Trip Report 2 Broke Guys & A Dog get Ft Wilderness Cabin Fever (but not COVID-19!)

Yes, yes, it's been awhile. Yes, I'm still sitting on all of our 2019 trip reports. (Great stuff happened - take my word for it!) It will be fun to write those (eventually) because they are from a world before this world we couldn't have imagined at the time - so many WDWmagic meet & greets without masks or elbow bumps. I'll get to writing those eventually, but it's a big commitment of time, and I don't have so much of that lately. (That means - sigh of relief - business is good. It also means when business was bad/closed in the Spring, I worked more than ever and had even less time! If I was Waiting To Exhale, this little WDW trip I'm about to detail was that wonderful and much needed expulsion of a very deep breath.)

Who:

Me: Tony (bad pic in avatar. Will replace with a pic from this trip when done.)

Husband: Brian (I'm sure he'll love this candid shot.)
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Dog: Kylie. (Fresh pic just for this TR, posed about 30 seconds ago. 58 pounds of German Shepherd/Chow Chowness.)
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Where: Walt Disney World Fort Wilderness Cabins (first time staying here! Booked last year but changed before going. Yes, they take pets!)

When: September 29-ish to October 2.

Why: hey, it's my day off, I can type whatever I want! Warning: it's short - really short - although if you know us, you know most of our trips are about that short. This time, it's a lot less jam-packed. But I'm telling ya, this trip was just what the doctor ordered.
 

Tony the Tigger

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
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A little backstory with hopefully not too much downer-ism.

Our last trip to the World was at one of our usual times of year, around the time of my bday (August 31) and our wedding anniversary (September 8) in 2019. (We actually timed it badly last year and our passes expired the day before our actual anniversary LOL - but I'll write all about that in the appropriate TR.)

We let our AP's expire as we always do, and then we take up to a year off before buying the new one (efficiency!) This time, we were saving up Chase Disney Visa points for our first Disney Cruise instead of AP's, which we hoped to do this year around our special week, and then go park-heavy for the 50 year celebration (since Brian and I both turn 50 in 2021 as well. So many good things came to be in 1971! (We even started a pre-TR for the cruise.) Little did we know...

COVID brought financial uncertainty (I own two stores which ended up closed by the government for almost two months, and Brian was laid off in March) and personal concern (he has diabetes, I have asthma, we were both high risk and doing grocery deliveries to make ends meet.) My Grandma in NJ (my most special person in the world) passed away in July, and I couldn't go to the service because of a quarantine on Floridians.

When the business loans finally came through and we realized we weren't going under or losing the house, I couldn't help thinking a WDW "take me away" moment would help. I wasn't sure if I'd want to mar my happy place with masks and what not, but TR's from @Tuvalu and others made me think it was worth a shot.

In the meantime, Brian started nursing school, and his Dad had a pretty bad stroke. He's been in and out of the hospital since, and Brian is with him right now - he picked his Dad up from a rehab facility this morning and is spending at least a few days at the house with him. (The side story of the brothers wresting control of medical decisions from the stepmother - whose BFF was Dad's primary care doctor - was like a season of Dallas - classic Dallas, not reboot Dallas.)

It was during Dad's latest trip to the hospital, I realized if we didn't take a break now, it wouldn't happen until next year (because Brian would be F/T taking care of Dad, and I would be immersed in the retail holiday season.) As you all know, it's been an incredibly stressful year in general. I felt a little bad even thinking about us when this was going on with my FIL, but I knew it was important to take care of us as well. We could rest up, and then come home ready to attack the last bit of 2020.

We wouldn't even go to any parks...well, that was the original plan...

MWAAAA HAHAHAHAAAA!!
 

Tony the Tigger

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Here's where the usual rationalization began:

We had points - plenty of points. We probably would hardly ever go to Disney if we didn't have points (2 Broke Guys, I'm tellin' ya.) So this trip wouldn't cost much of anything. We knew it would be short, and it would have to be relatively on the fly. I started floating days (for the following week!) And I almost booked Tuesday, but then B's Dad was supposed to get out of the hospital and we weren't sure where he was going. It would have been a bad time to leave, just in case.

