Camping at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground with Help From Florida Camper Rental

I told you guys back in July (Let’s Go Glamping/Camping at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground) that I was planning a “glamping” outing. I was in the planning stages then and told you how to go about reserving and making all of your arrangements. Well, I just got back from the trip and boy do I have lots to tell you about camping/glamping at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.

I’m not a camper. I’m not really even a glamper. But camping/glamping at Disney is different than doing it anywhere else and made super easy by companies like Florida Camper Rental.

Florida Camper Rental Fort Wilderness

If you have never camped before and are on the fence about trying it – try it at Disney! The process is definitely easy, the grounds, the amenities, the extras and everything offered at the campground are done in the way that only Disney can do.

I have no camping knowledge. I have no idea what needs to be hooked to what when it comes to a camper. None of that mattered since Florida Camper Rental took care of everything that needed to be taken care of. They delivered the camper to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground on our designated date and time. They hooked up the camper, and the camper was equipped with most everything needed – dishware, utensils, etc. All we needed to bring was our food and our clothes!

Florida Camper Rental can provide full-service RV rentals to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, as well as to several other camping locations in the area. The company offers some of the largest 5th Wheel RV Rentals available on the market. The camper we arranged was a 38 ft. Heartland Elkridge camper that sleeps 10. I will say that if I had it to do over, I would limit the sleeping capacity to 8 in this unit since 2 of the 10 person limit sleep in the living area and 2 on blow-up air mattresses. The unit would be ideal for a large family that may require a suite or two separate rooms in a regular hotel, so it’s a great way to get to Disney on a budget.

Florida Camper Rental generously worked with my group to provide the camper. Again, if you want to try camping, definitely go through Florida Camper Rental and if you are a first time camper, head to Disney’s Fort Wilderness. The rental process is simple, they offer several different sizes in campers and they have the absolutely nicest guy that brings the camper to your site, hooks everything up, walks you through anything you need to know and then at the end of your stay – POOF – he comes and picks it all up and takes it away. He arrived with our camper early in the week at exactly the time I was told he would and I received a little check-in from the company later in the day to be sure all was well. The camper was backed in, set-up, hooked-up, gone over and he made it all look so simple. 

The Cost:

Prices for camper rental vary depending on size of the units. When renting from Florida Camper Rental, you will need to place a $200 security/reservation deposit. This deposit is 100% refundable if you cancel before 90 days; 50% refundable if you cancel within 89 days; and, 0% refundable if you cancel within 30 days of your reservation. The $200 security/reservation deposit is not applied to your total bill. This amount guarantees your reservation date and acts as a security deposit against damage to the camper. This $200 is 100% refundable and will be received back within 14 days of your last rental date as long as there is no damage to the RV. Your full and final payment for the rental is due 7 days prior to the start of your reservation.

You must add to the cost of the camper rental, campsite rental at Disney’s Fort Wilderness. Prices for campsites vary. Since we needed a premium site, our cost, with tax, was $470 ($106 per night plus tax). As with all Walt Disney World Resort reservations, one night cost is required as a deposit with the balance due on check-in since it’s treated the same as a room-only reservation.

A few days before arrival you will receive a an email with a full list of very helpful instructions and suggestions, which I found extremely helpful since I had never stayed in an RV or campground before. This e-mail included the following:

Instructions & Suggestions:

Some things to note:

  • The refrigerator can take 10-12 hours to cool completely to optimal temperatures.

    • If you keep both the freezer and refrigerator doors closed as much as possible, it will help it cool faster.
    • Also, by adding room temperature food and drinks, it will take a bit longer for the refrigerator to cool.
    • You may want to keep your cold items in a cooler until the refrigerator is cooled down. 
    • The freezer will cool first; you can put any perishables in the freezer if needed.
  • Fort Wilderness does not provide pool towels like the other resort pools. So you will want to plan to bring pool towels unless you plan to purchase souvenir towels. 
  • We provide an initial supply of a four pack of Scott’s RV toilet paper, a roll of paper towels per RV and three trash bags. If you think you’ll use more, you might want to get some at a grocery store rather than the campground. It is important that you only flush RV toilet paper to keep from clogging the tank. Using regular toilet paper will back up the system and cause odors.
  • This RV has a convection oven/microwave combination. You may also use the stove top. If you would like a crock-pot, please let us know.

