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Old 11-05-2012, 10:27 AM   #1
indimom
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Onsite or Off, that is the question...

I'm asking this question both here and on the camping board. I know this isn't the best spot, but I want the opinions of people who are not "diehard" on-site fans. I'm not sure I'll get that on the other board...

BACKGROUND
We are thinking about taking a "dirt cheap" tent camping trip to the world next July. I have rewards to cover two-day park passes with water parks and more for the four of us. By then, I may also have enough rewards to take care of lunch each day. The rest of our meals we'll have to get off-site on the cheap or make ourselves at the campground. We would be going to Epcot, both water parks, and either AK or DHS. (My kids are teens so MK isn't a fave anymore.)

I've priced out two nice campsites offsite and camping at Ft. Wilderness (similar sites and ammenities). Ft. Wilderness will cost $121 more for four nights. We will have to pay parking at the two major parks if we stay offsite, so that brings it down to just under $100 difference.

I checked mapquest and the drive time seems to be comparable (about 15-20 minute); so, gas would be comparable on site or off... We will not be using the onsite transportation because we don't want to waste a lot of time on transfers between campground buses and resort-park buses and buses to the water parks (from my experience that eats up a lot of time).

AND NOW THE QUESTIONS:
Would you spend about $100 just for the privaledge of staying onsite and having access to EMH? Or would you save those couple bucks toward food and stay offsite?
Are there any good, inexpensive dining places near the parks that we should know about? CiCi's or similar?
Are there any other perks or drawbacks that I'm missing as far as onsite and offsite?

Thanks for any and all opinions!
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Old 11-05-2012, 12:13 PM   #2
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First ~ I have never stayed at Fort Wilderness, so this is all just based on what I have read.

I would definitely pay the extra $100 to stay at the fort. There seems to be smuch stuff to do on the property (I think I saw there s a petting zoo, the horses are there, chip and dale's campfire, you can see the electrical water pagent at night ~ just to name a few). Are you driving to the parks? If you stay at Fort Wilderness you get free parking, whereas off site you will have to pay $14 (?) a day to park. Good luck with your decision!
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:39 AM   #3
indimom
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Thanks. That's what I was thinking, but wanted to get some input from others if possible. I talked to DH about it this evening, and he thinks so too. In fact, he thinks we should drive through the night on our way down so we'll have some time to enjoy the campground on check-in day. Works for me!
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:24 AM   #4
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Parking is $14/day so $28 for two days. If the price difference is $121 then with the parking the difference is $93. I would definately stay at FW for that price difference. We returned a week and a half ago and stayed "off" property for the first time at Bonnet Creek. It was great as it was really "on" property, but we went off property to eat a few times and the traffic was a nightmare. For that reason alone I will never stay off the WDW property roadways! WDW traffic flows, off property...not so much. Gridlock and LONG lights!!
We used to live in Winter Park, FL (back in the 70's) and I have great memories of camping in Fort Wilderness! They have a lot to offer there
We ate at Steak n Shake (one of our favs) and they have 4 (I think) specials for under $4. They also have $1 iced tea. Delicious burgers for cheap prices!
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:42 PM   #5
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Thanks again.
I got the responses I expected from the Camping/Disney board.
I just wanted to see what the other side thought as well.

I talked to my DH about it last night and his vote was to do FW also, so it looks like that's what we're going to do. I really hope this all works out (our schedules are CRAZY, but I'm hopeful we can pull off a week).

Also thanks for the tip on a place to eat. I was hoping to find some affordable options nearby.

We plan to do a light, cold breakfast at the campsite, use rewards $$ for lunch (and maybe a snack) in the parks, and finish off the day with something offsite. We're trying to avoid cooking at the campsite so we don't have to bring as many supplies (doesn't seem worthwhile to drag all of that 16 hours south for just four days ).

Thanks again. I will gladly take any other advice and tips!
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:10 PM   #6
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I think FW is a good choice! I haven't been camping at Disney offsite or on but I did take a stroll through Ft. Wilderness the other evening and I thought there was so much to offer there - the Meadows pool looked great! The dining really smelled good as I was walking by- Trails End and the Hoop de Doo Review - don't know if you are planning to do any meals onsite or the shows. It was a lot of fun just walking by watching the ponies eat their evening meal plus the location can't be beat. The boat ride from the MK to FW is a fun way to get around. I think it would be worth an extra $100 for sure.
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:35 PM   #7
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have you gone camping in Florida in the summer at all.

