Time for the first of two November camping trips for the CurbCrusher family. We went on a short trip (about 20 miles) to Ft. Wilderness. We were last at Ft. Wilderness in September of last year. Ft. Wilderness is of course an extension of Disney, and as such is a first rate campground…. Except for the check in experience.
You would think that a company like Disney, a leader in the hospitality industry and customer service, would have the whole checking into a campground think down pat. The State Park system in Florida does a far better job of checking campers in that Disney does. We arrived at Ft. Wilderness at approximately 12:45 PM. There were four check-in lines open and we were the third rig in our line (one with the attendant, one in front of us and then us). We were not checked in and at our campsite until approximately 1:30PM. It seems that it takes Disney at least 20 minutes to check in each rig. Why? There is really no reason for this. There is nothing extra special or more time consuming about checking into Ft. Wilderness vs a hotel or other campgrounds. I’m sure if I were to visit one of Disney’s hotels it would not take me 20 minutes to check in. I know from experience that we’ve arrived at State Parks with three or four rigs checking in and it’s taken less than 10 minutes for all of us to clear the ranger station. Perhaps I could understand it if Disney had a shop at the entrance that they were trying to get you to stop and buy stuff, but there is really no reason for this incompetence.
Campsites – There are hundreds of campsites at this place. They are paved and most have full hook up (water, electric & sewer). In some places they are fairly close together, but others have quite a lot of room. Since you can’t reserve a particular site (you can ask for a loop), it’s hard to get exactly what you want. We were lucky and got the loop we wanted 1300, and the site 1321 was a great site. It backed up to the little canal that runs through the park, and we had a great view of the pool. This would probably not be a good site in the summer, as the canal is still water and is probably full of mosquitoes. Something new since our last visit was that cable had been added to the sites, so we had cable TV while we were there.
Stuff to Do Well, you’re at Disney. You can go to the parks, you can go to Downtown Disney or you can just hang around Ft. Wilderness. We walked the bike path the Wilderness Lodge, went to the pool, participated in some of the contest at the pool and wandered around Downtown Disney. We rented a canoe at the Bike Barn and paddled around the canals. There are also boats for rent down at the marina, which is where you can head and watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks also. All in all you can stay busy at Ft. Wilderness without trying to hard.
Overall Over all I’d probably give Ft. Wilderness a B+. Once you get over the checking in frustration, it is a pleasant place to visit. You don’t get to know your neighbors at Ft. Wilderness, as most people get up early and head to the parks, and stay there all day. Will we go back? Yep, the CurbCrushers already have a Halloween 2009 Ft. Wilderness trip planned.
Pictures of our visit to Ft. Wilderness are here.