A Cut Short Trip Report - 3 Generations at Fort Wilderness Nov 2022

Hoping to have our MM share photos to include in my trip report, but I figured I’d get things started.

The Planning
Ever since we left WDW in 2019 with our 2 year old DS#1 and got pregnant soon after with DS#2, I’ve been strategizing the soonest possible date we could get our family back. I had hoped for 2021, but by then, we had purchased an RV and decided we wanted to stay at Fort Wilderness. A year ago I snagged a cancellation for the week leading up to our boys birthdays and it seemed perfect. 4 nights at Fort Wilderness to celebrate DSnearly6 and DSfreetilsaturday. (For simplicity’s sake, I’ll be referring to them as DS5 and DS2, but it was their birthday week after all, so I didn’t want to leave that part out.) We convinced my parents to come with us, and we all planned to stay at the campground in our RV together (foreshadowing). My parents aren’t big travelers, so this was the first time we’ve gone on family vacation together since the boys were born. We gave my MIL tickets to join us for her birthday but kept the trip a secret from our boys until Nov. 1, just a few days before our trip.

The Plan
3 park days
Magic Kingdom with G+
Epcot
Hollywood Studios with G+
DH and I were planning to add PH and take off for the evening. We had grand plans (more foreshadowing) to hop from MK to AK for FOP and then end at EP for Harmonious. The next night we’d leave EP early to see MK fireworks and have another 2.5 hours for rides.

More soon!

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Looking forward to hearing about it!

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Looking forward to following along

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So exciting! I’ve always wanted to stay at FW.

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Travel Days
To get to Orlando, we had 2 pretty full travel days in our RV. For those who don’t know, we tend to drive a little slower on the highway, we have to stop more often for gas, and unless we’re very familiar with our parking spot for the night, we want to get there before the sun goes down. Liners would probably all make great RVers, because it’s just a bunch of extra logistics to think about. We stayed overnight at a farm through a program called Harvest Hosts, so the boys got to feed alpacas and chickens, there was plenty of space to run around, and they even had some lawn games. It was an unusually warm weekend, so we had to run the fans quite a bit after sunset to get the temp down to 75.

Was traveling over time change weekend stupid or a brilliant Disney hack? I’m still not sure, but either way, we all woke up at 6 feeling like it was 7, so we got back on the road right after a quick breakfast.

We made it through Orlando with only minimal traffic :partying_face: and we got parked at a local Orlando campground. We had planned to have a hotdog cookout for dinner, but I forgot to double check their firepit policy and we didn’t have any charcoal for park grills, so I ended up making them on the stove. On a brighter note, the park had a really nice playground set, so the boys burned off a lot of energy there.

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It’s a fun place! Any specific questions I might be able to answer?

I am bought in! And in suspense.

Also, I am fascinated by RVs. I would love to see any pictures of yours that you don’t mind sharing. TIA!

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Yes absolutely! The link above is actually to our blog, Hitched to Bex, if you want to deep dive. But here is one of our favorite photos of Bex in Texas at Big Bend National Park:

Ibex 19mbh - here’s the floorplan

And we recently redid the truck for camping as well. Mostly something DH will do solo with the boys, but he and I slept in it at Disney.

Here’s the truck tent open, although we have since replaced the tarp to be red. It’s a continually evolving thing.

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Very cool. That’s a lot of sleeping space even in Bex. I will check out your blog, too!

Your photo makes me miss the mountains. It’s been a few years.

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Yes, lots of sleeping space! Less moving around space, but that’s why we call it our adventuremobile. :laughing:

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Ohhh! We are going to take our kids to Big Bend next November. What a beautiful photo :star_struck:

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Here’s why I don’t own an RV yet. We keep going back and forth over space vs size. We rent and have borrowed quite a few times. We did Ft. Wilderness once. I LOVED it! It was a totally different Disney experience.

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It’s stunning! This was taken at our campsite on Grapevine Hills Rd.

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Yeah that’s a tough choice for sure. Right now we’re ‘go far, go fast’ so being short enough to fit in most NP and things is really helpful. We also managed to find a rig light enough that we didn’t have to upgrade our truck.
I could see us getting a bigger rig in a few years though. It would be nice for the boys to have a room with a door.

