HOW TO - Last Minute Fort Wilderness Reservations
Updated: Mar 8, 2022
When we decided to hit the road again in January, we had not made any plans or reservations for a trip south. The idea of trying to find reservations for RV sites in Florida in the middle of winter (the busy season/snowbird season) was really intimidating.
HOW I BOOKED LAST MINUTE RESERVATIONS
We knew that we all really wanted to go back to Disney's Fort Wilderness, but it is notorious for being nearly impossible to land a reservation. After endless searching for stays of several nights throughout random chunks of days in February and March and coming up with nothing, I took a different approach. I started searching for just one day of availability. Once I found one day open, I would then expand on it forward and back (two days, three days, four days, so on) to uncover the actual time slot available.
UPGRADING and/or EXTENDING YOUR STAY
Once I locked in a reservation, my trip information was available to see in the My Disney Experience App. Via this app OR in your Disney account page under "My Plans," you can change your reservation to check for other available site types or different dates. (This is a HUGE convenience and not something we've seen available online at any other campground.)
When I originally booked our second stay, we scored Monday to Friday in a Full Hookup site. I would periodically check in on the app to see if any additional dates were available, and eventually secured two more nights to Sunday. In the weeks leading up, I continued to check availability and landed another additional day on the front end of the reservation - ultimately ending up with a Sunday to Sunday stay. SCORE!
I was also able to upgrade our site type from Full Hookup to Premium Meadows by checking (several times a day) the week leading up to the reservations. Eventually, someone cancelled and I snagged it.
This might seem crazy - like so much to go through to book a campsite, BUT we feel like Disney is worth it! This was actually the easy part. Scoring Genie+ Lightning Lanes for rides in the parks was a whole new challenge!
Now, I really feel like there are not any bad sites at Fort Wilderness, and we would have been thrilled with any type. The only reason we were really pushing for the larger site this time was this would be our first stop with the new (bigger) rig and wanted as much space to park as possible while we learned how to best maneuver it.
There are roughly 800 campsites (and cabins) at Fort Wilderness, and five different site types:
TENT/POP-UP - 10' x 25'
FULL HOOKUP - 10' x 50'
PREFERRED - 10' x 45' + close to the marina
PREMIUM - 18' x 60'
PREMIUM MEADOWS - 18' x 60' + close to the meadows trading post/movie/pool
BOOK AHEAD IF YOU CAN
Of course, the most ideal way to score the site type and dates you'd like is to plan ahead and book in advance. Supposedly, you can book reservations at Fort Wilderness up to 499 days in advance. Unlike Disney theme park tickets, the campground has a 48 hour cancellation policy in case plans change.
If you decide to wing it like we did, it is not impossible. Just don't get discouraged and get creative!
MORE FORT WILDERNESS TIPS
Bring your BIKES to avoid paying golf cart rental fees to get around (Fort Wilderness sits on nearly 750 acres)
WHOLE FOODS is just a few miles down the road - stock up on groceries and water (Remember to bring your own S'MORES supplies!)
Ride the ferry (for free) to the Grand Polynesian to get DOLE WHIP and sit on the beach
Ride the ferry to WILDERNESS LODGE next door and pop in to the outdoor bar + restaurant for an amazing meal and gorgeous lake views. (You can join the waitlist to sit down on the My Disney Experience app or place a Mobile Order to go and find your choice of outdoor seating around the resort to enjoy.)
The ferry can also take you to the GRAND FLORIDIAN. Enjoy a stroll around the beautiful grounds or check out its impressive interior.
Bring your fishing pole! There is a back canal near the preferred site loop that is connected to the lake and has a beautiful, quiet walkway. They boys pulled out a few little fish, but we spotted several huge bass lurking in the waters too. You have to pay for a guide to get out to fish on Bay Lake, but you can fish for free here. (Also, you can buy worms at the Meadows Bike Barn.)
If bass fishing is your thing, the guided fishing trip is totally worth the splurge! BUT, be sure to call ahead and book a reservation as they do fill up. (Live bait + tackle are all included!) More info HERE.
If you have any Disney outdoor decor, bring your A-Game! People do such an amazing job decorating their sites here, and it is so festive and fun!