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Brian Bennett

WDW Trip Planning Guide Reader Feedback

by Brian Bennett

5/09/01

Q.

Tom Writes: I've worn out my computer looking at all the great info on your web site in preparation for our trip Sept 22,01. But I still have to ask this very important question and I trust no one but you to provide the answer. Ready? If you were to request a room at Dixie Landings / Port Orleans or what ever there calling it now, never having been there, what building and what room would you request??? We will be booking two rooms. thanks for your time and the great site.

A.

Tom,

Thanks for your kind note. I hope to be worthy of your great respect. :)

In order to answer your question, though, I would have to have answers to a bunch of questions from you. Once I had those answers, I would have to prioritize the answers to determine the very best overall location.

So, let's take a deep breath and plunge in...

I assume, since you mentioned Port Orleans Resort Riverside (formerly Dixie Landings) I'll focus my attention on that resort, although a similar discussion could be had for all of the resorts.

If you want to follow along as I go, you may want to pull up the map of the resort.

My first question would be, "Of the bayou or the antebellum mansions, which sub-theme appeals to you the most?" The bayou rooms are more rustic in style, but all rooms at the resort are fully-modern and nicely appointed. It's just a question of quilts versus bedspreads and such minor room dressings.

My second question would be, "Are you likely to use the food court, marina, themed pool, and other 'central' services frequently?" If so, you want to make sure that you're located as close as possible to the central resort area (i.e. the landing itself).

Third, I would want to know how important close proximity to a bus stop is to you and your party. With very small children and/or elderly adults, a close bus stop would be a nice feature. Also, especially with younger children, you may want to request being near the FIRST bus stop of the route, so that you're among the first onto the bus when you're leaving the resort... but you're also among the first to be dropped off at the end of a long visit to the parks.

Since I don't know the answers to those questions, my personal favorite area to stay in at Riverside is the Magnolia Terrace building. It's just across a bridge to Ol' Man Island (the themed pool area) and from there a short walk to the landing. A bus stop is right in front of the building. Plus, there's a resort "quiet" pool directly adjacent. I personally think it's the best overall compromise on those various issues.

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Q.

You mentioned that Tapestry of Nations "This is the first parade that's been run around the World Showcase promenade in many years." I was wondering what that other parade was you were referring to was. I can't find it any where. My friends don't know, the books don't know, so do you know? If you can tell me THANK YOU!

A.

Even today, the "Disney Character's on Holiday" Bus will make it's way around the promenade making stops in Showcase Plaza, China, Italy, and Japan. It's not a big, multi-float parade but it is a processional celebration of sorts.

Also, back in the late 1980's, "Character Balloons" were placed around the World Showcase Lagoon. While not really a parade (the balloons didn't move around the promenade), the balloons were at least one way that the Disney characters were presented in the park during it's first decade.

But you have to go back even earlier, to the very first few years that the park was open, when there really was a bona fide parade around the promenade. Right now, I can't put my finger on the name of the production, but it was an afternoon affair without the fanfare that Tapestry now commands.

If anyone out there remembers the name of the old World Showcase parade, drop me a line!

-

Q.

Sherry Asks: How much does it cost to park your car at the parks. And are you able to leave in it at different times of the day and return later without having to pay to park again?

A.

Sherry,

Parking for the parks costs approximately $6.00 per day (and as you guessed, you should keep your receipt, as it will cover parking later in the day - and at all of the other WDW parks, too.)

Of course, WDW resort guests (staying at one of the Disney resorts) can show their resort ID to park at no additional charge.  I won't say "free," since you pay a premium to stay on-site, but at least you get some perks for your money.

-

Q.

Maggie Writes: HI, I am trying to find some information on a company that would help me plan a school fieldtrip from Vancouver B.C. to Orlando. We would like to visit Disneyworld, the Space Centre, etc. Do you know where I could find anything?

A.

Maggie,

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.

-

Q.

Lance Asks: I was going to be at WDW in May. I wondered what time Illuminations and Tapestry of Nations took place at Epcot. I also wondered if there were any other fire works at the other WDW parks.

Another thing was, what time does Boulangerie Patisserie opens at Epcot. My family thought it would be nice to eat pastry for breakfast, but if it opens close to noon we won't be hungry for our lunch reservations. We are staying at The Caribbean Beach Resort.

I was also interested in know if there were any TV or movie productions being taped at MGM or if there are any star appearances at WDW May 5-12.

A.

