Posts Tagged With: ft. wilderness

Disney’s Fort Wilderness and a Hurricane

If you haven’t figured this out yet, we are a family of Disney fanatics. Every year when we head back east, you can be sure we will spend some time at our favorite campground in the country — Disney’s Fort Wilderness.

In my last post I wrote about our journey back east, and how we arrived back to Florida just in time for Hurricane Dorian. We spent a few days with our good friends the Reyes family who are always so gracious to allow us to park at their house whenever we’re passing through the area.

While hanging out with the Reyes family, we kept an eye on the forecast for the hurricane. We were scheduled to arrive at Ft. Wilderness on Labor Day, and by the Saturday before it looked like the hurricane would be turning up the coast and not have much impact on central Florida. So we went ahead with our plans and continued on to Disney on Labor Day.

Since leaving Montana we traveled 2,700 miles, and you can imagine we were so ready to finally get somewhere and stay for awhile. We got into our site, got set up and were so happy to finally relax and not move for a month. But then, not 2 hours later, we got the news that Ft. Wilderness is closing due to the impending hurricane and they are re-locating everyone to the Disney Resort hotels.

What?!? I mean, don’t get me wrong, Disney hotels are amazing, but we just drove 2,700 miles to get here and we really don’t want to pack up and move again anytime soon. But then my Disney Pixie Agent, Tabitha worked her magical pixie dust and got us into a Disney Boardwalk Villa. I think it also had a lot to do with God blessing us beyond anything I can ask or think.

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My favorite Disney Pixie agent, Tabitha & I at Chip & Dale’s Campfire Sing-a-Long

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Disney’s Boardwalk Resort is incredible, and one of the few Disney resorts we have never stayed at. We always wanted to, but it’s just so expensive! You can imagine we were all super excited when we found out where we were being evacuated to.

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Pool and water slide at Disney’s Boardwalk

The time to relax and stay put for awhile would have to wait. Ft. Wilderness instructed us to park our RV in the Magic Kingdom parking lot along with all the other RVs that had to evacuate the campground, and we were going to the Boardwalk! All Disney hotels are pet-friendly when a hurricane is approaching, so even Fat Cat got to come along on this adventure.

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Ft. Wilderness evacuees parked at Magic Kingdom

We certainly looked like the Beverly Hillbillies strolling into that fancy hotel with our grocery bags full of everything we had to empty from our fridge, a laundry basket full of dirty laundry (because our villa had a washer/dryer in it — free laundry!), a litter box and a very squirmy and unhappy fat cat.

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I don’t even know how to caption this!

Once we got settled we enjoyed a fabulous 3 nights at the Boardwalk, and the storm hardly affected us at all. One night it got a little windy and rained a bit, but that was it. The night of the storm, all the Disney parks were closed so our hotel made all arcade games free for the night — the kids loved that!

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Disney’s Boardwalk

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Sunsets at the Boardwalk

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My parents were planning to head to Orlando that week, and since the storm was not going to affect central Florida, they went ahead with their plans. It was so much fun to have them come for a visit!

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Fat Cat had her own adventure while we were there. On our last night, we headed out to dinner with Mom and Dad, and when we got back to the room, we couldn’t find the cat anywhere. She’s been known to hide, but we really looked everywhere and thought that somehow she got out of the room. We even thought she may have jumped off the balcony, and we were on the 3rd floor!

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Fat Cat on top of the fridge, before she got lost

Finally, after hours of searching, Chris heard her collar jingling behind the kitchen cabinets. Apparently, she climbed up on top of the cabinets, found an opening and climbed down inside the hole. Once she got in there she couldn’t get out. Chris had a heck of a time trying to get her out, but finally succeeded. That cat sure knows how to get herself into trouble!

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Kitchen in the villa — notice the arrow pointing to where Chris found the cat

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This is Fat Cat stuck in her hiding place

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This is the hole on top of the cabinet she crawled into — forgive the dusty mess, it’s not my house. ūüėČ

After 3 nights of living in the lap of luxury, Ft. Wilderness re-opened and we were able to move back. The morning we got back it was weird to see the campground so empty. Of course, it didn’t take long for it to fill back in.

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Empty camping loop at Ft. Wilderness

We were so happy to finally be settled in our site at our favorite campground! And we stayed for most of the month of September. Jake and Jesse both have September birthdays, and that’s where they wanted to celebrate.

We were planning to get another Disney parks annual pass starting around Halloween, so for September we got a water parks pass instead. That worked out well since it was so hot, and it was great to spend so much time at Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.

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September was a fun month of celebrating Jesse’s 13th and Jake’s 15th birthdays, and seeing friends and family again.

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Danny & Kim came down to visit from Fernandina

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The Lundy’s came to hang out with us at the Campfire Sing-a-Long

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Margie and I with Chip & Dale

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Jake is not quite old enough to drive yet, but he liked pretending on the golf cart. Notice a strange Fat Cat in the back seat with a cute Jesse Bear.

