Well it's been a while and I am sure many of the people I knew on here are no longer around. It's been a few years since we have been able to hit the fort. For those that remember, we had to replace the roof on our TT last year delaying our Thanksgiving 2019 trip. We got the TT back from repairs after 8 months being in the shop due to a few companies fighting over who was paying for what on the repairs.
Well this past week we were supposed to run down to Elkmont on the Smokies and fate would have it that my slide out rubber roof was damaged from something so now I have to get it back into the shop to replace that. With that trip delayed, we decided to visit my aunt in Indiana for a few days since we had the time off already. You know it's family and safer than being out elsewhere. Well we were on our way home and my mom and I decided to cash in my Chase Disney Visa points and get a cabin for a few days.
We checked in Wednesday afternoon this past week and we will be leaving Monday morning. We were going to head home tomorrow but with Isaias on the way we decided it was safer to stay an extra night vs drive back to Ohio in the stormy mess.
Now for the past 2 years I have been holding on to our non activated annual passes. Our intention was to come down and check things out prior to bringing the wife and kids down at Thanksgiving this year, assuming we have the camper back from repairs by then. With that said, we decided to buy 2 day tickets and hold on to those APs as we didn't want to activate them if the place was a mess from either construction, Covid impacts, or both.
We spent our 2 days in Epcot and MK. While I was pleasantly surprised by how dead it was everywhere, I was equally surprised with how torn up the front of Epcot is. It's pretty disappointing considering it has been torn up for quiet some time. Since the kids were not with us and the park being dead, we were able to spend a decent amount of time meandering around the world showcase. With many of the shops closed and some of the restaurants shut down, I couldn't see bringing the kids in. They enjoy some of the unique things that pop up and many of those were not happening. Even a very lonely Alice was spotted waving at cast members where she was hidden. We were the only non cast members back there with her. Overall though it was a great escape from Ohio and the 4 months we have been stuck in the house homeschooling the kids while working full time from home. Our dinner at garden grill was good but the spinning restaurant made us slightly dizzy and we have no idea why considering you can't hardly tell it is moving.
Prior to heading into Epcot we had breakfast at Whispering Canyon. While the food was ok, our service was not great..most of that due to our waitress not really checking in on us. All of the other tables were being well tended to. It appeared our waitress was just slow and neglecting her tables.
Anyway, moving on to our day in the MK. We got up and had breakfast over at Chef Mickey's. Everything was great here. It took some getting used to the lack of a buffet and over 50% less tables. Disney did a great job with the reopening for breakfast and I suspect this will probably be the normal once everything starts to open back up. By normal I mean buffets turning into family style restaurants. We feel that it helps Disney regulate the amount of food that gets tossed when someone doesn't eat everything they pickup from the buffet. Cost savings for them while having a better way to track the quantity of food that's needed on hand. The nice thing is that they dropped the price of breakfast to $25 per adult.
After lunch we headed into MK. Just like Epcot the park was very empty. I was able to ride Space Mountain, Buzz, Big Thunder, and Buzz 2 more times in less than 2 hours. I noticed posted wait times are about 50% higher than the amount of time it takes to get in line to getting on the ride. So out 15 minute waits were realistically 7 minutes and our 10 minutes were about 6. I had a long wait time of 35 minutes for big thunder but was sitting on the train in 10 minutes. I think the line spacing is causing them issues with tracking wait times. Since they are not ha ding out the tracking cards to random people, it makes it even harder to track.
We had dinner at liberty tree and the food and service was fantastic. We always like liberty tree but it is a heavy meal to be walking around in the parks.
Today we spent all day going bankrupt at Disney Springs (gotta build those Chase Disney Visa points back up). We picked up things for the kids and some Legos for a guy I work with that is obsessed with them. I was also lucky enough to score some cool artwork at Art of Disney. Got a Beauty and the Beast ballroom scene signed by Paige O'Hara and Robby Benson (the voices of Belle and Beast).
For those who like to shop, we have noticed that not only was the selection for items down in the parks, it was also down at Disney Springs and the Fort. It almost felt like Disney was struggling to get some form of inventory and they just put things on shelves go fill them. As an example, we found Polynesian Christmas ornaments at Disney Springs and Flower and Garden Pandora charms in the MK.
Tonight I spent about 1.5 hours riding around the loops on my bike at the Fort. You heard it here first, I was the crazy bastard riding around with my bike lit up like a Christmas tree blaring the Electric Light Parade music. I even had a few sites in 200 that came out from their chairs by their campers just to hear the music. Many of them started singing it and dancing. Brought back some memories of when it was still in the MK. The next time I am down I will be enhancing the bike version of the Electric Light Parade. When my kids and wife are here we will all be sporting the lights along with my moms scooter so that it will look like a real parade while we are looping.
And speaking of music, if you have not been to the fort in a while like me, the old bluegrass music has changed. While the old is still played at the moment in the settlement, it has been changed in the outpost and the meadows trading post. I asked the guy in the outpost when it changed and he said he wasnt sure as he had tuned it out a while ago. I am guessing as part of the BS with Reflections that the Fort was going to see some theme modifications/updates. This was probably one of them.
As for the Tri Circle D ranch, they didn't do a bad job with the new barn. While it still has the rustic outside feel, it's not the same as the old barn. I was glad to see that the bike path is still there and I hope they don't change anything with it. You can't go past the end of the barn and head towards the lodge (felony signs posted) but it looks like it's been left in touched after the sign.
The mess on clementines beach is still there and all around the fort you can tell they have neglected things. As an example, the grass has not been mowed in a while and it's pretty obvious. Instead they were pressure washing the wooden fences which seemed odd considering that would take much more time than mowing.
Many of the loops are also closed (with signs posted stating their closed). From our exploring 700, 1500, 1600, 1700, 1800, and 1900 are closed. We didn't make it over to 2000 but I suspect it is opened. 800 and 900 had 2 or 3 campers in the loop total while 100, 200, 300, and 2100 is almost full. I figured they would have spread out the campers more with Covid going around but they seem to have packed them into those 4 loops.
Overall things have been about what we expected so not really upset. For just my mom and I being here it's been nice. Not sure if we will bring the kids down at Thanksgiving or Christmas yet. We have reservations for both but there is a lot shut down and I don't want them to be disapointed. Time will tell as we get closer. Really hoping that things turn around soon and it starts to get back to normal.