The Inaugural Voyage - Winter 2008 travel blog

in the Disney wilderness

welcome sign

We've been coming to Disney World every so often for the last 25 years. We will never forget the insanity we encountered when we first came one Easter vacation. The traffic was backed up so badly on the expressway, we could not get off and were not allowed to come to the park our first day here. The next day we got an early start and the visiting hours were extended until 2am and we were here to the bitter end, because each attraction involved standing in line about two hours. I remember being thrilled to finally see Disney World, but I doubt I would have the same reaction today under those circumstances.

The Disney owned properties are the most convenient places to stay, because they are nearby and you can rely on their transportation to get to the various attractions rather than waiting in lines and paying to park. Property residents are also entitled to extended visiting hours. Generally these hotels have cost more than we were willing to pay and that was also true for the Disney campground Fort Wilderness. Since tourist travel tends to get quiet immediately after the winter holidays, the camping fees here are expensive rather than outrageous at the moment. But even during this quiet time we could not get a spot for the weekend. A stay during the week will give us an impression of the place and the opportunity to visit new attractions that have opened since the last time we were here.

It took less than two hours to get here from St. Petersburg and we were greeted at the campground entrance by a Disney employee from China. Disney hires many people from other countries and their presence enriches visits to the cultural attractions at EPCOT, but this woman knew little about campers and their needs. Was it necessary to remove our tow car before we entered the campground? No advice given. Check in time was 1pm and we arrived at 12:50. Occasionally, we have had to wait at campgrounds because the previous residents were tardy in leaving, but today we had to wait because the campsites were not ready. We have no idea what needed to be done - it wasn't like they needed to change the sheets on the bed. Where should we wait until it was time to pull onto our site? Not clear either.

Once parked we are not allowed to drive around except to leave the campground. We are encouraged to rent golf carts to get from place to place. For $50/day, our bikes will fill this need just fine. As we waited and examined the map, we saw many nice services offered at this campground, but have come to expect similar services in campground resorts we have enjoyed in other spots.

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