We arrived home last night. This was our first Christmas at the fort...but certainly not the last. It was wonderful. I want to post pictures but don't know how so will research how and post at a different time. Our journey got off to a rough start. After meeting our camping friends at 6:30 AM on Dec. 20, we made it 4 miles out of town when a very loud boom-swish sound and the truck couldn't shift beyond 1st. We crept back to town at 10 mph and 4000 plus RPMs thinking our trip was dashed. Fortunately, we live in a small town and called the dealership service manager at home and he met us at the dealership, quickly replaced the blown hose (a major hose of some sort) and we were on our way with just about a hour delay. Texas to Florida - Avoid IH 10 from Houston to Louisiana state line. at all cost. There has been construction for at least 4 years and I'm not seeing much progress. We were backed up in one lane in Vidor for almost 2 hours on a Saturday..with no work being done. Louisiana has done much work on IH10 since July 2007 and is nice now. We stayed at Milton KOA our first night. It's just east of Pensacola. I was a bit cranky about 49.00 per night to pull in at 9:00 PM and pull out at 7:30 the next morning but it seems to be the going rate. We did vote it has having the absolute best coffee ever and that alone may be worth the 49.00 site fee. The owners are very friendly. This is our 3rd trip to Fort Wilderness and we're still not sure if we go the best route. We took IH10 to 75 and then the turnpike that goes to WDW. The first leg of the turnpike cost 7.50 and the 2nd leg cost 2.50. After coming back on 27 through all the lights...we figured we used more in fuel than the 10.00 toll fee. Fort Wilderness Check In - We arrived at 4:00 on December 21. Check in took approximately 10 minutes. We did not get the loop we requested and were placed in 1600. Golf Carts - Has changed since our July 2007 trip. That trip, we got the carts at the bike barn. This trip, they were at the Outpost where you check in. It was an easy pick up and take back. While golf carts aren't necessary, they are fun and I do encourage one. There were many being delivered from outside WDW vendors. Loop 1600 - There are some beautiful sites at FW but we didn't have them. Our sites backed up to the main road. I was worried about the buses but they are really quiet buses...and I live in the country with no noise at night. We had requested 1700 or 1200 full hookup. Our site had cable. I'm not sure if full hookup comes with cable now but we had it. They have started renovations on 1600 but the sites have not been enlarged that I could tell. The underbrush was cleared out and all sand until the 24th when they placed pine needles down. We were disappointed at first with our site but it was ok and we were parked between two orange trees loaded with oranges. That was novel for us. Fort Wilderness Decorations - I knew that there would be decorations and I had seen pictures but that still didn't prepare us for "Christmas at the Fort". Our two RVs were between two RVs whose illumination AND sound effects were amazing. The first night we felt like the neighbors on National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. All was aglow. Decorations ranged from a few lights to full out gaudy to almost a visual trigger for migraine headaches. I honestly did not know one could place THAT many blow up decorations on a site. Nor did I know that you could plug in THAT many plugs to a single outlet and not burn down a loop. What seemed garrish the first night became beloved and cherished fort memories by the 3rd night. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. We were shocked at first and then came to appreciate how everyone shared their Christmas spirit with all. We still wonder how they pack and travel with all the decorations. It was so festive. Everywhere you went, all wished Merry Christmas and looping in the golf cart was magical with the sounds, sites and visiting new friends. Fort Wilderness Specialness As we looped, we found that it really didn't matter what size rig..tent, pop up, fiver, bumper pull, Class C, Class A or Van...as you rode through loops, you saw families and couples making Christmas memories. The ones in the tents were as happy as those in the Class A's. I hope I wrote that correctly and you understand what I'm trying to say..it's not the size of the rig that's making the memories. We saw deer, armadillos, rabbits, birds and turkeys. Two turkeys were crossing the road, stopped and looked both ways...seriously, no joke. I hope to post the picture. We never spotted the otter. We live in a very friendly part of the country but we heard Merry Christmas from more people and CMs at the Fort and WDW than ever here at home. Everyone was in the Christmas spirit. Transportation - We never waited more than 20 minutes for a boat or bus. Not sure if we picked good times or if transportation was running well but all was good. The boat ride to MK, Contemporary and WL were beautiful. Meals - We did most meals in the RV but did eat at EPCOT's Biergarten on Christmas Eve and Wilderness Lodge on Christmas Day. Also took the sleigh ride at Wilderness Lodge. We missed eating at Crocket's this trip. Parks - Oh yea...that's why we go...or is it? MK was crowded but managable. The castle was beautiful with the ice lights. We did EPCOT on Christmas Eve and attended the Candlelight Processional. It was absolutely wonderful and a great way to spend Christmas Eve...very moving and tender. The Osborne Lights at DHS were amazing. All the parks were decorated beautifully and I loved that Christmas music including carols were played through out the fort and the parks. All the fire works were great. A CM at FW told us that it costs $110,000.00 per night per park for fireworks. Trip home - We spent a night at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores. We wanted to see what it was like for futur trips but wouldn't recommend it as an overnight since it's at least 30 minutes off IH10 (which one of y'all warned us about). We arrived at night and left first thing in the morning. Avoided IH10 by taking a different route in Louisiana which was different. Arrived home at 10:30 last night. We're envious of all who live within a day's travel of FW. We're officially in our post trip funk but thankful that we have jobs that allow us the opportunity to enjoy FW, families and friends to make memories with and our cyber Fort friends who have helped, guided and shared in this FW madness.