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ICYMI: A New TCD Trip Report April 2016 at the Fort

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I'm back.

I needed to take a break from the Board.  It wasn't you.  It was me.

I thought I'd stay away for a few weeks, but it ended up being a couple of months.  But, I needed to be gone for a while.  My pixie dust level had gotten dangerously low.  I'm happy to say that after this trip, I'm reloaded.

Are you wondering about the title of this trip report?

ICYMI is internet shorthand for In Case You Missed It.  The kids use this abbreviation a lot on Twitter and such.

In this trip report, I'm going to tell you about 10 new things we saw on this trip that you may or may not know about.  Some of the things have been reported and discussed on other threads, but some of the things haven't been.  Including four that I will mention in this first post.  ICYMI, you know.

In case you're wondering, everything is great with the TCD gang.  It is still good to be TCD.

So that we're all on the same page, the oldest TCD DD is still living and working in Miami.  We all thought that meant we would see her more often, but it hasn't worked out that way.  We saw her more when she was living in Auburn.  But, she is doing well.  Her new job is kicking her butt, but she is kicking it right back.

Twin #1 returned from California in January, and is back in Gainesville.  She's taking her final exam of the Spring semester today, and we expect to be seeing more of her over the summer.  But, she will still be living in Gainesville, and attending school over the summer.  One more year to go!

The big change in the TCD gang dynamic concerns Twin #2.  While she was in California this past fall, she applied to transfer from Florida State University to the University of Central Florida.  This was a difficult choice for her, but working her second Disney College Program at Disneyland reinforced that she wants to pursue a career in Disney management, and she wanted to be closer to the Mouse.  And, you can't get much closer than UCF.  So, she was accepted at UCF, and she made the change for the spring semester.  Now she's a Knight instead of a Nole.  The move has been great for her.  She was able to use some of her networking skills to be rehired as a WDW Castmember, and landed a sweet part-time gig as a MK Attractions CM.  Lately, part-time CM's have had a hard time getting hours, but since Twin #2 is a full-time student, she doesn't really want to work too many hours right now anyway.  The gig comes with all of the standard CM benefits, including a Main Gate Pass for her, and discounts on food, shopping and accommodations.  And all of those CM benefits are great for the TCD gang.  One big benefit for me was that I didn't have to renew her AP this year.  So, my AP monthly payment went down.

Having Twin #2 in Orlando has meant a lot of day trip and overnight weekend trips for Twin #1, who has an air mattress and other supplies stashed at Twin #2's apartment.

It has also meant more day trips for me, and even a few overnight visits for Mrs. TCD, such as a one-night stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge and a celebratory Boma dinner at 50% off to celebrate the twins' return to Florida.

It is good to be TCD.

And that brings us up to last weekend.

We would finally be making it back to the Fort.

The Fort is a lot more attractive when I'm paying $60 a night for a premium site.

Which is what Twin #2's CM discount scored us for this trip.

You know when the last time was that the TCD gang camped at the Fort?

The 4th of July!

But don't feel bad for me.  In that time frame, I visited Disneyland twice, WDW for multiple day trips, and we had that quick AKL visit too.  Several of those day trips involved either a Trail's End breakfast (at 40% off with a CM discount), or a Giddyap and Go chicken dinner (at 20% off with a CM discount).

This trip ended up being just the TCD twins and me.  Oldest DD was going to try and make it, but she had to cover a road trip for a co-worker, and was on a tour of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts while we were at the Fort.  Mrs. TCD also opted out.  And so did Rocky.  But, not by his choice.

There was nothing special about this date, other than it was one where Twin #2 was able to score a 50% off discount, and we thought maybe the weather would be nice and the Fort wouldn't be so busy.  We were right about one of those things.

So, I packed up the good old TCD camper, and headed east at about 9:30 am on Friday morning, April 22, 2016.  That's a good time for me to leave.  Generally, it means I'll miss the traffic going through Tampa, and have a pretty clear drive on I-4.  And so it was that morning.  I made it to the Fort at just a bit past 11 am.  It is good to be TCD.

