New Motorhome, thinking of visiting without park tickets.

Discussion in 'Camping at Disney World' started by Honeybee83, May 4, 2018.

  1. Honeybee83

    Honeybee83 Mouseketeer

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    My husband and I have been restoring a 40 ft Class A and are excited to use it. We live in Houston so we normally fly to visit DW. We have 2 little girls, ages 6 and almost 2. Whenever we have gone, we go for 9 days with Park hoppers and I plan everything to the T.
    Disney has become so expensive that we were trying to think of a way to visit without blowing our budget out of the water. There have been some things I’ve always wanted to do that I’ve never made time for because we were trying to get the most value out of our park tickets. Things like the chip and dale campfire, playing mini golf, doing the Grand Floridian tea with my older daughter, etc.
    We would save around $1,500 on not buying park tickets if we just came in our motor home and camped at the Fort Wilderness Campground. Not to mention having less expensive accommodations since we always stay on property.

    My big question is, will this still give us that “Disney” feel without the magic of the parks? There will still be quite an expense to pay for the diesel to fuel our huge bus and I’m afraid of feeling like I’m missing something without the park experience. Has anyone ever stayed at the campground and done nothing but resort hop, mini golf, Disney Springs, non park character dining, etc? If so, what was your experience? Does anyone have any attractions or experiences that they’ve done outside the parks that they would say are a can’t miss? Thanks in advance!
     
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  2. cedricandsophie

    cedricandsophie DIS Veteran

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    We are not campers but we have gone to WDW just for the resorts and never go to parks. We hang out at pools, eat out, go to Disney Springs for movies and bowling, etc. . we don’t miss the parks at all.
     
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  4. FortForever

    FortForever Disney since Day 1

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    In my opinion, the Fort doesn't really give you a Disney feel unless you are in one of the stores. It's a beautiful campground, but no characters (other than campfire/sing-a-long) or colorful stuff like the value resorts. It's all brown signs and very nature like.

    That being said, as avid campers, I wouldn't mind camping there without the parks. However, it may not pass for Disney to your 6 year old. There are lots of fun things to do, but the environment is more natural. Then again, if she doesn't remember what the parks are like, you might get away with resort visits, Disney Springs, and all the fun activities that can be done outside the parks.
     
  5. FtW Mike

    FtW Mike DIS Veteran

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    HoneyBee83 I have same concerns as FortForever that has where your 6 yr old is concerned. While we are older with no kids getting that Disney feel is easier but still requires some Park time. Maybe instead of Park Hopper Pass you could consider Base Passes and only get for part of your stay.
    As you have a Coach and a Kitchen consider eating at your site more often Do a resort visits for Character meals to give the kids that.
     
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  6. amcc

    amcc DIS Veteran

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    We do it all the time with our kids (including a 5 year old). For him Disney is the Fort with occasional visits to the parks. I find Fort Wilderness to be the resort that is most like the Disney i remember of the mid to late 70s - relaxed, free roaming, not always lining up.

    The campfire is a huge Disney feel. We take the boat over and do the monorail loop. The little one loves the pony rides. Canoeing is great and the best deal in Disney property. My son goes down the water slide dozens of times a day. We love the mini golf and water parks but only if we have Florida resident tickets.

    All this to say that it won’t be a Disney parks vacation but it will still be a Disney vacation. Disney isn’t only oversize cartoon characters and parades, it’s also fun and games and pool time. Maybe, like my kids, your kids will almost prefer the Fort time to my usual commando Park time. Oh, bring bikes!
     
  7. Honeybee83

    Honeybee83 Mouseketeer

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    These responses are awesome! Please keep them coming. In regard to our six-year-old, I sat down with her tonight and ask her if we were able to afford to go to Disney but not go to the parks which she still want to go? I told her about meeting Chip and Dale at the campfire, and maybe doing a few character dining experiences. I also told her that she and I could go to a tea party at the Grand Floridian, play mini golf, go bowling, go fishing, watch Disney movies under the stars and a lot of other fun things.

    She is very mature for her age, and she replied with: I really like going to the parks and doing all of those fun things, but I understand that that’s a lot of money. I think all the other stuff you said sounds like a lot of fun.

    My thoughts are to splurge on Chef Mickeys, 1900 Park Faire, and Trattoria al Forno to meet the characters. If we’re able to go during Not So Scary Halloween Party or the Very Merry Christmas Party we can get a mini park experience without breaking the bank.

    Any other suggestions?
     
  8. Honeybee83

    Honeybee83 Mouseketeer

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    Can we do the canoes with our two year old?

    We don’t have a bike rack for the bus, but has anyone ever been able to fit them in the basement of their coach? We even have a two kid bike trailer so that could be perfect!
     
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  9. North of Mouse

    North of Mouse DIS Veteran

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    You will get varied responses to your question, as everyone seems to have different expectations at Disney. You will ultimately have to decide what you will settle for.

    We love the fort and have been staying there practically since it opened. And, having said that, it is a very nice relaxing campground, but nothing I would visit just on it's own merits, or other things to do in the area. Especially going in an RV close to 900-1,000 miles as you would be doing.

    We, too, have a Class A, so we know the expense! We were just there a few weeks ago and went in the parks every day - not really early, and not staying too late - except on some nights with fireworks. Guess I'm saying that it's really the draw of the parks, not the fort only that draws us and would get us to go 600+ miles. There are lots of campgrounds closer that are super nice if that were the case.

