Headed to Central Florida which is more our style. Less People, less traffic, more woods. We decided to stay at a campground we previously had stayed at. It’s in the Ocala National Forest. We arrived in the dark which can be tricky especially here where there are a lot of low lying branches on these live oak trees. We found a great spot, site #10. We backed in and less than 5 minutes later, the camp host came over to, I guess, make sure we paid. They have the iron ranger at this campground where you drop your envelop with the 12 bucks into the tube. I asked him if we could pay in the morning cause it was pitch dark and he said no. I assumed we had to go all the way back to the entrance of the campground to pay , which would have been a pain in the butt. But instead he said he would take the cash. I have a feeling, maybe he just pocketed our 12 bucks. I’m skeptical because we have never experienced a host taking the cash.
Next morning, we headed out, we needed to definitely go food shopping. We decided to attempt eating healthier and eat a Mediterranean diet consisting of basically meat, vegetables and fruit. No more processed foods of any kind. It’s difficult to eat only fresh foods cause our fridge is so small so we will probably wind up going food shopping every 2 or 3 days. Here in Florida that’s easy enough. There are grocery stores on every corner. After shopping we headed to Blue Spring State Park which a friend recommended to us. Apparently there’s hundreds of Manatees here and you can Kayak with them. We have a 2 man blow up Kayak under the bed that we never use so we decided this year to make more of an effort to use it. We arrived at the state park only to find out that swimming and Kayaking are closed because of flooding in this area. So much for Kayaking more.
We did see a Manatee from the boardwalk which was cool. Some huge fish also. The water is crystal clear. You can see right down to the bottom. In the winter the manatees flock here because the water here at Blue Spring is a steady 72°. The Manatees cannot survive in water colder than 66°.
Next day we went in a pretty long bike ride. With the electric bikes, we can do that now.
Greg informed me yesterday that he has been checking the availability and the Rates at Fort Wilderness Campground at Disney. He actually found a site at the lowest rate he has seen so we made reservations and head there today. Normally a tent site is like $140 a night but we paid $92. That’s a ton of money for a tent site but this place is more like a GIANT resort.
Most of you know that we are not really the Disney type but we have heard amazing things about this campground and we figured we give it a try. We will probably be the only ones there that are not entering the Magic Kingdom or any of the other places that Disney has to offer. That’s OK though cause the campground is huge and there’s lots of stuff to do. Plus we can take our bikes or the free bus or free boat to any of the places to go explore the lodges, restaurants and other fun things.
We arrived at the gate at 11:30 am. The lady at the gate that signed us in was super friendly and informative. She even gave us First Timer pins being this was our first time here. I wore mine proudly on my hat.
She found a site (#2025) for us that was available and off we went. This campground is HUMUNGOUS!!! So many loops and each loop is huge. Thank God we have the bikes. But even without the bikes, the bus system here is so efficient. Actually everything here is super efficient. The bathrooms are spotless and beautiful. The sidewalks are flat and go everywhere. And the transportation between all the resorts here is just amazing. I still can’t believe it’s all free. I guess that’s why the campsites are so expensive. It’s to pay for all the conveniences that this place offers. We used every mode of transportation that Disney offers and wanted to see everything. We had no intention of going into Magic Kingdom, it’s just not our thing, but we love hotel lobbies and Disney did not disappoint. So so so so many resorts here with amazing lobbies.
Below are all the different ways of getting around Disney.
We went to pretty much every gift shop in Disney.
We tried to get a ticket to the dinner show but had no luck so instead we ate next door at The Trails End. It was so good. Family style Barbecue.
Next day we brought the van over to the overflow parking lot and spent the day exploring. It’s great that they let you do that because parking at any of the regular lots in Disney is $25 bucks each day. So you have to take that into consideration when thinking about the very pricey campground. The site was a hundred but we saved 50 in parking.
We took the bus over to Disney Springs which is a HUGE OUTLET type place with tons of restaurants and shops and attractions and even shows. So much to do and see there. We had some lunch and went walking. We even got to see a show by the Mississippi Show Choir.
From there we got in another bus to The Caribbean Resort where we were able to take the Skyliner over to two very cool resorts. One was the art of animation and the other was Pop Century Resort. They were similar in architecture but different in design. We had a snack by the pool and enjoyed the sunshine. It’s been chilly the last few days.
We then took the Skyliner over to Hollywood Studios. We had no idea that this was a paid attraction. That’s how much we are not Disney fans. However after these past two days we can officially say that we like Disney. It really is a very well oiled machine with happy people all around.
We hopped back on the bus and headed back to the campground to relax a little in the van before heading out. we found a nice lobby across from the Overflow parking area to use the restrooms before leaving.
I put together a 5 minute video of some of the highlights of the two days at Disney.
We left the overflow parking area just before Sunset and made it to Cracker Barrel for some dinner and a peaceful night in the lot. This is a pretty popular CB for campers. Plenty of us here tonight.
Headed over to the Kissimmee Lakefront Park to do a little strolling before heading back into the woods for a few days.
This is a great park and a great little town to walk around in. We had lunch at Big John’s BBQ place.
From there we headed to Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area which is a hunting camp. It’s basically a wide open field with a few trees. No actual camping spots, you just sort of park on the grass in a spot not too close to the other campers. We had a nice night there. The sky was beautiful for Sunset.
We were planning on spending a few nights at the hunting camp but rain was in the forecast and a lot of rain. That field would have turned into a muddy mess and we’d be trapped in the van. So instead we headed to a mall in Vero beach. Walked around and then went to the movies. We saw Two Tickets to Paradise with Julia Roberts and George Clooney. It was pretty good. But a little sappy for us. When we got out of the movie, it was dark and still raining pretty hard, so we drove nearby to a TA Travel Center to park for the night. Woke up to still more rain.
Heading back to the movies for a 10 am showing if the menu. A thriller for sure. I love reality chef shows so this one was a good one for me.
Next night we spent at Savannas Recreation Area. It was a $20 tent site where they actually expected you to set up the tent. We carry a tent with us in the van for this reason. However it rained all day long and we really didn’t want to set up a tent in the rain that we were not going to use so we decided to wait for them to actually come over to the van and knock and make us set the tent up. They never came over so we didn’t set up the tent. Left early in the morning and headed to our friend Lisa and John’s for breakfast. John set up a spot in the backyard for the van which was awesome.
We had a great week here. Had an amazing Thanks giving dinner with Lisa’s family whom I have known since my 20’s. Played some Bingo and Poker and slots at the nearby arcade. Went to the beach to fish and relax. Went out for dinner at an amazing seafood boil in a bag place. We had such a great time.
Greg and I are currently sitting at the Orlando airport waiting for a flight to Denver where we are heading to pick up John and Lisa’s RV and drive it back from Colorado to Florida. They have a 28 foot RV which will be a nice treat for us.
I left my November calendar in the van which I usually post at the end of the month that shows how much we have spent on Diesel and camping. When we get back to Florida, I’ll take a picture and insert it into the next blog. It’s currently 7 degrees in Denver. We will arrive and head south tomorrow morning. Thank God the RV has heat. Hopefully all will go as planned.