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Old 02-15-2010, 10:31 PM   #99
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Disney/FW newbie

Great info on the forums for Disney/Fort Wilderness, seems like majority seem to really enjoy their experience at FW. The info shared here is really helpful to me, as the last time I was at Disney World I was about 10, and my dad said very emphatically... "The next time you come here, it will be with your kids!" not exactly a fan of Disney, or amusement parks in general.

My wife and I are considering a trip to Disney this year. Our kids are 7 (son) and 5 (daughter), and we've discussed this idea the past two years. The past two years we figured on possibly trying to get a package deal and fly, but never really looked into it very serious due to the cost not being practical for us. Now the more I read on the forums driving/camping may be a more practical and economical way to go. Just the saving on food would be huge by eating in the campground for a lot of our meals, compared to staying in a hotel and eating out every meal.

I've already ordered a free DVD planning guide from Disney. I'm working on picking up a copy of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, as recommended here on the forums. I also thought about signing up for Disney's new give a day, get a day offer, but I actually think that option may actually cost us more by adding an extra night at FW in addition to having to purchase my daughter a pass, versus just adding an extra package day. I have a lot to absorb/learn before I can decide if a Disney/FW trip is a practical idea for us, and if so plan it.

A couple questions until I pick up a copy of the Unofficial Guide Book;
1) Can you bring drinks into the park?
2) How long does it take to travel back forth from FW to the parks if using the Disney transportation (ferries, buses, etc)?
3) How far away is the closet grocery store to FW?
4) Is the internet WiFi, if so is the signal strong throughout the entire campground, is it decent bandwidth, how much is it, can you get them to throw that in at no cost, is it cheaper if you get it for a whole week versus day to day?

Thanks,
Eric
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Old 02-16-2010, 01:18 PM   #100
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Originally Posted by Emerson77 View Post
A couple questions until I pick up a copy of the Unofficial Guide Book;
1) Can you bring drinks into the park?
2) How long does it take to travel back forth from FW to the parks if using the Disney transportation (ferries, buses, etc)?
3) How far away is the closet grocery store to FW?
4) Is the internet WiFi, if so is the signal strong throughout the entire campground, is it decent bandwidth, how much is it, can you get them to throw that in at no cost, is it cheaper if you get it for a whole week versus day to day?

Thanks,
Eric
1) Yes, but they did not alow coolers like in the past when we went - We carried a soda and a bottle of water each with no issues - they do seach bags and backpacks at the gates. We also brought snacks/fruit. They never said anything to us - we also found that the prices in the parks for drinks were not to bad - way lower than movie consession prices at home - about $2 for a 20oz bottle, free ice when asked for.

2) Ferries to MK were about 20 minutes, if you took the direct ferries - indirect that went to the Wilderness Lodge first for a drop off were about 30 minutes to MK. Buses were fast to the transportation center and from there more buses to all the parks or use the monorail to Epcot. There is a ferry ride from Epcot to Animal Kingdom (by England) - I had this confused in an earlier post.

3) Walmart is about 20 minutes away (one way) in light traffic (USE A GPS). We found that for the money, we shopped at the campground store and saved on the travel time and gas. Prices were not that much more if you are only going after bread, milk and sodas (check the dates on eggs and milk). BUT, for film, video tapes, and other items or for stocking up - GO TO WALMART, tee shirts are way cheaper off site and the exact same in looks for us. We left our cooler outside the camper when gone - never an issue. Ice is available at the campsite loops for $2 a bag (have quarters) - cheaper at Walmart and bigger bags but the drive - ughhhhhhh. Again - stock up for a week and you will only need to shop at the campground store for essentials.

