If the kids were naming this blog entry, they would have titled it “Journey to Disney World…and Nova Scotia”. Given how many times we’ve done Disney (we were just saying how it would be neat to know just how many times we’ve walked into the Disney parks), the trip up the east coast into New Brunswick and Nova Scotia will be new territory for our RV, including several new states for us. We are pretty excited about that part of the trip!
Normally we wouldn’t go to Disney World this time of year (hot!!!), but I am speaking at a security conference at Disney’s Swan hotel, so we figured we would hit the parks since we have a few months left on our annual passes.
It took several days to pack the RV with everything we might need, including cold-weather clothes, camping equipment for when we tent camp, and we had to make lots of reservations in advance since the Northeast can get booked up pretty fast. By the time we get to Nova Scotia in early October, the weather might be pretty chilly up there.
Since we now have a good off-road vehicle, I got in touch with the Nova Scotia Jeep Club and they are going to organize a trail ride for the dates we will be there. I’m really looking forward to that! It’s been a race to get the jeep setup for offroading and camping in time. In a short amount of time, here are the modifications I’ve made:
- Lift kit
- Aggressive mud tires
- Air force one brake system
- Oil pan and transmission skid plate
- Off-road bumper and winch
- Rock sliders
- Roof rack
- Limb risers
- CB radio
- Rollbar storage bags
- Higher capacity power inverter
- iPad, phone, CB radio, and ham radio mounts
- Back up camera
- Remote start
This will be the first trip in the RV since a major slide wall was replaced up in Elkhart, IN. Below are some pics of the surgery:
I put a sticker map on the Jeep to mark the states we’ve been to (in any vehicle). It would have been more fun to fill in as we went, rather than waiting until we covered 36 states and two provinces, but we’ve changed RVs and tow cars a few times so it would have been expensive to buy the map every time we switched vehicles.
We got off to a smooth start from the Creeks RV park near home. Had to fuel up the beast!
Making a turkey sandwich at 70mph…. reminds me of when Carla was making coffee in the RV late at night as we were coming back home on a really long drive.
Lily is definitely a better traveler than Marley. Marley is a big chicken when it comes to going places and it makes her sick.
When we get into the RV, this is probably what they are thinking:
Lily: “Woohoo! We’re going on a trip!”
Marley: “Aw crud…doing this again, huh?”
We headed through Memphis to our usual campground in Tupelo, MS (The Campground at Barnes Crossing). The RV did great! No new issues yet.
We made it to our trusty site number 30! We love this site because there is no one next to you and plenty of room for everything.
As we were getting ready to leave, the TPMS monitoring system said one of our inner dually tires was down to around 82 PSI, which was about 20 PSI lower than it started out yesterday. I had just rebuilt all 12 sensors before we left, including new O-rings and batteries, and I’m hoping I just didn’t have this one tightened enough onto the valve stem.
Fortunately, the RV has a built-in air compressor for the air brakes and there is a air valve where you can connect an air hose for using tools and airing up your tires. I topped it off and we shall see if it holds air.
While hooking up the Jeep, I found that the off-road bumper shackle mounts are keeping the towbar from connecting whenever the jeep is a lot lower than the RV. The site we were in is level but drops off toward the back where the tow car is. We had unhooked the Jeep last night before driving into the site, and I’m glad we did because I think the severe angle would have damaged the towbar arms. I’m going to have to figure out what to do about this, which might mean mounting new shackle mounts onto the bumper that don’t have any metal in the way to allow for severe angles.
Got to sit behind a truck for a while because the driver had gone into the gas station for a long time. That’s a no-no at truck stops. I put the RV in reverse to attempt to back up very slightly and it wouldn’t go. I tried to put it in drive and it wouldn’t go forward either. Uh oh…. it’s like it wouldn’t engage the transmission. Turned it off, turned it on and all was fine. We were able to pull into an open spot and get on with life.
Had to fight with the GPS around Birmingham because the new freeway was finished and the RV GPS apparently didn’t know about it. See how the I-22 freeway ends in the picture below? Google maps to the rescue!
