Boy oh boy, where to begin. First off I’d like to apologize to those folks that thought we dropped off the face of the planet. We did not. It’s just that since arriving in Disney things were a constant whirlwind of hustle and bustle. Everyday we rushed over to a park and stayed till we had our fill and then made the trek home but by that time was far too exhausted to post anything.
To be honest, I didn’t even bring my camera with me for the first couple days. I wanted to take time to enjoy myself without
the constant need to snap some photos. But once I finally did start taking them I realized I had no time to actually go through and process them. In the end, I waited until we left Disney to tackle my pics and this post. And here we are.
“So…” , you may be asking, ”just how was Disney?”I don’t think there is an easy answer to that question. But to best sum it up, I can say that we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and are happy that we were able to spend the Christmas holiday there. We rose early and went to bed late. We caught as many parades, fireworks and other displays as often as we could. We rode the rides, taking in the new sites and reminiscing about the old ones. We people watched. We indulged in food, drink and tasty treats. We hung out with our dogs and let them enjoy off leash fun while making new friends in the dog park. We took it easy on some days, simply strolling through parks and taking it all in.
If you want to experience Disney within its borders, but would like to bring your own ‘house’, then Fort Wilderness is the place for you. Going from memory, I believe they have over 750 sites. You can camp very comfortably in a tent, motorhome, 5th wheel, etc., or even rent a cabin. The sites themselves range from tent/pop-up to premium with certain loops being pet friendly. Most sites are pretty private and quite roomy.
Fort Wilderness was very clean and, like all areas of Disney, it is very well run and filled with friendly staff. Within the campground, they have a large fenced in dog park, though it does not have separate areas for small/big dogs, which may pose issues for some owners.
We chose a premium site and were happy with our choice, it was within walking distance to the dog park, boats to the Magic Kingdom, Trading Post (camp store), Trails End buffet, Crockett’s Tavern and the famous Hoop-Dee-Doo dinner show.
One of the things that separates Fort Wilderness from other resorts during the holidays are the decorations. Yes, Disney puts up wreaths and lights and music, yadda yadda…but in the campground the guests put up their own decorations…and some of them were quite extravagant.
Getting around the campground is pretty easy. There are buses that can take you to different sections of the park and The Outpost (where you’d hop a bus to Epcot, Animal Kingdom, etc) Or if you’d prefer to cruise the campground in sleek style rather than walk, you can rent a golf cart or bring your own.
We tried to visit each park several times during our stay. We also tried to take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours, when a park is open later than normal for any guest staying in a Disney resort, usually till 12am…though there was one night that The Magic Kingdom was open till 3am. Yep.
Most of our time was spent in The Magic Kingdom and Epcot, we visited each numerous times. Due to trying to cram everything in, we only had time to visit Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios once.
The Magic Kingdom
As I mentioned before, much has changed throughout Disney. Some of our favorite childhood rides have gotten a major facelift or been done away with completely. But there were still enough of the ‘old school’ things to keep us happy. In fact, we discovered that we prefer the older, slower rides to the faster, sensory over-loaded ones. Old age is creeping in, and we aren’t complaining.
As far as the crowds go there really wasn’t much going on in the few days leading up to Christmas. Wait times were about 20 mins on average for most rides. Walking around was a breeze, you weren’t bumping into everyone or trying to navigate a sea of people. But once Christmas eve hit? Well, let’s just say it got a wee bit more crowded.
Something that really WOW-ed us was the way Cinderella’s Castle was lit up. Even the way they went about doing the initial lighting every evening was super cool. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of it.
I also took quite a lot of video, but since I’m still struggling with the wonky internet I’m currently getting, that will (hopefully) be in an upcoming post.
We didn’t really plan on watching the parades pictured below, we just happened upon them and I snapped away. We were able to catch the Main Street Electrical and Shake It Move It parades and some of the Electrical Water Pageant while we were on a boat over to TMK.
One very positive thing I’d like to point out is that we always felt welcome wherever we went in Disney. It can be said that it is a very queer friendly place. Not once did we feel uneasy, as we have in many other places we have visited over the years. It was nice to wander around and feel comfortable in our own skin and see that Disney had so many out and proud staff working for them.
Our time in Disney is now over and we have moved on to a new spot (more on that later). I can’t believe how fast it went by! It’s hard to believe that we spent 10 days there and still feel that there was so much more to do and see. We missed some stuff that we haven’t seen since we were kids (The Tiki Room, Country Bear Jamboree) and didn’t get around to seeing all the fireworks and parades that we had planned, but none of that took away from the amazing time we had.
I hope everyone had an awesome time celebrating their special holiday and I want to send you all good vibes for a fabulous new year!