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Trip Report Winter Warmth COMPLETE 2/3

Winter Warmth!

Who: Paula and Gary (with parents and aunt and uncle mixed in)

When: January 31-February 13, 2022 (as I am typing this, it is the last day of 2022, so I’m thinking to myself that it could be worse.) When we returned, try as I might, I could not find my planning notebook anywhere. I recently came across it and all my receipts, so with the help of that and my pictures, I am attempting to try a trip report. I did complete a pre-trip report way back when, but have NO idea how to link it here 😉

Where: Fort Wilderness for the first time!

Why: It’s been 5 years since our last trip. Unfortunately, my (now) DH does not love Disney as much as I do, so although he really does enjoy it when we’re here, and the Fort really made an impression, he doesn’t feel the pull I do ☹. However, he does like to get away from the cold and snow and agreed to this trip because after the Disney portion, we are heading to the Daytona 500.

Without further ado: TRAVEL DAY!

We left Northeast PA the morning of January 29 and headed south pulling our 5th wheel camper. It was a balmy 18 degrees, and I froze as we hooked up! Spirits were high as we pulled out and were on our way around 9 am. I packed lunch as we haven’t pulled the camper on a trip this far and knew there were some places that wouldn’t be easy to pull in and out of. We stopped at the VA rest stop around 1:30.

We saw snow until we hit South Carolina!

We stopped in South Carolina at a Cracker Barrel for the night. We pulled around the back of the restaurant around 9:30ish. It was about 26 degrees! We knew there had been a cold snap, but jeez!! We stood in the kitchen eating some sandwiches for supper and I said I thought we were going to have to go to bed with all our clothes on, coats included, and take off a layer or two as we warmed up. We only put out the bedroom slide and Gary fired up the furnace. It warmed up quickly and we were asleep soon.

We woke up around 6:30 the next morning, washed up and headed into Cracker Barrel for breakfast. We were pleasantly surprised to find that they serve mimosas at breakfast! (We are from PA and our CB’s do not sell alcohol).

What can I say? We’re easy to impress! 😉

I think we were back on the road by 8:45 or 9 at the latest and finally hit Florida around 12:30!

A stop or two for diesel (ugh) and bathroom and we were in our spot for the night at Tropical Palms by 5:00.

A nice campground not far from Disney property. We got set up, I cleaned the floors in the camper and Gary hosed down the outside. It was a mess from the snow and salt on the roads on the way down. This place was nice for one night. We wanted to get to Florida the night before our reservation so we could get to the Fort first thing in the morning. After we got as settled as we needed to be for one night, we headed out on a ride to see what we could find for dinner. We settled on a Denny’s that was close and wasn’t too busy. After that we headed back and made sure things were ready for the morning.

A few thoughts: This is the first time we’ve (and by that, I mean Gary as he does all the driving) pulled a camper this far from home. We bought this camper the previous October and used it at our Creekside site for 4 weeks until the season was over. So, it was still new to us. The night before we left, we got the camper all loaded up, clothes, toiletries, refrigerator, freezer, and cupboards. We were talking over dinner and Gary mentioned he was a little nervous about the trip. NO!! Don’t tell me that! Because now, I’m nervous too 😊 Well, it was all for nothing. Shortly after we were on the road, he was feeling pretty good, and getting used to pulling 37 extra feet behind him. We had only bought the truck about 6 weeks before and it was a good move on our part. Some nice bells and whistles that made towing a bit easier!


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
Winter Warmth Day 1
Check-In Day!!

I did online check in and said we’d be arriving around 10. We thought we’d wait until we had a text that our site was ready until we headed over to the Fort. It’s about a 20-minute drive. Around 10 or so I got a text that the site was still being prepared. We thought about it and figured we’d get hooked up and head on over and maybe it would be ready when we got there. If not, we would pull aside and wait. Hey, it was a beautiful day, we wouldn’t mind sitting around for a while.

