Friday October 14, 2016


We picked up the motor home Thursday morning and spent the day packing it full of clothing, food, and all the little things we’ll be using during our month-long trip.


Carol spent part of the day Friday with her mother, making sure she had everything she would need while we were away.  I spent the day hanging the bikes on the back of the motor home and hooking up our tow car.  By mid-afternoon it was all set, we were ready to pull out Saturday morning!


Then it happened again; Carol got home about 3:30 and said, “I’m ready, let’s go!”


We had been talking about getting a head start for a few days and I certainly didn’t offer any resistance!  It’s been over 10 months since my last time at Walt Disney World and I’m long overdue! 


Carol pulled all the last minute items out of the refrigerator in the house and transferred them to the fridge in the coach.  Then we dressed the dogs in their harnesses and secured them on the couch with seat belts!


We pulled away at 4:15.  The two mile drive to the freeway took about 20 minutes . . . Ouch! 

But the highway was moving quickly and once we got to it we made great time.  We arrived at the Thousand Island Bridge at precisely 5:00 p.m. and waited about five minutes for the nightly shift change.  After a couple of quick questions the officer waved us through.


Traffic in New York State was light and we made good time all the way to our destination, the Cracker Barrel Restaurant at Cicero, New York, just north of Syracuse.  We pulled into the restaurant at 6:30 and found a quiet spot in the back to park.  This was to be our home for the night!


Carol fed the dogs and gave them a short walk then we headed to the restaurant for dinner.  The Friday special was fish and we both enjoyed the fried haddock.


We were back with the dogs by 8:15 and settled in for a quiet night.

Saturday October 15, 2016


The first night of every trip is a restless night for Carol and I.  Because it’s our first night in the RV we don’t sleep as soundly as we usually do.  Last night I don’t think we slept at all!


It was very quiet and totally peaceful behind the Cracker Barrel and we were exhausted when we tottered off to bed at 10:30 . . . but nevertheless we tossed, turned, moaned and groaned all night.


I rolled over and picked up my tablet to check the time and Carol noticed the light.  “What time is it?” she asked.


“It’s 4:30” I groaned!


“Well,” she continued, “since we’re not sleeping anyway, why don’t we hit the road now and we can be at the FlyingJ in Pennsylvania in time for breakfast.”


It sounded logical, so we both scrambled out of bed, washed our faces, brushed our teeth, walked the dogs and pulled out at 4:48 a.m.  Wow! From zero to sixty in eighteen minutes flat.

Coffee was a critical need!  Carol isn’t what you would call a “morning person” and if she doesn’t get coffee quickly  . . . well, let’s just leave it at “coffee was a critical need”.  It was over an hour before we found anywhere that was open and had coffee.  A Sunoco station somewhere in the wilds of northern New York  . . . and surprisingly the coffee wasn’t too bad!

Maybe it was the caffeine, but after the coffee several things rolled through my mind as we careened down the lonely highway in the dark.  First I thought of the large herds of suicidal deer that inhabit upstate New York.  Although we did see a few carcasses along the shoulder we thankfully didn’t have any close encounters!


Another thing I thought of was a comment I had made to Carol the night before.  I told her how glorious it would look when we drove through the Cortland area, with the morning sun lighting up the colourful trees lining the hills on our right.  Alas, it was still very dark as we passed Cortland.  At one point Carol did mention how nice the full moon looked as it reflected off a lake alongside the highway!  I guess there’s a silver lining in every cloud!

It was 6:50 a.m. when we crossed the state line into Pennsylvania and about 10 minutes later we pulled off at the FlyingJ Truck Stop.  I filled the rig up with gas, then Carol and I walked the dogs again before heading in for breakfast at the Denny’s Restaurant in the truck stop.

The sun was fully up by the time we got back on the road and we continued to make good time in light traffic.

There were frequent patches of fog as we rose and fell on our way through the Pennsylvania mountains, but traffic was so light that we didn’t lose much time.


We pulled off at a rest area about 9:30 to stretch our legs and give Blue and Jake another walk then carried on toward our destination, Carlisle PA.


It was 11:00 a.m. when I pulled off I-81 at the exit for the campground we planned to spend the night at.  I turned and asked Carol, “Have we ever arrived at a campground before noon?”  She thought about it for a few seconds and said, “Maybe once, in Cape Cod.”


I pulled into a service station and parked while we discussed our options.  If we carried on another 90 minutes to Winchester Virginia we would still arrive in early afternoon and it would really shorten our drive on Sunday.  Carol called the campground in Winchester - yes, they had a campsite available for us.  Then she called the campsite in Carlisle (about 2 miles from where we were parked at the time) and cancelled the reservation.

We were back on I-81 in just a few short minutes enjoying the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley!  It was also that part of the trip where we touch four states in under an hour.  We passed from Pennsylvania into Maryland at 12:10 then arrived in West Virginia at 12:22 and entered Virginia at 1:15.


Yes, I know, if you check the times you will see that it was actually an hour and five minutes, but the 65 minutes includes a stop at a rest area in West Virginia where we had some turkey sandwiches for lunch.  The best part of a Thanksgiving turkey dinner is making sandwiches with the leftover meat!

We pulled off in Winchester Virginia, topped up the fuel tank and arrived at the Candy Hill Campground about 1:45.  Our campsite was very close to the off-leash dog park, so once we got the car unhooked and the coach backed into the camp site Carol took Blue and Jake off to the park for some long overdue exercise while I hooked up the utilities, extended the slide-out rooms, dropped the stabilizer jacks and got us all set up for the night!


Big problem!  I ran the driver’s seat (a six-way powered captain’s chair) forward to make room to extend the living room slide.  After the room was out I pushed the button to move the chair back.  It didn’t move.  It was stuck all the way forward - so far forward that there was no way I could sit behind the wheel to drive!  I laid on the floor and checked all the wires, then I went to the fuse panel and checked all the 12V automotive fuses.  No success.  Carol pulled out the big bag of owners manuals to see if they had anything about chairs.  Nada!  Then Carol rolled around on the floor looking at the chair for a while as I googled, trying to find a solution.  After about an hour of frustration we started looking for any kind of manual way to disconnect the chair.  In the end it was fairly simple.  I removed four bolts, two on each side, which secured a revolving worm gear to the sliding rail the chair sits on.  With the worm gear disconnected the chair slides freely.  Problem solved!  Once we get home our friendly RV dealer can figure out what’s wrong with the chair!

After a sweaty afternoon on the floor I took a well deserved shower while Carol fed the dogs, then we struck off to search for Patsy Cline!  The campground gave us a map showing local points of interest and one of them was The Patsy Cline Historic House.  Carol is a big country music fan and although we’ve passed through Winchester many times, and even stayed overnight a few times, we had no idea that Patsy Cline was born and raised here.  We drove through a wonderful area of magnificent old colonial buildings in the historic part of downtown Winchester before we arrived in front of Patsy’s humble home at 608 South Kent Street.


The place was closed for the day when we arrived but I expect we’ll be stopping to tour the building as we pass by on some future trip!

After our-early morning start and a long day on the road, followed by an hour rolling on the floor, we were hungry!.  Chick-fil-A won out this evening!


Then we headed to WalMart.  Carol wanted to look at some linens and I needed to find a new Hot Spot device for our Virgin Mobile Internet plan.  Our existing device will not hold an electrical charge and as a result will not boot up.  We’ve been without WiFi for two days . . . it gives Carol something to play with during our long days on the road so we were anxious to get it replaced.  Alas, the local store didn’t have the Virgin device in stock and Carol couldn’t find the linens she wanted.


We were back home with the dogs just after 8:00 p.m. and settled in for another quiet evening.  Sure hope we sleep better tonight!

Sunday October 16, 2016


Well, we slept better.  Not great, but better!  We were up at 6:00 and pulled out of the campground at 7:30.

The moon was setting . . .


. . . and the sun was rising.


Traffic was light as we drove through the Shenandoah Valley.  This is usually one of my favourite parts of the trip, it’s very scenic as you watch row upon row of mountains on both sides!


Alas, today was mostly foggy, with occasional sunny breaks so there wasn’t a great deal to see!  The fall colours in that area don’t have the spectacular reds we see at home, but we could seldom see the colours so it made no difference!

We pulled off at a rest area at 9:30 and stretched our legs by walking the dogs for a few minutes.


We reached I-77 in southern Virginia at 12:15 and pulled off at a FlyingJ truck stop before making the turn.

We had a quick sandwich in the truck stop parking lot then turned onto I-77 heading toward that big hill Carol just loves to hate.


At Fancy Gap you spend about 30 miles climbing one side of the Blue Ridge Mountains, then fall off the other side in a 7 mile plunge!  It’s a steady grade and over the 7 miles there are 4 runaway truck ramps!

I really enjoy the view on a clear day, but it was so hazy today that there was nothing to see except those runaway truck lanes!

Carol breathed a sigh of relief when we hit the bottom and rolled into North Carolina at 1:10.  Locals call it “the low country” and Carol likes it, nothing but gentle rolling hills!


She spotted the first palm tree of our trip near Mile Marker 85 at about 1:25.

We pulled into our campground at Statesville at 2:00 and quickly got set up for the night.


Later on I chauffeured Carol on a shopping safari; I’m still looking for that hotspot I’m determined to find . . . and I still couldn’t find it!  Carol said that there was nothing she needed, but of course that means nothing!  I’ve seen her buy lots of stuff she doesn’t need!


On this trip, however, she cannot buy much!  The car is right full and she can’t put anything more in it!  We’re hauling 5 Mickey Mouse lamp posts I built down to Fort Wilderness.  The 5 heads and bases fill up the back seat!  Carol came out of a store with two shopping bags and had to ride home with them on her lap!  The car is really full!


We stopped for dinner at Golden Corral.  We had never eaten there before, but a friend told us he really enjoys it, so we gave it a try.  It really wasn’t bad.  A nice variety of good food at an affordable price.  We both ate too much!


We were back home with dogs at 7:00 p.m.  I hooked the car up so we’d be ready to pull out in the morning, then we settled in front of the TV and struggled to stay awake until 10:00 p.m.

Monday October 17, 2016


Wow!  I slept well and woke up at 5:45.  We savoured a few cups of coffee and fiddled on the internet before I unhooked the utilities and Carol pushed all the buttons inside and battened down all the moving parts that need to be tended to before our home becomes a vehicle!


We pulled out at 7:00 and made good time on the Interstate . . . for about 10 miles!  Then rush hour at Charlotte took over and we pretty much ground to a halt!

We were going so slow that Jake, who is usually a bit nervous as we travel, was able to put his head down and have a snooze!

After about a half-hour of stop and go we turned onto the I-485 bypass and our speed picked up quite a bit, but it still took an hour to get around Charlotte!

We crossed the state line into South Carolina at 8:40 and about 20 minutes later pulled into the FlyingJ truck stop for fuel.  Wow - $1.969 per gallon - it’s almost like they’re giving it away!

We were back on the road in no time, with big cups of hot coffee, and continued to make good time all the way to Columbia and Interstate 26.  We made the turn onto eastbound I-26 at 10:25 and saw the first signs of damage from Hurricane Matthew just a few minutes later.  Trees were down along both sides of the road.  Some had been pulled back from the highway and cut up, but may were simply trimmed so that the no longer overhung the road.  They still blocked the shoulders of the road in many areas.

We turned onto southbound I-95 at 11:05 and signs of storm damage continued, mile after mile.  There was still plenty of standing water along the roadside and plenty of downed trees.


We stopped for a quick lunch at a rest area south of Walterboro at 11:50.  We walked the dogs then Carol made sandwiches and we were underway again in about a half-hour.

We hit the Georgia State Line at 1:10 and tides were at there peak.  Carol always watched the salt marshes along the sides of the highway, looking for gators and sea birds, but there was little to see today because of the high tide!


We pulled off at our final destination, Brunswick at 2:30 and topped up the tank for the fourth, and last, time on our southbound trek.  Next stop was the Blue Beacon truck wash just down the road.  Ouch - there were 10 trucks lined up, we were number 11.  They have two huge wash bays and move the rigs through quickly, but it was still sixty minute wait! 


By 3:25 the motor home and the car were sparkling clean and we were on our way to the campground.