Lance,

MousePlanet maintains a page with park hours and show times.  Click here to check it out! In general, IllumiNations 2000: Reflections of Earth runs at 9:00pm each night, with Tapestry twice daily at 6:30pm and 8:10pm. Times are subject to change, though, so I'd recommend you check back at that link above when it's closer to your trip departure date.

The Magic Kingdom also has "Fantasy in the Sky," a great fireworks show. Spectromagic, also at the Magic Kingdom and Fantasmic!, shown at the Studios, are other spectacular night time extravaganzas that you should definitely plan to see sometime during your trip! Check out the theme park index page in MousePlanet's WDW Trip Planning Guide to find the pages that describe those nighttime shows.

Boulangerie Patisserie normally opens at 11:00am, when World Showcase opens. You're right... it's a bit late for breakfasts, unfortunately.

With regard to TV taping and star appearances at the Studios, unfortunately, you'll have to check on that when you're at the park. You can ask any cast member and they'll be happy to tell you. Also, the park guidemap lists all shows that are filming. Usually, you can see some real filming by taking the Backstage Pass tour.

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Q.

Peg Asks: We are staying at Fort Wilderness, 5-19-01 Through 5-5-26-01, on the Disney Magic Plan booked through our local AAA.  Thought our ground transportation would be Florida Town Car as usual, but no!  We are using Transtar Ground transportation from the airport to Fort Wilderness.  Never heard of this, have you?  AAA said Disney has been using them for a while.  They also said Disney takes responsibility for getting Transtar to meet our flight. That makes me nervous. If I had a phone number for them, I would feel safer. Can you help?  Thanks.

A.

Peg,

Check out the airport transportation page in MousePlanet's WDW Trip Planning Guide.  Transtar is the last of the companies listed, and is indeed used for "official WDW business." I don't think you'll be disappointed.

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Q.

Debbie Writes: I am trying to find out if Disney still admits teachers into Epcot for free. I know they used to a few years ago and was wondering if that is still their policy. Thanks for your time.

A.

Debbie,

Sue Holland, MousePlanet's newest columnist, provided me with the following information:

"They stopped admitting teachers to Epcot for free quite a few years ago. I believe it was a fairly short-lived program, considering the overall life of Epcot. It was over well before any of the Millennium stuff started, so I'm *assuming* it was something offered when attendance at Epcot was down, and later discontinued when it became no longer necessary."

Mike Scopa, another recently added MousePlanet columnist added this information:

"I just received confirmation that teachers can receive a special $99/night rate at the Swan or Dolphin.

"You must prove you are an educator/teacher to get the rate."

-

Q.

Velma Asks: I like to know if I can get tickets in advance for Disney World Florida theme parks. I would like to order the ticket by internet. Is this possible? And if so I would like to order the $ 154.00 package for the 2 days and 3 nights.

A.

Velma,

If you contact Disney at their official website, I'm quite sure you can order tickets online. You can probably book any of Disney's own package deals online, too, but I would suggest that you carefully consider all of your options when planning a trip to WDW.  In fact, I highly recommend calling MousePlanet's partner company, Discovery Hills Travel, at (800) 750-5975 to see what package is best for you.

As an alternative, so you can check prices and think through the options, you might want to consider buying your tickets at your local Disney Store, as they're sold there over the counter, too.

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Q.

Danielle Writes: The summer before last, me and my family booked our hotel reservations through you. We stayed at the All-Star Music resort for a week for $400. can we still get this kind of discount if we wanted to stay at an All-Star resort from May 21 to May 30? Please respond as soon as possible, or e-mail the phone number to your welcome center in Ocala. Thank you.

A.

Danielle,

You must have MousePlanet confused with the Walt Disney Company. First, MousePlanet didn't exist in the summer before last... we went online on July 17th, 2000! Second, MousePlanet doesn't have a welcome center in Ocala. However, Disney does. You may want to contact them directly.

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Q.

Larry Asks: Brian, what is the best site to look for WDW rumors, like new hotels coming, new parks on the drawing boards, new attractions, etc.  Thanks and keep up the excellent work that you have been doing !!!

A.

Larry,

Obviously, I don't cover rumors about the parks because there's just so much to do to cover trip planning issues.  Since you're interested in the other stuff, though, I know that there are other sites out there.  I hesitate to recommend any, because... well, how do you know how accurate any such information is anyway?  :)

Perhaps, when I've caught up on all of the trip planning improvements I'm working on for MousePlanet, I'll start delving into the rumor mill.  For now, I've got a full plate as it is!

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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