Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Disneyworld's Hidden Gem by Denise Devine

Every year our family takes a vacation at Disneyworld around the beginning of December and each time we stay at a different resort. This year we decided to try something unique. We rented a cabin at the Fort Wilderness Campground. Now, as you probably know, everything Disney does is fit for a princess—even camping!

To me, the campground resembled someplace you’d stay in the mountains in Yellowstone National Park, except our cabin had a large deck and a brand new interior, complete with Wi-Fi, a dishwasher, a convection oven and a 60-inch Smart TV. That’s Disney’s idea of roughing it!

Disney resorts are noisy. The pool is full of kids and the check-in/dining/shopping areas are usually very busy, especially at mealtime. Our little piece of Disney property was tucked away in a dense wood of pine trees and though the cabins were built close together, the only people we saw were other campers occasionally riding up and down the road in their golf carts. Many of the people who stay on this property come back year after year and they not only adorn their cabins with Christmas lights and decorations, but they dress up their golf carts as well.

At night it’s so quiet in the campground that you don’t even feel like you’re staying on Disney grounds. After dark, we walked to the bus stop (two minutes away) and caught the Disney bus to the “Outpost” for a bonfire, marshmallow roasting, a free Disney movie and entertainment. The Outpost was a large general store stocked with everything from diapers to pizza. The Campground also had a large area for check-in, golf cart rental and horseback riding. The main shopping/dining area was called “The Settlement.” We didn’t get time to go there, but next year we plan to check it out.

This year was my granddaughter’s third trip to the Happiest Place on Earth and she was even more excited about it than last year. Guinevere’s birthday is in two weeks (she’s turning five) so we added that to our Disney registration and upon check-in, she received a special “Celebration” button. Everywhere we went, Disney employees greeted her with “Happy Birthday, Princess!” She went to a special salon next to Pirates of the Caribbean where they turned her into a mermaid. For five days, Gwen (as we call her) was the happiest girl on earth.

This year was probably the best time we’ve ever had at Disney and next year we plan to rent two cabins. If you’re wondering—no, we’re not decorating them.
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Denise Devine is a USA TODAY bestselling author who has had a passion for books since she discovered Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder in second grade. She wrote her first book, a mystery, at age thirteen and has been writing ever since. Her newest publication, A Christmas To Remember, is on sale now for 99 cents.
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