We must have left the campground around 10:20 or so, because we were heading under this sign around 10:40!

And this sign a short 8 minutes later!

I know there aren’t a lot of trip reports that involve the Fort, so if you aren’t interested, feel free to skip around 😉. For those of you that said you're looking forward to a report about the Fort, this will probably be lacking. I can't find pictures of much around the campground. And as I stated earlier, we didn't spend as much time as we would have liked enjoying the Fort. However, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask! Reply here or shoot me a message.

We pulled up to check-in. At Fort Wilderness, you pull up to a station (reminds me of toll booths) and the CM comes to you. He came to my window. Our assigned site was not yet ready, but he said there were others that were ready. He brought a map and explained where they were and helped us decide if we would like to try one of the available sites or wait for the assigned one. We explained it was our first time and he was very helpful. We decided to take one that we could get into now. The CM said that when we got there if we didn’t like it, or if we needed help getting into it, to call the number on the map and someone would come over. We drove over to the site. Everything is well marked. We liked the site and got backed in easily. We were backed in and ready to unhook and get set up by 11:15.

Gary got all the hookups taken care of while I worked on getting things taken care of inside. I think we had some sandwiches for lunch after we were all set up and then walked over to get our golf cart.

This trip was supposed to happen Jan/Feb of 2021, but we decided to postpone a year, due to restrictions from Covid. (We did end up spending a week and a half in FL with a 3-day trip to Disney, but not this “big” trip). When we knew we were really going through with the trip this time, we decided we should rent a golf cart to get around the Fort. I wasn’t thrilled with the prices Disney offered and had read about the option of renting from an off-site renter. I did some research and found a place and price we were very happy with. The ‘problem’ of renting off-site is that they cannot deliver them to you. We would have to drive to meet them (about a 15-minute drive), hook their trailer with the cart up to our truck, drive it to the Fort, unload the cart, then drive the trailer back to them. And then do it all in reverse to return it. We decided it was worth it with the money that was saved.

Rewind to that morning when we were pulling out of the Tropical Palms, I got a text about the golf cart. It was already at the Fort! Someone had it the week before and left it parked there for us. We only had to go get it at the golf cart parking area at the bus stop. Perfect! We took a nice stroll over to get it. Found it with no issue and drove back to our site. We brought a few things along to decorate the cart and soon we were ready to roll!

And roll we did…we headed over to Trail’s End for our 5:15 ADR. Checked in when we arrived around 5 and were seated at 5:10. Kiersten was our server, and she was fantastic! Very friendly and attentive. The food was great! We really enjoyed our dinner there and look forward to going back next trip!


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
Winter Warmth Day 2: Tuesday, February 1, 2022

I will apologize now. For some reason, I didn’t take many pictures. I wanted to. I figured that’s how I would take my ‘notes’ for a trip report. I don’t know what happened. My pictures are lacking, my 58 (very soon to be 59)year old brain is lacking, so I will just do what I can.

First day in the parks! Epcot it is. Gary and I took the golf cart to the bus stop and caught a bus. When we got there we headed to Test Track.

It’s a pretty good crowd for a (Saturday )Tuesday at 9:30…
This is one of Gary’s favorite rides, mine too. And he’s a Chevy guy. Last time we were here, we got Fast Passes (yep, 5 years ago) from a CM where all the new cars are on display because he was wearing his Camaro t-shirt.

We were waiting to meet up with my parents, aunt and uncle. They were on their way from POFQ. (They also drove down from PA after cancelling their train ride. They arrived yesterday afternoon and are staying a week at POFQ.) We decided the line was too long for temporary Mouse Gears, so we headed to Club Cool. I made Gary pose for this to send to our neighbor/friend that works for Coca-Cola.