Florida in the summer is hot and humidity is awfully not to mention the insects.

so would definitely stay at Disney. Disney does spray for insects - so think they will be less of a problem at Disney than offsite.

be prepared to go somewhere when it gets too hot - the hotel lobbies can be fun and cool.

be sure your air conditioning is working.

it has Perkins (ala does not), Denny, Ponderosa, and several others cheap places to eat on US 192 (530) or 535.
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Old 11-07-2012, 12:08 AM   #8
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Thanks for the tips!
We've camped in Florida once before (on the Gulf), but there weren't many bugs. I have read on here about that, so I'll make sure we're prepared. Actually, I'll make sure DH and DD are prepared. For some reason, bugs like them a lot more than DS and I.
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Old 11-07-2012, 01:13 AM   #9
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the humidity can be the worst. you will sweat alot - so plan for that and you will be fine.

there should be afternoon showers that helps - but it will so be very hot.

the gulf gets the gulf breeze - so it will be much more humidity in Orlando.

guess you can go in the fall - the fall/winter is a great time to camp at WDW.

early spring is good too.
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Old 11-07-2012, 08:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiceycat View Post
the humidity can be the worst. you will sweat alot - so plan for that and you will be fine.

there should be afternoon showers that helps - but it will so be very hot.

the gulf gets the gulf breeze - so it will be much more humidity in Orlando.

guess you can go in the fall - the fall/winter is a great time to camp at WDW.

early spring is good too
.
I wish we could. I would really love to do MNSSHP. Boo Hoo. I'm going to school and my fall break doesn't coincide with the kids' break. Same goes with spring break. So, we're pretty much stuck with summer or Christmas. I won't do Christmas because the water parks are a big part of our plans and the weather is just to iffy. And, I'm positive, dh could not take the crowd level. So, long story short, we're kinda stuck with summer.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:04 AM   #11
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In terms of food, we love the Sweet Tomatoes in the Crossroads shopping center. It's a buffet, but the food is better quality than most buffets. It's not cheap, but if you sign up for their e-club, they will send you coupons.
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Old 11-07-2012, 11:24 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by auprincess View Post
(I think I saw there s a petting zoo, the horses are there, chip and dale's campfire, you can see the electrical water pagent at night ~ just to name a few).
Just a heads up -- the petting zoo is long gone. But all the rest are still there. Plus there's the boat ride to the MK, which is one of our personal favorites (we get a kick out of the canal going over the road by the Contemporary), and it's a nice way to tour the monorail resorts on a non-park day, if that's something you'd like.

I have no idea what the campsites around WDW offer, but I do know there's a lot to do at Fort Wilderness, and for $100 difference I'd go with onsite, myself. The big downside of staying onsite, for us, is the much smaller units for a much higher price; your price difference isn't nearly as large and you won't be losing any living space, so I'd go for it.
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Old 11-08-2012, 01:09 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indimom View Post
I wish we could. I would really love to do MNSSHP. Boo Hoo. I'm going to school and my fall break doesn't coincide with the kids' break. Same goes with spring break. So, we're pretty much stuck with summer or Christmas. I won't do Christmas because the water parks are a big part of our plans and the weather is just to iffy. And, I'm positive, dh could not take the crowd level. So, long story short, we're kinda stuck with summer.
going to school when your kids are makes it hard. when I went back to school in my 40's - it was WDW that kept me sane - almost everytime had a break we went to WDW - DVC make that possible.
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:26 AM   #14
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Quote:
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going to school when your kids are makes it hard. when I went back to school in my 40's - it was WDW that kept me sane - almost everytime had a break we went to WDW - DVC make that possible.
I'm with you on that one! Today, I had just finished my own homework and I turn around and have to help my son with his algebra. I am soooo looking foward to this trip. We're already booked, but I'm afraid something is going to happen to interfere since we have such a small window of opportunity. We're not telling the kids until mid-summer because we don't want to dissapoint them if it doesn't work out.
I hope everything goes as planned and we can squeeze it in!
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:26 PM   #15
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Fort Wilderness has nice wooded sites, night time movies, resturant, easy boat / bus transportation, the Electric Water Pagent passing by each night. We've always enjoyed it there. I've camped there about three times.

It's been along time since we camped offsite, but that was great too, and we did that way more than Fort Wilderness. The place we always went to was Outdoor Resorts of American (about 12 times camping there I think), but I understand they don't have camping for the general public anymore. They actually had way more ammenities than Fort Wilderness (swimming pool, lake with various types of boats you could take out, tennis, par 3 golf, mini golf, bingo nights, potlucks). It was fun, as we'd actually meet and see so many of the same people every day and year to year even. We did a KOA and Jellystone Park too (both nice and before we found Outdoor Resorts), but again too long ago for me to give a review. I will say that I never had any problem camping offsite and felt like Disney and other Orlando attractions were plenty close. For me it would be a toss up, a whim and what mood I was in would determine which I would pick. I think you'll really enjoy either option.

I guess you need to decide how appealing the offsite campground looks vs. Fort Wilderness and if the extra ammenities (unique to Disney) at Fort Wilderness are worth th extra dollars to you. There is a great vibe at Fort Wilderness - just really like the place. Sometime the answer to that for us was yes. Other times it was no.

Quick trips to a big grocery store seem way easier offsite too. I definately spend less money if I'm not on Disney property.

Last edited by kathy884; 11-13-2012 at 10:21 PM.
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