Yesterday was a stay at home day after our 2-day whirlwind trip to the Venice, Florida area to visit with Steve and Karen. We got up a bit earlier this morning than we have been lately and were on the road by 8 AM. Our destination this time was Fort Wilderness at Walt Disney World in Buena Vista, Florida. The purpose of the trip was to visit Pat and Vickie Lintner, friends and fellow Prevost owners from our FMCA Great Lakes Converted Coaches chapter.
Walt Disney World is just southwest of Orlando and about 100 miles southeast of Williston. We decided to take US and FL highways on the drive down return by way of the Florida Turnpike and I-75. We stopped at a Dunkin Donuts south of Ocala for coffee and bagels and arrived at the overflow/visitor parking area for Fort Wilderness around 11 AM. We had to pass through two gates to get to this parking lot, but each time we simply told them we were visiting campers at FW and they let us through without having to pay. I phoned Pat and a few minutes later he and Vickie picked us up and gave us a driving tour of the campground on the way to their campsite.
Linda had been to Walt Disney World many years ago when our children were very young and stayed at Fort Wilderness in my parents’ motorhome. We were there together in the early 2000’s when Linda had a professional development seminar at the Swan hotel near Epcot. That was my one and only visit to WDW prior to today.
Like everything at WDW, Fort Wilderness is a really nice campground. It’s divided up into sections, each with its own loop road. The roads are narrow and winding, but the campsites are all angled so that even 40 foot motorhomes can back in easily to the paved sites. There is extensive landscaping between the sites which, combined with the twisting roads, affords a lot privacy. But there was only room for one car at each site, which is why Pat had us leave our car in the parking lot. The common areas include playgrounds, bathrooms, shops, and restaurants, all done to be visually consistent with the Fort Wilderness theme.
The weather was light drizzle with temperatures in the mid-40’s and enough breeze to create a wind-chill factor, but we decided to go explore WDW anyway. I did not, however, take my camera. The photos in this post were provided by Vickie Lintner (thanks Vickie!). From FW you can use the WDW transportation system, specifically the boats and monorail, to visit most of the hotels that are spread around the property free of charge. We never entered any of the actual theme parks, which required the payment of an admission fee.
When we got to the Polynesian Hotel we decided to have lunch. Pat had checked in advance and been told that any of the restaurants at WDW would make vegan dishes on request even if they were not on the menu. Before being seated, the chef came out to talk with us and made some recommendations for vegan dishes he could prepare. We ended up ordering a Pan Asian Noodle dish with tofu, and some100% Kona coffee, both of which were excellent.
We were a bit chilled by the time we got back to their coach, so Pat turned on the cube heater and we huddled under some throws to warm up. While Vickie began preparing dinner Pat drove us to one of the other campground sections to visit with David and Marie Ross. David and Marie had spent two nights at Williston Crossings visiting with us before going to Fort Wilderness to meet up with Marie’s sister and her husband for a week. We got to meet them too and had a nice, but brief visit, before Pat returned to fetch us for dinner.
Vickie made a (vegan) butternut squash soup from scratch using her Vita-Mix and it was very good. We learned about the Vita-Mix on our first Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise. They are so powerful that you can make soup in them, not just blending ingredients, but heating them to boiling hot. Following the soup course we had potatoes and mixed vegetables.
After dinner we drove to Downtown Disney, the shopping, eating, entertainment center of WDW. We followed Pat but Vickie road with us to make sure we got there. The weather had moderated a bit and there were a lot of people there, but we enjoyed walking the grounds and window shopping. By 8 PM we were back at our cars. Pat and Vickie led us to the entrance to the toll road, made a U-turn, and headed back to FW as we got on the highway and started for Williston.