"Fort Wilderness - Disney" Ride Report
Click on any of the small pictures for full-sized shots.
The second half of this trip to Florida was planned to be at Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground on the grounds of the Disney Complex. My intention was to take a day ride to Cape Canaveral and possibly Daytona Beach, but the weather was so damned hot - 95 the day we got there and forecast for 97 the next two days, that I made an executive decision not to get in that heat and ride. I made one trip into town to get some stuff for the camper and after 30 minutes, I came to that conclusion rather quickly.
Not to write off the trip as a total loss, for the purposes of this trip report, I'm gonna chronicle the goings on at the places we DID go to, so maybe y'alls trip down here someday will be more fun. You know my bad habit of making reservations for places like this - if nothing else but to make sure we can do it at all - this place does book up WELL in advance, so this may help your trip plans.
Fort Wilderness Campground
If there's one thing you need to know about Fort Wilderness, it is that you need to make reservations early - the choice spots book up a year in advance. You typically get to request specific loops...three of them in the order you wish to get. (I'll scan the map of this place and post it when I get home.) In my opinion, the choicest loops are the ones near the Meadow Trading Post. We requested and got loop 900, which is opposite the Trading Post (beer, wine, twinkies, groceries, etc.) It's Comfort Station has a pay Laundromat, the two internal busses as well as external transportation busses stop there, the Bike and Cart Rental place (reserve a YEAR in advance for the little electric golf carts! - $36 per 24 hour period) the outdoor movie theater (OK, so it's usually Disney flicks), and the pool is across the street.
If you're interested in these things, the office lobby stays open 24 hours a day with 5 data jacks next to some comfortable chairs for access to the Internet, with Orlando a local call away. Most ISP's have an Orlando access number. The Marina has little personal WaterCraft for rent ($30/hr) or larger party boats, but again - reserve in advance. Across from the Marina is Crockett's Tavern, and I will be happy to let ya know about that one after tomorrow! There is a great beach overlooking the lake next to the Marina which makes for a nice spot to view the 10pm fireworks in the Magic Kingdom. Overall, it is a VERY nice camping park, with tons of shade and extremely well-kept - but it is pricey! They also have cabins for rent called Wilderness Homes, but I have no info on that. Check the Disney.com website. The bus system is quick and convenient and connects you to ANY Disney theme park in the area. We're already planning on coming back for a 4 or 5 day visit next year - and...yup - gotta reserve it now!
From the Campground one morning, we got up early and caught the shuttle bus to the Transportation and Ticket Center over at the Magic Kingdon, and changed to the bus to Typhoon Lagoon. We thought we would get there early to catch a good spot - but found that there was no need to get to the T&T Center before 8:30 because the busses don't run there before that. Once got there, there were only about 20 people in line - they open the gates at about 8:50am to allow you to go to the changing rooms, and let you into the main part of thepark at 9am. I suggest you belly up early and go to the two EXIT turnstiles, 'cause in the morning they use those too, but no one lines up there.
I put up a map of the park with my suggested route to go find some chairs. Within 5 minutes ALL the lawn chairs and lounges anywhere near shade were taken. I suggest going around to the right to the " Lets Go Slurpin' " concession, (opens at 11am and is one of the few places to get a beer). Just beyond that is a couple of umbrellas and some shady spots. It is right next to one of five entrances to the Lazy River which circles the park, and the HotDog stand where you can get free refills in a souvenier cup ($9 for all day refills of sodas and lemonade)...I tried to find the free beer refills, but they swore they didn't have that one yet.
Typhoon Lagoon is easily the best designed water park we've ever been to... the wave pool is huge and the waves come every couple minutes. There is sandy beach surrounding it and the Lazy River surrounding that. The water slides are all over the place and on the day we were there the lines were tiny for some reason. I recommend the free Shark Snorkelling - although the water is very cold, they do give you a wet suit that helps a little. There were Leopard Sharks, Hammerheads and Nurse Sharks in the pool, along with Rays, and several species of Tropical Fishes. They don't let ya stay in long, but the cold water keeps you moving along pretty fast anyway.
The second day here was a lazy day for me - this was intended to be my day ride to the coast, but, true to predictions, the weather was 97 degrees and cloudless - not my idea of a fun ride in the Florida humidity, so Kim and the kids went on to Animal Kingdom as planned and I did some minor maintenance to the Camper, trailer and washed the bike in the Campsite. Bought a book and cranked up the Air Conditioner. Mid Afternoon, afte a little car trouble, my oldest friend and his wife came up to meet us in the camp. Ernie was my Best Man 23 yrs ago and we were buds long before that. He and his wife of nearly 30 yrs, Tove, joined me at the Crockets Tavern for a couple suds and nachos. Right about 5pm, we got smacked with really big storm - looked like 30mpg gusts and sheet rain - and wouldn't ya know it - I was stuck in a bar!....Barmaid! Another round!
We went back about 7, met up with Kim and the kids and headed back to the tavern for dinner. Everyone was tired from the long hot day and we crashed early. Next day - our last here - the kids went to the Water Park here at the Campground while I packed up the bikes, the Harley, and cleaned up the Camper for the ride home...we checked out at 11am - parked in the parking lot with the generator running to keep the Air working while the kids enjoyed the pools. One last upload of this stuff and we'll be outta here.
Sorry we didn't get to give ya a Spacecoast ride report this time - but I wasn't gonna suffer through that miserable weather just for you! If you're at all camper inclined - you should come check this place - worth every penny of it. By nightfall we were loaded up and on our way - four bikes fastened to the side rails with the Harley in the trailer... see ya next trip!
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