Walt Disney World (Our First Long Trip) Part 1

We decided to end the year with a big RV trip.  This would be the longest trip we will have made and will test us and the RV.  One of our favorite destinations is Walt Disney World, we have visited almost 10 times in the last 10 years.  We have stayed in the Disney campgrounds once before using a rented 5th wheel.  We enjoyed that trip and were looking forward to another fun Disney trip.

Since this trip will be the longest in both distance and duration we wanted to break up the driving as much as we could.  Going down to Disney we will be stopping twice and spending the night in different campgrounds.  On the way home though we will only be stopping once and spending the night in the same campground we spent the first night in.

We were all very excited about our 9 day trip to Disney World.  The day before we left we got the RV as ready as we could.  The only thing to do the next morning was fill up the water tank, load the last minute items and take off.

Since this was such a long trip I was worried about having enough storage.  We were not only bringing a lot clothes, but also food.  Turns out I didn’t need to worry at all, we have plenty of space.  We didn’t even touch the outside storage, so we can always bring more with us.

The morning we left was very cold, only 12 degrees.  This made filling the water tank quite interesting.  I found out I can’t use my water filter while filling the tank, so I ended up disconnecting it and spilling some water on the driveway.  This water froze very quickly and created a slippery surface to work on.  Once the water tank was filled we all piled into the RV and took off.  The plan was to leave around 10am and arrive at our first stop Trenton, GA before 5pm.

I made a reservation at the KOA at LookOut Mountain.  This campground is the closest campground to Rock City.  If you have ever driven I-24 to Chattanooga you are familiar with the 10,000 See Rock City signs.  These signs have always been a big joke with our family and I thought it would be fun to see what the campground looked like for when we visit Rock City in the future.

We ran into some traffic around Bowling Green, KY.  A semi had flipped over and was completely blocking the expressway.  One of the nice things about having an RV to travel in is when sitting on a completely stopped expressway you can easily use the bathroom, or make something to eat.  After about 15 minutes of sitting still we decided to get off the expressway and take an alternate route.  This was a great decision and got us back on the expressway in 10 minutes.

One thing we noticed while using the bathroom during our unscheduled stop was the water wasn’t working.  I could hear the pump running and running but no water was coming out of any of the faucets.  Once we got to the Tennessee welcome center we stopped for our scheduled break and I called Fleetwood Customer Care about the water pump.  They walked me through closing the outdoor shower which I had left on and also removing the water filter.  Neither of these corrected the problem.  Luckily we had drinking water and hand sanitizer.

For the most part traveling through Tennessee was uneventful, until we got about 30 miles from our exit.  The traffic slowed to a crawl as we all made our way up the mountain road.  At least we were moving but I was getting tired.

We arrived at the KOA at LookOut Mountain just before 5pm.  I went to check us in and found the owner outside placing maps for the people doing a late check-in.  She asked my name and said she didn’t have a reservation for me, so we went inside to check the computer.  Apparently I had messed up the reservation and put the next night as when we would check in.  She quickly corrected everything and gave us site 53, which was a pull through.  She was very nice and really made the check-in process smooth.

We quickly found our site and got the RV leveled and the slides out.  Since it was only 33 degrees out we only hooked up the electricity, which means we still don’t have water.  Luckily I had precooked dinner, and we quickly got it heated up and enjoyed a nice warm meal.

After dinner we started to relax, I was on the computer trying to figure out what was wrong with our water system.  I didn’t have any luck and started to watch some TV.  While watching TV I thought about the winterization process and thought what would happen if I closed the water heater valve.  So I went to the closet and closed the valve, then turned on the bathroom faucet.  Within a few seconds we had water flowing, it was great.  I let it run for a little bit, and then opened the water heater valve again, the water continued to work.  We now were able to use some water, which was great.  You don’t realize how much you use water until you don’t have it.

We relaxed the rest of the evening and even went to bed a little early since we were so tired.  The propane heat did a great job of keeping us warm throughout the night.

