by Brian Bennett
| Stew Writes: I really
enjoy your updates on the various "Lands" of Walt
Disney World. Your latest article on Adventureland
was particularly close to my heart, as you mentioned the long-closed,
Adventureland Verandah Restaurant.
On our first trip to WDW in 1977, our
first (and last) stops (eating-wise) were at the AV. We always
ordered the same thing, the Teriyaki Cheeseburger Combo. Now,
it probably wasn't nearly as good as I remember it being,
but I really enjoyed that Cheeseburger, smothered in Teriyaki
Sauce (they were sponsored by Kikkoman), topped with Cheese,
a Pineapple Ring, and coconut flakes! YUM!
I was able to "relive" this
experience in the early '90's when I returned to "The
World." On our subsequent three visits, however, I have
but only to dream of eating there, as it is now long gone.
Just another one of those "Yesterland-style"
moments. Now...if they ever do away with the TTA (aka Peoplemover)....I
will be REALLY mad....DL just isn't the same without it!
Thanks again for your updates!
|I don't have as fond of memories about the Adventureland
Verandah. Barb and I did visited there on our honeymoon,
but the restaurant was closed before we returned to WDW a year
later. I think Adventureland really could use a full-service
restaurant, though. A nicely themed one, unique to the
land, would be a great addition!
...and don't forget that MousePlanet's Walt
Disney World Restaurant Resource should provide any information
you need on the restaurants that are still in the Magic Kingdom!
| Vince Writes: http://www.njsouth.com/index-lucy.htm
This is the elephant that is shown at the Boardwalk Resort.
|Vince is referring to the elephant model over
the fireplace mantel in the lobby at the Boardwalk, which I
had originally reported as a hotel that had been built in the
shape of an elephant back around the turn of the century.
Clearly, as Vince's link shows, the elephant was actually a
real estate advertisement.
In any case, the elephant is a great oddity that fits in
well with the Boardwalk theme (and "Lucy" lives
pretty close to Atlantic City's boardwalk, too). Thanks
for the correction, Vince!
(Editor's Note: Actually, to my wonderful
wife, Barbara) Thanks to you and Brian for all the wonderful
work you do on Mouseplanet! I've just recently (in the
last few months) gotten to know Mouseplanet, and it's wonderful.
We live in Southern California and
have always gone to Disneyland. I have a 1 year old,
and we're thinking about taking a family trip to WDW this
fall (she'll be almost 2 by then). I was just reading
1998 trip report (Editor's Note: That was the first, and
so far only, trip report that Barb wrote of our many trips.)
about your trip with Allan (what a wonderful child he seems
to be!). I was wondering if you have any suggestions
for a mom, a dad, and an almost 2 year old traveling to WDW
for the first time this November.
We're planning on catching a non-stop
from LA to Orlando to avoid any delays on catching connecting
flights. We're planning on staying on-site for the trip,
maybe splitting time between two hotels just to try something
different. I'm leaning towards splurging for a concierge
room at Poly for a few nights and then staying at Yacht or
Beach Club for the remainder of the visit. We're currently
planning on staying 7-8 nights. I'm also thinking 5-day
park hopper passes for me and my husband should be sufficient.
I'm sure there will be a few days when we'll want to just
hang around the hotel pool or just walk around Downtown Disney
or the petting zoo at Wilderness Lodge.
I've been trying to read as much as
I can on the website, but it's so extensive that it's often
overwhelming. I do love the trip reports, though, because
it does give you a lot of different insights into a "good"
or "bad" trip.
Thanks so much in advance for your
|Barb Responded: Thanks so much for
your kind words about Mouse Planet! What a project it has turned
My best off the top of my head tips for traveling with children...and
most of these are on the site (Editor's Note: In MousePlanet's
With Kids section)... are:
- Decide right now that you are not going to even come close
to seeing everything! It's not a bad idea to read up on
the various parks and attractions so you have a mental idea
of what you don't want to miss.
- Don't even think about staying in the parks all day. Plan
to arrive at your park choice of the day just before opening
time. Even if you are not early risers, this is well worth
the effort. You can accomplish tons more in the first few
hours the parks are open than you can at any other time.
Check with your hotel to find out what parks have Early
Entry (WDW's version of Disneyland's Magic Mornings)
on which days. Those who stay at Disney hotels are
permitted in one hour early to one park a day. This
is an extra opportunity to fit things in.
