There are so many facets of the Walt Disney World resort that it’s sometimes hard to keep it in perspective. It’s almost a world of its own. Every year, for example, beginning around Halloween, folks staying in the Fort Wilderness Campground go crazy setting up decorations.
Fort Wilderness Campground is located along the southeastern shore of Bay Lake at Walt Disney World. Bay Lake is just to the east of Seven Seas Lagoon, on the east side of the Contemporary Resort, and where the Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is located. It’s most easily accessed from the Magic Kingdom with boat service, but you can get there via bus too.
This year is no exception in terms of people going all out to decorate their camp sites. While there are decorations all throughout the campground (which is huge), most of the really good sites are in the area between Meadows Depot and Settlement Depot.
There are three “settlements” at Fort Wilderness Campground. First, there’s the Settlement Depot, which is the area closest to Bay Lake and the area you arrive at when you travel there by boat. It’s also where you go to see Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ, or just a plain ol’ breakfast, lunch, or dinner at Trail’s Inn.
In the center of the campground is the Meadows Depot. There you’ll find a large swimming pool, trading post, outdoor theatre, and more for guests at the campground.
The front of the campground, where you check in if you’re staying there and where all the busses come from the various parks is called Outpost Depot. At the Outpost Depot, you can transfer from busses that brought you to Fort Wilderness from the various parks and Downtown Disney to the internal busses that serve Fort Wilderness.
If you’re staying at the Walt Disney World Resort during the holidays and you have a couple of hours time right around sundown, it’s certainly worth a visit to go over to Fort Wilderness and just walk around the campground to see the decorations. The easiest way to get there is from the Magic Kingdom. Take a boat, which is located right out in front of the park between the Ferry terminal and the Monorail terminal. Be sure to take the boat to Fort Wilderness campground, not Wilderness Lodge. Arrive at the docks at Settlement Depot and walk straight through to the campground. If you’re not sure where you’re going, find the trading post and ask someone in the store where the decorations are. It’s not far from there.
If you’re not feeling like walking, consider taking a horse drawn wagon or carriage ride through the campground. They’re available from in front of Pioneer Hall (the setting for Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue). Rides start as early as 6:00PM and run periodically through 9:30PM. Some rides are by reservation, and some are first come, first served.
In any case, however you choose to see it, be it walking or riding, the decoration at Fort Wilderness Campground are worth the experience, and something you would never expect to see at Walt Disney World Resort. It’s just another part of this resort that makes the experience one of a kind.