Nice rest stop with a massive bathroom (lots of grass for the dogs), which apparently was still not good enough for Marley’s precious behind….aarrrgggg!!! Poop, for crying out loud!!! We’re now one of those people I used to laugh at, waiting for their dog to do their business and then having to pick it up in a little poop bag. Who is the master in that situation?? If aliens ever visit our planet, they will clearly think dogs are the masters.
It’s neat going under the Atlanta airport runway tunnels! They are huge!!!!
Overnight parking at rest stops is permitted in Georgia, so we decided to take advantage of that and save $40 by parking at a rest stop in Macon (Rest stop #14…very clean!). I think this is the second rest stop we have stayed at in 36,000 miles of RVing. I think the other was in New Mexico.
The kids had fun building hot wheels and train tracks!
Carla made an awesome chicken dinner and Zuppa Tuscano soup, which was amazing! We then took the dogs for a walk around the rest stop and watched a couple of episodes of Home Improvement, which the kids loved. They had never watched the show before, so we’ll have to start watching those. It was a nice relaxing night!
We had a decent night’s sleep, but had to use a white noise app on the iPad to drown out the sound of diesel truck air systems topping off every 30 seconds.
Lots of mosquitoes died for our journey today!
Look what I found at the rest stop! I cracked it open to celebrate arriving in Florida!
We will arrive in Kissimmee around 2pm and Cara got us Fast Passes for the Laugh Floor, Buzz Lightyear Spinout, and Pirates of the Caribbean! We are then headed to Disney Springs for dinner at the House of Blues. The kids are excited to hit the LEGO store, of course!
Lily is NEVER unhappy!
We were near The Villages on our way south. It’s a massive retirement community that we’re convinced Del Boca Vista (Seinfeld) was modeled after.
We got the best spot in the KOA Kissimmee park! Site number 100.
We lucked out… so many people had evacuated the area for the hurricane that did not hit! The RV park is 75% empty and the ride wait times are ridiculously low! Even the new Millennium Falcon ride was only a 35 minute wait, but we were at Magic Kingdom. We might try to do that one tonight after dinner.
I remember when I was 10 years old I got on space Mountain at Disneyland with my dad, and promptly got right back off before the ride started! I remember that like it was yesterday. Every time I see the car it makes me think of that:
We ate at House of Blues and got to listen to a really talented guy play cover songs!
We then headed Hollywood Studios and the park was so empty!!!
Check out the non-existent lines to get into the park, and we had about an hour and a half until it closed:
We got so lucky with everyone canceling their plans due to the hurricane. We parked right at the entrance and hurried straight over to the new Star Wars area.
We were blown away by it!! It is such a neat place and very few people around! We went straight to the Millennium Falcon, and get this….only a 20 minute wait!!! Avin and I rode it the first time, and then all four of us rode it the second time with only a 15 minute wait!!!!
Coming around the corner and seeing the Millennium Falcon sitting there will give you chill bumps. It was quite an awesome feeling!
The amount of detail they put into it is absolutely unbelievable! And what makes it even neater are all of the sound effects playing around it.
Once inside the ride, you would swear you were on the actual Millennium Falcon. It is every bit as cool as I could’ve ever imagined it. Truly amazing!
Avin got to be a pilot the second time we rode and it really felt like he was flying us through space! I hate to say it, but this ride makes Star Tours look really lame. The movie screen out in front of you seems like it must be a lot larger than a typical movie theater screen…it’s huge!!!
Tripp and I were gunners and Carla was an engineer. The first time Avin and I rode, we were both engineers. I would say the pilot seats are the most fun, followed by the engineers. So many buttons to push that make sounds and do things! Tripp loved that (and so did I!).
Here is a video clip that shows Avin piloting the Millennium Falcon…so cool!! The ride shakes around quite a bit, so it feels how it looks in this video:
Possibly the wildest photo is this one, where you can see the 15 minute wait time. I don’t think we will see this number many more times for this ride in the future.
On our way out of Galaxy’s Edge, we noticed Toy Story Mania had only a five minute wait! We went past it and walk straight onto Alien Swirling Saucers, which is a really fun ride:
We ended up back at Disney Springs for a little while. We can’t believe how much we were able to do after driving for five hours this morning! What a day! We were worn out, hot, and sticky from the 101 heat index this afternoon and a really humid night. Tomorrow we check into Disney’s Fort Wilderness for two weeks.
