5 – Enjoy the Meadow Swimmin’ Pool – For less than the price of a value resort, you can enjoy a pool that would be the envy of any moderate resort on property. Complete with a kiddy pool and a children’s water play area, the Meadow pool also features a corkscrew waterslide stemming from one of the original, oversized barrels that once adorned Disney’s original water park, River Country.
Kiddy areas and waterslides aside, the Meadow pool also features a large hot tub, a snack bar, and an arcade. The large, open area surrounding the Meadow pool has tennis courts and a playground, not mention plenty of space to toss around a Frisbee or the old horsehide. Wasting away an entire afternoon here can be easily done and enjoyed.
4 – Take a Pony Ride – For the youngsters, there is nothing like visiting the Tri-Circle D Ranch. Even if you choose not to saddle up, just strolling the grounds and looking at the beautiful horses is enjoyable. But if your child does want to mosey on down the trail, the cost is only $5-8 per child. Hard to beat that price for a fun, Disney activity.
Larger than 80 lbs and 48 inches? Not to worry, wagon rides exploring the campground are offered, also for the low cost of $5-8 per person. And—get this—the ride lasts approximately 45 minutes! To me, this may be the best value on property!
3 – Explore the Campground – Be it on foot, by bicycle, or by golf cart, the campground itself should be given some time to be admired. My suggestion—wait until the sun is just setting and explore the various loops, taking time to enjoy your fellow campers. Some put in a lot of time and effort decorating their rigs and grounds. This is a must if you are camping at Christmas time, and if you happen to be there on the 4th of July, do not miss the golf cart parade! Right down Fort Wilderness Trail they come—some campers, some cast members, and some Disney characters! Then, when you are done enjoying the fruits of your neighbor’s labors, head down toward the waterfront and enjoy the expert theming of Pioneer Hall.
2 – Don’t Miss the Fireworks and Boat Parade – It can be forgotten, at times, that Fort Wilderness is a Magic Kingdom resort. And, like all the other Magic Kingdom resorts, a view of Wishes Nighttime Fireworks Spectacular can be stolen from across Bay Lake. A lot of people like to stake their claim to a piece of the beach for the show, however, as I have stated in previous posts, I like to find a nice spot on the dock where I can hear the show music being piped in. But, the nighttime entertainment is not complete until you have enjoyed both the fireworks AND the electric boat pageant, which makes a stop directly in front of the marina! (The boat pageant has several different parade times each night, so make sure to check the schedule first).
1 – Roast Marshmallows with Chip and Dale – So, you don’t technically roast marshmallows with them, but you do get to meet them. For free! I know, they may not be as en vogue as the fab five, but when doing Disney on a budget a free character interaction can not be beat. The festivities start around 7 PM each night (weather permitting) when two fire pits are lit and a host strums campfire favorites. Kids and adults alike can roast marshmallows or hotdogs (which can be brought from home), then sit and enjoy the music until Chip and Dale are finally brought out. Once introduced, they separate and mingle with the crowd, stopping to take pictures or give hugs. Then, as darkness falls, the movie du jour is projected on a drive-in sized screen (maybe it’s not that big, but by it is far better than the blow up screens at other resorts).
With only one activity listed that would actually require money, you can see how easily a Walt Disney World vacation can be had for little cost. What you will also notice is that I mentioned nothing about actually going into any of the four theme parks. That’s because, when staying at Fort Wilderness, it isn’t necessary. We frequently spend our three day visits enjoying only what Fort Wilderness has to offer. It saves us money and stress, while not robbing us of any of the Disney magic we love.