Our overall travel plans this year were centered around Barb turning a grand ole 50 this year and becoming a quinquagenarian! (Had to look that up, consider it your free word of the day!)
We left Nashville early on Saturday morning, about 6 AM we were pulling out of the campground once the gates were opened. We pulled into the Winter Garden RV resort at about 8 PM that same evening and they had our packet waiting at the front office in the night register. The last hour was a bear after 14 hours on the road, which is not our typical travel style. It worked out that Jason had three work-related events in Orlando and Tampa, so our schedule had been set. As well as we had the tickets in place for two celebratory events at Disney for Barb’s birthday.
We spent three weeks here, so of course, this gave us plenty of opportunities to check out the parks during this time. We had some firsts including the Epcot Food and Wine Festival as well as riding the Disney Skyliner for the first time.
Winter Garden RV Resort
This is now our third winter in Florida, but this is our first time arriving in Florida in October. We used our Thousand Trails to book two weeks and we paid for a week at Winter Garden RV Resort.
Reservation 1, cash: Arrival: 10/12/19, Departure: 10/19/19
Reservation 2, Thousand Trails Collection: Arrival Date: 10/19/2019, Departure Date: 11/02/2019
We have been to the Winter Garden RV Resort a number of times, this time we were assigned RV site #116 which is on the West 6th Street. The road noise was a little higher to the West, but the motorhome is much quieter than the 5th wheel was so the sirens are not so bad. The restrooms were under construction but the west facilities are located just across from this site.
Generally, this site is a good one for a big rig, easy to get into and out of with a nice size bush to separate from the west. Unfortunately, this site is heavily also occupied by fire ants and we got an infestation of them into the motorhome as well. The campground will treat for these if you ask a few times. The sewer connection is dead center behind the RV backed in and is difficult to reach, all of the utilities are on the wrong side of the rig as well. Even with these quirks, we have no qualms with returning to this site again.
Every year Barb has had a cake topper with a Halloween theme on her birthday cake, given she is a Halloweenie baby. We undertook a craft project to celebrate the milestone by displaying the collection that she has amassed. Barb hung some of the most notable on cute orange fairy lights and some fish line across the motorhome. This year’s contribution to the collection was exceptional, the grim reaper!
Birthday Palooza at Disney
We are here in October so that we could celebrate the big 50-year birthday for Barb at Disney with a couple of special events including Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and a second opportunity to view Disney’s Not So Spooky Spectacular fireworks aboard the Pirates & Pals Fireworks Dessert Voyage.
The events we did at Disney during the birthday palooza were great, including Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and a second opportunity to view Disney’s Not So Spooky Spectacular fireworks aboard the Pirates & Pals Fireworks Dessert Voyage.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a “hard ticketed” event where you need to pay extra to stay in the park after the regular closing time. There are special “overlays” added to some of the rides where you can interact with characters, such as in the Pirates of the Caribbean in the waiting lines are live characters to entertain you and there are live actors among the animatronics on the ride. Throughout the night, you can also “trick or treat” for candy haul, but that was just unfortunate to watch with parents dragging their children through teaching them to fight for free candy.
The Pirates and Pals event is available throughout the year and not specifically tied to the Halloween party. It was pretty pricey and is billed as a “dessert” party but is very different from some of the other parties. There were no special desserts from the Disney chefs, but more a focus on experience with the character meet and greet before going out on the pontoon boat to experience viewing the fireworks from the lake. It was good as a special event, it is not something we will likely to do again since there are areas around the lake you can view the fireworks from for free.
If you are thinking about either of these events for a special occasion, definitely do it! Not something we would seek out each year.
Prior to the Pirates and Pals, we spent the day at the Hollywood Studios and enjoyed a meal at the Brown Derby, another checklist item for Barb.
Over the month of November, we will head further south and check out new areas of Florida that we have never been to before. We will be near Ft. Meyers and then in Ft. Lauderdale. We return to the Winter Garden area in December.