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Brian Bennett

WDW Trip Planning Guide Reader Feedback

by Brian Bennett

8/6/01

A couple of weeks ago, I posted some questions here regarding my own upcoming trip (in September).  To refresh your memory, here were the questions:
  • 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? 

And here's a couple of responses that I received...

Q.

Larry Writes:  Based on numerous trips to WDW with different age groups, single, married, without and with kids, maybe I can answer a few of your questions:

Hoop Dee Doo: I have stayed at the campgrounds a couple of times as well as staying elsewhere. You can NOT, unless they just started allowing it this year, as we are not going until our traditional week before Thanksgiving trip, so it could be new, but, I seriously doubt it. Campers at Fort Wilderness Campground can not even park next to pioneer hall. It is completely blocked off.

The Restaurants: Big River...So So, Citricos...a bit above average, Flying Fish...On par with Fulton's for seafood. Great, yet a bit noisy,. Nice selection. Well presented, Hollywood & Vine...Has its moments. Can be hit or miss, but is a good value when the kitchen is on a roll, Spoodles...Great selection of appetizer type food. Great atmosphere. A bit pricey on some things, Narcoossee's...What my wife and I , In addition to my kids and brother think is the best restaurant at WDW hands down (And we have eaten at Victoria & Albert's). We seem to get the same couple of waiters every year we go( which is quite often, one to two times a year). The selections change, but are very well done. I have not gotten better service or food quality anywhere in WDW ( Even at what we consider the over-rated California Grill). Ignore the prices, Donít even look, Just eat and enjoy.

Downtown Disney West side & Pleasure Island : Nice way to spend an evening if you have the time- The Jello shooters at Pleasure Island are great, albeit a bit pricey. It is nice to walk through the different clubs and have a few Drinks. The West Side is ok, but, if you are not going to Cirque De Soleil or Disney Quest, there is not much to do other than walk.

Best Snack: Tie...Candied Almonds, Dole Whip, & Those great little chocolate mint cookies you can buy at several park stores in little buckets.

Go Horseback riding. It is a ton of fun and very relaxing. Riding up front in the monorail...talk to the driver, they are usually very friendly and full of info...Always make it a point to go to the France Pavilion at World Showcase and have a pic taken with the living statues...Hopefully you will end up in part of their act as we haveÖA lot just depends on your personal taste, but WDW has a lot of cool things you can do, as most of them are listed on your site.

BTW...Good job on the site. I send many people here to get info on dates etc. I have personally done several itineraries for friends and relatives, based on my own experiences, as well as info I have gotten here.

A.

Thanks for the great reply, Larry! it's a great help to get such great feedback!  Unfortunately, I've done a lot of what you've suggested... but the restaurant comments have me hungry now.  :)

-

Q.

Connie Chimes In: Hi Brian, I've really enjoyed reading your site. It is full of great info And helpful tips. In your recent "Notes from the World", you asked for opinions on the best WDW snack. Hands down it is the Dole Whip from Aloha Isle, Adventureland, MK. It is cool & refreshing and has been our family favorite for 20 years. The Dole Whip is must for every trip to MK, sometimes even twice!

Keep up the great work!

A.

Thanks for the note, Connie. Yours wasn't the only vote for the Dole Whip, but I still think I prefer the strawberry swirl soft serve at Enchanted Grove. :)

-

Q.

Kathy Writes: Hi,Brian, I'm not sure if I sent this or not. We are planning a visit over Thanksgiving. What will it be like weather wise and attendance? Any suggestions for Thanksgiving dinner.

A.

Kathy,

Attendance will be HIGH and weather will be either nice or not-so-nice. :)  Whenever school is out (like over Thanksgiving), crowds are higher. That's a given. The weather issue is open-ended partly because, at that time of year, you'll either get beautiful weather -- or a cold-front will move in that can bring cool weather and rain. There's really no way to tell.

As far as Thanksgiving dinner goes, I'd suggest you check out MousePlanet's WDW Restaurant Resource, select a restaurant, and make priority seating ASAP! Thanksgiving dinner is a prime restaurant meal at the resorts especially.

You can call WDW-DINE and ask which restaurants offer a traditional turkey dinner, if you'd like.

-

Q.

Jeremy Asks:  Just went to WDW and had an awesome time, but the hotel treated us like we were nothing, and they knew we were on our honeymoon. Plus, the bed coverings had stains, that looked like blood and cigarette burns. We had asked for a non smoking room, but got a smoking room instead and when we told that my wife was allergic to cigarette smoke, they talked us into staying in the room, because it would take at least an hour to change. So we would like to write a complaint about the hotel, but you don't have any information on who to write to. Any information would be helpful.

A.

