Is a stay at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground really enhanced by a golf cart rental? We have all of the golf cart rules, pros and cons of a rental, and how to rent a golf cart down below!
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground Overview
Fort Wilderness is an amazing place for those that want to enjoy Disney, but don’t like to be cooped up in a hotel room for the stay. Nothing beats a day in the parks like sitting down next to a campfire, under the stars, taking in the fresh air and planning your attack for the next day.
Fort Wilderness is a very large campground. Even when comparing it to other large campgrounds, Fort Wilderness is HUGE. It is nestled on 750 acres just off of Seven Seas Lagoon. The campground is about 1 ½ miles long and ½ a mile wide. It features 20 camping loops (about 800 campsites) and 8 Cabin loops (about 400 cabins). Getting around a campground of this size almost definitely requires a golf cart.
How to Get Around Fort Wilderness Campground
Disney does offer complementary, internal buses to get you around the campground, which make stops approximately every 20 minutes. But during peak times, buses can get crowded and you may have to wait for subsequent buses. These buses are different than the more common Disney Park buses which take you to and from the parks.
In fact, when you take a bus from a Disney Park to the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, you will be dropped off at the resort transportation center at the entrance of the park. Depending on where your site is, you could be more than a mile away. While the internal campground buses are very efficient, there is plenty of golf cart parking at the transportation center and nothing beats hopping on the cart and driving directly to your site. Additionally, you can park your bike at the transportation center if you enjoy pedaling around.
Parking at Fort Wilderness
While you are exploring the campground, be aware that there is VERY limited parking for passenger cars. If I recall correctly, there are only 3-5 spots at the trading post (store) and almost no other parking for regular cars at any of the other amenities. The pool, marina, Trails End Restaurant, and Pioneer Hall have space for bicycles and golf carts, but not passenger cars. You can park your car at your site or at the transportation center, but that is pretty much it. You are actually encouraged to drive to your site only, and not explore the campground in your car/truck/motorcycle.
Fort Wilderness Golf Cart Rentals
Disney offers golf cart rentals directly to campground guests. This is, by far, the easiest way to get a golf cart if you don’t have your own. Because the carts are provided by Disney, you don’t have to worry about your cart not meeting the safety requirements and if you have an issue with a cart, they can get you a replacement very quickly. The carts run about $65/day for a 4 seat model and include the charger. Reservations are highly recommended and almost mandatory if you want one during peak seasons/times.
Fort Wilderness Golf Cart Rental Reservation Phone Number
You can make a golf cart reservation at Fort Wilderness up to 1 year before your arrival date by calling (407) 824-2742.
Renting a Golf Cart Offsite During Fort Wilderness Stay
There are no check-in requirements to bring your cart on site if you are a registered guest, but Disney is very strict in prohibiting 3rd party rental agencies from bringing a cart onto park property for you. This does not mean you cannot rent a golf cart offsite, and if you want one during peak season times and forgot to reserve one in advance, this may be your only option. You simply have to travel to their rental location, pick up the cart and bring it onto the property with your own vehicle (most agencies offer trailer rentals if you need it to transport the cart).
Rental rates can sometimes be cheaper than renting through Disney. An average rental cost is about $55/day, $225/week or $400 for the month. Again, if you are towing a camper or toad, you will have to stop at the park, register, drop your cargo and then head out to the rental location to get the cart. The trailer cannot be left at your site, but can be stored in the overflow lot, if space is available. If space is not available, you may have to drop the trailer back at the rental location.
While this sounds easy, keep in mind how big the campground is, and what traffic can be like getting in and out at certain times of the day. I wouldn’t recommend a few dollars in savings being the reason to rent off site, but if you don’t have a cart and Fort Wilderness does not have any available, it is a viable option.
Bringing Your Own Golf Cart to Fort Wilderness
As we mentioned previously, there are no special requirements for registering your own golf cart (or rental that you bring in), though it must be golf cart type vehicle. They do not allow ATVs, Gators, side-by-sides, UTVs or other construction style carts, so your Polaris needs to stay at home for this trip. Skateboards, ripsticks, gas-powered scooters, dirtbikes and hoverboards are also not permitted for use at the resort.
They do allow you to bring Global Electric Motorcars (GEM) or Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEV), but they must remain on roadways only. These vehicles may not be driven on cart paths or parked in golf cart parking areas. Florida has laws allowing certain low speed vehicles (LSVs) to be operated on public roadways, but they vary widely from county to county. There are also many requirements such as being titled, registered and insured with a licensed driver. It is reasonable to believe you cannot drive them from Fort Wilderness to the Parks, so probably best to leave them at home as well.
If you plan on operating your cart after sundown, it must have operating headlights and taillights. The speed limit at the resort is 20 MPH, and make sure you obey it, because security is patrolling and will stop you.
Fort Wilderness Vehicle and Cart Rules
While there aren’t too many requirements to rent or bring a golf cart on site for convenience, there are a few rules you will have to follow.
- Follow all posted speed limits and general rules of the road. Carts may not exceed 20 mph and must yield to pedestrians and bicycles.
- Park buses are treated the same as school buses and “School Bus” rules of the road apply. You MUST come to a complete stop while buses are loading and unloading passengers. You may not pass the bus and must remain stopped until the bus starts moving again.
Drivers may not have open containers or be under the influence of alcohol, chemical substances or controlled substances.
- You may not use electronic devices while operating a cart (or any other vehicle) on the Fort Wilderness grounds. Phone calls may be taken with a hands-free device.
- Drivers (including carts) must be licensed and have their licenses with them. Learner permits are not acceptable for cart drivers, you must be a licensed driver.
- Children may not sit on the driver’s lap. They may sit on a passenger’s lap if the passenger is securing them. Children may not “assist” in driving in any way.
- Cart passengers are to remain seated at all times while the cart is being operated.
- Carts must stay within the Fort Wilderness Campground and park in designated areas.
- Carts may only be used on roadways and marked cart paths, off-roading or driving across unmarked paths is strictly prohibited.
- Golf cart privileges may be revoked if you do not follow the rules.
Other Acceptable Personal Transportation
Fort Wilderness does allow the use of Electronic Personal Assistance Mobility Devices (EPAMD’s) on sidewalks and roadways. This would include electric mobility scooter and segways. They must also have headlights and taillights for nighttime use. Skates, kick scooters, electric scooters and other electric mobility devices may be used on sidewalks and cart paths only. They are not permitted on roadways and must yield to larger vehicles and pedestrians. Bicycles may be used on roadways, sidewalks and cart paths, but those under 16 MUST wear a rated helmet as per Florida State law. Bicycles are available for rental at the Bike Barn.
Any way you travel it, Fort Wilderness is an amazing campground and a wonderful way to enhance your visit to Disney Parks. Just be courteous and yield to others and follow all the rules.