DaveInTN's Lame Attempt at a Trip Report - NOW COMPLETE

Discussion in 'Camping at Disney World' started by DaveInTN, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. DaveInTN

    DaveInTN I'm Not The Castle Guy

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    Well, we are back from our 11 night stay at the Fort. It was a great trip! :banana: We ran ourselves ragged a bit more than we like, but we saw and did SO much. I’m still getting pictures organized, and I don’t have that many to share anyways, so this might not be the most extensive report ever. But, I’ll give it a whirl.

    So, what did we experience in our nearly 2 week trip to Florida?? Here are some of the headlines you can expect to read about in my report:

    • Dry Season my Azzz
    • OK, Not Everyone Shops on Black Friday
    • Snow White is an Elusive Biotch
    • She Looked Like She Hit a Wall
    • I’m Not Drinking Enough for This to Taste Good
    • Rubber and Bricks Don’t Mix

    Ok, on to the report.
     
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  3. DaveInTN

    DaveInTN I'm Not The Castle Guy

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    The Trip Down and Set Up
    sorry....the pics will start with the next post

    We left home around 4:30 Monday afternoon the week of Thanksgiving. Wasn’t supposed to leave until Tuesday morning, but we got itchy and were ready, so off we went. Spent the night south of Chattanooga. The next day went incredibly smoothly. Sailed through Atlanta like it wasn’t even there. :thumbsup2 We were making great time, but weren’t scheduled to arrive at the Fort until the next afternoon. So, what to do?? :confused3

    At somewhere around Valdosta, I asked my DD13 to dial the phone for me. You know the number….407-WDISNEY. Got a real nice CM. Asked if there was any chance we could get a site a day early. “SURE” she said! WOW! An extra night at the Fort! Bonus! :cool1:

    We arrived around 7:00pm after a harrowing drive through a rainy Gainesville where cars were playing pinball with each other. :scared1: Check in was backed up a bit. Only two lanes were open, and then they closed one so we had to merge over. What a pain. But finally we got up to the booth. I had checked in online, and unbelievably they had my papers and KTTW cards ready even though I had moved up our check in. So, the check in process once we actually reached the front of the line went quite quickly. :yay:

    The only issue I had was that the KTTW cards they gave me were not set up for charging privileges, which I didn’t realize until I stopped at TE to buy a mug. Not a big deal, I stopped by the Pioneer Hall concierge window and they replaced them. But it is something to be on the lookout for if you use online checkin.

    Ok, anyways, we were put in the 700 loop, which was a first for us. I had faxed the Fort a couple days before leaving requesting our usual 500, or 700 as a second choice. I would guess that our early arrival had something to do with not getting our first choice. But honestly, when I consider not only the early arrival, but the fact that our 11 night stay was made up of two separate back-to-back reservations, the fact they were able to honor any request at all AND keep us in the same site the entire stay made me very happy.

    So, we got site 729. It was a very nice site, backing up to the old railroad bed. Quite private, but yet only three sites away from the exit of the loop near the Settlement. So convenient to walk to Pioneer Hall, the marina and the store. We also got to enjoy the amazing decorations at the final two sites in the loop, including Whips pirate ship. :worship:

    Wednesday the 25th was my set up day…and it poured a good part of the day. Honestly, this is the third year in a row we’ve come to the Fort around Thanksgiving and the first time we’ve encountered significant rain. It poured! I thought this was Florida’s dry season, but I guess the weather patterns are a bit off what with El Nino, La Nina, global warming or whatever the heck is going on. :rolleyes1 But, I did get my decorations up. Blow ups, a Mickey head wreath I made for the front of the motorhome, and other lights. Wanna see a pic? Me too….only I forgot to take one! Oops. I promise some pics later in the report. We took some once we got to the parks.

    Next Up…. Not Everyone Shops on Black Friday!
     
  4. Minnie&Mickey

    Minnie&Mickey I want to live at the Fort!