Jeremy,

If you go to the accommodations page of MousePlanet's WDW Trip Planning Guide, you can find a list of all of the resorts at WDW. Go to that page (the one for your resort) and you'll find an address. Write to Guest Relations at that address and your mail will be received.

-

Q.

Beth Writes: I have a question I have not seen addressed anywhere. If I purchase a child's ticket for my 8 year old son and do not use all of the days on it, it is my understanding that the remaining days never expire. However, are the remaining days still valid once he reaches 10 years old, or otherwise considered an adult? 

Any insight would be appreciated!

A.

Beth,

I don't know what the exact answer is. There are two possibilities. First, your son may be allowed entry on the ticket without question (frankly, I suspect that that would be the case). Second, in the worst case, you may be required to buy an upgrade... but the unused days on the existing pass would be applied to the new pass.

If you don't want to risk even a hint of impropriety, I'd suggest you stop in at guest relations before you enter the park and ask the question.

-

Q.

Diane Writes: Could you tell me how long tapestry of nations is and how long before parade starts should you get a viewing spot?

A.

Diane,

Tapestry runs a little bit shorter now than it did during the Millennium Celebration, but it still goes a good twenty to twenty-five minutes or so.

Now, with the crowds down, the parade only runs between Mexico and Japan in World Showcase. You can almost certainly find a spot just a few minutes before the parade. My family and I waited ten or fifteen minutes last Fall to catch the parade, and that was certainly enough time.

-

Q.

John Asks: I have been a member of the Disney Club for some time now, but lost my statement for renewal or never received it. I received a letter saying I could renew online by going to www.disneyclub.com. However, I am unable to find anything telling me how to renew my membership.

Please send info so I may do this online.

A.

John,

I don't know the answer to your question, either. I surfed around the Disney Club site, that you referred to below, but wasn't able to find any information on club membership renewal (I even tried a search).

I'd suggest you email the club at guest.mail@disneyclub.com and see what they say about it. In fact, just for kicks, I'll copy them on this note... perhaps they'll respond to us both... (Note: So far, I've not received any response, but perhaps the Disney Club just responded to John.)

-

Q.

Ken and Kathy state: Thank you for your web site.

We are traveling from Australia, late October to stay 'somewhere' at Disneyworld for 5 days. I have been looking at accommodation options and am now a little unsure. Originally we had picked the Coronado Springs or Port Orleans.

After reading the reviews the main point of concern is the transport system. I had presumed everything was linked via the monorail. Are we better off staying at a hotel linked to the monorail. Is this an easier/quicker way of getting around the parks??

Considering the exchange rate of Australian dollars to US i.e. 50cents can you suggest accommodation options for two adults, no kids, limited time, love food, don't want to spend a fortune, but don't want to stay in a dump, location the key factor???

A.

Ken and Kathy,

Your two main requirements, cost and location, are the main trade offs when thinking about accommodations at WDW. The resorts that are closest to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, the Studios, and Animal Kingdom are the most expensive ones. In fact, the three monorail resorts (the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and Contemporary) are among the very most expensive of resorts on site.

Frankly, though, I've really had good experiences with the bus system at WDW. Except on rare occasion when there's a glitch, the buses really do provide reasonable service. They are clean, well maintained, and convenient.

I don't even think that monorail service is significantly faster in any case! I admit that it's nice to be able to get on the monorail at the Magic Kingdom and zip right to the resort (again, the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and Contemporary are the only resorts with that direct service available), but the extra price that is required isn't worth it in my opinion.

I think you'll do well at either Port Orleans or Coronado Springs. Personally, if I was making the choice, I'd opt for Port Orleans as that resort caters more to guests and less to conventioneers... but both are very nice.

-

Q.

Darren asks: I'm looking for a review of the Walt Disney Hotels, Swan \ Dolphin but cannot find any. Can you help?

A.

Darren,

The only one I have is of the Swan located here.

-

Q.

Eileen Writes: Hi Brian, The "Codes" for discount rates that people are asking you about can be found on the following web site : www.mousesavers.com

I really enjoy your website and read it just about every day. Keep up the great work!

A.

Thanks Eileen!

I'll make a note of it in a future Notes From the World piece.

-

Q.

Miriam Writes: I was disappointed there were no pictures of any of the parks attractions. On the Eurodisney site there are lots of pictures, and a virtual reality area as well. Perhaps I just didn't look in the right place.

A.

Miriam,

I am adding pictures of the various parts of the parks as time permits. If you go to MousePlanet's WDW Trip Planning Guide's park index page, and go to the various "park attractions" pages, you'll find that there are several "Photo Tours" that you may enjoy (there's a great one on Adventureland, for example), but you're right... I don't have many attraction photos up right now as I've been concentrating on the resorts first.

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!

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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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