We had a site directly across from the off-leash dog park so we set up quickly and then took the babies out for a romp!  They really enjoyed it!


Carol fed the dogs while I fiddled with the Internet connection.  I had a lot of trouble connecting and finally gave up on it.  Carol and I left, visited a few stores still looking for that Virgin hot spot with no luck.  We gave up and went looking for dinner.  Steak & Shake sounded good, but the Steak & Shake we ate at here last year is now a Dairy Queen.  Carol said, “Oh, look across the street, it’s Bubba Jax Crab Shack.”  We decided to give it a try.  It was great!  The crab chowder was awesome and our entrees were great.  I think we’ll be going back there!


We were back home with the dogs by 7:15.  Carol vacuumed the coach while I hooked the car back up to the back of the RV.  It’s all ready to go in the morning!  Then I managed to get connected to the campground’s very slow internet service.


I spent some time getting this trip report up-to-date, but by the time I finished the campground’s internet had “crapped-out” again.  I’ll have to wait and upload it once we get settled at Disney.


We’ll probably get to bed early again.  It’s going to be a big day tomorrow.  We arrive at Walt Disney World and once we’re settled in at Fort Wilderness Campground we have plenty of Halloween decorations to set up!

Tuesday October 18, 2016


We were up bright and early, at 5:45, because it was our “Disney Day”.  After four (and a half?) long days on the road we would arrive at our destination.


We were excited, but it was one of those Catch 22 situations.  There was no sense getting there too early because our campsite wouldn’t be ready until at least noon!  So we took our time, fiddled on the computers and enjoyed a pot of coffee.

Finally at 7:15 we pulled up stakes and started off!

We crossed the Florida state line at 7:50.  Do you see those signs of hurricane cleanup in the background of that Welcome Sign picture?

We snapped a few pictures at the Welcome Center as we waited for them to open at 8:00 a.m.  After our complimentary orange juice we wandered to the vending center next door and bought a Sun Pass at vending machine.  We’ll transfer some cash to it and use it at highway toll booths.

We approached Jacksonville at 8:30 and decided to take the  I-295 East Bypass to avoid rush hour.

We had just crossed the big Dames Point Bridge when traffic slowed.  In just a few seconds we went from 60 to bumper to bumper, stop and go.  In a few minutes we came to a fender bender.  It was a simple rear-end collision and once we were past it we picked up speed again.  That was about the time that our friends Al & Jane from Missouri texted to confirm that we were going be just down the street from them, in site 715.  They have been at the campground for a few days and we always enjoy camping near them and “hanging out” a bit.

We stopped quickly for a leg stretch at a Love’s truck stop just before we turned onto I-4 at 10:20.  There were no slowdowns through the many construction zones and we made great time.  We  pulled onto Disney property at 11:30.

By 11:40 we were checking in at Fort Wilderness and, as we expected, our site was not yet ready.  We towed the car to the overflow parking lot and disconnected it from the coach while we waited there for the camp site to be cleaned.


Carol stayed with the dogs while I drove the car to the 700 loop to check on the site!  Our friendly campground maintenance man Nelson had just finished, so I went straight back to get Carol and the puppies! 

Carol drove the car while the dogs and I followed in the RV.  She directed me as I backed into the campsite.

I had just plugged into electrical power and connected the water, sewer and cable TV when one of the Mickey lamp buyers showed up to collect her purchase.  Christine couldn’t wait for her young children to see their new lamp!

At 2:30 Carol and I took a break, hopped in the car and went to Disney Springs to pick up our tickets.  We had a few park passes to upgrade and some Halloween and Christmas party tickets to pick up.  That was finished in no time flat so Carol celebrated with a quick trip to the pin store where she picked up the newly released Annual Passholder pin.  I took a few pictures and did some people-watching while I waited for her.

We got back to the campground at 3:40 and stopped to pick up our rental golf cart, then started to set up the camp site and decorate for Halloween.


The first step was to unpack the car and the “basement” of the coach.  While we travel the car acts as a cargo trailer or storage shed.  The trunk and back seat are crammed full of stuff we think we need.  All the hatches and storage bays under the motor home are full too.  We really do carry a lot of “stuff” along with us!


Once we had it all out and stacked up we went to work!  We put out the patio carpet and chairs, put together patio tables and assembled Mickey lamps.  The dogs were outside with us as we worked.  That was when Jake discovered that he is a “bird dog”!  A flock of about a dozen turkeys wandered slowly and aimlessly past the back of our camp site.  Jake spotted them and gave chase . . . or perhaps more accurately he gave bounce!  The turkeys seemed to run in a circle, round and round with an excited dog bouncing and barking along behind them.  Of course, Carol was bouncing along behind the whole menagerie, she was squawking too as she tried to catch Jake.  It was a very entertaining few seconds!


After all the hubbub we got back to work, stringing rope lights and putting up awning lights.

It was hot and sticky work so at 5:00 we took a break to cool down.  Carol fed the dogs and at 5:45 we drove the golf cart to Trail’s End Buffet for dinner.  We were seated 15 minutes before our 6:05 reservation.  We always enjoy dinner there, it’s one of the best values on Disney property, a sort of a hidden gem!


We were back home just after 7:00 p.m. and spent a few minutes hooking up timers and testing a few Halloween inflatables but by 8:00 the mosquitoes had invaded so we moved indoors.  Carol decorated the dash of the coach with all sorts of Halloween lights and figures . . . I vegetated.


We were both tired after a busy day; we’ll finish decorating tomorrow. 


This will be another “early to bed” night and I imagine that just like Carol and I, the pups are looking forward to tomorrow, a day when their house doesn’t spend all day bouncing down the road!

Wednesday October 19, 2016


There was no need to rush this morning, and we took advantage of it.  We got up about 6:45 and savoured our morning coffee in a quiet, serene campground.  Aaah . . . this is nice!


My only chore of the morning was to clean the front of the RV, we picked up a few more bug splatters since leaving the truck wash.  Carol fed the dogs while I squeegeed and scrubbed the front of coach, then I chatted with our neighbours while she took the boys for a walk.


By the time they were back it was time to head off to EPCOT.  We were pulling into the parking lot at the theme park when Carol started rifling through her purse and slapping her pockets!  She had left her phone behind . . . that’s a real trauma for my sweetie.  Her whole life and all her plans are recorded in that phone!  Somehow we made it through the morning phone-free, but it was a stressful time for Carol!

When we got to the park Carol was one of the people randomly selected to go through the X-Ray scanner.  This was the first time I had seen that process, it was quick and painless!

We stopped for a quick PhotoPass picture and headed toward Future World; we had a 10:00 a.m. FastPass+ for Soarin’ Around the World.

As we crossed the concourse in Future World West I stopped for a few minutes to take pictures of that big circle on the ground.  It contains rings of markers describing important scientific discoveries.  Most people walk past and never see it, we never saw it either until it was pointed out to us on a backstage tour several years ago!

Then we were off to see the new Soarin’ show.  Instead of scenes from around California it now features scenes from around the world.  It was great!  I loved the old show, but after all these years it was time for a change!

We stopped for a few minutes at Club Cool where the Coca Cola Company provides free samples of their soft drinks from around the world.  Some are tasty and refreshing and some are not.  Beverly is definitely not!

After a few samples and a few pictures we headed to World Showcase to begin eating our way around the world.


This year the Food & Wine Festival features 35 kiosks and a few new countries.  We started at The Chew Collective where Carol picked us up a Grilled Beef Skewer and a Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Mousse.  The beef was very nice and I really enjoyed the bed of salad it was served on.  Peanut butter and white chocolate . . . how could that possibly be bad?

Next along our route was the Chocolate Studio where Carol enjoyed the Ghirardelli Chocolate Raspberry Torte.  Chocolate and raspberry are two of her favourite things, she pronounced it delicious! 


While she enjoyed her torte I picked up a three cheese sampler from the nearby Wine & Dine Studio.  It consisted of small portions of blue cheese, old cheddar and goat cheese.  Very tasty!


At Islands of the Caribbean we tasted the Quesito, a puff pastry filled with sweetened cream cheese and guava sauce.  Yummy!

Carol stopped at Ireland and picked up one of my favourites at the festival, the Seafood Fisherman’s Pie.  She had a tiny taste then I hoovered up the rest!


Our last stop was Scotland where we enjoyed the Potato Pancake with Smoked Salmon.

By then we were full and we had made it less than ¼ of the way around.  In previous years we’ve been able to complete the circuit in three days.  This year it may take four!

On our way toward the exit we stopped and shopped at Mouse Gear then carried on back to the campground. 

We were home with dogs about 1:30.


Carol sat inside for a few minutes re-bonding with her phone and checking out a small issue with our tickets while I pulled out the folding step ladder to take our bikes off the rack on the back of the coach.  Then  I moved to the front of the rig and climbed ladder a few times to wipe and polish the  windshield I had squeegeed a few hours earlier!


By the time I finished cleaning Carol was sorting out our inflatable decorations and placing them around our camp site.  Then we dragged wires around to connect them.


As we worked, a young boy from a campsite down the road from us dropped by again and again to watch our progress.  He brought his younger sister with him a few times and they stood quietly across the road watching us work.


We kept busy all afternoon with the decorating and by 4:30 we were pretty much done.  It was looking good!

Our friends Al & Jane dropped by for a short visit just as we finished.  We were sitting chatting with Al & Jane when the little boy wandered past with his whole family, they were on their way to the comfort station.  The family stopped and the boy, Jake, came over and offered us a cute little decoration.  They are heading home to Brownsburg, Indiana in the morning and he liked our site so he wanted us to add his decoration to it.  How sweet . . . thanks Jake!  Carol went into the RV and came out with some Canadian candy bars, a Halloween treat for Jake and his sister.


It was late when Carol fed the dogs and Blue let his momma know that the 45 minute delay did not sit well with him!  Once they were walked we hopped in the car and headed to Disney Springs and dinner at Earl of Sandwich.

We headed to guest relations first to resolve that little ticket issue, after a bit too much pleading and a referral to a manager the cast member agreed to extended the expiry of my 10 day base ticket from November 2 to Nov 8.  We have had annual passes for so many years that we simply forgot about the impact of those expiry dates!


Then we were off to Earl’s; Carol had a tuna melt, one of her favourites and I tried a new sandwich, turkey, apple & brie.  Both were yummy!


Carol shopped for pins while I sat reading my book, then she returned to announce that she would allow me to buy her some ice cream at Ghirardelli.  That wasn’t a hard sell!


We were back home at 8:30, sore and achy after a lot of walking and a lot of decorating.  The hot tub sounded good so we took the dogs out for the call of nature then changed and took the golf cart to the pool area to soak our weary bones.  We walked into pool area at 8:54 and noticed the pool closing time - 9:00.  Dang!  We made the best of our 6 minute soak and headed home to relax.

Thursday October 20, 2016


Morning came at 6:45 again today and we both spent some time fiddling at our computers and enjoying a pot of coffee. I spent some time updating our trip report while Carol puttered outside stringing some mini-lights to complete out Halloween decorations.


We had no theme park plans until later in the afternoon so it became a shopping day.  We left at 10:00 a.m. heading to Winter Garden.  I needed some Mickey lamp parts from Home Depot and a new Internet hot spot device which I hoped to find at Walgreens, Wal-Mart or Best Buy.  Carol wanted to stop at Publix for milk and a few other grocery items.  Our first stop was at Walgreens; unfortunately they had no portable hot spots.  We carried on north on County Route 535 when Carol said, “Look, there’s TD Collectibles.”  It’s a store full of Disneyana items run by Diana Phillips and her husband Tom who we met last June in Dayton Ohio.  Carol had planned to stop in later in our stay, but since we were right there . . .


She found a few treasures including a pair of Disney Classic Collection figurines, Bambi and Flower.


Our next stop was Wal-Mart where I decided to forget about Virgin Mobile and bought a Boost Mobile hot spot.  We have been Virgin customers for about five years but no one seems to carry their hardware anymore!  Carol decided that she didn’t need Publix after all, she picked up her few grocery items at Wal-Mart while I shopped for the hot spot.


Just down the road a bit was Home Depot where I picked up the parts I needed for the lamp, and a few spare parts beside!


