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Trip Report ***COMPLETED*** Happy Howdyween - September 2019

Hello friends, and welcome to another J and K trip report! Since we’re all stuck at home with no word on when the Disney parks will reopen, I thought I would bring you all along to relive the magic of our last WDW trip. After all, this is WDW Magic, and you all have only seen J and I go to Disneyland together.

Who: Myself (Katie) and my husband and Disney travel partner, Jason. We are WDW Annual Passholders (technically only I am at the moment), and Georgia peaches. We have been to WDW together 11 times since our initial trip for our first wedding anniversary in 2014.


When: September 7th-11th, 2019

Where: Fort Wilderness! Hence the title, Happy HOWDYween!

Why: MNSSHP, Food and Wine, and seeing Galaxy’s Edge for the first time

Since it’s been 8 months since this trip, I don’t remember everything, so I’ll have to use my photos and Instagram stories from this trip to try to fill in the gaps in my memory. I hope that reliving this trip will help tide me over until we can be back in The World, and that I can help some of you who are also going through Disney withdrawals!


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
September 7th - Travel Day

This part will be word-heavy...sorry in advance. But if you like drama...hold on to your hats, ladies and gents.

We awoke around 4:15 am after a very restless night’s sleep. We always say we’re going to go to bed super early the night before Disney, but we never do. Plus, it’s hard to sleep when you’re so excited! The night before, we had taken Max (our dog) over to my parents’ house, where he stays when we’re out of town. They have a dog around the same size as him who is his best buddy, and my mom spoils him with walks every day, so he likes going over there. After dropping Max off and grabbing dinner, we finished up some last-minute packing and hit the hay, I want to say around 9:00-9:30. The next morning, 4:15 rolled around, and we both hit the ground running to get ready and get out the door. We always have a goal to be pulling out of the driveway at 5:00 am sharp. And every trip without fail, Jason is ready before me, and stands behind me, impatiently watching me get ready. I made us 10 minutes late ONE TIME, and he’ll never let me live that one down. At 4:55, I’m ready to go, and we load up the car and are pulling out of the driveway at 4:59. Take that, Jason!

We have always driven to Walt Disney World. We live about 45 minutes north of Atlanta, and we can make the drive in about 7 hours (7.5 with stops). We like the freedom of having a car onsite, and it’s nice to be able to pack as much as we want and buy whatever souvenirs we want without having to worry about fitting everything into a suitcase. The drive is typically pretty uneventful, and we’ve done it so many times now that we no longer need navigation, until we get on Disney property. There have been a couple bumps in the road in years past - a flat tire in November 2015, and heavy traffic due to a wreck on the Florida Turnpike in December 2017, but nothing like what we encountered on this travel day.

Around 6:00 am, we were breezing through Downtown Atlanta around 70 mph. There are always some drivers on the road at that time, but never enough to cause any slow-downs. All of a sudden, I look up and there is a woman, just STANDING in the middle of I-75, in our lane. I yell, “JASON! WATCH OUT! PERSON IN THE ROAD!” and thankfully, he is able to swerve into the next lane in just enough time. As we passed by her, the woman stared at me with this blank look on her face. I don’t think I will ever forget that image. We don’t know if she was strung out on drugs, or mentally disabled, or trying to get herself killed, but we were glad that we missed her. We were both in such shock after that happened that I don’t think either of us said a word for a good 10-15 minutes. We didn’t even think to call 911 until 20 minutes later. I kept checking the news throughout the day to see if anyone had been hit on I-75, but thankfully, it never happened.

Around 7:30, we stopped at Chick-Fil-A in Perry, GA for some breakfast. We have stopped at this Chick-Fil-A every trip since 2014, and we almost always sit in the same booth. Does anyone else have any weird travel-day traditions? For us, it doesn’t feel like a proper Disney trip without the same stops on the way down. Chicken Minis consumed and cold brew coffees in hand, we were back on the road by 8:00. We stopped for gas at the Pilot off Exit 460 in Jasper, FL just across the state line. This is another weird tradition of ours, we always always stop at this same gas station. And every single time, as soon as we get to this gas station, I get the notification on my phone from my Dreamdays app that our trip is today! We filled my car’s tank, emptied ours, and got some drinks for the road.

Around 11:45, we were nearing WDW, and I got a text from Disney Room Alerts. I’ve been psyched out by these texts before, thinking that our room was ready, when it was a text saying that our room “isn’t quite ready,” so I try not to get my hopes up when I see a text from them. This time, our room was ready! This made us even more excited, knowing that we would get to head to our cabin as soon as we arrived. Around 12:30, like clockwork, we were pulling in to Fort Wilderness. It was time for our adventure to begin!

Up next: Checking in to Ft. Wilderness, and cabin photos!


Masked Crazy Cat Lady
Premium Member
OMG gotta love driving around and in Atlanta...it is it's own beast. :banghead:

We, too, live about 45-50 minutes from Atlanta, but northeast...and I totally agree with you on driving! I am originally from PA and used to fly, but I love being able to drive it for all of the same reasons!!


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
OMG gotta love driving around and in Atlanta...it is it's own beast. :banghead:

We, too, live about 45-50 minutes from Atlanta, but northeast...and I totally agree with you on driving! I am originally from PA and used to fly, but I love being able to drive it for all of the same reasons!!
I would take Atlanta traffic any day over someone standing in the road though!
J always having to get a car at the store in the airport!!

As for the lady on the highway--my gosh, I would have been traumatized!! That's scary!!
It was definitely one of the scariest moments of both of our lives! How many airport cars does J have now?
That’s crazy about the lady on the highway! I’m glad you guys missed her!
Seriously wild. Atlanta is infamous for its traffic, but that was definitely the craziest thing I’ve ever seen driving through town.
What a way to start the trip ... you so deserved that room ready text to make up for it!
Right?!? It definitely helped calm our nerves after that crazy incident.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
September 7th - Continued

When I last left off, we had gotten our room ready text just in time for our arrival. Soon enough, we were pulling up at...

