50 Years of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort – TouringPlans.com Blog

On October 1 this year, Walt Disney World marked its 50th anniversary and began an 18-month celebration; and while all four parks take part in the festivities, the 50-year milestone only belongs to a few locations in the most magical place on earth.

In 1971, Walt Disney World opened with two complexes and a park: the Magic Kingdom. Inspired by the original Disneyland park in Anaheim, California, the Magic Kingdom made its debut with its own version of Main Street, USA, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland and Tomorrowland, along with its own unique land: Liberty Square.

In previous posts, I’ve talked about There and Now: 50 Years of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Polynesian Village Resort, Adventureland, Liberty Square, Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Main Street. USA and Tomorrowland.

For today, I will venture outside the park gates to visit another resort that opened in 1971: Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground.

What is Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground?

Fort Wilderness entrance

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground opened on November 19, 1971 and today offers campsites and cabins for guests staying at Walt Disney World. Situated on the shores of Lake Bay, this 700-acre resort is within walking distance of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Magic Kingdom.

Unlike other accommodations in Walt Disney World, golf carts are an important part of the Fort Wilderness experience and can be rented or guests can bring their own. In addition to a marina, the resort also offers pony rides, trails, wagons and carriages at the resort’s Tri-Circle-D ranch.

Due to the resort’s extensive grounds, Fort Wilderness offers an in-house bus system in addition to its standard Disney Resort bus and boat transportation. There are also several dining options, including Trails End, Crockett’s Tavern and P & J’s Southwern Takeout.

Prior to COVID-19, Fort Wilderness was home to two show dinners that have yet to reopen: Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue and Mickey’s Backyard Barbecue.

Facts About Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground Then:

Fet # 1: While Walt Disney World opened on October 1, 1971, Fort Wilderness did not reach the deadline and later reopened on November 19, 1971.

Fet # 2: Although the complex was not fully ready on October 1, it was still featured on the Walt Disney World Opening Day television special.

Fet # 3: To help guests move through the extensive grounds of Fort Wilderness, the resort introduced its own Fort Wilderness Railroad in early 1974. Although closed in 1980, the train can still be seen in the artwork of the complex and remains of the track can still be found. to the property.


Fet # 4: According to D23, Fort Wilderness’s Hoop-Dee-Do music magazine debuted on June 30, 1974 with a cast of college students! It was so popular that it premiered as a permanent show on September 5, 1974; and before it closed due to COVID-19, it was one of the country’s long-running dinner shows.

Fet # 5: Just in time for the 1976 Bicentennial, Walt Disney World’s first water park, River Country, debuted next to Fort Wilderness Resort. The theme park was an old swimming hole, there were several water slides, a tire swing and a T-bar, a barrel bridge and more.

Despite its popularity that led Disney to the construction of both Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, the park closed its doors in 2001 with its official closure announced several years later.

Fet # 6: Once upon a time, Fort Wilderness was home to the “Lawn Mower Tree,” which was basically a tree that grew around an old mower. The imaginaries even posted a poster next to this strange icon.

Data about Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground now:

Fet # 1: In July 2020, Tri-Circle-D Ranch received a new, expanded barn that guests can visit. In addition to the horses and ponies, guests can also see a museum showing Walt Disney’s love for horses, as well as the 1907 Dragon Calliope that Walt had bought for Disneyland.

Ranch Tri-Circle-D
© Disney

Fet # 2: While some Walt Disney World resorts are truly dog-friendly, Fort Wilderness may be the best option of all. Selected loops and cabins are reserved for guests traveling with furry friends, and the resort also includes the ‘Waggin’ Trails Dog Park ’.

Waggin ‘Trails Dog Park in Fort Wilderness

Fet # 3: After River Country closed in 2001, the park was abandoned for years. Finally, in 2018, Disney announced plans for a new complex known as Reflections: a Disney Lakeside Lodge to be built on or near the River Country site.

The remains of the abandoned water park were demolished in the following months; but due to COVID, plans for the new complex were put on hold without saying whether it will continue.

Fet # 4: Today, community and vacation are an important part of the Fort Wilderness experience. Every year, several campers decorate their campsites with really elaborate exhibitions for both Halloween and Christmas, making a tour of the resort a must for locals. Fort Wilderness also hosts golf cart parades on selected holidays with lively guests decorating their carts and even wearing themed costumes!

Decorating guests at Fort Wilderness Camp

Fet # 5: If you don’t like tents, motorhomes or motorhomes, Fort Wilderness cabins are a great choice for large families, as they can sleep up to six adults and have a full kitchen.

Fort Wilderness cabin kitchen and seating area

Have you ever experienced Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground in its beginnings? Is this resort one of your favorites?

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