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Brian Bennett

WDW Trip Planning Guide Reader Feedback

by Brian Bennett

5/30/01

In a response about Winnie the Pooh character meals, in yesterday's "Notes From the World," I wrote:

There is no Pooh character dinner outside of the parks. The only Pooh character dinner is at the Crystal Palace at the Magic Kingdom.

However, there is a couple of Pooh character breakfasts... one at Olivia's Cafe at Old Key West Resort (Sunday, Monday, Wednesday only), and one at Artists Point at Wilderness Lodge.

The problem is that the character breakfast at Artists Point has been discontinued.  (I was under the mistaken impression that the character meal would remain available through the end of May, but apparently it has already been halted.)

As a result, there only Pooh character meal outside of the Magic Kingdom is the breakfast held at Olivia's Cafe at Old Key West Resort on Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday only.

Sorry for the misinformation! (and you can still check out MousePlanet's WDW Restaurant Resource page on Character Meals for more details because that page has been updated.)

Q.

Robert Writes:  In today's email questions (May 23rd), there was an inquiry regarding a personalized card from Mickey. we attended a character lunch three summers ago, mainly to celebrate my younger brother's birthday. After reconfirming our birthday request with the CM acting as matre'd, our table was serenaded with birthday wishes, a small cake, and a personalized birthday card "autographed" by the characters at the lunch. this card was my brother's prized possession (which he still has). again, the card was part of the pre-planned birthday festivities, and repeated reconfirmation with WDW personnel every time the lunch reservations were mentioned in the two months previous to our visit probably didn't hurt. like you've said before -- speak up with those requests! you'll be surprised at the results.

A.

Robert,

Thanks so much for your great story! I'll add it to an upcoming email piece!

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Q.

Heather Writes: I read the question from the gentleman wanting to know how to get a personal greeting card for his two daughters. I got one by accident and thought I could tell him how I did it.

When my brother and I were going to WDW for the first time after we'd both graduated from college (one month apart!), I wrote to Disney to tell them about our trip and let them know how excited we were! Well, a few weeks later, we each got a personalized card in the mail!

I sent my letter to the regular Buena Vista address, but I'm sure any Disney corporate address will do.

A.

Heather,

Thanks for the note! I'll add your experience to an upcoming email piece.

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Q.

Kemberly writes: I will be visiting WDW in September this year and will be staying at Port Orleans Riverside. I would like to tour the other resorts. What I want to know is it OK to go pool hopping at all of the WDW resorts? Or do you have to be staying at that particular resort to use the pool?

A.

The correct answer, Kemberly, is that only guests staying at a specific WDW resort are given the privilege of using that resort's pools. Some people try to cheat, and when they're caught they are actually asked to leave the pool. It can make for an embarrassing moment.

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Q.

Following up, Kemberly writes: Thank you for your answer. I was kind of curious because nowhere did it say you can and nowhere did it say you could not. That needs to be a little better clarified.

A.

Actually, MousePlanet's WDW Resorts from A to Z page has the information. In the "pools" section, in red letters, it states:

"Note: WDW guests are entitled to use the pool at their own resort only. "Pool Hopping" (i.e. swimming at a pool located at a resort other than your own) is frowned upon. In fact, often cast members will check resort IDs and evict interlopers when they are discovered."

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Q.

Gail Writes: I would like the schedule for the park for the month of September, 2001.

A.

Gail,

WDW only releases it's actual park schedule about 30-60 days in advance.

I'd suggest that you go to MousePlanet's WDW Park Hours Schedule page, and check periodically as you get closer to September. We'll have those schedules posted as soon as they're made available from Disney.

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Q.

Paula Asks: My family of 6 will be staying off-site during the first week of June. On one of the days that we will be visiting the Magic Kingdom, we have priority seating at Chef Mickey's. Our plan is to visit MK in the morning, take a break at the hotel for a few hours in the afternoon, go to Chef Mickey's, and then return to MK. My question is this: After we are finished with our supper at Chef Mickey's, can we leave our car parked at the Contemporary and walk to MK? Or will we have to drive back to the TTC, and then proceed to the MK?

A.

The correct answer is that you would have to leave the Contemporary parking lot and re-park in the main park parking lot. If you were staying on-site, I would worry about it much less (simply because on-site guests have parking passes), but it's possible -- although unlikely -- that Disney might tow you if they do a lot inspection.

Now for the reality... I don't know of anyone that's every been towed from a Disney lot...

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Q.

Donna Writes: Brian, Thank you for your time and your site. My family will arrive Thursday night in WDW. We are staying the first night at the Best Western Lake Buena Vista. We are dining at the Rain Forest/ Downtown Disney that night and wondered is there a place to view the fireworks at MK from Downtown Disney? Also, I read somewhere that you could take a ferry/boat ride from the west side of Downtown Disney. If so, do you know the details of such. Cost, where does it go, how long does it last, can you see the fireworks etc.

Lastly, I have seen varying info in regards to times and events. Who's schedule information would you rely on. I would think Disney's schedule on their web site would be the most accurate. What do you think?

Sorry, one more thing. In room childcare, we are staying at the Contemporary. We would like to have a parents evening out. My children are almost 3 and 6. I was leaning toward KinderCare for a in room sitter. Any advice or info would be appreciated. I really have used and abused your site. Thanks a lot. Donna 5 days until blast off.

