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Topic: Koster Trip 6/12-21/03 Fort Wilderness & Star Wars, Meeting Dreamfinder / Star Wars Weekend!< Next Oldest | Next Newest >

RichKoster Offline

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Posted: Sep. 14, 2003 7:28 am/pm Quote

Koster trip report: WDW Fort Wilderness Cabin 6/12-21/03 - Part One

Meeting the real Dreamfinder, Star Wars Weekend, & more!


This is part one of my trip report about our June 2003 trip to Walt Disney World in which we had quite a lot of firsts for us, including staying at a cabin in Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, attending Star Wars Weekend, meeting Ron Schneider -- the real Dreamfinder, and a whole lot more that was brand new to us even though we've been to WDW so many times we've lost count. In this first part of the trip report, I'll present an introduction which includes some of the highlights of our vacation (which was only two months since our last WDW vacation -- read about that trip by clicking here). And read about our October 2003 WDW vacation by clicking here.  You can also see the trip report about our Easter 2004 Disney Wonder cruise and Polynesian Resort vacation by clicking here. Details about our September/October 2004 vacation including Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party plus WDW's birthday and the Polynesian Resort can be found by clicking here to get to that trip report. Some of this was taken from family conversations about our trip, so not all of these words come directly from me. And don't worry -- there will be more installments of this trip report soon. I have many more details to come!

Highlights of our journey: Fort Wilderness Cabin & Star Wars Weekend...
From the wilderness to a galaxy far, far away!


Cast of characters in our family:
  • Rich (me), 50, 20+ trips to WDW, 2 trips to Disneyland
  • Carol DW, 49, 20+ trips to WDW, 3 trips to Disneyland
  • Michael DS, 7, 6 trips to WDW
Travelling: Our Journey began 6/12/03, driving from home in our Minnie-Van, we arrived at WDW on Friday the 13th but it was far from being unlucky overall, and we arrived home 6/21/03. We were at WDW for 8 nights and still could have done more things!  That just proves you can never have enough time to do everything you'd like to do at Walt Disney World.

Lodging: We stayed at the Lake City, FL Hampton Inn on the way and 8 nights at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground in a cabin. On the way back we drove straight through from WDW to home.

Special requests: At Hampton Inn, requested and received king size bed and sofa bed, non-smoking, and due to allergies we require no feather/down pillows. At Fort Wilderness, all the cabins are already non-smoking so we requested no feather/down pillows and loop 2500 near the laundry.

Firsts for us on this trip:
  • Staying at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground for the first time
  • Our first-ever vacation in a FW cabin
  • Our first family "camping" trip (if you call consider the luxurious FW cabins as "camping..." )
  • Star Wars Weekend, including a light-saber duel between Darth Vader and our DS Michael!
  • Meeting and having breakfast at Boma with Ron Schneider, the voice of Dreamfinder in parts of Epcot's original Imagination attraction and WDW's first Dreamfinder/Figment walkaround
  • Journey Into Your Imagination with Figment
  • Test Track
  • Cinderella's Royal Buffet including "guy talk" with the Prince
  • Our first look at MK's Share A Dream Come True parade
  • My first haircut at MK's Harmony Barber Shop, complete with songs from the Dapper Dans
  • Seeing the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue from the "shelf"
  • Driving straight home rather than stopping overnight: This was a first for the 3 of us all together, but Carol and I had done it years ago before Michael was born.
Weather during our vacation: After starting off on our first day with some scattered showers and downpours, followed by mostly sunny skies, the first half of our vacation was quite hot and very sunny, but we knew a June vacation in central Florida would be. We would just melt in the middle of the day so we'd come back to our cabin and check the Weather Channel to see it was 96° -- hot as blazes!
:devil:  We'd enter the parks each morning and immediately sweat would be pouring off our scalps and over our faces. But it was fun. It seems like your aches and pains go away once you're in the park. Carol got in the habit of bringing wash cloths with her from the cabin and just wiping them over her face and brow to get the sweat off. Around 2 each afternoon it was so hot and draining we'd go back to the cabin where we'd grill burgers or hot dogs or have something from our bought-for-the-trip crock pot -- and one time we grilled our own steaks. We hit on a strategy of having supper in the middle of the afternoon at our cabin. We'd cool off, take a swim, a shower/change clothes if you wanted to, and then head back to the parks.