The Elkridge 2 will have 12 bath towels, facecloths and pillows. There will be a set of sheets and blanket for each bed.

In the kitchen there are cups, bowls, plates, silverware, coffee cups, coffee maker, toaster, pots and pans, trash bags for kitchen and bathroom, hand towels, dish towels. And outside we provide charcoal BBQ grill utensils, four camping chairs, patio mat, camping table and fan. Each Disney campsite has a picnic table with seating for 6-8 people. We provide a broom, vacuum, multipurpose cleaning spray.

Some common calls we get are related to these items:

  • If you plan to smoke outside or have a campfire, please close the windows and doors so that smoke does not enter the RV.
  • Please close all windows and doors when leaving the RV, in case of rain so as to not incur water damage.
  • When flushing the toilets, make sure to use plenty of water with each flush so as to avoid odors from the holding tanks. When plenty of water is used, it helps to push solids through the system so that it drains through the sewer hose that is connected to Disney’s outlet.

    • Make sure to flush only RV toilet paper, all other items need to go in the trash. 
    • At least once a day, toilets should be filled within a few inches from the rim and then flushed, repeating this process three times to avoid odors
  • The hot water tank holds 6 to 10 gallons at a time. After that has been used, you will need to wait about 10 to 15 minutes for it to fill up with more hot water.
  • If running several high current electrical items (such as the air conditioner, microwave and hair dryer), you may experience a power failure. You will need to locate the breaker box panel inside the RV and flip all breakers off then back on. If this does not resolve your issue, find Disney’s power pole, usually at the back of the campsite, and flip those breakers then back on again. Please call or text us for additional help at 863-605-3995
  • For RV’s that use air mattresses, please do not allow children to use as a trampoline. We make every effort to make sure that our air mattresses hold air and are usable, however small pinholes or tears do occur. This will mean a loss of air, if it goes completely flat and is not holding air, please notify us so that we can make other arrangements for you with an air mattress.

While you are staying in our RV, please report any malfunctions or breakdowns to us as soon as possible. If you have any questions while in the RV, please don’t hesitate to call or text. We want your stay to be as relaxing as possible and can help you troubleshoot many problems over the phone. But we can’t help if we don’t know you are experiencing a problem.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • You’ll want to plan to bring or purchase your food and toiletries. Lots of water for drinking!
  • Each Disney campsite has a charcoal BBQ grill. You bring the charcoal and we provide the grilling utensils and lighter.
  • Square table cloth for the Disney provided picnic table
  • Rectangular table cloth for the outdoor table that we provide
  • Plastic/Paper dishes and cutlery if you don’t want to do dishes
  • Extra RV toilet paper, paper towels/napkins
  • Mosquito Spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Rope or clothesline to hang towels and suits outside
  • Pool towels
  • If you plan to do laundry, there are facilities in each of the camping loops. You can purchase laundry detergent or bring your own. The laundry facilities have credit card operated machines.
  • A small flashlight in case you plan to walk around at night.
  • Poncho’s in case it rains.
  • Containers or zipper bags for left over food.
  • The RV has a security light under the awning, but if you plan to sit out at night, you may want to bring some Christmas string lights and zip ties to attach to the awning for additional light.
  • Extension cord, to plug in golf cart or mobility scooter–You’ll want to plug it into the power pole at the back of your campsite rather than the RV
  • Some people pack marshmallow sticks and S’mores supplies for the campfire sing along, there are two big bonfires.
  • Sidewalk Chalk for decorating your campsite driveway 🙂

On the morning of check out:
You are not responsible to return the linens clean, but we do ask that you place any used linens in the shower upon departure. This will prevent wet towels from getting left on the floor and beds. Also, by removing the sheets and blankets from the beds, it helps to make sure you haven’t left any personal items behind. Many times we will find personal items at the foot of the beds under the sheets.

