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Old 01-03-2013, 09:51 AM   #1
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Who's camping, 2013? How do you plan "your" trip?

Just curious. New Year's ends and I start getting serious about planning what our family has to look forward to. Our breaks/vacations are almost all camping trips. We love the outdoors, and we are a big, kids-full family, so it's just the best way to kick back, for us. But Disney adds a whole new dimension. Or you could say, camping adds a whole diff planning and experience dimension to a Disney Vacation.

Who else is planning a WDW camping trip this year? Who is going for the first time? Who does it regularly, on schedule?

I admit, preparing for a trip like this is my weakness. I love really "getting into it", too much! Tons of desktop folders, and real notebooks of stuff, year after year, then we can't go or change plans. This year, it is happening for everyone! I'm too excited.

When you begin to plan, after dates and ressies, what are the typical things you do/think about/ next? What planning/preparing topic gets the most of your time and energy, or excitement?

Me, DH edu IT man, 19, 17, 15, 13, 10, 7.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:16 AM   #2
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For me the planning won't start until the Spring. We are big into Mardi Gras here so that is next on the horizon. But my Fort planning will start seriously after that. We already have reservations for the week of Halloween. Our biggest decision is ticket options. Water parks or not. Hard to plan for the weather in advance. Next will be dining or cooking choices and whether to make ADRs. Last will be the actual trip down. We are only 8 towing hours away so we will probably head down a day early and camp close by to get an early start.
Professional Firefighter
1973- Off Site Jellystone Campground, 2002- Off Site Grosvenor Resort DD's Wish Trip
2005- Off Site Universal Royal Pacific, 2006- Port Orleans French Quarter
2007- Port Orleans Riverside With Free Dining, 2008- Port Orleans French Quarter With Free Dining
2009- Boardwalk Inn With Free Dining. Upgraded from ASMO at Disney's expense following a problem, 2010- Ft Wilderness for the first time. It was great.
2013- First Halloween trip to the Fort. It was awesome.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:38 AM   #3
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We just bought our first RV, so we haven't camped at all yet, but I booked my first Fort reservation for November.

I have been to Disney with my family 4 times now. This last trip we knew we were buying an RV so we spent some time at the Fort, walking around, and renting boats at the Marina.

Our Campsite is booked, and we have 8 days left on our non expiring tickets from this year. I just found out my friends who camp are going the same week! We definitely do parks differently than they do, but we have already discussed booking a Hoop Dee Doo dinner together.

The things I need to plan now, are how many park days, whether to go to MNSSHP or MVMCP ( I think there will be one of each during our visit). Whether to plan to go to parks with EMH or avoid them (this is our first trip on property). How to spend our non park days, and the biggest adjustment for us will be not going off property as we have always gone off property to shop and eat. What dining reservations to plan, and how many meals to plan to cook/eat in the RV.

Since I can't start making dining reservations until May, I have a bit of time to think about what restaurants/ what parks/ what days.

In the meantime, I have been talking with my camping friends, and buying the items I think we will need and use, so that we will be ready for our first trip this spring!

DH & Me DD13 DS13 DD10 Holly
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:57 AM   #4
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We try to go every year, usually 2 weeks in FL, one spent at Beverly Beach for a week with St. Augastine and Daytona Beach to explor, and one spent at Disney. We travel with several other families and enjoy it ever year. This year everyone agreed and we are doing the full 2 weeks at Fort Wilderness with 10 day park hoppers. We enjoy the rides, but also just enjoy walking the parks and finding all the interesting things the imagineers have done or changed. This time around we have enough time to head off park if we wish, and to tour the common areas of other resorts and take it all it.

We leave in less then 48 hours at this point and everyone is super excited. Clothes are packed up, the grocery shopping will be done tonight. The goal was to have tomorrow evening to relax, make sure nothing was missed and then a good nights sleep. We will run down 95 and stop just north of the GA boarder for the night and finish the trip on Sunday. No need to rush, but are also interested in getting down there with day to spare on Sunday to setup and relax a bit.

