Day 68 – Why Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground Should Be on Every RVer’s Radar

We spent the weekend at campsite 304 at Fort Wilderness. It was adjacent to a comfort station (restrooms and showers) and a garbage and recycle station. It offered a private picnic table and grill as well.

On Day 68 of the Nowhere To Be Project, I spent some time reviewing our fabulous weekend. We spent it at Walt Disney World’s Fort Wilderness Campground in our new 2018 Winnebago Navion RV. We specifically chose Fort Wilderness for our inaugural trip due to its proximity to our home, thinking that a short three day jaunt would be the best way to work out any of those new RV kinks. We also selected it because it is one of the best campgrounds we have visited in our nearly 15 years of RVing.

Fort Wilderness is one of Disney’s oldest resorts, but also one of its most affordable. We have camped in a RV at the resort many times over the years and have also stayed in their wilderness cabins several times. Fort Wilderness offers glamping at its finest with a prime location on Disney property. Amenities include free transportation to the theme parks by water ferry or bus, abundant immaculate restroom/shower/laundry facilities, level spots with full hook ups (many with with grills and picnic tables), two swimming pools with organized activities and music, a nightly campfire singalong and movie, an equestrian area with horseback riding, dog park, archery, convenience store, and multiple restaurants and bars. Golf carts are available for rent as well to make getting around the manicured property a snap.

Nightly fireworks are visible from the dock at Fort Wilderness

Prices at Fort Wilderness vary depending on the season and on the size and type of camping spot needed. We paid roughly $80 per night for our 24 foot class C RV. I highly recommend this campground to anyone who desires stress-free camping, with or without kids. It is a really great spot for newbies as well because everything is so user-friendly. There is just so much to do within Fort Wilderness that the theme parks almost become an afterthought!

Day 66: Why Is Food An Afterthought at Disney?

Day 66 of the Nowhere To Be Project marked our third, and final, day at Disney. As natives of Central Florida, we’ve been coming to Disney all our lives. We are always beyond impressed with the cast members, facilities and parks. We just don’t know why Disney cannot pull it together when it comes to dining. Several years ago, we had an amazing meal at Disneyland’s fine dining option, Napa Rose. This was the driving force in our decision to celebrate our son’s 21st birthday at Victoria & Albert’s, Walt Disney World’s most upscale restaurant.

The restaurant itself is located in The Grand Floridian Hotel. The hotel is promoted as the finest option for lodging on Disney property, so it makes sense that Disney’s premier restaurant would be housed there as well. Victoria & Albert’s is located on the second floor overlooking the lovely hotel lobby. Guests are greeted at the door and seated in a time-staggered style to avoid a rush at the entry. We arrived approximately ten minutes prior to our 6:30pm reservation. I had booked the reservation months in advance, first having tried and failed to reserve the popular chef’s table option. The maitre d’ informed us that he would not be able to seat us for twenty minutes and escorted us to the adjacent bar while instructing us to return shortly. We did as he said and returned twenty minutes later with a bar server who said she had to carry our drinks back to the restaurant for us if she wanted to keep her job. We were warmly greeted again and promptly seated.

Our waiter greeted us by name, acknowledged my son’s 21st birthday, and distributed personalized menus to all four of us before explaining the menu. There are two options: seven course or ten course. Within each option, there are several additional choices, some of which require an up-charge (e.g caviar, Kobe beef, etc.). A representative from the restaurant had called several days prior to our visit to gather information on dietary restrictions. At that time, I had indicated that I was vegan, so was given strictly vegan options on my menu. We all chose the seven course option ($185.00 each) and I added the paired wine course ($105.00). This included seven paired samples to accompany each course of my meal (2oz each).

Non Vegan Seven Course Menu
Vegan Menu

The presentation of each course was lovely and the service was solid and refined. While the dishes were a genuine pleasure to gaze upon, they didn’t really ignite our tastebuds. As foodies, we had been looking forward to innovative dishes and explosive flavors. What we got was just okay, nothing any of us would seek out again, and that is beyond tough to swallow when spending $1100.00 to do so! Food at this price point should completely blow you away, shouldn’t it? Furthermore, the facility itself is extremely dated with worn upholstery, tired furnishings and china, and dated restroom facilities.

