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Brian Bennett

WDW Trip Planning Guide Reader Feedback

by Brian Bennett


I'm going to start off with something different with this "Notes from the World" piece. My own upcoming trip is in September. I'm going to list a bunch of my own questions here. Perhaps you can provide me with some answers.

So, here goes:

We're going to the Hoop Dee Doo for the first time ever this trip. Can we actually drive onto the campground complex and park right next to Pioneer Hall (as a cast member insisted I can do), or do we have to park in the parking lot at the campground entrance and take a bus up to the Settlement as I suspect?

What is everyone's opinion on Big River Grill & Brewing Works? Bongo's Cuban Cafe? Chakranadi Chicken Shop? Citricos? Flying Fish Cafe? Hollywood & Vine? Jiko? Maya Grill? Narcoossee's? Spoodles? Tempura Kiko? (Note: If you wish, you can submit a review of any of those (or any other WDW restaurants) at Walt Disney World Restaurant Review Submission Form. Just put a note in the comments section that your review was in response to my question in "Notes from the World.")

What do you all think about spending some time during a trip at Wide World of Sports? Downtown Disney West Side? Pleasure Island? 

What out of the way things are there to do at WDW that I don't know about? 

What special things do you enjoy doing during your trip that you think would enhance anyone's visit? 

What is your favorite WDW snack? 

I'll put together the responses I get and post them in an upcoming "Notes from the World. "

And now, on with everyone else's questions. . . 


Chris Writes: My wife and I live about 3 miles from Disney and are annual pass holders.

Which restaurant menus are you most in need of? I can see what we can do. It might be easiest if you list (which ever is shorter) which ones you and or which ones you need.

BTW: You probably should make note on the Coral Reef that the Chocolate Wave and the Lobster "Soup" are the best dishes. Also of particular note, the recipes for both are available on request.

Hope to hear from you soon.



I would LOVE to have your help! I really only have a few menus on the site at the present time. Due to some unfortunate circumstances, a bunch that I had collected are no longer available to me. 

In any case, I have menus for Alfredo's, Bistro de Paris, Marrakesh, the Plaza Restaurant, Boardwalk Bakery, and Kona Cafe already on the site. I need everything else. :)

A cast member did send me a bunch of those "mini menus," so I'll be adding that information to the site over the next few months, but those "mini menus" don't have full information and they don't have prices.

(Note: Chris and I have had some follow-up emails on the menu issue. Hopefully we'll be getting some new ones up on the site in the upcoming weeks! If you're willing to pitch in too, click here for more information. )



Marc writes: Hi Brian, I was looking forward to my stay at the new open Pop Century Resort in the second week of January 2002. Unfortunately, I was informed by my travel agent, that Disney postponed the opening until March 2002. Do you know, what could be cause for the delay? If I remember correctly, Disney first announced an opening date of March, but then said they would open early, because work went along so quickly? Did they experience some unexpected problem? Just thought, maybe you (or one of my fellow readers) heard something about it. 

Disney then offered me quite a good deal (I think) at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, standard view for $118 (incl. tax). However, I decided for a standard room at All-Star Movies. I would have loved to stay at the AK Lodge, but it still would have been too expensive for me for a 7 nights stay. 



The officially stated reason for the Pop Century opening delay is that the resort wouldn't be sufficiently complete to give guests a good experience at the new resort. Unofficially, word is out that the various WDW resorts are so slow right now that the extra capacity isn't really needed.

In any case, it sounds like you're going to have a great trip! If you can, get over to AKL just to check it out. It's quite a spectacular resort.



Paul asks:  Brian - If I am staying on property and I drive my car to a park, but then late one night decide I would rather not drive my car back to the resort and instead take Disney transportation, what will happen to my car on the park lot? Can I go back and get it the next day or do all park lots have to be vacated at the end of the day?


I'm sure the vehicle would be quite safe, Paul. The biggest concern I would have, though, is that you will may need to take a tram to the park entrance. If you go to retrieve your car the next day, and trams are not running to that part of the lot, you may have a problem.

Before you leave the car, I'd suggest you talk to someone at Disney Transportation (each park has a guest relations and/or a transportation office outside the park to ask) and see what they say.



Greg Writes: Hi Brian, Thought you might like this tidbit of info on getting to Universal. I stayed at Port Orleans in February of 2000. We asked the front desk about getting to Universal (specifically if they had a bus or shuttle). There is some company that has large buses (think Greyhound sight-seeing style) that would transport you from the hotels to Universal's bus terminal. I believe it was $10 roundtrip per/person. They left the hotels at two different times and would pick up at various times throughout the afternoon. They requested that you let them know which pickup time you wanted in advance. We called about an hour before from the parks. This is probably much cheaper than a taxi or airport limo.


Thanks for the information, Greg!

To follow-up, I called Port Orleans.  When I asked for guest relations, I was transferred to a recorded message menu.  Option 6 on the menu, for transportation outside of WDW, played a recorded message that referred me to Mears Transportation Company at (407) 423-5566, Yellow Cab at (407) 699-9999, and National Car Rental at (407) 824-3470.

The large buses were probably Mears buses.  Mears runs large tour buses (painted mostly yellow) for their attraction shuttle service.



Karen asks: Hi, My trip to Walt Disney isn't until 20th November 2001. I've found your web site to be excellent for loads of information. 

There is just one question I'd like to ask that you may or may not have the answer too. I have booked to stay at the All Star Movies resort and this has been booked with Virgin is it possible to actually fax or telephone requests for a certain area & room at the resort? I have taken the telephone and fax number from your web page but I just wondered if people are able to request especially is they have booked with a Tour Operator.

Thank you for your time.



