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Old 01-06-2013, 02:59 PM   #1
Willa
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Some thoughts from two recent trips to the Fort

DH and I had two separate weeks at the Fort recently, one that included Halloween, and one in mid December.

We were tent camping both times, and both times we requested the 1500 loop (we really don't care for the 2000 and avoid it whenever possible).

Checking in for our late October/early November trip, we were told that 1500 was full, and as we were asking for "anything but..." the very helpful CM finished our sentence for us with the word "2000". We all shared a little laugh, and after some poking around on his computer, he asked how we would feel about the 1900 loop. We said we would feel just great about it.

1900 is of course a full hookup loop, but we were not charged extra for the upgrade.

We really enjoyed our time on 1900. It's a tiny bit remote, but somehow feels more like part of the Fort than 2000 does. The sites are nice and spread out, and we had plenty of room on the coquina pad behind the concrete driveway to set up our tent, with room left over for our camp chairs and the picnic table.

Being a tent camper on a full hookup loop makes for very uncrowded bathhouses. We never had to wait for a shower, and I don't believe I ever even encountered a time when all the showers were taken at once, or all the potties, or even all the sinks/mirror space.

The lead up to Halloween was a lot of fun. We enjoyed seeing all the decorations. We walked up to the Meadow to watch the golf cart parade, which was awesome. So much effort and creativity!

Halloween night after the parade was not as much fun as I thought it might be. Children were sugared up, of course, which is to be expected on Halloween and just part of the fun, but lots of the grownups had also overindulged in a different way, and were being way too loud way too late that night. Took us a really long time to get to sleep with just our canvas tent walls between us and the party noises.

The weather was actually a good bit colder this week than we would encounter on our December trip, but we use an electric blanket in our tent, and we felt nice and cozy in there.

It was a great week, and we loved being back at the Fort, after a long absence. We are long time campers and FW lovers, having raised our only child with many trips to the Fort, first in a borrowed popup, them in our own popup, then in a 26 foot bunkhouse trailer. We sold the trailer when we became empty nesters and simplified back down to a tent. We camp often and love it, and being back at the Fort was just lovely.

I'll give some thoughts about our December trip in a separate post.
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:09 PM   #2
lodge
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Tell me about the nights in your tent.... is it quiet, is it dark, any hints/tips/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:59 PM   #3
mouse2mouse
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We were there last week of Nov. It was cold. we ended up using our hairdryer for a heat source. It worked out great because it help block out the outside noise from the busses and late nighters. We strung up white lights on our site and hooked them to a timer. We also had lanterns for extra light inside tent. It was the best Disney Trip we have had so far! We were in the 2000 loop but it was pretty empty until the day we left...it was crazy loud and packed!
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:08 PM   #4
lodge
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Originally Posted by mouse2mouse View Post
We were there last week of Nov. It was cold. we ended up using our hairdryer for a heat source.
HA! I Laughed Out Loud for quite a while when I read that! Been there!
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:34 PM   #5
bama_ed
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Your trip report gives me hope. My last child will go to college in three years and I dream about being empty nesters and going to the Fort (and elsewhere) without having to consult a school calendar of some sort.

I liked what you wrote and I'm waiting for the rest.

Bama ED
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Apr 1979 Off-site...................... Jan 2001 FW 2200 Loop (cabin)........Dec 2007 FW 900 loop (pop-up)...............................Mar 2014 FW 400 Loop (popup)
Apr 1981 FW Creekside Meadow... Jan 2002 FW 2200 Loop (cabin)........Nov 2009 FW 1500 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: 175
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:58 PM   #6
lodge
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Us too!
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:57 AM   #7
Willa
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Thanks for the replies!

Lodge, the darkness level is somewhat dependent on how close you are to the nearest light and how your tent is oriented. FW has lights along the loops at regular intervals that are sort of like street lights, only on a pole at about waist level for the average adult. They are designed to help you not be in complete darkness if you're walking at night.

On 1900, we were not close to any of the path lights, so it was pretty dark in our tent, but on 1500 we happened to be near a light that kept the tent from ever being completely dark.

Quietness depends on your neighbors, it can go either way. I believe official quiet hours start at 11pm (maybe?) and in general people are pretty good about observing that, but you never know. I like to listen to my iPod while I go to sleep anyway, so that helps me with noise level if its not complete crazy (like it was Halloween night). Also, buses run really late, so if you happen to be near a bus stop, that can be an issue.

December update coming soon.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:59 AM   #8
Willa
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Bama Ed, becoming empty nesters feels traumatic when it's about to happen, but then after they're gone, you sort of look around and realize how much freedom you have, and suddenly it doesn't feel so bad after all!
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:02 PM   #9
sapdaddy2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mouse2mouse View Post
We were there last week of Nov. It was cold. we ended up using our hairdryer for a heat source. It worked out great because it help block out the outside noise from the busses and late nighters. We strung up white lights on our site and hooked them to a timer. We also had lanterns for extra light inside tent. It was the best Disney Trip we have had so far! We were in the 2000 loop but it was pretty empty until the day we left...it was crazy loud and packed!
I am just wondering what you consider cold? I am the scoutmaster of an active troop here in NH and we camp even when the night temps are on the single numbers.
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:36 PM   #10
Willa
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I am just wondering what you consider cold? I am the scoutmaster of an active troop here in NH and we camp even when the night temps are on the single numbers.
Can't answer for mouse2mouse, but I consider anything below 50 at night to be cold enough to warrant the use of our electric blanket. I salute you and your hardy scouts, but there is no way in H E double hockey sticks you will find me in a tent below 30 degrees, electric blanket or no electric blanket.
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Old 01-08-2013, 12:07 PM   #11
Willa
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And now the week in December.

