Planning a Resort Day at Disney’s Fort Wilderness During Phased Reopening

Credit: Disney

A year ago the world was just beginning to grasp the severity of the Coronavirus as it progressed into a full-fledged pandemic, forcing us to adapt to a new normal while restricting many of our favorite activities. Thankfully, the outlook for 2021 is seemingly more optimistic as we gradually look to get back to business as usual. While many of these restrictions at Walt Disney World (and elsewhere) will remain for now, there are still numerous activities to be enjoyed at your favorite theme parks and resort hotels. With its socially-distant accommodations and plentiful outdoor activities, Disney’ Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground makes for the ideal destination to plan a day away from the parks. The following are a few ideas for how to spend that day.

1. Enjoy a Home-Cooked Breakfast

One of the perks of a stay in a Fort Wilderness cabin is that it affords guests the option of making their own meals, if they so choose. It’s a great way to save a few bucks and can help cultivate a more homey feel. And there’s no better time for a home-cooked meal than a resort day, where you don’t have to set your watch to every activity. The trading posts stock all the ingredients you’ll need to whip up a hearty breakfast in the cabin’s kitchen, before loading up your plate and heading outside to the enjoy your meal on the porch as you bask in the idyllic wooded surroundings.

2. Splash Around in One of the Watering Holes

Fort Wilderness is home to two separate pools — the Wilderness Swimmin’ Pool and the Meadow Pool. The latter is the resort’s larger main pool, centrally-located near the Meadow Trading Post, Bike Barn, and Chip ‘N’ Dale’s Sing-A-Long area. As such, it is often busier than its counterpart, which can be found in a more secluded area near the loops at the entrance of the campground. While the Wilderness Swimmin’ Pool doesn’t feature a children’s play area or water slide, it may be the preferred destination for those seeking a bit more solitude.

Fort Wilderness

3. Indulge in Some Outdoor Recreation

As with any good campground, Fort Wilderness is home to a wide variety of outdoor activities. At the Bike Barn, guests can rent the aforementioned conveyances as well as canoes and kayaks. Bait and tackle are also available to those angling to land a whopper. Meanwhile, the archery experience offers a 75-minute lesson on how to properly hold and fire a bow in groups limited to ten guests over the age of seven. Visitors can also find jogging paths, tennis and volleyball courts within the grounds, making Fort Wilderness the perfect location for a resort day as we slowly attempt to return to normalcy.

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4. Go Horseback Riding

The Tri-Circle-D Ranch not only houses the carriage horses who trot down Main Street, U.S.A., it also offers a wide range of equestrian options. At this recently rebuilt barn guests can experience everything from pony rides to trail excursions. The building even features a museum celebrating Walt’s fascination with the majestic animals, as well as the 1907 dragon calliope which was used in the opening day festivities at Disneyland in 1955 before later being relocated to Walt Disney World.

Credit: Disney

4. Dinner and a Stroll Along the Beach

With Trail’s End buffet and the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue still unavailable due to the pandemic, the already limited dining options at Fort Wilderness become a bit more scarce. We recommend either a family meal from P & J’s Southern Takeout or a DIY barbecue back at your cabin/campsite before heading to Crockett’s Tavern and ordering an adult beverage at the walk-up window. The moonshine cocktails are particularly popular, while the youngsters can enjoy mocktails of their own, such as the Sparkling No-Jito and Grapefruit Spritzer. Outdoor seating is available on the porch, though watching the sunset on the bitch with a cool drink in your hand has its appeal as well. 

Credit: Disney

4. Take in a Movie Under the Stars

Nowadays guests of nearly every WDW resort can enjoy an outdoor movie, but Fort Wilderness has been screening classic Disney films under the stars for decades. Free to resort guests (and limited to only guests of Fort Wilderness during the pandemic), this event takes place at a dedicated outdoor theater in the Meadow recreation area and features bleacher seating where families can maintain social distancing while taking in a family-friendly movie. Showtime begins at 8:00pm, with a refreshment stand and restrooms available for use nearby.

5. Roast Marshmallows

Chip ‘N’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long may still be on hiatus, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice this time-honored camping tradition. If you’re staying at one of the campsites, Disney allows the use of approved fire pits. So pull up a chair, pop a ‘mallow on the skewer and lay out the graham crackers and chocolate while you take turns telling spooky stories. The cabins do not feature dedicated fire pits, though the grill located adjacent to the porch will do just fine, while the picnic table should provide ample seating for your party. Everything you need to construct your s’mores can be found at the trading posts.

About Mike Riccardini

A second generation Disneyphile, Michael has visited the Orlando resort well over a dozen times, inheriting his passion for the Mouse House from his mother, a day one devotee of the Magic Kingdom and one of its staunchest advocates. Now a father himself, he remains devoted to sharing in the magic with his own daughter, allowing him to appreciate the Disney universe from an entirely new perspective and pass down his family’s traditions to the next generation of Mickey-eared enthusiasts.