Fort Wilderness! Neither of us had stayed here before, but it was a Disney bucket list item for both of us, so we were very excited! Check-In at Ft. Wilderness is a little different, as there are drive-up check-in windows for people in campers/RVs, whereas people staying in cabins go to the reception outpost to check in. We had checked in online, but needed to show ID for our discount, so we headed to the reception outpost upon our arrival.

We got checked in pretty quickly, and got instructions for picking up our sweet ride for the trip. I had reserved a golf cart for all four nights of the trip, which I highly recommend. It’s a little pricey at ~$60/night, but definitely worth budgeting for. No AP discount, unfortunately. I’ll talk more about our golf cart experience in my final thoughts on the trip. Anyway, we headed over to the golf cart pickup area, where they checked our drivers licenses and went through some basic instructions on driving and charging the cart. Soon enough we were on our way, with me driving the cart and J following behind me in my car. J had the map in the car, and I had looked over it before getting in the golf cart, but apparently I didn’t study it long enough, because I drove right past our loop, and took us on a little detour around one of the camper loops...twice. 🤦🏻‍♀️ Whoops!

Eventually, we made it to our loop and to our home for the next few nights!

Our cabin was on the 2700 loop, also known as Heron Hollow. This loop is super close to the main bus stop where you can catch a bus to Epcot, HS, or AK, but wayyyyyy on the other side of the property from the Settlement and the boat launch to MK. We headed in to check out the cabin, unpack, and get some pics...

We intended to hang these lights (it’s hard to tell, but they’re Mickey-shaped) on the porch railing, but we would have needed an extension cord. So, we hung them up in the living room instead.





You’ll have to excuse our stuff in the pics, we like to unpack and get settled in pretty quickly. After we got settled in to the cabin, we were both famished and ready for some lunch. We decided to head out and find something to eat, but first, we needed to deck out our cart...

Fort Wilderness allows guests to decorate their golf carts, as long as you don’t use anything that won’t come off the cart. It’s a good idea to decorate your cart so that it’s easy to find in the golf cart parking lots. Some people really go all out decorating their carts, but since we would only be there for four nights, we decided to keep it simple. Since we were there during Disney Halloween season, we decided to go with a simple Halloween theme for the cart. We tied on some orange and black Halloween garland around the top, and added some purple and orange battery-powered Christmas lights around the posts in the back. Cart decorated, it was time to get some lunch!

Up next: Lunch and our first park of the trip!


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
September 7th - Cont’d

When I last left off, we had just decorated our golf cart, and were ready for some grub. We hopped in the cart and trekked allllll the way to the other side of Ft. Wilderness to the Settlement, where all of the food is located. We ordered some lunch from P&J’s Southern Takeout, which is located adjacent to Trail’s End Buffet. They have a handful of family and individual meals to choose from, as well as some snacks and sweets. We waited out on the porch for about 15 minutes until our food was ready. It was H O T that day, and unfortunately there’s not really any space to wait inside, so we were both glad when our order was ready. We grabbed our food, loaded up the cart, and headed back to the cabin to eat. That’s another thing to note about P&J’s Southern Takeout - the name implies it, but it’s takeout only. There’s no seating inside, so you take your food to go, and you either eat it back at your campsite/cabin, or you could find somewhere on the sprawling property to have a picnic. Back at the cabin, it was time to dig in...

Yum! We got a 2-piece fried chicken meal and a half-slab of ribs meal to split so we could each try some of each meat. Both meals came with two sides, and we both got Mac n cheese and BBQ beans. They also both came with cornbread- if you’re familiar with the cornbread from Hoop Dee Doo, it’s the same one. I still think about that cornbread! We both ate as much as we could and put the rest in the fridge for later. Bellies full, it was time to head out to our first park of the trip!

We hopped in the golf cart and drove the short distance to the main bus stop to catch a bus to Hollywood Studios. It was the middle of the day, so of course buses were few and far between, with the exception of internal buses. The internal bus system at Ft. Wilderness can be a bit confusing, as there are multiple routes, so a common theme of the trip for us was seeing people get on the wrong bus to come right back and get on a different bus. While we were waiting, we admired the horses in the corral. The Tri Circle D Ranch was closed for remodeling during our stay, so seeing horses in the corral was the closest we’d get to visiting the horses during this trip.

We waited about 20 minutes, and our chariot had arrived! It was time to see a whole new land!

We made it to Hollywood Studios, and still had a couple hours to spare before our first FP, so we headed straight back to Galaxy’s Edge. Now if you read my Disneyland trip report from December, you may remember that we briefly visited their Galaxy’s Edge, and it just felt out of place to us. We relate Star Wars so closely to Hollywood Studios, so to see it in quaint old Disneyland just felt wrong. Our reaction to Galaxy’s Edge at HS could not be more different. We walked through the tunnel and both audibly gasped at first site of the land. It seemed HUGE, and it was (is) so incredibly well-themed and detailed. We spent the next several minutes walking around, mouths agape, taking pictures. I’ll stop rambling and post some of those for you now.




We also stopped for some PP photos as well...as you can see, we were both dressed for the occasion!



We were both in awe of Galaxy’s Edge. It had been such a long time since they had announced the land, so to finally see it come to fruition was so exciting!

Up next: Smuggler’s Run and more Batuu


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I’ve always been interested in the cabins at FW. Looks nice!
I’d highly recommend staying there at least once! Fort Wilderness is so different from any other Disney resort, I’d say it’s a destination in itself. The cabins are great for families or couples who want a little more space.

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