Along with putting the used linens in the shower, we also ask that you sweep/vacuum the floor, wash and put away any dishes and please remove any trash/food items from the RV.

To comply with Fort Wilderness check out time of 11am, we ask that our guests depart the RV by 930 am so that we have time to prepare the RV for transport. 
You may leave the door unlocked and the key inside on the key hook.

These extra instructions received a few days prior really made things much easier for someone that had no prior camping experience. The company definitely wants all of their campers to be prepared, be informed and have fun!

When our stay was over, Florida Camper Rental swooped in, unhooked and drove away! As long as you follow the very clear instructions you receive from Florida Camper Rental regarding site size and location for the particular unit you rent, all will be okey dokey.

FYI: When you camp at Disney’s Fort Wilderness you are entitled to the same Disney perks that every Disney resort guest gets (except of course those little bottles of shampoo!) Even if you are staying in a pop-up tent! Transportation to and from the parks, MagicBands, FastPasses, dining reservations, Magical Express, Wi-Fi, etc. And, most importantly, great Disney cast members to guide you all along the way.

When arranging (and checking in) to your camp site you will be able to look at a map showing the lay-out and location of each loop of camp sites. Since we were 10 women in a camper, I knew we needed to be close to a comfort station and Disney easily accommodated that request. The comfort stations are very nice and Disney clean and offer toilet stalls, showers and dressing area for each shower.

Photo Credit: Kuleen Lashley/My Small World

Photo Credit: Kuleen Lashley/My Small World

There is so much to do at Fort Wilderness, there are times you may not venture to one of the parks. You can read all about the  

  • Pools (2)
  • Wagon Rides
  • Chip ‘N’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long
  • Movies Under the Stars
  • Fishing
  • Motorized Boat Rentals
  • Bike Rentals
  • Playgrounds
  • Davy Crockett’s Wilderness Arcade
  • Daniel Boone’s Wilderness Arcade
  • Archery
  • Tri Circle D Ranch
  • Pony Rides
  • Horseback riding
  • Canoe and Kayak Rentals
  • Basketball and Volleyball Courts
  • Hiking and Walking Trails
  • Dog Friendly

I was provided with free and/or discounted items, stays and meals as part of the Glamping Blogger Retreat 2017. All opinions are my own.

Camping at Disney’s Fort Wilderness? Be sure to have Dinner at Trail’s End Restaurant at Disney’s Fort Wilderness!

Frequent and Flexible Travelers Should Try Whiskr!

Find your adventure and make your bucket list a reality!

What the heck is Whiskr!! Whiskr is an online flight deal site. They find deals for serious travelers who are on a budget and want to make their travel bucket list a reality. Whether you’re looking for a quick weekend trip or an exotic journey around the world, they can help you get there a little cheaper! You can not book your trips through Whiskr. They are a fare alerting service. Each of the deals you receive in your alerts will direct you to the sites where you can book your trip.

Whiskr Flexible Flight FaresAlthough my travel is rarely flexible, I do travel often. I can’t always be flexible when it comes to arrival and departure dates when going out of town on a media or press junket. Sometimes I can’t justify saving a few dollars on air fare to spend quite a bit more to spend an extra day at a venue.

Even though I am usually reimbursed my air fare costs when heading out on a media trip, I still try to find the best price. This sometimes means comparing costs across different airlines. I rarely use some of the price comparison sites because they create pop-ups that are annoying. So, when I heard about Whiskr I thought – why not give it a try to see if they can find me a good deal on my next trip.

While 99.9% of my travel is limited to the United States, I will say if I was heading out of the country, the site found some outstanding fares! $209 to Europe! Woot!

I’m always on the lookout for cheap flight deals and some deals are so great it doesn’t make sense for me to use my airline miles for the flight. Whiskr uses an advanced technology and checks availability multiple times per day to keep their deals up to date. You can browse all of the deals or filter the deals to show only your preferred airports. You can be notified of new deals via text or email. Their technology actually finds short time deals, price errors and flights that are showing much cheaper than normal. Whiskr also has a real-time calendar that displays flight prices on each day so you know which days will be cheaper to fly. 

