The Magic, the Memories, and FOOD! - PJ's Nov 2011 TR


It’s been a while since I’ve written a TR - I’m excited to try my hand at it again! :slight_smile:

I just got back from an extended family trip for 5 days at WDW, staying at Fort Wilderness, to celebrate my brother’s 21st birthday. Cast: [B]Mom[/B], [B]Dad[/B], [B]Tim[/B] (my bro), [B]Sara[/B] (Tim’s girlfriend), [B]me[/B], and [B]Baloo85[/B] (my fiance). … Yes, that’s 6 people in one camper. It was an adventure. :laugh:

We spent some time around the campground, saw the new Tiki Room at MK, did the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot (and took lots of pictures!!), and met one of the sweetest and most considerate CMs I have ever come across.

I need to get the pictures off my camera, which will have to happen tomorrow because I am exhausted tonight. Disney definitely lets you know if you’re out of shape! So, details to follow! Stay tuned! :mickey:


Oh, fine. I’m tuned. Now I have to wait? (Foot tapping…)


Oh the anticipation!


Sorry! The time change had me all messed up… I was ready for bed at 8pm. :laugh: But now I am bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and the pictures are loaded, so LET’S DO THIS THING!!

Day 1 - travel day, no parks :frowning:

Day 1 is pretty boring, so we’ll get through this quickly. The trip started off with just Dad, Mom, and me - Tim and Sara go to college together and had classes today and tomorrow morning, so they would have to meet us tomorrow afternoon. Baloo had work today and tomorrow, so he would be meeting us on Day 3.

We hauled our camper (whom we have named Shep Deux, in honor of our first pop-up, Shep, whom we outgrew and sold a few years ago) from home to Orlando and checked into Fort Wilderness.

We requested a site near the water so Dad and Tim could go fishing. The CM at check-in (I forget his name, but he was on the CP and was very helpful!) found a few open sites by the water, and he showed us on a detailed map of each loop exactly where the site would be so we could choose. We picked a site on the 300 loop, #329, and it ended up to be the best site we’ve ever had. We’ll definitely be requesting a site in the #325-335 range again when we go!

I’m using a map from (sorry I can’t post it any bigger!). I circled where our site would be in red. It’s on the back half of the 300 loop, right on the water, and there’s a little service road/walking path right behind it that leads to the Settlement (where there’s a general store, Trail’s End restaurant, and boats to MK). There’s also a bus stop at the front of the 300 loop that takes you to the Outpost (where you catch buses to the other parks). All pretty convenient!


We drove back to our site and started the set up process, and before long…

… we were set up! Our Trail Manor really is a great camper and a BIG improvement over our old Jayco pop-up, which took much more time and effort to put up. This one is all set and ready to go in about 20 minutes, and nobody is exhausted or nursing minor injuries when it’s done. :laugh:

Here’s the view from the back of our camper. Our site was right on the water, just like we had hoped.


Now, allow me to give you a guided tour of the highlighted amenities here at our humble campsite…

Hidden behind our camper, we have our clothesline.

Air-dried towels and washcloths. Offering a fresh, clean, nature-y scent for each use at the bathhouse (or, “comfort station”) showers.

And what is that black thing? A bike rack? But… where are the bikes?

Not to worry! They are safely secured to the charcoal grill! The logical place to store bikes.

And finally, the seating area. Composed of the finest folding camping chairs available at the local Wal-Mart. If you look closely, you’ll notice that we are spreading the love to a few different Florida college teams. You’ll also notice that Dad was not content with the standard folding camping chair and instead upgraded to the deluxe camping chair complete with pillow and footrest.


We didn’t do much else today but take a walk up to the Settlement to get some things we had forgotten. We arrived on Nov 3, but a lot of campsites we passed on our walk were still decorated for Halloween. Some were simple…

… but some were over the top! This one was the most decorated site we found.

(The spider on top of the camper moves his head! Creepy!!)

This same site was decorated for Christmas last year the same way, with decorations over every spare inch of the site. I wonder if it’s the same family that stays for Halloween and Christmas?

Aaaaaand this is pretty much the end of Day 1. Like I said, not too thrilling. But tomorrow Tim and Sara join us and we go to MK, where I see one of my favorite attractions, the Enchanted Tiki Room, for the first time since its return to old management! I took plenty of photos and even a few videos! :slight_smile:


Love your TR so far PJ and the photos too. It looks like you were in a lovely position, very pretty.


Interesting that some campers would decorate like that. do they stay all year long?


Enjoying your TR! I know that we were surprised at how some campers decorate their sites and wondered how long they stay too.


You just made camping look fun! I am not much of a camping girl but it looks like they really know how to camp at WDW. Love the Halloween decorations.


Great start to you TR!! Can’t wait to read/see more.

I would love camping in WDW! It looks like you have a great spot. I love the Halloween decorations that some of the campers have done - wow! Some really go all out!!


Great TR, I love pictures!


I’ve heard stories about an elderly couple that has spent two years at the fort, now. They can only make reservations for 30 days at a time, so they have to keep booking new “vacations.” Not a bad place to call home! :laugh:

People go crazy with decorations at the fort, though. Have you seen pictures of some of the sites decorated for Christmas? People have gone so far as to set up little trains that wrap around their site!!!


Loving the TR so far! Those decorations are outrageous. I can’t imagine dragging all that along with me and then spending precious Disney time to put it all up!


A while back I watched a travel type show highlighting campsites. One place was Fort Wilderness. There were “snowbirds” that spent the whole winter there. They showed their holiday decorations too and they were way over the top.


Yes, it is… They are usually there from October-May in the same site. They request it every year so they can decorate. They are from Louisiana and are very nice people! They are retired and the husband drives a trailer back and forth to Louisiana with decorations. They even decorate for Mardi Gras!

We were there the weekend of 10/20 and they had quite a bit of Halloween decorating competition!!

If you are ever at WDW during the holidays, FW is a great place to walk around in the evening. People there decorate for everything!! I’ll be back on the 19th for a week and can’t wait to see the Christmas decorations…


My SIL sold me on it years ago as five star camping! There are only a couple of places I will camp at and FW is #1!


How fun! When do they start decorating for Christmas do you think? Wondering if we should wander over to check it out next week?


I know MK already has their general winter holiday decorations up. Some campers might have started decorating but most probably don’t get into it until after Thanksgiving.
But if you’re interested in natural beauty too, it doesn’t get much better than FW. I can’t tell you how many deer I saw last time I was there!