We could have just booked POP! and tried to keep some points banked. But - we were going to relax and enjoy some nice digs. We had no intention of going to parks, just relax, have a nice fancy schmancy meal or two, and enjoy the Disney bubble. And how could we leave that pooch home? She was recently recovered from a paw injury, and we didn't want to leave her home with the sitter. Plus we just wanted her around! So I checked for the FL resident deals to see what was available - and there was the perfect answer:

The Cabins at Fort Wilderness! I had booked one of these last year, and I don't remember why we changed it, but we changed it - I think to CBR and added an extra day (see how that happens?) I'll have to refresh my memory when I do the 2019 TR's LOL. We had never been, but I had read up on it, I knew they took pets, and - could this be any better: it's a private cabin - no people interaction - no passing people in hallways, no breathing air other people are breathing, no risk of inadvertently bumping into anyone. I love this!!!

And somehow they were available on 2 days' notice with FL resident discount. (Good lookin' out, Grandma!)
 

Tony the Tigger

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
And nobody's here yet. (Maybe I blocked too many people in the Politics sub-forum?) :hilarious:

Anyhoo, Dad's transfer went off without a hitch on Tuesday. So...we did a classic us, and decided to drive up Tuesday night, nice and late when there's no traffic, and then in the morning, we'd already be there! This seemed like such a good idea at the time. :cautious: (Hopefully our trend of getting early "room ready" texts would continue. When I checked in, I put an arrival time of 9AM.)

In most of these "classic us" scenarios, we had planned long before, and we had packed, and just had to jump in the car and go. In this case, we didn't think we were going up on Tuesday - we were not packed, I had a little work to wrap up, etc. Lo and behold we manage to get into the car sometime between 10-10:30 PM. We arrived at a La Quinta after 1AM.
 

Tony the Tigger

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Switching to the phone because we are sorely lacking pics so far.

La Quinta was La Quinta. It’s cheap, it’s Kylie-friendly, it was the one near Universal. We stopped at the Wendy’s (I never eat that) on the corner even though I clearly told Brian I saw a BK on the other corner which at least has Impossible Burgers but he apparently “didn’t hear me.”

We all went right to sleep. And first thing in the morning:
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Woooooooooooooooo hoo!!

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Tony the Tigger

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I love it when we get the room texts early! I was so excited, I could barely walk the mutt. I was glad it had already warmed up from the night before - we had a little chilly walk upon arrival at 1AM!

Now, La Quinta always had a little (kinda weak) breakfast offering. 🥚 I remembered Brian mumbling something last night about it being a “to go bag” now because of COVID. He asked if I had been down to get it. I hadn’t, so I went - after joking about the usual hard boiled 🥚 they typically offer.

Oh, what I would have given for an egg. Here was the to go breakfast bag:

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Whaaaaaa?! And not a thing Brian can eat (unless it’s an emergency.) But I didn’t throw them away, because who knew if I’d get drunk on Crown Vanilla (which I may have brought from home) and want some cookies (which I normally don’t eat!)

Who cares? Look where we are ten minutes later:

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Tony the Tigger

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Now, I remind you - this was a no park trip. Heck, it was only two nights (three if you count La Quinta, and we kind of do. It's not home and there's no work LOL.)

But...

I was looking for places to eat. ADR's were at first a little hard to spot - we were limited to Disney Springs and resorts, some places haven't reopened yet, and those that have opened had limited seating. I knew I wanted a splurge meal. We really needed a splurge meal! And I could afford it with points! I narrowed the search to "fine dining" and "signature dining." Very few options. Todd English at the Swolphin doesn't take points. The BOAThouse...now, I had heard that was good, had never been, it's kinda pricey - OK, that can work! They had availability at an odd time, but so what. And maybe we'd even do that amphibious car thing - something we'd normally never do. But hey, we weren't going to any parks, and it's all on points, so why not? It's only $125 for...20 minutes...hmm...