You can easily set your home airport in your settings, and Whiskr will also suggest some nearby airports as well. The more major home airports you add, the more likely you are to receive alerts more often. It is often easier to find a short connection to a major airport than if is to find a cheap fare from a small airport. Sometimes using a different airport makes a huge difference in flight costs.

There is a cost to use the site but there is a free trial for 14 days so you can see if it works for you before paying. The cost is reasonable for someone on the look-out for great fare deals. I am currently on the free trial period and as a frequent traveler I think the service is worth the cost. If you pay monthly the cost is $4.99, yearly it is the cheapest since it comes out to $3.33 a month, and quarterly is $4.33 a month. When you consider the amount you could save, the price is really reasonable.

  • Choose all the airports you could travel from and get notified when Whiskr finds deals to a specific airport, all airports within 500 miles, or anything in between.
  • Choose to receive alerts via text or e-mail.
  • Choose which airports you can travel to for a flight deal. List your home airports in your filters.
  • Browse All Deals – no need to wait for notifications. Start browsing all the deals available at any time.
  • Each deal includes an availability view.
  • Set your filters to watch specific regions and those are the alerts you will receive. You can receive as much, or as little, as you want.
  • Use advanced filters to find exactly what you’re looking for. You can sort by airline or by destination.
  • You can also subscribe to deal newsletters that will alert you to deals on specific airlines or flash sales.

Overall, the site is easy to use with step by step instructions on how to set your filters. It’s also worth the cost if you are looking for the cheapest fares to specific areas. I do think you need to be flexible and able to jump on a fare as quickly as you can once an alert is received.

EVERYWHERE is on my bucket list of places to visit and Whiskr will definitely make it easier to get there!

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5 Tips to Traveling in Style on a Budget

Travel Style BudgetGoing on vacation is a very exciting opportunity and one that many take for granted. Often times people want to make the most of their getaway and choose to save money for a long period of time in order to be able to travel in style. If you are a Travel Freak, you understand that you don’t have to have a million dollars to explore the world and have a great time. But if you are interested in traveling in style, we have some tips for you for your next adventure.

Designer Luggage

If you are a style maven and strive to look the part at all times, be on the lookout for designer luggage that will go on sale from time to time at major department stores. For example, Macy’s often has great designer luggage marked down during various times of the year. Coupled with a coupon, you can save big money and have a luggage set that will surely make you feel great as you walk through the airport.

Take a Limo

Take a limo to and from the airport. While this may sound expensive, it may actually be cheaper than parking your car at the airport for the week while you are away. Look for deals on travel websites that often offer sales for transportation services. If you begin looking ahead, you will be able to find a good deal on limo service to and from the airport which may even save you money in parking, tolls, and gas. Not to mention, taking a limo to the airport is sure to turn heads.

Get Pretty

Book a hair appointment and makeover before going out on the town. Most cities can offer a great salon experience while you are away from your home stylist. Check cities for blowout bars or head to a local mall to get a beauty makeover. In fact, many department stores will provide a free makeover if you purchase a couple of beauty products. After a day of beauty, you will surely feel like a night out on the town with your friends or sweetheart.

Coupon Codes

Look for coupon codes for activities. There are certainly many things you will do before you set off to your vacation destination. Be sure to keep an eye out for coupons or promotions for the city you will be vacationing. You can find great deals on food, excursions, and other activities weeks in advance. By planning ahead you can save over 25% off of regular prices!

When to Shop

Shop all year round for your vacation clothes. If you are planning a great vacation a year in advance, you can begin to shop for your vacation clothes early on in the planning process. The best time to shop for stylish, designer threads is after the season. If you are traveling next summer, be sure to check the sale and clearance racks at the end of this summer. You will likely be able to find a great swimsuit, cover-up, and sandals for up to 75% off! That is a huge savings!

What are your best tips for heading out in style?

Taking a Large Group to Orlando on a Budget

My family loves to visit Orlando. During the year one or more of us visit at different times. Once a year I take on the task of planning a trip for the entire family to enjoy together. Four generations head to Orlando early each June for 8 days of family fun and togetherness. There is no doubt that Orlando can be an expensive destination. Over the years I have found ways to save on our yearly trips so that everyone can have the experience they want.

