Florida weather has been crazy this year, lower than normal temperatures our first two months in Florida and then the warmest Florida on record since the 1920’s with 23 days above 80 degrees each day! More than 35 manatees were killed from hypothermia in January from the cold. It is time to head North! One of the couples we met, are from Florida, and they said they always are up North by March 1 because of the extreme humidity. We can understand why now as this past week it started to turn much more humid. We started to see lots of greening to start in the lawns and the trees. However, we of course continue to hear the reports from co-workers, friends and family in the Northland telling us about inches and feet of snow as well as how cold it is there. We will take our time as we head North to try to avoid this!
We had a lot of “lasts” this week since it was the last week in Florida. Our travel calendar had us staying just past Barb’s sister’s visit, we are using up our remaining “free” nights on Thousand Trails for two weeks at the Winter Garden RV Resort. Unfortunately, migraines took over the week again and we were able to make it only to Magic Kingdom and Epcot one last time. Both nights were very pleasant with some magical moments at Magic Kingdom. It truly is a different place after dark when lights come on to accent the features. The “Happily Ever After” fireworks and audiovisual display was amazing, from our vantage point at the funnel cake shop right off of the hub by Cinderella’s castle.
Back in October 1999, Jason attended a conference on the Disney property. That year he visited and purchased a “Leave a Legacy” photo tile that has since been in front of Spaceship Earth at Epcot. Disney sold over a half million of these photos, but has hinted at plans now to remove these millennium artifacts to remodel the plaza space. Each time we have visited we have found “Jason” and made sure there was no bird poop on him. So, like many other things, this will be a last time we “visit” him.
Epcot is our favorite park and this too was bitter sweet. For the first time in our visit we were able to finally snag a “Frozen” Fastpass on the Norway Pavilion ride, our first time since it was reworked from being the Maelstrom ride. We had a great dinner at the Germany Pavilion in the Biergarten. On the other hand a last is seeing the evening show “IllumniNations: Reflections of Earth” at Epcot for the last time. It is rumored that the IllumniNations show is being replaced, so this was our last time seeing this as well. As we drove out of the Epcot area, we went by the iconic “see you real soon” marquee. We had to admit, it was a bit emotional.
We had to prepare the travel North, with Jason spending five hours at the local Dodge/RAM dealer dealing with brakes and rotor replacement. Fortunately, it was an evening that Barb had a migraine so there was no fun lost. Jason ordered a pizza to the waiting room and got some work done while waiting. Now we have more reliable brakes for the travel North. February was an expensive month for the truck, over $2000 in repairs between brakes and the broken window!
Jason took Friday off from work on Friday, we headed out a few days early so we could make the 12+ hours from Winter Garden to Memphis, TN.
Good thing Jason was able to leave early because traffic on I-75 was really bad and it added over an additional hour on our planned five hours. We made it to about 30 miles South of Atlanta and did our first dry camping since Our Next Chapter started. Jason has added an additional deep-cycle battery to the RV and a 1500 watt inverter so Barb’s sleep machine would run over night without worries. We also had TV, internet access and a Roku out in the “boonies” at the Rum River Water Management Area. We woke with the batteries still at 12.4 volts after running lights and entertainment for the evening. It was a really quiet location, except for an occasional car that would go by on the nearby road. It was even so quiet we didn’t here another tenter arrive and set up overnight. Saturday we pushed on through Atlanta and up to Memphis where we we will be for the next two weeks.
|Campground||Winter Garden RV Park
13905 W Colonial Dr
Winter Garden FL 34787
Encore Resorts Property
|Nights Stayed||13: January 15-28, 2018||14: February 18 - March 3, 2018
(12 nights, we left on Friday and did not stay to the very end of our reservation. 14 in the "system" officially.)
|Parking Site||Site 191|
Site is not too bad, it is small but the East side of the site is up against an older park model home. This actually secludes the space and there are some shrubs too. The full time seasonal neighbors to the West were nice, quiet and working day/night shifts. CATV was not good. There is an extra sewer connection in the way of the outdoor kitchen. Good distance to the dumpsters and the bathroom that serve the area of the park. Up on a hump, level once you are up on the hump. Not really walking distance to the pool from here. It was pretty quiet here, with the exception of the working neighbors who were very courteous to their door slamming as they come and go.
Stayed this time on the Trails Collection add on package. 279 is a tiny little spot in the Northeast corner by the fire station and is 5 speed bumps from the front entry. The electrical system at this site is very old. The CATV is not available here, had to run a cable over to the neighbors site. The 9th Street to get to this site is really beat up, no speed bumps but the entire road is such a mess it might as well have tons of them. Really tight to get into sites on this row because of the storage units that are on the North side of the road. You may or may not have space for swinging into your site on the South side of the road. Not walking distance to the pool from here. Other than the fire station this is a quiet spot.
|WELS Churches||Crown of Glory
2101 S. Apopka Vineland Road
Orlando, FL 32835-5802
|Remember for Next Time||Camping World is about 2 miles to the East, but is old and tiny.|
Book a full two weeks and not 13 days, their discount for weekly rates is deep vs. the daily rates.
|Winter Garden RV Resort is an Encore park and is then available as the Trails Collection package.
Tampa airport is about 1h45m from the RV park with good traffic. With bad traffic it can be over 2 hours away.
Access to Magic Kingdom through the 528 route south from Highway 50. About 20 minutes and you come at it from the Contemporary Resort side.
|AT&T Coverage||4G LTE very good, low latency|
|Verizon Coverage||4G LTE good|
|WiFi Coverage||None at the sites, only at the recreation building|
|Anytime Fitness||There are two Anytime Fitness facilities in either direction about 2 miles out main entry. One to the East that takes twice as long to get to but is half as far as the one to the West. The Eastern gym in Winter Garden has more modern equipment but the Western gym in Clermont has less stop lights. There is also a third a few more minutes to the South.
Campground has a good fitness room with low-end fitness grade equipment. Also there are well paved roads in the park are good for biking and walking. There are two warm pools in the park.
|Mail Services||Can receive packages via USPS and UPS at main address, First Class envelopes are accepted. Must have the site number and the name in the address. The "Wi-Fi" room at the main office building has mail slots, you have to check there to see if you have a pack slip in your mailbox. You can also steal other people's mail there if you are so inclined.|