On the way home we took Route 429, a toll road, to test our new Sun Pass transponder.  It worked like a charm!  We exited the highway and entered Disney property via Western Way.

We were back home with the dogs at 1:00 p.m.


The puppies were long overdue for some exercise so we loaded them up on the golf cart and drove over to the off-leash park.  Soon they were huffing and puffing, but they were much happier dogs!

On our way home we encountered a big stork near the Meadow Trading Post.  It was huge!  When we got back to the coach Carol found it in her bird book, it was a Wood Stork.

I spent a few minutes uploading a trip report instalment and  then joined my napping wife and dogs!


The puppies had dinner about an hour early and at 4:30 Carol and I left on our way to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.


The boat was waiting when we arrived at the Fort Wilderness Marina and it whisked us to the Magic Kingdom.

Our first stop was the Fire Hall where Carol picked up her Sorcerer’s Cards, then we took a backstage route up Main Street to pick up our Trick or Treat bags and our first “treat”.

We wandered slowly to Adventureland and used our FastPass+ to scoot through the line at Pirates of the Caribbean.

Then we went to The Skipper Canteen for dinner.  It was our first time at this new table service restaurant.  We were seated in air conditioned comfort about 20 minutes before our appointed time and spent a few minutes soaking in the atmosphere.  The servers act very much like the Jungle Cruise skippers, there are lots of corny jokes, and the nautical theme is evident everywhere.

Carol ordered the Char Siu Pork (marinated and grilled) and really enjoyed it.  I tried the Sustainable Fish (black cod) and found it “OK” but not something I would order again.  There are several other dishes I may try next time!


Carol activated her Sorcerer game at Frontierland as we passed by on our way to The Haunted Mansion.  It was a Halloween Party after all, it’s almost compulsory to ride the Haunted Mansion!


We took a loop through the trick or treat line alongside the Liberty Belle Riverboat at Liberty Square, then on our way to Cinderella Castle we picked up some more treats at Peter Pan’s Flight.

We found a good spot in front of Cinderella Castle and had a great view of the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular show in the castle forecourt.  Last year we were a long way back and had such a poor view that we didn’t really appreciate how good the show is.  This year we had a much better location and thoroughly enjoyed the performance.

We went to Casey’s Corner looking for a table to sit at during Mickey’s “Boo-To-You” Halloween Parade but it was simply too crowded so we walked over to Liberty Square and watched the parade from the sidewalk in front of Liberty Tavern.  I think this our favourite of all the Disney parades!

Since we were at Liberty Square once again we took a second walk through the trick or treat line at the riverboat, then followed it with a second trip through the line at Peter Pan’s Flight.


We passed through Fantasyland and stopped at Sweet Treats for a cold drink on our way to Tomorrowland.  Carol popped into Mickey’s Star Traders and managed to find a pin she’d been looking for the last two days, then we visited another trick or treat line near Buzz Lightyear.  This one had three candy stations and they were giving out huge hands-full of goodies.  We went through a second time!


I made my way over to Main Street and found a vacant corner table at Casey’s which offered an excellent view of Celebrate the Magic and the Happy Hallowishes fireworks spectacular.  Carol did three more trick or treat loops in Tomorrowland before she joined me at Casey’s!


She got back just before Celebrate the Magic  began and we each had Casey’s hot dog; they’re sure not as good as they used to be.

After the Happy Hallowishes fireworks we let the crowd thin then wandered down Main Street through the Emporium on our way to the exit.  We stopped for a Photopass picture then carried on to the dock where the boat was waiting for us.


We were home with the dogs at 11:10 after a great day!

Here's a little sampling of the goodies we brought home!

Friday October 21, 2016


We were up again at 6:45 and had a relaxed start with our normal computer, coffee & cereal routine.


At 9:30 we pulled out for a day at Animal Kingdom.

Our first stop was in the Discovery Trading Company shop near the Tree of Life.  Our friend Naomi from Georgia is working at Walt Disney World on the college program and has just extended her stay from January to May 2017.  She’s enjoying the experience at Disney so much that she doesn’t want it to end!

After a nice visit with Naomi we headed on to Africa and booked an excursion with Kilimanjaro Safaris.

Wow . . . it was busy!  The FastPass+ line looped out into the street and back to the stroller parking area.  Thankfully the line moved very quickly and we boarded our truck in about 20 minutes.  There were quite a few animals we didn’t see but the ones that were out put on a pretty good show!

The male lion was sound asleep on top of the Kopje Rocks, but he woke just as we arrived!

On our way to Asia for our Everest Expedition we noticed that Flights of Wander was just about to start so we found seats in the center of the theatre and enjoyed the show.

It was just after noon when finished our thrilling ride at Everest and headed to Yak & Yeti for lunch.  I stood in line in front of the take-out window while Carol ran inside to see if we could get a table without a reservation.  She found us two stools at the bar and we had a great lunch!


On our way back to the campground we stopped at Property Control to see what was new since Carol was last there in August.  It’s a clearance centre so merchandise selection is always hit and miss, but today she found a few things she just had to have!


We were home greeting some happy puppies at 2:30.  Animal Kingdom seems to be a “hot” park and we usually come out tired and sweaty!  By the time we were home we were both looking forward to a nap.


After a refreshing hour-long doze Carol took a load of laundry over to the comfort station and got it started.  With the hot, humid weather we’ve had since we arrived I’ve been burning through two shirts a day!


While the clothes were washing we loaded the dogs in the golf cart and drove to the off-leash park where they had a good romp!


When Carol brought the clean clothes home it was time for dinner.  We‘d had a big lunch so I fired up the barbecue and grilled some hot dogs.


We finished up our day’s activities with a trip to the pool and hot tub.  The hot tub was soothing and the pool was refreshing . . . just what we needed.


We were home by 8:45 and enjoyed a bit of television before bed.

Saturday October 22, 2016


It was a cool night.  Gloriously cool.  We slept well with windows open.  In the morning we relaxed over coffee and walked the dogs.

Carol and  I were taking the dogs for a walk at about 9:30 a.m.  She and the pups were outside waiting for me when she spotted several deer right behind our coach.  She came scampering back to the RV, got her camera and snapped off a few pictures before Jake discovered that he is a deer stalker.

He growled, barked and bounced a few times and all the deer bounded off into the forest!


So far Jake has repelled invading turkeys and deer but he seems ambivalent to the hordes of squirrels that roam the grounds here.  They sit in the trees and chatter at him, sometimes only a few feet away with their tails waving, yet he studiously ignores them.


Perhaps they're beneath his dignity.  Jake may see himself as more of a big-game-guy!

Carol left at 10:00 with Al & Jane; they were on a shopping expedition to TD Collectibles.  I stayed behind with the dogs and did some chores.  There were a few minor fixes I needed to make in the RV, then I dumped and rinsed the holding tanks before heading off to install lights in our friend Hilda’s Mickey Mouse lamp posts.  I got home from Hilda’s just as Carol returned at 12:00.  She bought a few pins, but there was nothing else new in the store since our visit the day before.

We loaded the dogs on the golf cart and headed to the off leash dog park, stopping along the way to deliver some Halloween treats to Hilda and Stephanie!

Once the dogs were fully romped we went back home and had sandwiches for lunch.

We tend to avoid the theme parks on the weekends and Carol needed a few groceries so we headed to Publix and made a side trip to Character Corner on the way.  The store, on Route 192, has quite a diverse selection of Disneyana but Carol didn’t find any hidden treasures today so we carried on to Publix.  I sat in the car reading while she picked up the few things we needed.  We were back home with the dogs by 3:30 and they were happy to join me for a nap.

The puppies had another early dinner and we walked them before Al and Jane came to pick us up at 5:15.  We had a 5:45 dinner reservation at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian Hotel.  It’s a buffet dinner with characters from Cinderella.  While we ate all the characters dropped by our table, spoke with us and posed for pictures.  We had a great time chatting with our friends between photos.

We were back home at 7:30 and decided to do some “looping”.  That’s what Fort Wilderness campers call it when they drive their golf carts around and around the campground checking out their neighbour’s decorations.


We loaded the dogs on the cart once again and struck off to see all the Halloween decor!  There is more and more every day.  By the time our group of Internet friends arrive next Wednesday for a walking tour of the campground there should be some wonderful displays!


It had cooled down noticeably by the time we got back home at 8:30.  The forecast low tonight is 55°.  We should sleep well again tonight!

Sunday October 23, 2016


Today was planned to be a “do-nothing” day and it turned out pretty much that way.  We had no plans for a theme park visit, just brunch in the campground and a stroll around Disney Springs.


It was cool and comfortable in the morning.  I spent about an hour inside finishing up a blog for then moved out to “the patio” and enjoyed a few cups of coffee with Carol and the dogs.  Just to be clear, Carol and I had the coffee, not the dogs!


We took the dogs for a walk along the canal behind the 800 camping loop then I sat outside reading my book while we waited for Al & Jane.  They showed up right on time at 10:15 and we rode to Trail’s End Restaurant in their snazzy new golf cart.

Trail’s End began serving a new “brunch” on weekends, Saturday & Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and we had been anxious to try it.  It was a good meal, but I was a bit disappointed.  I saw very little to distinguish the $23.00 brunch from the regular $17.99 buffet breakfast.  The brunch was good, but probably not a “do-over”.  The regular buffet breakfast is better value. 


We were home with the dogs at 11:45 and took them out for another walk before we drove to Disney Springs to walk around and see the sights.

We covered the entire area between West Side and Marketplace, checking out many of the new shops.  There are a few areas still to be completed, but most of the construction is finished and the results look great.  There are wide walkways to accommodate crowds and a variety of architecture.

The crank Carol is turning operates the auger shown on the left.  She worked hard to draw a couple of gallons of water up the sluice.

Carol liked the Vera Bradley store!

She was smiling when she came out of The Ganachery.

We watched an Amphicar land beside the new Boathouse Restaurant.



Carol went shopping at Marketplace, I stayed and people-watched near the Lego Store and the Lime Garage.  She was back at 2:45 and we headed home.  By 3:15 we had the dogs loaded on the golf cart and took them to the dog park for some exercise. 


I napped with the dogs while Carol rode her bike to Tri-Circle-D Ranch and visited with the Disney horses.  The Headless Horseman’s steed, Kahn, was getting a bath!

Red, pictured on the left, is a new addition to the Disney stables.  He pulls the hay-wagon rides at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground.

Carol made grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner, which we ate in the coach.  After I had the dishes cleaned up she announced that I would be allowed to buy her some ice cream at The Settlement Trading Post.


As we approached the Trading Post a young deer was grazing alongside the walking trail.  Carol was able to walk within 12 feet of the deer and snap a few pictures with her phone.


We picked up ice cream bars and drove the golf cart around several camping loops while we ate them


There were lots of empty camp sites; they should fill up during the week since the campground is sold out for Halloween.


We were back home at 7:30 and spent a few minutes helping direct a family from Georgia as they backed a huge trailer into a pitch-black campsite across from ours.  I hate setting up after dark, but the man did an incredible job backing up in horrible conditions.


We settled in for a quiet night of television.

 Monday October 24, 2016


We were up at our regular time today and immediately set a slow comfortable pace that we managed to maintain all day.  Once again we had very little planned.  The only thing fixed in our arrangements was a 6:00 p.m. dinner reservation at The Boathouse in Disney Springs. 


I fiddled at my computer and had a bite of breakfast while Carol and Blue went for a long walk around the campground.  When they got back Carol suggested that we take a drive to the Florida Mall to check out J.C. Penny and The Disney Store. 


Within minutes we had walked the dogs (Jake needed to go potty) and were on our way northeast to the mall.  I needed some new shirts and J.C. Penny has a great Big & Tall department.  The Disney Store?  Well, Carol can never get too much of that place!


We arrived just as the mall was opening at 10:00 a.m. and headed directly to the big boy’s department at J.C. Penny.  I found 7 nice shirts, then I found a nice chair in the concourse just outside the store where I sat reading my book while Carol scoured the rest of the mall.  She even took a few minutes to visit the Yankee Candle Store where a friend, Kelly, is the manager.  She was back an hour later, at 11:30, and her FitBit told her that she had walked 1.3 miles.  It’s a big mall!  Her only other purchases were at the Disney Store where she picked up some nice Christmas ornaments.