    But, again, to each their own, and only 'you' can answer that question. For us, it would be torture to be so close, and not go into the parks at all. :)
     
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  10. tinkerdorabelle

    tinkerdorabelle DIS Veteran

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    I don't think it's weird at all as we mostly do things like that lol. We usually do not do a lot of parks as it's just my husband and I, maybe just 1 or 2. We have gone with kids in the past and even then we never just did parks or park hopped, we like down time. There so much to do with kids just in the campground. Take the boat ride over to MK, then take the monorail around and visit the hotels, have lunch or dinner and watch the fireworks. We ride our bikes over to Wilderness Lodge and have lunch. Just enjoy the campground. Go to downtown Disney, go to the Boardwalk. Take the bus and visit the other resorts, particularly nice is Animal Kingdom Lodge with kids and have lunch in Sanaa where you can view the animals outside you're window. So much to do. I would DEFINITELY bring bikes, that would be a MUST, it is a huge campground and we love just riding our bikes around. Or just do 1 park or a water park if you feel you're really missing something when you're there. Go Miniature golfing. I really believe in relaxing on vacation also and not just running around constantly to parks nonstop. Honestly I come onto this site because the Fort gives me such a beautiful "aaaaah" feeling and feeling it right now writing here, lol. You'll have a wonderful time even without the parks.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2018
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  11. team bradfield

    team bradfield happy campers

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    I can concur with others, our first day is Fantasia Mini golf, Boardwalk, Disney Springs for Dinner, shopping, Margarita's, you can ride the Monorail, explore other hotels, etc...
     
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  12. MudQueen22

    MudQueen22 Mouseketeer

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    We recently purchase a travel trailer, live a few hours from Houston, and we plan to stay at the campground for our next fort trip.
    Honestly, the park tickets are the most expensive thing, but right now it is what our kids really want. If your kids are content with visiting characters at the resorts with the various dining, I say go for it.
    Also, consider doing fewer days in the parks. Tickets for a few days, coupled with activities at the resorts, would still be less.

    We crunched the numbers on taking our van and staying at a value (expensive lodging and lower cost fuel) against taking our travel trailer (expensive fuel and lower cost lodging). It came out to be a negligible savings. We decided we would go with the travel trailer and make two of our meals per day in our trailer. We plan to strategically schedule character meals because we like those, but when we simply need to eat because it is required to sustain life, we plan to eat our own food rather than purchasing food from Disney that is overpriced and may or may not be as good. When we crunched the numbers with the food we saw an incredible savings. I can make several good meals (roast, fajitas, etc.) from the trailer for what it would cost us to buy one meal for the family at the QS restaurants.
    Many people say that they don't want to cook while on vacation. My only concern would be for time wasted during meal prep, but I would have to wait to be seated and/or wait for food to be prepped if I bought it from Disney. And so much can be put in a crock pot while we play.
     
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  13. FtW Mike

    FtW Mike DIS Veteran

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    Honeybee the first thing I bought when we got our Class A was a Bike Rack that went on the trailer hitch so bring our bikes You can get a decent one at a reasonable price from WalMart or Sears. We bring ours on every trip we take and have yet to be disappointed.
    To add so Magic to your trip don't over look a lot of what The Fort has to offer. We have been known to pick up a bucket of chicken from P&J's head down to the Marina and catch the Electric Water Parade and MK fireworks. Take walk through the Tri Circle D barn and see some of the horse's up close and if you go early enough in the day you may get to see some getting a bath. Cinderella's pony's are corralled there and the kids can ride them for a small fee . The campfire and sing along before the movie are free as well, and you can bring your own Smores fixings and or hot dogs.
    I have done the Hay ride that leaves nightly from Pioneer Hall and had a blast fee is nominal
     
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  14. CDNCruiser

    CDNCruiser Recreation Professional

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  15. FortForever

    FortForever Disney since Day 1

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    What a sweet child you have! Great job with that one. :flower3:
     
  16. Honeybee83

    Honeybee83 Mouseketeer

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    We are so very blessed with both of our girls. They are so sweet and loving. Thank you so much for your kind comment!
     
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  17. Honeybee83

    Honeybee83 Mouseketeer

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    These comments have all been wonderful. I really appreciate everyone’s help and suggestions!
     
  18. amcc

    amcc DIS Veteran

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    Everyone in the canoes gets a life jacket. The little one sits in the middle. If you feel she can stay seated and won't jump out, she can ride.

    We've never been but I've heard that Mickey's Backyard BBQ has very good character interactions.
     
  19. hoop4321

    hoop4321 Mouseketeer

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    If you could squeeze in an mnsshp I think it would be awesome.....but they’re going to love what you’ve planned regardless. When my son was little, the character dining was ok.....but we are not a wait in line to meet characters type of family. He looks back now and while grateful for the character experiences, the only character he doesn’t regret "wasting time" to meet was Pochohantas. We have been countless times, and we have an annual tradition celebrating our son's birthday at Disney. We always go to mvmcp the Sunday after thanksgiving. After years and many trips there, the character dinings are a blur, the souvenirs have largely been given away. He talks about playing Rock Paper Scissors in the lines to beat boredom, first experiences of the rides, and the "no obligations of meals" at the parks. Which means no veggies to try, and no real meals in the park. We shared snacks when we got hungry. In the end, there were no show downs over the meals, and especially at Epcot, he was more inclined to try things that looked interesting. Even green things. So, I guess what I’m trying to say, is in the end.....your kids really won’t care about the expensive stuff. They will remember packing up your RV, picnics at random places, bike rides or kayaking..... Doing things that are not the usual things with their parents. Right now, you’re their favorite people in the world. Just being with you will make their day.
     
  20. Honeybee83

    Honeybee83 Mouseketeer

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    I didn’t even think of Mickey’s backyard BBQ
     
  21. Honeybee83

    Honeybee83 Mouseketeer

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    I love this. You painted such a lovely picture. Very Norman Rockwell!
     
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