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(Travis Family Finally Returns to Fort Wilderness)

Thought I'd get started on this report while it was still fresh in my mind (most thoughts have an expiration date of 72 hours it seems anymore).

I'll try to post some pictures later on once I get them uploaded to Imgur. (with the "fun" not I had with FB uploads last night I may get rid of social media all together)

This first part is mainly going to be some changes we've noticed since our last trip.

OK, lets get started.

Last time we camped at the Fort was July 2016. In fact that was the last time we camped period, or even had the PUP opened up.

We've stopped by the Fort a couple of times around Christmas since then to see the decorated sites (and weren't disappointed!)

 Some of these observations/ramblings may have been posted by others previously so forgive me (see the 72 hour rule)!

The satellite dome is still set up in the Meadow TP grassy area with a cable heading back to the 600 loop.  I saw someone had posted about that a while back.  The campers must be here for the long haul.

The bike path to WL was just barricaded the end of last week.  They have one at the start of the path by the horse barn area, then another one at the purple line road that goes by the group camping. I did see what looked like golf cart lights on it Sunday evening, maybe security?

I see fences around all the playgrounds which is a nice safety feature, (so parents involved on their smart phones don't have to keep an eye on their precious bundles of joy) but their choice of fencing (industrial black chain link) sure screwed up the aesthetics of the "wilderness" theme. 

They spend fortunes designing a banister to fit into a hotel theme, or getting a custom paint color,  and then toss crap at us? 

At least they could've used brown chain link, or better yet bought an extra mile or two of the wood post and cargo netting fences they put around all of the waterways! 

First we lost the peacocks, petting zoo, lawnmower tree, tree trunk trash cans, covered wagon, etc. Now they make the place look like some inner city rec center.

Orange construction fencing along the waters edge  by the water slide open areas of River Country over to the old boat dock. 

There was a portable light tower in there and at night that area was lit up brighter than Main Street. 

Also a solar panel tower on Discovery Island with a weather proof camera pointing towards that area.  Maybe they've had more blogger incursions?  Again maybe these have been there a while and we just didn't see them on previous visits.

Did the area to the restrooms at the Meadow Pool always have a railing in front of them, making you walk over towards the covered picnic tables and soda machine?  I thought you used to be able to walk from the pool deck right to them. I did see the new gate by the tables.

One vehicle to a site? HAH!!  The norm was 2 with one parked fully on the grass, not even partially on the pavement.  A lot of sites had 3 vehicles on them.

TT's with 2 tents on the site besides the trailer (and 2 vehicles)

Full sized TTs, mid sized RVs (that stretched the entire length of the site), and even a 5th Wheel in the 1500 and 2000 loop.  So much for PUPs, van campers, and tents only.

Saw a site in 1500, 2 vehicles (one in the grass), a box utility trailer, 2 tents, a screen room, and a tent set up in the buffer area between sites.

This was a last minute trip, and no we didn't use Jason.  We have in the past, but there was no time for this one.  So everyone can berate me now.

Actual trip report coming soon!

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Travisma said:

(Travis Family Finally Returns to Fort Wilderness)

Thought I'd get started on this report while it was still fresh in my mind (most thoughts have an expiration date of 72 hours it seems anymore).

I'll try to post some pictures later on once I get them uploaded to Imgur. (with the "fun" not I had with FB uploads last night I may get rid of social media all together)

This first part is mainly going to be some changes we've noticed since out last trip.

OK, lets get started.

Last time we camped at the Fort was July 2016. In fact that was the last time we camped period, or even had the PUP opened up.

We've stopped by the Fort a couple of times around Christmas since then to see the decorated sites (and weren't disappointed!)

 Some of these observations/ramblings may have been posted by others previously so forgive me (see the 72 hour rule)!

The satellite dome is still set up in the Meadow TP grassy area with a cable heading back to the 600 loop.  I saw someone had posted about that a while back.  The campers must be here for the long haul.

The bike path to WL was just barricaded the end of last week.  They have one at the start of the path by the horse barn area, then another one at the purple line road that goes by the group camping. I did see what looked like golf cart lights on it Sunday evening, maybe security?

I see fences around all the playgrounds which is a nice safety feature, (so parents involved on their smart phones don't have to keep an eye on their precious bundles of joy) but their choice of fencing (industrial black chain link) sure screwed up the aesthetics of the "wilderness" theme. 

They spend fortunes designing a banister to fit into a hotel theme, or getting a custom paint color,  and then toss crap at us? 

At least they could've used brown chain link, or better yet bought an extra mile or two of the wood post and cargo netting fences they put around all of the waterways! 

First we lost the peacocks, petting zoo, lawnmower tree, tree trunk trash cans, covered wagon, etc. Now they make the place look like some inner city rec center.