We made  quick stops at Toys R Us and Walgreens near the mall but neither store had what we were after, so we turned and headed for home.  I decided to return via the John Young Parkway and Route 192.  Big mistake!  Too many traffic lights and too much traffic . . . it took twice as long as it would have on Interstate 4.


At about 1:00 p.m. we pulled into the Chick-fil-A Restaurant on Route 192 for a late lunch.

We were back home at 1:45.  We let the dogs out for a short break, then rode our bikes to Tri-Circle-D Ranch.  Carol had been there the previous day and was hoping there would be a 2:30 p.m. barn tour.

The tour only happens when a number of conditions are met, it is totally  at the discretion of the cast members.  If chores are up-to-date, if horses are all in good health and if there is a cast member available to lead the tour they will put up a sign by about 10 a.m. announcing that the tour will happen that day.


The sign was up when we arrived at 2:05 so we spent 25 minutes in the barn, mixing with the horses while we waited!

One of the grooms, Beth, was giving a white pony a haircut!  It turned out that just a few minutes later when the tour began Beth was our guide.  She has worked in the Disney stables for a year and she did a great job introducing us to all the horses and how the stable cast deal with the care of these amazing animals.

Disney only hires people with at least 5 years experience working with horses to join the stable cast.  Once they are hired they all spend about 1 year cleaning out stalls before moving up, next working with trail ride horses, then later promoted to work in the draft horse barns.  There are three stables at Walt Disney World, trail ride horses are stabled near the Outpost, behind the bus stop, ponies are stabled near Pioneer Hall and draft horses are stabled in the big barn behind the pony stable.  All Disney horses are male except for a few of the little white ponies.

Harnesses for Cinderella's ponies

Most of the draft horses are Percherons, but they have a few Clydesdales and Belgians.  All Percherons are born black but most lighten and turn grey or white as they age.  It was a great tour, Carol and I highly recommend it.  If you are near the stables in the early afternoon, go and have a look for that sign at Tri-Circle-D Ranch!


Every Thursday there is another treat at Tri-Circle-D Ranch when the Farrier visits the stable to check all of the horses hooves and re-shoe them as necessary.  It's a treat to watch him use age-old techniques to treat and trim the hooves, then use the forge and anvil to custom fit new shoes to each hoof.  Thursday mornings are a very good time to visit Tri-Circle-D.


After the stable tour we rode our bikes home, loaded the dogs up in the golf cart and took them to the park for some exercise.  Then it was time for a nap, two humans and two dogs, it was a double-double nap!

After their romp in the park the dogs both ate a good dinner and by 5:30 Carol and I were on our way to Disney Springs for dinner at he Boathouse.  Carol had eaten there in August, but it was a first for me.

We sat outside at a table overlooking Village Lake and watched the Sassagoula Steamboat Company boats and the Amphicars pass by throughout our meal.


Our dinners were awesome.  I started with a wedge salad, it was fresh, crisp and oh-so tasty!  My entrée was clam strips and Carol enjoyed sirloin sliders.  It was all perfectly prepared, well presented and very satisfying.  We wrapped up our meal by sharing a wonderful dessert, Whiskey Caramel Cornbread Cake.


We wandered out through the floating bar area in front of the restaurant and admired some of the classic old boats on display there.  It was too dark to see them well and much too dark for pictures.  We’ll have to go back in daylight to see them!

We wandered through Marketplace and visited the Art of Disney Store.  I walked over to Earl of Sandwich and sat outside reading while Carol browsed the Christmas Store and the Pin Station.  She collected me at Earl’s and we were back home with the dogs by 8:30.

Tuesday October 25, 2016


We followed our usual routine of coffee and computer and enjoyed a glorious sunrise.

The campground was quiet and peaceful as a brilliant red sky shone through the trees.

Carol took Blue for a long walk while I showered and took Jake for a short walk.  By  9:15 a.m. we were on our way to EPCOT.

As we entered we noticed that the PhotoPass line for Daisy wasn’t too long so we stopped for a picture before carrying on to The Land.

We had a 10:00 a.m. FastPass+ for Living With The Land and arrived exactly on time, to find about a dozen people in the standby line.  They have made some changes in the greenhouses since we were last there, several new gardens and new water features.

As we passed Soarin’ at 10:15 we noticed that the standby wait was only 35 minutes so we stepped into the queue.

The time was exactly right, we were loaded into our glider at 10:50 and enjoyed another great ride.  I really do enjoy the new show!

It was time for our ride in Norway, my first time at Frozen Ever After.  Carol had ridden it once in August. 

It’s a cute ride, not awesome or mind-blowing, but cute.  The little girls will love it!

Then it was time to start the second instalment of our Food & Wine adventure.  We were on the opposite side of the lagoon so rather than pick up where we left off we walked to China then turned around so we could nibble our way back toward the exit.

At China we had one of our favourites, the Pot Stickers!


We stopped at Mexico and rode the Grand Fiesta Tour.

The Mexican kiosk had a huge line so we bypassed it and went on to Australia where we sampled Grilled Shrimp and Yellow Cake dipped in chocolate and coconut.  Both were tasty!

The line at Mexico had dissipated so Carol picked us up a Shrimp Taco and a Beef Enchilada.  We both enjoyed the taco but neither of us cared much for the enchilada.  A bit too spicy for me and too much refried beans for Carol.

At Farm Fresh we tried the Mac ‘n Cheese, which we really enjoyed last year, and Chicken and Dumplings.  Thumbs up for both!


We were starting to fill up so we decided that Hawaii would be our last stop, the Pork Slider there is another of our favourites!  In fact, they’re so tasty that we gobbled it up before we thought to take a picture!


Our food finale was a Cronut from the Refreshment Port.  There’s always room for a Cronut!

Carol wanted to browse the Festival Center located in the old Wonders of Life building at Future World.  I headed to the parking lot to make sure the car was chilled and ready for my princess!

She tasted a free sample at Ghirardelli and took a few pictures of the creative displays, made entirely of chocolate!

Made entirely of chocolate!


Made entirely of chocolate!


We were home with the dogs at 2:00 and took a well deserved nap.  I took the dogs off to the park and gave them a good run, then dropped them off at the RV with Carol.  I took a ride around a few camping loops checking out the Halloween decorations in daylight and by the time I got back home Carol had the dogs fed.  It was time to walk them before heading off to EPCOT for dinner at Teppan Edo.

We left at 5:00 p.m. and walked back to World Showcase Lagoon where we caught the Friendship boat from Canada to Morocco.  A short walk later we were at Japan checking in for dinner.  It was a last minute decision, Carol just made the reservation a few days ago.  It’s one of our favourite Disney restaurants and we had an excellent meal.

Over dinner we chatted with our table-mates, a nice young couple from Virginia, somewhere in the Arlington/Washington area.  It was there first trip to Walt Disney World and they peppered us with questions.  Their enthusiasm was invigorating!

We dashed back to Morocco and missed the Friendship boat by a half second.  The cast member was just beginning to pull the rope across the entrance when we asked, “Can two more board the boat?”  The surly cast member snapped back, “It’s 7:30; the dock is closed!”  I guess it isn’t always magical for everyone in our happy place; I hope there are happier days ahead for Captain Grumpy!

We walked around the lagoon and took a ride on Spaceship Earth.

As we exited after our ride Carol said, “Oh, look!  The Art of Disney store.  It must be fate!”  I sat on the stone wall beside the store for a few minutes while she browsed.


We were back home with the dogs by 8:30 and took them along with us on the golf cart while we “looped” around the campground checking out the decorations and planning our route for the walking tour on Wednesday.


Once we had a route mapped out in our minds we settled in for a quiet night of television.

Wednesday October 26, 2016


Our friends from Missouri, Al and Jane, had invited us to join them for Whispering Canyon Wednesday.  They are “snowbirds” and spend the greater part of the year living in campsite #705 at Fort Wilderness.  They have almost finished their second week of a planned eight-month stay.

They have two standing traditions, Toy Story Tuesday and Whispering Canyon Wednesday.  Every Tuesday they head to Hollywood Studios and ride Toy Story Midway Mania and every Wednesday they have breakfast at Whispering Canyon Café.

Al, Jane, Craig, Bridget, Carol, Gary

They picked us up at 9:15 and by 9:30 we were seated at their special table.  If you should happen to pass by Whispering Canyon Café on a Wednesday morning, look for the one table, among a sea of bare tables, that is set with a linen table cloth and linen napkins.  Don’t sit there, that’s Al and Jane’s table!  The cast members all know them and of course Al and Jane call all of the cast by name.  They wear Whispering Canyon Wednesday t-shirts they had custom made for the occasion.  Even the other cast members in the restaurant like to get in on the action.  Last year Al and Jane were surprised to find their favourite server, Chad, wearing a Whispering Canyon Wednesday apron.  One of his fellow servers had made it for him to wear every week when his favourite diners arrive! 


The café is always a raucous place, but it’s especially raucous when Al and Jane are there.  Cast members Craig and Bridget came and sat with us for a while, server Chad used our camera to take pictures of us and a few tables around us, several new cast members came by to introduce themselves to the “celebrity diners”, even Assistant Manager Jenna came by to say hello.  We had a terrific time!

We left Wilderness Lodge and signed Al and Jane in at Property Control.  Jane and Carol managed to find some treasures in the clearance store before we headed home to our lonely dogs.


We were back home by 12:30, walked the dogs and I spent some time uploading some pictures and the most recent instalment of the trip report.


We tried to nap but it didn’t seem to work so we hopped on our bikes and rode over to the Bike Barn to register for the Halloween events.  It turns out that they’re not accepting registrations yet; they told us to come back Saturday.  After the debacle with the home-schooling group who were planning to bus about 400 children in on Halloween night to trick-or-treat Disney management have been very cautious with their arrangements.

I loaded the puppies on the golf cart and drove them to the dog park for a run while Carol vacuumed and cleaned the coach.


Then we enjoyed a lazy afternoon while we waited for our friends from to arrive.


Carol fed the dogs a bit early and we left just before 5:00 p.m. to meet the gang at Trail’s End.  Just before we left the 700 loop we stopped to look at a few wild turkeys.  Three of them were laying on the ground around a shiny black pickup truck.  The fourth turkey, presumably their queen, was perched on top of the truck!

Some of our Tagrel pals were at the restaurant when we arrived and it wasn’t long before the rest showed up.  We stood chatting on the veranda for a half hour or so, then moved into the restaurant for dinner.  There were 19 of us and we had two large tables not far from the buffet.

While we were eating Chef TeeJay arrived with one of his special dishes, macaroni and cheese topped with sweet chilli sauce, beef brisket, chopped green onions and cheezies.  Yes, it sounds very odd, but it was delicious!


Later, when we were all stuffed he arrived again with complimentary strawberry shortcake for both tables.  It was delicious.

We moved outside to chat for a few more minutes and at about 6:45 we started our walking tour of the campground.  There are still plenty of vacant camp sites but there are more and more lights and decorations to see each day.  Everyone was snapping pictures as we slowly made our way through the 100, 400, 500 and 600 loops before arriving at our campsite in the 700 loop.


Carol brought out water, soft drinks and candy and we sat outside visiting until about 9:00 p.m. when the last guests headed to the marina to catch a boat to the Magic Kingdom.


Carol and I moved inside and settled for the night.

Thursday October 27, 2016


We had an early start this morning, so naturally we slept in until 7:30.  We scrambled to get ready and managed to leave at 8:45 for Animal Kingdom.


The bag-check line was the slowest ever, it seemed to take forever for Carol to get through.  We scurried as quickly as we could and met the Tagrel gang in Harambe Village at 9:15.

We chatted as we waited for a few others caught in that same bag-check delay, then at 9:35 fifteen of us entered the FastPass+ line.


It was a good ride, we could understand what the driver was saying, there were plenty of animals to see and the driver stopped at just the right time . . . in most cases.  The only problem was that we were in the very back row.  We bumped, bounced, jostled and careened through the entire ride.  I’m surprised Carol was able to focus any pictures and keep any animals “in-frame”, but she did manage to get some good shots!

