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Brian Bennett

WDW Trip Planning Guide Reader Feedback

by Brian Bennett

3/12/01

Q.

Shari asks: I was hoping to find a recommendation for off-site vacation home rental as we have a large party - 15 people consisting of 4 different families.

A.

I'd suggest you check out MousePlanet's offsite hotel and resort reviews. There are several rental home reviews in the listings.

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Q.

Shelten writes:  When was Walt Disney born. Were I would find the information at.

A.

Walt Disney was born on December 5, 1901.  That's why WDW will be celebrating "100 Years of Magic" from October 1st, 2001 through the end of 2002.

For more information on the history of the Walt Disney Company, you may want to check out MousePlanet's Disney Chronicles.

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Q.

Stew sent a form request for information on the restaurants in the Magic Kingdom.

A.

MousePlanet's Walt Disney World Restaurant Resource should provide any information you need on restaurants in the Magic Kingdom!

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Q.

Bill Writes: In your planning report for your April WDW visit you mentioned that you were thinking of getting a double stroller instead of two single strollers.

My wife and I have triplet daughters and found that having a single stroller (albeit one which looked like a bus) far superior to managing two (a single and a double). I think there's a lot to be said for occasionally one adult being free to do as he or she pleases while the other takes charge of the children. The only thing I'd watch out for is the width of the stroller. I don't know if they have "in-line" double strollers, but the triplet strollers which were "next to each other" as opposed to be "in-line" were too wide to be practical. Our in-line stroller would fit through any door.

I'm sure you agree that traveling with kids can be a lot of fun, if you work with the situation.

Looking forward to more reports.

A.

Thanks for your kind note, Bill.

The stroller we're looking at is 30" wide (it's a side-by-side, but fairly compact). Do you think that's too wide still? I know that a single stroller is rarely wider than 18" or so.

I have mixed emotions, because I really love the strollers that we've already bought from Combi.  (This double would be the third...a carriage, an umbrella, and the newest one.)

Q.

And Bill Responded:  I'd just measure doors in public places to get an idea of whether this would be a problem. In particular automatic doors. You're right that the double stroller is probably not a problem.

Hope you have a great time!

A.

Most public doors are 35" wide, as it turns out.  My major concerns that remain are:  1. Will the boys be too close to the "stuff" when we're walking through store aisles?  2.  Will the fact that Allan is so much heavier than Michael (by 10-15 pounds) make it difficult to operate a side-by-side stroller?  3. Can we rig the two sides of the stroller so Allan can get in and out himself, but Michael is still very securely strapped in?

Stay tuned...I'll share everything I learn on this issue when we buy the stroller and take it to WDW in April.

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Q.

A former cast member Writes:  I read you column today ("Notes from the World" from March 2nd) about bring food into the parks.

A number of years ago I worked at WDW as Tickets Host and was trained on what can and cannot be brought into the parks.  The official policy is that no food or drinks can be brought into the parks. If someone does try to bring food in, and it is obvious (i.e. cooler, picnic basket) they will be told they can store it at the lockers at the TTC. Guests are allowed to leave the park and eat their food outside of the parks. The only way you are allowed to bring in food is for a medical reason and you need especially prepared food, for example if you are diabetic.

In practice the ticket staff will look over the guests as they enter and as long as they are not carrying the above mentioned coolers, or have food in containers they will not be stopped.

By the way a really nice place to have a little picnic at MK, and not be bothered, is at the old Swan loading/unloading area. It is quiet, and usually has a few tables and chairs to enjoy a nice relaxing meal that does not cost much money.

A.

Thanks for the note. I will use your information, but will protect your name as you requested.

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Q.

Jackie Writes:  I have a question about something I remember from my first visit to Disney World in 1973. I seem to remember that in one of the shops on Main Street, \it may have been a candy shop or general store, there was an old fashioned telephone that you could pick up and listen to a recorded conversation that was supposedly between two people back in the turn of the century.  They discussed things like the price of a loaf of bread. When I was there this past January I tried to find that old phone but wasn't able to. Do you know anything about this or am I remembering this incorrectly?

A.

You are not remembering incorrectly!

The Market House, the general store on the right-hand side of Main Street, is where the "party line" phones were located.

One-by-one the phones fell into disrepair. Last time I checked, which I admit was awhile, only one of the phones was still functioning. It wouldn't surprise me if that last one was gone now, too.

Incidentally, the Market House phones in Disneyland, in California, appear to be functioning just fine.

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Q.

John Writes:  Just wanted to say how much we enjoy your excellent site.  It is cold and snowy in North East England today and we would dearly love to be walking along the Sassagoula River especially with the marvelous temperatures in Central Orlando today.

Unfortunately, after four consecutive years of Disney vacations, we cannot make it to Florida this year (and probably not next year either) which is devastating! However, reading the extensive content of the MousePlanet site keeps the magic alive for us.

Keep up the good work!

A.

Thanks for your kind words about MousePlanet, John. We get a lot of shots fired at us for being "overly critical" at times, but we try to provide -- besides our strong customer advocate stance -- some helpful and fun information for planning trips to the parks, too.

