We arrived at Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground on December 4th for a 4-night stay. The campground was nicely landscaped with wonderful amenities and activities; however, we were so busy going to the park that we really didn't take advantage of them.
Cinderella's Castle all lit up at night.
Because we are Florida residents, we were able to buy an annual pass, which ended up being less than buying a 4-day park hopper pass. We had visited Disney several times in the past but thought it would be fun to check out the new rides we hadn't seen yet.
Epcot and the new Pandora in Animal Kingdom.
Ryan joined us during our stay. Since he only had one day, we rushed through all 4 parks! We ended the day with a delicious and filling meal at Boma-Flavors of Africa, the buffet restaurant in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. It was a whirlwind day, but we all had a great time!
Busy day at Disney and dinner at Boma.
On December 8th, we pulled into Winter Quarters Manatee in Bradenton, FL for a 3 week stay. Part of the reason we chose this RV park was its close proximity to Ryan's place in Sarasota. Also, we had planned a 7-night Caribbean cruise during our stay here, and Ryan graciously offered to take care of Simba while we were gone. We found a great kennel/daycare for Myah in the Sarasota area, too.
On December 10th, we drove 3 hours to Port Everglades, near Ft. Lauderdale, where we embarked on the Princess Cruise ship. We had a wonderful time aboard the ship. We loved exploring the ports at Princess Cays (Princess' private island in the Bahamas), St. Thomas, and St. Maarten. We did a snorkeling excursion in St. Thomas where we interacted with the colorful marine life.
Relaxing days and amazing sunsets on the Sun Princess.
The ship was decorated for Christmas which helped us to get into the spirit.
Formal night and feathered friends on the festive ship.
All in all the cruise was a relaxing and welcomed change from RV living. We were happy, though, to get back to our home on wheels on December 17th and reunite with our pets and Ryan, of course!
We spent our remaining week in the Bradenton area visiting with Ryan and enjoying our time at the RV park.
Quality time with Ryan.
We joined a puppy parade at the park with a few other RV'ers, includingMelody and Lou & their adorable dog, Milo. We had met Melody and Lou the previous Christmas at the RV park in San Diego and were thrilled when we discovered they were at this park, too. We even made a few new friends during our walk through the park. After the parade, we had a photo shoot with Santa.
Puppy parade and photo with Santa.
We decided to invite Ryan to the RV park for a Christmas Day dinner. It was a nice way to meet a few more fellow full-time RV'ers as well as to enjoy a meal without needing to cook. Even though we missed our family during the holidays, we were so happy and grateful to able to spend Christmas with one of our kids!
Christmas Day at the RV park.
The day after Christmas, Ryan and I visited the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota. We enjoyed exploring the beautiful grounds and buildings with their unique architecture. We were in awe of the extensive fine art collection and artifacts acquired by John Ringling between 1925-1931. He bequeathed the museum to the people of Florida in the hope of making Sarasota a cultural and educational center.
Roaming around the Ringling Museum and grounds.
We ended our stay in Bradenton with a get-together hosted by Melody and Lou. We were joined by a few other families, some of whom we had met during our stay and others who we were introduced to us by Melody and Lou. We love meeting other like-minded people who share our passion for travel and living the full-time RV life!
Fellowship with other RV'ers!
That evening we met Ryan for a farewell dinner at a nice restaurant by the water.
Time to say good-bye for now.
We loved staying only about a half hour from Ryan's home, so It was sad to say goodbye, but we knew we would meet up with him again at some point as we continued our journey throughout the state of Florida.