There are two Trading Posts (general stores), one down by the lake known as the Settlement Trading Post and the other one near the main pool in the center of the park known as the Meadow Trading Post. The Meadow happens to be the closest store to the cabins. Having said that, it is still quite a walk to get there, but I really enjoyed getting up early and strolling through the woods with the squirrels as my only companions, to get our daily provisions before hitting the parks. You are not encouraged to drive your vehicle around the resort - there's nearly no place to park, just to make sure. However, you are allowed to drive to the Meadow Trading Post and park for a short time while you shop. You will only find basic provisions at the stores but enough to get you by.
Getting to the parks from Fort Wilderness can be a bit of a hassle. As the resort is so huge, they have an internal bus system to get you around. You have to catch one of these to take you to the two main terminals from where the park buses and/or ferries leave. These terminals are located at opposite ends of the resort. If you want to go to Disney's Hollywood Studios or catch the boat to Magic Kingdom you need to catch an internal bus down to the Settlement Depot and transfer there. if you want to go to Epcot, Animal Kingdom, or Downtown Disney you need to catch an internal bus going the other way to the front entrance (Outpost Depot) and transfer there. I admit at first it's a bit confusing but you'll soon get the hang it. All this does mean you have to allow extra time to get to the parks, so if you're a person who loves to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible, then you are better off renting a car. A car also comes in handy to do grocery runs and to visit other attractions in the area, but as Americans drive on the opposite side of the road to us Aussies, we can find it a bit daunting.
Another option if you want to get around the resort and bypass the internal buses is to rent a golf cart. They're not cheap at $47 plus tax a day, but they would be worth it if you have small children and you're getting home late from the parks, as you won't need to wait for the internal buses to get you back to your cabin. You do need to reserve one as early as possible - you can book up to a year in advance. Oh, and don't forget to recharge them when you park! There are charging posts outside the cabins and at the two main bus terminals, by the lake, and at the main entrance.
Now one bit of advice specifically for Aussie visitors regards the time of year to visit Walt Disney World. We have one very large advantage over Americans, and that is, our main holidays are in January and this coincides with one of the quietest times of year at Walt Disney World. You will find crowds are very manageable and the long waits at rides encountered at other times of the year almost nonexistent. Just be aware that the Disney Marathons are held usually the second weekend in January, and that Martin Luther King holiday weekend also falls in January. These two events usually do have a bit of an impact on the crowd levels, but on those days, why not take the opportunity to visit one of the many other tourist attractions in the area such as SeaWorld, Universal Studios, or Kennedy Space Center to name a few?
There is so much offered at Fort Wilderness that you could easily devote several days to on-site activities, but perhaps I will save all that for another time. What I will say to travelers who love the great outdoors, is seriously consider staying at the Fort Wilderness Cabins. Trust me, they are a quiet, relaxing oasis after all the excitement of the amazing parks.
Fort Wilderness Resort Quick Facts
Address: 4510 N. Fort Wilderness Trail, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Phone: 407-824-2900 / Fax: 407-824-3508
Room Rates: 2009 rates begin at $43 for a partial hookup campsite, $57 for a full hookup campsite, $62 for a preferred campsite, and $265 for a Wilderness Cabin
Kids Love Walt Disney World!
The PassPorter Moms' boys at Walt Disney World: Alexander and Ryan. Listen to the PassPorter Moms Podcast at http://www.passporter.com/podcast - photo by Jennifer Marx
About the Author: Anne Topp has two children and lives in Melbourne, Australia. She owns her own TV Lighting Production Company and simply loves to travel with her kids. She has been to Walt Disney World twice and has just booked her third trip.
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