I definitly recommend the Hoop Dee Doo review Christine. We went for the first time 2 years ago, and had to go again last year. It is on the possiblity list this year, but we also have reservations at the Contemporary one night during the Wishes fireworks show (really hard to get these reservations, we had to call in August to get them.) With kids I am sure the magic hours might not be the best at all parks, but I can tell you its worth it when it comes to rides that commonly have long wait times. It really does shorten the line enough to get on some of the popular lines faster then usual.

As for planning, we started planning this about the last 3 days of our trip last year in January. But we could not get the original reservations we where after and thats when the decision to do the 2 weeks was made and agreed by all the families.

We are an active group and spend a lot of the camping season together, last year was light on trips but hopefully this year will include a few long weekends till next years big vacation.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:17 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by jbrostek View Post

but we also have reservations at the Contemporary one night during the Wishes fireworks show (really hard to get these reservations, we had to call in August to get them.)
Please tell me more about this. We ate at Chef Mickey in November. We finished dinner, but by the time the photo person brought us our pictures and we walked across to the other side, the fireworks were just ending.

Is this a dinner reservation? If so which restaurant?

We are definitely going to Hoop Dee Doo, I am just more excited to be going with my friends.

Have a GREAT TRIP!!!!!!!


DH & Me DD13 DS13 DD10 Holly
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:19 PM   #6
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Its the California Grill and as I read it now, it looks like its going to get a facelift starting February until late summer this year. We have been at the bar during the light show too, its still awesome.

I think going with friends makes it that much more fun. I will say if you can find a way to setup some baby sitting a fun place for the adults to stop is Jellyrolls on the Boardwalk. Dueling piano bar (21+ only) but we had a lot of fun there and its on the definite list this year for our of age crew.

Thanks! Looking forward to the trip...been saving up vacation and more to ensure we could go.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:15 PM   #7
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We have FW ressies for mid April, and usually go at least once per year (just went 10 days after Thanksgiving).

We have Annual Passes since last April so will go 3 times in that *year* period ending this April. We enjoy going for the Flower & Garden Festival.

We do very little planning other than making a few *must do* ADR's. I don't cook - period - on our Disney trips, as I'm on vacation also We do go to the Smoky Mountains every year also, and there I do really enjoy cooking.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:42 PM   #8
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When you begin to plan, after dates and ressies, what are the typical things you do/think about/ next? What planning/preparing topic gets the most of your time and energy, or excitement?
We are going October 28-Nov 3 and have been booked since before Halloween 2012. We go every other year to Disney, we've been to the Ft. in April 2007 and fell in love! In 2009 they had the buy 4 get 3 free at the resorts, so stayed at POR, and we've been at the Ft. since; latest Christmas 2011.

We always book a year in advance and start buying Disney gift cards to save money - I started buying a couple last week. I'll start gathering my "Disney" pile soon; pins, bags, hats, stuff we always take to Disney. I'm going to start some modification on my TT that I'd like done before the trip. I'm going to start finding Disney Halloween decor over the summer on ebay and such. May will be 180 days out, so I'll start thinking about ADR's in April. I will be buying my tickets before August from undercovertourist.com to avoid the rate hike.
Kristina & Jesse
Ayden 13 Kailey 11 Ashlyn 9 Dylan 7 & Riley 5
CSR 2/2004, 12/2004, 12/2005; AS Sports 11/2006; FW 4/2007 Loop 1500; POR 3/2009; FW 12/2011 Loop 200 ; AS Music 10/2013; AKL 8/2014

Aug 30 - Sept 6, 2015 Fort Wilderness
Feb 14-20, 2016 - Fort Wilderness
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:15 PM   #9
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my purple box helps me do it over and over and over, without having to bring the same things back and forth.... LOVE that service!
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:39 PM   #10
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I have a 2013 trip planned (actually it got pushed back from 2012).

