How to Plan an RV Trip to Disney World!

Travel Inspiration

As you likely know, Disney World claims to be the most magical place on earth, and honestly, we might have to agree. With favorite characters waiting to greet you, some of the most advanced rides in the world, incredible fireworks shows every night, and nostalgia waiting around every corner, a Disney vacation is an absolutely amazing thing.

Obviously, it just makes sense to add an RV to the equation and make things even better!

Many people never consider that they can RV camp at Disney World. However, it is totally possible. In fact, it’s an incredibly popular thing to do. There is even an on-property Disney World RV park for those who choose to go this route.

If you’re considering RV camping at Disney World, this is the article for you! Here we will discuss the ins and outs of choosing to RV at Disney so you can make a fool-proof plan and have the most magical trip possible.

How to Plan an RV Trip to Disney World

In this section, we will discuss the steps you’ll need to take in order to plan the perfect trip to the Disney RV park or the other RV parks near Disney World. By taking the steps below, you can rest easy knowing you have your bases covered, and you’re sure to have an awesome time.

Disney World transportation
  1. Secure an RV — If you don’t have an RV of your own, you will need to rent one. Fortunately, there are tons of RV rentals available in the Orlando area. Make sure to confirm whether the unit will be delivered or if it will need to be picked up. If you must pick up, make sure to get a driveable RV or ensure you have the proper vehicle to tow with.
  2. Find an RV Park — In addition to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, the official Disney World RV park, there are tons of RV parks in the Orlando area. Do your research ahead of time and find one that suits your budget and needs.
  3. Consider Transportation — If you’re flying in, be sure to consider transportation to and from the theme parks. You could rent a car, but there are a few other options we will discuss below.
  4. Plan Your Meals — Meal planning is an important part of any Disney World vacation. This is because many of the more popular Disney restaurants book up quickly. Be sure to make your dining reservations a full 180 days in advance. You may also want to do some grocery shopping beforehand for meals at your campground.
  5. Schedule Your Rides — You have two options for planning which rides to do at Disney World. The Genie feature on Disney’s app is complimentary and uses data like predicted crowd levels to help you determine which rides to go on and when. Genie+ costs $15 per person at Disney World and $25 per person at Disneyland and works like the old Fast Pass system. Genie+ can get you closer to the front of the lines using Lightning Lanes, and you can schedule rides, shows, and character meetings. However, not every attraction at Disney World uses Genie+, and you may need to pay separately for Lightning Lanes in some cases.
  6. Pack Wisely — Think about what you’ll need—both in the RV and in the parks—and make a list to ensure everything gets packed. Keep in mind that many rental RVs don’t include things like linens and towels. When it comes to packing for the parks, remember things like sunscreen, a portable phone charger, and a small backpack to lug everything around in.
  7. Download the App — The Disney World app (aka “My Disney Experience”) is incredibly helpful for scheduling Genie+ times and making new reservations. It also allows you to check showtimes and wait times. Make sure you download this app before you arrive at Disney World.

In our opinion, an RV is definitely the way to go when visiting Disney World and you’ll almost certainly have a great time staying in a camper while at Disney. That said, here are a few tips:

  • Use Park Transportation — As mentioned above, you will need to consider how to get to and from the parks. Sure, you could rent a car or drive the motorhome in, but parking at the parks is expensive, especially for large vehicles such as RVs. Fortunately, the Disney RV park offers guests complimentary transportation all over Disney property. If you plan to stay off-site, consider finding a campground that has shuttles to the parks, or use the local bus system which stops in front of a number of RV parks near Disney.
  • Have Groceries Delivered — Having a kitchen is one of the major benefits of renting an RV. However, you will need groceries in order to make use of it. Instead of using valuable vacation time to shop, we recommend ordering groceries to be delivered directly to your site. Instacart and Shipt are both good options for this.
  • Book Ahead of Time — RV parks near Disney (and especially Fort Wilderness Resort) are incredibly busy in the winter because of snowbirds. Of course, they are also busy in the summer because of families on vacation. For this reason, you will definitely need to snag a reservation rather than count on finding an open campsite once you arrive.
  • Respect Fire Rules — For many, campfires are an important part of the camping experience. Unfortunately, most Orlando area campgrounds have strict rules about what kinds of fires are allowed. For the most part, only contained propane fires are an option in these parks. Be sure to prepare in advance by renting a pit with your RV rental or bringing one from home.
  • Look for Camping Clubs — If you are a part of the Thousand Trails (plus Trails Collection), Coast to Coast, or Resort Parks International camping clubs, there are member parks in Orlando, giving you an opportunity to save big. You’ll find smaller savings if you’re a Passport America or Good Sam member and book a park from their list.
  • Invest in an Annual Pass — Those who will be in the Orlando area for a few weeks or more might want to consider investing in a Disney World Annual Pass. This is a good option for anyone who will be spending more than 10 days in the park, and if you’re a Florida resident, you won’t even have to spend that many days for the pass to pay for itself!
Disney World castle

