By the co-author of the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook ever -- The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

Review: The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, Continued

By Dave Shute

To go to the first page of this review, click here.


Campsites are not one size fits all.

They are divided into loops.

Each loop is of a type–in descending price order, the types are Premium, Preferred, Full Hook-up, and Partial Hook-up.

Within the first three types, there are also pet-friendly loops.

The key for first-time visitors to the Campsites at Fort Wilderness is first to specify your rig, gear and requirements, and second, if tent-camping, to bring the right gear.

Different loops (and their campsites) are optimized for big rigs (longer than 45 feet), slide outs on both sides, campers with pets, and tent campers.

Describe your gear exactly when you make your reservation.

  • Those with big rigs or slide-outs on both sides should reserve “premium” sites, newly rehabbed sites with longer and wider asphalt pads. These sites have no distinct area for tents
  • Those with pets should indicate that in addition to describing their gear, and Disney will put them into a pet site.
  • Those with tents should avoid the premium sites as they have no tent pads. Tent, pop-up, or camper-van campers may request “partial hook-up” sites which are cheaper than the other sites, and have electricity and water included for free, but no sewer. Tent campers may also request preferred or full-hook up sites (and must do so if seeking pet sites). As noted above, tent campers should avoid premium sites, as they have no tent pad–just asphalt!

After you’ve described your rig and pet needs, you can then request to be closer to a part of the campground. The two most popular areas to be close to are

  • The Meadows area, which includes a store, the main pool, and the campfire area, and
  • The Settlement area, which puts you closer to the boat docks (and thus Magic Kingdom transport), dining areas, beach, marina, and another store.

Those wanting to be close to the Settlement area should target a “preferred” site. Tent campers who do so likely will be ensconced within a sea of RVs.

In addition to all this, you can request also a specific loop (see the map below.) But if you do, make sure you say why, so that if Disney can’t get you into it, they know what you were looking for from the loop and can use that information to put you into the next best available site in your price class!


Tent campers need to bring the right gear.

Tent pads are sand, and rain and storms are common in Orlando.

Standard stakes will not hold in this sand, and many family tents are designed with ludicrously inadequate rain flies which will not protect them from side-blowing rain.

  • Bring stakes designed for sand, and extra rope to guy your tent and flies out to any available trees, shrubs or roots. (Don’t count on such guy points being available–make sure you bring sand stakes too!)
  • Bring at least one fly for your dining table–two are better, to build a sun shade as well–and if your tent won’t stand a sideways rain, bring a tarp that will cover the top and the sides.

(Note that many dome tents are sold as “free-standing.” Without stakes and/or guys, in a storm such tents become “free-ballooning.”)

I’ve seen more than one family with no flies and a tent whose rain fly only covers its top abandon Fort Wilderness after a thunderstorm, with their tent stuffed in one of the campground’s trash cans!!

Click the image to open a map.


Families with RVs or a complete set of tent-camping gear, including flies and sand stakes; larger families seeking an inexpensive place to stay in Walt Disney World.


Families with mobility issues; families seeking a convenient resort; families seeking a kid-appealing resort.


This review continues here.

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1 crystal { 01.02.13 at 10:02 am }

Hi! we are planning a disney trip in april and plan on staying in the camp sites with our tent. We usually stay in hotels, but the kids want to camp! We camp here at home, but it’s winter here and our 2 kids want to tent it, so we’re going to, plus it’s way cheaper! we have never been here though and dont really have a clue? How long of a walk is it to the bathrooms? are there lots of them? Also, do they have showers? And if it’s hot is there anywhere to get out of the sun and in the a/c? And do you know how much it is to rent bikes or a gulf cart while your there? THank you so much!

2 Dave { 01.02.13 at 5:36 pm }

Hi Crystal! I’ve got tons of stuff on the campsites beginning here: I love tent camping and love WDW and find they go together great. My wife, on the other hand, thinks I’m nuts. She loves both but thinks they should be kept separate. But you can’t beat the price…

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3 COCO { 10.07.13 at 9:31 am }

Very very good details and tips, thank you so much!!

4 Dave { 10.08.13 at 7:50 am }

Thanks, Coco!

5 Andrea { 07.31.14 at 11:36 am }

I’m unfamiliar with sand stakes. Are they the big hard plastic ones or the big metal ones?

6 Dave { 07.31.14 at 1:56 pm }
7 minnie gandy { 10.23.14 at 2:29 pm }

Our family of 10 will be tent camping may24-30. I need to know everything about camping at www. Bath houses? Do we bring our own towels? Electricity? Really everything you can tell me to make our camping experience a great one . We will h ave more than one tent and 4 kids. Ages 12,11,19,7.

8 Dave { 10.24.14 at 7:25 am }

Minnie there’s thousands of words on the campsites beginning here: Bring your own towels. Every loop has a bath house. Electricity at every site. Let me know after you’ve read the rest any more questions!

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