Orange construction fencing along the waters edge  by the water slide open areas of River Country over to the old boat dock. 

There was a portable light tower in there and at night that area was lit up brighter than Main Street. 

Also a solar panel tower on Discovery Island with a weather proof camera pointing towards that area.  Maybe they've had more blogger incursions?  Again maybe these have been there a while and we just didn't see them on previous visits.

Did the area to the restrooms at the Meadow Pool always have a railing in front of them, making you walk over towards the covered picnic tables and soda machine?  I thought you used to be able to walk from the pool deck right to them. I did see the new gate by the tables.

One vehicle to a site? HAH!!  The norm was 2 with one parked fully on the grass, not even partially on the pavement.  A lot of sites had 3 vehicles on them.

TT's with 2 tents on the site besides the trailer (and 2 vehicles)

Full sized TTs, mid sized RVs (that stretched the entire length of the site), and even a 5th Wheel in the 1500 and 2000 loop.  So much for PUPs, van campers, and tents only.

Saw a site in 1500, 2 vehicles (one in the grass), a box utility trailer, 2 tents, a screen room, and a tent set up in the buffer area between sites.

This was a last minute trip, and no we didn't use Jason.  We have in the past, but there was no time for this one.  So everyone can berate me now.

Actual trip report coming soon!

 

 

 

 

Okay.. now I actually read it. LOL

The satellite comment (off the 600 loop) was mine.   I think that looks so ugly.  Of course.. so does the 3 cars, 2 RVS and 3 tents one one site.  Add in all the construction and the Fort has become a hot mess.  Yet, folks will still pay $125+ a night to camp.   

Good to hear about a 5th wheel in the 1500 loop.  If we ever come back, maybe we'll try that.  

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13 minutes ago, twiceblessed....nacole said:

Okay.. now I actually read it. LOL

The satellite comment (off the 600 loop) was mine.   I think that looks so ugly.  Of course.. so does the 3 cars, 2 RVS and 3 tents one one site.  Add in all the construction and the Fort has become a hot mess.  Yet, folks will still pay $125+ a night to camp.   

Good to hear about a 5th wheel in the 1500 loop.  If we ever come back, maybe we'll try that.  

I guess not much can be said about the various vehicles in the partial loops since Disney allows them access and ignores their own posted rules (guidelines?).

But if you look back to the past, the partial sites were inexpensive so the everyday Joe (and Jane) could afford to camp at the Fort.

Yes it's nice to save money, but most of the people that own mid sized RVs and Travel Trailers probably have a higher amount of disposable income than someone camping in a tent.

By allowing those types of campers in the partial loops they are cutting out "simple" campers that are on a budget.

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I'm in! 

I agree that they seem haphazard at best about enforcing the rules. Last time I saw there, there was a tent behind the 900 loop right by the fence opposite the trading post, ones like that it's even hard to say what site they belong to.  Although I think my biggest observation from last September was the number of dogs in tents. 

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23 minutes ago, slices said:

I'm in! 

I agree that they seem haphazard at best about enforcing the rules. Last time I saw there, there was a tent behind the 900 loop right by the fence opposite the trading post, ones like that it's even hard to say what site they belong to.  Although I think my biggest observation from last September was the number of dogs in tents. 

Yep.  There was behind the 700 and 800 loop last November.  I made the same comment to Disney Corp... do they even know if this was a paying guest?  The tent was basically in the pet walk area. 

 

1 hour ago, Travisma said:

I guess not much can be said about the various vehicles in the partial loops since Disney allows them access and ignores their own posted rules (guidelines?).

But if you look back to the past, the partial sites were inexpensive so the everyday Joe (and Jane) could afford to camp at the Fort.

Yes it's nice to save money, but most of the people that own mid sized RVs and Travel Trailers probably have a higher amount of disposable income than someone camping in a tent.

By allowing those types of campers in the partial loops they are cutting out "simple" campers that are on a budget.

I was just talking about rates with another Fiend on FB the other day.  I have emails from back in 2014, when we could use AAA to make reservations and get a AAA discount.  Here is what I told him, "We paid an average of $48/night for a one week stay over Mother's Day. Now this was for the 1500 loop because we had a small hybrid, BUT... we got lucky and got a free upgrade to Preferred. Then (in October) we paid an average of $65/night for 10/1 - 10/24.  In 2015, I found a receipt for 11/7 - 11/22, Preferred site... average of $88/night."

This shows just how crazy expensive the Fort has gotten, in just a few short years.  Combine that with the rules not being enforced and mercy...hot mess.

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Our original plan was to camp at the Fort around the week of 3/18 since that was Spring Break for my granddaughter, and we wouldn't have to be taking her back and forth to school since she could stay at her moms.