But a park ticket is only like a hundred bucks, and that's for a whole (relatively speaking) day, right? Hmm...

Brian tried to get me to "chill out and go with the flow" but Brian is not on this site and has no idea about reserving a park or how fast things will fill up and then we'd be left with nothing but (gasp!) Paradiso 27 (again!) (shudder!)

In the meantime, we found our cabin. Prepare for picture dump:
 

Tony the Tigger

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
It was so cute. So cute! Separate bedroom, nice open kitchen/dining area/living room. There was no “roughing it” about it. This was #glamping for real.

It was clean (remotes in baggies, yay!) but I still did the once over with my Lysol spray and wipes. (More so than I used to before Covid!)

Kylie liked the deck.
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Although I had bypassed check-in with old magic bands, I now had to go visit the front desk to see about park tickets and doggie stuff.

This was the morning after all the layoffs were announced. I felt so bad for everyone - the CM who helped me that morning seemed fairly certain he was safe, but also gave me an earful about how they were going to end up getting caught short handed when the guests inevitably flood back all at once after Covid and they don’t have time to train anyone. 🤷🏻‍♂️

We had two days, and today was a rest day. All parks were available, but if we only had tomorrow for parks, as much as I wanted to finally do Star Wars, it would be a big letdown if we didn’t get boarded. I remembered Ms. Tu had mentioned a mini food & wine at Epcot, and that’s our jam.

This would require a visit for Miss Kylie to Best Friends Pet Care. When I had called the night before, they only had a “Villa” available. ($100.) I called from the cabin, and her usual indoor/outdoor day care suite had opened up! ($40ish.) “Everything’s going my way.”

I picked up two tickets for Epcot, and paid the puppy fee for the cabin (and got another little Pluto kit. 💕)
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Tony the Tigger

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
On the way “home,” I stopped at the merch shop. Passed by some folks on the horseback tour.

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Also passed by some deer, but my pic ended up just being trees, so here’s a stock photo of some deer.
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That’s pretty close to what I saw, as far as you know.

This info was posted outside the shop, which had only about 3 parking spaces with 15 minute parking signs on them.

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Spoiler alert: we did none of these things. 🤣 Come on, we had one day plus one park day! And I’d find something out shortly that made matters worse...

In the meantime, I saw the new Minnie dog collars to replace Kylie’s old Minnie dog collar.
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Ug-ly. Not for my princess. Pass. She’s not Cardi B!

Passed on this but thought it was a fun reference:
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All the “2020” themed merch was half price - but who the heck wants to memorialize that?

Thankfully, I found the perfect Christmas ornament before my 15 minutes were up - and got a nice FL resident discount on it. (Everything I was missing with my AP discount, we got anyway with the new FL discounts - including the room rate.) I only bought one, but here’s an army of them:
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Love it! Can’t wait to add it to our “vacation Christmas tree in about 6 weeks.

Back to the cabin with my score, and boy, was I hungry.
 

Tony the Tigger

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
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Tony the Tigger

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Going on 4-5 hours sleep (kind of like now!) I was looking forward to that whole "resting" thing. I got comfy on the sofa - and then promptly remembered how hungry I was. So was Brian. (No breakfast.) Naturally, we did our customary welcome shot of Crown Royal Vanilla. We had the Disney info channels on in the background, and I took out my phone to find food at the resort, as Brian started to doze off while sitting up in a chair.:D

There were 2 or 3 (I think one was closed?) places to eat, but only one had mobile ordering - P & J's. Unfamiliar with the resort, I took my usual 365 days to pick out what to order (even though there was a pulled pork sandwich on the menu, and you knew I was going to get the pulled pork sandwich.) I placed the order and paid with my rewards card. It was a modest $20+ dollars total. Knowing I couldn't be far from the restaurant, wherever it was, I clicked to indicate I was already there, figuring by the time I get there, it would be ready. Easy peasy!