RV Parking at Disney World

We highly recommend staying at the official Disney World campground, Fort Wilderness, if at all possible. This place is incredible and frequently voted one of the best RV parks in the country. Everything is clean and well maintained, the staff is just as friendly as you’d expect from a Disney Resort, there are tons of things to do in the park, and the Magic Kingdom is just across the water.

Pros of Staying at Fort Wilderness

There are a number of pros to staying at this amazing campground. So many, in fact, that we couldn’t possibly list them all. Below are just a few of the top benefits of using the RV parking at Disney World:

  • Free On-Property Transportation — As mentioned before, guests of Fort Wilderness receive free on-property transportation.
  • Free Parking — Fort Wilderness is the only Disney Resort that offers guests free parking.
  • MagicBands Included — All guests of Disney Resorts receive complimentary MagicBands. These nifty bracelets are your park tickets, a method of making payments in gift shops and at restaurants, and more.
  • Special Activities and Entertainment — Fort Wilderness features a number of amazing activities that you can enjoy while staying there. We will outline some of them further down in this post.

Cons of Staying at Fort Wilderness

There are, of course, a few cons to staying in this Disney RVing paradise. As you might imagine, it isn’t the place to be if you don’t like kids, and if you end up near the major hubs, things can get loud. On top of that, many people complain that Fort Wilderness is not the most natural environment.

However, the biggest con has to be the price of staying at Fort Wilderness. The Disney World RV park rates range from around $85 a night to $230 or more. As you probably know, this is pretty expensive for an RV park, and other options are available for much less.

That said, it is still cheaper than most onsite Disney resorts, making it a relatively budget-friendly option if you want to stay on Disney property.

entrance to Disney World

RV Parking Near Disney World

What if you decide parking at Fort Wilderness isn’t for you and you’d rather park off-site? That’s perfectly okay, and in some cases, might even be the better decision. Consider these pros and cons when making your choice:

Pros of Staying Off-Site

The biggest pro to staying off-site is going to be the cost. You might be able to find a place to stay for as little as $20–$25 a night if you’re willing to look for it, and those who are members of a camping club like Thousand Trails might even be able to stay for free.

Other pros include:

  • Potential to stay in an adults-only park
  • Potential for more peace and quiet
  • Potential for a more natural setting
  • Membership campgrounds available

Cons of Staying Off-Site

There are some drawbacks to staying in an off-site campground as well. This is especially true if you choose a cheaper campground with fewer amenities. Some of the cons to staying off-site include:

  • More time spent getting to the parks, and a need to find transportation.
  • A loss of the “Disney magic” each day as you leave the property.
  • Potentially fewer activities, depending on where you stay.

All About the Disney World Parks

As you plan your trip, you’ll also want to decide where to go and what to see!

Many people aren’t aware that Walt Disney World is home to not one park, not two parks, but a total of four incredible theme parks, two water parks, a shopping district, and more! Knowing this can completely change the way you plan your vacation.

The four main theme parks include:

Magic Kingdom

This is the classic Disney park that everyone thinks of when they think “Disney World”. It’s home to Cinderella Castle, a variety of princesses, and of course, the Mouse himself. You’ll also find an entire land dedicated to the future, a land of adventure, another themed around the Old West, a Fantasyland, and more.

If you want the quintessential Disney experience, this is the park for you.

Favorite attractions in this park include:

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Haunted Mansion


The ultimate place to go for some serious “edutainment”, Epcot is all about learning new things.

The entire front section of the park, Future World, is dedicated to science of all sorts and features aquariums, movies, exciting rides, and more.

The back part of Epcot is referred to as the World Showcase and features a lagoon ringed by 11 pavilions, each one representing a different country. Here you can enjoy food and drinks from around the world, see a variety of entertainment, and shop a huge selection of goods imported from each represented location.

Favorite attractions in this park include:

  • Test Track
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Frozen Ever After

Hollywood Studios

The theme of Hollywood Studios has shifted a bit over the years, and there is now very little about it that will remind you of Hollywood, at least in the classic sense.