Large Group Trip Orlando Budget
Orlando-Train-Station Photo Credit: WBEEM via Flickr

Orlando is best known for Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, but there’s so much more to the area. Vacationing in Orlando with 8, 10 or 12 people on a budget can be pretty easy with the right mind-set. As soon as I realized that hotels just won’t work, especially a Walt Disney World or Universal resort, my planning became so much easier. Having space for a large group can get expensive when you think about needing 2, 3 or 4 rooms to accommodate everyone in a hotel or resort.

Vacation Home Rental

Once I realized that renting at least 3 or 4 hotel rooms could easily explode my budget, I began looking at vacation home rentals in Orlando. Fortunately I found one that my family loves and we have now used many times.

The positive side of renting a vacation home is cost. Even the cheapest hotel room times four rooms can easily cost $500 or more per night. Times 7 nights, well, that’s lots of money. We can rent an entire home that sleeps up to 16 for much less. Each member of the family also has their own space with private areas so there is never a feeling of crowding each other. The home my family really loves, and has used many times, is Characters Corner Vacation Home. I will admit I was a little concerned going into our trip this year since we have added a new baby. Bringing a 5 month old along was definitely something I haven’t done in a long time. My mom, at 85, is also having a much harder time getting around. The home is set up so well and provides everything a family needs (2 cribs, high chair, ground floor bedrooms with bathrooms) that I was worried for nothing! Six bedrooms and two convertible sofa beds, 4 bathrooms, a movie theater and a pool/kiddie pool/hot tub! What more can a family want! Everything you need is in the home to make your family feel comfortable, relaxed and ready to have a great vacation. All dishes, linens, washer/dryer, Wi-Fi, pool towels, etc., are provided and the home is wheel chair accessible.

My new grandson was also able to experience his first pool time without worry that he would get splashed or afraid in a large resort pool with many other people around.

Cleanliness and customer satisfaction are the top priorities for the owners and there is a property manager nearby, just a phone call away in case of a problem. 

Location – Location – Location!

Location is an important factor for us. Characters Corner Vacation Home is ideal. The home is a short 10 minute drive onto Walt Disney World property (2.5 miles away) and a 15 minute drive to Universal Orlando, Sea World and all the restaurants, shopping and attractions on the heart of International Drive (I-Drive).  Multiple large name grocery stores are within a few minutes drive, as well as many restaurants, shops and attractions.

The home is located in a private, gated community so is a very safe and secure spot for a family.

Dining Out vs. Eating In

No one really wants to go on vacation and cook. When a large group also means a large cost to eat out, cooking easy meals is necessary for the budget. When we first arrive at the rental home, one of the first things I do is head to the grocery store. Not only do I buy a few easy fix meals for the week, I buy breakfast for each day as well as bottled water and snacks to take with us on our trips to local attractions. You’ll be surprised how much you can save by eating breakfast at the house and taking along your own snacks and water! Some evenings we may return to the house before dinner. There is a gas grill provided for easy meals like hamburgers and hot dogs. There are also several local restaurants that will deliver to the community. Pizza and a movie in the theater are a great way to spend a relaxing evening together!

Discount Attraction Tickets

Each member of my family likes to do something different. My granddaughter only wants to go to Walt Disney World. My daughter-in-law and son love Universal. I like Sea World. My daughter likes it all! Even though we travel together I am a firm believer in everyone getting to do what they like. Sometimes it’s necessary to split up and go our separate ways. We have a family meeting each year and everyone gets to say what they want to do and where they want to go. I then use discount sites to purchase the tickets and passes based on the list of things each family member wants to do. If only 2 want to visit Universal, I purchase tickets for those 2 only for one day. If all want to go to Walt Disney World, I purchase park passes for everyone making sure to not purchase tickets for every day of our trip. I try to build in days to see other things or to relax around the pool. My favorite site for saving on park and attraction passes is Undercover Tourist.

