Address: 3520 North Fort Wilderness Trail, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Dates Stayed: 08/25/2016 – 08/28/2016
Rate (Premium, Florida Resident): Thursday $70.50, Friday $70.50, Saturday $86, Average: $75.67
This campground is on Disney property in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. To get there we went through the far right lane of the toll booth at the Magic Kingdom and then an immediate right onto the service road that led to the campground. If you haven’t been to Disney World, it is an enormous chunk of land with mature trees and lots of greenery. The campground is no exception, with tall trees and lots of grass. When we think about camping, this is the landscape we think of.
Checking in was a breeze. The first stop is a guard shack to present photo ID and then on to the chck-in station. We didn’t have to get out of our coach to check-in, all Amber had to do was open the driver’s side window. The Disney cast members requested that we turn off our engine, if we could, which we happily did. However, our generator was running to keep the coach’s house cool during the drive, which we kept on through check-in. We were handed a map and given directions to our camp site and off we went.
It was a bit of a challenge to back into the camp site. The road is pretty narrow and there are trees on either side of the road that made it hard to back in, but Amber did it pretty well. The camp site (1315) is a very level pad and our automatic leveling jacks had no problem leveling quickly.
The services included at the site are 30/50amp electric, fresh water (2 spigots), cable TV and sewer. The two spigots was nice for keeping the fresh water hooked up while cleaning the black water tank via the other spigot. There is cable television at this site and when we scanned for channels, we were able to receive numerous digital stations, including Disney stations, of course.
There is a grill and a picnic table at the campsite. Unfortunately, we were unable to use the grill this trip. We planned on grilling Saturday night and it rained, so Amber just cooked our steaks inside the coach.
WiFi & Cellular
Since we arrived during my work lunch break, I needed to finish working for the day. The WiFi is very strong and fast. As with any WiFi, the more people who are on it, the slower it gets and this is no exception. I noticed several disconnections and reconnections during internet sessions, but I did not have to use cell service at any time during the trip. When we have stayed in Disney hotels recently, we have had great WiFi and this was no exception.
As you can expect, Disney does family activities right. There are lots of things to do at Fort Wilderness. We feel the campground itself can be a destination and, in fact, we plan on returning during our annual pass blackout period to simply enjoy all the campground has to offer.
Being so close to Magic Kingdom, there is boat service directly from the campground to the park. That is not the only transportation, however. Since the campground is so big, there are buses that will take you to various stops in the campground itself, as well as to the front entrance where you can get a bus to other places on Disney property. Some trips are not direct routes and you have to go to one place and switch buses. We found Fort Wilderness to be very centrally located, so trips to Disney Springs and Epcot were very quick bus rides.
Just before we checked out of our camp site and I was cleaning our gray and black tanks, Christopher had to go to the bathroom. Amber took him to the comfort station just a quick walk from our site and she reported it to be very clean and in great condition.
Disney does a great job with pools for kids of all ages. Fort Wilderness has a large pool with winding slide and a smaller kids splash area. Life vests are provided for kids who are not strong swimmers, this allowed Christopher and I to go down the slide separately without Amber having to be at the bottom of the slide to help him swim to the side.
There is a general store with various groceries and Disney items. As usual, prices are high, but they have things that everyone needs. Driving off property to save a few dollars is a tough sell since it would be a hike with traffic.
As far as activities go, there are quite a few. We went to the nightly fire lighting where you could roast marshmallows and make S’mores. We stayed at the Contemporary Resort and they provided marshmallows, but Fort Wilderness does not. We learned when we got there that we had to bring our own or buy a S’more kit at the store. Needless to say, Christopher was pretty upset. There are more activities available. If you are planning on staying at Fort Wilderness, check out what is being offered during your stay.
As mentioned earlier, Fort Wilderness Campground is what we see in our minds when we think of camping. Christopher struck up a conversation with a family from Canada and they mentioned that it was a very economical way to stay at Disney and we’d have to agree. For what it offers, Fort Wilderness is a great value.
If Disney is your destination, this campground makes a lot of sense. We looked at other campgrounds in the area and they are nearly as expensive and offer none of the activities. There are much cheaper campgrounds that offer nothing but a place to park. If you do stay offsite and plan on going to the Disney theme parks, you will have to drive, park and take a tram to the gate. At the Magic Kingdom, you have to take the tram to the transportation and ticket center, then take more transportation to the gate. Getting around is much less stressful when you stay at Fort Wilderness. If you really want to take a vacation and avoid the stress of getting to and from theme parks, Fort Wilderness is for you.
If your destination is not Disney World, then it may be cheaper staying at another campground. However, you will still have to drive to other areas of interest. We have done this many times with hotels and if you know the area, it’s not that bad, except at time with heavy traffic or rain storms.