4) WiFi - I'll leave that to others as to their Disney plan WiFi. We did have WiFi in the premium loops but it was off the BIG BUCK$ moho's that were there with their wireless routers opened up to the public. I asked my neighbor - at one point I had 12 sources to hook up to for free - and he said I could use his with no issue - nice to have friends.
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Old 02-16-2010, 02:13 PM   #101
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We were at Disney this past June. We rented a house not far from the park.
We took in a Soft sided cooler. (from Bass Pro) With our lunch and drink in it. Yes they searched it. But never said a word.

We spent one full day at the park (open to close), then the next went early and left early, back to the house to swim. Then went to the park late the next day. and so on to all of the parks. This helped keep the kids from getting too crabby. (in fact one day we sent our 2 year old to the house with Grandma and Grandpa, they all took naps. THEN came back!)

I suggest you take a "segway" tour. We did the Epcot tour but they have them at Universal, and I think there is an "off road" one from the Fort Wilderness CG. It was well worth the $90 per person!

We also used a E-book from ebay " the ultimate savings guide to Disney" Well worth the money! It gives tips and tricks to save money, places to watch fire works from, Character breakfasts, Advanced ticket specials. Things you would not think of taking with you... Like Ear plugs for the kids during the fireworks.

The next time we go we plan to take the airstream!
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Old 02-20-2010, 05:33 PM   #102
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I suggest you take a "segway" tour. We did the Epcot tour but they have them at Universal
Universal is not on Disney property. Did you mean Hollywood Studios?
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Old 02-20-2010, 05:35 PM   #103
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We are headed for Fort Wilderness for a week beginning Feb. 27th.
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Old 02-21-2010, 01:43 PM   #104
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One practice that is popular is to freeze water bottles and take them into the parks in a back pack or large hand bag (it will be searched, though). The water thaws during the day and ice cold water is available through out the day, or until it's gone. You can bring soft sided coolers into the parks with sandwiches, snacks, and soft drinks/water. They just don't want you to bring a pic-nic basket and spread out on the ground or hard sided cooler than could be used to hit someone, but you can use one of the tables at the out door dining locations.

There are grocery stores in the area and one that is just off property on SR-535 but it is very pricey (I want to say it is an Albertson's). There is another close by in Windemere (take a left out of FW and go to the dead end. Turn left and follow this road (Apopka-Vineland Rd) until it dead ends in Windemere (5-10 minutes)). There is a Publix grocery store in the shopping center opposite the deadened. There is a Whole Foods located on Sandlake Road (??) but it is further away. When we go to FW, we take the turnpike to toll road 429 South and get off at the Hwy-535 exit in Winter Garden and take 535 south to the Publix and then go the reverse of the directions above. This avoids most of Disney property and the parking gate at the Magic Kingdom. The place to turn right to go to FW is the traffic light just before the overpass at The Hyatt Grand Cypress.

BTW, if you need diesel, the closest and, believe it or not, the cheapest diesel and gasoline to be found in the area is at the Hess Station at the Car Care Center at the exit from the parking lot at the Magic Kingdom. Just turn right out of the FW and turn right at the road that runs from the parking booth to the parking lot. Turn left as if going to the Polynesian Resort and continue to the dead end and turn left. It will be directly ahead. We generally leave from this Hess Station. It is the only place on property to buy diesel.

Quote:
There is a ferry ride from Epcot to Animal Kingdom (by England) - I had this confused in an earlier post.
The ferries at Epcot only goes from Epcot to Disney Hollywood Studios with three stops: The Boardwalk Resort; The Yacht Club/Beach Club Resorts' dock; and a dock at the Swan/Dolphin Resorts. We have stayed at the Dolphin (4 times) the Swan (6 times) and the Yacht Club (1 time) before buying the Airstream and these are the only places that are accessible from the ferry on Crescent Lake. The ferry runs from the front gate at the Studios to the rear entrance (International Gateway near England) at Epcot. None of the lakes are connected at Disney World because they are all man-made and quiet a distance apart. Originally, almost all of the property was a marshy, swampland and the lakes were built to drain the areas where construction was to take place.