I tend to do as little planning as possible. I get my dates in, request AAA discount and a loop preference, and then coast till arrival. I don't do dining reservations. We only do one park day per 2-3 Fort days.

I don't plan more than 24 hours in advance. If the weather will be bad, I don't go to the parks - I'll hang back, do Disney putt putt, a water park, or Downtown Disney. We'll check the weather for tomorrow to see if THAT is when we'll go to the parks.

We always eat well, we will hit the pool nearly every day, we'll do the movie/singalong at least 2X during our stay, and we will do something new/different each stay.

Stay loose, be flexible, give me your input early and we'll get it worked in. <that's my philosophy>

Less is more! I come to the Fort to de-stress.

Bama ED
Apr 1979 Off-site...................... Jan 2001 FW 2200 Loop (cabin)........Dec 2007 FW 900 loop (pop-up)...............................Mar 2014 FW 400 Loop (pop-up)
Apr 1981 FW Creekside Meadow... Jan 2002 FW 2200 Loop (cabin)........Nov 2009 FW 1500 Loop (pop-up).......................... Jan 2015 FW 200 Loop (pop-up)
Nov 1987 FW 100 Loop(tent) ...... Oct 2003 FW 2000 Loop (tent).........Mar 2011 FW 900/1500 loop (pop-up) to/from KW
Jan 1988 FW 700 Loop (tent).......Jan 2004 FW 2500 Loop (cabin)....... Apr 2011 FW 2000 Loop (pop-up)
May 1988 FW 1200 Loop (tent).... May 2006 FW 900 Loop (pop-up) .... Mar 2012 FW 1500 Loop (pop-up)
Dec 1995 Contemporary.............. Mar 2007 FW 1000 Loop (pop-up).... Apr 2013 FW 100 Loop (pop-up)

plus countless WDW day trips, DL 3X, DLP 2X - TV: 2005 Chevy Suburban - Camper: 2014 Aliner Expedition - Nights Camped: 195
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Old 01-11-2013, 02:04 PM   #11
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We have our third Disney trip coming up, but it will be our first Disney camping trip. So excited! We'll be there for 11 nights and have 10-day passes with hoppers and the water parks option.

Our park planning is very similar to Bama Ed's in that we don't do a lot of planning. First trip was DH and I for our honeymoon. With help from a Disney friend, we had planned out which parks we would visit on which days and had ADRs for dinner each night. It was ok, but DH and I definitely felt like there wasn't any room to be spontaneous.

In 2011, we took the kids (my 2, his 1) as promised and other than 1 breakfast and 1 dinner ADR, we had NO plans. We went with another family and aside from taking a peek at crowd calendars, we basically just winged it. In the end, I felt like DH and I got to see and do more on our first trip, but that we had more time to just have fun and relax on the 2nd trip.

So, for this trip, we opted to go again for the no planning, but upping the trip to 10 days will give us lots of opportunity to fit things in without having to feel totally rushed. I'm also thinking that adding the WPM option will also give us quite a bit of kid-free time as we expect those 3 will head to the water parks and leave us on our own.

And the best part about this trip? It will probably end up costing about the same if not less than the 2011 trip - when we stayed in 2 rooms at POP and flew down. Love the Fort as an option for making Disney a bit more affordable for our family of 5.
Traci (43), DH Mark (44), DS (18), DD (14), DS (9)

8/18/13-8/29/13 Fort Wilderness
8/21/11-8/27/11 Pop Century
9/12/09-9/19/09 Pop Century
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:23 AM   #12
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Just discovered and downloaded the free (at least, right now) Disney app, "My Disney Experience". Nice photos. It's meant to be a planning help, and an on the go reference.

I haven't played around with it enough to know how seriously useful it could be, but it definately is fun for my kids to get visuals in a place oriented way. And increasing my kids excitement, cooperation, trip ownership and teamwork before we go is where a bunch of my planning energy goes. (who wants to work towards getting to the "happiest place on earth", only to find family interaction, anything but?

