Posts Tagged With: orlando

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. 😉

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.

 

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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. 😉

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

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