Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Thanksgiving Trip!

I am way behind posting pictures from our Thanksgiving trip. So here is a quick update before we head out next weekend for New Years weekend. This trip will be our first non Disney trip (and will have no sewer hookup) so it will be an interesting few days :)

Anyway, heading to Ft. Wilderness on Wednesday around 2pm. Mark had to work that day so we couldn't leave until he finished all his work. To our surprise, check in wasn't bad at all. I really expected a horrible line and wait but we got right in.

They put us in the 1800 loop. We have now stayed in 3 of the 4 full hookup loops - and never been in the 1700 loop, the one loop we want to stay in! Our site was good, no real complaints.

We had friends come over Thanksgiving Day for lunch and then we headed over to the Magic Kingdom for a few hours. We saw the castle light up, it was beautiful as always!

The parks were really crowded so we spent most of the time at the campground. Mark had been working crazy hours for work and he was really tired so it was good for him to sit and relax for a bit.

We did end up going to Hollywood Studios as well to see the Osborne Lights. They are so beautiful! Love doing that!

Also took a bike ride to the Wilderness Lodge to look at their Christmas decorations.

More Osborne Dancing Lights.

View of our campsite.

View from the road.

There you have it! Short and sweet. We decided to cancel Christmas at Ft. Wilderness and stay home, so I am really looking forward to next weekend camping again!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Halloween Weekend Trip Report

Here is the Halloween trip report, finally!!

Location: Disney's Ft. Wilderness Campground
Site: 1621, Full Hook Up Loop

This trip was so much fun! We were a part of the DISboards October Grand Gathering...which, btw, was the only way we were able to go for Halloween as Ft. Wilderness is the place to be!

Two other friends of ours went. My friend, Paula, came over with her hubby and son on Thursday (the 28th). Caleb and their little boy, Griffin, are best friends. They took Caleb over with them on Thursday so he and Griffin had some time together before the rest of us arrived on Friday.

We headed over Friday (the 29th) around noon. Our other friends, David & Barbara, came over around the same time as well. When we got to the Fort, there was a long line of campers. Lucky for us, we left the camper in the parking lot so I walked into the tent/cabin registration and checked in. So we got in quickly.

Disney assigned the 1600 Loop to the DISboards October GG. We had a site right next to Paula and Jay and the Barnett's site was about 5 down from us.

Here is a side view of our site - site 1621. It was tight getting in but overall, we really enjoyed it. Especially since this (below) was our morning view behind us!

Saturday morning --- up early making breakfast, but not before Mark caught this picture of sunrise behind our camper. Loved being on the water....mosquitos...not so much fun.

First activity for Saturday.....MUMMY WRAP UP. This is Taya all wrapped up, however, she busted out before the race began.

And their off! Caleb and Delena participated in the race...neither won and both were out of the mummy wrap by the time they reached the finish line. Toilet Paper was everywhere!

After hours of non-stop playing between 3 campers.....(and carving 3 pumpkins)...the kids headed over the the Meadow Swimming Area for Spooky Crafts. Do you notice something? Me, Paula and Barbara are helping the kids while the dads sit back and take pictures!

Next up was the Golf Cart parade! So much fun. I had no idea decorating golf carts could be sooooooo creative! I loved this pumpkin carriage, especially at night!

Flintstones cart. There were actually 2 different Flintstones carts. The kids loved standing in the parade line waving. Some people in carts actually through out candy and beads.

This one was my personal favorite...the slinky dog from Toy Story. I believe this one actually won the best for decoration.

Another cute cart. Caleb loves the monorail so this was one of his favorites.

Pirate Ship. Here the kids are with the Barnett Boys...Peyton and Blake. They have all been friends forever, so neat to go camping with them.

Another Toy Story cart - very cute...love the little Buzz Lightyear being towed along.

Here are our pumpkins for the pumpkin carving contest. Barbara brought a kit and the pumpkins so the three families each entered one. None of us one. I didn't get a picture of the winner but it was a pumpkin carved like an Airstream camper painted silver...too cute.

