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Brian Bennett

WDW Trip Planning Guide Reader Feedback

by Brian Bennett

3/9/01

Q.

Robbin Writes:  I'm looking to go to Disney in the late Summer / early Fall of 2002.  I need to know what times the parks are open and how to get campground reservations so far in advance.

A.

Disney only releases actual park hours a few months in advance. If you'd like a general discussion on the issue, though, check MousePlanet's WDW park hours schedule.

As far as making reservations, I'd suggest you go to MousePlanet's WDW Trip Planning Guide page on Fort Wilderness Campground.  There's a link from that page to MousePlanet's travel partner, TravelNow, where you can make your reservations.

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An now, a lengthy series of questions by Rob.  I'll just keep the "conversation" going so you can follow along...

Q.

Rob Writes (he'd emailed me before with a question):  Thanks for the fast response to my first question! I liked the answer so much that now I have more things to ask.

A.

:) I hope you like the rest of them...

Q.

Rob Continues:  Being a west-coaster, I am a lot more familiar with the ebbs and flows of crowds at Disneyland. As a general rule going over a weekend like Labor Day would be an EXTREME no-no. More like suicide than a vacation. But all the information I've seen suggests that WDW is not as driven by the small 3 day weekend type holidays like we are out here.

In fact, most of the information I have been reading suggests that attendance takes a big dip about mid-August and cruises at the year's lowest level for the next few months. What I'm wondering is - IF I plan a trip from the middle of the last week of August (when practically all families go back to school/jobs) through the middle of the first week of September (and over the Labor Day weekend) - what kinds of conditions can I expect at the resort?

Does the Labor Day weekend make the resort explode at the seams with people? Is the summer season over at this point with operating hours being cut to the bone? What happens at this time of year? I'm strongly considering a trip and info is kind of in a gray area about this since it's a transition time of the year.

A.

Well, you've hit on an interesting point. ANY holiday is going to boost crowds at WDW (just like at Disneyland). A lot of Floridians make the Labor Day weekend their last hurrah for visiting the parks. You'll see lots of local families with kids, since school is out, too.

However, except for the bubble you'll have on that weekend, the days surrounding it are generally just fine.

If Labor Day is near the middle of your trip, perhaps you can play it as it comes...and if the park(s) turn out to be too busy, spend the balance of the day at your hotel in the pool. A mid-trip break isn't a bad idea anyway.

Q.

Rob Continues:  But I want to ENJOY a trip that I spend thousands on...imagine that! And there is definitely a balance. Longer operating hours can offset a larger, but not HUGE amount of people. And I have a tendency to be a late starter anyway (on West Coast time...then add three hours).

A.

Beware of starting late, Rob. You will pay dearly (in terms of crowds) between arriving at park opening versus 10-11am! Think of those first couple hours as a bit like Disneyland's Magic Mornings (not quite, but similar) and you'll get the idea.

Q.

Rob Continues:  And then there's the consideration that if the off-season has officially started some attractions will instantly go down for rehab. It would be helpful if Disney would publish last year's hours still as a sample instead of giving an extremely general and vague sample of the hours you might possibly maybe expect year-round which has little to no bearing on the period of time you actually expect to visit. Anyway...enough rambling...my questions are posed.

And don't worry that there are no easy answers to them. I know there aren't I'm just hoping for a little more guidance than I have currently.

A.

Well, you're right.  There aren't easy answers when there are so many trade-offs.  Basically you need to be aware of the trade-offs (as you're doing) and decide, personally, what works best for you.

I'd suggest you also check out MousePlanet's WDW Trip Planning Guide, Planning Your Trip page.  Right at the top, you'll find a list of pages that deal with timing issues.  You'll find other information on the park schedules and so on that may help, too.

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Q.

Melinda Writes:  I would like to plan dinner so that we can see the fireworks from the Contemporary. If we eat dinner at Chef Mickey's, how is that different from eating at the California Grill? Can we still get access to where ever you can see the fireworks after we eat?

A.

California Grill is on the 15th floor and Chef Mickey's is on the 4th. Also, California Grill has windows open to the park, and Chef Mickey's doesn't.

You can still go up to the rooftop viewing area (it's off the 15th floor, just take the elevator up and ask when you get up there), but it gets crowded in the California Grill Lounge at fireworks time. The cool thing, I think, is being at the table when the fireworks start.  You can't do that at Chef Mickey's at all.

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Q.

Mary Jane Writes:  I need to use an electric scooter, are these available at the parks?  If I have my own, am I able to ride the monorail, taking it along, or getting on the trams?

A.

Yes, Mary Jane, you can use your own scooter. They are available at the parks for rent and you are welcome to use your own, if you'd prefer. Monorail access is not a problem. I'm not certain about trams.

Also, I'd suggest you check out MousePlanet's Themepark Access Guide.  Even though the guide is not yet done for WDW, author Tony Phoenix can certainly answer questions for you.