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    Oh good! A trip report! Keep it coming...I need my Fort Fix really bad right now.
     
  5. KPSmithSr

    KPSmithSr Mouseketeer

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    Great report, waiting for those pics you promised !!!! :banana:
     
  6. Tnbob

    Tnbob Bob and Kathy

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  7. DaveInTN

    DaveInTN I'm Not The Castle Guy

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    On Thanksgiving Day, we drove down to DW’s brother’s house in Palm City, about 2 hours south, to spend the day with the entire DW family. It was a nice day, but I was itching to get the Disney thing underway, so after dinner we happily headed back up the turnpike to the Fort.

    Friday morning my parents came for a quick visit. It was a beautiful day, and our first stop was the pony rides at the Settlement. My 3 year old LOVES the ponies. She usually rides Snow, but union rules prevented Snow from working that day, so we were left with Nemo. Well, Nemo is no Snow but he did a fine job.

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    After lunch at our campsite, my parents headed out leaving us with some free time. What to do?? We had decided before the trip to buy AP’s this year…a huge splurge for us and a one time thing. I bought the vouchers at AAA, and we planned on activating them on Saturday. To get the most out of our AP's, when we activated them was very important, as we hope to get several trips out of them, including next Thanksgiving. So, by activating them on 11/27, they are good through 11/27/10...the Saturday after Thanksgiving 2010. Our original plan was to activate on Saturday 11/28, which would make them good through the Sunday after Thanksgiving 2010. Got it? :idea: Ok. But here it was, Friday afternoon, and we had nothing to do. So….we hopped the boat to the MK! I mean, it’s the day after Thanksgiving. Everyone is out shopping, right??

    YIKES!

    I’ve never seen the MK so busy. I'm not too stupid, so I did expect crowds...but holy crap! Not only were the lines unbelieveable, but it was the kind of crowd you couldn’t even walk through. Wow, have we made a mistake? Uh, yeah. BUT, we made the best of it and did enjoy a couple rides and a great show in front of the castle.

    My little one on the carousel:
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    DD9 enjoying the ride:
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    My girls think the horse looks pretty funny here:
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    Disney always puts on a good show, and this day was no exception.

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    Awwww:
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    The castle is always beautiful, but never so much as at Christmas time.

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    After we had had enough of the crowds, we decided to leave and go get some dinner. Our plan was to hit Roaring Forks at the WL, one of our faves, but in the end we decided to hop on the launch to the Grand Floridian and check out the lobby and grab a bite.

    The gingerbread house is so cool!

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    We then grabbed some dinner from the counter service location at the GF, and discovered an awesome place for ice cream! The self serve ice cream is very good....nice soft serve with various toppings, including REAL hot fudge!

    Well, that was our Friday. Next up...Hollywood Studios, and Snow White is an Elusive Biotch....
     
  8. stacktester

    stacktester DIS Veteran

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    Dave you walked passed us one day when I was talking to Mobile Mickey or Mickey Mobile. I was going to say hey but we didn't see you again.
     
  9. OK GRUMPY

    OK GRUMPY <font color=darkcoral>And that is some useless chi

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    Your doing GOOD!!:thumbsup2
     
  10. krier32

    krier32 Earning My Ears

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    popcorn::

    Anxious to hear the rest of your trip report.
     
  11. DaveInTN

    DaveInTN I'm Not The Castle Guy

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    Thanks for checking in everyone! I'll try to keep it coming.
     
  12. DaveInTN

    DaveInTN I'm Not The Castle Guy

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    You mean I had a brush with the mayor and didn't even realize it?? What a missed opportunity...I would have loved to have met you. I saw Mickey Mobile's name on a GC a couple sites over but didn't see them, and then they checked out. I hate missing the opportunity to meet folks.
     
