We end our two-week stay on the “edge” of Walt Disney World resort in a Thousand Trails park at the Orlando RV Resort, Clermont, Florida. This past week seems like it has been a longer for a number of reasons. The second wave of seasonal flu that has devastated the country catches up with both Jason and then Barb, the truck also is sick with a broken rear window but we got to enjoy some warm time with Wisconsin friends at the happiest place on earth!
Which is Closer? Winter Garden or Orlando?
Same distance, but very different travel times at certain times of the day!
Winter Garden RV Resort is an Encore Park, which means as a Thousand Trails member you will either get 20% off of the nightly rate or you will get it for “free” if you sign up for the $200 trails collection add-on zone. So basically sign up and you stay there for 2 weeks for $200, at $15 a day good luck finding something else in the area that cheap. Oh wait, you can stay at the Orlando RV Resort which is in the Southeast Zone of the Thousand Trails and you can stay there for “free” too. The Orlando RV Resort is huge, 5 minutes of your travel time is in just getting out to the highway. Then you can only make a right hand turn, and then go make a U-Turn at the long red light to the North so you can then go south down to 192.
What we have found is that having to travel 5 miles on 192 from the Orlando RV park can take twice as long as traveling the same distance on the 429 toll road from Winter Garden RV. It has taken as long as an hour to get from WDW to the Orlando RV Resort and never more than 30 minutes from WDW to the Winter Garden area. Sure, there are tolls on the 429 but sitting in traffic chugging diesel is also expensive.
Miles to the Disney Ticket and Transportation Center, variable depending on traffic routing: Orlando RV Resort: 16.9-27.2 miles (26 to 55 minutes) or Winter Garden RV Resort: 12.7-16.9 miles (22 to 40 minutes)
Our friends Katrina and Mark, who were here from frigid Wisconsin, were enjoying their Disney Vacation Club time in the area this past week. No thanks to migraines and the flu, we were only able to get together two of the five days planned with them at Disney. We enjoyed a great performance of “Disney on Broadway Concert Series” at Epcot Center and the Tuskers House character dinner at Animal Kingdom. It was really great having the blessed two days with them so we could catch up on their family and lives too.
It was Barb and Jason’s first time at a character greeting dinner and we were greeted by Goofy, Daisy and Donald Duck as well as the big mouse himself! The food was pretty awesome too! Barb’s favorite Disney attraction is the Lion King show at Animal Kingdom, so we were able to hit that, as well as the safari and then we shared a new experience that evening with Animal Kingdom’s evening Rivers of Light show.
Another Disney “adventure” was to checkoff another mark in Our Next Chapter domicile change progression by reworking our wills, power of attorney and health care directives by using LegalZoom (never again) and having them witnessed in Florida. It wasn’t necessarily a need to do for the domicile changing, but it did get them up to date since it had been now 19 years since we had them originally created. This puts these documents now in alignment with our official address of Bushnell, FL. Another big thank you to Katrina and Mark for being our witnesses at the Disney Notary service, who was also a big help in ensuring everything got signed correctly.
Non-Disney things exist around here too! We wanted to join the estimate 100,000 people on the Spacecoast to view the launch of SpaceX’s “Falcon Heavy” rocket, which is three times (plus) larger than the Falcon 9 we saw only two weeks earlier launch from Cape Canaveral. However, this is when Jason conducted his own physics experiment, by testing the principle of “mechanical advantage” when he unknowingly squished a box of tie down straps, that ride behind the headrests, when he folded down the back seats. Nothing happened right away, but when we went back out to the truck a few minutes later the box had popped through the window and glass was everywhere. Fortunately, Mark and Katrina came to the rescue with a roll of duct tape and we got it covered with some cardboard. The Orlando RV resort staff too were great in bringing out a shovel and pail so we could clean up the sand around the site that was full of little glass bits. Of course this is a motorized sliding window and is a particular part, but SafeLite gave us a great experience by getting it ordered online and installed at their shop in the Northwest Orlando area. Needless to say we did not make it to the rocket launch, but we did watch it live on TV and in person even from Orlando. Pictures from Orlando can not do it justice, the flames from the three rocket boosters were brighter than the sun as a pin-point dot.
