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Brian Bennett

WDW Trip Planning Guide Reader Feedback

by Brian Bennett

5/16/01

Q.

Reed Asks: Any chance this fireworks show will return to MGM? I realize that Fantasmic is the featured show and to stage Sorcery too would be a bit expensive. But, once a week during peak season would be great. With the music and the atmosphere it was the best. I didn't even mind sitting on the pavement!

Also, what are the odds of Mama Melrose's returning to the previous menu. We dined there in 1996 and loved it. The bread and olive oil, the bottomless pasta dishes etc. When we returned in 1999 it apparently was the victim of some sort of makeover.

Bring back yesterday!!!

A.

Reed,

Personally, I usually like changes in the parks, but the two that you mentioned are among the few that I wish would go back to the way they were.

There's always a chance that things would return... Unfortunately, you and I can't make it happen. Someone at WDW has to realize that the old way was better.

Don't count on it.

-

Q.

Joe Writes: Hi Brian, I always thought of myself as a veteran of WDW (5 visits since '94) but since finding your site and reading some of your reviews I realize that I'm still just a rookie. :)

Anyway, I'm in the midst of planning a trip for my family (wife and 2 kids-11 & 6), sister and her family (husband and 2 kids-6 & 4), and a friend's family (wife and 2 kids- 11 & 6) for March/April/May 2002. I have been to WDW in October, late May, July, August (ugh!) and Christmas week. October and May were great, very small lines and nice weather. I was wondering if you could answer a couple of questions for me.

In March we were looking at going the before Easter (March 22-March 30). Can you comment on what kind of crowds and weather I could expect? (I've heard that the spring break crowds can get big, gets bigger at Easter, and that it has a tendency to rain in March).

If we looked at late April (last couple of weeks) and early May (first couple of weeks) can you comment on those crowds and weather?

Any info you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

A.

Joe,

It's hard to say how the "100 Years of Magic" celebration will affect crowds. I don't think it will be as much of a factor as the Millennium and the 25th Anniversary Celebrations, but we don't know how much it will be hyped yet.

In a "normal" year, I would strongly recommend the April/May timeframe. In fact, in two days my family and I will be leaving for our own visit... that straddles the last few days in April and the first couple in May. Barring a major act of God, I expect that there will be a lot of sun and temperatures in the mid-80's. Also, the crowds are a bit less heavy than during the Spring/Easter break times.

-

Q.

Lois Asks:  Good Morning Brian, I will be in Orlando for a conference May 21 through the 26th. I will be staying at the WDW Hilton. Only partial mornings will be taken up with lectures so my day is mostly free. While I'm very familiar with the various Parks (stayed at the Dolphin prior to this trip), I am not sure of the ease of transportation from the Hilton to the Parks. I will also be spending a day at the Disney Institute Spa for a little pampering. Any tips for transportation? Rental car versus buses, monorails, etc?

A.

Lois,

The transportation to/from the Hilton is not AS good as the Disney transportation to/from the Disney-owned resort hotels. However, it's still pretty good... and better than offsite hotels (because of proximity, if nothing else).

The only concern I would have is your visit to the Institute. It's not far from the Hilton, but walking would take a bit of time. If you were driving, you'd have to go beyond the Downtown Disney Marketplace, up Buena Vista Boulevard to Community Drive, then into the resort entrance. When walking, you can cut off some of that round-about-walking. Another way would be to walk over to the Marketplace and grab a Disney bus to the institute.

Other than the spa trip, though, I personally wouldn't bother with a rental car.

-

Q.

Calvin Writes:  Brian, I was just reading your Q/A column, and read about Maria's concerns over the cleanliness/condition of the All-Stars. Well, let me tell you a little story about a trip my wife and I made back in 1999, to the All-Star Sports Resort.

About 1/2 way through our trip we were both sitting in our room when a "critter" went scuttling across the floor (it was a roach, although our the Disney cast called it a "palmetto bug", which to me is a pretty big cockroach). I was on the phone with the front desk in about 30 seconds and I swear, you would've thought I had just told them there was a bomb in my room!

Five minutes (if that) later, there was a CM at door, and what looked like a crew of national guardsmen behind him (maybe a Disney roach is cause for a Code Red call??). The CM asked us to pack our luggage up and follow him (leaving the "guardsmen behind...poor "critter"). They moved us to a totally different room (same building, same features like a king sized bed) and, when we walked in, on the bed there was a bunch of balloons, a framed/signed picture of Donald Duck, a signed letter apologizing for the mishap (granted, a form letter, but still), and a "Food Voucher" for $100, good at any Disney restaurant. Now, keep in mind, that from the time I made the phone call to the time we were in our new room was about 15, MAYBE 20 minutes.

The moral to the story? Unless Disney wants to hand out LOTS of costly "gifts", I somehow think our "incident" was the exception, not the rule!!

A.

Wow! Great story, Calvin! Thanks for sending it in.

I just hope it doesn't set off an epidemic of infestation reports at the WDW resorts.  :)

-

Q.

Crystal asks: Brian- quick question- we were thinking of staying "off site" in a private condo available for rent through expedia.com (online). It is only $700 for a week and would provide us with room (we have three kids) and a full kitchen. It is located in Kissimmee. I was wondering how much of a hassle travel around WDW gets. Will we have lots of traffic and difficulty with parking ?? Once parked at one park, can we get a shuttle to another or monorail ?? I know this will not really allow us to take your suggested breaks in the afternoon, but, it just seems like a great way to save $$ and still let us all have some room. I think the kids will not miss not seeing the characters for meals and around a hotel and all that. They can see them in the park. Also one of our children is diabetic so we will take it easy and slow and not push ourselves. We are there to enjoy and vacation, not rush around filling up all our time. Thanks in advance for your info. It just seems to me to make sense to stay at this place.