Wi-Fi is new to Ft. Wilderness. They have had cable modems available for $9.95/day and still do in certain loops. I'm not sure if they have a weekly rate, but I think they do at $110/week, IIRC. We have never needed access to the Internet while there so we have never subscribed. I am pretty sure the Wi-Fi is the same price.
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Old 02-23-2010, 07:40 PM   #105
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We stayed at Fort Wilderness before we had our airstream (tent camping for 5 days). It was in June and we had thunderstorms everyday. It was awesome because we were at the typhoon lagoon and it rained at 1:00 for about 45 min, when it was over most everyone had gone home and the kids never waited in line for any of the rides. The next day we went to Blizzard Beach & the exact same thing happen. It rained at 12:00 for about an hour and a half. No lines because most everyone left. So, don't worry if they're calling for rain, it could be a blessing! The hoop dee doo revue is a must for adults and children alike. It may seem expensive, but you will not regret it! Also, buy Birmbaums book on Walt Disney or get it at your local library. This is the greatest book to help your organize and schedule your activities. So many great pointers to help you save your valuable time. Fort Wilderness is a great value!
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Old 02-23-2010, 07:55 PM   #106
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I just noticed your from Hanover. If you don't make it to Disney World, Knoebels is perfect for families with little ones! You can walk from your campsite to the park. (you proably already know about it.) Anyway, best of luck!
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Old 02-23-2010, 08:09 PM   #107
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I just sent you a PM, as I saw you are from Gettysburg (15 mins from us) with a '75 Trade Wind...small world!

Yes, we have been to Knoebels a few times, but have never camped in the park. We have camped down the road once, and last year we stopped there on a return trip from World's End State Park, and we parked with our camper in tow in the grass parking lot (for Free!), 4 of us visted the park (for Free!), along with our two dogs (for Free!). Knoebels has got to be the greatest hidden treasure, its like a page out of history, its a shame there aren't more places like that around anymore.

Sorry to have gotten off topic a bit.

Cheers,
Eric
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Old 02-23-2010, 08:22 PM   #108
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Agree about Knoebels, We've been there quite a few times ourselves. Anyway, try to get your hands on one of those Birmbaums books. A friend told us about this book and it helped us schedule with out rushing to see everything. We did limit our must sees to the Magic Kingdom, the two water parks and the Hoop dee doo revue, all in five days and about $1500. Again, best wishes.
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Old 02-23-2010, 09:49 PM   #109
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Quote:
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Universal is not on Disney property. Did you mean Hollywood Studios?
Yes I did mean Hollywood, sorry. We did the EPCOT tour on segways it was freaky weird being the only ones in the park that was NOT disney cast!! We were there 1.5 hours before gates opened! It was totaly worth it!

I strongly suggest the " Ultimate Disney Guide" E-book found on ebay. It was written by a former employee. It saved us a lot of money, and had great ideas of things you would not even think of!
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Old 03-07-2010, 08:58 AM   #110
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Any 'Streamers headin' to Ft. Wilderness??

We are taking the kids to Ft.Wilderness the week of Spring Break (middle of march)...any other Airstreamers heading down there?

Ready for some warm weather even if it is raining!!
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Old 03-07-2010, 09:02 AM   #111
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We are taking the kids to Ft.Wilderness the week of Spring Break (middle of march)...any other Airstreamers heading down there?

Ready for some warm weather even if it is raining!!
we'll be there first week of april...
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Old 03-07-2010, 09:49 AM   #112
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We are taking the kids to Ft.Wilderness the week of Spring Break (middle of march)...any other Airstreamers heading down there?

Ready for some warm weather even if it is raining!!
We live 20 minutes away. It's still cold here . . . 56* at 10:45am. Should reach 71* today and hoping for mid to upper 70's the rest of the week. Floridians are really over the cold weather here. Bring light coats anyway the nights will be 46* - 63* over the next week. The warmest we've had in quite awhile. Have fun!!!
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