Staying at a campground is a great way to make your family's trip to the most magical place on Earth more affordable. After a busy day at the parks, kick your feet up and decompress with your family in a natural setting.
Camping near Disney is the perfect way to book accommodations that house your family comfortably and fit within your budget. Afterall, it takes a little more than pixie dust and happy thoughts to afford a Disney adventure for you and your family. Staying at a campground near Disney can help you strike a balance that is still a magical experience.
By staying at a campground, you can experience all the sights, sounds, and spectacles of the happiest place on Earth and then relax in central Florida’s natural beauty. Many campgrounds offer lodging, RV and tent sites. You can even rent a camper nearby if you’d like to stay in an RV but don’t own one yourself.
Campgrounds near Disney World also provide you with convenient access to other nearby attractions. For example, if you need a break from the parks, you might visit the natural springs of Florida like Wekiva or Rock Springs. to five star dining and entertainment options. The Rain Forest Cafe and Circ de Soleil at Disney Springs are also two great options if you’re looking for additional nearby dining and entertainment options.
The best time of year to visit Disney depends on several things:
The times of year that are more likely to be cooler and drier are between October and March.
But the truth is Florida is hot. Florida is humid. It can thunderstorm at any given time. And then the sun comes right back out. But that’s one of the things that makes Disney the happiest place on Earth: plenty of vitamin D.
Even in summer, the heat is manageable with the right preparation. Elsa works her magic to keep areas of the park cool and comfortable. The lines for rides are shaded and most are partly air conditioned.
Theater shows like the Hall of Presidents and the Lion King are a great opportunity to sit down and cool off in the AC.
The busy season for Disney fluctuates throughout the year. But there are less crowded weeks. September—after Labor Day weekend—and the first few weeks in November are less busy. And then there’s that week after Thanksgiving and the first week in December before the Christmas crowds come that are great for a seasonal experience. April and May are also less busy months as long as you don’t go around Memorial Day weekend.
Do you like the “feel” of certain times of the year? The ambience you get when you step into the park changes with the holidays and events. So keep that in mind when planning your trip.
Where do you start? Disney is all about making dreams come true. If you need help planning your Disney adventure, be sure to visit their Help Desk—the team members there can work with you to craft the perfect personalized Disney bucket list.
The food experiences at Disney Resorts are some of the best in the southeast. If you’re a foodie, be sure to visit Epcot where you can choose from twenty-three restaurants to sample food from 11 countries.
After an exciting day at Animal Kingdom, take your family to Rainforest Cafe where you can get the China Island Chicken Salad, Blue Mountain Chicken Sandwich, or Korean Spicy Stir-Fry Chicken.Your kids will love watching the animatronic animals hidden in the walls and ceiling.
Themed events take place in certain parks throughout the year. Epcot hosts events like the Food and Wine Festival, Flower and Garden Festival, and the Festival of the Arts.
The Food and Wine Festival presents pairings from around the world. The Flower and Garden Festival’s artful flower arrangements and the landscape design are the best way to kick off spring. And the Festival of the Arts exhibits feature all kinds of things from canvas artists to dance and theater.
Disney offers specially ticketed experiences. The Key to the Kingdom Tour is a five-hour walking tour. Villains After Hours hosts live entertainment for parents and teens. Experience some of Disney’s greatest villains on stage—after hours. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Boo Bash are also after hours events for all ages.
For young princesses and princes alike, there are also themed experiences like the Mad Hatter's Unbirthday Party or The Princess Tea.
For those with a passion for a galaxy far far away, the experiences abound! Oh yeah, Disney is fully capitalizing on three generations’ worth of pent-up demand for all things Star Wars.
There’s a whole section of Hollywood Studios devoted to Star Wars: Galaxies Edge.
But the quintessential ending to a perfect day at Disney is not a high priced add-on. In fact, you don’t even have to be in the park to see it. It’s the fireworks display and light show over Cinderella’s Castle. And you can see it from several places—including campgrounds near Disney.
Sanford Orlando is the closest airport. So if you’re planning on camping near Disney World, this one will fit your needs.