We checked into Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground, which I swore I would never do a second time. I chose site 704 because it is rated as “average” difficulty in terms of getting into the site. Last time we were here, I was trying to get into a site that was ridiculously hard due to too many obstructions and a very narrow road through the campground, combined with a site that was on the inside of a curved road. Anyway, this time wasn’t quite as bad, but still very difficult! I don’t know why in the world Disney didn’t make the road through the campground about 6 feet wider than it is.
Then we noticed that we kept tripping the power pedestal 50 amp breaker when we had three AC units running. In 36k miles of RVing, this has only happened one other time and it was at the KOA in Kissimmee that we just checked out of today. I reset the breaker and monitored how many amps we were pulling, and we were only pulling 46A split between two lines. There is no way in the world we should have tripped two 50A breakers on the pedestal.
I called the front desk and they sent someone over right away. The guy told me it was due to the high temperature and humidity levels, which is total nonsense. We should be able to sustain a max of around 40A per line, for a total of 80A. There’s no way we should be tripping a dual 50A breaker with 27A on one line and 19A on the other. To me, it was a faulty breaker.
I was pretty angry with the electrician and he said he would swap out the breakers if I wanted him to, so I said sure. Guess what, it fix the problem! Hard to believe an electrician would argue that with me. I think he was probably wanting to avoid doing some electrical work when it was so hot outside. Oh well…
We ran to Walmart to get a few things and Avin notice something I had not. The shopping cart had this sign and this wheel on it:
I guess they have a problem with shopping cart theft!
It’s amazing how big the Disney souvenir section is at this Walmart. In the photo below, everything you see, as far as you can see, is all Disney. Many isles worth of it!
It’s also neat to see the signs hanging that advertised ticket sales for the parks
We headed over to Magic Kingdom on the boat from Fort Wilderness.
Avin held Tripp up so he could see people going down Splash Mountain, which was neat:
We ate breakfast at the Kona Café at the Polynesian hotel, and we were very thankful they still serve the Big Kahuna if you ask for it!
They are testing the new Disney Skyliner gondolas, which will be open when we come back in December:
We rode Slinky Dog Dash and Tripp said it was his favorite ride at Disney World!
We rode Toy Story Mania and then headed to the Spirit of Aloha Luau dinner show.
We came back, yet again, to a shredded roll of TP! We try to remember to put the TP up high where they can’t get to it, but so far we have forgotten twice to do that. One of the criminals is fleeing the scene below:
We then headed to Hollywood studios and rode the Millennium Falcon ride with only a 30 minute wait! We are sure loving this! Also, we were able to snag two pilot passes for the kids so they could fly the Millennium Falcon together! Carla and I were gunners, but I think I spent more time taking pictures and videos than actually firing the guns!
We headed over to a REALLY awesome souvenir shop. I caved and let the kids buy lightsabers. They are really heavy, movie quality lightsabers that are pretty amazing!
We then walked through some more of Galaxy’s Edge that we hadn’t been to. It is so neat to see all of the different shops and the way they have designed everything. The cast members are totally in character and treat you like a traveler from another planet coming to Batuu (which is the outpost trading planet that the whole land is based on).
We had a couple of really tasty drinks! Can’t wait to go back and have those again, along with a Ronto Wrap we heard about that is supposed to be incredible!
There is a droid running a rotisserie that is cooking meat (fake) by the heat of a suspended engine that shakes like it’s actually running. Really cool!
Avin and I were able to walk right onto Star Tours on our way out of the park, which was fun!
The kids ended the night with a lightsaber dual!
We induced ourselves into a pizza coma at NYPD Pizza…
We needed some caffeine so we stopped off at Chick-fil-A, where the following conversation could have been heard:
Avin: “Are these flowers on the table real?”
Avin: “How do you know?”
Me: “You can look for the little brown spots on the leaves. Or you could taste it!”
Avin: “How do you know what a flower tastes like?”
Me: “I don’t, but I know what plastic tastes like.”
After which, we burst into delirious laughter!