 

Categories: Florida | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Disney’s Fort Wilderness

While we were in Florida last winter we purchased Disney annual passes. We got some use out of them last December and January and then headed west. Now that we’re back on the east coast again, we headed back to Disney to get some more use out of those passes before they expired.

We stayed at¬†Disney’s Ft. Wilderness campground for Halloween and went back again a few weeks later to enjoy the sites decorated for Christmas. Ft. Wilderness is still my favorite campground ever. Disney just knows how to do everything with excellence, and their campground is awesome. Of course you have to pay for that awesomeness. Ft. Wilderness is definitely the most expensive campground we ever splurge on. For us it’s worth it to stay right on Disney property and take advantage of the bus, boat and monorail transportation to all the parks as well as all the amazing amenities this campground has to offer.

Our first stay started the day before Halloween so that’s where our kids went trick-or-treating this year. Many people decorate their campsites for Halloween and give out candy. This was such a fun place to go trick-or-treating!

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Sorcerer Mickey and the Storm Trooper

Some nicely decorated campsites.

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Can you tell which storm trooper is Jake and which one is a decoration?

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Ft. Wilderness has so many fun things to do that you could really stay there and not even go to any Disney parks if you don’t want to. They have a really nice bike trail that goes between the campground and the Wilderness Lodge Resort Hotel.

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The marina beach area on Bay Lake is really nice. From there you can catch a boat to Magic Kingdom or to the Contemporary and Wilderness Lodge resorts.

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At night you can watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the Bay Lake beach and also the electric light parade passes by every night at 9:45. Both are awesome to see!

The pool at Ft. Wilderness has a water slide, a kid’s splash park and a hot tub. Every day they have a pool party and games for the kids.

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One weekend while we were there some really good friends from our Nassau County Homeschool Group (NCHE) came to stay with us. Our homeschool group had planned a Sea World field trip which was perfect timing so we could attend and see lots of friends from where we used to live.

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We took a break from Disney (as if we ever need a break from Disney!) and went to visit my sister and brother-in-law in Atlanta and then my parents in Charlotte for Thanksgiving. Then it was right back to Ft. Wilderness for my favorite time of the year to be there. The way some campers decorate their campsites is something to see! We like to rent a golf cart whenever we’re there in December so that we can ride around the camping loops at night and check out all the decorations. Ft. Wilderness is huge! Having a golf cart to get around is nice, but certainly not necessary. They have internal bus transportation to take you all over the resort if you don’t have a golf cart. Disney charges way too much for golf cart rentals so we rent from someone off property for half the price Disney charges. Keep that in mind if you go, there are other options. ūüėČ

This campsite was right in our loop and it’s amazing. They come every year I think because we’ve seen this set up many times and it’s one of the best.

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Another one that seems to be there every year is a site that includes a lighted walkway and they allow you to walk through their site and check out all their decorations. It’s pretty amazing and super nice of those folks to let a bunch of strangers wander through their site.

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And lastly, Cinderella’s castle at Magic Kingdom is stunningly beautiful at Christmastime. Although I really miss the Christmas lights they used to have at Hollywood Studios.

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I love traveling all over the country, but I will always love coming back to Disney whenever our travels bring us back east.

If you need advice or tips on traveling around Florida, please check out my friend’s blog over at Crazy Family Adventure for the Ultimate Florida Road Trip. They put together a great post with ideas for visiting many different places in Florida. Their post also contains some helpful links for visiting Disney World.

We’ll be spending the remainder of this year with friends and family in FL and NC. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed 2017!

Categories: Florida | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

We’re Still in Florida

Since my last post we have been very busy hanging out in Florida. ¬†There’s no sense leaving the state until it warms up in other states, right?

We spent a couple of weeks at Disney’s Ft. Wilderness, and my parents came to visit for part of our stay. ¬†Those of you that know us well, know that we are Disney fanatics and when we lived in FL that is where most of our vacations were spent. ¬†So anytime we’re back in FL you can be sure part of that time will be spent at our favorite place.

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My mom sure does look young, doesn’t she? ¬†And she rides all the roller coasters too! ¬†I’m so thankful to have such cool parents. ūüôā

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Next¬†we attended our 3rd Fulltime Families (FtF) rally at Lazydays in Tampa. ¬†If you remember that is where our adventures started last year. ¬†It was like a “nomadiversary” celebration being back at Lazydays.

At the rally last year, the boys started a new scouting program called FtF Explorers. ¬†At this year’s rally they finished up the required activities to advance to the next level. ¬†Here is a picture of the ceremony for the kids that graduated from Stargazer to Pioneer.

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One of the Explorer badges they earned was the Fire Safety badge by planning and executing a fire drill in our house.  Here is a picture of them learning how to use one of the fire escape windows.

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The rally was super fun and super busy with several activities like a Valentine’s dance, an adult Hungry, Hungry Hippo game and a field trip to Legoland.