Shortly after, we met up with the rest of the gang. We headed to my mom’s favorite ride, Soarin’. Then a trip on Living with the Land. We then headed outside and stopped for beer and pretzels before heading to World Showcase. Canada was our first stop and we all enjoyed the movie inside. The next picture I have is of Uncle, Dad and Gary at the fountain in front of the American Adventure while we all enjoyed another beer. That was around 2:15, so we must have taken our time getting there 😊

We headed into the next showing after doing some looking around at the vendors. This was our first visit during the Festival of the Arts. I had seen a picture at the trading post at Fort Wilderness. It was Mickey and Minnie sitting outside of a camper. It was a nice size and a nice price! When Mom, Aunt and I were perusing the booths around AA, I found the same print, a smaller size. Unknown to me, my aunt went back a bought it for me as a gift for planning the trip! Unfortunately, I didn’t know that the artist(if present) will sign them. Had I known that, I would have gone back to the booth. It is now framed and hanging in the camper 😊

We strolled over to Italy as we had a 3:40 ADR for Via Napoli. Since our trip last year, Gary now insists we eat here. I tend to agree 😊. We all ordered our own small(ish) pizzas to share and had a drink.

After our late lunch/early dinner, we continued our way around World Showcase. I know we stopped in Karamel Kuche and got some tasty treats for later. We also visited Mexico and took a ride looking for Donald.

At some point we stopped and got this.

At this point “the elders” (as we refer to them) headed back to POFQ. Gary and I decided to ride Frozen. We were riding standby. I think the line was showing about a 40 minute wait. We decided to hang around for Harmonious and there really wasn’t anything else we wanted to do, so we were okay with that wait. Once we were about half-way through the line, it just stopped moving. We didn’t move for at least 30 minutes! It looked like they were letting the LL lane fill up a bit and then let all of them in without letting anyone in from the standby line. I’m not sure what the issue was, but we toughed it out. It took us 90 minutes ☹.

After that, we headed over to the refreshment port and got a Blood Orange Cosmo and a Bud Lite to hold us over till the show started. We didn’t pick a great place to watch from. Then, during the show there was a woman, probably mid 40’s who decided to get up on the wall to the side of us and dance…poorly. I watched her more than the show, as I was convinced she was going to fall. She did stumble a few times, but eventually sat down. I wasn’t too worried that we had a poor view and I didn’t pay much attention as I was sure we would be back sometime during the next 2 weeks. We didn’t see it again. I’m not too disappointed.

We waited for a few minutes at the bus stop and were able to watch this.

Back to the bus stop, hop in the golf cart and off to bed.


Omnia mutantur, nihil interit
Premium Member
I will apologize now. For some reason, I didn’t take many pictures. I wanted to. I figured that’s how I would take my ‘notes’ for a trip report. I don’t know what happened.

Never Have I Ever No Worries GIF by NETFLIX

I always feel like I’m taking too many pictures during a trip and then realize I actually took too few when doing a TR. Your level of detail is impressive for it being a year ago.

Fort questions- so you can drive a golf cart to the bus stop- is there like a big parking lot for golf carts? Even with decorations is it hard to ID yours?


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
Fort questions- so you can drive a golf cart to the bus stop- is there like a big parking lot for golf carts? Even with decorations is it hard to ID yours?
Yes, parking lots for carts at the main bus stop up front, at the marina where you can catch the boat to MK and restaurants, trading posts, pool...
Due to the fact that we rented off-site, our cart was a different color, so it was very easy to distinguish. The Disney carts were all the same. Generic tan golf carts you see at most golf courses. I think that is another reason (other than holidays) that many people decorate the carts. I'm thinking their carts are numbered also, so you'd be sure to get your own. Many I saw had a name card on the steering wheel, or hanging somewhere on the cart.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
Winter Warmth Day 3 Wednesday, February 2
Animal Kingdom

We met the Elders at Animal Kingdom around 9 and were walking by this beauty around 9:30.

