Is it still worth it to bring RV to Disney?

myjourney

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 11, 2007
Hello Everyone,
It's been a long time since I've been in this forum. I live in Indiana and will be retiring this year. Part of me wants to move closer to the magic but the other part says no just go visit a couple times a year. I am looking at purchasing a travel trailer. We've camped at FW in the past with an RV and enjoyed it, but the prices of the sites look like they cost as much as a value resort? Does anyone come to Disney for a couple of weeks then go to a less expensive RV park outside of Disney? Would like to visit for a month 2 or 3 times a year.
 

Stork

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 14, 2019
...but the prices of the sites look like they cost as much as a value resort?
Just checked 2021 prices comparing FW Preferred site (as a point of reference) in August '21 versus Pop & Art of Animation. Campsites win $135 versus $175 & $205 respectively. For March 2021 it's about even, they will cost you $225 & $250 respectively while a Preferred FW site will run you $230. Even a Full Hook Up site lists for $210 in March 2021. That's due to spring break pricing.

Even if it's an equal price point, as tiggerdad says the "get away" factor is by far the more attractive option.

P.S. - Thanks to Bama Ed for the 2021 Rack rates analysis.
 
  • bama_ed

    It's kind of fun to do the impossible-Walt Disney
    Joined
    Sep 23, 2004
    Even if it's an equal price point, as tiggerdad says the "get away" factor is by far the more attractive option.

    P.S. - Thanks to Bama Ed for the 2021 Rack rates analysis.
    You are certainly welcome, Stork.

    I often hear the complaint of campsite rates versus Value rates but remember: the Fort has tiers in location/features as do the hotels on property. Are you comparing a Preferred campsite to a parking lot view? Are the seasons comparable?

    I spent a WDW stay at Caribbean Beach Resort in 2018 (hey, Cast Member discount) and didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped I would. On park days we're mostly (wait for it) in the parks. On non-park days, I was searching out the little courtyards and outside tables/chairs at CBR to DIS online, read, or stream some video. To me THAT's the area where the Fort wins hands down.

    To talk to the OP, some folks may do this. A number of folks come to FW for a month or longer (on back-to-back reservations). The part of your plan that will require elbow grease is getting out in front and booking those long stays well in advance. Central Florida year-round trying to lock down 2-3 month long stays (or longer if relocating to other campgrounds) requires quick early action.

    You're in Indiana. You mention possibly moving closer to Orlando and buying a trailer. Is FW the primary/only place you want to use the trailer in? Are there other places you want to visit/explore? We have some folks who live in their home spots and keep their trailer stored in Orlando and pay some one to tow it and set it up for them (or you could do that yourself) for a long stay at the Fort (or elsewhere). That means they camp around Orlando which works if that's your plan.

    But do you want to camp up in Michigan? Maine? Nantucket? Tetons? If it's a Fort/Orlando area only idea, get a timeshare/condo cheap instead. I will tell you that Florida State Parks are limited to 14-day stays. You can try to book back to back there but YMMV. Some of the county places also have minimum stays.

    Thousand Trails is part of a big rv/timeshare like network. Encore is another one. RVontheGo is a third (and they might be related). TT has a location in Clermont (30 min from WDW) that is timeshare like for trailer/rv. https://thousandtrails.com/florida/orlando-rv-resort/. Tropical Palms and Lake Magic on opposite ends of Kissimmee are locations also outside WDW (so that's three long term options). Or you can slug it out getting a long stay at a KOA or a State Park.

    So where do you want to use your trailer and for how long/often? Is it really JUST the WDW area?

    Bama Ed
     

    tiggerdad

    I don't always get distracted but whe...SQUIRREL!
    Joined
    Jul 8, 2009
    Thank you all for taking the time to give me detailed answers I appreciate it.
    I stayed at Grand Floridian in October 2018 while attending a neurology conference. While it was very nice, I didnt enjoy it as much as the Fort. It was the atmosphere. Strange I know, but true.
     

    Teamubr

    From somewhere outside StL
    Joined
    Nov 7, 2010
    @myjourney , If you are still following along on this.

