I’ve visited Disney’s Ft. Wilderness campground and enjoyed the festive atmosphere. When I got the chance to camp there with a group for only $28, I was in!!
A quick disclaimer…..if you’re used to quiet primitive, back country camping this isn’t it. This a fun, lots of activities happening, place. Even if by chance you don’t hear many people, you will hear and see the fireworks from the nearby parks.
The campground is very pedestrian, bike, and golf cart friendly. In fact golf carts seem to be the preferred mode of transportation. There are also free buses to take you around the campground or to other Disney locations.
My first evening of exploring, I ended up at an outdoor amphitheater. Kids, of all ages, were roasting marshmallows and the concession stand had cookies, popcorn, hot chocolate, and the like. Shortly after I arrived, they began showing a Muppets Christmas movie. Lots of families and kids milled around so it wasn’t perfectly quiet, but it was fun to watch a movie under the stars.
Then I headed back to camp and grabbed a shower. It was great; I had the place to myself and plenty of hot water. The next morning I went to brush my teeth and there was a long line. The next night I did the same and there was no one there again. Speaking of the shower, it was as nice as the shower at home. Wall to wall earth toned tile with an inset for shampoo, soap, and shaving supplies.
One of the advantages of camping at Ft. Wilderness is the proximity to all the Disney areas .The next day we caught the boat to the Contemporary resort. From there, took the monorail to the Grand Floridian for some exploring.
Now, if you’ve never been to the Grand Floridian at Christmas, you need to go. At the front, you’ll be served roasted chestnuts and apple cider. Once inside, there’s an incredibly large Christmas tree that can only be described as Disney in size. Every year, the crew makes a full size ginger bread house and you can listen to them describe how they built it. On the other side of the house, you can buy all sorts of sweets and treats.
From there, we hopped a bus to Downtown Disney for lunch. After wandering around the shops, it was time to catch a bus back to the campground.
After seeing lots of people out holiday shopping it was time for a quiet bike ride along the trails. There are two nature trails that run between Ft Wilderness campground and the Wilderness Resort. One is paved and follows the road between the two resorts. The other is dirt and is accessed from behind The Wilderness Lodge, just beyond the main pool off to the right. You’ll see bike rentals and such and the path begins there. It’s common to see deer along this path and you can also enjoy some nice views of the Contemporary Resort across the lake. The dirt trail connects back to the paved trail so you can easily find your way back to the campground.
After exploring the trails at dusk, I headed back to the campground and quickly found the golf cart Christmas parade. Each cart was uniquely decorated with lights, figurines, sound systems and the like. Definitely plan to explore the campground at night so you can enjoy all the holiday decorations.
Here are video links to the golf parade:
Afterwards, I made my way back to the beach for a front row seat to the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks. The fireworks start at 10pm, but if you want a beach chair, get there by 9:15. Course, just bring a blanket and you can sit in the sand. It’s the same view.
At the beach, you can only see the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks. From the campsite you can hear/see the fireworks from Epcot at 9pm and Magic Kingdom at 10pm.
I was only there two days, but could’ve easily spent a few more. There is plenty to do for kids and adults at the campground and surrounding areas; bike rentals, boat rentals, kayak rentals, carriage rides, horseback rides, a show, multiple swimming pools, etc.
The winter season is usually the busiest because the weather is cool and dry. So plan to come and spend a few days. Even if you can’t camp, swing by and enjoy the festivities.
For more information: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/campsites-at-fort-wilderness-resort/