Twin #1 was already in town, and had crashed at Twin #2's apartment the night before.  The plan was for them to meet me at the Fort at around 11, as Twin #2 needed to be there with me so she could show her CM ID.  I called the girls when I was close, and we timed our arrival pretty good, but I was a few minutes ahead of them.  My plan was to go through the guard shack, and pull over to wait for the girls.  But, after I pulled through the guard shack, there was an energetic CM in the driveway waving me up.  There were guests in all of the open check-in lanes, and I figured I'd pull up and tell the wildly gesturing CM that I needed to wait a couple of minutes for my daughters to show up.  So I did.  The CM was a very friendly younger man whose nametag said Pete.  I said howdy to Pete and he said howdy back.  He said if I would wait there, he'd direct me to the first lane that opened up.  That's nice.  I've never had a CM do that before.  I thanked Pete and told him that I might not be ready to go when a lane opened, as my daughter was a CM, and I needed to wait for her.  Pete said don't worry about it.  I told Pete that I did that once, and my DD got mad at me because the rule is she's supposed to be there when I check in.  Pete said it's really not a problem. He said he's the manager, and he assured me that there would be no problem with me checking in without my daughter.  Then Pete and I shot the bull about where my daughter worked, and I told him that the girls were twins, and had worked at both WDW and Disneyland.  Pete was a nice, friendly guy.

As I was sitting there talking to Pete, two guests pulled up behind me, and Pete went to greet and talk to them.  Then a lane opened.  The girls were still not there, but Twin #1 had called and said they were almost to the Fort entrance.  Even though Pete had told me to go ahead, and I pulled off to the left, and looped back around the little parking area they have there.  As I did, I saw the girls at the guard shack, and I got back in line.  Pete walked up to me, and I apologized and told him that I decided I needed to wait, as this was something that Twin #2 had stressed to me that she wanted me to do.  Pete was cool with that, and he went back to the girls cars to talk to them.  I couldn't hear what they were talking about, but the twins later told me it was Disney shop talk, which CM's love to do.

So that brings us to the first new thing I have to share.


He told me he's the manager.

The girls told me he told them he was the Front Desk Manager.

What about Jose?

Well, look at this:


How do you like that?

Jose is gone.

But, I'm not sure if Pete is his replacement.  Jose was the General Manager.  Pete told me he was the manager, but told the girls he was the Front Desk Manager.

But, Jose is gone.

That's new.

And if Pete is his replacement, I can already tell you that's a good thing.

Because I never saw Jose helping direct guests in the check-in lanes.

So, we checked in.

We had a premium site reserved, and nothing special was going on, so I had sent in a pretty simple site request via the standard fax method- I asked for a site near the comfort station in either the 800 or 900 loop.  That's all.  I've almost always had success with faxed site requests.

Not this time.

We got assigned to Site 1448.

Which is on Little Bear Loop, and not particularly close to the comfort station.

But, the site was ready, and Little Bear Loop used to be a TCD gang favorite, so I just took what they gave me.

And, it ended up being fine.

It was a nice site, with good neighbors, an we weren't too far from the comfort station.

The girls headed off for lunch, and I set up camp.

There was some rain in the forecast, but it held off while I set up.  The plan today was that we were going to head over to Animal Kingdom for the afternoon and evening.  For a while, we thought that we would be there for the Rivers of Light show preview, which was originally announced to debut on this very date.  But, then that got scrubbed.  I still had FP+'s lined up for us at AK.  But, it was definitely going to rain, and we figured AK was going to be busy because it was Earth Day, so we had a change of plans.

We hung out at the Fort for the afternoon and evening.  We did some looping, and we had a GAG for dinner.

Which brings us to New Thing #2.

I knew this was going to happen one of these days.

I just didn't know when.

They've messed with the GAG.

You wouldn't know it from the official Disney website.

I took this screen shot yesterday:


Everything looks cool, right?

Well guess what?

The price of the GAG hasn't changed.

But now you only get 8 pieces of chicken instead of 10.

You heard it here first.


And, they need to update their website.

If I wanted to, I could sue.

False advertising and all.

But, I can't sue Disney, or say much bad about it.

The twins would have my hide.

And, I like Pete.

But, the GAG isn't quite as good a deal as it used to be.

But, the GAG was just as good as always.

And nothing is better than digging into some fried chicken at your campsite on the first night of a camping trip.

After dinner, we chilled some more, and the rain came, but not too much. Then hopped the boat to the MK, where we closed things down.

And that was day one.

You may have noticed a lack of photos.

For, that I apologize.

I wasn't sure there was going to a trip report.

I seriously was thinking I'd like to enjoy a trip to the Fort without taking a bunch of photos for a trip report.

I kind of liked the idea.

But, it didn't feel right.

So I dug out my camera on Saturday morning, and took it with me when I headed out for my run.

Yes, I said run.

Those of you who have met me are probably surprised to hear that.

But, one of my New Year's resolutions this year was to get in shape.

And, I took a serious step in that direction by dropping some major bucks to sign me and Twin #1 up for a Run Disney event.

We are going to do the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in November.

The offer to sign up was open to all of the girls, but only Twin #1 took me up on it.

And, we're going to run the half marathon.

That's 13.1 miles.

None of this run/walk baloney.

So, I'm in training.

I'm taking it slow.

Just a few miles at a time, a few days a week.

I used to be pretty good at running.