I'm not going to say everything I experienced and did in the next paragraphs was cool. OK, none of it was cool. But - little sleep, no food, a delicious shot of Crown Royal Vanilla (am I getting royalties yet?) on an empty stomach - and I was hangry with a twist and a shot. Have you ever noticed - getting stressed makes that worse? But why would I get stressed?

One of the first things someone on this site told me when I said I had booked the cabins was a kind of cryptic "rent a golf cart. It will be easier to get around." I had seen the golf cart lot on the way in. Didn't see a posted price (are they free? I still don't know.) But why would we need a golf cart? We were only here for two nights, we had Brian's car, which is only a little bigger than a golf cart, and that had done me just fine so far in getting to the cabin, checking in, and shopping. I figured they were mainly for people without cars who had flown in, etc.

I'm not the best with directions, but I used the WDW app map to guide me to the restaurant (quick serve?) Turns out it was kind of far - the complete opposite end of the resort. But the route kind of dead-ended. I saw where it should be, and it looked like it was there on the other end of a lot, but how do you get in? I saw a couple of golf carts go in via a space too small for the car, and got that sinking feeling. Could it be? No way - it's the only mobile order place...I started driving back and forth, and around in circles trying to find a way into the area where the food was. I got the update on my phone that our food was ready. I was starving now. Could I park in one of these empty spaces and walk over to get it? Didn't seem right. They were trailer lots. What if someone came back or checked in? Could I park on the side of the road? Didn't seem prudent. What were these people thinking of me as they saw me drive back and forth, stubbornly, about 10 times?

Not knowing what else to do, I called the resort from the car. I figured I must be missing the entrance. There had to be an entrance - it's the only place with mobile ordering. A gentleman answered the phone, and I explained I had placed an order for food but didn't know how to get it, and how silly that must sound. He asked if the delivery driver was at the check-in building. What? No, I ordered using your mobile app. P & J's.

"Oh, you can't bring your car there."

What? But my food is ready and I'm right here. What am I supposed to do?

"Go back to your cabin and take a bus back."

:cautious::bored::jawdrop::facepalm::brb::jawdrop:

Seriously? But my food is ready now. That will take ten minutes to drive back if I don't get lost, fifteen to twenty more to wait for a bus, ten to fifteen to get back, and my food will be old by then. Pulled pork, where are you?! I'm coming, baby!!

But I wasn't coming. I knew that wouldn't work after doing the math. Reluctantly, I asked how to just get a refund instead, and I'd have to figure out something else.

"Oh, I can't give you a refund." OK, how do I get a refund? "From the venue." OK, how do I contact P&J's? "You can't." OK, how do I let them know I need a refund? "You tell them." HOW DO I TELL THEM IF I CAN'T PARK AND CAN'T CALL?

"You drive back to your cabin and take a bus back."

:jawdrop::facepalm::jawdrop::facepalm::jawdrop::jawdrop::jawdrop:!

:jawdrop:!!!

Just for the refund? "Yes."

I'm sorry, I need a supervisor. "Blah blah blah..." No, I need a supervisor. Supervisor comes on the phone. I explain what is going on, I constructively suggest if there was any messaging anywhere - in the app, on the info flyer, anywhere - to say this venue was inaccessible by car, that would have worked and I would have ordered elsewhere. I said I could not believe what I was experiencing right now lol. We just wanted lunch, I thought this would have been simple. I said I was sorry for sounding "like this." She said she could do the refund. (Woo hoo!) Not my preferred resolution (pulled pork!) but thank you, I'll take it! Turned out she over-refunded on purpose. So that covered most of our parking fees. I actually told her, no really, it was in the $20 range, there was no reason to do any more than an exact refund - but I took too long fumbling in the app while driving to find the exact amount, and in the meantime, she had already credited me $50.

I found my way back to the room, walked in and told Brian, "Well, I have no food. But I have a story. But first, I'm pouring."
 

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