Anyway, using the app, From the Magic Kingdom visuals, where my son was picking out restaurants, he scrolled across the lake, xpecting to "fall off" the theme park world.

But no! There was the fort, fun to zoom in on and see the cute little 3D RVer's included. (Now, whose were they?)

In the future, if this app helps anyone plan a Fort style trip, would be interested to hear it!

Me, DH edu IT man, 19, 17, 15, 13, 10, 7.
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:29 AM   #13
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This will be our third trip to Disney and our first camping trip at the Ft.
On our first trip in 2005, I read travel books borrowed from the library, and didn't know the Dis existed. Other than a few minor glitches (got trapped behind a parade and didn't make an ADR) it was an amazing trip. We didn't have a lot of expectations and it was just relaxing and very fun.

The second trip in 2010 I overplanned. Honestly, we found it a bit stressful and not very relaxing, even though we gave ourselves more park days than our first trip. It was too much rushing here and there, too many expectations, and not enough down time.

This time, I'm getting my research done so I can avoid major glitches, but I'm not going to have concrete plans. I just want to go-with-the-flow on this trip. Our day-to-day life is very rushed and hectic right now, we need to relax and enjoy our family.

This is the basic outline...

July 20-25 at the Ft.
Two days at major parks (Epcot and probably DHS).
Two days at the water parks.
One day to relax at Ft. Wilderness and/or visit DD.

On check-out day, we're packing up early and moving to the Royal Pacific Resort at Universal. We're staying there until the 27th. We have three day passes to those parks, which should be more than enough with the Express Pass to just take it slow and enjoy.

We are not scheduling any sit down meals. We have done quite a few during our last two trips and enjoyed them (Hoop Dee Doo was a lot of fun, we were right by the piano), but we don't want to take that much time out of our days on this trip. We'll just eat on the fly, so to speak.

We may eat some meals off site and some cold meals at the tent or in our hotel room. I've got some rewards coming we may use for Disney meals. I also have another rewards program which may cover upgrading our RPR stay to Club level which would take care of a meal or two each day there. I'm just trying to decide if DH would be satisfied with that, he's a big eater.

All in all, we are looking for a more relaxing and go-with-the-flow type of trip.

Good Luck to everyone with their trip planning! I will gladly accept any tips or advice, especially in regard to Ft. Wilderness. Other than stepping off a boat and walking a few steps to HDD Review. We haven't been there.
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:27 AM   #14
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This is our second trip to the fort. We are also not going crazy with reservations this time around and am glad to not be on the dining plan. The first five days I am going to work conference near Universal and then we (fam of 4) are staying for seven more with more park days and Universal (driving and parking) mixed in. My sister and her family are coming in for five days but are staying at the cabins while we rent an RV. Both of our families will have carts.

I am obsessing over what's loop to stay in this time around. I keep watching videos and just cannot decide! So many more options than the cabins.
2014 - Universal RPR (twice), Fort Wilderness RV, CSR, POP, POR
2013-Ft Wilderness RV (twice), AKL (twice), POFQ
2012-Ft Wilderness Cabins
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:34 AM   #15
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Hi - We are going for 12 nights, June 26-July 8 with DH and 3 Grandkids, ages 6, 8, and 10. I am hoping for enough to keep them engaged. My husband and I are good for about 3-4 hours hoofing around the parks. I thought 2 days for each park, 2 water park days, and a Disney Quest/Downtown Disney day. We may drive to Cocoa Beach for a day at the beach. We have premium annual passes from last year that are good for the trip. I agree about overplanning. This is our second trip to Fort Wilderness - the other trip was about 12 years ago (we bought DVC on that trip). The only thing I really remember being important was to get a golf cart. It makes Fort Wilderness so much easier to enjoy.
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