Walt Disney World can be an expensive place to visit, so anytime you come across something that is completely free, it’s always a win! Fort Wilderness is one of Walt Disney World’s oldest resorts and in itself is has some really cool activities such as trail riding and amazing pools and playgrounds for kids, but the best – and completely free – activity is the Chip and Dale Campfire and Singalong held nightly. This is a great opportunity to meet some characters, toast some s’mores and even watch an outdoor movie that costs absolutely nothing! I find that most people don’t know about this, and if they do, they’re not sure of the logistics, so I’ve put together a guide on everything you need to know about the Fort Wilderness Campfire and Singalong so you can experience it on your next trip.
Where and when is the Chip and Dale Campfire and Singalong
The Chip and Dale Campfire and Singalong is held nightly at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, and is open to all guests of the Walt Disney World Resort, not just those staying at Fort Wilderness. You can access the resort by boat from the Magic Kingdom or Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort, bus from the other Disney parks, or just take an Uber or drive yourself from another Disney resort. The layout of the campground is a little unusual, and if you are not staying there, you are not permitted to drive your car on the interior roads. Instead, they will have you park at the Outpost, which is the check in area, and then take an internal bus to the other parts of the resort. This system does take a little bit more time, so take that into consideration when figuring out what time to arrive. The internal buses run every 15-20 minutes and if you’re not totally sure which bus stop to get off at, the bus drivers are happy to help.
The Campfire and Singalong are held at the Meadow Trading Post and there are plenty of signs directing you where to go. The timing of the campfire lighting, singalong and movie change throughout the year, generally beginning earlier in the winter months when the days are shorter. There are various websites that offer the upcoming movie schedule and times, but the best and most reliable I have found is this one from Build a Better Mouse Trip.
Places to eat dinner at Fort Wilderness before the show
If you’re heading over to Fort Wilderness in the evening anyway, you may as well get something to eat over there. Fort Wilderness actually has some of my favorite dining locations on property, including the Hoop Dee Doo Revue and Trails End, as well as a food truck at the campfire itself to pick up a lighter meal.
Hoop Dee Doo Revue is the longest running dinner theater in America, and something I would encourage everyone to experience at least once on a trip to Walt Disney World. The meal is prix fixe, with prices varying at different times of the year and depending on the seats you want, with the more expensive seats up close to the stage. The meal features all you care to eat southern comfort food such as fried chicken, BBQ ribs, mac and cheese, baked beans, salad, and strawberry shortcake for dessert. The meal also features unlimited beer, sangria and soft drinks. The show is a lot of fun, with audience participation for those who don’t mind being involved, and the food is delicious. The earliest show will get you out in plenty of time for the campfire. Read through this post for more information on Hoop De Doo Revue.
Trails End is an all you care to eat buffet that is actually the cheapest buffet at Walt Disney World. The food is very similar to that found at Hoop Dee Doo, with the addition of things like salmon, meatloaf, peel and eat shrimp, cheese pizza, and a variety of salads and fruit. There are also some amazing desserts; as well as the strawberry shortcake, there are things like banana pudding, brownies, cookies, and a self serve ice cream machine with add ons like gummy bears, M&Ms, and hot fudge sauce. We chose to eat here before the campfire, and really enjoyed our meal. Harrison is quite picky about his food, liking most things plain and more on the healthy side, but he was happy with the fried chicken and the wide variety of fruit available. Grayson and his sweet tooth absolutely loved all of the desserts! I thought the price was very reasonable for the food quality, and the service was excellent. Both Hoop Dee Doo and Trails End are at the Settlement, so you’ll need to take a bus from there to the Meadow Trading Post once your meal is over, something else to budget for time-wise.
If you’re not looking for a sit down meal, the other option I thought was pretty great was a food truck actually at the campfire. The food truck featured things like burgers, brisket sandwiches, jalapeno poppers, mozzarella sticks, and bottled beer, soda, and water. This is also where you can buy the s’mores kits and toasting sticks, although it’s fine to bring your own as well.
What happens at the campfire and singalong
There are two campfires that are lit at the beginning of the evening, and this is where you can toast your marshmallows for s’mores. We opted to bring our own s’mores fixings with us, since I’m super picky about chocolate (I’m not a huge Hershey fan, which is what comes included in the kit you can buy from Disney). We bought graham crackers, Ghiradelli chocolate squares, and a big bag of marshmallows that we shared with those around us. If you buy a kit from Disney, it comes with two toasting sticks, or you buy them from the food truck for less than a dollar each. We bought two sticks so that each of the boys could toast their own marshmallows. There are Cast Members on hand to keep an eye on the fires and make sure they don’t go out, but they’re not there to supervise the kids so you do have to stay close to the fire if you have little ones like mine. Harrison doesn’t like s’mores but was happy to toast marshmallows for me and munch on the graham crackers, and Grayson, who thinks s’mores are the best things ever, loved learning to toast the marshmallows and make his own s’mores. I saw another family who had brought their own hot chocolate and were toasting marshmallows to go on top, which I thought was such a cute idea!
After the campfires have been lit comes the singalong. I will admit that I’m not a big singalong person, but this was really cute and everyone seemed to enjoy it. There is a cowboy up on stage singing traditional campfire songs, and Chip and Dale come around to the bleachers to meet the guests. I thought it was great that the characters came to you rather than trying to form a line somewhere, and it was all very organized, with guests being called down from the bleachers when it was their turn.
There was also an opportunity for the kids to get up and burn off some energy by dancing the Hokey Pokey, which Harrison was very happy to join in with, and all of the guests celebrating birthdays were called down so that everyone could sing Happy Birthday to them. There were lots of chances to participate, but if you didn’t want to, that was OK too. Harrison is always one to go and join in, whereas Grayson is more shy, so this worked out really well.
Once the songs have been sung and everyone has had the chance to meet the characters, it’s time for the outdoor movie. The movie schedule changes every month, with some Disney classics as well as new features, and seasonal offerings around Halloween and Christmas. We saw Hocus Pocus, which is Harrison’s favorite Halloween movie, and it was a lot of fun to sit and watch the movie outdoors in the middle of the woods!
Other activities at Fort Wilderness
Having two little boys who have unlimited amounts of energy, one of the best things about Fort Wilderness is the amount of playgrounds dotted all over the place for them to run around and play on. We loved the main playground at the Settlement, but passed a few more on our bus trip that we’d love to go back and try. The playground at the Settlement was fenced in and had picnic benches just outside, so I saw a lot of people enjoying picnic dinners while the kids played.
Fort Wilderness is also home to Tri-Circle D Ranch, where you can take trail rides, and there are opportunities for younger guests to have pony rides. You can also meet the beautiful ponies who pull Cinderella’s Carriage in the Christmas parade, and the Headless Horseman’s horse from the Halloween parties. There are also horse-drawn carriage rides around the resort.
If you’re not staying at Fort Wilderness but you have some free time during your trip, I would absolutely encourage you to head over there to do some exploring. The amenities are fantastic, the food locations are great, there is so much to keep the kids occupied, and it’s a beautiful resort, especially once the weather begins to cool down.
The Chip and Dale Campfire and Singalong is one of our absolute favorite things to do at Walt Disney World, and the fact that it can cost absolutely nothing is a huge bonus.
Have you been to the Chip and Dale Campfire and Singalong at Fort Wilderness? Let me know in the comments!