Hoop-Dee-Doo-Musical-Revue – OK. Might as well get this one out of the way right off the bat. Now, I have not been the biggest fan or advocate for Hoop-Dee-Doo over the years, though I have maintained that it is something that any diehard Fort fan should do at least once. For me, my biggest issue is the time. I’m not a fan of elongated shows while at Walt Disney World, of which Hoop-Dee-Doo is certainly one. Time is precious while there and I don’t want to “waste” it by sitting in some type of theater that I can not leave for a set amount of time. Also, the food is, for the most part, identical to what can be found at Trail’s End for a much higher price. Sure, if you love Bud Light, you can indulge without fear of being overcharged, but I’m not a Bud Light guy. Now, if there was GOOD beer included it would make things more enticing to me, but I digress.
Those are the negatives, which is why I haven’t gone so far, but, it is a show unique to Fort Wilderness that matches its theming and feel, which I love. It’s synonymous with Fort Wilderness and even non-Fort fans or campers know of it and make arrangements to go. It’s also the longest running stage show in the U.S. Lastly, as I said previously, the food is more or less what you would find at Trail’s End, which isn’t a bad thing. As for the time issue—for me—I would most likely go sometime during our summer trip, which is around the 4th of July. During this time our annual passes are blacked out and we typically hang out at the campground, which gives me lots of free time to do things I’ve never done.
Horseback Riding – This is something my wife has been dying to do, though I am more or less ambivalent to it. A slow trot through the woods surrounding Fort Wilderness would be nice, however, and I think, perhaps, we could squeeze it in during the fall. The downside is that it is expensive and I’d rather be doing other Fort things with that money, but, hey, I’m a good husband.
Wagon Ride – This, for example, is something I would rather do than riding atop a steed. Having already taken a carriage ride, I actually think I would like a wagon ride better, as would my kids. I love venturing through the campground loops and an open air, horse drawn carriage jaunt through them would be fantastic. Perhaps a winter trip when sites are decorated for Christmas and the days are shorter would be the best time.
Mickey’s Backyard BBQ – This is kind of along the lines of Hoop-Dee-Doo being pricey for the meal you get, however, it is much easier to attend with small children, of which I have 3. Now, my daughters are old enough where they would enjoy Hoop-Dee-Doo, but my 3 year old son may not enjoy it as much. Watching his favorite characters dance around though would be a different story. My biggest issue here is the cost. Doing both this and Hoop-Dee-Doo in one year may not really be possible and, if I’m being a Fort Wilderness purist, this doesn’t have the draw and appeal of Hoop-Dee-Doo. It is still something I have and do recommend, especially with small children and so I am going to try to work it in.
Tent Camping – Now, this one I can guarantee. With some reservation, but mostly relief, we sold our travel trailer in September. We had it for 3 good years filled with fun and memories, but, we came to the realization that we just weren’t cut out for toys that need constant care and maintenance. I would sit at home and feel guilt knowing that it needed to be washed, or worry that the hot Florida sun was wearing it down. Every time I’d drive by the storage lot where it was kept I’d worry that the roof had leaked. Ultimately, we decided to sell it and do away with the stress (not to mention benefit from the lack of payments, insurance, etc.), however, we always enjoyed—and still do—camping. And obviously we love Fort Wilderness and everything it has to offer. So we bought a huge cabin tent. Very easy to setup, take down, and maintain. So our next trip to the Fort will be spent in tent. It will be different, no doubt, from our previous trips with the trailer. We will probably spend less time at our site and more time at the waterfront or the Meadow area. I will also be able to say that I have stayed at Fort Wilderness in a RV, a cabin, and a tent. So I’ve got that going for me. Which is nice.