    I have been to the Fort numerous times and also stayed at several on-site resorts. We have stayed at AS-Sports, SSR (in a 3 BR), CBR, OKW (2 BR). I like the resorts, especially the DVC/Deluxe. Each place has its own energy and "vibe".

    The Fort just has a different "vibe" or feel that you don't get staying anywhere else. It is hard to describe, but others have said "more relaxed", "slower pace", "feels remote", "friendlier". All of those are very accurate. I don't mind the faster pace and "kid chaos" of a Value. Moderates seem like a nice compromise between a Value and the high price (but very nice) atmosphere of a Deluxe/DVC. At a Deluxe I feel a little out of my league (I'm mostly a simple guy).

    I keep coming back to the Fort because it feels like home (outdoors, camping, relaxed) where the other resorts feel like I'm a visitor, staying in a hotel (because I am). As for price. I do the pricing for most trips. Towing the camper 1000 miles each way and staying in a Premium site at the Fort is very close to the price of a Value for the same trip (driving the car down- not flying). Where there is a cost saving is on meals. With my camper, I can bring my own food and eat what I want. I generally eat most breakfasts at the camper and about half of the dinners. Lunch is almost always in a park. You don't have that option staying at a resort, so you will be spending well over $100/day (family of 3) getting meals (and likely much more than that).

    I'm cheap, so the cost savings on food helps with the decision, but the atmosphere at the Fort is what I enjoy and that is worth it, even if it cost slightly more than a Value.

    j
     
  • cruising spud

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 12, 2007
    myjourney,

    My husband and I are retired and head on down to Disney every four or five years. Each time we go, we stay at Disney for about two/two and a half weeks. We travel to other destinations between our Disney trips, and for the money we spend at Disney, I find that this time frame works wonderfully well for us.

    Why we like going in our rv-our beds and our stuff are at our fingertips. I don't have to worry about hotel bedbugs and having to go to the bathroom on Route 95 when the next exit is fifty miles away (see, you can tell I am an older person). I don't have to cram all of my stuff into one carry-on like I do when flying or feel the need to just drive and get there like when we use to drive. We come from Pennsylvania, and when we take our rv, we take four days driving down and four days returning home. Nice and leisurely.

    Food-as we get older, we find that if we eat too many meals out, we simply don't feel as well as when we eat healthier and in our rv. We tend to eat out one meal a day at Disney. I know that a lot of people here precook meals and do crockpot meals, Even that is too much for me on vacation. We tend to throw something on the grill, and I make a small side dish.

    Our stuff-we do not have a huge rv, but it is big enough for us to spread out and have our laptops, tablets, books, etc. I don't have to lock valuables up in the hotel safe whenever we leave the room.

    We can exercise in the morning before heading out to Disney. I exercise in the rv, while my husband tends to walk or ride his bike.

    At Fort Wilderness the laundry is nearby-we tend to travel light and this is great.

    At Disney, we always ask to be put near the laundry room and the comfort station-easy for laundry and if one of our daughters is with us (most usually the " I shower at a snail's pace" youngest) she can go to the comfort station to shower-see-two showers at our fingertips.

    I could certainly add more, but you get my drift. RV'ing is more relaxing and less stressful for us.
     

    Wendysofftoneverland

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 18, 2017
    We love the atmosphere of the Fort. My sister always uses the argument that a value is about the same price, but we enjoy non-park days, and there is so much more to do at Fort Wilderness, plus there is the boat access to the Magic Kingdom and can then ride the monorail to the MK resorts. I know Pop has the Skyliner now, but the pace and atmosphere at Pop is different. The Fort is a boat ride from the Magic Kingdom, yet feels a world away. Plus, as previous posters mentioned, it is nice being able to make your own meals, have a bathroom en route, and not have to worry about bedbugs. Our retirement dreams are to spend a lot of time at Ft. Wilderness, but we figured we would intersperse Disney stays with Florida State park stays. We are staying at one about an hour away for about $22 a night later this fall.
     