This is Chris playing Hungry, Hungry Hippos. ¬†This was hilarious! ¬†I played it too with Chris pushing me around on the floor, but I don’t have any pictures of that unfortunately. ¬†I must figure out how to get in more pictures!

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We enjoyed a beautiful day at Legoland with more than 300 other fulltime RV’ing families.

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I must admit that after several weeks of visits with family and friends in addition to Disney trips and a rally, we were quite exhausted. ¬†Chris & I are introverts. ¬†And that doesn’t mean we don’t like to be around people, we most definitely enjoy all of this social activity! ¬†But what it does mean is that we need some mix of downtime in between to recharge. ¬†Well, we didn’t have much of that since probably sometime in December so you can imagine that after leaving the rally we were pretty worn out. ¬†It was time for a few days at a peaceful and quiet campground. ¬†Eastbank Campground on Lake Seminole on the FL/GA border was just perfect for a chance to relax and recharge.

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Our campsite was huge and had a fantastic view of the lake and we enjoyed gorgeous sunsets and campfires every evening.  We even enjoyed a lovely visit from my sister and brother-in-law.  It was very nice to relax and unwind with them as they also have been very busy and needed some downtime.  I loved watching my brother-in-law Chris enjoy the scenery with his ever-present camera.

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Next up? ¬†More Florida travels…

 

Categories: Florida | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Home for the Holidays

Home. ¬†Where exactly do we call “home” when for the past year home has been where we parked it? ¬†Going¬†home consisted of a few different places this year. ¬†First, we went home to Fernandina Beach, Florida where we lived before we started traveling. ¬†Going home to Florida was a strange feeling. ¬†Wandering¬†around our old hometown and driving through our old neighborhood was really weird. ¬†Everything still looked pretty much the same, but felt so completely different. ¬†We visited with our old neighbors and it was strange to look across the street at our old house and realize I can’t just walk over there and go inside like I could have last year. ¬†It really was wonderful though to see some old friends. ¬†I really enjoyed catching up with one of my closest¬†friends Kim¬†over Mexican dip and wine. ¬†I really miss this girl!

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We camped¬†at Ft. Clinch State Park. ¬†Another blog post about that park later, but it was a real treat to stay there. ¬†I had tried several times to get a reservation there for weekend camping trips back when we lived just 10 minutes away. ¬†I used to ride my bike there and loved the campground, but it was always booked. ¬†It’s one of those state parks that you must book several months in advance to get in.

This is the beach just beside the campground loop we stayed in.

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While we were there¬†we visited Santa’s house because everyone knows that Santa Claus really lives in Fernandina Beach, Florida, not at the North Pole. ¬†We used to visit Santa several times every¬†December when we lived nearby. ¬†I have pictures of the boys with him every year since they were babies. ¬†Santa’s house always looks so beautiful!

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Going “home” for us also included a trip to Disney World. ¬†When we lived in Florida we usually had Disney annual passes and would go there several times a year. ¬†My favorite campground has always been Disney’s Ft. Wilderness, and even after all of the campgrounds we have stayed at this year, guess what? ¬†Ft. Wilderness is still my favorite! ¬†Visiting in December is my favorite time to visit because several of the campsites are decorated for Christmas and it’s really fun to ride the golf cart around at night and look at all the beautiful sites. ¬†This was one of the best. ¬†They had a lighted walkway to allow visitors to¬†walk around their site.

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The weather was beautiful that week and warm enough for the pool, and not the least bit crowded as you can see by the empty chairs in the background. ¬†I remember coming here when every single chair was taken and the pool was wall-to-wall people. ¬†It’s kind of nice to come when it’s not too busy. ¬†This was obviously in early December before the massive crowds that I heard were there this past week.

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Another great thing about visiting Disney in December is the amazing display of Christmas lights at Hollywood Studios.  I absolutely love seeing these lights that dance to Christmas music.  Sadly, this is the last year they will have this display.

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After Disney we visited my sister and brother-in-law at their new place in Georgia.  While we were there we went to another really nice Christmas lights display.  We love to take goofy pictures!

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And finally, coming “home” also meant home to Charlotte, NC where Chris & I lived before moving to Florida over 15 years ago. ¬†We enjoyed a wonderful family¬†Christmas at my parent’s house.

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We had a chance to see Chris’s sister and family that we have not seen in a few years so that was very¬†nice!

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It was also a nice treat to visit with old high school and college friends during our visits to GA and NC. ¬†Unfortunately I don’t have pictures of all the people we visited, but here are a couple.

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And of course I can’t forget to mention that Fat Cat enjoyed the holidays as well. ¬†She even got wrapped up in paper like a present and she liked hiding under the Christmas tree. ¬† ūüôā

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It was so nice to spend time with so many friends and family over the holidays.  To me, that is what coming home means.  Being at home means being with family.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season and have a blessed 2016!

Categories: Florida, Fulltime RV'ing, North Carolina | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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