Tuesday October 25th 2016
I spent most of the day in research and planning mode. I need to add details to my general plans for the winter. I’ve known for some time that I want to stay in Florida until the end of January then head west for Arizona in March. I made reservations through December 30th last June, but I haven’t gotten around to completing my plans. I need reservations for January in Florida and March in Arizona assuming I’ll be traveling west during February.
Soon after I made the November and December reservations I went into intense sell the New Hampshire house mode. It really is only in the last couple of weeks that I’ve slowed down to a more relaxed life style. Shortly after closing on the house I traveled to Alabama to get warranty work done on the RV. I got back to Florida in time to run to Georgia away from hurricane Matthew. The last two weeks I’ve been playing tourist as the realization set in that I could slow down.
So far I’ve been met by three obstacles in my search for a place to stay in January. The obstacles are high prices, lack of availability and repetition. The repetition element is a desire not to stay in the Orlando area where I spent time last winter and for the last two weeks. Ideally, I’d like to be on the Gulf coast from Tampa south during January.
The fact that all of the parks I’ve checked in my target area are more than twice what I paid last winter for a monthly rate has me annoyed. Just for the heck of it I checked the place I stayed last winter. That’s where the repetition concern comes into play. Interestingly, they still have similar prices, but don’t have room in January unless I’m staying for three months or more.
I’m working my way through a short list of parks starting with the lowest price acceptable park. To determine acceptability, I look at internet reviews, blog comments by other full time RVers and a check of the area and site layout using Google Maps. So far I have two places that don’t have availability on the New Years weekend, but are ok for the rest of the month. One other place is in the process of expanding and their new area is “planned” for completion before January. Tomorrow, I’ll try more parks at higher price points and further inland.
This evening, I decided to check out Disney Springs at night. I wanted to see the lighting in the new areas. The floating lanterns in the river separating the Landing area from Town Center had drawn my interest during the day. They turned out to be less than spectacular at night. In general, Disney Springs comes alive with entertainment at night, but the lighting isn’t all that impressive.
For a weekday evening in October, there was a lot going on. There were street performers, bands and solo artists in gathering areas throughout the complex. Music also drifted out of the bigger restaurants like House of Blues. The crowds were thick around the entertainment, but judging by the empty spaces in the parking garage, many more people can visit the park before it will be consider close to full. The new Town Center area is about one third of the total space so the complex is considerably bigger than it used to be.
I will have to remember that night time is a better time to visit Disney Springs than the afternoon. Since I don’t plan to go back during my stay at Fort Wilderness in December, I’ll have to remember until 2018 when my next opportunity to visit id likely come up.