We drove to REI to get a few things (because being near REI means I need stuff!), and got caught in the terrible rush hour traffic on I-4 on our way back. It took 30 minutes to get to REI, and 51 minutes to get back to the RV! We should have known, because we did the same thing in February (or last year…I can’t remember…it all runs together).
We then headed to Hollywood Studios, yet again! I think that makes three days in a row! Tripp’s lightsaber had a part fall off, so we had to exchange it. He also wanted to swap his lightsaber blade for a longer one.
We eat at Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo in Galaxy’s Edge, which had neat food options. Carla and I shared some Smoked Kaadu Ribs (pork ribs), and Tripp had the Fried Endorian Tip-Yip (chicken nuggets and mac & cheese). Avin wasn’t crazy about the square shape of the chicken nugget and decided to hold out for a grilled cheese at Andy’s Lunch Box ($9 for a half a grilled cheese sandwich and small cup of tater tots…yeah that sounds reasonable!)
We rode Toy Story Mania, and I rode Rockin’ Roller Coaster. Both rides had only a five minute wait, so we didn’t even need our fast passes! Check out the empty streets:
We walked right onto Star Tours, totally empty, but Tripp was feeling a little queasy from his Mickey Mouse ice cream sandwich and he thought it would be best to not ride. Here are a couple of photos showing the empty line:
It’s hard to see, but here’s a snapshot of the five minute wait time for RR:
I then made a stupid decision to go to Walmart at 10 PM to grab a few things, and I should have known better. Walmart gets really crazy around 11 PM, and I knew this! It’s like shopping during Black Friday for some reason. I guess all of the people leaving the parks want to go to Walmart. This photo was taken at 11:05 PM at the Kissimmee Walmart checkouts (it took me over 20 minutes and there were only a few people in front of me):
Tripp playing with an early birthday present:
We messed up by taking a boat to Magic Kingdom, followed by two monorails to Epcot. One hour to get there! Should have driven!
We ate at the Germany Biergarten and watched a really neat polka show. It was a nice cool break from sweating our tails off to get to the restaurant in the heat!
Soarin with a 5 minute wait!
I got up early and headed to Animal Kingdom to ride Everest and Navi River Journey.
Everest had only a 5 minute wait!
Time Lapse of Driving to our RV site from the entrance to show how big the Fort Wilderness campground is and this is only one part of it!
Headed to MK on a boat that only has two other people on it:
TRON Lightcycle is looking really awesome!
Tripp rode Goody’s Barnstormer a couple of times:
Highlight of the day was our Dole Whips! 🙂
It’s Saturday, and the crowds are ramping back up to normal levels. The wait times on the rides have almost resumed to normal. We are so spoiled with a lower wait times that it’s hard to want to stand in line for more than about 20 minutes!
Tripp’s birthday countdown is getting closer!
Today at Walmart we noticed there’s a churro place! It’s probably a good thing we don’t have one of these at home!
Not every day is Disney World the happiest place on earth…..
We went to Hollywood Studios for a while to mostly stroll around Galaxy’s Edge and look at the neat shops.
We took a break and then went to Epcot in the evening, mostly to walk around the countries (which the kids aren’t crazy about):
We called it a night. Tomorrow starts the conference I go to all week, along with the kids doing school again, so our time in the parks will be in the evenings until next weekend. We are ok with that, though! 😁
I worked this morning and spent the afternoon at the RSA Charge conference, while Carla had the kids do school. We then went to Disney Springs this evening.
Always awesome signage at RSA events:
They give you a neat little pack of cookies when you register, along with a nice T-shirt.
Not much else to report on today.
More conference….lots of people here!!
Troublemakers… it’s funny how they are standing:
I presented at the conference today. It went really well! I heard that one of Disney’s security people was in my session, which was pretty neat!
we went to Magic Kingdom tonight and went to the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor (And they performed the joke we submitted!). We then rode the people movers, followed by getting stuck on Buzz Lightyear and racking up 1 million points!
We then went over and watched the Hall of Presidents show, which was really awesome! The animatronics are super realistic! This was a show we had never been to in the past, and it was nice to see something new.