Halloween morning picture. We are hoping to get one of these sites for Christmas since we are getting the kiddos fishing poles!

Early morning fun. Mark found a nice place to hang our hammock, of course the kids love playing on it.

Sunday morning...Pet Parade. Yes, that is a cat in the parade...beautiful cat but it was none to happy to be in the parade. There were actually two cats in the parade and the other cat won...he was dressed as Tuna Fish.

Yep, we entered our Scotty in the parade! Delena walked McKenzie in the parade.

Here is McKenzie in her costume. She was a princess (I bought it at the Dollar Store for $1). Guess I need to find a better one for next year. OH and she didn't like being in the parade either. And she was none to happy to see cats!

Here are the kids waiting with McKenzie for the awards.

Finally, camp or treating arrived. The campers went all out decorating their sites. We also did camp or treating at 5, before dark, which I actually really enjoyed! Our friends, Betsy and her family, came over that evening to camp or treat with us and have dinner...chili (yummmmm).

Here is my kids, Griffin (Paula's) and Brandon, Sam and Aidan (Betsy's). We met up with the Barnett's after this picture and finished camp or treating.
We had a great time with our friends. We met several DISers....Lorna, Jen, JW, Melissa, Bob, Donnie and a few others that I only know by their DIS names. We look forward to next year - Halloween at the Fort!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Anniversary Trip

I am so far behind posting this trip report! I hope to get Halloween weekend posted as well this weekend (we will see)!

Anyway, we had an awesome time on our Anniversary Trip. Quick stats:
Location: Disney's Ft. Wilderness Resort
Campsite: Site 1902, Full Hookup Loop

On with the report!

I finally nabbed the trophy picture. I guess we go so much I don't pay a whole lot of attention to this but don't have one for my pictures either....so without kids in the back asking "how much longer?" I remembered to take it! Now my pictures are complete.

After arriving around 2:30pm, we set up camp and then headed over to Boma's at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The food was actually really good. This is an African buffet. I especially enjoyed the soup, couscous, tender roast and my new favorite thing: Zebra Domes! Be beware...dinner for just the two of us - $80! OUCH! (Not that good of food).

Saturday we spent the day riding bikes and relaxing at the camper. We rode down to the Marina and just hung out on the beach for a bit. This is on the dock at the Marina. We did eventually head over to the Magic Kingdom for fireworks around 10PM but only stayed about 45 minutes because it was crowded. This wasn't a crazy plan....the park was open until 3AM for resort guests.

Site 1902 from the front. Although the 1900 loop doesn't seem to be among the DISboard favorites, we enjoyed this spot. We might actually request it for Thanksgiving.....we'll see. Sometimes part of the adventure is seeing what site you get!

Site 1902 is the first on the left so we had a lot of side space that leads up to the road. This would be a great site for Holiday light decorations!

Here is the other side view of our site from back in the wooded area. Campers said this area of the loop goes underwater during the rains, which makes it somewhat undesirable - but no rain our weekend!

Another front view at Dusk. I love my Mickey Lamp!

Sunday morning, we requested a late checkout and took our time loading up. Disney let us park the camper in the parking lot for the week because we were checking back in on Friday for Halloween weekend.

I have been busy this week trying to plan out all next years camping trips. I didn't realize how quickly popular holiday's book up! Here is a somewhat tentative schedule for next year...with 3 certain bookings already:

January - (Booked) Ft. Wilderness for Delena's Birthday trip (Jan. 28-30). This is 2 weeks after her actual birthday since it is on MLK weekend and they were all sold out.

February - Long Point Park in Melbourne (booked). Our first non-Disney camping trip.

March - Hillsborough River State Park (booked). This is for Caleb's 7th birthday!

May/July - Memorial Day & 4th of July - we will go somewhere.....not sure yet.

August/Early September - Ft. Wilderness. Our passes expire 9/1/11, so we will try to get a week around that time (unless we are able to renew them).