- Schedule a
break time in your room EVERY day. This is an opportunity
to have a nap, swim, read, or just relax. It is very critical
to the success of your whole trip. You will be avoiding
the parks in the middle of the day when it is hottest, as
well as when they are the most crowded. With the Disney
transportation available to their own guests, this is really
a simple thing.
- If you usually do Disneyland, I'm sure you already know
about their baby
swap policies. The ones in Florida are similar, but
be sure to ask at the entrance of each attraction what their
- You mentioned trying out two different resorts. You are
certainly welcome to do so if you choose, but my recommendation
would be to pick one and stay there for the entire time.
Sometimes children who are already away from everything
that seems normal to them, like their own bed, the schedule
at home, etc., have a hard time adjusting on vacation. When
we have traveled with Allan, we have found that the fewer
moves and different hotels we stayed in, the better he adjusted,
and the more we all enjoyed the trip. You also will end
up losing the better part of a day of your vacation in the
move. (Have to check out by this time, can't check
into the next hotel until this time...etc. This means there
is no place to retreat to for a break in the middle of the
- Plan to take LOTS of pictures. Not all will be great,
but you will definitely want to be able to "remember
the magic" after your adventure is over! If you need
help or accessories to help you to organize your photos
when you return, visit my website, www.mousememories.com.
We also have a
suggested list of things you might wish to save from your
trip and hints
and tips for taking photographs. Ok, sorry, just had
to squeeze that commercial in here! :)
If you have any other specific questions, I'll be happy to
answer them! Just let me know! Have a great day!
(Editor's Note: And don't forget Adrienne Krock's excellent
resource here on MousePlanet, Parenting
in the Parks!)
Brian, I read today's photo safari on the Contemporary. Two
tidbits on the murals - maybe they're in there and I just missed
them. 1 - On the west-facing mural, facing the monorail
platform, there's a goat with five legs, up near the top. 2
- on the south-facing mural, visible from the Steakhouse, there's
a boo-boo - one of the tiles is rotated 90 degrees out of place,
and it's fairly easy to find. These might be fun for folks
to look for.
|Of course, Karl is referring to the photo
tour of the Contemporary Resort that I put together a few
Thanks Karl, for your comments! Mary Blair did a great
job on these works of art. They've been a much-needed
splash of color in the middle of an otherwise stark resort
for a long time.
By the way, I've had reports that folks with Macintosh computers
have had problems with my photo tours because of the way I
formatted them (with the pictures alternating left and right
and the text weaving around them). As a result, you
may have noticed that I've gone to a simpler, but more universally-acceptable,
straight-line format. I'm in the process of reformatting
the older photo tours, too, if you missed them.
I'm not sure where to post this, but I had an interesting experience
that may prove interesting to others. So, if you think this
is appropriate, feel free to use it and/or pass it on.
Visiting Florida during the Dec. 2000
holidays, we planned a 3 day, 2 night stay at the WDW Swan
during the week between Christmas and new years. No,
we're not masochists, but we live in Kauai and visit relatives
in Bradenton, FL every other year for the holidays and we
have a 4 year old daughter and we all love Disney. So this
was our only chance to visit WDW, with our daughter who could
now appreciate much more than she saw at WDW at age 2 and
DL at age 3. And appreciate she did, in her full sequined
Minnie Mouse outfit complete with hair bows, purse and matching
Upon arrival I purchased 4 3-day unlimited
park hoppers at the WDW ticket desk at the Swan. The cost
for 3 adults and one child: $600+ including tax. We
later decided to extend our stay, WDW reservations gets us
a room at the Dolphin for an additional consecutive night.
I seem to remember reading on your WDW guide that all tix
are upgradeable before they expire, so I go to WDW Swan ticket
desk, who informs me that the tickets are not upgradeable
for an additional day. I say thanks and move on.
Later that night, at EPCOT, after the
family returns to the Swan, I go to Guest Relations, explain
the problem to helpful cast member, who works on the ticket
for some time, but is unable to add extra days to these tickets
because "the Swan is different" and "the tickets
are not in the computer properly". I explain that there
should be no difference because I'm staying at the Swan and
since I extended our stay for an additional day I should be
allowed to extend the tickets and pay the appropriate amount
for that extension. I wanted park hoppers and did not want
a single admission/single park ticket for the last day. After
agreeing with me, he makes several notations in the computer
record associated with the tickets and asks me to stop in
at a guest relations office in the morning. So far, I've wasted
about 2 hours on this. The next day, we visit MK at 7:30AM,
guest relations line is too long.
