Are you thinking about going camping in Central Florida? Orlando travel blogger Deanne Schulz, creator of the Tacky Fabulous Blog, shared her unique insight on RV and tent camping in and around the Orlando area with LoveToKnow Camping. Following her stints as a Disney tour guide and Public Relations Manager for Universal Studios Orlando, Deanne truly has the inside scoop on Orlando camping and travel!
Is camping in Central Florida a good option for individuals planning a Disney World vacation?
As is the case with most of Orlando, there is Disney and then there is "everything else." This holds true for the camping world, as well. Disney's Campground is called Ft. Wilderness, and in terms of amenities, there isn't anyplace else that can compare or even come close.
Tent campsites are available (starting at $42 with water and electric hook-up), as are sites for just about every type of RV (the most expensive sites, in-season, with sewer, electric and cable hook-up can run as high as $99 per night). Cabins are available for rent, as well, with prices comparable to those at Disney's most expensive resorts ($380 per night).
What can Fort Wilderness campers expect during their stay?
Talk about pampered camping - after guests check out of their site and before the next one checks in at Ft. Wilderness, a Disney cast member (employee) arrives on the scene with an enormous leaf blower and cleans off the site's cement "patio area." So much for roughing it!
Throughout the resort, there are constant reminders that you really aren't going to have to forage for food or go without hot water. Ft. Wilderness has everything from shower facilities to high-end dinner shows. In the evening at the campfire sing-along, you don't have to worry about finding sticks for roasting marshmallows because Disney sells them in a small outpost near the fire pit. One brown bag with two sticks and a few marshmallows will set you back $2. A s'more kit with accompanying graham crackers and chocolate is $5.
Sure, the whole thing really isn't much about solitude or nature, but for families who go on vacation to be entertained, there is a never-ending supply of fun. The property has swimming pools, a beach, an arcade, playground, boat rentals, bike rentals, fishing, horseback rides, pony rides, and carriage rides.
What are some of the most appealing camping options in the Orlando area for those camping on a budget?
If you are visiting Orlando and plan to spend most of your time at the theme parks, you may want to pass on Disney's expensive resort, and opt instead for one of the nearby campgrounds like Tropical Palms Resort, which is just three miles away from Disney World. It's certainly not as plush as Ft. Wilderness but not as pricey either. If you're looking to cut corners and you plan on spending most of your time on the roller coasters and meeting characters, it just might be the way to go. About an hour's drive from the main Orlando attractions is Blue Springs State Park, an officially designated "manatee refuge." The months of November through March are considered peak manatee season. Because the temperature of the spring stays at 72 degrees year-round, the manatees make the trek to Blue Springs for the warm water during the cold months. In peak season, there are manatees as far as the eye can see. Campsites are just $20 per night, and while you're in the area, you can also take a cruise up the St. Johns River or rent a kayak or canoe.
What are the most important seasonal considerations for RV travel in Central Florida?
Simply stated, Florida gets hot in the summer. Let me re-phrase that: Florida gets brutally hot in the summer, and humid! Unbelievably, summertime is actually one of the busiest times of year to visit. The best way to gauge how crowded Orlando will be is to consider the school calendar - when school is out, the parks are packed. June, July and August are peak season, and holidays are typically the days with the highest attendance.
LoveToKnow Camping would like to thank Orlando travel expert Deanne Schulz for taking the time to share insider tips on camping in Central Florida.