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Old 03-03-2014, 10:54 AM   #1
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Ruston , Louisiana
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Disney and Ft Wilderness!

Less than three weeks! We leave for our first big trip in almost no time at all! It has been entirely too long since we had us a good run with Cousin Eddie. I've got a few questions for you guys:

1. We'll be coming through the "Redneck Riviera" basically hitting I-10 at Mobile and over to I-75 (don't have a map in front of me) down to Disney. Where is a good spot around Mobile to come in late and leave out early. We'll get there late, as it's around 6 hours from home and we're leaving after school/work.
2. We're also looking at spending a night around Ocala where we'll need to grocery shop for a few things. We're doing the meal plan, but will be hitting breakfast in the camper most mornings and have some snacks/waters etc to carry in with us. We moved our departure forward to Thursday to give us some easier traveling days, especially since we're traveling with neighbors who will have small children in their car.
3. Who else will be there the last week in March? Impromptu forum meet up?how many of us need to be there to consider it a rally?
5. We're also taking two nights to get home, probably reversing our route to stay late in the parks and have a couple easy driving days back to N Louisiana.

Suggestions? Anyone stay at the rest stops?

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Old 03-03-2014, 11:50 AM   #2
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I don't have a response for 1 - 5 but I do have a comment about staying at rest stops. Some states allow you to stay overnight, some states do not. Walmart might be an option but they can be noisy with traffic coming and going all night if it's a 24-hour store. We find Cracker Barrel to be a better option since they close at 10 PM or so and there is less traffic in the parking lot. It's always best to contact the manager in advance.

On another aspect of your trip... Since you're staying on property (Ft. Wilderness) you'll likely have MagicBands. This is a wrist strap that allows you to access fast passes and has some other perks. On a recent trip to Disney we found the MagicBands to be a little confusing but they've been in use for a month or two so maybe they've worked out the kinks since our visit in January. MagicBands were great for us because we did not need to hike across the park to an attraction to obtain the fastpass. You can request your fastpasses via a smart phone and make changes to your passes throughout the day.

Lucius and Danielle
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Old 03-03-2014, 12:26 PM   #3
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You shouldn't have any trouble at all finding good campgrounds in Mobile.
I'm not sure about Ocala.
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Old 03-03-2014, 12:27 PM   #4
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Talking Navarres' Emerald Beach

We go through Mobile when we go to Disney too. We make a point to stay at Emerald Beach and try to get a beach front spot.

Emerald Beach RV Park
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Old 03-03-2014, 04:33 PM   #5
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Ft Myers , Florida
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Just south of Gainesville at Micanopy, you'll find Paynes Prairie State Preserve - about two miles off I-75, great camping and less than two hours from Ft Wilderness. They typically hold a site or two for walk-ins, but I'd call ahead (usually inside 24 hrs) to get the gate code. Good luck and welcome to Florida. Spend lots of money while you're here. LOL!
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Old 03-03-2014, 04:47 PM   #6
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as soon you come into Mississippi, stop at the rest area / Welcome Center there (exit 2), which is also has a bunch of aeronautical exhibits for outer space, i.e. moon landing craft due to Stennis Center (nasa rocket test Center.) The Rest area has some nice places for RV’s to park and i believe has also dump areas. Night time security as well.
I am not aware off any Campground close to the Interstate in Mobile though with late check in and early check out.
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Old 03-03-2014, 06:13 PM   #7
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Ocala Camping spot

I have stayed and will stay again at Ocala RV-Camp Resort. It's a old KOA campground and was very clean. Their address is 3200 SW 38 Ave, Ocala, Fl, 34474 and telephone is 352-237-2138. It is right off I-75 so it's easy on and off for traveling. They can give you directions to the local Walmart which wasn't to far from the campground.

Safe travels

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Old 03-04-2014, 10:20 AM   #8
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We have stayed at Casey Jones in Lake City twice on trips to visit Mickey. If we leave at 9am we arrive FW before noon. Nice place. Right on I75

On the way back we like to stay at Black Water SP. It is a few miles off I10 but great place and about the right time of day to stop. Last trip we spent two nights there and loved it. We also got the Florida sun pass which makes going through the tollbooths a breeze.

Also we prefer exit 8 (Western Way) off 429 to enter DW. Generally not too much traffic and allows an easy left turn into FW.
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Old 03-04-2014, 10:44 AM   #9
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2or3 campgrounds on I75 near 0cala. Ocala national forest on rt 40 east of Ocala has a couple of campgrounds. Jim
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Old 03-04-2014, 12:01 PM   #10
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Silver Springs State Park isn't far from Ocala.
Hope you guys have a magical trip!

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Old 03-13-2014, 10:03 AM   #11
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Just off I-10 on Mobile Bay is Meaher State Park. Exit is either Battleship Pkwy on west side of the causeway or Spanish Fort exit on the east side. Both are close to the park. You might want to check out their site at
I have friends who go to Disney often and they break up their trip by staying at Manatee Springs State Park. It may or may not be as close to the interstate as you would prefer but is a nice park. See it here---> Welcome to Florida State Parks
Closer to I-75 at Dunnellon is Rainbow Springs State Park - super nice! Here ---> Welcome to Florida State Parks
Quite often people take the routes from Tallahassee to Ocala through old Florida to get to these parks and continue on to Disney on the interstate. It's a beautiful break from the interstate rat race if not in a huge hurry but is best to get back on the interstate at Ocala where things get a tad crowded there to further south.
Enjoy your trip.
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Old 03-17-2014, 11:44 AM   #12
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Ruston , Louisiana
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Thanks for all the suggestions! We've stayed at Manatee Springs before Canopener last year and actually saw a manatee while we were there. I've booked us a night at santos campground outside Ocala. It doesn't look like much, but we're just needing a plug, a shower and a grocery store. We'll probably stay there a night on the way home, right now the plan is to stay later at disney and drive a short distance the first night. Then we'll hit the highway for the first big leg home.
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Old 03-17-2014, 11:53 AM   #13
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There is also Travelers CG at exit 399 in Alachua, as well as High Springs CG at exit 404.
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Old 03-17-2014, 02:35 PM   #14
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Rosebud , Texas
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Fort Wilderness

Just got back from the mouse Saturday after week stay. Loved Fort Wilderness. 5th time to Disney but first in the Airstream. Casey Jones RV Park in Lake City was a good place to blink the eyes while still being able to arrive before noon even with stop at Cracker Barrell. The mouse made an RV park better than the Polynesian or the Port Orleans.

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