Pricey but worth it

Our site was about a 3 minute walk from the bus stop

Did you know that Orlando’s Disney World has a great RV and tent campground? Called Fort Wilderness, it offers a first class facility for an RV Disney experience. The RV sites are full hookup, paved and most have room for an RV and a tent. Rules allow up to ten people per site, so a great family vacation is possible. The campground is quite large, but shuttle busses run to the bus station that goes to all the Disney Parks, or to Bay Lake where you can catch a boat ride to one of the theme parks.

This boat runs the same times as the buses, and goes from Ft. Wilderness to the Magic Kingdom about every 15 minutes

Keep in mind that the sites at Fort Wilderness are pricey, to say the least. Most are well north of $120 per night. However it is a great way to “do Disney”. Walk to the shuttle, go to the bus station or Bay Lake for a ride to one of the parks. A while ago we had a nice family get together at Disney World. Sher and I stayed at the RV park, and our kids and their families were in the other hotels. Sher and I really enjoyed our vacation there. We loved taking the boat rides and sharing time with family.

A bath tub? Seriously?

The Florida Flywheelers is an antique tractor club located in central Florida.  Twice a year, in January and February, the Flywheelers have huge five  day tractor shows coupled with flea markets and swap meets on the over 200 acre facility.

Yes, this is a motorized bath tub.

The grounds are so large that most people drive around the site. While golf carts are the most prevalent transportation, other “custom” means of travel are also seen. There is a nearly constant parade of vehicles driving down the aisles where vendors and tractor exhibitors are set up. You never know what you’ll see driving around!

An up close and personal meeting

At an RV Park in central Florida we met the local resident Sandhill crane.

This crane obviously owned the park, as we saw him walking down the center of roads and blatantly ignoring the accepted RV park protocol of not walking through another camper’s site. I was only about 3 feet from him for the close up head shot.

We loved our time at The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Sher and I loved our time with our family members who had converged on Disney World recently. While our kids and grand-kids stayed at Disney hotel resorts, we were able to get a campsite at Disney’s RV/Cabin/Tent park, named The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness.

Our site was a “full hook-up” accommodation. It had a large paved pad that would have held a large motor home. Our 24′ rig fit with plenty of room. Backing in was very easy, but I could see that parking a large class A or a fiver could be a challenge. There was a large area behind the pavement designed for a large tent. Many of the sites in our “loop” had both a motor home/trailer and a tent.

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Our campsite, #1705, was close to the bus stop.

Fort Wilderness is huge, to say the least. There are designated areas for tent camping, primitive camping and hundreds of cabins as well. The Settlement area houses four eateries, including a special Mickey’s BBQ and a musical review dinner show. There is also large gift shop and store.

There are docks where you can rent both pontoon and fast watercraft. Horseback riding, archery and kayaking is also available for a fee. Many folks bring their own golf cart, and carts are also available for rent at the park. Free things? Of course! There are long hiking/running/bike trails. There is a movie each night with a campfire so you can make s’mores as well as a sing along with Chip and Dale.

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We had three wild turkeys visit our site. They were just wandering through, and could have cared less that I was standing in the door of the RV taking their pictures.

Disney is famous for its internal bus system. Fort Wilderness is served by buses that run from The Settlement to the Outpost, with convenient stops along the way. We only had about a 3 minute walk to our bus stop. Buses run every 20 minutes (or so it is said). The Outpost is where you catch a bus to the theme parks.

We were at Fort Wilderness during Halloween. Let’s say that we did not know you could decorate both a campsite and golf cart to the extent that we saw! It was so much fun seeing all the decorated sites and golf carts. We also really enjoyed taking the boats from the dock. We road the boats to the Contemporary Resort and to Magic Kingdom.

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This boat runs the same times as the buses, and goes from Ft. Wilderness to the Magic Kingdom about every 15 minutes

While of course the parks are fun, we also found that you can really enjoy your time hanging around the Fort Wilderness Resort and enjoying the many activities offered. Make reservations early: It can be hard to book the times you need.

Hellas Greek Restaurant at Florida’s Tarpon Springs

Hellas Restaurant and Bakery storefronts

Hellas Restaurant and Bakery storefronts

Tarpon Springs, Florida is known for its Greek community founded in both the sponge diving business and restaurants and shops. One of the best restaurants is Hellas Restaurant and the joining Hellas Bakery. The businesses are on the main commercial street in the town, Dodecanese Boulevard.

