Here is my trip report from my family’s trip to camp in our pop-up from September 3 - 10, 2016.
-DH and myself, along with DDs 8, 6, and 2.
-Camped in our pop-up in a tent or pop-up site at Fort Wilderness for the first time (did it numerous times when I was a child).
-6 day, one park tickets. EPCOT, HS, MK, EPCOT, MK, AK, respectively.
-Did a pre-RD, WS Disney Fine Art Photography session on the first morning (9/4).
Arrival day: Saturday, September 3, 2016:
We arrived MUCH later than we intended. We had a big week leading up to our Saturday morning departure, which meant that we ultimately decided to leave around 4 (which became 5) instead of 3. Typically it takes us about 10 hours to drive with a stop at the Cracker Barrel included. Pulling the pop-up it wound up taking us about 12 hours. DD8 even threw up when we were about 5 minutes out. She managed to contain it, though! So, we arrived around 5 instead of around 3, which had been our intention. We needed to go to the grocery store, and we were planning to eat at Crew’s Cup. I had wanted to eat there at lunch, but I REALLLLLY wanted the braised beef short rib. The Lines app stated that this was only available after 5. I couldn’t find that info anywhere else, but I didn’t want to risk it. We popped up our “Popper,” and set a a few things up, although not nearly everything. Then, we headed on to Crew’s Cup. We were able to get a (dirty) booth immediately, but the place filled up very quickly after that. The service was extremely slow, although very friendly. The drinks were good, and the food was good. DH and I shared the rock shrimp, the short rib, and the lobster roll with upgrade to truffle fries. If we had it to do over, we both would get the short rib, and leave it at that. We weren’t overly enamored with the lobster roll or the truffle fries. The rock shrimp were good, as had been reported on lines, but we just really aren’t fried seafood fans. After dinner, we drove to the Publix at 192 and 535, and got our provisions. We should have gotten much more beer. It was late when we got back to the popper, and our wake-up was to be an early on the next day, so we were quickly trying to get situated a little and go to bed.
Mistakes: We should have skipped dinner and gone to Crew’s Cup a different night. I should have run out for groceries and Chick-fil-A instead. We needed to be better set up at our campsite for a successful rest of the trip. We also determined that we should have taken 2 days to drive.
EPCOT: September 4, 2016:
This morning, we were up early to get ready for our pre-RD pics in WS. We were to meet our photogs at 7:45 AM at the IG. We were told specifically to not tell the BC security that we were doing pics in WS, just to tell them that we “had a photo session.” True to form, security gave us a VERY hard time about this. I kept up my end of the deal, though, and never told them that I was going into EPCOT. We met our photographers, Christy, and a guy whose name I cannot remember. They were fine. We took pics in Germany, Italy, and Morocco. Maybe 5 or 6 poses in each country. We would have preferred more candids, but they didn’t ask and we didn’t tell them. I can’t complain about that. We have received a “sneak peek” pic, and it looks fantastic. We expect to see the rest in 3 - 5 weeks. They walked us back to IG after the pics (around 8:45 AM). Once the park was officially opened, we went straight to Joy/Sadness. We were maybe the 5th family in line. I was desperate to get my white dress off, so afterwards the whole lot of us piled into the companion restroom across from Imagination for costume changes and sunscreen. I really love companion restrooms with kids! Then we went to Imagination. We had a FPP for Soarin’ for today, and FEA for Wednesday, so we weren’t too concerned about hitting things for RD. DH HATES Imagination, so it is good to get that out of the way. After that, we went to Living with the Land before using our 10 AM FPP at Soarin’. We got a ride swap, and I took DD2 to Sunshine Seasons for a snack. It is a tremendous pain to get food there while hauling a toddler. Of course, the toddler must come into the building to get the ride swap. This is a serious design flaw. After Soarin’ (and ride swap Soarin’), we watched the Circle of Life (DD8 is a huge Lion King fan). Then we went to the Living Seas pavilion. It was PACKED. We skipped the ride, and went straight to Turtle Talk. DD8 asked a question about how humans can help clean the water for turtles. This was met by lots of “AAAAWWWWEEE.” DD2 was going CRAZY, so I had to take her out. I’m just now realizing that I never heard Crush’s answer! We were then off to WS to exit through IG. We stopped for the kids to meet Pluto (DD2 was NOT interested). Then a stop in Germany for DH to get a beer and pretzels for the kids. I went into Karmel Kuche for a sweet treat. When we got to the American Pavilion, DH inexplicably pulled in to the ampitheater to watch American Sound Machine, and told me to walk on to get us Grand Marnier slushies. FYI…it is a long walk back with slushies in plastic martini-ish glasses. After a couple of minutes, we decided the music was too loud, and the kids didn’t care. Off we went. Once through IG, we followed up on the Ample Hills promise to the kids. It was quite literally the best ice cream any of us have ever eaten. There is something softer and creamier about it than other ice creams. That is worth the trip, all on its own! Then, back to BC to get back to the popper to finish setting up camp. It took an hour or so, but we got it the way we wanted just before the rain started. We had planned to go to WL, CR, Poly, GF, or Trail’s End for dinner. We were going to do lounges, at the Deluxes instead of being overloaded with ADRs this trip. We rode our bikes to Trail’s End in the pouring rain. It was PACKED and they were no longer taking walk-ups, so we went off to the marina. We got on the first boat, and the first stop was WL, so Territory Lounge it was. This experience wasn’t as kid friendly as Crew’s Cup. There were no large tables, and there were no options for a kids menu. We got DD 8 & 6 the cheese fondue, and they only ate the pretzels. DH and I shared the pork nachos (wouldn’t get again), the mushroom bisque (would get again), Crispy Asian Wings (wouldn’t get again), and teh gourmet burger with truffle fries (would DEFINITELY do again). We found these truffle fries to be far superior to Crew’s Cup’s. Once we finished, we took the boat back to FW, and then road our bikes in the pouring rain back to our campsite. All of us remember the rainy bike ride as a true highlight of the entire trip. Go figure. We dried off and were soon off to bed.
HS - September 5, 2016: