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Brian Bennett

WDW Trip Planning Guide Reader Feedback

by Brian Bennett



Eva Wrote: Hi Brian. I sent you a TR earlier this week and I want to make sure you got it - I didn't receive a response from you and last time you responded very quickly. Perhaps you are ill or are on vacation? I hope it is the latter - vacations are much more fun.

If you did not receive the e-mail, please let me know and I will send it again.

Also, while reading Reader's Mail earlier this week I noticed an inaccuracy. A reader had inquired about Hall of Presidents and you stated that it was closed. While I was there in early June it was actually open - though only from 11-5. We inquired from several CM's about it's closure and it isn't expected to close to install George Dubyah until late summer/early fall.

The closure, we were told, wouldn't last too long, and they expected to have it opened before October 1 and the start of the Walt Birthday Celebration. This is a family favorite so we were glad to see it opened, even though it is for limited hours.



Thanks for your follow-up. I did, indeed, get the trip report in fine order. I have no idea why I failed to acknowledge that I got it. Sorry!

On the Hall, you're also correct. I've gotten several messages telling me the very same thing yours did... that the Hall would be open until the Fall and that it would reopen, with current president George W. Bush in place, by October.


On April 16th, on a Notes From the World piece, I quoted Lori, who wrote regarding WDW's water parks:  I would love to start something like this here in Maine.  We have water parks, but you have to travel so far to them and I was wondering how and if it would be possible to get a deal with Disney to maybe put one up here? We don't really have a lot of places to swim and it would bring in lots of jobs and money to the state... Please let me know if it would maybe be possible to go into business with Blizzard Beach and to maybe get one setup here in Maine, or maybe a smaller replica. I have the perfect spot... summer's coming and boy would people here in Maine go crazy over a safe place to take their kids .


Quite tongue in cheek, I wrote back:


I've never tried to get a deal with Disney to build a water park, so I wouldn't have the slightest idea about how to go about it. Perhaps you could contact the Walt Disney Company and ask?

I'm sure, in any case, that funding would be a major issue. You'd probably have to have a large amount of capital lined up to finance the new park. Also, I'm not sure how long the payback would be, since a park in Maine would not be able to run throughout the entire year.

A better idea might be to take the Pontiac Silverdome, here in Michigan, and convert it to a water park after the Detroit Lions move out. "Waterdome" could, indeed, run around the whole calendar. Financing wouldn't be a problem, since the State of Michigan has been financing the Silverdome for years. Besides, the State of Michigan has a great track record of fine investment strategy. I'm sure "Waterdome" would be a natural for the Great Lake State!

If you find out who, in the Walt Disney Company, to contact about your park idea for Maine, please let me know who it is so I can contact her/him about my "Waterdome" project.

Let the best state win! ;)

Well, just a few days ago, I got a message from John, apparently from the UK, who wrote:

Subject: Waterslide Park

We have at our disposal six plus water shutes or slides with all pumps and filters necessary to operate this system. We are looking for a quick clearout, hence the price total 195000 buyer to dismantle. You need not request to be taken off this list, it will be done automatically. You only need to answer if you are interested. This list was taken from connections to water slide and fun park links. 

regards John

So Lori, if you're still looking for a water park in Maine here's an opportunity!  (I've given up on the "Waterdome" project because I found out that I'd have to buy the Lions, too, and who wants to own a bad football team?  Besides, I'm finding MousePlanet to be a much more exciting and lucrative project anyway.)



I got this message from a WDW CM: Hey, I am a cast member at WDW for almost 13 years, and I must say that this is a fabulous site.

I have some news/tips you may or may not have heard.  We just got occupancy statistics for Coronado Springs Resort for the last week of July.  The resort is only at 39% (it has been sold out all summer the past 2 years).  Just when you think we are at our busiest, we aren't. They are begging us to take time off. So, if anyone wants to take a vacation here but thinks summer is the busiest time, not this summer.  Come on down, but only if you can handle the obnoxious heat and humidity.


So there you have it, right from the CM's mouth.  You might get a really good deal at CSR or one of the other moderates if you call soon!



Ray writes: I just read your notes from around the world.  You recommended to somebody that they attend the Pooh character breakfast at Artist's Pointe.  I recently read that breakfast has been discontinued and they are now only serving dinner at that restaurant. Keep up the GREAT work!


Thanks for the note, Ray. I have that update done, it's just not loaded to the server yet (as of my response, it's on the site now.) Actually, the breakfast went away effective June 1st.



Patty Writes: Wow, that was fast! I wasn't even going to check MousePlanet this morning because I figured you had taken the holiday off and there wouldn't be anything new and if there was anything new, it wouldn't be my trip report this soon. I am shocked and amazed. I've e-mailed my friends and family to let them know they can read it. Maybe we'll get some new converts to MousePlanet and all things Disney!

I forgot who sent it in, but I really like the plan someone posted about the Orientation Tour. That is a great idea for our first day there in December because we really wanted to be able to see some of the resorts in their holiday finery and this is a great way to do it.

Also, I've read of so many folks' disappointment that they didn't make call in time to get PS's at Cinderella's Castle. I don't know about breakfast, but at dinnertime, depending on the time of year, you can walk in and be seated without a really long wait. As I found out so many times on our trip, you never know when that Pixie Dust is going to be thrown in your direction!

Thanks again, Brian.



When you berated me for not having your report online, I fast-tracked it to the top of the heap. :)  (Note:  Patty had written a pre-trip report, and I was several days behind on updates, a regular thing of late, when she wrote this.)