The lions were front and center at the Kopje Rocks.

The male was right up on top of the highest rock in a place we had never seen him before.  Carol had to shoot into sun, but got a good picture.

Once we got around to the other side the lighting was much better but the bouncing was much worse.  This was the best focus and framing she could manage!

It was a different story with the female, the driver stopped us directly in front of her.

After our safari we stopped at the gorilla compound beside the safari exit for a group PhotoPass.

We walked to Expedition Everest where several of us used the single rider line for a quick ride while we waited for the group to assemble.

By 11:15 everyone was there so we stepped in the FastPass+ line and took a high speed run through the Himalayas.

We had a nice lunch with the gang at Flame Tree BBQ, then said goodbyes and headed for home.  The dogs were glad to see us when we pulled in at 1:15 p.m.


It wasn’t long before I loaded the puppies on the golf cart and took them to the dog park.  Little Jake has a bad habit of running in anticipation of me throwing the ball.  He looks back over his shoulder as he runs forward, to see where the throw goes.  Today he was running forward quickly, looking back over his shoulder, when he ran smack into one of the agility ramps in the park.  He rolled a few times after the collision and stood up in a daze.  In a few seconds he recovered enough that he wanted to run some more, but he really wasn’t ready to run.  I loaded them up and took them home.  Jake was huffing and puffing the way dogs do when they’re in pain but, with a lot of cuddling from his Momma, he settled down in about an hour.


We all had a short nap then Carol fed them a bit early. 

We left for Animal Kingdom at 4:45.  Our first stop was Tough To Be A Bug.  When we left the theatre it was time to head to the courtyard area in front of Flame Tree BBQ to see the 6:00 p.m. performance of the Discovery Island Carnivale.


Upbeat music, bright costumes, energetic dancing and audience participation all combine to create a dazzling show.  It was very enjoyable.

After the Carnivale it was time for dinner so we headed to Pizzafari.  When we finished eating it was just beginning to get dark so I was surprised when Carol said, “Let’s do another safari!”

There was virtually no one in the standby line, we walked directly back and boarded our truck.  This time we were in the front row; there was much less bouncing to contend with.  We saw plenty of animals but it was too dark for good pictures in most areas, but there was a bit of light on the lions who posed close enough together to give us this picture.

Harambe Village was alive with entertainment as we passed through.

As we headed toward the exit the new Tree of Life projection show, Tree Of Life Awakenings, was playing.  It was very entertaining.  I was surprised how clear the projected images were when you consider the texture of the tree they are projected on.  It was much better than I expected.

We left the park at 7:45 and were back  home with the dogs just after 8:00.  Jake was showing no ill effects from his afternoon accident.  We’re very thankful!


The four of us took a ride in the golf cart and prowled a few camping loops before we settled in for the night.

Friday October 28, 2016


It was another early morning.  We were up bright and early, fed the dogs, walked them  and headed to the marina at 8:15 a.m.  The boat was waiting when we arrived and quickly whisked us to the Magic Kingdom.

We were in the park at 8:30 and encountered the Main Street Trolley Dancers.

We stopped for a few PhotoPass opportunities as we made our way to Tomorrowland to use our FastPass+ at Buzz Lightyear.  There was no one in the standby line so we used it for a ride, then took a second ride using the FastPass.  We were tied after two rides, I won the first bout and Carol edged me in the second.

We started toward Fantasyland to meet our group for a ride on the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train.  Along the way Carol stopped to look for pin at Mickey’s Star Traders; she’s still looking for a 45th Anniversary pin!  No luck so far.

We connected with most of our group near the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train and while we waited for a few stragglers Carol ran to Frontierland looking for that elusive pin.  Still no luck!


We took a few group pictures, then took our ride with the dwarfs.

Carol and I went on to The Journey of the Little Mermaid for a ride.  We finished up in Fantasyland with a ride on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

We headed toward exit.  Carol browsed her way down Main Street while I walked the sidewalk and took a few pictures.

The boat just pulling away as we left the park so we waited about 15 minutes for the next boat which had us back to Fort Wilderness at 11:45.

We found some comfortable rocking chairs on the veranda at Trail’s End Restaurant and waited for our lunch companions.

Our friends Deb & Linda arrived at 12:00 sharp and we enjoyed a wonderful lunch with them.  There was plenty of laughter; we had a fun couple of hours with them before we went our separate ways.

Carol and I went back to RV; she puttered around the campsite while I took the dogs to the off-leash park.  No mishaps today, they both had a good run!


Ryan from Orlando, a camper we met a few years ago, came by with the blue merle Australian Shepherd we admired last year when he was just a tiny puppy.  He’s now a year-and-a-half old, but just as cute as he was last year.


Carol went to the comfort station and used the house phone to call for a reservation at Kona Café.  I had a short nap, then we fed the dogs a bit early, walked them and headed off to Disney Springs.

Carol spent a few minutes in the Pin Station while I sat at Earl of Sandwich waiting for our group. It wasn’t long before everyone arrived so we wandered in an picked up dinner.  We each had our favourite sandwich, I had the All American and Carol enjoyed Earl’s Original Roast Beef.  As always, they were great!


We chatted for a while after dinner then Carol and I drove one of the gang, Amy, home.  She lives directly behind the Magic Kingdom.

We were back with dogs by 8:00, loaded them on the golf cart and drove around a few camping loops checking the lights.  There are twice as many decorated camp site as there were two nights ago!


We watched some TV and went to bed early.  Tomorrow will be another early day!

Saturday October 29, 2016


It was another early morning; we were meeting our group at Hollywood Studios.  The dogs were fed a bit early and while they were eating we heard the local owls hooting.  Carol took her camera in case she saw the owls, but no such luck!

She did get a great picture of this hawk though!

We were at Hollywood Studios in time for rope drop at 9:00 a.m. and connected with our group just inside the entrance.  I went with Pam, Karen, Lynne, and Susan R. to Toy Story Midway Mania where we joined the standby line and took a ride.  Meanwhile Carol went with Susan L. to enjoy the highs and lows of Tower of Terror.

After the five of us rode Toy Story we made our way along Sunset Boulevard and paused for a PhotoPass picture.

We met the rest of the group at the end of Sunset Boulevard and then 11 of us cashed in our FastPasses to ride Tower of Terror as a group.

After taking a group picture we stopped for coffee and a pastry at Starring Rolls.

Just as we were finishing our snack some ominous music began!  Soon a group of storm troopers marched up Hollywood Boulevard.  We dashed out to get a good view, and luckily we found ourselves standing on the curb in exactly the right spot.

They stopped and performed a short routine directly in front of us before they moved on to the stage in front of the Chinese Theatre.  It’s a new show called “March of the First Order” which they perform several times a day.

After all that excitement we walked over to Pixar Place to ride Toy Story Midway Mania.  We were just setting up for a group photo when a toy soldier who was passing by jumped in to join us!


After 12 of us rode Toy Story Carol and I said our goodbyes and headed down the street to One Man’s Dream, a tribute to the life of Walt Disney.

We checked the standby line for The Great Movie Ride but it was way too long so we wandered over to the Muppet Courtyard and enjoyed MuppetVision 3D along with Statler and Waldorf.

It was just past noon when we made our way toward the exit and encountered The March of the First Order for the second time!

On the way back to the campground we stopped at Winn-Dixie and Walgreens to pick up a few items ands were back home with the dogs at 1:30.


After we had a sandwich I put together two Mickey lamps people were coming to pick up.  Then it seemed like the perfect time for me to take a short nap.  After about a half-hour siesta I got up loaded up Blue and Jake for a trip to the off-leash park.  They were tired out but happy when we got back home; we all sat out under the patio awning for a few hours, just enjoying a quiet afternoon.


Carol fed the pups early and we took them for a walk along the canal behind the 800 loop before we left  for Hollywood Studios at 5:00 p.m.

We each had a disappointing hamburger at the ABC Commissary.  We were just finishing dinner at 5:53 when Carol used the online Disney app to check the standby line wait time at The Great Movie Ride.  It was 25 minutes, so she opened the FastPass+ app and booked us a FastPass for 6:00 p.m. - just 7 minutes later.

We walked directly from the Commissary to the theatre next door and took a ride.  It was our first time in the theatre since Turner Classic Movies took over sponsorship.  It’s a pretty blatant commercial for TCM, too blatant in my opinion!

After the ride we found a spot out in the concourse to watch the “Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular” fireworks show.  We both sat on the wall of a nearby flowerbed while we waited, then when the crowd of viewers began to fill the concourse Carol moved out and sat on the concrete.  Soon our gang arrived and we all joined Carol about 20 minutes before the show began.


Wow!  What a show!  Scenes from all of the Star Wars movies are projected on the facade of the Chinese Theatre while theme music and dialogue fills the air and fireworks fill the skies.

It is truly spectacular and we will do our best to see it again before the end of this trip! -

After the show we waited a few minutes for most of the crowd to disperse then made our way to the exit.  We were back home with the  dogs at 9:00.


After giving the puppies a stretch we hopped in the golf cart, drove around a few camping loops and went to the Marina where we enjoyed the Electric Water Pageant.  After the pageant we looped a bit more and were back home, all settled in for the evening, by 10:15.

Sunday October 30, 2016


Today we had no place to be and nowhere to go.  We slept until 7:20 and then sat out with a cup of coffee.  It was cool and the air was fresh so I shut off the air conditioning and opened the windows.


I had a very lazy morning, but, since women’s work is apparently never done, Carol did two loads of laundry.  She put the first load in the washer then we took the car down to the overflow parking lot so it will be out of our way for the next few days.


By 10:30 the laundry was done and it was brunch time.  I was at the picnic table cooking bacon on the Coleman stove and Carol was cooking eggs and making toast in the kitchen when I said, “This makes it feel like we’re really camping!”  “Yeah,” she replied, “Don’t get used to it; it’s not going to happen often.”


That’s too bad, it sure tasted great!

Then we carried on with our lazy day.  At 1:00 p.m. Carol rode her bike down to the Settlement Trading Post to check out the pin trading board while I loaded Blue and Jake on the golf cart and gave them a good run at the park.


People were already starting to put their lawn chairs up along the parade route in anticipation of the 5:00 golf cart parade, so I walked over to Fort Wilderness Trail, the main road running up the center of the campground, and set up our chairs at a good viewing point.


Carol spent some time organizing the candy we brought for trick or treaters.

At 2:00 we rode our bikes down to the Settlement to check out the entries in the pumpkin carving contest.  There were more rolling in as we watched, so we’ll go back later!

When we got back home it was time for a nap before the parade!

As always, the parade was amazing.  Some of the campers are so creative when they design and decorate the carts . . . and most of them dress in costumes to match the theme of the cart.

Our campground neighbour, Ryan


Our friends Al & Jane


The River Country cart even had Mickey and Minnie sliding off the back!



If you would like to watch a 16 minute video of the golf cart parade (from our friends Jeff and Denise at click on the arrow in the image to the left.


After the parade we headed home and grilled some hot dogs which we enjoyed at the picnic table; almost like real camping!

Then it was time to go and check out the new beach bash on Clementine’s Beach.  This is the first year for the beach party so we needed to check it out!  We rode our bikes to the settlement and parked beside the trading post, then took another quick look at the carved pumpkins and voted for our favourites!


Carol was watching behind us as a cast member turned over a sign to reveal it’s message, “Sleepy Hollow Village Limits” - she sensed that there might be some magic in the air, so we stuck around for a few minutes and waited.


Sure enough, at 7:30 the Headless Horseman rode in on Khan.  They paraded for almost 15 minutes in a fenced area near Pioneer Hall.  What a magnificent show they put on!


Click the arrow above to see a 3 minute video of the Headless Horseman

While we were there we bumped into Jeff Lange and his wife Denise of  They joined us as we checked out the big beach bash.  A DJ was cranking out tunes and people were dancing in the sand, kids were playing games, it seemed like everyone was having a great time.

At about 8:30 we decided it was time for some looping.  We invited Jeff and Denise to join us and the four of us spent about an hour hopping off and on the golf cart to admire the Halloween displays and snap pictures.