But, I got seriously out of shape.

But, that's changing too.

Just you wait.

So, I began my first morning at the Fort doing something I haven't done on a Fort trip for more than 10 years- putting on my running gear, and heading out for a run to the Lodge.  There was a time when doing that was nothing for me.  I could run to the Lodge and back, and then run around some loops for some extra mileage.  But,  that was over 10 years ago.  When I was young.

I've been training for a couple of months now, and I can finally run a slow mile without feeling like I need an ambulance.  I have a lot of aches and pains in my leg joints that I never had before, but still, that's a good start.

I headed out of the 1400 loop, and paused to take a photo on the bridge that crosses the canal between 1400 and 500.  I guess this could qualify as a third new thing- there's no scum in the canals!:


The sun wasn't quite up yet, and I enjoyed being out and about at my favorite time of day at the Fort- it was quiet, cool, and just getting light:


The canals look so much nicer when they're not full of scum:


There was a full moon on the night of the 22nd, and the moon had not yet set as I began my run. This photo was taken behind the 300/500 bus stop, and the moon was peeking through those trees, but it is washed out in this photo.  Too bad, it was beautiful in person:


Goodnight Moon (even though I can't see you) :


The moon also looked magical sitting in the sky above the old petting zoo, but you can't see it in these photos either.  Fail:



Here's something new, which I am going to count as the third new thing that I'm going to mention in this Trip Report- they have a new sign for the Tri-Circle-D Farm:


My avatar is a photo of the old sign.  I wanted that old sign, and figured I might have a shot at getting it when the bulldozers showed up to plow over the old petting zoo.

But, it looks like I missed my chance.

Maybe it will show up on Ebay.

And that brings us up to the 4th new thing.

The jasmine covering the old windmill is getting ready to bloom:


In fact, it has already started to bloom:


We have some jasmine growing at the TCD house, and it is already in full bloom.

I can't think of too many things that smell better than jasmine in full bloom.

If you're around the Settlement anytime in the next couple of weeks, get over there and get a good whiff.

If you ever want to see some horse trailers and the Magic Kingdom horses heading off to work, around 7 am is the time to do that.

The trucks and trailers are here ready to load up:



From here, I ran down the path.

I expected to see some deer, or something.

But, I saw no wildlife.

I did see this guy walking on the path.  I figure he was a CM who took a bus to the Lodge, and was walking to work at Pioneer Hall:


I've been down this path before, and my favorite thing to do was to take the dirt path that branches off from the paved path.  That dirt path goes along Bay Lake, and used to lead right to the Lodge's marina/bike rental building.  But, it's closed off now because of the construction going on at the Lodge:


Too bad.

Ain't nobody going to be able to get past that impenetrable plastic fence.

So, I kept running:


Here's something interesting.

A bunch of conduit coming out of the ground on the side of the path all the way on the other side of the current location of the automatic gate near the Lodge.  That means something is going to be put here.  Something requiring power and computer lines.  I don't know what they need something like that for over here by the exercise path, but here it is:


This photo was taken from that same area, but turned toward the road that connects the Lodge with the Fort.  The automated gates are over that way, but that sign tells me I have to stay away:


If you ever get a chance to walk, bike or run along this path, do it.  Look at these beautiful flowering bushes just growing wild along the path:



This view reminds me of how the interior of the Fort's camping loops used to look before they chopped it all down and ripped it out:


And, just like that, we're at the Lodge.  There was a time, long ago, when you were allowed to park your golf carts here:


The Lodge is right up this path:


But, we're not going there today.  We're heading back the way we came:


Here's a sad sight.  A big tree didn't make it:


But, life finds a way:


That's a good stopping point.

We will take a little detour on the way back to the Fort.

I couldn't help it.

I got lost.

You know, like the old t-shirts used to say?

And, that's where I found the fifth new thing I'll be sharing in this TR.

For now, though, First Page Bragging Rights are up for grabs.



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I too have made a fitness change. 10 kids can really wear on your body, go figure ;0). Anyway buy some integral collagen and add a scoop of it to your coffee, tea, or protein shake a few times a day. It takes a few weeks to notice but my joints are seriously thanking me. You can find it at Whole foods or even amazon. I fully understand the low pixie dust level. I am starting to feel mine rising, maybe it's all this fresh air and cardio.

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Finished ... great to hear that things are going so well for your girls.  As always, your pictures are making me homesick.

Since it's just the two of us, I'm not upset about reducing the GAG to 8 pieces.  But I can imagine that will be a big deal for a lot of families.

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I'm in also and glad  to see your back and the whole TCD Gang is doing well, I might even have to follow your lead and start shaping up some my self but will start with walking a lot more not sure about that running thing. Any way glad to see you posting again

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