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Old 02-21-2019, 08:26 AM   #1
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Orlando trip questions

Next year, we are planning to take our special needs son to Disney and Universal Studios. My wife and I will drive our RV down to Orlando and our son will fly down direct on Southwest (he flew by himself last year for the 1st time and it went off flawlessly thanks to our daughter and Southwest). He works fulltime so can only take a week off.

We are going to stay at Fort Wilderness. It's expensive but makes it easy for the Disney part.

I would rather not pull our toad if we don't need to. But that creates 2 potential problems which someone may have dealt with.

1) we would have to pick our son up at the Orlando Airport and would plan our arrival in Orlando to coincide with his arrival? Think we can get into the airport somewhere so my wife can go in to get our son? I don't remember if tall vehicles are restricted from access either for security or height reasons.

2) has anyone ever parked an RV at Universal while attending the park? (We were hoping we could just break camp and use the RV to go to Universal). We have a 36' Class C.

Thanks for your help. Believe it or not, we need to book Ft. Wilderness and fast passes fairly quickly (according to my wife).

Chris
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Old 02-21-2019, 08:34 AM   #2
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#1- I see tour bus pick ups at international airports all the time. It should not be a problem.
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Old 02-21-2019, 12:43 PM   #3
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I do not have answers to your questions, but we just spent a week there. Fort Wilderness is by far, the nicest campground we have ever been to (we are only east coast). It is very long, and there is a bus route that runs to all the loops. For $60/day extra, you can rent a golf cart which is well worth it. Hope ya'll have fun! We go every year.
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Old 02-21-2019, 01:29 PM   #4
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Hi. If you are staying at Fort Wilderness, you can have the Disney shuttle puck up your son from the airport and take him to the campground. Same with the return flight. They are very accommodating. Just call Disney to see how to make the arrangements. Also, the Disney people are very good with folks who have special needs - you will truly enjoy your visit. Cheers!
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Old 02-21-2019, 02:44 PM   #5
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We were at Fort Wilderness last week and stayed in the 1300 section of the campground. We left the toad at home and used the transportation system to the Magic Kingdom. The orange buses run about every 15 minutes and will take you to Pioneer Hall where youíll get the boat ferry to the park. Real easy, accommodates handicap, and is a 10 minute ride.

Make sure that you also get the handicap pass for the attractions.

Have a great time.
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Old 02-21-2019, 02:50 PM   #6
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Chris, I'm in the middle of planning a trip for later this year that includes a stay at Fort Wilderness. I'll throw in my two cents and you can do with it what you will . . .


Our situation is similar to yours. My husband and I will be driving to Fort Wilderness and our young adult kids will be flying down to join us. I asked a Disney rep if our kids would be eligible to take the free airport shuttle (the Magical Express) and was told they would be, as long as all the kids were included on our Disney reservation. As soon as we knew the kids could get the time off from work, I called Disney and asked to have them added to our reservation. It was a breeze. When our kids flights are booked, I'll provide that info to Disney and go from there. So your son, too, would be eligible to take the airport shuttle to and from Disney if his abilities will allow it. I believe it runs from early morning until around 10 at night. Give Disney a call if you have any questions about your son's particular situation.


Unless it's a huge hassle for you, I'd consider taking your toad. I have no experience with Universal, but my understanding is that the traffic around the Studios can be horrendous and I'm not sure how difficult it would be for you to maneuver through the area. Perhaps other members can provide a better perspective. The toad would eliminate your concerns regarding the airport, too, and make it easier to dine off Disney property if you so choose. Just a thought.


Guests at Disney resorts are allowed to book FastPasses 60 days before their arrival date, so you'll have plenty of time to decide which attractions you want to request FastPasses for. But dining reservations can be made 180 calendar days ahead - not 180 days before your arrival, 180 days before the date you want to reserve. Those are the dates you want to watch carefully because I've heard that the most popular times in the most popular restaurants sell out almost immediately. If your plans include particular meals at particular restaurants, make those decisions early and be prepared to get on the phone the minute those reservations open up.


