The third installment in an ongoing series about the ins and outs of camping at Disney’s Fort Wilderness, this entry will focus on the different methods of getting around the campground which can be overwhelming due to its size. Please be sure to catch up with Part 1 about RV rentals and Part 2 which was about getting groceries to your campsite.
Now that you have the basics of food and shelter planned out, how about a convenience factor such as how you will get around the campgrounds. Of course you can always opt to just schlep it on foot, but this may be an unwise move. The trading posts, restaurants, and recreational activities are spread throughout the complex. And, although it is camping, hiking everywhere you need to go may just not be feasible.
The most important thing you must know about transportation at Fort Wilderness is that the is no car parking except at your own campsite or cabin, at the front of the resort (the Outpost) for check-in and day guests, and 15 minute parking at the Meadows Trading Post for picking up supplies from the retail outlet there. There is no parking at the Settlement (where you find Hoop Dee Doo and Trail’s End) except for bikes and golf carts.
1) Disney Transportation
Disney busing is a wonderful amenity to all of the Disney resorts, and the Fort Wilderness campgrounds is no exception. Not only do they have busing that takes you to the parks and Downtown Disney, but they also have internal loops that will take you to the different areas of the campground. Lines are labeled as Orange, Yellow, or Purple. All three begin and end at the Settlement Depot and the Outpost Depot, but take different paths through the campground. It is always best to check the color coded map in the bus depot to see which bus line you need, as things do change, but I will give you a brief primer. Click the map to the right to view full size.
The purple line runs through the 2000-2800 campsite areas and passes a those sites’ sports areas with volleyball, basketball, and quiet pools. The orange line runs through the 600-700 and the 1000-1300 campsite areas. The yellow line runs through the 100-500 and 1400-1900 campsite areas. Both the orange and yellow lines will take you to the Meadows which includes: Chip and Dale’s Campfire Sing A Long, the Bike Barn where you can rent golf carts, bikes, canoes and kayaks, the Meadow recreation area which contains the Meadow swimming pool, snack bar, Daniel Boone’s Wilderness arcade, shuffleboards, and horseshoes, and the Meadow Trading Post.
Of course bringing your own bikes for your family is certainly an option, and one I am sure you will be likely to choose if you already own your own RV and/or are driving to Fort Wilderness. But, for those campers who are flying in and taking Magical Express, bringing your own bicycles from home is probably not feasible. The easiest option is the Bike Barn’s bike rental. Single bikes are $9/hour or $18/day and surrey bikes are $20/30 minutes (2 seats) and $22/30 minutes (4 seats), which includes complimentary helmets. Note: all bikers under the age of 16 must wear a helmet per Florida law. The only downside to bike rental from the Bike Barn is that all bikes must be back by 5pm. Fort Wilderness does not allow bikes without lights on the paths and roads after dark.
As discussed in part one, some of the RV rental companies will offer additional rental services that may include bike rental. Florida Camper Rental, for instance, only charges $7 per day per bike if you are renting the RV from them.
3) Golf Carts
Why bike when you can ride? And what better way to zip around the campgrounds than in a golf cart! Most campers at Fort Wilderness either bring their own cart or rent one, so you will see tons of carts all around the complex. A golf cart is the mode of transportation I would choose. Why? It is motorized, can hold more than one passenger, there is plenty of room for packages and bags (supplies from the Trading Post), AND during the holidays there is a golf cart parade. Campers dress up their carts according to the season and in various Disney themes and form a big parade. It is quite the sight and an activity that I can’t wait to be apart of someday. Of course, some people dress up their carts everyday too.
Once you have decided to rent a cart, you must ask where to begin? As with bike rentals, check first with your RV rental company. During my investigation I learned that Moore’s includes a golf cart in their current pricing, but both Florida Camper Rental and Greenberg Rent A Camper informed me that per Disney policy, RV rental companies could no longer provide this service. This new policy has been confirmed on various discussion boards, forums, and fan run Fort Wilderness websites, such as FortFiends. I would check before making reservations to see if their policy has changed.
Another option is to rent from a place such as Tee Time in Orlando. I have read various reviews, mostly praise worthy, of Kenny at Tee Time. (Ed. – I’ve rented from Kenny; he is great.) With companies such as this, however, you must be able to pick the cart up and deliver it back when finished.
Lastly, Disney does rent golf carts themselves at Fort Wilderness for $59. Drivers must be 16 years of age and have a valid driver’s license. Advance reservations are highly recommended and can be made up to one year prior by calling 407-824-2742. The carts are available for pickup at 1pm and must be returned by 11am on the return date.
All campsites and cabins provide charging stations for golf carts.
After choosing your transportation method of choice and making plans for its rental if need be, you should be pretty set for your camping experience at Fort Wilderness. You have your RV rental lined up, your grocery list made and delivery company chosen. What’s next? The planning that every Disney guest gets to make: ADRs and fastpasses! Enjoy the rest of your planning.