We weren’t headed with the masses to Pandora as we decided FOP was not on our list of must-do’s this trip. (I am not sure I can ride it, as I am claustrophobic. I really want to try it. I know my dad would ride it. He’s 81 and you would never guess it. I think I got my love of riding from him! Gary would probably try it. The rest would set it out.) So, we headed to one of my favorites here, It’s Tough to Be A Bug! I must do this at least once a trip 😊

From there we headed to Dinosaur. Mom and Uncle waited for us outside.
2022-02-02 - Disneys Animal Kingdom Park - DINOSAUR.jpeg

We are in the back row. Everyone loved the trip back in time!

When we met up with the others, I said I thought we should go ahead and mobile order our lunch. The parks were a bit more crowded than we had hoped they would be, and it looked like we would be ready for lunch during peak time. I thought if we went ahead and ordered and picked our preferred time, we’d be assured of eating when we wanted to. It took a few minutes until everyone got their mobile orders placed correctly (first time for them) and we headed off to Kite Tails. On the way we met a PPP.


I know the show doesn’t get much love, but since we’d never seen it before, we all agreed to give it a try.

It was a nice little rest…that was cut short due to the kites crashing…

Since the show was cut short, we had some time to kill before our lunch was ready, so we did a bit of shopping. My dad pointed these out to me. He wouldn’t buy them for me though!


After a few purchases, we headed to Flame Tree BBQ. We had pushed we are here as we started the short walk over and our food was ready within a few minutes. We found seats down towards the water and had a nice, quiet, relaxing lunch. While I can’t tell you exactly what we had, I am sure I had some form of pulled pork. Everyone liked their meals.

We headed to Festival of the Lion King. We had a short wait in line and were let in the theater. The show was great as usual, even without the tumble monkeys. I was ok without them as I really enjoyed the fire twirler!


Up next? Let’s visit some animals on a safari!

Continued in next post...


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
Some Safari pictures...



I know at some point we got in line to ride Navi River journey. This was our first trip since Pandora opened. None of us have seen the movie, (movies now) but we thought it was pretty cool. Although the standby was showing about a 75-minute wait, we were pretty much done with the park for the day and decided to give it a try. We were through the line and off the ride in just under 60 minutes. We all really enjoyed the ride. After that we headed out. The Elder’s were heading back to POFQ for the evening and Gary and I took the bus back to Fort Wilderness.

I don’t have any receipts or notes about dinner, so we may have just had a snack at the camper. I know we had a few beverages and then we headed over to Crockett’s Tavern around 7:00. We ordered drinks at the outside window as the bar is still closed. Gary had the Blackberry Lightning (Ole Smoky Blackberry Moonshine, Minute Maid® Premium Lemonade and fresh Blackberries) and I had a Gullywhumper (Ole Smoky White Lightnin', Bols Peach Schnapps, Pineapple Juice, and Cranberry Juice) YUM!!! We sat on the porch and enjoyed those a bit before walking down to the marina and standing on the beach to watch Enchantment. We saw a decent number of fireworks from this vantage point and they pipe the music in.

After that we headed back to the camper and relaxed a bit before bed. Tomorrow was a rest day for Gary and me. We are here for 13 days but only have 10-day tickets.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
Winter Warmth Day 4:Thursday February 3, 2022

Rest Day! (For Gary and I) The Elders were scheduled for HS with a lunch ADR for 50’s Prime Time.

We got up and ready for our 10:10 ADR at Trail’s End. While Gary was showering, I noticed a flock of turkey in the area behind the camper. Stood there watching them and a few wanted to get friendly.

I was standing right there beside the picnic table. They walked right past me. We headed out on the golf cart a bit before 10 and checked in around 10 for our ADR. Yes, this is the 2nd time in 4 days we have eaten at Trail’s End. And we loved them both! Our server was Lynda. She brought us our drinks and pastries (Mini Muffins, Whole Grain and Butter Croissants and Sticky Buns with Strawberry-Honey Butter) and yogurt (Strawberry Yogurt Parfait with Berry Granola). She told us that her favorite was the sticky buns and we agreed! I saved mine till last and wow. It was all so good, but then the skillet came out! (Breakfast Skillet Pecan-smoked Brisket and Eggs, Mickey-shaped Waffles, Bacon and Sausage and Cheesy Potato Casserole served with Table Syrup) It was all you care to eat. We asked for more brisket and eggs and potato casserole. The restaurant was busy, but the service was top notch. We also felt the quality and quantity of the food was excellent for the price. I see that the price has been raised by $3…won’t stop me 😊

After our lovely breakfast, we carted back to the campsite then headed out to Walmart for a few things we needed.