  13. BradyBz12

    BradyBz12 1340.63 miles too far from the Fort

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    Good stuff... keep it coming! popcorn::
     
  14. campingpug

    campingpug Earning My Ears

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    Great TR. More More Morepopcorn::
     
  15. DaveInTN

    DaveInTN I'm Not The Castle Guy

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    Saturday was an early day for us. Hollywood Studios had Extra Magic Hours, opening at 8:00. We had NEVER hit a park at rope drop before, so decided to get a jump on the crowds and be there at 8. We didn’t chance it with the buses, deciding to drive instead. We arrived in the parking lot around 7:45, got through the gates and onto the main street area about 5 minutes prior to rope drop. Perfect! :yay:

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    So we had a plan. At rope drop, my wife was going to take my 3 year old to Toy Story Mania for Fastpasses for all 6 of us, while me and the three older DD’s went to ride Rock n Roller Coaster. We had never ridden Rock N Roller Coaster…so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. WOW! :eek: That is some ride. After picking my stomach up off the floor, I needed some quiet time, so I traded places with DW and took my DD3 to meet some characters.

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    It was then almost time for our Toy Story Mania fastpasses. We had heard a little bit about this ride, and there is incredible interest in it, so DW did a great job scoring those fastpasses. When we arrived there was an 80 minute stand by wait! We only waited about 10 minutes to get on. :thumbsup2

    If you’re not familiar with the ride, I will describe it as similar to Buzz Lightyear at MK, only 10 times better! This ride was a BLAST! You wear 3D glasses, and shoot virtual paintballs at targets. :3dglasses I thought I had a good score, but DD12 blew me away! Oh well. We tried to get more fastpasses for later in the day but they were all gone by 11:00.

    By this point, we were hungry. I hadn’t planned an ADR for lunch, so we walked up to 50’s PT Café to see what the wait would be. 5 minutes! We timed that well.

    I like the theme and feel of this restaurant. So homey! Like waiting in an old living room.

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    We started our meal with the best appetizer I could think of….a Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake! If you have never had one there, try it. It’s heaven in a tin cup!

    Our waitress was awesome! It happened to be her last day. She was moving back to Syracuse to get married…and being that we are originally from Buffalo we had lots in common. She really made the meal special….she was so funny and attentive.

    One of things I like about this restaurant are the TV's showing old 50's shows. Check it out above me in this pic:

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    BTW, I had the fish sandwich for lunch. I HIGHLY recommend it! :woohoo:

    After lunch we saw the Lights, Motors, Action stunt show. Again, this was our first time for that. We really enjoyed it, especially the car designed to drive backwards.

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    Ok, after the debacle of our first park day at MK, this was much more enjoyable. We really felt that our Disney trip was on a roll at this point!

    Next up....Animal Kingdom! And still to come: Snow White is an Elusive Biotch!
     
  16. The Thomas Fam

    The Thomas Fam Earning My Ears

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    Dave:

    I'm so glad I caught the beginning of your trip report. I'm hoping to rent tina's "camp at the fort" for June 2011 for our next trip. I use to go camping when I was a kid and loved it so!! :love:

    Keep the report updates and pics coming.

    Kim
     
  17. DaveInTN

    DaveInTN I'm Not The Castle Guy

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    Thanks! I hope it's remotely interesting!

    Thank you for checking in!

    You got it!

    You will LOVE the Fort! As most of us on the camping board would agree, it is the best place to camp, and the best place at WDW to stay and enjoy the magic!
     
  18. Tnbob

    Tnbob Bob and Kathy

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    Keep it comming, since I was living vicariously through you last week I want to see what else we did.popcorn::
     
  19. stacktester

    stacktester DIS Veteran

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    Sorry, we were sitting there when you and one of your dd's walked by. I was in a tan golf cart with a Musket Mickey on the windshield. I'm sure we'll be there again at the same time.

    BTW, you're trip report is great. Keep it coming.
     
  20. Tri-circle-D

    Tri-circle-D <font color=peach>Throwing some love to TCD<br><fo

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    Hey there Dave!

    This trip report is not lame at all!

    You are doing great.

    I love the headlines.

    And the photos are great!

    Sorry about Snow White. I have always found her to be very sweet.

