase beverages (alcohol is available to guests over 21), counter style food items and S’mores kits. Then you can mosey on over to the bon fire to roast marshmallows while you wait to meet Chip n Dale and for the movie to begin after dark. It’s really the perfect end to the day.

If you’d love to eat at a buffet but not pay the price for the character experience visit Trails End. The average cost for an adult is only $25 and $15 for a child. The buffet is full of southern country favorites like Cheese Grits, Biscuits and Gravy and Bread Pudding for breakfast. The staff is also so friendly, they make you feel like you’re at home.

Looking for a root in’-toot-in’ good time for the whole family? I’m sad to say Mickey’s Backyard BBQ is no more ☹. Disney is making room for a new Vacation Club Resort where River Country used to sit but you can still schedule a dinner at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue. The meal uses 2 table service dining credits but includes unlimited beer, sangria and wine for the adults (if you’re at Disney on your own with a few kids what sane parent doesn't need a drink!?) Guests enjoy a dinner with all-you-care-to-enjoy fried chicken and BBQ ribs plus salad and other sides. And, of course, there is a lively and entertaining show for adults and kids. When I was eight years old, I was invited up on stage by one of the performers! It’s a memory everyone in my family will never forget, but don’t be like my father and leave the video camera in the cabin!! (My grandmother never let him live that down!)

There is so much more to a Disney vacation than just theme parks. And when you upgrade to a moderate or deluxe resort you get so much value for your money in just what’s available to you.

Ready to begin your next adventure?!


Melissa Lenox is a Vacation Specialist with Coasters & Castles Travel. She is a former cast member, loves Star Wars, Chip 'n Dale, dining at Walt Disney World and planning trips for others! Contact her at mlenox@coastersandcastlestravel.com

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