On the last days of our vacation it cooled down a little thanks to the rain showers and skies being overcast. That ruled out the possibility of going to see a Disney movie at the campfire program, however. We were too busy to do it during the first half of our vacation when the weather was cooperating, and then couldn't do it later when we wanted to because of all the rain and thunderstorms.

Next up: Our journey begins.


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mickeysdad Offline

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Posted: Sep. 14, 2003 9:08 am/pm Quote

Hey, Rich.  How long is the drive from New Orleans, anyway?

 :coonskin:


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RichKoster Offline

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Posted: Sep. 14, 2003 9:22 am/pm Quote

We live on the northshore of Lake Pontchartrain, north of New Orleans -- plus we had stops along the way (and a major detour on our way to WDW) -- so I'll give you the estimate from the center of New Orleans to WDW, travelling along I-10 to I-75, then south on I-75 to Florida's Turnpike, etc. to WDW.

Mapquest estimates that would be about 640 miles and take about 10 1/2 hours, depending on driving conditions and road construction (not counting stops for gas/meals/restrooms).
:coonskin:

For us, due to a detour we needed to take to avoid major traffic tie-ups that I-10 construction was causing at the LA-MS border at that time, our actual number of miles between home and WDW, counting stops & detours, was 671 miles. The actual driving time for us on the way there was 9 hours, 42 minutes (without stops). When we add in the time for travelling over there with stops for gas, snacks & meals, restroom breaks, and shopping at the official Disney Information Center in Ocala, Florida (but not counting the stop overnight for the motel), our elapsed time was 13 hours, 25 minutes .
:o


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RichKoster Offline

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Posted: Sep. 18, 2003 3:35 am/pm Quote

Thursday, 6/12/03: Our Journey Begins
o/~ "I'm going to Disney World" o/~


We left home at 11:20 am in our Honda Minnie-van, driving along I-12 East. It was raining lightly when we left and the skies were cloudy. There were some heavy downpours along the way, but most of the time it didn't rain.

A quick bite for lunch: We got a late start so we knew we had to eat lunch quickly. We had already gotten off the interstate because massive construction delays on I-10 at the Louisiana-Mississippi state line had traffic backed up even onto I-12 near Slidell. So while driving past a Subway sandwich shop in Slidell we got some quick subs (even used a discount coupon! ) and we ate quickly in the car then after I wolfed down my sandwich I started driving again, even before everyone else was totally finished. The detour added many miles and extra time on the road to our first day, but we got to see a scenic, non-interstate route through parts of Louisiana and Mississippi for a change. Once we got back on the interstate in Mississippi we made good time again.

Penny for your thoughts: In Baldwin County, Alabama, Carol found a penny while we were getting gas. More to add to the treasury for penny wishes at WDW!

The most surprising thing about our journey to WDW: We were pleasantly surprised when we stopped for supper at Cracker Barrel in Tallahassee, Florida, because we were seated immediately and served our food very quickly. We stopped to eat at 6:59 pm and left at 7:45 pm.

A pleasant greeting: We arrived at the Hampton Inn in Lake City, Florida, to stay for the night. It was 10 hours and 2 minutes after leaving home that morning and of that time 6 hours and 54 minutes was driving time. When we got into the room ( #118 ) at 9:30 pm, a personalized welcome letter was waiting for us from the manager of the place. That was a nice touch. We had one king size bed and a sofa bed. All of us were ready to hit the sack. We relaxed while watching a TV show about the volcano in Hawaii on the Discovery Channel. That would have been very fitting to see on our April trip when we stayed at the Polynesian Resort! At 10 pm Carol and I had already drifted off to sleep, so our DS Michael turned the TV off himself then we all dozed until early the next morning.

Friday, 6/13/03: Up before dawn
It does not look like morning...


At 4:30 am, Carol and I made coffee in the room, ironed clothes, and watched TV quietly while DS Michael was still asleep. At 5:25 am Michael woke up, and watched Animal Planet's Funniest Animals on TV while we all got dressed and ready for the day.

From 6:40 am to 7:45 am we ate the complimentary Hampton Inn breakfast. Carol and I finally had enough coffee so we all drove away from Lake City.