I believe that when your online check in for your reservation opens up, you can request a particular camping loop at that point. If you want to choose your loop, some wonderful people have uploaded videos of their drives around the loops to YouTube. Those videos and the map on Disney's web site were extremely helpful to us in choosing the loop we wanted to request. Disney won't guarantee your request, but they will attempt to fulfill it.


If this is your son's first visit to Disney, be sure to request a "first time visitor" pin for him when you check in. He should get some extra attention from the Disney staff during his days in the parks. If he wouldn't mind the attention, it might add a bit of extra enjoyment to his visit.



Last, but definitely not least, I found the book "The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World" to be more helpful than any information I found on the Disney web site. The team of authors and statisticians that compile the info have done an amazing service for anyone interested in how to make the most of a trip to Disneyworld. The 2019 edition is out now and may be available through your library.


Have fun planning and best wishes to your family for a happy and memorable adventure!


Mary
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Old 02-21-2019, 02:55 PM   #7
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Question.. is there an RV's age limit to camp @Ft. Wilderness?
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Old 02-22-2019, 05:59 AM   #8
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Another option if you donít want to take the toad is to use Lyft to get to areas that the buses donít run directly to. We did this and it worked very well. You pick up the lift next to the concierge desk building at the campground entrance. Just remember your site # as security will ask before letting you back in.
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Old 02-22-2019, 06:22 AM   #9
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Chris , I was just at Universal 2 weeks ago and seem to remember seeing RV parking available (outside lot ) The area is very busy with traffic and could be a challenge but thats your call on comfort maneuvering around stop and go multi lane traffic with the RV
I agree with using resort guests ,free, Disney airport Bus service if that's possible in your sons situation. For just Disney there is no reason for a car as Bus, Boat , Monorail and soon Gondola transport is available easily. If you want personal service for 50 bucks Disney has "Mini" van service available .. fastest way around the property!
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Old 02-22-2019, 06:38 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by rac8r View Post
Another option if you don’t want to take the toad is to use Lyft to get to areas that the buses don’t run directly to. We did this and it worked very well. You pick up the lift next to the concierge desk building at the campground entrance. Just remember your site # as security will ask before letting you back in.

I was going to suggest the same. If you don't want to bring your car then Uber and Lyft are all over down here. Let someone else deal with the traffic and you get to sit back and (try to) relax. So much less stress on you when you're on vacation.
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Old 02-22-2019, 10:31 AM   #11
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Thanks for all the helpful suggestions.

Doubt if we would impose on Disney's shuttle from the airport as our son's special needs is mental. But think we can work around that OK.

We'll probably go without the toad.

Knew this would be the place to go for answers.

Chris
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Old 02-22-2019, 12:26 PM   #12
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Doubt if we would impose on Disney's shuttle from the airport as our son's special needs is mental. But think we can work around that OK.
I'll bet that you could ride a shuttle to the airport to meet your son before the plane lands, then catch another shuttle back with him. I know I'd be looking at that scenario over anything that has an additional cost.
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Old 02-22-2019, 07:11 PM   #13
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Donít be afraid to call Disney and ask. I have a son with special needs and they can be very accommodating if you work with them on what you need, I bet they could get you on one of the buses going over to meet him at the airport. Weíve used the magical express bus service several times, itís free and they deal with the driving, canít ask for much more then that.

We drove down last year and stayed at the Fort, had a great time. Check out Fort Fiends, a site similar to this one but devoted to Fort Wilderness and all things Disney, they might have some suggestions.

We were in the 1400 loop, central to just about everything in the Fort. (Pool main store are within walking distance). My son honestly had the most fun riding the busses around the Campgound and to the Parks, the drivers picked up on it and gave him some trading cards all about the bus fleet, they were by far his favorite souvenir. (I joke with my wife we could have skipped the park passes and just done that). He can still rattle off the bus narration, he does it playing with his toy cars.
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Old 02-26-2019, 05:40 AM   #14
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I would also agree on checking with Disney regarding their shuttle and the possibility of you meeting him there. As far as Universal I would agree with Lyft or Uber or you could even rent a car as they have cheap rentals in Fl. and some will meet you at the Fort with your car.
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