That is the other major issue. Keeping the TW down. Kids are grown but it would be nice to have something that sleeps 6. Also I think the dining tables are a waste of space. I’ve seen a few models that have the sofa area with slides or pop outs for eating surfaces.

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Our Ibex is 4134 lbs dry and we tow it with a slightly beefed up Tacoma. It claims to sleep 7, which seems like a tight squeeze for 2 grownups per bunk, but I’m not a cuddler. :woman_shrugging:

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Returning to the topic at hand…

Campground Pros, Cons, and Quirks
When doing pre-check in, I had told them I planned to arrive at 9 am, and we got our ‘room’ ready text at 8:45! Originally, I had intended to head over first thing after breakfast and park in their front overflow lot until our site was ready so we could go ahead and start exploring resorts or something, but the high for the day was 85, which means a trailer sitting without electric hookup in a parking lot could easily hit 90, if not 95. We made it to our site around 10, without needing to stop at front reception. (Campground quirk: Getting a site map from the entrance gate was on one hand really nice and on the other, we were a bit confused initially about where stuff was at the campground. If I hadn’t researched things like the campground bus system, I would have been very lost. We ended up explaining the buses to at least 2 other families in the 48 hours we were at FW.)

We had called in a request for loop 1100 and were put in 1200. 1200 and 1300 share a bathhouse, but we lucked out with a site almost directly across from it. This was very convenient, because we had 2 truck tent sleepers (DH and I) in addition to 5 in the RV and our parents are a little skiddish about using the RV bathroom at night because of noise. :woman_shrugging: And in the morning we’d need more space for all of us to get ready at once. We were also very close to one of the playgrounds and 1 loop away from the arcade/pool area.

The bathhouse ended up being a con, because it key locks from 12 am to 6 am and we still don’t know how we were supposed to open it. Our magic bands did not work and I couldn’t get the ‘unlock room’ function on my phone to load. Happily, the men’s restroom didn’t lock and we were able to tag team using it. The 2nd morning, my dad tested restroom doors on his early morning walk and found out that neither of the 1100 loop restrooms were locked. When you’re trying to walk to the bus at 6:15, a bathroom locked until 6 is a bit of a problem. That said, the bathhouse was very nice and very clean. There were 3 showers. It took a few minutes to get hot water but water pressure was excellent and each shower has a little changing area. If you book a full hookup site (AKA not one of the tent only sites), you’ll most likely be one of the only people on the loop using the bathhouse.

We had booked a premium site even though we have a smaller RV, because that’s what was available. The sites are designed to accommodate 43 foot 5th wheels and motorhomes, so we had tons of space. Premium sites are all one large concrete pad (up to 18x60), so our picnic area was paved too. And we had plenty of space to park all 3 of our vehicles (Grandparents drove separately). I told them to expect to pay for overflow parking and be told to park elsewhere, but CM specifically told them they could park at our site as long as they fit. (We have a standard full hookup site booked for our next trip, so the paved area will probably only be 10 feet wide.)

Interior Campground buses are nice, but you’ll probably have to wait 10-15 minutes for it. We were smack in the middle of the campground, so either end was a 12 minute walk or a 5 minute bus ride (once you’re on it). If a golf cart doesn’t break the bank, I’d definitely recommend renting one. I will also say that needing to take 2 forms of transportation to get anywhere started to get annoying fast. At Disney we’re trying to maximize time and get to EE early and all that, and the idea of waiting for 2 buses before you get to a park is enough to make me want to drive myself everywhere. (We had planned to drive to EP and HS, but at MK, driving still means monorail or ferry, so :shrug:)

The kids splash pad area had significantly more water than I expected. It’s more tiny water park than splash pad. The boys loved it and were immediately drenched. Bring your own towel or plan to drip dry.

In addition to a water taxi to MK, there are also buses to MK on the same end of the campground. Buses to WL also came by frequently, so you could easily plan to stay at one resort and have a meal at the other.