A.

Crystal,

You didn't mention what time of year you're planning to visit. That's an important issue just because, in the busiest times of the year the WDW service roads are quite busy (they are anyway, but worse then)... and the parking lots get full (which means you park much further from the park entrances. You'll have to decide if you can plan your trip to be at a less busy time, of course.

Besides that, you may want to read MousePlanet's page on the onsite vs. offsite issue. Only you can make the final decision... but note that I personally have stayed both on- and off-site, so I can understand your reasoning.

Regarding the "getting around" issue, you may want to read MousePlanet's page on WDW transportation.

You can use WDW transportation to move from park to park as long as you have "park hopper" admission media. If you buy single-day, single-park passes you are not given that privilege (but don't really need it, either).

As far as missing the characters in the hotels, you'll find that they are rarely found -- if at all -- in the hotels. You will see characters at some of the hotel restaurants, of course, but not roaming around the place.

You stated "I know this will not really allow us to take your suggested breaks in the afternoon," but I could hardly disagree with you more! Even when staying offsite, we've taken daily breaks. Especially with a diabetic child, you should reconsider that decision!

In any case, I can't disagree with your reasoning... just make sure your trip plans accommodate the offsite situation (and don't let the situation drive you to do things -- like skipping those breaks -- that you'll later regret).

-

Q.

Jill Writes:  I've been visiting your site ever since it was just the little ol' Disney Trip Planning Resource Net. I love how you and others have expanded the site, and of course I love reading the trip reports! :-) Keep up the good work!

I have a question for you--my husband and I are planning our belated honeymoon (finally!) to WDW and we would like to eat dinner each night at one of WDW's nicer sit-down restaurants. Could you please tell me what the average amount would be for dinner for 2 at one of the nicer sit-downs, including drinks, dessert, and tip? I'm talking about places like The Rose & Crown, 1900 Park Faire, etc. This would help me greatly in figuring out how much to budget for meals for the trip.

Thanks in advance--and keep those Mouse ears to the ground! ;-)

A.

Thanks for the kind note, Jill.

Regarding budgeting for meals... Barb and I have spent $60-100.00 or more on just the two of us, with the entree, soft drinks, and desert (and perhaps an appetizer).

If you take a look at all of my most recent WDW trip reports (beginning with our May 1998 trip), you'll find an appendix at the end that lists EVERY expenditure we've made on the trip. For example, here's a link to our trip from just this past April. (At the top of the page there's an index with links.  The last one takes you down to the appendix.)

Feel free to look up other expenses at other restaurants and other trips, too.

-

Q.

LouAnn Writes: First I would like to say that MousePlanet.com is the most informative Disney Planning site on the web. Keep up the great work.

My whole family will be visiting Disney World for ten days during Thanksgiving this year, and i wondering what do the crowds tend to be like at during this holiday? I have heard from other people that some years there are low crowds why other years the crowds are huge. If you could please would respond that would be great. Thanks :-)

A.

LouAnn,

You'll have two things against you at Thanksgiving time this year. First, as you mentioned, the holiday itself will cause crowd levels to be higher. Second, the "100 Years of Magic" celebration, which kicks off in October, will probably cause more traffic, too.

It's really hard to say... but if there's any way you can delay your trip a week or two, into early December, you're almost guaranteed of much smaller crowds at WDW.

-

Q.

Paul Writes:  Love your site...

Also- In October we (me, wife and 2 sons ages 7 and 5) are going for 4 nights to WDW. We considered staying at the Polynesian but the price seemed so much steeper than the Caribbean Beach (CB) that we are wavering...Is the bus service from CB enough of a hindrance that we should use some of the savings and rent a car to get around? Or on the other hand, is the ambience of the Polynesian and convenience being right next to the TTC and MK so good that it makes it worth the extra dough? What about the Wilderness Lodge as a compromise in price between the two?

A.

Paul,

First, I would never stay at a monorail resort just because of the monorail. In my opinion, the monorails aren't really that much more convenient (except to the one park you're closest to). You'll end up using buses and boats to other destinations anyway.

Second, your comments about the Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge, and Caribbean Beach Resorts are interesting. The bottom line, that you're starting to come around to yourself, is - what theme interests me the most for the money I'm willing to pay.

Personally, I don't think you can make a bad choice there.

However, I would warn you that the last several resort reviews that I've gotten on Caribbean Beach Resort have been negative ones.  You might want to read up on those to see if it concerns you!

-

Q.

Heidi Asks:  Hi, I was just wondering what happened to the 2-day tickets. Are they still there? Thank you for your time.

A.

Nope. Two day tickets are a thing of the past. Only one-day, one-park and multi-day passes are available today.

-

Q.

John Writes: Can you give me a recommendation regarding the following hotels.  I have 2 kids, ages 14 & 8. My choices have been narrowed to the Grand Floridian, the Polynesian, or the Wilderness Lodge. Which is best one for kids?

A.

John,

With kids of that age, the best answer is, "ask the kids." :) All three resorts are great, nicely themed, and deluxe in terms of accommodations and services. The major difference is the theming... so, whichever one that you're family would enjoy the most is probably the best resort for you.

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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