Orlando International Airport (MCO) has transportation that goes directly to Disney. That makes MCO the best airport to fly into if you're planning to stay at a Disney Resort or Property.
Like months ahead.
Restaurant reservations are open 60-180 days in advance and fill up quickly. Experiences like the Princess Tea, Jedi Academy or even a haircut at the barbershop need to be reserved ahead of time through Disney's Park Reservation System.
Also, due to covid restrictions, you must make a reservation to enter the parks. That means you can’t just show up and expect to get in. So set a date. Put in your reservation well in advance of your arrival.
No one likes waiting in line with whiny children. But you also don’t want to run your phone battery down by playing games on it all day. Besides, a family trip is a chance to be with your kids. Let’s use this time to bond with them, not just distract them.
Time flies when you’re having fun. Here are a few games to engage your kids while you wait.
They’ll give you a special badge to wear that helps other cast members celebrate with you all day long.
Disney accommodates special circumstances wherever they can. Identifying your child to them helps them serve you better throughout the day.
Disney outlines what you can and cannot bring onto any Disney property—including Disney Springs. For a detailed up-to-date list of specifications check out Disney's official list of prohibitions.
The best advice is to allot one day for each park you plan to visit. If you have a particular passion, spend two days there. This allows you to take your time and experience the parks without rushing.
While park hopper passes are a convenient option, if you want to eat at a certain place, going back and forth between parks eats up a lot of time and is a lot of walking. So use these with discretion.
While camping near Disney, you have several parks that you can choose to visit, not just Disney. The Orlando area is home to 10 major theme parks and several smaller parks like LegoLand Florida and Dinosaur World.
It’s better to ask: what do you want to see, and then see which park houses those attractions.
Disney is still operating at a lower capacity. So there are a few extra steps to take before you head to the park.
Not all events or experiences are up and running right now, so check before you go to avoid any disappointments.
All guests must make a reservation to enter the park. This is how Disney keeps their numbers at capacity. Also park hopper passes are only usable after 2:00 pm.
Masks outside in the parks are optional. If you haven’t been vaccinated Disney asks you to wear a mask indoors. And on public transportation—where everyone is super close—Disney asks that everyone ages two and up wear a mask.
Disney does not allow single layer masks such as neck gaiters. Your mask must be at least two layers and hands free. Be sure to check Disney's updated list of COVID protocols before you go.
The big tip for staying off-property at a campground near Disney is to plan for traffic. Guests staying at the Disney Resorts are allowed in an hour before the park officially opens. So there’s already going to be early morning foot traffic that you can’t beat.
Even if you stay off-property, you can still use the monorail to travel between Magic Kingdom and Epcot with a ParkHopper Pass. The monorail does not go to any other park, but the Walt Disney World Bus Service runs between all of the parks. The Ferry is also available to off-property guests for transport to the Magic Kingdom.
Rideshare services are also available as an option to get back to your campground. No matter what day of the week you’re visiting, hitting the roads between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. is going to mean some traffic, so plan accordingly.
Watching the fireworks show in front of Cinderella’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom is spectacular—it’s also crowded. Luckily, you can also watch the show from off property.
The Marina at Fort Wilderness,the Grand Floridian, and the Polynesian have great views of the fireworks. But the best place to watch the fireworks from is the fourth floor of the Contemporary Resort behind the gift shop. Why?
It’s true. The FastPass system is deader than Kuzco. No longer will you get free fast pass options with your admission tickets. Today, if you want to get through the lines quicker, you’ve got to pay.
The Universal Express Pass—or Genie+ and Lightning Lanes at Disney— will help you move through the rides faster.
But if you’re on a budget, you should know the prices for these passes fluctuate by the day. That makes it hard to plan ahead—especially if you’re buying for a family.
The quoted price for the Universal Express Pass is $80 and $110 for the Unlimited Pass…that’s per person. This cost is separate from your admission. Disney's version of the Express Pass is called Genie+. For Genie+ it’s $15 and then Lightning Lanes…well, they’re complicated. Lightning Lanes vary in price per day and per ride.