RVing at Disney Worlds Fort Wilderness makes Disney World more affordable for a family of 6. I have some major tips for saving money on getting there, overnight accommodations and eating/Food.
While doing our research in preparation for the trip we began to realize how quickly the expenses were adding up, so we decided against the seemingly more convenient way of flying from NJ, getting a rental car and hotel; opting to take our RV. So, me, my husband and our 4 kids loaded up our Class C Motorhome and set off on a 10-day spring break vacation to Disney World in Florida.
While the gas to and from Florida, about a thousand mile 18-hour journey each way was costly, approximately $2000.00 at the time, it was cheaper than 6 airline tickets and a rental car fee.
We towed our Jeep for transportation around Orlando, however since we stayed at Disney's Fort Wilderness, we used the Disney transportation System. We only used the Jeep the day we went to Sea World. In hindsight we could have left the Jeep home as we crammed several parks in and could have easily saved the visit to Sea World for another trip.
The hidden gem as my fellow RVers know was the 18-hour trip in the RV, yes, I said gem. Granted it was tiring for my husband and I, driving straight through. The fun that we had while all together with little outside influences in the RV is priceless.
We played games, talked; yes, I said talked to each other. We also took the opportunity to teach history lessons as we drove through new areas and gave topography lessons with a map. We got out the real road atlas and had the kids track our progress. Great conversations and learning experiences occurred during that trip and every other RV trip we have been on.
This has several unexpected benefits other than the cost savings. Staying in Disney's Fort Wilderness was approximately $195 a night which was a huge saving for a family of six since we have to get two hotel rooms or a costly suite.
The other benefit for me is having my own home away from home -my own pillow, sheets, towels, and conveniences (i.e. my tea in the morning just the way I like it). Also, I do not like to be confined in a hotel room. I too share your enthusiasm for being outdoors and would rather sit outside in the nice warm Florida sunshine having my tea in the morning.
Another positive as you know is that you are not restricted to one suitcase and having to try and fit everything you will need including that hoodie you have to have in Florida. We have plenty of storage so we can take as many bathing suits, shorts, jeans, shoes, sneakers, jackets and hoodies as we want and need for our comfort.
We had a great site under orange and grapefruit trees which my kids thought was awesome and close to the pool so we could easily walk over and relax in the Jacuzzi upon our return from the parks.
This is by far the biggest savings of the trip! With a little - okay with a lot of planning and preparation on my part, we saved a ton of money on food. Not only did we save but everyone was happier too.
In our previous 6 Disney trips- some RVing, others in hotels and at Disney properties, the kids always got very tired of eating every meal out. As with most kids, my kids were very picky and ate chicken fingers, fries and burgers every day. This got old. We made a few necessary reservations for theme dinners but the rest of the time we cooked. That doesn't sound like much of a vacation but if you do most of it at home for the convenience of your full-sized kitchen it's so much easier and you have more time to spend vacationing with your family.
We cooked a big breakfast at the camper which held everyone over until dinner or the occasional small snack at the parks. We went with 4 pre-teen/teenagers who eat us out of house and home, but honestly once they ate a good breakfast, the heat at the parks and the fact that they were too busy trying to run all over the place to get to everything, they rarely asked for the occasional ice cream or funnel cake at the park. They were too busy.
Sooo, here's what I did: I planned the number of meals and what we will have each day. I chose things they love and that I could pre-cook or put in the crockpot. For example, Spaghetti & meatballs, I made a pot of sauce at home, put it in a throwaway container and froze it. I packed frozen garlic bread. I made the pasta at home leaving it al dente, put it in a Ziplock bag so I could flatten it in the small RV fridge. Before we left for the park for the day, I put the sauce in the crockpot. When we returned before the kids could get their bathing suits on and disappear to the pool, I heate the pasta in the microwave, prep the bread and dinner was done.
Make the ground meat the way your family likes it. Put it in a Ziplock bag, flatten it and put it in the freezer. I prep the lettuce and tomato too by cutting everything at home. We use this meal toward the beginning of the trip to preserve the freshness of the produce.
I braise and season the meat at home and bag it and put it in the freezer or fridge.depending on the line up. I make a big batch of homemade mashed potatoes and cook frozen corn buttered and seasoned our way at home and again bag it flattening it for storage in the fridge or freezer. I put the roast in the crockpot before we leave the RV and when we returned tired and hungry. I could quickly microwave the potatoes and corn; Voila, dinner was ready.
I make a small tray at home in a throw away tin and freeze it and throw it in the oven on low before we leave for the park, throw together a salad and again dinner is ready upon our return.
I do Chicken legs and thighs in the crock pot too and use the rest of the potatoes. So, I try to separate the roast and the chicken by the pasta and/or tacos for variety.
Other menu options are Fajitas, chicken parmesan, chili, white seafood sauce for pasta, buffalo chicken dip etc. pre-cook at home, freeze and go. I choose my family's favorites that will freeze well and heat in the crock pot or quickly in the microwave. It makes for a chaotic few days prior to leaving - certain things I cook/prep right before we go so it's as fresh as possible and will last the length of our trip. In planning I strategically make things that will spoil at the beginning of the trip.
It usually means I am up late the nights before the trip, but it is so worth it to have the convenience and precious time with my family on vacation. I catch up on sleep during the drive. We usually leave right after work around 6 pm and drive through the night. My husband drives the first 8 hours, so I lay down as soon as the kids settle in with movies at around 8ish. My husband wakes me up when he gets tired, usually around 1 am then I drive the next 7 or 8 hours. Then he finishes the drive- before you know it, we are there. Let the VACATION begin.
Editor's Note: For even more information on Disney worlds fort wilderness and Campground and Resort take a look at the the video below:
Camp amid the magic of the great outdoors at Disney Worlds Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground! Discover charming woodland trails, a pristine beach, spectacular pool areas and rip-roarin’ entertainment at this picturesque backcountry retreat. Experience all the adventure of Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campgrounds by visiting The Campsites at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort