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"Fort Wilderness" Gets Extreme Makeover

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  • News "Fort Wilderness" Gets Extreme Makeover

    Roughing it is not what it used to be, especially at Walt Disney World's Fort Wilderness Campground.
    Disney is quietly undertaking its broadest campground-improvements program in two decades, adding extra-extra-large camper pads for recreational vehicles, cable-TV and Internet service throughout, Segway scooter tours, a mini-water park, a dog park, and an improved electric-cart rental operation.
    The program also is taking aim at invasive plant species such as potato vines, replacing such vegetation with fresh native plantings.
    "The fort is a treasure at Walt Disney World. There really is so much history with the success of Walt Disney World that stems back to Fort Wilderness," said Jean Gallagher, general manager of both Disney's Wilderness Lodge and Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort Campground. "And because of the nature of this property, and the theming, we really haven't done a lot of changes. ... We have not made a lot of investment from a site perspective in the 37 years we've been open. So this opportunity to meet what our guests are asking for, and how the industry has changed, this is more than we could expect."
    Never mind the people who cannot leave work behind, even in a campground, and feel a constant need to check e-mail, news and market updates on a regular basis. For today's teens and pre-teens, roughing it without the Internet is often going too far. That's why even veteran campers like Matthew McKown, 15, and his sisters Caroline, 13, and Nicole, 10, from Charleston, S.C., all said they missed having an Internet connection during their latest stay at Fort Wilderness a couple weeks ago, and look forward to having it next year. Their father, Phillip McKown, however, was less interested in the cable and Internet connections, still preferring to keep some semblance of being able to get away from the real world.
    "It adds to the experience, camping here," he said. "It's like camping and you get to go to the parks. Going to a hotel room is just like going to a hotel room."
    Linda Profaizer, president and chief executive officer of the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds, praised Disney's efforts to upgrade Fort Wilderness, saying her recent visits had told her it was time for some updating.
    "It's a great property, but the sites are older," Profaizer said.
    In particular, she said, campers' appetite for Internet service and cable TV has been growing for several years.
    "All the parks do that today; it's very much a required service. It's a great thing to do," Profaizer said.
    Do TV and Internet hookups at every campsite detract from a desire to get away from it all?
    "Sadly, here's the deal," Profaizer said: "People want to be connected no matter what. You have to offer what the people expect."
    Disney is also catching up with the trend toward larger RVs. The rolling vacation homes, which now often exceed 40 feet in length, have become wider in recent years, too, thanks to the popularity of "slide outs," those room extensions that pull out from the sides when the vehicle is parked.
    For that reason, Disney is creating areas with what it calls "premium campsites," which will include much larger paved pads plus upgraded amenities such as grills and picnic tables. Those sites will cost $66 to $116 a night, depending on the season and day of the week.
    Disney also is adding a themed water-slide and splash-zone attraction to The Meadows area pool. Fort Wilderness abuts River Country, Disney World's original water park, which closed a few years ago. Now designers and engineers are looking over what's left of that park, and they're thinking about moving and recycling the park's signature water tower to the Fort Wilderness pool and building a slide into it.
    The Fort Wilderness overhaul comes as the industry wonders about what near-record-high gas prices will do to RV camping.
    "For years we've been telling everybody you have to expand your sites because the industry is building the larger RVs in larger numbers. Now with the gas situation, we're wondering," Profaizer said. "We're wondering, No.1, will the manufacturers continue to build the big units? And two, the consumer, is that what people will still be wanting?"
    For now, she said, the question is moot. There are plenty of house-size RVs on the road, so campgrounds need to accommodate them.
    Disney does not release occupancy numbers for its individual resorts. But while Fort Wilderness seems as vulnerable as any resort to consumers' reactions to gas prices, the campground appeared to be holding its own, at least last year, according to remarks made by Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger during an earnings call last fall.
    "We have a big RV park in Orlando, and I would think that they would be hit the hardest, because it's pretty expensive to fill up a tank in one of those babies," Iger told investors. Yet "those parks have been completely full. And there's demand going forward from a bookings perspective."
    Source: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/busin...,5980177.story

  • #2
    Re: "Fort Wilderness" Gets Extreme Makeover

    Camping.... Yuppie style.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: "Fort Wilderness" Gets Extreme Makeover

      But I'll bet they'll still charge a whopper of a price for the WI-Fi internet access. It wouldnt make sense to not rip off guests at Fort Wilderness when all the other Disney resorts have to pay a hefty fee for an hr of internet.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: "Fort Wilderness" Gets Extreme Makeover

        I love Fort Wilderness... as it is one of those areas where I still feel the "old WDW mood". However... as long as River Country is not re-opened in some form, they should not bother. Spend the money improving the MK instead.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: "Fort Wilderness" Gets Extreme Makeover

          Originally posted by aimster View Post
          Camping.... Yuppie style.
          LOL That's exactly what I said... But according to one friend of mine who does "camp" quite a bit (and by camp I mean has a rancher on wheels that unfolds across an area larger than most apartments....) Most modern day RV parks have Wi-Fi or wired internet now and he will not stay in one that doesn't so there is a market for it to be sure.

          Originally posted by toonaspie View Post
          But I'll bet they'll still charge a whopper of a price for the WI-Fi internet access. It wouldn't make sense to not rip off guests at Fort Wilderness when all the other Disney resorts have to pay a hefty fee for an hr of internet.
          WDW charges around $10-12 fee per day as I recall for the deluxe resorts I would assume it would be the same at FW, this is in line with what most hotels charge for Internet access. (yes I know a lot of them don't anymore but then again a lot of them do.) If you are a serious road warrior like me you have a wireless broadband card and it's a moot point as long as you have coverage in that area.

          Originally posted by TDLFAN View Post
          I love Fort Wilderness... as it is one of those areas where I still feel the "old WDW mood". However... as long as River Country is not re-opened in some form, they should not bother. Spend the money improving the MK instead.
          I read they are looking at moving/integrating some of the old River Country apparatus into the new pool area. While probably not what your looking for it's a start. I would really like to see River country re-opened as a mini water park for WL/FW guests in a way similar to Stormalong bay at the Beach and Yacht clubs. If they added some newer larger "deluxe" cabins (DVC sized, stand alone, maybe with a small deck and hotub) in between along with a few more trails and maybee bring back the wilderness railroad between the two resorts you could have a really nice upscale yet rustic vacation experience.
          Hi I'm Jerren and I'm a Disneyholic...

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: "Fort Wilderness" Gets Extreme Makeover

            Originally posted by TDLFAN View Post
            I love Fort Wilderness... as it is one of those areas where I still feel the "old WDW mood". However... as long as River Country is not re-opened in some form, they should not bother. Spend the money improving the MK instead.
            I love Fort Wilderness too - it's one of my favorite places on property. The Segway tours have been going on for over a year, and the dog park has been open for a few months or so. I'm not sure I'd call that a makeover, just adding a few new things (and the archery class).
            Denise

            www.mousesteps.com




            Favorite TDL Typo:

            Originally posted by TDLFAN
            I think it will give more pipping pervs the reason needed to go parasailing
            on Bay Lake.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: "Fort Wilderness" Gets Extreme Makeover

              I've always thought they should re-open River Country as the main pool for Fort Wilderness. All of the other resorts have these awesome pools, yet Fort Wilderness just has boring plain pools. But, I guess moving some of the slides to one of the main pools is a good compromise.

              The campground already has internet in the cabins. We use it ALL the time when we stay there. Yes, it is $9-10 a day.

              If the campground were truly getting an "extreme makeover", they would overhaul the internal bus system too. Oh yeah, and bring back the train. ha ha!!
              -Tim

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: "Fort Wilderness" Gets Extreme Makeover

                The campground also has an internet cafe (and has for at least a year or so). I don't remember if they have their own computers, but I used wireless there for the $10.
                Denise

                www.mousesteps.com




                Favorite TDL Typo:

                Originally posted by TDLFAN
                I think it will give more pipping pervs the reason needed to go parasailing
                on Bay Lake.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: "Fort Wilderness" Gets Extreme Makeover

                  I don't know if it's changed in the past year, but when we stayed at the Contemporary last October/November, the room's new computers from the recent makeover had free internet.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: "Fort Wilderness" Gets Extreme Makeover

                    If the toilets flush, you're not really camping.

                    A bientot.
                    Remember
                    What the dormouse said
                    Feed your head!

                    sigpic

                    You've read it; you can't unread it!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: "Fort Wilderness" Gets Extreme Makeover

                      Fort Wilderness is awesome!!!!! here are a few pics






                      She is gone no longer singing at the Fort Mrs Sundee


                      Couple of my carts!!!!


                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: "Fort Wilderness" Gets Extreme Makeover

                        Originally posted by tungpo1 View Post
                        I want one of those! :thumbup:
                        Hi I'm Jerren and I'm a Disneyholic...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: "Fort Wilderness" Gets Extreme Makeover

                          I got them!!!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: "Fort Wilderness" Gets Extreme Makeover

                            It's funny, I live about 25 minutes away from the Harley plant in York and I have never seen one before... gotta love the Scull on the front!

                            Of course every time my dad and I joke about getting Bikes my wife has a fit.... )
                            Hi I'm Jerren and I'm a Disneyholic...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: "Fort Wilderness" Gets Extreme Makeover

                              I just sold my HD Springer softail!!! The cart I built.


                              I'm sure going to miss her!!!!



                              Comment

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