The migraines continue to plague Barb with the same frequency as before and we missed a day of spending time with our friends. We both had flu shots and we both ended up with the flu. The week dragged on, Jason was not able to work in-between the Disney events that we were also missing anyway. We had to use an urgent care facility locally and pay out-of-pocket for the testing and the visit. Jason was confirmed through the quick swab flu test and a few days later Barb went back and they just assumed she had the same. There is a reported shortage of Tamiflu in the area, but we did not have any issues with Walmart having it here. We have now done our flu duty for the year.
Orlando RV Resort, Thousand Trails
|Nights Stayed||14: January 28, 2018, - February 11 ,2018|
|Parking Site||Site E93
2110 US Hwy 27 S
Clermont, FL 34711
Front Desk: 352-394-7575
-OR- 2210 Thousand Trails Blvd, Clermont FL 34714
Thousand Trails Park
There are two pools, mini-golf, a "cafe" in the recreation building and whirlpool. Tons of day time programming activities. The campground with almost 900 sites, biking or golf carts are the best mode of transportation here.
|Remember for Next Time||The Winter Garden RV Resort is farther away but time to the Disney parks is less than here at Clermont. To get to WDW you have to go 4 or 5 miles across on 192, that add 30 to 45 minutes itself. Stay at Winter Garden to be closer. This is an Encore park in the Thousand Trails Collection.
There is only one (sometimes two) giant overflowing trash collection dumpsters in this entire huge park. It is at the recreation building.
The campground does very poorly at any electronic communications. You have to go seek out updated calendars and guides. They really expect you to wander through the recreation building to spot what has changed on the communication boards since you were last there. There seems to be events that are happening, but the time we spotted them in progress we didn't know anything about them.
It wasn't until the third or fourth day did Jason go to the gate to find out how to get in at night. There is a guard shack but that is only staffed during the mass entry time. Otherwise, there is a number written on your check in paperwork that doesn't say anything about why it is written there. That four digit code is your after hours gate code to use to get in when the shack is not staffed. That would have been helpful to have pointed out at the check in time.
|WELS Churches||Crown of Glory of Orlando
9:30AM Sunday Service
Ash Wednesday, Lent at 6:30PM Wednesday
2101 S. Apopka Vineland Road, Orlando FL 32835-5802
|AT&T Coverage||It was a good thing that Jason was either on vacation of sick most of the time we were here. The AT&T service was really bad for work reasons. It worked just fine for Netflix, but for interactive applications like remote desktop or for video conferencing it was nearly useless. 4G LTE low bandwidth, about 5 Mbps down 2 Mbps up with a higher latency and jitter. Most video calls required a Verizon cell phone call to supplement the voice.|
|Verizon Coverage||4G LTE good, but we only taxed for smartphone browsing and nothing more.|
|WiFi Coverage||The park WiFi is useless, there is so much WiFi interference from everyone's hotspots in the park it is not possible to use at your RV. Tried to use the TP-Link outdoor access point to pick it up and the signal to noise ratio was very bad. Tons and tons of people using overlapping channels.|
|Anytime Fitness||Campground has dark and scary fitness room with low-end fitness grade equipment. There are well paved roads in the park are good for biking and walking. There are two in the park.
Anytime Fitness about 1.5 miles to the South is bad. The equipment is really old, wobbly and unsafe. Went there once and will not go back there. This was the first time I had to complain to the "home office" about a gym.
|Mail Services||Amazon delivers directly to the park's shipping and receiving center at the recreation building. (There is a Amazon distribution center not far from here and they make several deliveries a day at this campground.) You can receive packages via USPS and UPS at the main address, First Class envelopes are not accepted. Must have the site number and the name in the address. The mail is held at the "Trading Outpost" in the main recreation building.|