October - already booked for Halloween with the DISboards group :)

November - We will take our first out of state trip and head to NE Georgia to visit Mark's family. After the fiasco taking place this year for Thanksgiving, we will spend next year with Mark's family. I am researching parks and campgrounds now and will book something in the next few months. (BTW, the fiasco isn't Ft. Wilderness, I am excited to be camping at Disney for Thanksgiving!!)

Thats all for now! Hopefully Halloween will be posted this weekend.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Our First Trip!

It seems like forever since we closed on our new Passport 290BH that we bought at Lazydays! But finally.....our time for camping came. We left on September 11th to head over to Ft. Wilderness Campground at Disney World!

We headed over around 11am and got to the campground around 12:30 or so. We figured it would take a little longer since we were towing for the first time. The first big surprise came when at check in the cast member checking us in informed us that we had been upgraded to a...get this....Premium site! We were not expecting that at all (I only booked a full hookup). The all concrete pad was so nice and we were really close to the marina (not so close to the pools) but that was OK - we have our bikes!

Here we are in the 400 loop - Site 427. It was a very nice site! We met one fellow DISer (The Lug). The loop was small which was wonderful for the kids to ride their bikes on. There were also plenty of kids around (now Caleb wants an electric scooter for Christmas).

I love the Fort because there is plenty to do without even leaving the campground! Here is Mark and the kids goofy off in the kiddie pool area. This was obviously during the week when hardly anyone was around!

Caught a good picture of my hubby going down the slide! He loves to be silly for pictures.

Delena going down the slide. She always enjoys the pool at the Fort.

More pictures of our campsite - 427. We had really nice neighbors around and enjoyed this loop very much. I have to not get used to upgrades like this!

Pool party at the Fort! Delena actually won this hoola hoop competition. She got up to three hoola hoops and outlasted all the other kids.

This trip was neat because both Caleb and Taya were able to ride some rides they previously had not been able too. Caleb finally hit 48" and was able to ride Primeval Whirl in Animal Kingdom. Taya rode Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Test Track, Soarin and Dinosaur.

Taya had a blast on the slides. Her goofy swimming sometimes gave the lifeguards heart attacks. She likes to swim to the bottom and then swim out of the current, I can't tell you how many times the lifeguards were ready to jump in the pool after her!!

What trip to EPCOT would be complete without the kids pictures in the mouth of Bruce??

Caleb is in love here! A yellow Camaro at EPCOT. I had to pry him away from the car - crazy Bumblebee..

Friday evening, our friends came over to the Fort to camp the last two nights with us! Somehow they managed to talk Disney into the upgrade also and got the campsite right next to us. We had so much fun with them. They have a super nice Laredo by Keystone. Kinda makes our camper look a bit cheesy, but thats OK :)

Taya moved up to a 16" bike right before the trip. She did so well riding around. One thing we love about the Fort - the biking!

No trip to the Fort would be complete without a few long and nice bike rides. There is an awesome trail leading from the Fort over to the Wilderness Lodge. On occasion we see some wildlife....this night it was all about deer. We capture this deer crossing the road at the Wilderness Lodge.

These deer were on the trail. We had just started on the trail when we saw them. There were about 5 in all and a baby. So cool to see!!

And of course, Chip & Dale's singalong!

All in all the trip was amazing. We really enjoyed our camper. Had a few things happen though.

The first night, Caleb flooded the whole thing. He was washing his hands in the bathroom and the plug was in the sink. The water filled up that tiny little sink rather quickly and poured out all over the floor. He screamed and we ran in to find water gushing out of the bathroom. I shut the water off and got to cleaning up the mess....luckily no damage!

We are still trying to get used to the proper way to flush out the tanks. We had a few nice odors creeping in where things were caught in the sewer lines.

Then Sunday morning as we were packing up to leave, we discovered a leak under the kitchen sink. That will require a Lazydays visit for repairs.

Our first trip is definitely a learning experience. I hope we get more efficient as time goes on so that camping isn't as much work. I'm sure once we have the camper properly outfitted, it won't be such a chore.