A.

Donna,

I'll just answer your questions as best I can one at a time...

Downtown Disney is too far from the MK to see the fireworks from there. You might catch some of the IllumiNations (Epcot) ones, but you certainly won't get a good view.

The boat that runs from the West side dock is a shuttle to the Marketplace side of Downtown Disney and back. The boats that run to the Port Orleans and Old Key West resorts all run from the Marketplace side of the complex.

The fireworks cruises that you're probably thinking about run from the Yacht Club Resort (to view IllumiNations). They are pretty pricey, but you get an excellent view! Kenny Cottrell's article on MousePlanet give a lot of information that you'll find helpful. 

As far as park schedules, I'd suggest you use MousePlanet's own WDW Park Hours page.

Kindercare is a highly regarded company for in-room care. I've never used in-room care, though, so I can't really comment on their services.

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Q.

Diane Asks:  Brian, enjoy your site - it's very helpful. would like to get your opinion on which is the best resort to stay at. here's my info: 5 people - 2 adults & 3 kids - 10/8/5. coming week of 2/18/02. Don't want to spend a lot on the room, but want to be comfortable. Would like a kids eat free program. The shuttle to WDW & other resorts (if possible ) is very important because we are flying - would like a very flexible shuttle schedule with a lot of times to & from resorts. an indoor pool would be nice for 2/02 (but not necessary). this is our first trip to WDW & don't know when we will get here again so I want it to be memorable and enjoyable for us all. Thanks for your help.

A.

Diane,

There are literally hundreds of resorts and hotels at Walt Disney World and in the surrounding area.

What I would suggest that you do, is read through the information in MousePlanet's WDW Trip Planning Guide on Accommodations.  That page provides a list of articles that cover the issue of accommodations. Certainly, deciding whether or not to stay onsite (on WDW property) or offsite is the first decision to be made. After that, the various resorts need to be considered with your own needs in mind.

Keep in mind that none of the WDW resorts, unless you pay for concierge service, has any kind of "kids eat free" program. WDW doesn't give out anything for free! Indoor pools are very rare in central Florida, since the weather is so warm year-round. Finally, the issue of the shuttle service is a critical one. Make sure, once you've narrowed down your choices, that you contact the resort(s) you're considering and find out exactly how their shuttles operate. Of course, if you stay on-site, you're assured of excellent shuttle service, but the off-site resorts vary considerably on what they actually offer in transportation services.

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Q.

Margie Asks: Is it possible to drive up to the front entrance of MK and drop people off, i.e. teenagers and come back and pick them up later? I saw a bus drop-off/pickup area on the map.  Can cars use that too? I'm assuming we already have our tickets.

Another question... We're staying off site and would like to visit the Polynesian Resort before we have our tickets.  I'm assuming we could drive there and look around, but we wouldn't be abe to use the monorail or other Disney transportation. The answer might be somewhere on the website but I might have missed it.

Hope I'm not wasting your time. I think your website is one of the most complete and well organized I've visited. However in doing my web searches your site didn't come up near the top of any lists and I stumbled onto your site somehow. However I am a novice browser and may not be refining my search well enough.

Thanks for your help.

A.

Margie,

It is NOT possible to drive up to the Magic Kingdom and safely drop people off. The closest you can come, is to drop people off at the Ticket and Transportation Center, and have them ride the monorail or take a ferry over to the park.

You can certainly visit the Polynesian Resort without having park admission. I would suggest that you make priority seating at one of the Polynesian's restaurants for that evening, though, so you can tell the security guard that you're dining at the resort (of course, you should follow-through, too, and enjoy a great meal at 'Ohana or Kona Cafe!)

As far as MousePlanet not being listed on many search engines, you're right. We're working on that, though. MousePlanet, unfortunately, is a relatively new URL -- but our content has been on the web (on different servers) for many, many years. We're actually veterans, even though MousePlanet -- as a conglomerated site -- is less than a year old! :)

Q.

Tracey Writes: This is a great site! I just found it and finished reading about your most recent trip. My mother and I are leaving in the morning for WDW and staying at the Polynesian. I have been many times before and disagree with you about Alfredo's. I love the food but will try it again this time to see if its changed. I haven't been in three years. Thanks for your tips and will keep this site in my favorites.

A.

Thanks for the note, Tracey. I'm glad you've enjoyed MousePlanet.  Have a great trip! And let me know how Alfredo's is for you. I didn't hate it, but for the price we paid, an Olive Garden is just as good I think.

Q.

And following up, Tracey Writes: Hi, thanks for replying. We just got back and am very tired but a quick note... your right Alfredo's has gone down hill a little bit. It was just OK. We also ate at San Angel and I was VERY disappointed. Even though we had reservations we waited 40 min for very poor food and the service was not much better. Because your recent trip and suggestion of Rose & Crown, we ate dinner in England one night. It was great! Very good. I had the herb crusted salmon with garlic mashed potatoes, gravy and veggies with a nice salad. Really good wine to. Well, I am very tired now but maybe I can record my whole trip on your site. I would like to give you an different perspective. A trip to WDW with just adults. We had no kids with us this time. It was just me and my mom. Gotta a lot of laundry so bye.

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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