My wife and I knew that the first time we brought our family to Walt Disney World we had to stay on Disney property and it had to be the best place for us to survive with a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old. We didn’t want to be confined in a small room even though it was cheap, especially since my son and daughter went to bed early at night. We had stayed at Fort Wilderness before and it was the place my family stayed on multiple trips when I was a child. Needless to say, we loved it then and my family loves it now.
1) Lots of Room: Inside the cabin there are two double beds, a set of bunk beds, as well as a pack and play. One of the double beds is located in the main living area. When the kids went to sleep in the bedrooms my wife and I still had the whole living room with a television to ourselves. One of us could leave out the main door, and the kids weren’t disturbed. The full-size kitchen with stove, microwave, and fridge allowed you to cook your own meals if you were tired of eating out. If the rentable cabins are not your style, there are almost 800 campsites that can accommodate the full-sized motorhomes or a tent. A lot of personal needs can be met with Fort Wilderness’ unique layout of full-service cabins and campsites.
2) Lots to do: You could spend many days just on Fort Wilderness property at the two pools, one with an amazing waterslide, a splash pad, tennis courts, volleyball nets, canoe rentals, fishing, and a marina where you can rent a variety of personal water craft to travel around Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon. This is the place where pony rides for kids and trail riding for bigger kids is possible. If you’re lucky, you might even see the blacksmith who operates near the Tri-Circle-D Ranch make some horseshoes.
3) The Meadow Trading Post: All resorts have a store, Fort Wilderness does too, but it’s a destination. The Meadow Trading Post is located in the center of the resort and has all available Disney merchandise. The quaint little store looks like a western trading post in appearance and in theming. Behind it is a whole other world with a pool, splash pad, arcade, and snack stand. This is the place where you can rent sports equipment like bicycles, fishing poles, and canoes. At nighttime the outdoor theatre that is part of the Meadow Trading Post complex is active with Chip and Dale visiting guests as they roast marshmallows, sing campfire songs, and watch classic Disney movies on the big screen under the stars.
4) Proximity to the Magic Kingdom: The Magic Kingdom is a short ferry boat ride away from Fort Wilderness. For my family we spent a lot of time at Magic Kingdom and it was nice to be so close. Taking a boat to your resort is so much more relaxed then running for a bus, and it’s a unique experience that is capped off by the personable Cast Members who operate these nautical crafts. When you arrive at the Fort Wilderness marina, it’s like you enter a private world that very few in Disney World know about. At nighttime you can hear the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom, and the electrical water parade that circles through Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon is a one of a kind experience that can be found nowhere else on Disney World property and you can see it all while standing on the crystal white sandy beach at the Fort Wilderness marina.
5) Pioneer Hall: Pioneer Hall is your last stop before leaving Fort Wilderness by ferry, and the first thing you see when you return. Pioneer Hall is not just one building but a multitude of activities and places to see. In the building, you have Trails End Buffet restaurant that serves a buffet breakfast, menu lunch, and buffet supper, and it has some of the best food on property. Next door is the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue where the Pioneer Hall Players come to the western theatre to perform classic songs and slapstick routines that will make any guests tap their toes and sing and dance with the period entertainers. It can be expensive, but it is covered on the Dining Plan. Be warned it takes two sit down meals for each guest. If you are looking for a relaxed moment order a drink from the service window at Crockett’s Tavern and sit in the rocking chairs listening to the sound of nature and maybe the toot of a boat horn.
Four theme parks, two water parks, and dozens of resort hotels can be found on Walt Disney World property, but if you haven’t been to Fort Wilderness, check it out and discover what you have been missing. Watch out for the golf carts, horses, buses, and maybe a wild peacock or two. They have been known to roam the grounds.