CAPTURING THE ETIQUETTE OF FORT WILDERNESS CAMPERS

Ami B. (NDM#381) (35 Posts)

Princess Ami grew up going to Disney World when it was young and very small in comparison to today. It was a “World” that spanned only the Magic Kingdom resort area and the E-ticket was king! Disney World grew and Ami did with it, savoring every moment and change. Now that they are both knocking on 40, Magic Kingdom does its Disney magic with 3 more parks. It’s probably not a coincidence that Ami now experiences that new magic with 3 more princesses in tow. The girls are growing up addicted to the magic just as their mom did. Married to Prince Scott, Ami is gradually converting him over to the pixie dusted side! In addition to writing Disney infused blogs like www.disneyparkgoddess.blogspot.com and www.faithtrustandpixiedusted.blogspot.com, Ami is a singer in her Virginia church’s contemporary praise band and a self-proclaimed foodie.


How do ya do?

Have you ever heard the term : “Camping People?”

Photo credit: Ami Brundick-Eller

What comes to mind?  Roughing it in the buggy wild?  No air conditioning?  Sleeping on the ground?  The great Outdoors?  What about manners?  Kindness?  Kids being kids?

I suppose it all depends on your perspective.

I grew up a “resort person.”  My dad’s idea of camping was a Best Western where the doors opened to the outside instead of an indoor corridor.  I was lucky enough to visit the Walt Disney World Resort pretty much every year, but we always stayed at the Polynesian or the Contemporary.  I am unbelievably thankful for these experiences, and the Polynesian still lives in a VERY sacred part of my heart.  I’m not sure I was even aware that there was a campground.  Sure, I visited the Hoop-Dee-Doo and River Country, but I had no idea what was beyond.  Little did I realize that “yonder” would eventually hold so many blessed encounters.

When my husband and I first got married, we were…well…dirt poor, fresh out of college, and trying to start a life together.  My significant other grew up loving camping, so it wasn’t a stretch for him.  For me, it became a matter of camp or stay home.  I decided to camp.  Strangely, I loved it (ok, the time I was 8.3 months pregnant in July, with elephant ankles, and a mat as thick as a tissue to “sleep” on was not really fun).  We were tent campers, and there was something so peaceful about being able to look up into the sky, feel the breeze, and slowly drift off to sleep.  We have since upgraded to a pop-up, which has the benefit of opening all up to the breeze just like a tent, but gets my “womanly hips” up off the hard ground. Yeah, size matters…and an ample booty + solid, rocky terrain = much moaning and limping.

Still, I hesitated camping in Disney World.  To me, Disney World had as much to do with the resorts as the parks.  One of my favorite things to do (still is) was to walk around slowly, taking in every detail.  I’m not sure what I expected, but I didn’t think I would get the same experience at the campground.  Yeah, yeah, I know….oh ‘me’ of little faith.  I should have recognized; it’s Disney World for goodness sake!  I don’t recollect exactly what prompted me to plan the trip in the first place; perhaps it was marrying my love for Disney with my husband’s passion for camping (they have fishing, too!).  I started researching, and much to my disbelief, got really excited.  Wow!  The sites look awesome!  Wow!  The comfort stations look immaculate!  Wow! They have a campfire sing-along with Chip and Dale and then a movie under the stars afterward!  You can rent a golf cart, bring bikes, play on playgrounds, and borrow boats.  As far as campgrounds go…this looked like the nicest we had ever seen!

What my research didn’t tell me, though, was how much I would enjoy the camping people.  Now, campers are famous for their hospitable nature.  This fact was just amplified in a Disney setting.  Nobody is a stranger; you are greeted with a smile wherever you go.  If you are setting up and find that you need a tool, a neighbor will most likely be along shortly to let you borrow one.  Next thing you know, you are sharing a drink and becoming fast friends!  When you enter Fort Wilderness, the pace feels slower, and all the stresses of the fast moving world you just left fade away.  Maybe that’s why people are so pleasant.  Life seems simpler.  Kids trade the video games for scooters and sidewalk chalk, meals are shared outside and passersby are waved at.  Now go ahead and try this stuff at a Best Western!  Wouldn’t it be great if the “real world” was this way?

These are the trips in which you take home more than pictures, souvenirs and memories….you also take home friends.

Contributed by: Ami B. (NDM#381) Ami is the DDL Ethics and Marriage Blogger. She is also the creator of Disney Park Goddess.

Ami B. (NDM#381)

Princess Ami grew up going to Disney World when it was young and very small in comparison to today. It was a “World” that spanned only the Magic Kingdom resort area and the E-ticket was king! Disney World grew and Ami did with it, savoring every moment and change. Now that they are both knocking on 40, Magic Kingdom does its Disney magic with 3 more parks. It’s probably not a coincidence that Ami now experiences that new magic with 3 more princesses in tow. The girls are growing up addicted to the magic just as their mom did. Married to Prince Scott, Ami is gradually converting him over to the pixie dusted side! In addition to writing Disney infused blogs like www.disneyparkgoddess.blogspot.com and www.faithtrustandpixiedusted.blogspot.com, Ami is a singer in her Virginia church’s contemporary praise band and a self-proclaimed foodie.

12 thoughts on “CAPTURING THE ETIQUETTE OF FORT WILDERNESS CAMPERS

  • Monday, March 21, 2011 at 1:09 pm
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    Very well said. My family and I feel exactly the same. In fact, Fort Wilderness is now the ONLY way we do Disney.

  • Monday, March 21, 2011 at 5:35 pm
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    I love Fort Wilderness. Our family has camped there several times over the last 5 years. We did, however, have an unpleasant experience once due to improper “etiquette.” A father had allowed his under-aged daughter to drive their golf cart -without a parent present. As a result, the girl hit my 7 y.o. daughter with the golf cart as she was riding her bike. Thankfully, my daughter was wearing her helmet. Beware of those silent golf carts! The drivers really do need to show more caution, no matter what their age. My daughter was OK but I believe the family was asked to leave the property for allowing the 14 y.o. to drive the cart.

  • Monday, March 21, 2011 at 6:53 pm
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    Oh my goodness! I am very glad to hear your daughter is ok after that unfortunate accident! Despite the fact that most campers are sincerely lovely people, sadly they are not all exempt from making poor choices. There is a rule about golf cart drivers having a license for a reason. Thankfully you have a habit of making wise choices! This is evident by your daughters’ helmet usage. I am so sorry you had this experience.

  • Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 5:51 pm
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    Well-done, Ami…

  • Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 2:36 pm
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    I’ll agree! Great article! We are loyal Disney campers and would never think of cheating on the campground, so I’m glad that you gave it a try and enjoy yourself while your there.

  • Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 6:44 pm
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    Absolutely love it!  I was just there last week and miss it already! Thanks!

  • Monday, September 19, 2011 at 5:51 pm
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    Thank you for a great article on my home away from home: Fort Wilderness!  People are always surprised at its beauty, unique activities, and serenity.  No surprise that Walt himself planned the resort!

  • Monday, September 19, 2011 at 6:45 pm
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    I am just on my way home from the Fort, and I know exactly what you are saying. We love staying there, it makes Disney a whole different experience. Slow and easy! Love reading your story, thanks.

  • Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 2:20 am
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    I agree, there is something so special about all those places that Walt himself had a part in.  His essence is in them!  Thank you so much for your comment!  Fort Wilderness is a gem!

  • Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 2:22 am
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    It really is like comparing night and day isn’t it?  The parks vs Fort Wilderness is like the complete vacation!  Tranquility when you need it, action when you’d rather have that!  Thanks so much for your kind words!

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