That said, it’s still a totally amazing park and is home to some of the newest Disney attractions, including the all-new Star Wars area, as well as Toy Story Land. This is the place to be if you’re in search of thrills or love being immersed in your favorite movies.

Favorite attractions in this park include:

  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Toy Story Mania
  • Tower of Terror
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
  • Rise of the Resistance
  • Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run
  • Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Disney Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom

Lastly, there is Animal Kingdom. As you might have guessed, this park is all about animals. Live animals wait to be discovered around every corner, and you can take a safari ride through many of the habitats, often allowing guests to get up close and personal with the animals!

Additionally, this park is where you’ll find Pandora – The World of Avatar and all the amazing attractions offered there.

Favorite attractions at this park include:

  • Kilimanjaro Safari
  • Expedition Everest
  • Flight of Passage
  • Na’vi River Journey

All four of the parks are well worth a full day of your trip. That said, Magic Kingdom and Epcot can each easily fill a couple of days if you have the time.

Don’t have time to see all of the parks this trip? We recommend making Magic Kingdom a priority. Epcot tends to be a favorite for adults, and Hollywood Studios is ideal for big Star Wars or Toy Story fanatics. Finally, Animal Kingdom is ideal for those who love James Cameron’s Avatar or animals in general.

Use this information to pick and choose the best options for your family.

Time-Saving Tricks for Visiting Disney World

No matter how much time you have in Disney World, it never seems like enough. For this reason, people are always on the lookout for ways to save time while visiting the resort. If you’re on the hunt for time-saving tips, you’ve come to the right place.

Below are several ideas that’ll ensure you get the most out of your time in the most magical place on earth.

Make a Plan

Because Disney World is such a huge place with so many things to do, it’s easy to end up wandering around simply trying to figure out where to go next.

Instead of wasting time meandering and possibly zig-zagging across the parks, download a map of each park beforehand, decide which things you want to do, and make a plan that follows a logical path. Doing this means you’ll know exactly where to go as soon as you enter the park, and the path you need to take through the park.

Note: Rides can close unexpectedly and lines may be longer or shorter than expected. For this reason, it’s a good idea to be flexible with your plan.

Arrive at Opening

You will want to arrive at the parks a few minutes before they open each day. This allows you to be one of the first guests to enter the park, so you can take advantage of the shorter lines found first thing in the morning.

Head to the Back

When the gates open and you’re allowed into the park, head first to the most popular attractions that will have long lines later in the day. After riding the most popular rides, head to the back of the park and work your way forward from there. This helps you avoid the biggest crowds, as most people will do exactly the opposite.

Take a Break

The parks almost always get really crowded in the early afternoon and stay that way until dinnertime. You can avoid those crowds and ensure you’re well-rested for the evening activities by heading back to your RV for a nap, a swim, or some relaxation before dinner.

Stay Until Close

When you get back to the park after your afternoon break, plan to stay until the park closes for the night. Often, the last hour or two before close is the slowest part of the day, and this is when the most magical memories are made and when you’ll be able to hop quickly from one ride to the next.

Check Wait Times

If you want to avoid long waits in line, it can be incredibly helpful to check wait times from the My Disney Experience app before heading to an attraction. If the line is too long for your tastes, try doing something else before hopping over.

Dance Hall and hotels and restaurants at Lake Buena Vista Disney World

Tips for Dining in Disney World

The restaurants at Disney World are the best theme park restaurants we’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. In fact, we’d even go so far as to say Disney food is better than a lot of food we’ve had outside of theme parks. For this reason, we highly recommend doing some research beforehand and carefully choosing where you dine, so you have the best Disney dining experiences possible.

Make Reservations

The first and most important dining tip we have is to make reservations for any and all sit-down dining you want to experience while in Disney World. Currently, dining reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance, and reservations for the most popular restaurants should be made as soon as possible.

Some of our favorite sit-down dining locations include the following:

Magic Kingdom

  • Cinderella’s Royal Table
  • Be Our Guest


  • Le Cellier Steakhouse
  • Monsieur Paul
  • Rose and Crown Dining Room
  • Biergarten Restaurant
  • Tokyo Dining
  • Garden Grill Restaurant

Hollywood Studios

  • ‘50s Prime Time Cafe
  • Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater
  • Hollywood Brown Derby

Animal Kingdom

  • Tusker House
  • Yak and Yeti
  • Tiffins
  • Rainforest Cafe

Pick Out Your Quick-Service Dining

Quick-service dining locations don’t require reservations. Still, it’s good to have an idea of what’s available, so you can choose the options that appeal to you most. Therefore, we recommend doing a bit of research beforehand and deciding where you might eat before you ever arrive at the parks.

