The Week Ahead for South Florida; Amphicars, Disney Springs & Camping

disney Springs

My Pick of the Week:  Disney World’s Fort Wilderness

disney Springs amphicarsWe did it again!  Sometimes we get a little crazy and head up to Fort Wilderness in Orlando.  Usually our Florida winters are perfect for camping, but we ran into a  few struggles, like a flat air mattress, extremely cold rain and a leaky tent.  Somehow, it’s still my favorite get away.  We don’t even go into the parks, we ride the boat to the Magic Kingdom, get on the monorail, walk around the lake and the all the hotels.  Check out my review of Disney World’s Fort Wilderness to find out all the amazing things the campground has to offer a family for a thrifty weekend getaway!

disney Springs amphicarsThere was something new at Disney Springs (this is what they are now calling Downtown Disney).  There have been some big changes there recently, a new parking garage and another one on the way!  We were fascinated by the Amphicars!  Yes you read that right, now you can take a ride in a real Amphicar!

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Diary of a Rogue House CatDiary of a Rogue House Cat

Have you ever had a pet that just seemed to cause havoc at every turn? Has your cat ever knocked over glasses, hidden your keys or generally created chaos for no apparent reason? Have you ever wondered what on earth your pet could be thinking? Baby Girl the Rogue House Cat explains all her crazy and funny actions in her new diary. Her journey to become a good house cat will help explain why cats do some of the things they do. I hope you enjoy her antics as much as I do.

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02/17/2016
All Day
Boynton Beach Mall to Surprise Shoppers with Gifts During National Random Acts of Kindness Day on Wednesday, February 17
Boynton Beach Mall, Boynton Beach FL
02/17/2016
10:30 am
Aquarium Feedings
Gumbo Limbo, Boca Raton FL
02/17/2016
10:30 am
Shark Feedings at Sandoway House
Sandoway House, Delray Beach FL
02/17/2016
10:30 am – 11:30 am
Storytime & craft at Nova Library in Davie
Alvin Sherman Library at Nova Southeastern, Fort Lauderdale fl
02/17/2016
11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Walk on Ashley Trail at Gumbo Limbo
Gumbo Limbo, Boca Raton FL
02/17/2016
3:15 pm – 3:30 pm
Daily Animal Feedings at Daggerwing Nature Center
Daggerwing Nature Center at Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park, Boca Raton FL
02/18/2016
10:30 am
Aquarium Feedings
Gumbo Limbo, Boca Raton FL
02/18/2016
10:30 am – 11:15 am
Little Minnows Storytime (18-36 months)
Alvin Sherman Library at Nova Southeastern, Fort Lauderdale fl
02/18/2016
10:30 am
Shark Feedings at Sandoway House
Sandoway House, Delray Beach FL
02/18/2016
3:15 pm – 3:30 pm
Daily Animal Feedings at Daggerwing Nature Center
Daggerwing Nature Center at Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park, Boca Raton FL
02/19/2016
10:30 am
Aquarium Feedings
Gumbo Limbo, Boca Raton FL
02/19/2016
10:30 am
Shark Feedings at Sandoway House
Sandoway House, Delray Beach FL
02/19/2016
3:15 pm – 3:30 pm
Daily Animal Feedings at Daggerwing Nature Center
Daggerwing Nature Center at Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park, Boca Raton FL
02/19/2016
5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Free Movie Night & Funtastic Friday in Hollywood at ArtsPark
ArtsPark at Young Circle Amphitheater, Hollywood fl
02/19/2016
7:00 pm – 9:15 pm
Movies on the Lawn in Pompano Beach
The Great Lawn, Pompano Beach FL
02/20/2016
9:00 am – 10:30 am
Yoga, Zumba & Capoeira Saturdays @Sanborn Downtown Boca
Sanborn Square in Downtown Boca, Boca Raton FL
02/20/2016
9:30 am – 11:30 am
Pony Rides 3rd Staurday’s in Pompano Beach
Sand & Spurs Equestrian Park, Pompano Beach FL
02/20/2016
10:30 am
Aquarium Feedings
Gumbo Limbo, Boca Raton FL
02/20/2016
10:30 am
Shark Feedings at Sandoway House
Sandoway House, Delray Beach FL