So on the weekend or 2/23 with great foreboding I opened up the PUP for the first time in almost 3 years to start prepping it.

I had been reading all the horror stories of mouse and water damage and insect infestation, so I was prepared for the worst but hoping for the best.

Got it leveled off, opened up and found no damages!!  I have some weak rotten wood at the front and back of the roof where the bunk end canvas pieces mount, but they still had some life left to them.  I will need to replace them sometime in the future but didn't have time now.

Set it up to air out, swept it, and started taking the assorted cooking utensils inside to wash.

This was pretty much a day long process.  The latch on my door wasn’t working right and I had to take it apart to repair.  Some of the pieces were worn out and it kept jamming.  I was going to look around for something to fix it in the couple of weeks time we had before heading out.

I still had to sort thru tubs of camping gear in the shed and winnow down what the two of us would need instead of all the stuff we had been bringing for 6 to 8 people.  But I was tired and told myself I still had a couple of weekends to get that done.

But plans always have a way of changing.  My wife was able to book us 3/2-3/4. So my couple of weeks time to get prepared was cut down to a few days.

We decided since just the two of us were going we would just use 1 ice chest and bring sandwich fixins and some frozen dinners we had, along with some leftover turkey breast I had cooked.

One problem is that we usually fill containers with water and freeze them, but our freezer was full so that idea was a bust.  The new plan was Saturday morning I’d run up to the ice machine at the end of the street, get the 20 pounds dumped into the ice chest then use that to fill the containers. It was successful.  We came home with some ice left in them.  It didn’t work as well as solid blocks, but for a short stay it was OK.

During the week I inflated the PUP tires, fixed the taillights and finished getting the tubs sorted. 

Friday night we loaded some things into the back seat of the truck and staged the rest in the kitchen that would go in the truck bed.  Last time I put stuff in the truck bed the night before someone stole my BAL Leveler.  They left everything else and only took that.  It was the weirdest thing.

Saturday bright and early I went and got the ice, finished loading the truck., and we headed out around 9:00.  We had asked for a 10:00 checkin, so we knew we would be arriving after that but hoped to get a text on the way that our site was ready.

Next up, the drive over.

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17 hours ago, Travisma said:

So on the weekend or 2/23 with great foreboding I opened up the PUP for the first time in almost 3 years to start prepping it.

I had been reading all the horror stories of mouse and water damage and insect infestation, so I was prepared for the worst but hoping for the best.

Got it leveled off, opened up and found no damages!!  I have some weak rotten wood at the front and back of the roof where the bunk end canvas pieces mount, but they still had some life left to them.  I will need to replace them sometime in the future but didn't have time now.

Set it up to air out, swept it, and started taking the assorted cooking utensils inside to wash.

This was pretty much a day long process.  The latch on my door wasn’t working right and I had to take it apart to repair.  Some of the pieces were worn out and it kept jamming.  I was going to look around for something to fix it in the couple of weeks time we had before heading out.

 

Gosh, I love hearing about getting the pop up ready!  We owned one for 12 years and used it often.  I remember fondly getting it ready for the season.  We realized camping was a way of life for us we bought a modest motor home.  Not as much work but also not as close to nature.  I miss sleeping in the screened in beds.

I can't wait to read more about how your trip went.  Thanks for posting.

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This time we weren’t loaded down like the Beverly Hillbillies with the truck bed piled high with all of the “necessities” needed for 6 people for a week!

In the bed was 1 ice chest, 1 tub of gear, the BAL leveler and 2 bikes.

Not having towed the trailer for quite some time I was being overly cautious.  I had inflated the tire to 90 PSI the previous weekend but when I checked them this time they were around 88 pounds.  I attributed that to air loss trying to get the tire gauge on.  I went about 5 miles then pulled over into a gas station before the interstate to check on the hitch, tires and rearranged the bikes so they were lying down instead of standing up to ease my wifes mind.  Everything looked good so off we went.

Of course this being FL we got about 3 miles on I-75 before running into a back up.  We cleared that, then got onto everyone’s favorite interstate the fun filled I-4!

Surprisingly, we had a pretty clear path.  We thought we would hit heavy traffic around Plant City due to it being opening weekend for the Strawberry Festival, but traffic was still pretty light.

The trailer was tracking fine, and I kept my speed down to 55-58.  I get my best mileage if I keep it just below 60.

It was a pretty un-eventful trip until we got to the Hwy 27 overpass when we ran into a backup (as usual).  It was slow going until we cleared the Championsgate exit then it eased up a bit.

I still hadn’t gotten a text that our site was ready and it was around 10:30.  My wife checked my email. And I had 3 from the Disney saying out room wasn’t quite ready yet.

