We began our voyage driving sixteen hours to arrive for a night of boondocking at a Cracker Barrel in Georgia. We typically prefer to get the majority of our drive out of the way the first day as we both take turns driving and we are “fresh”. By resting and taking turns we can really bang out most of the driving in a safe way as we find by day two of driving we are a little more tired and want to just get to our first destination. We love to find RV friendly places that let us stay for free to boondock. It saves us tons of money on our vacations. Of course, there are no hookups at Cracker Barrels, which is why it’s called Boondocking, dry Rving, or free camping. When boondocking you must be sure of two things: 1) that you are permitted to stay in a location, please check this through apps such as Ultimatecampgrounds.com, and (2) that you have enough fresh water and a working generator or solar option to get you through your stay. After a great sleep in a free parking lot, we decided to enjoy a lovely hot breakfast at the restaurant, peruse through the fun chotskis in the store and then we hit the road.
The first stop on our adventure was at Beverly Beach Camptown RV Resort in Beverly Beach, Florida. This was not our first stay at this family owned and operated RV resort. This year they are celebrating 35 years in business! We had stayed here several years ago and loved it, but were urged by several of our Facebook friends to return yet again to see the updates that had taken place. Since we were heading down to Disney, we saw no reason not to stop for a few days to stay at this terrific resort! Again, we were not disappointed. We chose to stay in a premium ocean front site. These sights oversee the beach with the Atlantic Ocean directly out your front window. Our thoughts were, why not spend the extra few dollars to have that million dollar view!? The sites are all quite spacious and what is so appealing to us, besides the amazing view, is that this is one of a few RV resorts we’ve come across that have full hook ups, including sewer. We’ve noticed that many RV resorts situated on waterfronts often do not include this option. As there are up to six of us on a trip using the facilities, it is quite accommodating to have sewer hook-up for obvious reasons. The campground has done a terrific job reinforcing the break wall and turning it into a lovely paved walkway. It’s a great place to sit and look out on the ocean. Our stay included numerous walks on the beach, some great home cooked meals on the bbq, dolphin watching from the RV, and we were fortunate enough to stay there during turtle season! We witnessed turtle prints on the beach on our early morning walks. You just don’t see such things in New York, so this was pretty special.
We love Disney and all it has to offer, and boy did we soak it all in! As always (Disney doesn’t often disappoint) our family enjoyed each of the four parks, but our favorite is Epcot. We typically spend more park days at Epcot, and only a day at each of the other parks. Currently, this is such a time of transformation at most of the parks at Disney World. Already, at Magic Kingdom, and particular to Fantasyland, there have been many changes completed such as the addition of Ariel’s Grotto, Beauty and the Beast’s ‘Be Our Guest’ restaurant, and Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train. We have found these changes “reenergizing” as we had felt the park was becoming a bit tired, so we really appreciate the changes that have been completed. Now, Disney has turned its focus to Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom where there are so many exciting things taking place. It seems both parks are going through somewhat of a rebranding. Animal Kingdom is in the process of adding on a whole range around the theme of the Avatar movie and has already added on extra hours to now offer a nighttime experience at the park. We very much enjoyed the Jungle Book musical water and light show we viewed at night, as well as taking in the lighted Tree of Life and night Kilimanjaro Ride. The park has a very different vibe at night which we found enjoyable. Simultaneously, Disney is revamping Hollywood Studios to enhance the Toy Story experience and also they are adding more to the Star Wars area. It’s all very exciting and seems to be going in a positive direction. In our two days spent at Epcot, the only real change noted was of course the loss of Malestrom (one of our favorites) which, as most know, has been rebranded to become the “Frozen” ride. We were unable to go on this ride in our two days at this park as it was often shut down due to ride malfunctions. This was not surprising to us as the ride is new and issues can be expected. It may be hard to believe but our days at the parks are actually quite relaxed. We make sure to have our Fast Passes confirmed in advanced, but other than that, we take our park days with a leisurely intent. It has taken years for us to understand you don’t have to do Disney like it’s your job. When the kids were younger, before the RV, we stayed off property and spent time at each park, went at a 120% pace, and returned home completely exhausted. No breaks… we simply just played till we dropped! Now having the RV, we go for a few hours in the morning, do our Fast Passes, go back to the RV for lunch, have a nap, and go back in the evening for dinner and fireworks. It’s a good day. No stress. We enjoyed some of our meals in the RV and used some of our earned Disney Chase dollars that we save over a year (it’s like free money!!) to go out for dinner at some of the delicious resort and park restaurants. This trip we enjoyed dining at Kona Café at the Polynesian Resort (always a favorite for our family), Trattoria Al Forno at the Boardwalk, Tokyo Dining and Rose and Crown at Epcot, Tony’s Town Square and Be Our Guest at Magic Kingdom, and Morimotos in Disney Springs. Every meal was scrumptious and we find we are able to make very healthy choices in the restaurants at Disney.
There is more to come…this adventure was not yet over. Disney and Beyond has a Part II, blog coming soon is called “Heading Home and Exploring Washington DC!” Don't miss it! There is nothing better than making memories with your family and exploring the country behind the wheel of your RV. Stay tuned for more!
And even more importantly…Glamp on Friends!