Navigating a washout weekend, and how to pivot - Epcot, Fort Wilderness, and Non-Park Day

It’s been a while since I’ve done a trip report, but after a washout of a weekend, I thought I’d post because I did have a few experiences worth sharing for other who might be a little wary of a rainy day in Florida.

We were a group of 8 (two local AP, 3 adults on day tickets, and 3 kiddos ages 7, 4, and 4). We camped at Fort Wilderness on a tent/popup site. We spent 1 day at Epcot and we had one non-park day - originally the plan was to do the amphicar (because the kids are car obsessed) and play mini golf, but those plans changed because of weather.

Two biggest tips overall:

  1. Do not disclose specific details or hype kids up about specific experiences prior to the trip. Someone gave me that tip a few years ago, and I passed it along to my sister for my nieces and nephew. We had a great weekend, but if we had told the kids everything we had planned we would have had to navigate the disappointment around missing out on stuff. Since we had been pretty vague with them about what we would be doing exactly, they were just along for the ride. Even when they would ask pre-trip about meeting Mickey, we would say. “He’s usually there - so hopefully we’ll get to see him!” We talked about enough things to get them excited, but everything was a “we might get to.”

  2. I have been traveling to Disney for a long time. Now, I’m local. I know a lot about what’s out there, but I’m learning new things all the time. Don’t underestimate asking for ideas in places like this forum, the app chat, and other forums and social media groups. The more you know the better. I put quite a few impromptu questions in various places this weekend to help me pivot when the rain threw a wrench in our original plan. For anyone planning a first trip, I can’t stress enough the value in not planning a perfect list of activities. Learn as much as you can about what there is to do. That way, if someone is inconvenient, falls through, gets cancelled or rained out, you are prepared to head on to something else instead.

Original plan:
Friday: family arrives and we do dinner and stay at our local apartment.
Saturday: Check in at Fort Wilderness. Go to Disney Springs to do amphicars, eat lunch, and take the boat for beignets at Port Orleans French Quarter. Play mini golf in the afternoon. Then, head back to set up camp. Spend the evening at the Chip 'n Dale Campfire.
Sunday: Go to Epcot. Top priorities - Guardians, Frozen, Test Track, characters
Monday: Check out and family heads home.

Thanks to the rain. This was a trip of pivots.

Pivot #1 - Adding a day to our resort stay. I know this isn’t an option for everyone depending on travel, but Friday forecast was great. Family was going to arrive by 4pm at the airport. So, we opted to add a day to our campsite stay so that we could get set up and enjoy the Chip 'n Dale Campsite before the rain started on Saturday. Even with a busy president’s day weekend, we were able to make changes to our dates. If you have been looking for a particular room type or if you need to adjust your dates, remember that what might not have been available earlier might be available a couple days before or even day of due to last minute cancellations.

Pivot #2: We switched our park tickets to Saturday because the forecast was very slightly less rainy on Saturday than Sunday. Thanks to a liner’s advice, I was able to easily do this from the app. Just a heads up that you can only change ticket dates from the account that purchased the tickets. I also had the foresight to book two days of Epcot park reservations for the two of us who have APs. I canceled the one that we wouldn’t use, and I didn’t have to worry about trying to get a last-minute park res on a busy weekend.

So with those changes, we had a great Friday night. If you are at the Fort, definitely visit the campfire. It’s very cute. Also, if you are looking for a non-park activity and staying at another resort. I would highly suggest spending a day at Fort Wilderness. There are so many activities, and it would be a lot of fun to wrap up your evening with the campfire.


Pivot #2: Frozen is the kids’ fave ride, but with some car-crazy kiddos, Test Track was also a high priority, and they had never ridden it before. The original plan was to rope drop Frozen so that we could ride twice, but with a lot of rain in the forecast, we chose to rope drop Test Track knowing that if we didn’t ride early, we might not catch it before the rain. Definitely head to those outdoor rides early in the day if rain is in the forecast for later.

Pivot #3: Because of rain, we also hit some characters earlier than I originally planned. With the rain, I knew that the outdoor characters would likely not be out later. So, when we saw them, we grabbed them.

Pivot #4: We originally had our day filled with plans of characters and festival booths. With the weather putting a damper on both, we ended up spending more time in World Nature, riding all of the rides there and doing Turtle Talk (all great - just weren’t on the priority list originally), and we ended up booking dinner at Akershus (which was a pretty easy snag even with a party of 8). It would have been so easy to focus on thing we missed out on, but as a group, we just reminded ourself that pretty much everything at Disney is magic. So, though we missed out on some things, we also go to do things we hadn’t planned to do.