Some of our favorite quick-service restaurants include the following:

Magic Kingdom

  • Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe
  • Columbia Harbour House
  • Sleepy Hollow Inn


  • Katsura Grill
  • Regal Eagle Smokehouse
  • Tangierine Cafe

Hollywood Studios

  • Woody’s Lunch Box
  • Backlot Express
  • Docking Bay 7: Food and Cargo

Animal Kingdom

  • Flame Tree BBQ
  • Yak and Yeti Local Food Cafes
  • Satu’li Canteen

Check Menus Beforehand

In addition to deciding where you’ll eat before your trip, we also recommend having an idea of what you’ll eat. This helps with budgeting and can save time that would otherwise be spent making decisions at the moment.

Current restaurant menus can be viewed on the Disney World website.

Make Use of the App

The My Disney Experience app is good for a lot of things, and a couple of these involve dining. To save yourself some time, use the mobile ordering option in the app before heading to a quick-service location to eat. You can also check in for your table-service meals on the app, removing the need to check in at host/hostess podiums.

Seek Out Character Dining

Character dining is one of the most fun dining options offered on Disney property. Not only that, but because you’ll get to hang out with Disney characters while eating your meal, you won’t have to spend time seeking them out while in the parks!

Epcot Center ball

How to Budget Your RV Trip to Disney World

Disney may be the most magical place on earth, but it can also be very expensive. When creating your trip budget, be sure to consider every single expense, and leave a bit of wiggle room in case of emergencies. Look at restaurant menus to get an idea of what each meal might cost and figure out gas costs as well. This will allow you to vacation comfortably without stressing about finances.

Need to cut back on your Disney World vacation expenses a bit? Here are our top tips for doing so:

  • Consider a Smaller RV — A smaller or cheaper RV rental can save you hundreds of dollars. Since you likely won’t be spending all that much time in the rig once it’s parked, it might make sense to downgrade and spend less.
  • Look at State and City Parks — There are several state and city parks within a 45-minute drive of the parks that offer very reasonable rates. We recommend starting with Lake Louisa State Park and Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake.
  • Pack Lunches and Snacks — Since you’ll have your own kitchen, packing lunches and snacks each day is a cinch. Disney does allow guests to bring their own food in, and considering the higher prices for food in the parks, this could be a huge money saver.
  • Share Food — If you don’t want to pack lunches every day of your trip but still want to save on food, another option is to split bigger meals at some of the in-park restaurants. This works especially well if you and your friend are light eaters, or if you supplement the meal with snacks brought from home.
  • Have Breakfast for Lunch — Generally speaking, breakfast is cheaper than lunch. Because of this, if you eat a late breakfast right before restaurants switch to the lunch menu, you can have your mid-day meal for less.
  • Look for Freebies — Believe it or not, Disney World actually has some freebies available to guests. For instance, those looking for a free souvenir can grab a button from Guest Services. “Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom” cards are lots of fun and are available for free at the Firehouse in Magic Kingdom. Cast Members hand out stickers at all of the parks, and if you ask the transportation workers, they will gladly give you special trading cards.
  • Schedule Rest Days — Looking to stretch out your vacation but don’t want to shell out money for more park days? There is nothing wrong with scheduling rest days to allow yourself to fully enjoy your RV resort. This will leave you well-rested when you return home and allow you to vacation longer for less.
  • Buy Souvenirs in Advance — Souvenirs in Disney World are incredibly pricey. While some items are very unique and might actually be worth the markup, many simply are not. If you’re traveling with kids who will want to buy everything they see, consider purchasing souvenir items in advance at dollar stores, Disney Store outlets, and box stores and handing them out throughout the trip.
  • Look for Ticket Discounts — As mentioned above, those who will be staying in Orlando for a long time might want to consider an Annual Pass to save on entry fees. However, this isn’t the only way to save. Florida residents can get ticket discounts, as can members of the military and their spouses. Sometimes AAA has discounted Disney tickets, and Undercover Tourist always has slightly discounted tickets available. If you do purchase a discounted ticket, make sure you do so from a reputable seller, as there are scammers out there.
  • Invest in Gift Cards — Disney gift cards can be spent in almost every location in the parks. Since these gift cards can be found at discounted prices, it only makes sense to stock up before your trip and use them to buy tickets, food, souvenirs, and more.
  • Target Red Card: One way to get discounted Disney gift cards is to purchase them at Target using the Target Red Card to get a 5% discount.
  • American Express Blue Cash Card and Kroger: Another option is the American Express Blue Cash Card, which will give you 6% back when you buy your Disney gift cards at grocery stores. Use this card at Kroger and combine it with their awesome fuel rewards deals to save even more.
  • Office Supply Stores: Both the Chase Ink Business Cash and the American Express SimplyCash Plus Business offer 5% cash back at office supply stores. This means you can use these cards to purchase Disney gift cards at Staples, Office Depot, Office Max, etc., and save 5%.
  • Wholesale Clubs: Finally, discounted cards are sold at wholesale clubs such as BJ’s, Costco, and Sam’s Club. These cards are typically sold in packs and can save you up to 10%.