Last day of the conference. After it ended, the kids got haircuts.
Heading to Magic Kingdom later today. Carla and I are ready to head north, but the kids are not so excited about leaving Disney next week. The two of us are ready for some cooler temperatures, ocean views, and evergreens (and whatever kind of mountains/hills are in Maine!).
We started watching the first season of Home Improvement, which was hilarious. We ordered the complete series on DVD, but had to ship it to the RV park in Maine since it will take several days to arrive and we don’t have any idea what RV park we would be at when it got there.
Just a normal work and school day for us. We made a run to Walmart, and I spotted a couple of highly likely shoplifters. I pointed them out to Walmart’s management and they started tailing them. Tripp was with me and thought the whole thing was pretty exciting!
While at Walmart, he and I found the ultimate toy!
It has 24 volts of tank power and has a rotating turret! ARRRR ARRR ARRRR!!!! (The kids love the grunting on Home Improvement).
We played around with the Pictionary Air game, which is really awesome! You hold an electronic pen in the air and draw, and the other people see what you are drawing their phone or tablet screen.
Gearing up to watch Aladdin!
We went to Hollywood Studios today and the kids rode Toy Story Mania while I rode Tower of Terror.
Also, I’m famous on Star Tours!
In the evening we went to Disney Springs to walk around. The weather was beautiful! Not hot or humid. Therefore, there were a million people there!
Tripp and I went to Hollywood Studios to ride Slinky Dog Dash while Carla and Avin took the puppies to get groomed.
So…we kept seeing this trail into the woods not far from the campground (Disney property, but there weren’t any “no tresspassing” signs), and today I couldn’t take it anymore and we checked out! It felt great to get the Jeep off road, even if just for a little bit! There are a few little mud sections that were fun to go through.
Freshly groomed puppies! They’re still trouble if you ask me.
I took some time to wash the RV today, including brushing off all the pine needles and scrubbing the roof. We weren’t totally sure if Disney is OK with washing RVs in the campground, so I discreetly started at the back of the RV, then did the side closest to the bushes, and then did the side most visible from the road. No one ever said anything. It was funny, because we then saw several RVs being washed on our little RV loop. I think I inspired a few people to go ahead and do it.
We then headed to dinner at Toledo (at the Coronado Springs hotel) with Greg and Angel’s family. The new hotel tower is really impressive! The restaurant is at the top, and you can look out and see Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom.
That’s Galaxy’s Edge below:
Within headed back to the RV and wrapped the rest of Tripp’s birthday presents while Carla started on his cake.
We sort of ran out of wrapping paper, so we decided to cut up the remaining pieces and tape them all over one of the boxes!
Tripp got some birthday money from Greg and Angel and bought a really cool RC tube car track set:
At 12:02am, we were still awake so we let Tripp open a birthday present! 😁🎂🎉
And time for more presents!
We went to Hollywood Studios and ate lunch with Greg, Angel, Elle.
Thanks for this next awesome photo, Greg!
We then headed over to ride Alien Swirling Saucers, when the entire day changed. We had been standing in line for 15 minutes when Avin told me he felt like he was going to get sick. Carla pointed out a garbage can so I was trying to get him over to it when he went completely limp and started shaking. He then passed out completely and fell against the garbage can. I got him to the ground to lay him down and he was not responding to me at all! Super scary! People were giving us water bottles and one lady out a backpack under his head. I yelled for help and they got the park staff to come help. We tried giving him water, which spilled on him and woke him up suddenly. Tripp was also about to pass out from the stress of it all!
After a while, we got Avin up and into a wheelchair, and the fire department guys checked him out and determined it was dehydration. He was the 5th or 6th person they had seen for that today.
It’s odd, because it wasn’t as hot as it has been lately and we had only been at the park about an hour. We had no issues the past two weeks of higher temperatures and longer times in the sun, so it was totally unexpected!
We went to the first aid office and they checked him out also. He was fine, so we wheeled him to the parking lot and decided to call it quits at the park.
We went back to the RV and Tripp wanted to help decorate his cake with a Star Wars scene, so we had fun doing that.
It was an odd birthday for Tripp, and a really odd last day at Disney, but he was a great sport about it!