You can certainly contact the resort yourself. However, I don't know how long before your arrival that the resort will actually know your name. By that, I mean, Virgin probably has a large number of rooms blocked out. Some time before your arrival, I'm sure they provide the resort with specific information about your arrival, departure, etc. 

I'd suggest: 1. Contact Virgin and ask them if you can contact the resort through them. 2. Ask when your information will be given to Disney so you can confirm with the resort.



Shawn Writes: I have information from your old web site about phases a old key west I thought your old map showed where these phases are located we wanted to get into a new phase but we are not looking at any one area is there any way of finding out what phase each building falls under we have used your website many times and find it to be very informative.


As you stated, Shawn, Old Key West was built in three phases.  When the resort was brand new, your concerns about the three phases were very valid. The newer construction had some minor differences (more lock-offs with one-bedroom and studio rooms combined, and fewer stand-alone one-bedroom and studio rooms). Even more important, the newer rooms had the newer carpeting and furniture.

Now that the resort is nine years old, though, there really isn't a significant difference in the various buildings in terms of newness -- furniture, carpet, etc. 

I'd suggest you make your room requests based more on geography (i.e. what area of the resort best suits your needs).  A balance between close proximity to the Turtle Krawl area versus being in the quieter areas of the resort (either option may appeal to you more) is the biggest issue to consider. 



Then in a follow-up, Shawn asks: Thank you for your response so quickly. We are DVC members and have stayed in several locations, but our main concern is that we are taking our family along with us next year. We are hoping to find a two bedroom with two separate openings and also two separate patios. Also, the wet bar in the studio attachment in case one family wakes up and does not want to disturb the people in the living area. We  know, too, that there are some with the entrance to the bathroom through the laundry room. 



The features you want are mutually exclusive. 

The lock off two-bedroom has a one-bedroom unit with an adjoining studio. The lock offs have:
  • two separate outside doors
  • a wet bar / refrigerator in the studio unit (so it can be used separately)
  • two separate patios or porches
  • NO entry into the master bath through the laundry

The standard two-bedroom units have:

  • only one outside entrance (ok, except for the patio door)
  • NO wet bar/ refrigerator in the second bedroom (which corresponds to the studio above)
  • entry into the master bath through the laundry

I don't recall if the standard two-bedroom unit has a patio/porch for the second bedroom or not.

You'll have to decide which of the two options works best for you since you can't have the exact combination you want. :)



Damien writes: I was just reading Disneyland Resort - What's Your Priority? on MousePlanet.

What a great article! I am planning a trip to WDW in September and was wondering if there is anything like the family picnic items at any of the parks for the nighttime shows? I know of the Fantasmic! dinner package but with six kids, was looking for something a little less expensive.

Is it possible that DL has outdone WDW on this item?



Disneyland really is MUCH better at providing lesser-known, out-of-the way things that can be scheduled and done as part of a vacation. The only thing that is similar to the Fantasmic! offerings at Disneyland is the Fantasmic! Dining Experience at the Studios. You can read about it on MousePlanet's WDW Restaurant Resource.

The Fantasmic! Dining Experience, though, is really nothing more than dinner at a restaurant with reserved seating provided for the evening's Fantasmic! performance. It's nothing particularly special, unlike the Fantasmic! Dessert Buffet, at the Disney Gallery at Disneyland, for example. 



Then in a follow-up, Damien writes: Thanks, Brian. That's what I was afraid of. The thing that bothers me about the Dining Experience is that I understand that they seat you to the far right. Guess you are the first one out of the show but if center stage is suppose to be the best seat, you'd think that they would save those seats for the people that paid the most.

Probably easier to control one side section, then the center section.

By the way, I love the site and since I have reservations at the Contemporary (Tower Room!), I read through the reviews and e-mailed a couple posters with questions. Every one e-mailed me back and gave me the answers that I was looking for.

Keep up the good work.



I'm so glad that the MousePlanet community has been so helpful! There really are a bunch of great folks out there that just love to talk, think, smell, sleep, Disney. :)

Also, I agree on the Fantasmic! Dining seating. You're absolutely right on all particulars.

One additional comment, though.  The Fantasmic! Dining Experience does NOT cost anything other than the price of the meal.  There is no additional fee, as there is for the Fantasmic! Desert Buffet at the Disney Gallery in Disneyland.  That being the case, I guess you really do get what you pay for.  ;)



Kelli Writes: Hi Brian, We have been considering DVC purchase for about the last year. We currently visit Disney twice (3 if we can eek out the time) a year, Spring Break and October. I really appreciated your information especially the reselling and financial calculations. I have a couple of questions I hope you can help me with:
  1. Committing for 40 years is a long time - can you commit for less or is your best option to buy in knowing you can consider resale at some point?
  2. How easy or hard is it to get the week you want? Example we are going spring break next year - how far in advance can we book and how difficult will it be to get a place? 

Thanks for taking the time to answer my very basic questions. I appreciate it. 



You can not commit for less than the full length of the lease. However, you do (as you pointed out) always have the option of re-selling your DVC points. 

Members can book rooms at their home resort (i.e. the resort where they own their points) up to eleven months in advance. They can book rooms at other DVC resorts up to seven months in advance.

I have never had a problem getting reservations for when I've wanted to stay at the resort myself. (I wasn't able to book for a friend of mine one time, but that was with short notice and at a busier time of the year.) As long as you book as soon as you can, you shouldn't have problems.

(Note: Readers that want to know more about the Disney Vacation Club can check out MousePlanet's DVC Trip Planning Guide. ) 



June asks: Hi, I'm looking for info on getting Cirque tickets for the week we are reserved at Port Orleans, July 28-August 3. Can we order them ahead? 



You can call Cirque du Soleil at (407) 939-7600 to get pricing information and to purchase tickets. 

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

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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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