Friday April 29th 2022
Today was checkout day at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. I had to be off the site by 11AM. I moved my car to the overflow parking lot shortly before 10AM and moved the motorhome off the site just before 11AM. I hooked up the car for towing in the overflow parking lot after killing more than two hours. There is a lot of activity to observe in the overflow lot. Many people coming and going are hooking up utility trailers to tow their golf carts. Most of the regulars believe a golf cart is a necessity or maybe just a status symbol. There are also drivers from local RV rental services bringing rental RVs off the sites into the parking area to wait for the next tenant later in the day. The area is a mad house particularly on a Friday.
Shortly after 1PM I pulled out of the overflow parking lot for my fifteen minute drive to my next destination. There is a strictly enforced 1PM check in time at Tropical Palms RV Resort in Kissimmee FL. I was setup and ready for lunch by 2PM. Over the next week and a half I’ll recover from the hectic pace I inflicted on myself over the last week and visit the Disney parks a few more times.
Fort Wilderness is a very nice camping resort. Last January I really enjoyed my stay. I didn’t visit the theme parks at all that time. When you put visits to the theme parks into the mix all of the bad parts of Fort Wilderness come into play and you don’t get a real chance to enjoy what the campground has to offer. Disney transportation from Fort Wilderness is my biggest complaint. The buses require to much waiting for unknown lengths of time.
To avoid the wait and at least keep moving when going from the campground to EPCOT I got creative both times. The first trip to EPCOT on Monday afternoon I took the boat to the Magic Kingdom then the Monorail to the Transportation and Ticket Center followed by the other Monorail to EPCOT. Returning to the campground in the evening the bus was packed even though I didn’t wait for the park to close. For my second visit to EPCOT on Tuesday evening the bus to EPCOT which also serves the Wilderness lodge didn’t have room onboard for the Fort Wilderness guests. The next bus was twenty minutes away, so I took the bus to Hollywood Studios followed by a boat to the EPCOT International Gateway Entrance. In that case I got to the part of EPCOT I wanted to visit faster than the bus to the main entrance.
My basic issue is having time to really enjoy Fort Wilderness. If you go to the park in the morning and stay all day you have no time for wandering around the campground and using the recreational facilities. If you come back to the campground after a morning session in the park, you don’t have much time before you need to start back for any evening activities. The only time I had to explore a few of the areas in the campground was Thursday afternoon when I didn’t return to the theme parks.
My basic advice for campers that want to visit the theme parks is if you are an early riser that can take advantage of the morning early entry half hour for guests staying on property then you might have value in staying at Fort Wilderness. If, like me, you aren’t taking advantage of the early entry then staying off site for almost half the cost may be better. You’ll have to be able to drive to the park and pay for parking, but the cost differential still works out. Driving from many places off site doesn’t take any longer than using Disney transportation.