I'm glad you've enjoyed our work!

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Q.

Alexa Writes:  This is Alex and I'm doing a paper on how to plan the best trip to WDW.  I looked on your website and it's the best one that I've seen. I just want to know if you can give me personal suggestions on how to plan a trip to WDW. If it's ok, can I have your name since I need it for my work cited. Thank you.

A.

You're very welcome to use my name and feel free to site MousePlanet as a source, too!

As far as planning a trip to Walt Disney World, there are a ton of issues to consider. What I would suggest you do, is look at the outline of MousePlanet's WDW Trip Planning Guide. You'll find that the issues in the main headings really cover what you need to consider when planning your trip: Where to get information, Phone Numbers, Planning the Trip (how to travel, how to book your room, etc.), Accommodations, and so on.

I think that will give you a good head-start. Good luck with your paper!

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Q.

Bill Writes:  Thanks to your awesome website and thoughts from last (04/99) trip) we are  really prepared for our 03/10 - 03/16 visit to WDW. The only (2) things I'm still investigating are...

A.

Thanks for the kind words. I'll do my best to help out.

Q.

Bill Continues:  Where and when is the best place for us to go so our 5 year daughter could possibly be picked to be a part of the Magical Moments parade?

A.

There isn't a particular place to go. The key is to be proactive when the coaches come by to select people. If your daughter (with or without your prodding) approaches a coach about the idea, it's a lock that she'll be permitted.

Our son, Allan (just turned four at the time) actually joined in to the parade last Fall even without being "selected." It wasn't a problem, and the coaches just rolled with it. It's really a big group affair, no special roles or anything, so it's not hard to get involved.

Q.

Bill Continues:  Where is the best spot to see Illuminations? Please note we'll also have our 1 year old with us!

A.

My personal favorite would be the waterside tables at the Rose & Crown. However, that requires a little bit of priority seating coordination...You'll need to get a reservation for an hour and a half or so before IllumiNations begins. In general, guests are allowed to "linger" at their tables for the show.

If that doesn't work, the lower plaza near the International Gateway is a great spot, but with two kids it might be daunting to deal with the crowds.

Q.

Bill Continues:  OK, three things. Is the Merlin (pulling out the sword) part pretty neat for the kids? I assume it is, but I never really hear anything about it.

A.

The Sword in the Stone ceremony is very short, just a few minutes, and it's great for the kid that's selected to pull the sword. It's much less of a deal for everyone else. If you're kids are die-hard Arthur and Merlin fans, they'll enjoy it, but it's not worth a special effort otherwise.

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Q.

Amy Writes:  Here's a tip for your readers.

If you don't like making all the phone calls for PS, golf tee times and other recreational activities that make WDW so magical, consider using the Grand Plan (GP) that WDW offers at various resorts.

The GP Coordinators will contact you about 120 days in advance of your arrival date and send you a Fed Ex (next day!) package with all the information you need re: restaurants, recreational activities, special shows as well as maps, etc. Then, when you decide what you want, you can e-mail, fax or phone in your requests.

They will get back to you (usually the same day) to confirm what  was done. And, you don't have to have all the information ready when you contact them for the first time. From my experience, you can call them at any time to add/remove activities or, just to get questions answered. They are FANTASTIC!!

And, if you think the GP is too expensive, keep in mind that there are ways to make it pay for itself. For example, in addition to all the meals (including dinner shows, Victoria & Albert's, and room service) being included, other high-ticket items that are included are:

  1. Cirque de Soleil admission for all on the GP
  2. Babysitting/child care EVERY day up to 6 hours! (At $12 an hour per child, that is a great savings). They will come to your room, too. The children must be included on the GP, but for infants and toddlers 3 years old, that amounts to "free".
  3. Golf games and lessons. This includes renting the clubs ($50 per game) as well as an electric cart and green fees (> $100, I'm sure.)

A.

Thanks for the great note, Amy! I'll be sure to add it to one of my upcoming "Notes from the World" updates!

Obviously, Amy is a big fan of the "all-inclusive" packages that Disney offers.  For some information on the opposing point of view, since the Grand Plan is VERY expensive, check out Michael Hewell's articles on that topic!

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Q.

Jason Writes:  Sorry to bother you, but I really enjoy your site and wanted to ask a question. in many of the trip reports i have read about requesting "upgrading" rooms. I am staying at the boardwalk inn/villas in mid-may and am planning to propose to my girlfriend on the trip. I would like to make the stay very special , but I wasn't sure how possible it was to get a great room/view without paying an arm and a leg. any suggestions? thank you!

A.

When folks mention upgrades in their trip reports, they general come in two flavors.

First, if Disney can't accommodate a reservation, the guest may be upgraded just to make sure they have a room -- even if it's more than they paid for. In fact, that happened to my wife and I during your 5th anniversary trip to the Polynesian...and we had a great room looking right out at the Magic Kingdom!

The second instance is when the guest requests the free upgrade at check-in. Sometimes this will be accommodated, sometimes not...but it never hurts to ask. However, if you ask when you make your reservation, you'll just be charged for the upgraded room....so beware.

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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