So, you’ve decided to go to Walt Disney World. How exciting! The first decision is when to go. The second and possibly “most important” decision is which resort to stay at. I take where to stay seriously. Ha! Disney offers so many resort choices. I’ve stayed at every level Disney offers… a value, a moderate, a deluxe, and Disney’s Vacation Club resorts. However, Disney’s Ft. Wilderness has my heart! I’m not a camper, as in a pop-up camper type. (Just ask my husband, who bought a new pop up camper. Did he really think I was going to stay in a 10×10 metal box with no bathroom and 3 children? The answer to that was … a For Sale sign on the camper a month later! ha!!) Oh no, this gal loves her indoor plumbing, full size kitchen, and mouse-keeping. (That’s Disney talk for housekeeping.)
Our first visit was in 1998, when I tried to make reservations at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, and it was booked. The cast member suggested, since I had 3 small children, I might find the cabins a great option. I wasn’t too sold on the whole ‘campground’ idea. However, the full size kitchen won me over. Yes, I used to cook on vacation. The cabins offer your own personal grill with a picnic table. My kids loved to cook on the grill and eat outside. Since then, I discovered Disney’s Dining Plan, but that’s a whole different story!
I personally find a resort room with 3 children a bit cramped. I worried about the noise level when my kids were on ‘full steam’ ahead mode. I didn’t have to worry about that at the cabins. The kids could run around without distrubing other guests. I love returning to the campground after a long, busy, noisy day at the parks. It’s so peaceful as soon as you enter the grounds.
I can’t tell you how many times I hear “Who cares where you stay, it’s just a place to sleep”? Well, yes and no. You can make a whole other vacation out of the campgrounds. Ft. Wilderness has so much to offer. Set in a “world apart” this home away from home resort has its own range of “countrified” amusements including:
- An evening campfire with a marshmallow (bring your own marshmallows or cash to buy them) roast, sing-a-long, visit from Chip n Dale, and movie under the stars
- Picnic pavilion
- Hoop De Doo Revue Dinner Show that books a year in advance so get your tickets early
- Mickey’s Backyard BBQ – Seasonal
- Horse Stables where horses are available for riding, visiting and Horse-drawn carriage rides
- 2 Pools – One located near campground and a 2nd pool near the cabins area (Child wading pool and hot tub)
- Children’s playground and Arcade
- Segways Adventure
- Bike rental for exploring the area and a Marina/boat rental
- Waggin’ Trails Dog Park
- Trails End Buffeteria serving three meals of all you can eat Country cookin’
- Trading Post for basic food essentials and other shopping needs
- Rent a golf cart
- A short boat ride to the Magic Kingdom!
Fast forward 14 years and 20 plus stays at Ft. Wilderness… it still has my heart, even though my kids are growing up and their ‘needs’ aren’t the same now. I have to laugh because a few years ago, my husband and I went to Disney without the kids. (Gasp! Disney without the kids!) I thought what a perfect time to try a new resort. I picked Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort. Well, after the first night there, we checked out and headed to Ft. Wilderness and checked in there. Even without the kids, the cabins are still ‘my’ home away from home. My heart skips a beat when you check in and hear, “Howdy, welcome home”. Ahhh, yes, I’m ‘home’.