This time when we checked in we actually got our request for the 1500 loop, which made us happy. It's an old favorite and we love it for tent camping. However, our stay on 1900 had spoiled us a little bit in that the sites were more spread out, and especially concerning how uncrowded the bathhouse was. I remembered having to wait for the shower lots of times on 1500 in the past, since most everybody is in a tent or a popup there, which means they all need to use the bathhouse.

When we arrived, we found that the family camping in the site next door had their golf cart parked on our site, charging it on our electric pole. Not a problem, as soon as we said we had been assigned the site they quickly moved the cart. Our site had apparently been unoccupied and they enjoyed the extra space, can't really blame them. They were actually packing up to leave as it turned out (we arrived about 10 in the morning).

A little while after they had left, DH noticed something strange behind our tent pad - the base of one of the trees actually had smoke rising from it! A closer look revealed that someone had dumped live coals back there and kicked some sand over them without making sure they were all the way out. I couldn't figure out why someone would do such a thing. Best guess was that they had had an illegal fire in their grill and were hiding the evidence at our site, which would have been unoccupied at the time. We were so glad we saw it! That seriously could have resulted in a real fire. I went to the bathhouse and called engineering on the house phone, they sent a team out to take care of it very quickly.

After that little drama, we settled in and really really enjoyed our week on 1500. We were on the back side, with the canal behind us, which was a lovely place to go for a walk. It only took us a couple of minutes to walk to the bathhouse from our site, so that was no issue.

Speaking of the bathhouse, remember how i was worried about it being more crowded? As it turned out, this was mostly not a problem at all. I think that was mostly down to luck and good timing, meaning showering early or in the evening, because I did encounter a crowded bathhouse a number of times when I just went up to use the potty. There were a couple of times when I found the showers all full when I needed one and ladies already waiting their turn, but even this turned out not to be a problem, because I found a way around it.

I just left the bathhouse, walked out the other way to the 1600 loop, which shares that bathhouse with 1500, and walked to the other side of the loop where there is another bathhouse. Both times I did this I had the whole bathhouse to myself.

1500 is very convenient to the Meadow Trading Post, and we walked over there several times, to pick up a couple of grocery items, or just to browse for fun. We also took our laptop and iPad to take advantage of the wifi, but the coverage was a little spotty. It worked, but not fast, and sometimes not at all.

During our week we toured loops to see decorations several times, on foot because we didn't have a cart. We also managed to watch the MVMCP fireworks from the beach, followed by the Electric Water Pageant. That was a very enjoyable, I couldn't believe how well we could see the fireworks. They did play the music, but we found it a little hard to hear. I hadn't seen the EWP in years, I got a chuckle out of it, mostly because I had forgotten just how low tech it really is!

Our very first night we got a super heavy rainstorm. We knew it was in the forecast. I woke up about 2am needing a trip to the bathhouse, and hubby walked with me. In our sleepiness we couldn't find a flashlight or an umbrella, but it wasn't raining then so we just stumbled up there without it. God was merciful to us, because we weren't back in our tent 2 minutes before the skies opened up and dumped buckets. I was soooo glad we made it back in time (and also that I wasn't laying in that tent listening to that downpour and needing to pee!)

We have a very small tent, just big enough for our full size air mattress w a couple of inches on either side, and we did get a little bit soggy around the edges, but not too bad. The bedding stayed dry on top, and we were able to dry everything out in the morning with a hair dryer, so all was well, and no more rain the rest of the week.

There was a mystery surrounding that storm on the 1500 loop, though. The next day we noticed a tent that looked like it had been abandoned during the night, with stuff out on the picnic table soaked from the storm, several pairs of soaked shoes, and a case of water bottles sitting in the drive on a tarp that was laid out, but no vehicle.

The site stayed just like that for 2 or 3 days I think, and it was driving us crazy trying to figure out what happened. I could see a family getting wet in their tent and leaving in the middle of the night to get a hotel room, but why didn't they come back?

Finally, they did come back, we saw them there on their site. However, the next day they were gone, but their tent was still there, and I saw a Fort CM taking their tent down. I really hope it wasn't a case of a very sick child or something else bad enough to cause them to abandon their tent like that.

We had good luck with the busses on this trip, and the trip before it. We don't use them too much, we mostly take our car everywhere but the MK, but we do take them to the marina, and one night we took the boat from the MK to the Wilderness Lodge to see their Christmas decorations, and then caught a bus from there back to the Fort. We got off that bus at the Setlement thinking we would have to wait for another one back to 1500, but when the driver changed his indicator to say Yellow, we got right back on! Very convenient.

It was a great week, over too quickly like all trips to the Fort are. I can't wait to go back!
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