Free is Always Good on the Budget

There is so much more to Orlando than theme parks! There are many free and super cheap things to do in the area.

Disney Springs  is a great way to get a Disney experience without the cost of the theme parks. With shopping, dining, and diverse entertainment, you’ll be able to spend an entire day here. You can even pack a lunch, find a shady spot and enjoy a family picnic!

 Clearwater Beach Morse Museum of American Art offers free admission for children under 12, as well as free admission for everyone on Fridays from 4PM til 8PM (November through April). Morse Museum is technically in Winter Park but is less than 20 minutes from downtown Orlando.

Also located in Winter Park, the Albin Polask Museum and Sculpture Garden is home to exquisite art and serene sculpture gardens. Admission for children under 12 is free, admission for adults is $5.

A one-of-a-kind Holocaust Memorial has both permanent and traveling exhibits to communicate the history of the Holocaust. Admission is free.

For the adults in the group, Orlando Brewing Company offers free tours. Call ahead to find out hours and other information.

Several companies offer air boat rides, alligator tours, and more. While the prices aren’t too high, it could get expensive with a large family so be sure everyone wants to go before purchasing tickets.

What are your best tips when visiting Orlando with a group?

How to Do Nashville on a Budget

Nashville Budget

Nashville on a Budget

Nashville is one of the most affordable vacation spots in the country. Tourists visit for the music and old country atmosphere. Nashville is one of those cities you just keep going back to over and over, even if you’ve already seen it all. The people, the music, the food… it’s tough to choose a top reason to visit because everything is great!

Drive In

Chances are, you’ll want to drive in or rent a car if you fly. The scenery in Tennessee is second to none so if you can drive in, do it! Nashville isn’t the only city in Tennessee that’s worth visiting.

Eat for Cheap!

Nashville has delicious food, and it’s cheap! Picture the typical Midwest/Southern food: BBQ, fried catfish, pulled pork, baked beans, and more. The portions are nice, too, so get a to-go box for when you’re hungry later.

The “hole in the wall” restaurants are usually the best to eat at. Avoid chain restaurants, and be sure to check Yelp and TripAdvisor before heading to a new joint or you might be sorely disappointed! Fortunately, I don’t think there is bad food in Nashville, so you should be safe. 🙂 

Snag Attraction and Museum Deals

Stalk Groupon, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and other deal sites for coupons before you visit any Nashville museums. Here’s a list of the best Nashville museums according to visitors and locals. You can save 50% or more with Groupon and other sites! It’s definitely worth planning ahead to save that much.

For a fraction of the cost of admission to some great attractions, you can get the Music City Total Access Pass.

Enjoy the Outdoors . . . It’s Free!

Beaman Park – Located about 15 minutes from downtown Nashville, you’ll feel like you’re in a beautiful country oasis getaway… not just a short drive from the city. The waterfalls and streams, along with unique plant life, make this a top spot to visit when you’re in Nashville.

Called the “Oasis in the City”, Radnor Lake State Park is worth spending an afternoon at. You’ll have no shortage of scenery to take in (and take photos of!). Pack a picnic and enjoy the serenity of this beautiful protected wildlife area and lake.

Once an 800 acre farm, Bells Bend Park is now open to the public (since 2007). If you’re a birdwatcher, this is the park for you!
Lock Two Park is off the beaten path, not nearly as popular as the other parks, but still just as worthy of a visit. If you’re a history buff, photographer, birdwatcher, or just overall nature lover, you will enjoy an adventure to Lock Two Park. The view of the river is second to none!

There are so many parks to visit, there’s no way to get them all!

Nashville gets cold in the winter, so some things (like visiting Farmer’s Markets) are best done during the other seasons. Spend some time checking out the best markets in Nashville.

What’s the best way to save money in Nashville? Let me know in the comments!

Previous Posts in the 2017 Traveling on a Budget Series:

San Antonio on a Budget

Visit Anaheim on a Budget

Doing Las Vegas on a Budget

Myrtle Beach on a Budget

Doing Maui on a Budget

Doing Key West on a Budget

The Orlando Area on a Budget