We have breakfast, then Sarah rides
Dumbo, while I "ride" Alien Encounter with no lines.
Later we go to MGM/Disney Studios and I wait on the Guest
Relations line again. I have to go through the entire explanation
again, and finally, the cast member at MGM calls the cast
member (from previous night) at Epcot Guest relations.
About an hour later, I leave the office
with the original tickets and a new set of complimentary one-day
park hoppers for the next day.
It basically came down to this: They
couldn't figure out how to extend my tickets (and charge me
for the extension) for some reason, so to appease me, they
gave me complimentary tickets.
I think this was the right thing to
do, but the question remains: If you extend a stay while on
site, can you extend the unlimited park hoppers? The
tickets were not part of a package deal, and were not included
in my hotel rate, etc. They were purchased on day or arrival
at the Swan WDW ticket desk.
Note: I wasn't looking for a free ride
under any circumstances. I was perfectly willing to pay the
prorated portion for the extra day. They just couldn't figure
out how to do it for some reason, and decided that under the
circumstances, they should "do the right thing"
for the customer.
|I wrote back, in part:
The cause of your specific problem is in Disney's relationship
with the Swan. It is not a Disney-owned and operated resort,
so they're not "plugged in" to the regular Disney
admission media system.
|and David Responded:
I know, but I won't let them get away with that one :-)
In my view, the corporate arrangement between Starwood and WDW
should not impact the customer in any negative way. At least
I got the right Guest Relations cast member, because they agreed
with me. (Plus, I got SPG points for my stay.)
I must note that I heard the "that's
because Swan and Dolphin are not really WDW properties"
excuse a lot less this time, than I did about 4-5 years ago
when I stayed there for a technical conference.
Thanks for your reply and I note that
I would have just rolled over had I not had the really useful
information about being able to upgrade tickets before they
expire from your guide. Keep up the great work!
Useless fact #342: One of the really
good boat drivers pointed out that the Dolphin is the single
largest structure inside WDW. I have no idea if it's true
or not, but it is a huge hotel. We preferred the Swan.
Another useless (?) fact: Apparently
the relationship between Starwood and WDW allocates a block
of rooms exclusively to WDW reservations, so if you want to
stay there, and Starwood (or Sheraton or Westin or Swan &
Dolphin) reservations has no availability, you should also
try WDW reservations. This is how we were able to extend our
stay for one more night during the ultra-busy week between
Christmas and new years.
One more visit note for the records:
Apparently MK was closed due to full capacity several afternoons
during the week. While waiting in Guest Relations, several
people asked for refunds because of that and because of the
long lines everywhere. No refunds were given, but anybody
that asked received admission for a future date.
I haven't seen anyone write about one of the best unknown attractions
at Downtown Disney at WDW. The one AMC theater with DLP. It's
really not a Disney attraction but I saw The Emperors New Groove
on it and it was mind blowing. If you don't know what DLP it's
Digital Light Projection by Texas Instruments. It's like DVD
for the movies. It's perfect. No flickering or dust on the film.
It is a must see for anyone going to WDW.
|There is so much going on at WDW that it's very
hard to keep up with all of it. I had no idea that DLP
even existed, much less than it was installed at the AMC at
Downtown Disney. In any case, thanks for the information
John. Sounds like a great place to catch a flick.
|Darren Writes: I
realize, technically, it's no longer a WDW resort, but it would
be nice for those of us in the military to have a section on
your site about Shades of Green. I know there is a site from
the DOD but one from your perspective would be great.
|Shades of Green, the "Armed Forces Recreation
Center" that Darren refers to, was originally built by
the Walt Disney Company and operated as the "Golf Resort"
and the "Disney Inn" before it was leased (and later
sold) to the Department of Defense. It is a smaller resort
than most of the onsite hotels, but is very charming and a bit
more quiet since it's off-the-beaten-path and no longer an advertised
WDW resort hotel.
I struggle with adding a lot of information on Shades of
Green to MousePlanet because it is a closed resort.
