Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holidays at the fort

Peace on Earth

We are at Disney's Fort Wilderness campground (map), on the Walt Disney World campus near Orlando, Florida. Long time readers know we have been here several times in the past, and it is one of the few "resort" campgrounds we'll willingly pay for. That's because, as spendy as it is ($57.50 per night, tax included, after our AAA discount), it's the least expensive way to stay on Disney property and get all the on-site benefits such as extra park hours and access to Disney's extensive transportation system. Plus, Fort Wilderness is very festive around the holidays.

This year we are again in the same loop as one of the perennial holiday decorating champions, whom we wrote about a few years ago. We're just two sites away, which means we can never get lost -- I'm pretty sure his site is visible from space. Last night we rode the scooters around about half the park just to look at all the decorated sites. Even though we were here earlier in the season last year, in November, this year there seem to be fewer decorations. Also, the campground seems much emptier. I'm not sure if fuel prices have grounded some RVers. or the ever-increasing cost of a Disney vacation is just not in some family budgets this year (or both).

Since this visit is a quick fly-by for us, we only bought two-day park passes. The downside to that is there are really no discounts available on those. We spent Tuesday at Disney's Hollywood Studios, and the light crowds meant we got to ride several of our favorites, including the Tower of Terror and the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, more than once. This was also our first time on Star Tours since the revamp that changed the script and added 3D. The Osborne Family Lights was spectacular as always, and we enjoyed dinner at the Brown Derby.

We discovered that we could see most of the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom from our roof deck in this space, although this is the first time we were unable to get the satellite dialed in. We're using the mobile hot spot on my phone instead, with good 3g service available here in the campground. After getting parked and set up Monday afternoon, we went over to the Wilderness Lodge for dinner at Artist's Point, which was disappointing. Everything at Disney is overly expensive for what it is -- all part of the gestalt -- but at this restaurant I felt it was not worth it. By contrast, the Brown Derby was excellent.

Yesterday we spent most of the day right here at Fort Wilderness. I had hopes of making it to the pool, but we ended up riding the monorail around to some other resorts instead. Today we will use our final park day to visit the Magic Kingdom, and I might try to get over to the pool tomorrow instead. We'll need to check out in the morning, but we'll spend the afternoon in the section of the main parking lot reserved for that purpose.

Tomorrow evening we will head over to our stealth parking spot across town for the weekend. We have dinner plans with Chris and Cherie of Technomadia, who are rolling in to Orlando to pick up a relative at the airport in the evening. On Sunday we'll continue east to Cocoa Beach.

Photo of the Osbourne Family Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios by random letters, used under a Creative Commons license.


  1. Try Mama Melrose's next time. Very yummy.

  2. I wanted to do Mama Melrose's but they were sold out the night we were there. We ate there last time, though.

  3. Hey, we;re here too! Site 341..... I'm looping in our cart to see if I can spot you!

  4. Sorry we missed you, Debbie. In fact, we had checked out Friday morning and then spent most of the day in the day lot near the exit. We were gone even from there by the time your comment came in. Hope you are having a great time at Ft. Wilderness.

  5. If you want to see the fireworks and have a nice adult beverage, take the boat to the Contemporary Hotel and get up to the California Grill, you can stand on the rooftop viewing platform and hear the music, glass in hand. They announce the fireworks in the lounge and if you are willing to spend the money the food is truly worth it.

  6. We certainly had a wonderful visit - and it would have been even more fun to manage a meeting with you two after having followed your blog for a while.... no worries. There'll be other opportunities!


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