Thanks for your other comments, I'll put them in the queue for "Notes from the World."



Mars writes: In March of 2002, my mother is planning on taking my brother and I to Disney. We tried this phone # from the1-407-W-DISNEY and it didn't work for the free video. I will get her to try again.



Check out the WDW Trip Planning Guide's page on the free trip planning video.  The phone number to call is (407) 934-7639.  Also, the page tells you that the system is an automatic one, one option of which is to order the video. Just to be sure, I checked again after getting your email and the system still allows you to order the video.



Bob Writes:  Just to follow up on the question regarding pool hopping. Pool hopping is allowed if you are a DVC (Disney Vacation Club) member. Members must call before going to another resort to make sure that the pool has not been closed due to over-crowding. DVC members can also be asked to leave should the pool area become full.


Thanks for the note, Bob. Your comment is right on target, but for folks that aren't DVC members, I find it best not to "rub it in." :)



Jeff Stated: In response to the pool hopping issue at WDW, we just returned from WDW staying the 2nd week of May at the Beach Club. When I called initially in making reservations I specifically asked about this. The gal on the line said, yes we could use other resort pools. When I got there, and checked in, I mentioned this to the gal checking us, and told her of my conversation with the operator. She agreed also, saying we could use other resort pools, with ID of staying at a resort. Maybe the policy has changed recently without time to incorporate it into any type of brochure? Maybe you could check officially, but as far as I know Its ok.


So, I did check.  I asked Sue Holland, a columnist who writes the excellent "Everything but the Parks" column here at MousePlanet because, at the time, she was at WDW.  Sue's response was:


This makes zero sense to me...I can't believe the CM would have said that and meant pool hopping to other resorts (besides the Yacht Club since the person was staying at the Beach Club) was ok.

I'm not at WDW any longer, and won't be back until mid-July. I know when I entered Stormalong Bay they checked my id, and only because it said DVC member was I allowed in. The paperwork at check-in at other resorts still says their pools are for the exclusive use of THEIR guests.

I really believe (but can't prove) that the CM was just plain wrong - something that seems to happen far too often these days :( and some guest could get pretty upset when they pack up and go to some other pool only to be denied admittance!

Does anyone have more information on this?



Kyle wrote:  Brian: Love your site! You have been a major lifesaver for a family (wife, 7 and 4 year old and myself) planning their first trip to WDW (at the AKL) for the first week of December. I have 2 questions for you.

One, what is the best method to plan for what days to hit the individual parks? We are staying for 5 days and will be arriving at WDW early on the first day. I know that we will be there during the shorter park hours for the MK but am a bit overwhelmed at trying to plan the schedules for each day. Two (and related to number one), how can you even begin to plan where and when you want to eat on each day 120, 60 or even 30 days out? Is PS as much as an issue during the more low attendance times at WDW?

Would appreciate any advice and thanks again for your site!!!



The answer to your first question is answered on the pages that are listed on the WDW Primer page of MousePlanet.  The Developing a Daily Game Plan page lists all of the things you'll have to consider when making those plans.  On the Planning Your Trip page, you'll find information on prioritizing restaurants and reservation-only activities.

The very tone of your questions tell me you're on the right track. For visits to WDW during the less-busy times of the year, you really don't need to plan your trip like you're launching an Apollo mission. Just rough out what you think you'd like to accomplish, then go and enjoy your trip. If you don't get to everything on your list before the end of the trip, WDW will always be there ready for you to return.

The Avoid the Disney Commando Mentality page says a lot about this issue.



Ian Writes: I don't know if we are just being irredeemably mean or this topic is unmentionable, but the issue nobody seems to address is how one gets over the family accommodation issue in a Disney hotel.

We want to stay on-site, use a moderately priced hotel, but we are a family of four - with a daughter of 13 and a son of 11. All the hotels have two double beds in the rooms. What do people do? Two rooms seems really expensive and would still leave problems. There must be some obvious answer that I can't see that doesn't include a husband and wife splitting up for a fortnight. Why doesn't Disney put more double/bunk bed combinations into the rooms - the rooms size would be suitable.

Any thoughts welcome.


Well, Ian, that's a good question.

Animal Kingdom Lodge, Wilderness Lodge and Port Orleans Resort Riverside all have rooms that would give you more flexibility on the sleeping arrangements.

Unfortunately, the traditional US hotel room has always had two double (or queen) beds. However, the newest Disney resorts are doing as you suggest.



Lynne Writes:

I have some additional hints for the father who wrote in about the daughter with milk allergies.

Full-service restaurants are not the only option. Most counter service restaurants can handle special requests. An on-the-spot request that just alters something slightly is usually ok (a hamburger patty with no bun, a salad with no dressing, etc.). You can sometimes talk to the management of counter-service restaurants and make special requests in advance.

I find it is best to talk to the chef on the day before the meal. That way you are fresh in his/her mind. It is helpful to bring a list of ingredients that have to be avoided, and let the chef keep the list. It is easy for a chef to remember "no milk, cheese or butter," but might not think to look for caseinate or other hidden products. Disney chefs will sometimes agree to buy special ingredients for you, but be sure to give them time.

People with special dietary needs are allowed to bring food into the parks. If a cast member complains, just show them a copy of that list of forbidden ingredients.

Also, I don't know how MousePlanet feels about promoting other websites, but the Vegetarian World Guide website has tips for finding vegan food in WDW. I also HIGHLY recommend their book.

I hope this is of some help.



Thanks for your note. I'll add your comments to a future piece. Regarding the plugging of other sites, we'll do it when it's not direct competition. :)

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

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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