We really enjoyed our meal at the restaurant. The “flamed” cheese was a real treat, and yes it was served in flames! I had a beef gyro, Sher had a Veggie Pita, and we both shared a huge Greek salad. This restaurant was very comfortable and the staff was delightful. We were there early afternoon when there were few other patrons.

After our meal we went next door to the Hellas Bakery. There were a lot of people in the bakery, but the line moved fairly quickly. Yes, we indulged and picked up some sweet bakery goods for an evening snack back at the RV park.

Delicious Greek Salad

Delicious Greek Salad

Hellas interior

Hellas interior

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We would highly recommend stopping for a meal at the Hellas Restaurant. Tarpon Springs is about 45 minutes north of St. Petersburg, and is home to the highest percentage population of Greeks in the country. After you eat at Hellas, be sure to check out the Sponge Docks and local Fish Shoppes.

Zephry Palms RV Park

IMG_1983_resizedSher and I needed a campground for a one night stay near Zephryhills, Florida. I found a special rate listed for Zephyr Palms RV park, gave them a call, and booked the reservation.The park staff was very nice when we pulled in at noon. Our site was still occupied, even though check out is supposed to be 11. We waited a bit until the other unit moved, and went to our site. I just hooked up the electric to start.

With the laundry a ways away, we drove the rig and parked next to the very nice laundry. No problem to disconnect the shore power. Three loads of clohes later, we were back at our pull through site. The sewer connection was on the off side from the shore power and water both of which were at the far end of the site. Gladly our electric cable was long enought to allow connection and still be able to drain the black and grey tanks without having to move the rig.

 

Nice roads, level sites, friendly residents

Nice roads, level sites, friendly residents

This is a very clean campground, with pool and community room, and like I said the laundry has been recently remodeled. The special rate was for $18. We stayed just the one night. It is also a member of several associations including Good Sam and PassPort America. Call ahead for availability. This is the park website.

We used the laundry facilities.

We used the laundry facilities.

Our only problem with this 55+ campground is one that plagues most RV parks these days. Free WiFi is advertised, however when we connected to the WiFi we got the dreaded “Limited Connection” which is the same as no WiFi.

This is a friendly, safe, clean and tidy RV park mid way between Tampa and the Gulf and the amusement parks in Orlando. There are plenty of golf courses nearby for those of you that like chasing a little white ball around. Weekly and seasonal rates are offered.

 

Silver Springs at Ocala, Florida

Silver Springs is one of Florida’s most famous state parks. We went there today and truly enjoyed to beauty of the park. We first went to the entrance that leads to the campgrounds and the main hiking trails. Here we paid our $8 entrance fee. The ranger directed us to the north entrance, and our receipt got us in there too.

The entrance from the parking lot

The entrance from the parking lot

The entrance from the huge parking lot is quite impressive. Once past the long walkway we got to an area that overlooked the water. In addition there was a large strip building that looked like a shopping mall. There was a restaurant, ice crea store and a gift shop open. It turns out that there were also meeting rooms and an outdoor amphitheater for large groups to host events in this complex.

Some of the big fish swiming over the eel grass

Some of the big fish swiming over the eel grass

The water was really striking in its clarity. These springs are the largest in the country and discharge about 500 million gallons a day! You could see the bottom no matter how deep the water was.

We only saw this bird's head: he spent most of the time underwater fishing!

We only saw this bird’s head: he spent most of the time underwater fishing!

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Glass bottom boat

Glass bottom boat

We were considering taking one of the famous glass bottom boat trips. Just then a tour bus load of people showed up, and we found out that the next available trip was after the tour had their boat rides. Maybe the next time we visit we’ll take the glass bottom boat trip.

This bird repeatedly ducked his head in the water then vigorously splashed the water with his wings for about 15 seconds.

This bird repeatedly ducked his head in the water then vigorously splashed the water with his wings for about 15 seconds.

Silver Springs State Park should be on your list of attractions when you are in the Ocala area. The scenery is pretty, there is lots of wildlife to see, and their trails are fun to walk.

Here is one photo that leaves no question as to when it was taken!

Here is one photo that leaves no question as to when it was taken!

Dogs that love to ride

Lots of folks bring their dog(s) with them to the Flywheelers show in central Florida. With all the different kinds of transportation being used, you see different ways that the dogs ride as well.

A couple of brothers have their own bed to enjoy

A couple of brothers have their own bed to enjoy

One way to stay warm!

One way to stay warm!

The back of a golf cart is a nice perch

The back of a golf cart is a nice perch

Got a blanket to lay on!

Got a blanket to lay on!

"I've got my own basket!"

“I’ve got my own basket!”

This pooch was a ham for the camera.

This pooch was a ham for the camera.