April 24th- May 3rd, 2017
Walt Disney World : Orlando, Florida
I have read that this place can be busy most of the year but in my research crowds are measurably lower after Easter and early May. Perfect timing for our April trip east. Disneyworld has a large and highly rated campground on property, Fort Wilderness. Although it is pricey for an RV park it is quite a bit less then staying at any other resort property at Disney. I also read if you wanted one of their larger premium sites you should book early. I made our reservations in December and had no problem getting a site.
When we arrived it was pretty quiet and other then a Friday, Saturday or Sunday visiting Disney in late April or early May I expect one would have no problem getting a site here, even last minute. We should have had mild temperatures but a warm front moved in and it was unusually hot and humid.The good thing is it made the water attractions a welcome relief.
Back to our campground, the check in process went very smoothly, you do don't even have to get out of your RV. I read that you could request sites ahead of time by faxing in 2 weeks before arrival but I chose not to and take our chances. I also knew if you didn't like your site it was pretty easy to get a change. There is a handy app Fort Wilderness Sites by Fort Fiends.net that was helpful. We did not have a site assigned when we arrived; the agent just gave us various sites that were available to choose from. I had a list ahead of time of which sites I wanted, they weren't available but I could look up the sites on the app and see site length, width and difficulty rating on the back in maneuver. All the sites are back in. They have several loops that are pet friendly and easily accessible to transportation boat or buses by walking or using the internal bus system. We chose loop 500 and were in site #524. Nice and long and an average back in rating. We had no problem getting in and out of the site. The campground is well maintained and the premium loops all are full hook-up. There are comfort stations through out the park for those tent camping and who may need bathroom facilities. Not all of the premium loops have comfort stations since most of these sites are for the bigger class A motorhomes who have bathrooms. Our loop 500 did have a comfort station. There was a bus stop just outside of our loop where you could pick up one of the internal buses that would take you to the boat dock or to the outpost where you could pick up the buses that go to each of the parks.
|Our site #524|
|Plenty of room to hang out|
I also was able to take advantage of a ticket package they were offering, the 4 park Magic ticket for $279.00/person, a $71 savings. This ticket had limitations, it only allowed us to visit each park once. There are 4 parks at Disney: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studio, and Animal Kingdom. So this was perfect for us to visit all the parks. It included Fast Pass access since we were staying at a Disney property. Staying at a Disney property allows you to choose 3 fast passes to each resort 60 days ahead of arrival. Once you use those you can get same day fast passes at the parks. Everything can be done using the Disney app or by kiosks throughout the park. We didn't do a park to park add on, one park a day was enough for us.
This brings me to transportation, Disney is huge and these parks are not close together. Other than Magic Kingdom and Epcot, plan that transportation from the campground to the other resorts will take away from the time spent at the park. We wanted to check on the dogs once during the day to walk and feed them and go back to the park in the evening. We went to Magic Kingdom our 1st day and could walk to the boat and be dropped of at the entrance. Very easy and didn't take a lot of time, maybe 30 minutes at the most. On our 2nd day Epcot was a little longer but still a boat ride and then the monorail. Getting back was at least an hour because of timing connections for the monorail and the boat, they don't run as frequently during the day.
Mike ended up driving the car back to Epcot which took him only 20 minutes. We read that Hollywood and Animal Kingdom were even further and buses don't start until 8:30am which gives you little chance of getting to the park for a 9am opening. We drove the car and found it was a lot easier and quicker to get to and from the parks then using Disney transportation, at least from Fort Wilderness. Parking at any resort is free if you are staying at a Disney property.
This was our 1st visit to Disneyworld(DW); we have been to Disneyland(DL) several times. I had always heard Disneyworld is bigger and with Epcot and Animal Kingdom being the biggest difference from DL. My Disney experience will focus on the comparison between the two since one is on the east coast and the other on the west coast and answer the question is it worth it for someone on the west coast to make a trip to Florida to see Disneyworld.
Magic Kingdom is all Disney, and not that much different from Disneyland. The castle is the big difference. DW has the Cinderella castle and DL has the Sleeping Beauty castle. The layout and many of the rides are the same or similar to DL rides.
Disney Hollywood Studio's is the California Adventure equivalent. On our visit there was lots of work in progress and half of the park is under construction. Other then a few attractions California Adventure is hands down better.
Epcot is the biggest difference. Twice the size of Magic Kingdom so a lot of walking is involved. It is a park to entertain and educate.
Ever wonder what EPCOT stands for? I didn't know this myself. The official answer is Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. Interesting and inspiring.
To all who come to this place of joy, hope and friendship, welcome.
Epcot Center is inspired by Walt Disney's creative genius. Here, human achievements are celebrated through imagination, the wonders of enterprise, and concepts of a future that promises new and exciting benefits for all.
May Epcot Center entertain, inform and inspire. And, above all, may it instill a new sense of belief and pride in man's ability to shape a world that offers hope to people everywhere.
The place is huge and we did do a lot of walking. We were there during the International Flower and Garden Festival. The Disney inspired sculpted flower and garden exhibits throughout the park were amazing.
There was a butterfly exhibit that I practiced some up close photography.
Epcot is 2 parks Future World which has the theme park attractions and World Showcase.In the Japan pavilion there was a Kodo drummer demonstration.
World Showcase is 11 pavilions centered around a lagoon representing 11 countries.
World Showcase is 11 pavilions centered around a lagoon representing 11 countries.
The Safari is one of the highlights and I am amazed how great a job Disney does to give you that up close feel to the animals. This is the most popular ride here so you definitely want to use an early fast pass for this one.
|Tree of Life|
Universal Studios Orlando and Islands of Adventure
We are big roller coaster fans and Universal has a lot of them. Many will knock your socks off with multiple inversions.
A note for dog owners, Universal is a bit of a drive from Fort Wilderness and since we would be spending the whole day there we needed a better option for checking on the dogs during the day. Universal has an on-site Pet kennel facility in the back of one of their parking garages. It is clean, air conditioned and they have an on-site attendant who checks on the dogs to make sure they have plenty of water. They charge $15/dog for the day. They are open at 8am and don't close until 2 hours after the park closes. It was great we could bring their blankets and toys. You will need to have proof of vaccinations. The facility does not walk or feed your dog or have playgroups but we could stop anytime during the day to walk and feed them. It was very convenient.
The whole Harry Potter experience in both Universal Orlando's Wizardry World and Island of Adventure is worth the trip east since Universal in Hollywood's new Harry Potter Wizardry World is half the size. I've not done the new Harry Potter at Universal Hollywood to knowingly compare the two.
|Inside a shop in Diagon Alley|
I am still a big kid at heart and it's still fun to go to a Disney park and both properties whether on the west coast or east coast are top notch.