One of our last stops was at the big haunted house display set up on site 1640.  Every year Amy and Colleen book two campsites, one to live on and one where they set up their display.  It’s very elaborate, you enter through an eerie gateway, pass through a walkway lined with spooky trees, then enter a series of connected tents housing some very macabre scenes before exiting into a graveyard.  It’s a bit too spooky for our taste, we prefer a happier Halloween, but it is certainly a well done display.


It was about 9:45 when we dropped Jeff and Denise off at the Outpost bus station and returned home to Blue and Jake.  Our quiet, restful day had left us quite tired!

Monday October 31, 2016


We had another quiet morning planned.  There was nothing at all on our agenda except  the 1:30 p.m. pet costume parade followed by the 7:00 p.m. Trick or Treating. That’s why I was so  surprised when I woke up at 6:30 to find Carol missing.  She had been up for a half-hour.


We both fiddled at our computers for a while then Carol went armadillo chasing.  We haven’t seen a single armadillo since we arrived, but this morning Carol spotted one while she was out with the dogs.  She ran back, swung the door open, grabbed the camera and ran back, but the critter had disappeared!  She tramped through the brush looking for him; if you had seen Carol thrashing her way through the palmetto in her nightshirt  you might have assumed there was an amber alert or a missing pet.  But no, it was only a phantom armadillo!


She found a burrow in the middle of a palmetto thicket near the base of a big old pine tree, she’s sure that it’s his home, and she’s keeping a close eye on it!


At about 9:00 Carol and Blue went for a long walk while I had a bowl of cereal at the picnic table, just like I was really camping!


I spent some time updating our trip report and decided that it made sense to take the dogs to the park a bit early.  The park would be closed in the afternoon since it was the venue for the pet costume parade.  The pups and I rode the golf cart to the park while Carol rode head on her bike.  


The dogs were huffing and puffing when we got back to the RV.  We all chilled outside, enjoying a clear blue sky.

Carol spent a few minutes combing Blue and Jake, getting them ready for the parade pageant.  We had to call it a pageant because Jake hates parades.  He’s been to a few and they always involve police cars, fire trucks, sirens and other loud noises.  Parades are no fun for Jake, but pageants are OK!


We had a sandwich for lunch and then it was time to head off to the park with the puppies.

Blue was contestant #14, Jake was #15

Blue dressed up as Eeyore and Jake was a lion.  Carol and I thought they looked just great . . . Blue and Jake weren’t quite as enthusiastic!

It was great fun; there were dogs of every shape size and colour and some very creative costumes!

A bag of Halloween goodies for Blue and Jake, a gift from Disney!


We were back home by 2:30 and had a very quiet and very enjoyable afternoon.

At about 4:00 we started to set up for Trick or Treating.  I set up some speakers on the golf cart and started playing some Halloween themed Disney music while Carol set up a table and chairs where we would shell out candy in front of the coach.  Then we sat out with the dogs enjoying a perfect day and waiting for the evening’s action to begin.

Carol added Minnie and Mickey to our rope lights!

Our neighbour Ryan dressed up to shell out candy!


At 5:30 we sat down to a quick dinner of BBQ’d hot dogs.  We had just finished eating when the first Trick or Treaters arrived at 6:00 p.m., a full hour before the “official” start time.

Traffic was slow and intermittent for the first hour and I took advantage of the light traffic.  I rode my bike to the campfire at 6:30 to hear winners of the pet parade, golf cart and campsite decorating competitions as they were announced.  The three prize winning carts were the River Country cart, the Maleficent cart and the Disney Through The Years cart.  The three prize winning campsites were Site 1401, the Chip & Dale’s Campfire scene, Site 1810 Mickey’s Haunt and Site 1717 the Pirate Ship.  All were very deserving!


They announced the prizes for pumpkin carving by pumpkin number, with no description of the pumpkin, so no one at the campfire had any idea which pumpkins had won.  I hope the Gonzo pumpkin won something; he had my vote and Carol’s too!


Dogs were also announced by their entry number with no description, but some of the winners were present so we could figure out some of the dogs.  The best Disney themed dog was a Chihuahua dressed at Buzz Lightyear, his owners were dressed at Woody and Jessie.  Another prize went to three teeny-weeny service dogs, one was leading the group on foot and the other two were riding in a wagon that looked like a piñata.  No idea who the third winner was!


At 7:00 the ghouls and goblins began arriving in waves.  We would be swamped with children, then there would be a brief lull, then another deluge.


Carol had assembled enough candy for 500 kids, and in addition to that had some smuggled imported Canadian candies put aside for a few “special” visitors.


During all the action we were glad we had time to share a few minutes with Hilda and Stephanie; Cindy, Jonah and Hannah; Deb and Linda; Cathy and Brian; Disneyanna and her aunts.

We ran out of goodies at about 8:30.  We think we had seen about 525 trick or treaters by then. 


I took down the speakers and computer while Carol put the table and chairs away then we let the dogs out for a short break.  Carol and I hopped in the golf cart and took a quick spin through a few loops the get a final look at the three prize-winning campsites.


We were back home with the puppies at 10:15 and crashed a short time later!  It had been a fun-filled day.

Tuesday November 1, 2016


We were both up at about 7:00.  It was time to take down the Halloween decor.  Carol started right in on the dash, as soon as she had her first sip of coffee she got to work.


I enjoyed a few cups of coffee then at about 8:00 a.m. I drove the golf cart to the 1800 loop to see one of the winning camp sites, #1810, and their prize winning golf cart.

They had already taken down part of the site decorations, but the panels which had been attached to their cart were still on display.  I was able to examine it in detail and when I did I was even more impressed by the imagination and creativity of the couple who created it.  It was all fabricated from sheets of styrofoam, cut out and glued together to give the panels depth and 3D form.  Each scene from Disney history was hand painted and the frame containing each scene was a radio or television set in the style that was used inn the year depicted.  The art was well researched, well conceived and produced with care and precision.  I was totally blown away when I took a closer look at it!

By 8:30 I was back home and helped Carol take down the outside decorations.  By 9:15 everything except the inflatables was packed away ready to go home.  We went inside to get ready to leave for breakfast at Kona Café.  We drove to the Polynesian Village Resort and were seated on time for our 10:20 reservation.

The food was great; the service was deplorable!  We waited and waited and waited - a simple breakfast took over an hour but since we had to ask for every coffee refill it seemed like two hours!


Even Carol, who always cuts service staff some slack, was disappointed with the service and tipped much less than her customary 20%.  I really enjoyed the Tonga Toast; it was great but we won’t hurry back to Kona!

We drove north to Winter Garden and stopped in at TD Collectibles.  They will be closed next week while the owners go on vacation and Carol wanted to browse there one last time before we head home.  We also made quick stops at Walgreens and Publix on the way home.


We were home at 2:00, let the dogs out and then finished taking down the inflatables.  Everything was stowed in the “basement” of the RV by 3:00 p.m.  Halloween was over!

We were sitting under the awning cooling off when our campground neighbour, Ryan, came by to say goodbye.  He and his wife Annie live about 45 minutes away and he prefers to leave in the afternoon rather than wait until the next morning.  We chatted for a few minutes about his plans for his golf cart decorations next year, it sounds like it will be pretty spectacular!


Soon Ryan was on his way and we went indoor, cooled down a bit and I had a short nap.


We fed and walked dogs then left for Disney Springs at 5:30.  I had a hankering for a burger so we went directly to the new D-Luxe Burger restaurant.  Carol had  a Cheeseburger and I tried the  Bacon Blue Cheese Burger.  They were very tasty, but we both had a very unusual complaint . . . they were too big and too juicy.  The giant beef patties oozed juice which quickly reduce the buns to soggy mush.  They were extremely difficult to eat!  Yes, they were very tasty, but once was enough,  we’ll stick to Earl of Sandwich for our quick service meals at Disney Springs!

After our burgers it was time to sample some poutine.  This tasty dish was invented in the Province of Quebec and it quickly became a classic Canadian dish.  Many of us consider poutine to be a national treasure!


It’s made with crispy french fries, sprinkled with cheddar cheese curds then smothered in hot gravy.  The gravy melts the cheese and creates a wonderfully stringy and greasy dish packed with carbohydrates, calories and coronary disease.

The menu at the kiosk in Disney Springs lists varieties of poutine containing such things as Fried Yucca, Bolognese Sauce and Mushroom Cream Sauce.  None of these deserve to be called poutine.  Neither does that concoction containing a Wine Reduction Sauce they call poutine at EPCOT’s Le Cellier restaurant.  They are all pretentious imposters that bear no similarity to real Canadian poutine.  They sound about as appetizing as a Brussels Sprout Smoothie, Roasted Red Pepper Ice Cream or Pumpkin Pie Spiced Mashed Potatoes!

The “Classic Poutine” listed on the menu at Disney Springs sounded authentic.  The ingredients were correct, so we decided to give it a try.  Alas, we were both disappointed.  The fries were cut too thickly . . . not at all crispy.  The curds looked good, but for some reason they did not melt, even when smothered with piping hot gravy.  We really tried to like them, but we threw more than half the bowl away.


If you want to sample real poutine come to Canada.  You can find much better poutine at any McDonalds or Burger King in the country , , , and for about a third of the price they charge at Disney Springs!


Almost every fast-food restaurant and diner in Canada serves this dish and none of them put fried yucca in it!

I wandered over to Earl of Sandwich and sat outside reading my book for a while; Carol browsed through the World of Disney and a few other shops before she checked out the Pin Station and then collected me at Earl’s.  Our last stop was Ghirardelli’s where we enjoyed ice cream sundaes before leaving for home.

We let the dogs out then headed to the Meadow for a relaxing soak in the hot tub.  Aaaah!


We were home by 9:00 and watched a bit of TV before bed.

Wednesday November 2, 2016


We were up at 7:00 and got rolling fairly quickly, we needed to get to the Magic Kingdom in good time.

We were on the boat by 8:40 and found the park totally transformed!  Halloween was gone and Christmas was in full swing!


Christmas decorations, Christmas music, Christmas costumes on the cast, the only thing that wasn’t Christmas was the weather - it was hot!


The entrance to the park looked beautiful, but the PhotoPass line was very long so we decided to try it later and passed it by.  Inside the park the lines were a bit shorter so we stopped for a few shots as we made our way up Main Street USA.

We walked around Cinderella Castle to Fantasyland and arrived just in time for our 9:30 FastPass at Peter Pan’s Flight.  Yes, it’s a very old ride, it’s a very “low-tech” ride, but it has such a huge “cute-factor” that it always has one of the longest standby lines in the park.


After flying through Neverland we crossed to It’s a Small World and took The Happiest Cruise That Ever Sailed.  While we really enjoyed the ride, we lamented that they don’t do a Christmas overlay here like they do at Disneyland.  Too bad!

We arrived at Liberty Square just as they were laying out the rope for the 10:20 a.m. presentation of the Muppet show “Great Moments in American History”.

Many of the Muppet characters appear in the second story windows around Liberty Square; it was a cute performance.


We walked on, through Frontierland where Carol visited the pin store and wound up in  Adventureland.  Our arrival time was perfect - just perfect!  I was thirsty for a Pineapple Float and Carol had a hankering for a Citrus Swirl.  We ate them in the shadow of Aladdin’s Flying Carpets.

Next on our agenda was Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.  I walked directly there through The Hub to Buzz while Carol made the trek via Fantasyland to see if there were any openings for lunch at  Be Our Guest.  No such luck, as we expected they were booked solid.


Carol had an outstanding score on Buzz.  She whupped me!

Before leaving Tomorrowland we took a ride on the Wedway People Mover.  Just before noon it was approaching 90 degrees and we appreciated the shady portions of the ride.

At lunch time we headed to Sleepy Hollow where we each enjoyed a Sausage and Cheddar-Stuffed Pretzel.  Very tasty and just the right size for lunch!

Our last stop of the morning was at the Jungle Cruise and since the park was all decorated for Christmas it was now the “Jingle Cruise”.

Our skipper, Kylee, was very animated and entertaining.  I suspect she may have had too much Halloween candy and was still coming down from a sugar-high!

We made our way toward the exit.  Carol browsed through the Emporium on the way and I stood beside the Fire Hall snapping pictures of the Move It, Shake It Dance and Street Party which was just finishing.