We’ve had a wonderful time at Disney and really enjoyed the celebration at Victoria & Albert’s despite the disappointing meal. I just can’t figure out why Disney drops the ball with dining. Over the years, I’ve eaten at almost every quick service (in park) option and probably all upscale fine dining venues at Walt Disney World and am consistently underwhelmed. I really wanted to love Victoria & Albert’s, but it simply did not deliver. I guess we can’t expect a company that has set the bar so high for entertainment to do the same for food. Next time I visit, I’ll dine off property.

Day 65 – Disney Delight

Day 65 of the Nowhere To Be Project was spent wholly on Disney grounds. I was born and raised in Central Florida, so Walt Disney World has been a staple for my entire existence. I was born the very year the Magic Kingdom opened and cannot even begin to count my visits over the years. As a child, I loved the wonder of a Disney day. As a parent though, Disney truly came alive. It was so magical to watch my kids light up at the sight of their favorite characters. I liked Lady and the Tramp as a kid. I even had a Lady stuffed pooch that accompanied me to bed most nights. It was different with my children though because the influence of Disney became so pervasive for kids of the 90s (much more that the Sunday evening Wonderful World of Walt Disney programming we had in the 1970s). My daughter had a full wardrobe of Disney princess gowns, tiara and slippers that encompassed her daily wardrobe. My son’s toys were 70% Disney-centric (think Buzz Lightyear and Woody, Aladar, Mighty Jo Young, Simba and on and on). It was ALL Disney ALL THE TIME.

Today, my husband and I visited Epcot. As we monorailed over to the park, I caught a glimpse of the face of a little boy who was sitting on his mother’s lap. His wide eyes were fixed on the window beside their seat, filled with views of the vast and rolling landscape of Disney. He was listening intently to the conductor who briskly announced the upcoming stops, making sure not to miss a thing. He was adorned with Disney gear…hat, shirt, action figure, sneakers. He was obviously over the moon to be in this place. As I watched him, I secretly hoped that his experience would far exceed the expectations he had amassed for it. More than that though, I hoped that his mother’s heart would forever warm at the memory of her delighted baby in the “happiest place on Earth”. I know mine does.

Day 64: So It Begins…

Day 64 of the Nowhere To Be Project brought the first day of our inaugural journey in our new RV, the Tiny Dancer, Too. We decided to do a staycation of sorts at Walt Disney World’s Fort Wilderness Campground. We thought starting small at a campground just a few miles from our home would be wise to ease ourselves back into RV life. Our spanking new rig was loaded down with all the things we knew we would need as we pulled out of the driveway. We also brought some things that we thought we might need and many that we probably don’t need, but hope will make it homier and comfortable for long trips. We are super excited to begin and promise to share the many highs and lows along the way.

Day 7: Making It Last

End of vacation depression is real! When you initially arrive to the chosen spot after all of the planning, dreaming and anticipation, everything is so new and exciting and it always seems as if you have so much time ahead of you. Midway through, you get the sinking feeling that the end game is near, but there’s still so much to do that it doesn’t detract too much from the experience. Then, the bottom falls out when it is officially over. How will I live without these views, this weather and endless food, drink and celebration? Top it off with an over-booked wicked red-eye flight through LAX and you (if you’re anything like me) might just wonder if it was all worth it.

Once the horror of sleep deprivation subsides though, you’ll likely realize that it was totally worth it, right? What if the coveted vacation-mode did not have to end? Well, in the true spirit of the Nowhere To Be Project, I’ve decided it doesn’t have to end and it won’t end. In honor of our anniversary this week and my husband’s birthday, we bought a recreational vehicle that will become our home-away-from-home on wheels. My brother sells RVs, so it was pretty much sight unseen as we trust his opinion on what will work best for us. Also, we had a RV when our kids were small and loved it. We purchased a 2018 Winnebago Itasca Navion 24D. We pick it up in a couple of weeks in Florida. We have a get-to-know-you-RV adventure planned during a quick birthday trip for our son at Fort Wilderness at Walt Disney World. Right now, we’re trying to come up with names for our new ride. Please feel free to chime in through the comments section. We’d love to hear your ideas. For now then, the planning, dreaming and anticipation continues…
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