    jaredjohn4

    Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner
    Joined
    Oct 16, 2008
    For us there is no comparison. If you are going to stay two weeks, we just couldn't take the hotel. It's just too small of a box. Sitting outside the camper and relaxing at the Fort can't be beat. You are in the middle of the magic and still relaxed. Getting up in the morning and hearing the faint sounds of the trains and boats to the Kingdom is great. If I was just going for the parks on a three day weekend maybe a Value resort, but for longer timeframes the camper is the only way to go. I leave for the Fort usually at spring break, sometimes with snow still on the camper just west of Chicago. 1100 miles later I check into the KOA south of the Fort for a couple days. I stay there because I can get a pull through site and I know what I'm getting. The dog and I take our time de-winterizing the camper, going to the grocery store to stock the fridge, and just rest up after the long drive without paying Disney prices. When we are ready, we move over to the Fort so the dog can look for armadillos. DW flies in a couple days later and we visit the parks. We eat breakfast at the camper and then some snacks or larger meal at the parks or hotels. The fridge just has cheese, sausage, bagels, water, and booze. There are too many interesting things to eat at Disney to spend the time cooking and cleaning up all the time, especially without a campfire.
     
  • StormyCA

    Chief Troublemaker
    Joined
    Sep 22, 2014
    There's only two things I can think of that has a hotel beating the Fort....room service and maid service. Other than that the Fort wins hands down. Your own 'home comforts', no common walls, no worries about disturbing others with comings and goings. Another plus is having your own favorite food and drink whenever you want it and not having to rely on restaurant hours, a teeny tiny 'beverage fridge' and no cooking facilities (unless you have the $$$ for a villa, which we don't).

    Now if they'd just deliver meals and clean the trailer it would be even more perfect than it already is.
     

    No_strings

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 4, 2020
    We are interested in booking a campsite the week starting two days after Xmas. I know that is one of the peak times for RV campers, but curious how much in advance you have to book (499, a year out?). Thanks.
     

    Sjm9911

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 11, 2019
    Depends, right now its not open to book for 2021. But ideally, asap. The sites go quick especially at that time.
     

    myjourney

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2007
    So we have decided not to move to Florida and keep our home in Indiana. We like our rural 3 acre mini farm and it looks like we could not find anything close to this at a price we could afford. So we are buying an RV so we can visit Disney a few times a year and do some local camping.
     

    Stratman50th

    Loving all things Fort Wilderness!
    Joined
    Nov 17, 2019
    So we have decided not to move to Florida and keep our home in Indiana. We like our rural 3 acre mini farm and it looks like we could not find anything close to this at a price we could afford. So we are buying an RV so we can visit Disney a few times a year and do some local camping.
    I don't know your situation at all so I'm just making a suggestion for what it's worth. Did you look in Polk County? That's pretty much all we have around here, cattle and citrus groves.
     

    bama_ed

    It's kind of fun to do the impossible-Walt Disney
    Joined
    Sep 23, 2004
    So we have decided not to move to Florida and keep our home in Indiana. We like our rural 3 acre mini farm and it looks like we could not find anything close to this at a price we could afford. So we are buying an RV so we can visit Disney a few times a year and do some local camping.
    A rural 3 acre mini farm in Indiana sounds almost idyllic.

    Growing up my dad built a house in the late 70s on a 3 acre lot in rural Northeast Ohio on a dirt road (sadly, it's paved now). Even today it's still pretty rural but still as beautiful countryside as it was when I was growing up. So I can certainly understand your decision.

    Bama Ed
     

    kevtlas

    Mouseketeer
    DVC Gold
    Joined
    Feb 17, 2009
    The fridge just has cheese, sausage, bagels, water, and booze.
    I second that; just bring the essentials...
    So we have decided not to move to Florida and keep our home in Indiana. We like our rural 3 acre mini farm and it looks like we could not find anything close to this at a price we could afford. So we are buying an RV so we can visit Disney a few times a year and do some local camping.
    When we were stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, MO, we found that being mostly centrally located in the US was perfect for travelling around in our Class A. Indiana has some great campgrounds. Lake Rudolph was one of our favorites actually, and it's right next to Holiday World.
     

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