The next morning we found the hot water wasn’t really working very well, the lines seemed to have air in them.  I would need to figure out what is wrong with them at our next stop which was the Eagles Roost RV in Valdosta, GA.

We ate breakfast and got everything ready in time to leave the campground by 8:30am.  I wanted to fill up the fuel tank so we stopped at the nearest Flying J.  This Flying J didn’t have dedicated RV lanes but was large enough for us to get in and out.  When trying to pump the fuel the pump would not turn on.  I had to go inside and ask the associates for help, one nice worker came out and she had to continuously hold down the Diesel button and keep trying to get it to accept the command.  It took about two minutes to get the pump to work.  I thanked her and proceeded to pump a little over a $100 into the tank.

After our fuel stop we were on the road looking forward to getting past Atlanta, which is usually a difficult city to drive through in a car much less in an RV.  Atlanta ended up not being very difficult mostly because we went through around noon.

One thing we noticed last night at the campground was we forgot cereal for the boys, eye drops, and most importantly we forgot the feet to my wife’s wheelchair.  Without the feet it would be very difficult for her to get around at Disney.  The feet were still in the van at home, so I called my sister and asked her to have her husband break into the van and ship the feet to Disney for us.  Her husband tried to break into the van but wasn’t able to do it, so we would need to figure something else out.

The rest of the drive was very smooth and the work Georgia has done on their expressways really made a nice drive.  The RV drove very well and I even got to use the cruise control on some of the drive.

We arrived at our campground Eagles Roost RV around 4:30pm.  I hadn’t made a reservation since when I spoke to them on Wednesday they told me they had plenty of sites available.  The person also told me they gave a discount for AAA members which is great.    I ran inside to get us checked in and they did in fact have plenty of sites available, but they don’t give a AAA discount.  When I told the person checking us in that I was told two days earlier that they did she gladly gave me the discount.  She assigned us site #3 and told me it was just behind the main building we were in.

We drove around the building and pulled into the site.  The site was way too small for our RV, there wasn’t room to put the slides out.  I went inside and asked if we could move and she said sure pick any site.  We moved to site #5 which didn’t have the tree problem.

The kids and I quickly got the leveling jacks down and the slides out.  I went out to hook up the electricity and water.  When I hooked up the water I found water was flowing out of the water filter canister and pouring out on to the ground.  After looking at it for a few minutes I found the canister wasn’t screwed in correctly.  I tried to put it back on correctly but with the filter in the canister I wasn’t able to get it to connect securely.  I removed the filter and the canister screwed right on with out issue.  This corrected all our water issues.  The cold and hot water were working great.

There were two reasons I chose this campground, the first was the great reviews the campground got and the second was the moss covered trees.
Here is a picture of some of the trees.


And a picture of our RV site.


The weather in Valdosta was great around 73 degrees.  We were able to ditch all our winter gear and it felt great outside.  The were two downsides to this campground: first was the sand between the sites.  This caused sand to get everywhere and since the sites concrete pad was just large enough for the RV we kept bringing sand into the RV.  The second issue was the road noise, this campground was close enough to the interstate that it made it difficult to sleep.

I think this campground was good for a quick one night stop, but I wouldn’t want to spend any more time there.

We spent the night enjoying the warm weather and relaxing.  I got on the computer and did some research into outside companies that rent wheelchairs.  Disney has a few feature providers that are allowed to deliver the wheelchairs to your resort.  I called Buena Vista Scooter Rentals and within 10 minutes had them all setup to deliver a wheelchair for us tomorrow between 12:30 and 1:00pm. They would then pick it up on our departure date.  This was a great deal and service, for the entire time we were there it was only $60 and I added on a $20 insurance coverage in case we broke anything.  This rental was probably less expensive than UPS would have charged us to ship the wheelchair feet from home.  We again went to bed early as we were exhausted and really excited to arrive at Disney World the next day.

We will continue the trip in part 2.