The PhotoPass lines were much shorter in front of the train station than they had been in the morning, so we stopped for a picture before we boarded our boat back to the campground.


We were home with some happy puppies by 1:45 and after they had a good romp at the dog park it was time for a well earned nap!


We had a 5:45 p.m. dinner reservation at ‘Ohana so the dogs were fed a bit early again.  Once they had been walked we took the golf cart to the marina, boarded a launch to the Contemporary Resort.  Carol browsed a few of the shops at the Contemporary then we boarded the Monorail for our trip to the Polynesian for dinner.

We were relaxing in ‘Ohana at our window seat  by 6:00 and enjoyed a very good dinner.  It’s one of our favourite meals at Disney!

We watched Cinderella Castle light up in it’s Christmas finery from our table at ‘Ohana just before we finished our dessert at 7:15.


The monorail took us to the Magic Kingdom where we enjoyed the spectacle of that illuminated castle as we made our way up Main Street.  Naturally we stopped for a few PhotoPass pictures!

It was still very hot and we had a 7:55 FastPass for Splash Mountain so we headed to Frontierland where Carol rode along with me.

That should be ample proof of the heat . . . Carol doesn’t like to walk around in wet clothing.

It was 8:40 when  we began our slow walk back toward the exit, refreshingly damp and comfortable.  We walked through the Emporium to avoid crowds that had gathered on Main Street for the Celebrate the Magic projection show and the Wishes fireworks show.


We had a great view of Wishes from the boat as we made our way home; we were back with the puppies at 9:15 p.m.

Thursday November 3, 2016


We slept in a bit today and didn’t get up until 7:30 a.m.  Soon we were chuckling when Carol received a text message from Bell Canada.  It was their standard “Welcome to the USA” message and it came in a mere 20 days after we entered the country.  Nice to know that our wireless provider is right up-to-date!

Carol and I were in the car and on our way to EPCOT at 9:00.  We headed directly to The Living Seas where we had a FastPass for The Seas With Nemo and Friends.  We cashed in our passes at 9:45 and rode through the massive aquariums with Nemo and all his pals.

As we passed through the breezeway at Innoventions West Carol said, “Come this way.”  She led me down the back hallway to an area behind Club Cool where a large display on the wall portrays the history of EPCOT.  I took a bunch of photos which may be the basis of a future blog on

We arrived at Spaceship Earth at 10:25 and used our FastPasses to take a ride back in time.

The JAMM-itors were due to start their act in Future World East at 10:45.


Carol browsed through Mouse Gear while I watched these talented guys perform.

Then I joined Carol and we headed into the Passholder Centre at Innoventions East where Carol picked up her Passholder’s glass.  On the way in we noticed another wall display, this time it recorded the history of the Food and Wine Festival.  Could it be another blog?  I took some more pictures!



Then it was time to finish our Food & Wine Festival dining circuit around World Showcase.  Our first stop was Patagonia where we enjoyed a Grilled Beef Skewer and Roasted Verlasso Salmon.

Next came Desserts & Champagne and a tasty Root Beer Float.  Eat dessert first whenever you can!

At France we had one of our all-time favourite festival dishes, Boeuf Bourguignon.  We passed on the festival offering of Creme Brûlée and went into the bakery, Boulangerie Paitisserie les Halles, to sample their Creme Brûlée which was twice the size of the one at the kiosk and only cost 25¢ more.

Next in line was Belgium where we always enjoy the Belgian Waffle with berry compote.

At Morocco we sampled the Kefta Pocket which we really enjoyed last year.

Our last stop of the day was Hops & Barley where we enjoyed the same two dishes as last year, Lobster Roll and Carrot Cake.  It seemed that today we knew exactly what to order.  There were no disappointments, everything was good!

We were both stuffed as we walked the rest of the way around World Showcase on our way to Future World.  We rode Soarin’ using our FastPasses at 1:00 then made our way back to Fort Wilderness.


We were home with the dogs by 2:00 and I spent some time uploading a blog entry before the last Mickey lamp buyer came by at 3:00 p.m.  Once that last Mickey was gone the four of us enjoyed a nap, then I took the dogs to the park for some exercise.


By 5:00 the dogs had been fed and walked and we were on our way to Disney Springs.  We spent some time at the Dockside Bar, beside the Boathouse Restaurant, taking pictures of the classic old boats on display there.

At 6:00 p.m. we checked in for our dinner reservation at Morimoto Asia.  We were seated moments later and enjoyed a nice meal.  We sampled two appetizers, tempura shrimp and pork dumplings, then followed with a shared portion of chicken fried rice.  Carol’s entree was an appetizer portion of ribs, I had orange chicken.

Every dish was tasty and well presented.  The portions were generous, but there were no “wow” moments.  It was good but not great.  We agreed that we would much rather go back to the Boathouse rather than Morimoto.  It is not going to be a do-over.


We spent another forty five minutes walking around Marketplace, browsing the shops before heading for home.  By 8:15 we had settled in for a quiet night.

Friday November 4, 2016

We slept until 7:00 and scurried to be ready to leave for Hollywood Studios by 8:30.  We made it to the park in time for rope drop and enjoyed some of the "street-mosphere".

We passed this sad message along the way!

We strolled directly back to Toy Story Midway Mania.  We hopped in the standby line and took a spin with Woody and the gang.  I barely edged Carol in the first game.  When we left after the first game we went directly back to the entrance and rode  again using our FastPasses.  We both improved our scores in the second game.

We headed over to the former Animation Courtyard which has been transformed into the Star Wars Launch Bay.  We watched a 10 minute film and then wandered through the display area.

There are some interesting Star Wars figures and artefacts on display, and some interesting characters to interact with!

Our next FastPass was for Star Tours.  On our way to the attraction we paused for a PhotoPass beside Echo Lake.

Then we stopped for another PhotoPass with Olaf.

At 10:45 we rode Star Tour; Carol’s first ride in several years.  Carol reconfirmed the fact that this is not her favourite ride.  I think it will be a few more years before she tries it again.

On our way across the park to Tower of Terror we met some storm troopers.  It was the  March of the First Order on Hollywood Boulevard.

After their performance we strolled down Sunset Boulevard to the Tower and took a ride.

We left the park at noon and drove to Property Control.  Carol wanted to check the clearance centre one more time before we head for home.  There were no treasures to be had today!


We were home with Jake and Blue by 12:45.  Carol rode her bike to the Settlement Trading Post for the 1:00 p.m. pin trading.  When she got home we had a sandwich for lunch then I took Blue and Jake to the dog park.


Once they stopped huffing and puffing we all had a nap.


We decided to take advantage of our last opportunity to see the Star Wars projection and fireworks show at Hollywood Studios.  We fed the dogs a bit early, walked them and headed off to the Studios at 5:15 p.m.

Just inside the park we bumped into Jenn, a pin trading friend from Pennsylvania.  She was there to watch the fireworks show as well so we made plans to connect later.

Carol and I had a light dinner at Sunset Ranch Market then walked over to Toy Story Midway Mania.  When we arrived at 6:30 there was a 55 minute wait for standby.  That was too long to wait, we wouldn’t be able to get a good spot for the fireworks.

So we headed back to the concourse in front of the Chinese Theatre; by 6:45 we had staked out a prime location and began our wait for the 8:00 p.m. show.

Soon Jenn and her group joined us.  I sat to hold our spot while Carol browsed through a few stores.  While Carol was gone I spotted our friend Deb Koma who joined our little group.


Before long Carol returned and we spent an interesting hour chatting with neighbours all around us as we waited for the show.  In addition to Jenn’s group and Deb there was a couple from Cortland NY, a couple from Los Angeles and a family from Hawaii.


All chatter stopped when “Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular” started at 8:05.  There were plenty of ooh’s and aah’s, but very little chatter.  It is a truly captivating show.

When the fireworks ended at 8:25 we said goodbyes headed to exit.  Traffic was slow and congested as we left the parking lot so we didn’t make it home until 9:00.

Saturday November 5, 2016


The weekend has rolled around again and this was another non-park day.  We had very little planned.


There was no need to get up early and for once we were able to sleep a bit later.  We didn’t get up until 7:45.  That’s very late for us!

We lazed for a few hours with coffee and our computers before we contemplated any serious activity.  I had a bite of breakfast while Carol took the dogs for a walk.  Just a few campsites down from us they encountered an unusual flock of turkeys.  We normally only see hens in the campground, but this flock had two toms, and they were fanning out their tails in order to attract the females in the flock.

When Carol and the pups got back she and I headed out Route 192, west of Route 429 to the flea market where Booster Paks & Beyond is located.  They always have a nice selection of Disney souvenirs, collectibles and pins.  Carol wanted to check out their wares before we head home; I joined her for a minute and twelve seconds (about my maximum shopping limit) and then went to the car to read my book.  She was finished in about a half hour and had nothing to show for her time except some Magicband bling.

It was noon when she finished browsing so we discussed lunch.  I wanted to eat at Chick-fil-A, Carol wanted to eat at Earl of Sandwich.  We compromised and went to Earl’s where we each had a tuna melt.  Deelish!


Naturally Carol browsed through the pin store.

We made two passes through Ghirardelli’s to pick up free chocolate samples on our way to the parking garage.

We were back home by 2:00. I loaded Blue and Jake on the golf cart and took them to the dog park for a good romp.


While we were at the park Carol rode her bike to the Marina and caught the launch to the Contemporary Resort.  She was on a mission . . . you see, a few days ago she was pointing out things she would like for Christmas.  One of those things was a nice Christmas figurine of Mickey and Minnie riding in a sleigh.  Last night as we waited for the Star Wars fireworks she decided to head off to browse some of the shops at Hollywood Studios.  I gave her a fist-full of cash and said, “If you see that sleigh be sure to buy it for yourself . . . Merry Christmas.”  Alas, she didn’t find it that night at Hollywood Studios so she was really hoping to find it today at the Contemporary.


The dogs and I had just finished our nap when Carol arrived home at 3:45; she was sleigh-less!  But she did find something else she wanted for Christmas.  I knew she would!

After feeding and walking Blue and Jake we hopped in the car and drove to the Orlando Ale House where we met Al, Jane, Hilda and Stephanie for dinner.  It was another example of “good friends, good food, good fun”.  We shared a nice French onion soup then Carol had shrimp scampi and I had cobb salad; both were excellent.  During the meal we enjoyed lively conversation and plenty of laughs with our Fort Wilderness cronies!  It was good fun, yet it was bittersweet knowing that we are leaving in just a few days!


After dinner we headed to the local Winn-Dixie grocery store where Carol picked up a few items to take home with us . . . some of those things we really enjoy but cannot get in Canada.


We were back home with the dogs by 8:00 and enjoyed a quiet night in the best campground we have ever found.

Sunday November 6, 2016


We set the clocks back an hour last night so we had an extra hour of sleep - hypothetically.  The dogs didn’t readjust their clocks and they had us up at 6:30 a.m.


We left for the Magic Kingdom at 8:15 and had to wait at the marina a few minutes for the first boat.

The rope-drop show was just finishing at the train station when we arrived and the entire entrance concourse was a madhouse


The bag-check area was totally congested; people were backed up all the way to the boat dock waiting to pass through security.  It quickly reminded us why we seldom visit any of the parks on the weekend!

It took about 20 minutes to get through the screening line, then we hurried back to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train hoping to hop in the standby line before it got too long.  No such luck . . . we were much to late.  The line was already 90 minutes!

We crossed Fantasyland to It’s a Small World and took another ride there.

When we finished it was time for our FastPass at Mickey’s PhilharMagic.  Have you noticed the theming in the gift shop outside PhilharMagic?

Next on our agenda was the Country Bear Jamboree.  We had a hand-clappin’, toe-tappin’ good time with Big Al and all his pals!

It was warming up and there’s just no better way to cool down than with a Pineapple Float and a Citrus Swirl.

In Sir Mickey’s shop you have probably seen Mickey on the beanstalk.

Have you noticed the giant trying to get into that shop?

We had FastPasses for the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor but on the way there we stopped at Be Our Guest to see if they had any room for “walk-ups”.  They did!  We were seated in about 10 minutes and had a nice lunch.  We shared a French onion soup, a turkey sandwich and a coke.  We missed out FastPass at Monsters, but it was worth it!