 

5 Tips for Camping with Kids

 

Photo Credit: Lion Country Safari KOA

Tip #1:  Do a practice run.  The idea of sleeping in a tent can be so
exciting for kids that the over stimulation may keep everyone from having a good
night.  Families can build up a familiarity with camping by putting the tent up in their own back yard.  Start out slow allowing the kids to play in the tent during the day.   The next day
have dinner out in the backyard to prepare the kids for what it will be like to
have a campground dinner.  Last but not least, spend the night in the tent.  Do
this as many times as needed until everyone is comfortable with and can go to
sleep easily.

Tip #2:  Keep it close to home.  It is easy to forget that there are great campsites within an hour’s drive from Fort Lauderdale.  A first camping trip doesn’t have to be far away.
CB
Smith Park, Markham Park, John Prince Park, and Miami Everglades Campgrounds all offer local opportunities for family camping. Camprate.com can help find a campground and give reviews of the grounds as well.
Tip #3:  Keep it short.  Don’t think a first camping trip should be a week long adventure.Smores Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney World
Start out small and work up to longer trips.  Pick a campground with lots to do and just stay one night.  When the entire family learns how to work together and sleep well then make plans for that nice long camping vacation.  State parks also offer facilities like water and restrooms.  There is no reason to go completely rustic on the first trip out.
Tip #4: Be prepared with ActivitiesCB Smith Park in Pembroke Pines has lots to offer to entertain and wear out the kids. There is biking, hiking, boating, and in the summer there is even a water park.  Check out the local area surrounding your campground as well. Flamingo Gardens is a short 15 minute drive from CB Smith Park.  These built in activities can help reduce planning time.
Our Camp Site Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney WorldAnother option is the Kampgrounds of America (KOA). We use the Kabins when we take road trips, check our KOA adventures in Asheville, NC and Savannah, GA.  A local South Florida option is Lion Country Safari in West Palm Beach.  This campsite and zoo is an easy 40 minute drive from Fort Lauderdale and provides facilities that will keep the family happily entertained at all times. Lion Country Safari often offers specials for two free passes to the park with a night of camping, and it even has a pool.  Jennifer Berthume, PR/Marketing Director of Lion Country Safari says The thing I think is the
coolest about our campground is that you can sleep right next door to hundreds of animals from over 6 continents. You can hear lions and siamangs while camping!”
No one will be bored at campgrounds like these, and parents won’t
have to exhaust themselves planning activities in advance.
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground has  just about everything you could ever need while camping.  There is little need to even go into the parks at this campground there are so many built in activities!
Take along a few activities like crafts.  Kids love animals so camping is a great chance to introduce nature activities like birding.  Here is how you can get started with 5 Tips for Birding with Kids.
Tip #5: Check the weather. Florida weather can be extreme, so make sure that it is not going to be too hot, too cold or too wet.  There is nothing worse than a wet night in a tent. Especially if you are new to camping. Florida’s winter and fall generally have the mildest weather and are a great time of the year to camp.  With a little background practice families can be prepared for exciting camping adventures that will provide children with memories for a lifetime.
Check out our review of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground.  It is the ultimate family camping experience!

 

The Week Ahead for South Florida 2/4/15

Caribe Royale in Orlando

Kids Choice Sports, Dance, FitnessPlease welcome our new sponsor Welcome Kids Choice Sports, Dance & Fitness of Boca Raton  to the Keeping Up with Kids family.  I love this place for the convenience of a wide variety of class and the professional quality they offer.

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If you have found this site helpful and want to keep me writing please use the Donate Button on the right side of this page.  This helps us pay for our domain, ip address and hosting.  Some sites require membership fees in order to pay for their site.  We really want this information to be free and available to all.Thanks for your support! 

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Disney World’s Fort Wilderness Campgrounds Review

Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney Review

Christmas in Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney World Christmas in Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney World One of my favorite things to do is to go camping at Fort Wilderness at Disney World.  I have always loved to camp, however my dear husband has been dubious at best about it.