What is the Best Month to Go to Disney World?

Anytime is a good time to visit Disney World. That said, it can get quite crowded and the weather can be extremely hot. Therefore, we highly recommend avoiding the summer season and skipping the crowds whenever possible.

The best month to visit in order to accomplish both of these things is January after the New Year’s celebrations have ended.

What is the Worst Month to Go to Disney World?

Wondering which month to avoid Disney World? If we had to choose one bad month to visit Disney World, it would be July. Sure, you can visit during this month and still have a blast, but the temperatures are often beyond hot, and crowd levels are high.

kids and parents eating in an RV

15 Reasons to Do Disney in an RV

Still not sure if you want to spend your Disney vacation in an RV? Here are 15 great reasons to do so!

  1. Boat Rides to Magic Kingdom — To get to most places in Disney World, you will need to hop on a bus. However, getting to the Magic Kingdom means hitching a ride on a boat, making the whole experience even more magical.
  2. Campfires with Characters — Every night, Fort Wilderness hosts a big group campfire. There is live entertainment, s’mores kits for purchase (or you can bring your own), and Chip and Dale come out for a meet-and-greet.
  3. Nightly Movies — Stay after the campfire to watch the nightly outdoor movie. The movie changes each night, but is always a family-friendly Disney film.
  4. Fireworks on the Beach — Did you know you can see the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the Fort Wilderness beach? You can, and we highly recommend checking out the show from this unique point of view.
  5. Pony and Horse Rides — Visitors who want to feel like cowboys can do so with the paid pony and horse rides. Pony rides are for little ones and are quite short, but pretty cheap. Horse rides are more expensive, longer, and are geared toward older campers.
  6. Archery Lessons — In addition to horseback riding, visitors can also learn archery. Archery lessons can be booked in advance, but walk-ups are also accepted as long as there is availability.
  7. Awesome Dining — There are multiple dining locations in Fort Wilderness. We love the buffet, as well as the attached takeaway window. That said, the best dining experience in the campground is the “Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue”. This is a wonderful dinner show involving fried chicken, all the fixin’s, and some serious belly laughs.
  8. Carriage and Wagon Rides — Want to see the campground from a different point of view? The carriage and wagon rides that are available to Fort Wilderness guests are tons of fun.
  9. Incredible Swimming Pool — All of the Disney Resorts have awesome swimming pools, and Fort Wilderness is no exception. The main swimming pool features a water slide, a water play area for little ones, and a hot tub.
  10. Watercraft Rentals — Another awesome way to enjoy the water is with watercraft rentals. Canoes, kayaks, and motorized boats are all available for rent at this campground.
  11. Cheaper Dining — No matter where your RV is parked, you’re sure to appreciate the ability to pack a lunch or eat dinner at “home” for a few days during your trip. This can save you lots of money and will likely be a healthier option anyway.
  12. More Comfortable — There’s no doubt about it, an RV is much more comfortable than a hotel room. You have your own space that’s far enough from the neighbors to feel private. There is also a kitchen available to you, and depending on the RV you rent, you may even have a separate bedroom for the kids.
  13. Perfect for Large Families — An RV rental is the perfect lodging solution for big families. There are RVs that will sleep as many as 10 or 12 people, and since many campgrounds (including Fort Wilderness) allow up to 10 guests per site, this removes the need for bigger groups to get a second room, saving some money.
  14. Budget Friendly — RVing at Disney won’t just save big families money though. If done right, it can be a money-saving option for anyone.
  15. More Magical — Finally, we must point out that staying in an RV while visiting Disney is sure to be a more magical experience. After all, RVing is a fabulous way for families to connect. Adding Disney into the mix is just icing on the cake.

As you can see, RVing at Disney World is a wonderful way to vacation. Not only will your family have a fabulous time, you may even save a bit of money in the process. Best of all, you’ll leave with some absolutely incredible memories that could only be made by combining Disney World and RVing together.

Also planning to visit Universal Studios? Check out our guide to all things Universal Studios!