Tips for Visiting Disney World in an RV
The Happiest Place on Earth is Even More Magical When Camping in an RV
Since it first opened in October of 1971, Disney World has always been a magical destination. The Florida theme park is home to a dazzling array of thrill rides, shows, parades, and other attractions designed to entertain and enthrall kids of all ages. Unsurprisingly, this has made it one of the most popular vacation spots on the planet, drawing travelers from all over the globe annually.
The park also happens to be a great place for RVers, with special accommodations for those visiting in motorhomes and travel trailers. But before you hit the road to Orlando, here are a few things you should know before RVing at Disney World.
Disney World is located southwest of Orlando on Florida’s Interstate 4. The highway is smooth, wide, and has multiple lanes to help accommodate traffic coming and going from the theme park. It is also well marked, making the route easy to drive even in a large motorhome.
Most visitors will take exit 83 off I-4, heading west onto Disney property. The streets within the park are very well maintained and marked with signs that point travelers to various locations, including the individual theme parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, etc.), hotels, and other attractions. Getting around is generally very easy, although during peak seasons—such as summer and major holidays—traffic can be congested as people arrive in the morning and leave at night.
Where to Stay
Believe it or not, Disney World has an RV campground on its property. Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort is a massive 750-acre wooded retreat that serves as a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of other areas of the park. It has onsite swimming pools to cool off on a hot Florida day, stores to purchase snacks and drinks, and several restaurants to grab a meal.
Visitors can rent an electric golf cart to get around the expansive campground and take part in a variety of outdoor activities like canoeing, horseback riding, and fishing. Of course, Fort Wilderness offers complimentary transportation to and from the Disney theme parks and has laundry and mail services on the premises.
Fort Wilderness has four different styles of campsites, ranging from simply a place to pitch a tent all the way up to premium locations with full hookups. The site has complimentary internet service and concrete pads ranging from 25 to 60 feet in length. Prices vary based on the time of year you plan to visit, with the quieter off-season offering more affordable bookings.
Other Places to Camp
There are a lot of advantages to parking your RV at Fort Wilderness Resort, particularly if you want to come and go from your vehicle throughout the day. But plenty of other campgrounds in the Orlando area are outstanding too. Some of those alternative options include:
- Tropical Palms RV Resort (Kissimmee)
- Sherwood Forest RV Resort (Kissimmee)
- East Toho RV Resort & Marina (Kissimmee)
- Stage Stop Campground (Winter Garden)
- Winter Garden RV Resort (Winter Garden)
- Clerbrook Golf & RV Resort (Clermont)
- Orlando RV Resort (Clermont)
- Lake Magic RV Resort (Clremont)
- Rainbow Chase RV Resort (Davenport)
- Highbanks Marina & Campresort (DeBary)
- Lost Lake RV Park (Apopka)
Cost Versus Convenience
Deciding whether or not to stay at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort or another campground in the area is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when planning your trip. Essentially, the choice comes down to cost versus convenience, with those camping on Disney property spending more money but also gaining access to the park’s transportation system to get around. This makes traveling to and from the park much easier and simplifies accessing your RV throughout the day. It also means additional hours in the park most mornings and evenings, which isn’t available to guests who stay elsewhere.
On the other hand, staying at another campsite can save travelers a considerable amount of money and makes it easier to visit other locations throughout Central Florida. It does require more time in transit, which can be frustrating after a long day in the park. Gas and parking fees may also eat into the savings gained by camping at another location.
As noted, camping outside of Disney World is usually more affordable, but it also means you’ll be driving to and from the park throughout your visit. On top of that, you’ll usually have to pay to park at the various locations and attractions, which can cut into the cost savings you get when staying off property.
Whether renting a car, towing a dinghy, or planning to drive your RV, the Disney World theme parks have parking spaces that can accommodate your vehicle. On busier days, those parking lots can fill up quickly, which may force you to park further away.
This isn’t an issue when staying at the Fort Wilderness Resort, as Disney provides complimentary bus service to and from the theme parks for all guests staying on-premises. The transportation system operates from early in the morning to well into the night, ensuring all guests can easily get a ride to wherever they want to go.
Benefits of Visiting Disney World by RV
Staying in an RV while visiting Disney World comes with a lot of benefits, not the least of which is saving some money on hotel rooms. Staying in a hotel—particularly on Disney property—can get expensive quickly, especially if you need multiple rooms to accommodate your family. But camping in an RV is an affordable and efficient alternative.
A visit to Disney World is always a lot of fun, but it can be hectic and exhausting, too. Being able to quickly access your motorhome throughout the day provides a nice respite from a busy schedule, giving you a chance to recharge your batteries. This is especially true in Florida’s hot and humid weather conditions, where retreating to your RV gives you a chance to relax and recover before returning to the park for more adventures.
Having an RV close at hand is also very helpful when it comes time to get something to eat. Disney World has plenty of restaurants and snack shops for guests to enjoy, but eating in the park can get pricey. Being able to sneak off to your campsite for a quick lunch or dinner will not only save you some money, but it will also give you a chance to rest and decide what you want to do with the rest of your day.
When to Visit Disney World
While there isn’t a wrong time to visit “The Happiest Place on Earth,” some periods throughout the year tend to be better than others. As already noted, the park is usually very busy during the summer and around major holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Disney World is also an extremely popular spring break destination, with mid-March through mid-April another busy period.
If you’re looking to avoid large crowds, mid-January through February is usually fairly quiet, as are the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. During these off-peak times, the weekdays tend to be much quieter than weekends as well. Those dates also allow visitors to avoid Florida’s oppressive summer heat and enjoy more moderate temperatures instead.
- Reserve Your Site Early: No matter where you stay in Orlando, be sure to reserve your campsite early. Disney World is a popular destination, and hotels and campsites can get booked well in advance.
- Save Time with Genie+: In the past, Disney had a system called FastPass, which allowed guests to reserve a place in line for certain attractions at certain times of the day. That system was recently replaced with the company’s new Genie+ service, which offers a similar service, giving visitors the chance to jump the line at more than 40 attractions. This can be a great way to maximize your time in the park, but Genie+ comes with a $15/day fee, so you may want to use it sparingly.
- Use the My Disney Experience App: The official Disney World app is called My Disney Experience (iOS/Android), and it provides a wealth of helpful info while in the park. For instance, it can provide estimated wait times for the attractions, allowing you to decide when to wait and when to move onto a different ride or show. It also has interactive maps with shops, restaurants, restrooms, and other essential locations.
- Get Groceries Delivered: One of the perks of staying in an RV is having complete control over your meals. But if you find yourself running low on supplies while staying at Fort Wilderness, Disney offers a grocery delivery service to get you stocked back up again.
- Be Patient: Disney is a big sprawling place with plenty to see and do. The park designers have gone to great lengths to make every visitor’s experience a great one, but even during the slowest time of the year, you’ll have to wait in line for rides, shows, food, and other items. Remember to be patient and enjoy the experience.
The most important thing to remember while visiting Disney World is to embrace everything the park has to offer and have fun. Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned Disney veteran, you’re likely to make memories to last a lifetime.