We have found the perfect happy place to make it work for all of us!  We can camp here and there are so many things to do, no one is ever bored!

Being there while the campgrounds were all decorated for Christmas was extra special.  It is so much fun just walk around the campsites and see how the campers decorate their sites.  This last visit we stayed in the 2000 loop.  At first I felt like it was too far from the pool, however we Christmas in Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney Worlddiscovered that people had build little bridges across the canal and we could walk to the pool and the camp store in less than 5 min.  We had so much fun “trekking through the wild” to the store (where I could get coffee) and of course to the pool.

Make sure that you look over your schedule when you get there so you don’t miss any of the fun!

 

 

Pools
Fort Wilderness Campgrounds Pool at Disney World
There are two pools, one for adults (which truthfully, I have never been to) and one for everyone!  The pools are heated and there is almost always some sort of entertainment going on there.  There are crafts for the kids in the morning, and dance games, bingo and quiz games throughout the day.  Fort Wilderness Campgrounds Pool at Disney World Fort Wilderness Campgrounds Pool Craft at Disney WorldThe snack bar is pretty good and handy too. Fort Wilderness Campgrounds Pool at Disney World Fort Wilderness Campgrounds Pool at Disney WorldThis last trip was so cold, that we did not swim (well my hubby and daughter lasted about 10 minutes in the water).  However we spent a good bit of time hanging out by the pool, playing games and making crafts.

There is a fabulous kiddie pool as well as a splash slide for the little ones.  I love that the kiddie pool is shallow enough that the little ones can handle it without us parents getting too wet!

Of course there is the giant slide too!  We were lucky enough to arrive first in the morning on one of our trips.  The lifeguard asked my daughter if she would like to open the slide and gave her a train engineers hat and whistle.  She was so proud of herself, she got to announce loudly that the slide was open, blow her whistle and take the first slide down.  She still talks about it.  This is the magic of Disney, where something rather ordinary becomes something special that is never forgotten!

Don’t worry there is a hot tube too!

One of the things that I love the most about all the Disney Resorts and Fort Wilderness are the lifeguards.  As a former lifeguard myself, it is clear that they are all well trained and super alert.  They are professional and always have an ice pack at hand for the occasional bump or boo boo.  I know this because my daughter is adept at needing a ice pack!

WildlIfe
Wild Turkeys Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney WorldIn our wanderings around the campgrounds we have seen loads of deer grazing, bunnies, all kinds of birds, a hawk, an oriole, and some turkeys.  Once a duck flew into the pool too, which the kids thought was hilarious.

 

 

Hidden Mickey in the bathroom Fort Wilderness Campgrounds  at Disney World
Hidden Mickey in the bathroom Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney World

Facilities
Each camping loop has a couple of “Comfort Stations”.  The bathroom, the loo, the toilet, the privy, the throne…..you get the picture.  The bathrooms are always clean.  Seriously, I have camped here when the grounds were completely full and the bathrooms have never been gross!  Mind you I still wear my flip flops in the shower, but really they are pretty darn good.  All the showers have a disabled shower in them too, this is particularly handy for those of us with little girls, being able to pick up the shower head to rinse out little ones hair (especially long hair) makes things a lot less ratty (pun intended).

Smores Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney World Our Camp Site Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney World

Our Campsite Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney WorldMost sites have water and electric, there are tent sites and also big rig sites. So it seems that they can accommodate just about any type of camper that comes their way.  I should not forget to mention that they have cabins for rent too.  We have never gone that route, but if a tent is a bit too much for you it is always an option.

Most of the sites are pretty secluded so there is some privacy.  Although, as a parent of an only child, I don’t mind that we can see all the kids playing in the center field of the loop.

Playgrounds
Fort Wilderness Campgrounds Playground at Disney World Fort Wilderness Campgrounds Playground at Disney WorldDisney did not forget that kids love playgrounds!  There are playgrounds tucked in here and there and everywhere and there always seems to be kids who want to play.  Which in our case is a very good thing! The playgrounds gave loads of shade and are almost always surrounded by picnic tables and benches.