We got to the Fort a little before 11 and the guard said we had our pick of open lanes since there was no one in any of them.

We went to get checked in and answered all the usual questions.  Was told our site wasn’t ready but it was going to be in the 2000 loop.  We weren’t thrilled with that since we’ve had issues there previously.  We asked about sites in 1500 and were told there was nothing available. 

They directed us to the overflow lot, which was pretty overflowing.  There were a lot of utility type trailers (golf cart style) just left in the double pull thru slots which could’ve been parked in the single spaces along the edges.

We got the bikes out, wiped them down and filled the tires and took off to explore.

First stop was the 2000 loop. As soon as we rode in there were 2 open sites that had already been washed down.  As we rode in more we found about a dozen before we made it to the CS in the middle.  We stopped there and called the front desk asking if we could have a couple sites that we liked.  They told us those were assigned and that ours was still being worked on.  It wasn’t worth arguing with the reservation agent so we took off and rode over to see the 1500 loop. 

It was pretty full, but we saw 5 or 6 empty sites.  We were shocked with the lack of vegetation/cover.  They really went in there and cleared/thinned out a lot of the sites.  There was very little privacy left between sites.

We started riding back towards 2000 when we got the announcement that our site 2023 was ready,.

We rode over there, and scoped it out.  It was pretty nice, on the outside of the loop.  My wife waited there, and I rode my bike back to the overflow to get the truck and PUP.

 

Next up, we be camping!

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17 hours ago, Travisma said:

This time we weren’t loaded down like the Beverly Hillbillies with the truck bed piled high with all of the “necessities” needed for 6 people for a week!

In the bed was 1 ice chest, 1 tub of gear, the BAL leveler and 2 bikes.

Not having towed the trailer for quite some time I was being overly cautious.  I had inflated the tire to 90 PSI the previous weekend but when I checked them this time they were around 88 pounds.  I attributed that to air loss trying to get the tire gauge on.  I went about 5 miles then pulled over into a gas station before the interstate to check on the hitch, tires and rearranged the bikes so they were lying down instead of standing up to ease my wifes mind.  Everything looked good so off we went.

Of course this being FL we got about 3 miles on I-75 before running into a back up.  We cleared that, then got onto everyone’s favorite interstate the fun filled I-4!

Surprisingly, we had a pretty clear path.  We thought we would hit heavy traffic around Plant City due to it being opening weekend for the Strawberry Festival, but traffic was still pretty light.

The trailer was tracking fine, and I kept my speed down to 55-58.  I get my best mileage if I keep it just below 60.

It was a pretty un-eventful trip until we got to the Hwy 27 overpass when we ran into a backup (as usual).  It was slow going until we cleared the Championsgate exit then it eased up a bit.

I still hadn’t gotten a text that our site was ready and it was around 10:30.  My wife checked my email. And I had 3 from the Disney saying out room wasn’t quite ready yet.

We got to the Fort a little before 11 and the guard said we had our pick of open lanes since there was no one in any of them.

We went to get checked in and answered all the usual questions.  Was told our site wasn’t ready but it was going to be in the 2000 loop.  We weren’t thrilled with that since we’ve had issues there previously.  We asked about sites in 1500 and were told there was nothing available. 

They directed us to the overflow lot, which was pretty overflowing.  There were a lot of utility type trailers (golf cart style) just left in the double pull thru slots which could’ve been parked in the single spaces along the edges.

We got the bikes out, wiped them down and filled the tires and took off to explore.

First stop was the 2000 loop. As soon as we rode in there were 2 open sites that had already been washed down.  As we rode in more we found about a dozen before we made it to the CS in the middle.  We stopped there and called the front desk asking if we could have a couple sites that we liked.  They told us those were assigned and that ours was still being worked on.  It wasn’t worth arguing with the reservation agent so we took off and rode over to see the 1500 loop. 

It was pretty full, but we saw 5 or 6 empty sites.  We were shocked with the lack of vegetation/cover.  They really went in there and cleared/thinned out a lot of the sites.  There was very little privacy left between sites.

We started riding back towards 2000 when we got the announcement that our site 2023 was ready,.

We rode over there, and scoped it out.  It was pretty nice, on the outside of the loop.  My wife waited there, and I rode my bike back to the overflow to get the truck and PUP.

 

Next up, we be camping!

Curious to see how it went in the 2000 loop.  While I like the location (and loop size) of 1500, 2000 does have some nice/large site.

Riding around the Fort on my bike... honestly my FAVORITE thing to do.

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We stayed in 2023 in our pop up in 2012, I think it was.  We loved that site.  Far enough back in the loop and with good vegetation.  The walk to the bath house wasn't too bad either.  The outside of the loop is always our favorite.  Looking forward to see how your week turned out there.  

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