We invited The Elders over for supper, so we needed to add to what I had planned for the 2 of us. They (not surprisingly since I wasn’t there with them) didn’t do a whole lot at HS and caught a bus from there to the Fort. They texted us when they were dropped off at the bus stop and we went to pick them up. We couldn’t all fit in the golf cart, so Gary took Mom, Aunt and Uncle back to the camper and Dad and I started to walk. It was nice walking and showing my dad some of the Fort. Gary did come back and pick us up, so we didn’t have to walk the whole way.

We took turns taking them for rides around the Fort. Then we ate and Mom, Aunt and I played a card game.


Around 8:00 we loaded them up in the truck and I drove them back to POFQ. It was at this point that we realized (I mean we knew, but an occasion hadn’t occurred till now) that the console in the front seat of our truck cannot fold up accommodate 3 people in the front seat. I was confident that with the GPS in the truck, I could navigate correctly, and I was successful!

Tomorrow we’re off to Disney Springs and finally, Magic Kingdom!


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
Winter Warmth Day 5:Friday February 4, 2022

Our original plans were to head to MK this morning with an ADR for The Diamond Horseshoe for 12:25. Earlier in the week, I thought that perhaps we would visit Disney Springs this morning and I was able to get a 3:20 spot for a late lunch/early dinner. I typically like to visit Disney Springs first thing in the morning and try to avoid it on the weekends when possible. This turned out to be a good decision. We planned on meeting the Elders at DS between 9:30 and 10:00. Gary and I were on a bus around 9:20.

They beat us there and they were adamant about getting to Gideon’s for some cookies. I told them they’d better get in line. By the time we walked over there, the four of them were in line with about 20-30 people in front of them. We gave them our order and went to set on a bench 😉. It didn’t take long for the line to start moving and I’m sure it was around half an hour until it was their turn to enter. My uncle decided to wait with us. After they made their purchases, we roamed around a bit stopping here and there on our way to Everglazed. Gary and I really like the donuts here and treat ourselves. We both got the same that we got on our first trip last year. Maple Double Bacon for me and Peanut Butter Explosion for Gary. I don’t remember what the rest got. We found a table at Splitsville and enjoyed some drinks (it was 11:52 by then!) I had been telling Mom and Aunt about the great Frose I had there last year. Of course you know what happened when I asked for it. ☹ So I had a Frozen Rum Runner and Gary a Strawberry Margarita. I think everyone else got frozen drinks as well. It was hot and sunny, so those drinks felt good.

We then headed over towards World of Disney. That might be the only other place we shopped today. We all headed back to our respective “rooms”, dropped off our packages and freshened up and planned to meet at the Magic Kingdom.

Gary and I arrived at the marina at the Fort at 1:27

And were seeing this lovely site at 1:54!

We must have breezed through the tapstyles and got under the train station in time to see Gaston at 2:00.

I have to assume he was part of a cavalcade, but this is the only picture I have…

It looks like we headed towards Tomorrowland and stopped by Monsters Inc. for a few laughs. I really enjoy this attraction. When the boys were little, they always enjoyed texting a joke and seeing if it would get read during the show. This time, Aunt was on the big screen!

(Not a great picture) I think we visited John and the gang at COP before we headed over to Liberty Square. Just as we hit the Hub, we heard the music begin for a Cavalcade.

Obligatory picture of the castle as we were waiting to get through.

(Can't get all today's pics in this post...continued)


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