 

 

 

 

 

Cinderella’s Horses
Tri Circle Farms Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney WorldTri Circle Farms is housed on site near the beach and the Trails End Restaurant.  This is seriously cool!  The kids (as long as they are under 48 inches) can ride on one of Cinderella’s horses.  Yes, they are the very same horses that pull Cinderella’s Carriage.  This time my daughter got to ride Bandit.  As I was leading Bandit, I thought to myself How cool is this, I am leading one of Tri Circle Farms Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney WorldCinderella’s horses. At that moment I looked back at my daughter and she was grinning ear to ear and she said “I am riding Cinderella’s horse!”  For $8.00, this is a memory that will be special for a long time!

Even if you are too big to ride, you can walk through the yard and visit with the horses.  Don’t forget to check out the barn and see the working Calliope, see the Clydesdale and learn a little about Walt’s love for horses!

Tri Circle Farms Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney WorldYou can also take the family on a trail ride at Fort Wilderness, the horseback riding barn is at the front of the campgrounds near the reception.  I don’t know what the fees are, but I can’t wait to take my girl on ride soon.

Tri Circle Farms Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney World

 

 

 

 

 

Campfire Sing Along, Bonfire and Movie
The campground hosts a Chip and Dale Sing Along and Bonfire that is included in your camping fees.  You can buy marshmallows and a stick (or just bring your own).  I prefer to do our smores at the campgrounds as it gets a bit much with tons of kids running around with sharp sticks and fiery marshmallows.

The Beach Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney WorldFireworks and Electrical Water Pagent
Ask when you come into the campgrounds what time the fireworks and the Electric Boat Parade are.  You sit on the beach in the evening and watch the fireworks at Magic Kingdom. The kids love it and while maybe not quite as impressive at it is in the parks, it is still a great view and a great time!

Monorail and FerriesThe Beach Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney World
Not going into the parks this trip?  No problem, you can still take a boat across to Magic Kingdom or the Wilderness Lodge.  From Magic Kingdom you can take the family on monorail ride.  The little ones love this and think it’s the best ever!

 

Christmas in Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney WorldTrails End Restaurant
They do a sit down breakfast and dinner.  We prefere the breakfast, however it is a little expensive.  We don’t do it every time, but I love it.  The food is really good and of course they have my favorite, Mickey Waffles!

Trails End Breakfast Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney World
Trails End Breakfast Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney World

Did you forget the hamburgers or did it rain on your hotdogs?  Both of these have happened to us, the Trails End Restaurant is available to walk up order pizza or breakfast items, and i thought the prices were pretty reasonable.  They also have a bar with a walk up window which makes waiting on the beach for the fireworks a bit more fun for adults!

Camp store Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney WorldThe Trading Post store (there are two on the campgrounds) should have most things you might need.  Everything from snacks to food, souvenirs and of course coffee!  I always come prepared to make coffee at my campsite, however you can never have enough coffee in my opinion.

Disney has not forgotten the extras.  Right outside the restaurant they keep a plastic horseshoe game and loads of hula hoops.  It was so much fun to sit on the patio there and watch all the kids playing in front of the Christmas Tree.

Bikes at Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney World  Canoeing at Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney World Canoeing at Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney WorldCanoeing, Fishing, Archery, Wagon Rides, Boat Rentals, Fishing, Bike Rentals, Jogging Trails, Arcade, Walking Tours, Segway Tours, Bike Rentals, and Golf Cart Tours.
This last trip we took a canoe rental around the canals.  It was fun, and rather comical.  The young man who helped us get out the canoe indicated that we could not get lost, however that did not turn out to be the case.  Anyhow we made it back to the Bike Barn (where we started) and we had fun.  They have rental bikes for all sizes and even helmets too, so if you can’t get your bike to the campgrounds you are covered.  All of these things do have extra fees.  The Canoeing at Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney Worldcanoeing was pretty reasonable, at around $6.50 for a half hour for all three of us including life jackets.