Only Department of Defense and Military employees are able
to stay there. I understand that the information would
be helpful to some folks, but I hesitate to work on such a
project when there is so much I need to add to the site that
would valuable for a much larger number of people. Perhaps
if I had a couple of clones, I could pull off everything on
my list. Someday. :)
In the meantime, perhaps a link to the Shades of Green official
site would help? Also, here's one to Military City's
Also, there is a single Shades
of Green review here on MousePlanet that you might want
|Rodrigo Writes: I
was sent to WDW for a Convention at the Swan and Dolphin hotels,
and there were special park admission tickets for us. For example,
I bought a ticket for EPCOT for 2, with the limitation of entering
to the park after 4:00PM. We enjoyed 5 hours of great fun, with
no crowds in October 1999. I recommend to people in conventions
to ask for these deals.
|Another great tip from a MousePlanet reader.
I've only attended a conference at WDW once, and Barb and I
bought annual passes to cover that and our following trip, so
I've not had need to check into such programs. It's great
to know they're available, though!
||(To wrap up today's Notes, I'll I got several
notes from an unnamed CM. Per that person's request, I
will not mention their name nor quote them directly. However,
I will provide you with the gist of their comments.)
The comments are with regard to MousePlanet's Admission
Media from A to Z page. Of course, I'll will be
making the appropriate updates to that page based on this
information as soon as I can.
With regard to the "Bounce Back Pass":
Disney no longer calls it that, because
of the implication that guests could park hop (move from one
park to another during the day) which is incorrect.
The "new" name is 2 one park one day tickets or
3 one park one day tickets.
Another catch on the "Bounce Back
Pass" is that some people think that they can use the
second day up on the same day they use the first (to visit
a different park on the same day), but that's not the case.
The passes expire, unlike the multi-day
passes. The 2 one park one day tickets expire 3 days
from date of purchase IE guest buys 1 park for 1 day ticket
on Tuesday, that night upgrades it to 2 one park one day they
can use that second day only until (and including) Friday.
The 3 one park one day tickets expire in 5 days.
The discount is really only $5 or so
for the first day and $10 for second day.
With regard to the Annual Pass "finger scanners":
In reality, the scanners take a digital
photograph of your finger's bone structure and compares it
to a copy in the computer. Disney avoid describing it
that way, though, because people think you are taking an X-Ray
of their fingers when all it is is a measurement of the distance
between points on your finger.
With regard to park Re-Entry:
The biggest problem that exists with
re-entry is not people not having a hand stamp, but people
actually coming back without their tickets! It was reported
that this problem happens 20-30 times a night especially with
Remember folks, the ticket matters!
With regard to Special Events:
Special events DO SELL OUT! All
too often guests don't realize this and wait till the day
of the event to buy them when they are all gone, the same
applies to E-Ride nights.
With regard to partially used passes being purchased on
the black market:
Many people every day buy tickets from
illegal vendors, having been told that they have 2 or 3 days
left. When they come to the gate, they find they have
And that's what Disney does for the
hapless folks. Nothing.
It is simply not worth the risk, and
it's very unlikely you'll be able to find the con artist to
get your money back. Besides, it is not fun spending
45 minutes talking to Disney security on why you're from Michigan
trying to use someone's from Massachusetts. Disney knows
all the info on that ticket, including where it was purchased.
With regard to Annual Pass renewal:
If a guest comes up to us and purchases
a brand new annual pass, it expires a year from when they
buy it. If they are renewing, it expires a year from when
their old one expired. If they are turning in a renewal certificate,
we look up their old pass, and then we process their certificate
and make it valid a year from when their annual expired. Think
of it like a magazine subscription, if you want to get the
special renewal rate, you have a continuous subscription,
you can't skip a few months/years, same thing here.
Regarding admission media upgrades:
The general policy is that guests can
upgrade their tickets within 7 days of first use. Beyond 7
days, the guest is given credit on the unused portion toward
Well, I hope you enjoyed the inaugural reader
feedback for the WDW Update page! Feed free to send more questions
or comments to email@example.com!
Brian Bennett's Disney Trip Planner
Click here to see
some awesome WDW pieces that have run on MousePlanet recently!
here to check out the rest of Brian's Archive, including all of the previously
published "Notes From the World" pieces!
always gotten email about the WDW Trip Planning Guide, but since we added
form to the site several months ago, the number of questions has increased
dramatically! I do my best to answer each and every question personally,
but I've noticed that a lot of the questions are asked again and again.
The question that one person asks might very well be the question that
someone else is wondering about. Thus this page!
reader email and feedback every once in a while, because the question
someone else asks might be the same one you're thinking about yourself!