Next stop: Ocala! At 9:10 am we got gas for $1.479/gallon in Ocala, FL, at Gator's Chevron -- but we didn't see any gators. Instead we went to Disney's Official Information Center (also known as the Disney Welcome Center) at 9:20 am. Carol found 3 coffee mugs that she had thought about getting on our last trip. Now they were at clearance prices so she bought the 3 coffee mugs she wanted at $5.99 each.

Movin' right along... We paid our $1.00 toll at the first FL Turnpike tollbooth at 10:35 am, exiting to US 27 which we took to Highway 192.

The worst/best things about our journey: We saw a few very bad accidents during the trip to WDW and the trip back home. We were particularly thankful when we didn't get into an accident on I-75 the day we were heading home: A lot of cars bunched up, hit their brakes, and came to a complete stop soon afterward in the northbound lanes on the interstate. I was allowing plenty of room ahead of our van because I had a dream the night before about something like that happening... So I was being especially careful that day. In spite of that harrowing experience, it was a great thing to get home safely in one day rather than stopping overnight. But it took leaving first thing in the morning and not being tempted to go to one last park or do any shopping that morning, which as a family we never managed to do before.

Next report: We arrive at Walt Disney World and head to Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground.


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RichKoster Offline

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Posted: Sep. 19, 2003 3:22 am/pm Quote

Friday, 6/13/03: We arrive at our home in the wilderness and then travel to a galaxy far, far away...

Our first day at Walt Disney World was a partial one because we were arriving and checking in to Fort Wilderness in the middle of the day.

We were all excited to be driving up World Drive, anticipating our first-ever camping vacation at Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground in a cabin. After stopping at the Magic Kingdom toll plaza on the right side and letting the CM know that we were checking into Fort Wilderness, he directed us to the right and said to take the first right turn, then Fort Wilderness would be up the road on our left.

We drove in to Fort Wilderness and eagerly told the guard at the security gate we were checking in that day. He checked a printed list and found our name there, so let us in. After parking right near the doors to the resort lobby. What great theming, both inside and out! We were instantly transported to another place and time, deep in the wilderness long ago. It was 11:35 am when I stepped up to the front desk and was checked-in by a woman CM named Vern. She said we could have our requested loop but we'd either have to wait for a cabin near the pool and laundry building or take one a few cabins away which we could have right then. We decided to take the one that was ready. Everything went smoothly, and after we briefly admired the log cabin theming inside the lobby we got back in our Minnie-Van at 11:47 am and drove to loop 2500, Cedar Circle and found our wilderness cabin, #2518 on the left side of the one-way road. Cedar Circle is indeed right next to the pool and laundry building -- and our cabin was only a short walk away from the pool.

Next: A tour of our cabin!


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RichKoster Offline

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Posted: Sep. 19, 2003 3:29 am/pm Quote

Note: The video files here use RealPlayer, which you'll need to play back these sound and video movies. There is a free version of RealPlayer here.

This is not streaming video... The movies will first download completely to a temporary area and then RealPlayer will be launched to play the movie.

If you have any problem playing these files and you've installed the current version of RealPlayer, instead of clicking on the movies with your left mouse button, click the right mouse button on the link instead and then save the file to your hard disk and play it using your RealPlayer software from there.

Carol and Michael invite you to tour our Fort Wilderness cabin.



Click here to see Part 1 of the video tour of our Fort Wilderness cabin! In this part you get a tour of our wilderness neighborhood and the exterior of our cabin.


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RichKoster Offline

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Posted: Sep. 19, 2003 3:37 am/pm Quote

Get a cook's tour of the fully-equipped kitchen in our cabin.



Click here to see Part 2 and take a tour of our kitchen!


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RichKoster Offline

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Posted: Sep. 19, 2003 4:07 am/pm Quote

There's plenty of room for the family to relax.



Click here to see Part 3 and see what the family room has to offer!


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RichKoster Offline

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Posted: Sep. 19, 2003 4:10 am/pm Quote

A full-size bed plus bunkbeds are found, where else? -- in the bedroom!



Click here to see Part 4 and take a tour of the cabin's bedroom.


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Posted: Sep. 19, 2003 4:22 am/pm Quote

This may be the wilderness, but don't worry -- there's indoor plumbing!



Click here to see Part 5 and go into the roomy bathroom.


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36 replies since Sep. 14, 2003 7:28 am/pm < Next Oldest | Next Newest >

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