We got our birthday buttons at Settlement Trading Post. There’s a really nice big playground here too. They must have just built it, because it’s not exactly where it’s marked on the map.

There’s a lot to do at the campground, most of which we didn’t get to experience. We did take the water taxi to MK about 15 minutes before fireworks, which turned into our own little fireworks cruise. We watched the show begin from the water and then the captain lingered for most of the show at the dock, before departing again.

One thing people love to do this time of year is drive golf carts around to see all the decorated campsites. Our loop was top notch, but I do wish we could have seen more of the decorations. Mostly Christmas, but some Halloween and Thanksgiving up too.

If you already have an RV, staying at the campground is a very affordable way to stay on property. There’s at least one local company approved to deliver and set up RVs that people rent, but I think the price would total up to a moderate hotel and I’d choose to stay elsewhere. We spend multiple months each year RVing and we have our rig set up just like we like it. Someone not used to an RV would probably find it more unfamiliar than cozy.

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Day 0 - Campground Arrival & Monorail Resorts

Like I mentioned, we got parked at the campsite around 10. DH did our hookups and got a smidge of work done, while I took the boys on the bus to explore the campground. We hopped on the bus when it was headed to the Outpost (the main bus area at the front of the campground) and rode it back around to the Settlement (the area at the back with restaurants and transportation to MK). We did a little browsing at the Settlement Trading Post, got the boys’ birthday buttons, and played on the playground a bit. Then we caught the bus back to our loop, put together a quick picnic lunch, and headed off with DH to ride the monorail.

We took the MK bus, stopping out front to get our picture with Mickey & Minnie’s Christmas topiaries. It was very sunny, so our boys were not into this photo stop, but it makes for a great photo to share here, since we don’t post their photos online.

We got the 50th anniversary monorail and Chip & Dale stopped right in front of us. :heart_eyes:

First stop: Dole Whip at the Poly
Originally, I wanted to get out at all three hotels and get a treat to share, but we’d had to wait a bit for the monorail and I didn’t want to do that 4 times on my way around. So we skipped Contemporary and went straight to dole whip. We got pineapple and raspberry and the POS system was having some sort of glitch while DH was at the counter, so we got some pixie dust and free dole whips! DH has a very mild pineapple allergy and dislikes it in general, so he was excited to see the raspberry flavor. It tasted just like sherbet! He had the lime last year and also really liked that. For me, there’s nothing but the classic pineapple.

We decided to walk to the Grand Floridian, but I had forgotten about the construction, so it was probably twice as far and definitely not the most scenic route. :woman_shrugging:

They weren’t serving gingerbread yet, which maybe was a plus, because we got a better chance to walk around and look at the gingerbread house. They had photopass there too, so we stopped for a few photos. Turns out my ears were messed up. Oh well.

We walked around a bit upstairs because DS5 wanted to do a little more shopping. DS2 and I ended up waiting for the ‘portrait studio’ looking photopass on the 2nd floor because they had a cute Cinderella slipper prop. This guy took his job very seriously and spent a lot of time with each person. Unfortunately, he didn’t read people very well, because I tried to ask for just a quick photo with the Cinderella prop and he wanted to do a whole big thing. It ended up being a bit stressful, because our kids don’t want to pose for photos for that long and most of them turned out pretty badly. He did get one really cute one of the boys together though.

We also found this cute little seating area in the lobby.

To be continued…

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Ooh - love the tip about riding the boat for the fireworks. You just stayed on and didn’t get off? Was it super crowded?

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It was sprinkling a bit when we got on, so we didn’t have much competition for the outside seats in the front of the boat. At MK a few people did get off and a few more got on, but it wasn’t too crowded. We also left the dock before the fireworks were finished, so there wasn’t a big crowd exiting the park yet. It had been raining half the day though, so YMMV.
We had originally planned to get out and watch the fireworks from outside the taps, because we didn’t realize the boat would linger. One of the crew members commented that they try to accommodate fireworks viewing as much as they can. Because it wasn’t crowded and it was wet, we were able to move to the back of the boat as we left. We saw the finale before the boat went past Contemporary.

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