    Must have been you.

    TCD
     
  21. DaveInTN

    DaveInTN I'm Not The Castle Guy

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    Hitting Hollywood Studios at rope drop worked out so well, in that we hit several rides before any lines or crowds built up, that we decided to do the same thing on Sunday with Animal Kingdom.

    First, a little background on our past experience with Animal Kingdom. We visited this park just once before, about 3 years ago for only a few hours. We were very disappointed and happy that we were able to “hop” over to another park. I’m not sure why, but we really didn’t do much other than ride the River Rapids, go on the train and walk around a bit. That was in March 2007.

    I was intrigued about visiting again though, especially due to some comments BDR made about the park after his recent visit. Rog and others indicated how beautiful the park is and how they had gained an appreciation for it. So I was determined to get there early and give it our all. Worst thing that could happen would be we would hop again.

    We arrived just a few minutes before the 9am rope drop. They do a really cool rope drop here, with Mickey and the usual characters, including Minnie up in the Tree of Life. TCD posted pics of this a while back…..I don’t have any to share as we had the camera packed away in preparation for our sprint to Expedition Everest! Remember, if you want lots of great descriptive photos, read a TCD trip report. You ain’t gettin them here!

    So after rope drop, DW, DD9 and DD3 wandered over to the safari ride to check things out, while DD13, DD12 and me bolted for that big white mountain. Along with everyone else. Even with the mad rush of humanity, we arrived there with just a 5 minute wait. And we really enjoyed this ride! I’m the geeky type that likes to read all the displays in the queue and get immersed into the experience, and I think Disney did a nice job setting this one up. The whole “lost expedition” thing where the rescuers discovered their camera with ominous photos of the Yeti reminded me of Blair Witch…very spooky. This was fun. :thumbsup2

    We were able to get 6 fastpasses afterward for later in the day. We ran over to meet up with the rest of the family, and all of us rode the safari ride together. That was great! Only, after the ride we were talking about our guide. I said “yeah, she was great!”. Then DW and the daughters said “that was a man”. Huh?? :confused3 I swear I was convinced this was a woman in her 50’s. They swear it was a guy in his 20’s. Poor guy. But he/she did a nice job!

    Next up, the River Rapids ride. This is one of the only pics I have of the park. I was so pathetic on this trip about taking pictures. Thank goodness DW took some. Here I am with DD3…who LOVED it!

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    After lunch, we used those EE fastpasses, while DW and DD3 played at the Dinosaur dig site:

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    We then left AK. My verdict? I am now firmly in the "Pro-AK" camp! It truly is a beautiful park, and we enjoyed the rides and attractions.

    We then headed back to the Fort to check out the pool. I had last been at the Fort in late March when the pool was under construction, and watched the progress each day on the slide. So I’d been excited to try it out. And I love it! I think they did a very nice job. The slide is nice and fast, and the kid splash area is great too.

    In the evening, we went back to Hollywood Studios. I wanted to see Fantasmic and then check out the Osborne Lights.

    Ok, I hope I don’t offend anyone here. I understand everyone has different perspectives on things. Even within my family we disagree on the following. But personally, I think Fantasmic was HORRIBLE. My older daughters liked it, but DW, DD3 and I absolutely hated it. It was pretty scary for my little one. Both DW and I think that the production of it was cheap by Disney standards. I was really looking forward to it, and left feeling almost angry. The show is so “dark”, it scared the heck out of DD3, and it just seemed weird. I mean, they spent a whole segment on John Smith?? I understand the connection to Disney with Pocahontas…but of all the great stories Disney has told and the villains they have created over the years, this segment seemed really misplaced to me. Oh well, enough on that. Time to check out the Osborne Lights.

    This was our first time seeing the lights. WOW! So beautiful, and it was nice hearing Christmas tunes and watching it “snow”. Very festive. :santa: And a good way to end our day.

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    Next up….Back to the Magic Kingdom, including that story about Snow White…
     

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