After lunch we dashed to Adventureland and made it to Pirates of the Caribbean at 12:30 just before our FastPasses expired.

We left the park left at 1:15 and headed home to a pair of happy dogs.  Napping ensued!


Later I took the dogs to the park while Carol prepared their dinner.

By 5:00 p.m. we were on our way back to the Magic Kingdom.  We stopped at the Fire Hall to pick up Sorcerer Cards then walked directly back to Liberty Square where we checked in at Liberty Tree Tavern about 20 minutes before our 6:10 dinner reservation.

They told us they were running about 40 minutes late.  Carol told them that might be too late for one of the FastPasses we had so they said they’d do their best to speed it up.  That didn’t work out, we weren’t seated until 7:00.  Carol did manage to coax or cajole a complimentary “Open FastPass” because of the delay.  It was good anywhere except Peter Pan or the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

After a very slow, but nice dinner we headed to the Haunted Mansion and used our FastPass to take a ride.


The next stop was at the Mine Train where Carol presented our Open FastPasses which were not valid there.  The nice young cast member pointed out the limitation on the tickets and Carol immediately switched to her “confused little old lady” personna.  I definitely heard an audible sigh, there might even have been some simpering!  Very few young men can deny a dottering old lady and this one was no exception; he pressed his magic button, we got a MagicBand green light and off we went!  We were delighted, it’s a real treat to ride the train after dark!


We wandered over to the Pete’s Silly Sideshow to get some pictures with the characters, but it was closed so we headed to Tomorrowland and got in the standby line for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.  The sign said the wait was 25 minutes but after 10 minutes we hadn’t moved a bit.  It was getting close to 9:00 p.m. and we wanted to snag a table in front of Casey’s for the 10:00 p.m. fireworks and the new Once Upon A Time projection show, so we bugged out of the Buzz line and made our way to Main Street.

Within just a few minutes we were sitting along the rail in front of Casey’s, prime seats for the upcoming shows.

Carol picked us up a cold drink then I waited, saving our spot, while she browsed the Emporium and bought a couple of Vinylmations.  We chatted with a nice young Brazilian couple who were sitting next to us, at the corner table, waiting for the show.  He proposed to her four years ago in front of the Castle; they honeymooned at Walt Disney World last year and were back celebrating their first anniversary this year.


Wishes began at 10:00 and we got some great pictures.

It was only the third presentation of the new Once Upon a Time projection show and when it began at 10:45 people climbed up on the stone wall in front of us, blocking our view.  The cast members who shooed people out of the walkway during the Wishes fireworks did nothing to control the loiterers during the second show so we were forced to climb up on our wall to get a partial view.


We have no pictures, but it was a great show.  I hope we get to see it again soon, with an unimpaired view.


We caught the boat and were home at 11:35.   Zzzzzz!

Monday November 7, 2016


We didn’t need to be up early today, so naturally we were wide awake at 6:30 a.m.  Go figure!


By 8:00 we were outside and hard at work!  It was our last “Disney Day” and we started it by packing up all the remaining stuff around our campsite.  It all had to be stowed away, the Olaf inflatable, 6 Mickey rope lights, 2 Mickey lamp posts, the long rope lights lining the driveway, our wooden Musket Mickey sign, awning lights, lawn chairs, patio tables, etc. Even though we put away all the Halloween decorations several days earlier, there was still plenty to pack up.  The last thing to do was to retract the patio awning!  We were all finished by 10:15 and although we were glad to have the chore done, we were sad that we were now another step closer to leaving!

I relaxed while Carol vacuumed inside the coach and scrubbed the floor.  You don’t have to do this sort of thing in a hotel, but believe me it’s worth the extra effort to stay at Fort Wilderness!  (I find it easy to say this since I wasn’t the one doing the scrubbing.)


After we had both cooled down and showered we headed to the Trail’s End Restaurant for lunch.  We just snuck in under the wire; they stop serving breakfast at noon and no longer serve lunch.  We felt a bit guilty arriving at 11:55 so we thought it would be a hasty meal.  We were delighted when a group of about 20 cast members on some sort of orientation tour arrived for lunch just after noon.  We didn’t have to rush after all!


Back at the campsite I drained our holding tanks, gave them a thorough rinse and then disconnected the sewer hose before taking a well earned nap!

Our friend Masayo, from Japan, arrived at 2:30.  She had not met Jake yet, and it was time for Blue to have another lesson in conversational Japanese.


At 3:15 three of us piled in the golf cart and I dropped the ladies off at the marina.  They caught the boat to the Magic Kingdom, checked in for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, picked up their Sorcerer cards and then headed directly to The Big Top in Mickey's Storybook Circus.  The special Christmas Party pins were being sold there and they expected a big line.  It turned out that the line was short; they were all finished in only 20 minutes!


Meanwhile back at Fort Wilderness, I fed dogs at 4:00 and took them for a walk before I boarded a boat to the Magic Kingdom at 4:30.  Carol had left me with very explicit instructions: 1) Pick up a Christmas Party Sorcerers card at the Fire Hall.  2) Buy 2 party logo pins at the Emporium.  I faithfully carried out my duties then met Carol and Masayo at The Big Top at 5:30.

Everyone was hungry so we headed toward Pecos Bills in Frontierland.  As we passed through Liberty Square we bumped into friends Bruce and Linda from Georgia.  We chatted for a few minutes then carried on to Frontierland.


We’re not crazy about the new menu at Pecos Bills.  Carol and I each had a burger; they were OK but I really miss the taco salad and the fixin’s bar is not nearly as good as it used to be.  Masayo tried the nachos and pronounced them edible but not appetizing.  It was a disappointing meal in a place that used to be one of our favourite quick-service stops!

We cut through to Adventureland and took a ride on Pirates of the Caribbean before heading back to Liberty Square for a ride through The Haunted Mansion.

We found a great spot to watch the parade, right beside the steps at the Diamond Horseshoe Revue in Frontierland.  The lighting wasn’t the best for pictures but we had an unobstructed view.  Carol managed to get some good shots!

After the parade Carol and Masayo headed to the castle forecourt area for the stage show “Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration”.  They found a spot quite near the stage and really enjoyed the show.

While they were watching I walked to Casey's Corner and lurked until a table along the rail opened up.  If you can get the right table, with no trees obstructing your view, it’s a great place to sit and watch the nightly Wishes fireworks show.  When the ladies joined me, just minutes before the 11:00 p.m. fireworks I was in the second best table.  We had a great view of the fireworks . . . and it was our last taste of Disney for this trip!

We said goodbye to Masayo and headed to the exit.  Our boat to the campground was waiting and we were home with the dogs at midnight.

Tuesday November 8, 2016


I was sound asleep when Carol walked past and waggled my toes at 6:00 a.m.  I woke with a start; we needed to get going early since we had a very long day ahead.   We normally drive about 350 miles a day and our 1405 mile trip home takes 4 days.  This time we’re going to do it in three days, almost 600 miles today then two days at about 400 miles each.


With a long drive ahead I wanted to be on the road by 7:00 a.m.  After a quick coffee and breakfast I unhooked the last of the utilities while Carol retracted the stabilizing jacks and pulled in the three sliding rooms.  We pulled out of our camp site 6:56, Carol followed in the car as I drove to the special “hook-up lane” where I connected the car to the back of the motor home.

We pulled out of Walt Disney World at 7:12 a.m.

Traffic on I-4 was a bit slow through Orlando but there were no delays through the construction areas east of the city.

We turned on to I-95 at 8:45 a.m., still in light traffic and good weather.  We made a quick stop at a rest area then drove through downtown Jacksonville, and that seemingly endless construction, with hardly a slowdown.

We crossed the Georgia state line at 10:50 and pulled off to refuel at the FlyingJ Truck Stop in Brunswick.  We had a quick bowl of soup for lunch before getting back underway at noon.

By 1:15 p.m. we had crossed into South Carolina and pulled off briefly at a rest area just south of Walterboro.


We left I-95 behind at 2:45 p.m. and took I-26 west to Columbia.


Less than an hour later, near Columbia, we turned onto I-77 northbound.  We were making great time!

We fuelled up again at the FlyingJ at Rock Hill South Carolina at 4:45 p.m. and at 5:15 p.m. we crossed the North Carolina state line and entered Charlotte.  Yikes!  It was rush hour and traffic was horrible!  We only had 50 miles to go . . . after making good time all day it was frustrating to come to such an abrupt stop!  We made our way to the I-485 beltway as soon as we could and soon picked up speed again!


We pulled into our destination, the KOA Campground at Statesville NC at 6:30 p.m.  We really don’t like setting-up in the dark, but soon we were all settled for the night.  We fed the dogs and walked them and had grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner in the coach. 


After a long day behind the wheel it was nice to relax and watch a bit of television . . . although it took a while to find a channel that wasn’t running election coverage.  We sure are glad to be Canadian; it means that we can ignore what looks to be a very divisive election.


Bedtime came early!

Wednesday November 9, 2016


Once again we were up at 6:00 a.m. and I was a bit surprised to find that Donald Trump was President-elect.  Carol had expected him to win, but I wasn’t so sure.


We left the campground 7:12 a.m.  Skies were clear but there were a few hazy patches in the early morning.

We crossed into Virginia at 8:25 a.m. and started to climb that big hill Carol dreads.  She doesn’t mind the climb as much as the descent, but she’s never a happy camper on that hill!

Soon we crested the top and by 8:55 we left I-77 behind and took I-81 northbound.  We will stay on I-81 for most of the trip home.

It was Wednesday and that’s chicken pot pie day at Cracker Barrel so we pulled off in Staunton Virginia at 11:45 and ordered the Wednesday special.  It never disappoints!


We were back on the road by 12:25.  It had become overcast and there were some occasional light showers, but not enough to effect traffic.


It was raining steadily at 2:15 p.m. as I gassed up at the FlyingJ just north of Winchester Virginia.

We crossed into West Virginia at 2:45 p.m.

Maryland followed at 3:05 p.m.

At 3:20 we entered Pennsylvania and an hour later we pulled into Western Village Campground at Carlisle.

After a short rest I unhooked the car and we drove to a nearby Applebee’s Restaurant where we met friends Mike and Anne for dinner.  We enjoyed a nice visit and a few laughs.  We swapped a giant bottle of Canadian ketchup for a box of delicious Pennsylvania cookies and then headed home to the dogs at 8:30.

Thursday November 10, 2016


Once again we were up at 6:00, it was our last day and we were rarin’ to get home!  I gave the holding tanks their final drain and a very thorough flush and we pulled out at 7:30 a.m. 

We had been expecting some traffic slowdowns in the state capital, Harrisburg, but there were none.  We zipped through, right through the downtown area, at full speed.  Skies were clear and bright and we encountered no significant traffic as we wound, climbed and coasted through the mountains.

Our last fuel stop was at the FlyingJ truck stop at New Milford Pennsylvania and we crossed the New York state line at 11:10.


We stopped at Mattydale, a suburb of Syracuse New York, where Carol browsed the Christmas Tree Shop while I walked the dogs.  Lunch was a quick sandwich in the RV before we got back on the road for the final leg of our journey. 


We hadn’t been on the road long when some gusty cross-winds began to shove the RV around.  It’s 36 feet long, 13 feet high and it’s mostly just a big box full of air.  Wind has an impact, and the 50 mph gusts we were getting as we approached the border were moving it a few feet left and right in the traffic lane.  Since the rig already takes up the entire lane there isn’t room to be jumping back and forth a few feet.  Yikes – the last hour behind the wheel was very tiring!

At 3:15 we arrived at the border and after a short wait we crossed back into Canada after a month in the USA.

Once we were in Canada we turned and headed west on highway 401.  I thought that driving would be easier since we would be heading directly into those gusts.  I was wrong, the winds were now hitting us at about a 45 degree angle and it was just as bad as when we were northbound.

We were both thrilled when we pulled up in front of our home at 4:00 p.m.


My arms were tired from steering and my hands ached from gripping the wheel!


It was a great trip.  The weather was wonderful, we had great fun with good friends, but it’s always such a nice feeling to get home!