I was pleasantly surprised by Akershus. Honestly, I didn’t think I would ever eat there, but when looking for dinner alternatives, we had some very squirrely wet kids. So we opted for characters instead of eating at a standard restaurant where I think they would have gotten even more antsy. Overall, the food impressed me (for character dining). The 7 yo in our group had no problem finding things to eat. The 4 yos are super picky. So, they were more difficult to satisfy, but truly no matter where we had gone, that would have been the case. The princesses were excellent! We had Belle, Ariel, Tiana, Aurora, and Cinderella.

Overall, we tried to use the rain to our advantage. I used Genie+ to grab passes for all the rides which gave us opportunities to go inside and not just stand in the crowds trying to stay dry. We let the rain push the crowds away before trying to do things like meet Anna & Elsa - this was great because we only waited about 20 minutes. We simply left it up to the kiddos whether or not we would stay for fireworks after dinner. They opted to go back.

We stopped at Creations on the way out so the kids could spend their $25 gift cards. This is something we’ve done on each of their trips and it’s great because it completely solves the buying stuff all the time. They can get whatever they want for themselves with their gift card, but we will only buy a Christmas ornament for the family. We will usually help out with an additional little bit if it’s only $5-10 more w/ tax.

Pivot #5: With super wet stroller covers and two four-year-olds who had dozed off, we decided to monorail and boat our way back. We would eventually have to fold the stroller for the internal Fort Wilderness bus, but by using the monorail to TTC, monorail to MK, and then boat to FW, we were able to avoid folding up the stroller as long as possible.

We were wet, cold, and tired, but we had a great day to Epcot. We rode everything but Mission Space. The kiddos got 16 character signatures, and we did an unexpected character dining.


Thank you to whoever suggested resort hopping with pin trading as a rainy day activity.

Pivot #6: Completely scrapped our most of our plans due to the continuing rain. The kids loved pin tradin at Epcot. So, we grabbed some more mystery packs to add a few more pins to their lanyards and added resort hopping with pin trading to our plan.

We were still able to start the day at Disney Springs. We went to World of Disney so the younger two kiddos could do their shopping (they had slept through Epcot shopping). We visited the pin trading store and the ornament shop. Then, we stopped for some lunch at Earl of Sandwich. We opted to still take the boat over to Port Orleans French Quarter for the beignets.

Then, we took the bus to MK so we could hop the monorail. We opted for the monorail for resort hopping as it required no walking in the rain. Everyone stayed warm and dry. The adults go to pick up some cocktails along the way, and the kids mastered the art of browsing shops (pointedly telling me what they might want for birthdays in a few months) and pin trading. We did all three monorail resorts. Then, when we got back to the Contemporary, we hopped the boat to Wilderness Lodge.

Pivot #7: Since absolutely no one wanted to cook at the campsite in the rain, we were seeking an alternative food plan. After a pricy impromptu character dining, I was trying to find a lounge or quick service. Geyser Point at Wilderness Lodge would have been perfect (but quite cold even with heaters). So I posted on a Fort Wilderness group to find out more about Trails End and Crockett’s Tavern. Do NOT underestimate the quality of quick service at some of the resorts. The food can be just so good.

Trails end is more kid friendly, and Crockett’s Tavern is delicious but limited. However, Crockett’s Tavern has no problem with people brining some food over from Trails End as long as you also are ordering food and drinks at the tavern. So, we got kid food and a salad for my mom at Trails End. The rest of us got food from the tavern. We all ordered some drinks.

This was a great way to end the day. The CMs were particularly wonderful, and we had no issue sitting and enjoying our food until it was time to head back to dry up for bedtime.

All in all, despite the washout of a weekend and a lot of changed plans, we had an amazing time. It’s memories for sure, and the kids even believe us now when we tell them a tent will keep them dry. I will hope for sunshine next time they’re here, but this trip was full of magical memories from a very specific situation.

One last bit of information. With some serious rain in the forecast, we were pretty prepared, but there were a few things I would have done differently to stay dry:

Rain jackets for adults were great. The kids had rain jackets too, but I wish we had thought to get them in ponchos because ponchos would have kept their legs dry too.

We doubled up on leggings. This worked pretty well because the outer layer got wet, but for the most part, the bottom layer stayed dry.

My mom and I ordered some shoe covers on Amazon. We were made fun of at first, but we were the stars of the show by the end of the day.

I wish we had a couple ponchos with us to sit on on boats. CMs do their best to dry off seats, but if it’s one of the boats that is not fully enclosed, the seats are just very wet.


Your report is great. You certainly show the value of doing the research so, even though a person might craft a great detailed plan, decisions can be made on the fly that have good results. I especially like your wisdom in how much (or little) specific information to tell young children to try to avoid fierce disappointment reactions. Thanks for the very informative write-up!


Thank you for your report! You did a fabulous job of pivoting in the moment (or ahead of time if able). It sounds like you a a great trip despite the challenges of camping in the rain.