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Q.

Chuck Writes:  I think that your website is great. However, I did not find much information on Disney weddings. I am getting married at Disney World in September and would like more information besides that which is on the official weddings website on Disney weddings. Also, I could not find any information on your site regarding fireworks cruises.

and Jon Writes: tell me where i can find information about a marriage at the magic kingdom

A.

Congratulations on your upcoming weddings!

Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of information to share. However, I would suggest that you do a search of MousePlanet's trip report section using the keyword "wedding."  I know that there are several trip reports on the site were for weddings or wedding planning.

Specifically, one recent report that may be useful is Roseanne McKeever's, as the trip that she reported on was taken just to plan a WDW wedding.

You might also call the Wedding Pavilion at (407) 363-6333 to ask any questions to to find out who else to contact for more information.

As far as the fireworks cruise, Kenny Cottrell wrote a great article on the IllumiNations Cruises at Epcot that you might enjoy reading.  There's a bunch of detailed information on the cruise schedules and reservations policy, etc., in the right-hand margin of that page.

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Q.

Gerry Writes:  We have a 6 year old daughter with Type 1, juvenal, diabetes. Because of the need to regulate her insulin and monitor her blood glucose, standing in the sun in line for long periods of time can be very detrimental.  Does WDW have special accommodations for children with diabetes and their families.

A.

WDW will probably bend over backwards to help you out. One thing that they've offered in the past (I don't know if it's still available) is a line pass that would permit your daughter to skip lines altogether. Proof of the medical condition would be required.

I'd suggest you call WDW's information line and ask for more information on that, and other concerns.

A couple of other points...First, be aware that you would be able to store insulin in the refrigerators at First Aid at any of the parks. Second, you might want to plan your trip for later in the Fall or even early December or January/February when the sun is much less intense.

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Q.

Dennis Writes:    I am looking for information on any special prices for disabled veterans could please direct me where to find out this information? Thank you very much.

A.

Sorry, Dennis, but there are no discounts for veterans at all.

However, the Department of Defense does have an onsite hotel at Walt Disney World called "Shades of Green."   If you go to their official site, you might find that some accomodations are made for disabled veterans.  That wouldn't be an "official Walt Disney World" deal, it would be through the Department of Defense, but it might fit the bill for you.

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Q.

Dan Writes:  Is there a Disney guide book for all the parks and campgrounds?  Is it free?  We are wanting to plan a camping trip in our R/V on Spring break.  Send me one please.

A.

Please keep in mind that MousePlanet is NOT affiliated with the Walt Disney Company. My best suggestion would be to get a hold of the Birnbaum WDW guidebook (available at any book retailer). Also, I would suggest the AAA camping book for Florida. It's free for members, but AAA charges a nominal charge if you're not a member.

Those two books should be very helpful.

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Q.

Austin Writes:  Need help with planning a trip to Walt Disney in Florida.  Their will be two adults and two children ages eleven and fourteen. Looking at visiting Magic Kingdom, Epcot and what ever we can do in the time frame/price range it includes. I haven't visited Florida for fourteen years. I know a lot has changed. Looking at staying in a medium price range hotel on Disney property close to magic kingdom. Our dates can vary from April 7 - April 15, 2001.

A.

MousePlanet is really oriented toward the do-it-yourselfer.  We have a lot of information to wade through, though, so for folks that don't have the inclination to do so -- or are just overwhelmed by all the details of planning a trip to Walt Disney World, I highly recommend calling MousePlanet's partner company, Discovery Hills Travel, at (800) 750-5975.  Discovery Hills can help you sort through all the options and plan the perfect vacation.

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Q.

Robert Writes:  I've been looking for an answer to a question about admission media that several sources have failed to detail.  The Park Hopper Plus passes feature options...

If I buy the 5 day Hopper Plus pass do I get these options on separate days? For instance...if I go to Epcot 2 days, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Disney-MGM studios one day each...do I still have these options available to use on the sixth and seventh day of my trip to go enjoy a water park or Downtown Disney? Or do I have to use the option admission on one or more of the 5 days the pass is good for major park admission?

A.

You do not have to use the Plus options on the same day that you visit one of the major parks. In fact, one way to really expand your usage of your passes is to intentionally plan a day or two in the middle of the trip as non-park days to swim, enjoy the resorts, and use those Plus options.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the reader feedback for the WDW Trip Planning Guide!  Feed free to send more questions or comments to brian@mouseplanet.com!

Brian Bennett's Disney Trip Planner


Click here to see some awesome WDW pieces that have run on MousePlanet recently!

Click here to check out the rest of Brian's Archive, including all of the previously published "Notes From the World" pieces!

Brian's Archive - Contents

I've always gotten email about the WDW Trip Planning Guide, but since we added the feedback 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!

So...I'll post 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!

 

 

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