Our next adventure begins on Friday, October 22. This is mine and Mark's 14th wedding anniversary so it is a solo trip to Ft. Wilderness....can't wait....

Until the next adventure!

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Great Adventure Begins!

Welcome to Passport to Camping! This is the Cook family's blog about what will be our many adventures camping. We began camping in December 2008 at Disney's Ft. Wilderness Resort. We started off in a tent for 3 nights and loved it. We headed back to Ft. Wilderness in March 2009 to celebrate Caleb's 5th Birthday. We borrowed a friend's pop up for that trip. Then we went in September 2009 for 7 nights in the same pop up. The dream began with the first camping trip...one day we would get a camper.

We started off wanting a pop up. Went to an RV show and fell in love with the Avalon by Coleman. We kept putting it off because Mark's job was "ify" -- good thing because he was laid off from work in July 2009. During his 11 month lay off, we went from wanting a pop up to wanting a hybrid to a travel trailer.

Now that Mark is working full time again - we were able to go ahead a purchase our camper. So on....

Friday, July 23, 2010 ---- the day we finalized the purchase of our new camper.

We purchased a 2011 Keystone Passport 290BH.

We arrived at Lazydays around 3pm - just as Tropical Storm Bonnie's rain bands were making their way through Central Florida. We met with the Finance guy and finalized all our paperwork. We got our insurance set up and headed over to the benefits office to learn about all our perks. After that, a walk through tech came and got us and took us to the camper where he went over everything with us. After he left we had dinner and watched the movie RV (with Robin Williams). The kids loved it!

We discovered however that our DVD player wasn't working properly. It would loose the connection for no reason. Item 1 added to the list of things to fix for Saturday!

Saturday morning, we dropped our Suburban off at a service bay to have the brake controller installed and they came and got the Passport to install the weight distribution hitch, etc. This was only supposed to take 3 hours, ended up taking 7! So we stayed for a second night because rain was coming and we didn't want to tow it for the first time in the rain. We hit the pool over at the Lazydays campground and enjoyed the storm later that night.

Here are a few pictures to document the beginning of a new era in our family!

Mark and our Walk Through tech at Lazydays (sorry can't remember his name). But he was very nice! Of course the rain bands from Tropical Storm Bonnie made for a nice outside inspection :)

The "master" bedroom. I love the decor used in the Passports! (aside, the bed isn't comfortable!) I went home before we stayed the second night and got the memory foam off our bed, that helped a lot.

The kids in the bunkhouse! My kids love making tents so they wasted no time make tents out of the quad bunks.

View from the bunkhouse into the main room. I love our entertainment center with the swivel TV. However, Mark's feet hit it in the night so it bugs him.

Caleb on night 1 in the top bunk. He was so excited to finally sleep in a bunk bed.

Taya in her bunk. We made her sleep in the bottom until Mark can make bed rails for the two top bunks.

The kids decided to play McDonalds with the plastic slide on the screen door. The things they come up with!

Night 2 at Lazydays....after we got back from the pool a big storm hit. Mark snapped this picture right before the storm started.

Another picture of the storm coming in. Well we know the Passport doesn't leak!

Outside Camping World right before we left to take it home. OK, so we admit, we were scared to death to tow this home! We had a "no talking" rule so Mark could concentrate! It was only a 15 minute ride to the house. We made it in one piece. Then we had to tow it to where we are keeping it, about 20 minutes away.
So stop back by. This is a work in progress, many more posts and pictures to come! And here is a list of our upcoming trips. And since this is a family blog....you can see posts from any of us - even the kids (in time):)
September 11-18 - Ft. Wilderness
October 22-24 Ft. Wilderness
October 30-Nov 1 - Ft. Wilderness (with the DIS board Fort Fiends)
November 24 - 28 Ft. Wilderness
December 24 - 26 Ft. Wilderness
December 31 - January 2 Ft. DeSoto Campground
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