The perfect place to camp in Florida? Disney World.

  •  The perfect place to camp in Florida? Disney World.
  • Disney’s Fort Wilderness campground has good facilities in addition to devotees who go yearly.
  • In keeping with the individuals Insider spoke to, at The Fort, “You get that Disney magic.”

One of many hottest tenting locations in Florida is not a nationwide park in any respect — it is Disney World. 

Tucked away from the hustle of the Magic Kingdom is Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. At first look, it feels like every outdated campsite — 750 acres of pine and cypress sprout from the bottom and every visitor has their very own campsite with a charcoal grill and a picnic desk. Campers odor the remnants of close by fires and greenery and see the occasional turkey or deer alongside households in golf carts or driving bicycles. 

However Disney’s contact is in all places. Most nights characteristic campfire sing-a-longs hosted by Chip ‘n’ Dale and outside screenings of Disney motion pictures. Close by, youngsters can trip ponies across the property or enterprise down the close by 67-foot-long corkscrew waterslide. And, after all, you may discover Mickey Mouse heads hidden all through the grounds.

Within the tents, RVs, and cabins, you may discover an brisk neighborhood of campers who love what they affectionately name “The Fort,” and who generally do not even trouble visiting the well-known close by theme park in any respect.

To The Fort lovers, spending 1000’s to camp at Disney is price it

Fort Wilderness first opened in 1971, the identical yr Disney World did. A few of its most loyal campers have been there for many years, too. 

And whereas tenting at state parks in Florida can generally value as little as $2.50 an evening, these websites haven’t got what Disney does.

Debbie Neely, a mother of two who’s been tenting at The Fort for 25 years, spent years tenting in nationwide parks till she determined she wished one thing much less primitive that additionally had actions for her household. 

“We had been simply in search of one thing enjoyable to do with the children in a protected setting and with clear loos and Disney had it,” she mentioned. 

fort wilderness welcome sign

I stayed at Fort Wilderness for 2 nights, and it was my first time tenting.

Jenna Clark

At Fort Wilderness, tenting is extra like “glamping.” Guests can keep in tents, RVs, or cell houses with entry to consolation stations with showers and bathrooms. For the actually tenting opposed, there are free-standing cabins with air-con and the campsites have electrical and TV hookups in addition to Wi-Fi.

Campers usually spend round $99 and $186 per evening to lease a tent or RV area on the Fort, or $400 to $800 for a cabin, relying on the season (to place that in perspective, the price of close by Disney resort resorts vary from about $150 to over $1,200 per evening).

The individuals Insider spoke to mentioned their tenting journeys usually value them 1000’s of {dollars} — nevertheless it’s price it a lot that they have been coming again for years. 

Tiffany Jones, a mom of 4 from Floria, who has camped at Fort Wilderness greater than 20 occasions inside 14 years, most just lately spent about $1,000 for a four-day keep in December. She’s camped at mountain ranges and state parks just like the Smoky Mountain Nationwide Park however says Disney is definitely worth the increased worth.

“There’s positively no facilities like Disney. You are getting Disney, for one. Secondly, you’ve the gorgeous loos,” Jones instructed Insider. “Plus, there’s the campfire sing-a-long, the horse barn, and the eating places — you do not get any of that on the state parks.”

campfire sing along disney with barrels in front

The Fort has touches of Disney in all places, from sing-a-longs to “hidden Mickeys.”

Jenna Clark

Jason Duncan, a Florida native who has camped at Fort Wilderness not less than 60 occasions, mentioned he usually spends round $2,500 for his and his household’s journeys, which incorporates tolls, meals, and gasoline — the worth is price it since he will get to deliver his cell house.

It is also good for anybody who needs to deliver their pets. Brianna Furman, who’s been tenting along with her husband at The Fort since 2018, instructed Insider that she has stayed at a number of different Disney resorts however none are pet-friendly like The Fort. For below $1,000, she will spend per week parked in her camper along with her canine.

Though Disney World is steps away from the campground, it isn’t the draw

A lot of the campers Insider spoke to do not even go to the parks a lot (if in any respect) after they camp at Fort Wilderness though Magic Kingdom is simply a five-minute automotive trip or 15-minute boat trip away.  

“You haven’t any thought that you just’re really actually at Disney,” Furman mentioned. 

There’s a lot to do round The Fort. When Brandi Puglise Vosberg, who’s camped at Fort Wilderness greater than 20 occasions, is there along with her household, they typically choose to remain on the campground and do archery, horseback driving, and pony rides.

“We take pleasure in going to The Fort not less than twice a yr, nevertheless it’s often about three, perhaps 4 occasions a yr, and we have executed every little thing from RV to a tent, to a cabin,” Vosberg shared. 

golf cart decorated to look like mater

Campers in The Fort add Disney touches to their golf carts and campsites.

Jenna Clark

The campground can also be a manner for some households to fulfill within the center. 

Duncan, who says he prefers vacationing in nature, can sit again whereas his teenage son and spouse head to extra crowded locations.

“I am form of a rustic boy so I can take my household to a giant metropolis and nonetheless keep. I do not go each place they go, I won’t go to the parks, so I can nonetheless hang around and do my factor on the campground and really feel like I am within the woods and nonetheless be shut,” he mentioned.

The Fort Wilderness tenting neighborhood may be very lively each at The Fort and on-line

Duncan mentioned that the campers at Fort Wilderness are a part of a “particular neighborhood.” Certainly one of his fondest recollections is sitting with a beer cooler at 10 p.m. on the Disney property simply speaking to different campers.

Members of The Fort have a strong on-line presence with unofficial Fb teams together with “I Love Tenting at Disney’s Fort Wilderness” and “Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort Campground” with greater than 56,000 members mixed. 

Utilizing these pages, members welcome unofficial scavenger hunts and “chalking” periods — when individuals submit their web site quantity to let others know they’re open to receiving messages and sketches.

Traffic ahead sign with chip and dale

There are touches of Disney in all places you look in The Fort.

Jenna Clark

“I imply you neglect your butter, you simply put a submit out. It is a good neighborhood. Once you go away, when you’ve got stuff left over, we usually go away it behind for a neighbor so it is good,” Vosberg mentioned. 

Throughout the vacation season, individuals hold themed inflatables, lights, and different do-it-yourself and store-bought decorations so long as they meet Disney’s laws, and usually attempt to spruce up their campsites all yr spherical. 

inflatable pumpkin mickey and baby yoda

Some Fort Wilderness campers go all out adorning their campsites for Halloween.

Jenna Clark

“Now we have an outside grill, no matter hearth pit they deem authorized on the time, a pop-up tent for out of doors, and a placing excessive of the picnic desk. We do the projection display screen after we sit exterior. I put the display screen up and we watch sports activities, motion pictures, and all that form of stuff,” mentioned Duncan. 

The campsite is crammed with regulars, however the neighborhood welcomes newbies, too. Most campers Insider spoke to really useful Fort Wilderness for first-time campers particularly because the campsite is so near a giant metropolis and “form of eases you in,” mentioned Jones. 

Though Fort Wilderness has actions, meals, and theme parks close by, the individuals Insider spoke to mentioned it is actually the passionate neighborhood that makes the expertise so distinctive and retains them returning all through the years.

As Furman put it, at The Fort, “You get that Disney magic.”