Ft. Wilderness

Ft. Wilderness
March 2007

We needed to break out of the townhouse again so we decided to head over to Ft. Wilderness after work. This is one of our refuges when it gets especially busy at WDW, which we discovered at Christmas. During spring break, it was even busier, if that is possible. But the weather was so nice, it drove people out on bikes, golf carts, scooters, and any other means of transportation. People are very friendly in this environment and we were able to greet and wave to many people as they zipped around.

In case you’re not familiar with the set-up, you pull into the Ft. Wilderness parking lot (not the check-in area), park your car, and walk past the horse stables and kennel to either the bus stop at the “Outpost” area or you can choose 3 different paths to make your way to the “Settlement.” The Settlement is where Pioneer Hall (Hoop de Doo), restaurant, tavern, store, playground, beach, lake, marina, and boat to the Magic Kingdom and resorts are located.

By the time we walked through the camp to the Settlement, the first Hoop de Doo was in progress so it was especially busy in the area. For the first time, there was a line in the ladies’ room, at least from my experience. Carriage rides and hay rides were also in progress. We really enjoy this walk through the campground, noticing the different types of rigs – campers, buses, pop-ups, etc. And people were lighting up the charcoal to cook dinner – very enticing aromas, indeed.

This is a very intriguing way to do WDW and reminds us of our life out west, where camping is especially popular. We both have experience tent-camping, trailer-camping, camper-camping, and hiking, and for Rich – backpacking. The cabins look especially inviting. I would think this would be a wonderful place to hang out for a few weeks during the winter if you’re from up north, although we notice a lot of Floridians and people from neighboring southern states taking advantage of this area, too.

By the time we arrived at the Settlement, we were thirsty – it was quite warm out – so we dropped into the Trading Post and grabbed a couple of Coors and Mickey pretzels – our dinner for the evening – and headed over to the marina, where we sat at a table overlooking the water and enjoyed a fabulously relaxing time watching the movement on the water and the people going to/fro. Many guests were arriving for the next Hoop de Doo show. I haven’t seen that show in years and it’s tempting to do it again sometime.

We eventually got up and headed back to the Outpost. Even though it was starting to get dark, we chose to walk back (there are dim lights along the path), although other times we’ve taken the bus back – especially if we’ve taken the round-trip path to Wilderness Lodge. It’s great to be able to have that choice.

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