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WDW Trip Planning Guide Reader Feedback

by Brian Bennett



Rick shares: Brian, my family and I were in WDW last Thanksgiving and did the MVMCP on a Friday night. It was LOADED! We did speak to people who went the night before and they said it was not crowded at all. I had the feeling of the people there on Friday night that all the locals came out with their families for their Christmas picture.

If I had to do it again, I would pick a week night to go and leave the Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights to the locals.


Thanks for the input, Rich! I'll be sure to add your comments to the site!

Also (this is a rerun from last week) be aware of the new pages in MousePlanet's WDW Trip Planning Guide on Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, E-Ride Nights, and Night of Joy... all of which are "hard ticketed" evening events at the Magic Kingdom.



Mick asks: Well I did it, after reading all of the various information about Disney World from this site I finally said that's it!! I'm going back ( I went once before in '92) and I booked my trip for the week of December 9-16 at All Star Music. (the holidays at Disney WORLD--I never thought it possible).

I wanted to say thank you for providing all of this information because it really helped me plan my trip and let me decide what I want to see. There are a few quick questions I wanted to ask though.

From using your resources I've picked a few restaurants that I would like to try and I was wondering given the time of year that I am going what would you suggest is the latest I should attempt to make priority seatings-- specifically for Boma and Ohana?? and also do you have any thoughts on a nice place for breakfast NON-character. Do you recommend the Fantasmic dinner package?? (I do know you've answered this one before but I don't remember your response--sorry) And there was a trip report posted a few weeks ago from a man who took his family in June of this year and they stayed at one of the All Stars but he said specifically that on their last day they all went swimming at the Polynesian--I thought that was a big no-no!!?? (though I guess swimming might not be one of my concerns in December) Anyway thank you again for the help.



I'll just go through your questions one-by-one.

First, you should go ahead and make your Priority Seating arrangements as soon as possible if you have specific dates and restaurants in mind. Frankly, I don't always bother with Priority Seating for my family visits, but we're there during the least busy times of the year. At Christmas time, arguably the MOST busy, you really need to have those Priority Seatings or else you'll spend far too much time waiting at restaurants instead of enjoying the parks and other aspects of the vacation. Since you're visiting in mid-December, I don't think priority seating will be too critical for you, but if you have your heart set on Boma and 'Ohana (which are very popular) you may want to get cracking!

Non-character breakfasts are not really my personal forte. My family just isn't a group of big breakfast eaters. Here's some things to think about though... when planning a breakfast, you probably want to eat at your resort or at the park you're planning to visit that morning. Each of the resorts (except the All Stars, of course) have full-service restaurants that offer breakfast. Each park, too, has a restaurant or two that offer breakfast. Obviously, that narrows down your options a bit. Unfortunately, you've found a gap in my restaurant coverage in MousePlanet's WDW Restaurant Resource. I'll have to go and identify which restaurants serve breakfast and make that information available.

Frankly, I don't recommend the Fantasmic! Dinner package during the less-busy times of the year. Walk-ins, in my opinion, actually get better seats than the reserved section (which is way over to the right-hand side of the amphitheater. Still, there is no additional cost for the package, so if you're already planning to have dinner at one of the Studios' restaurants, by all means take advantage of it. In the worst case, if you get to the Fantasmic! seating area and see that better seats are available than the reserved section, you can always move.

Swimming at the various Disney resorts is, indeed, limited to guests that are staying at that particular resort. DVC members are given some latitude on that (as a perk for being a member). I don't know if the incident you're referring to was simply a family that was breaking the rules or a DVC member that was enjoying the Polynesian pool quite legally, but without mentioning so in the report. The catch, in any case, if that cast members are known to have asked guests to leave a pool area if they are not staying at that particular resort. Personally, I wouldn't risk the embarrassment. Some folks feel otherwise.



Suzi writes: Brian, This is response to the email you received from the mother who was not able to get a Priority Seating for Cinderella's Royal Breakfast for her trip in October.

I just wanted to let her know that in October '99, our family was waiting for rope drop in the castle on a non-EE day and were approached by a Cast Member asking if we'd like to have breakfast with the princesses. We didn't take him up on it, but it seems that occasionally there is availability for walk-ups. I'd suggest getting to the podium early and asking if there is any availability once she gets to the Magic Kingdom, if she's not able to get a PS prior to the trip.


Thanks, Suzi. That's good advice and I should have mentioned it myself. :)



Jim Writes: Brian, I thought I would send you this quick note about what I found out about packages at WDW.

I recently booked a week at the All Star Music at $49/night. (Yes, I actually got that rate using a code I got from WWW.Mousesavers.Com!) I decided see if it would be worth it to me to purchase one of the Disney packages (such as "Disney's Resort Magic Package" or "Disney's Discovery Magic Package") instead of just park passes.

So, I called WDW Reservations and asked. What I was told was not what I expected, and is the reason I wish to share this information with you and your readers. In order to purchase any WDW package from Disney, you MUST pay rack rate for the room. In my case, this meant that I would need to pay $99/night to be able to have the opportunity to buy any of their packages. Otherwise, I was limited to their Park Hopper and Ultimate Park Hopper passes.

I realize these packages are meant as a way to make more money for Disney. If it works out as beneficial for both them and me, I am willing to do buy one. In this case, it is obviously not.

So, if you want to save money on your trips to WDW, definitely shop around. Just consider you may need to forgo the packages and a la cart it to get the best buy.

I hope this helps everyone.

Keep up the good work,

PS: If you decide to publish this e-mail, you do have my permission to remove the reference to MouseSavers.COM.



Thanks so much for your note. I'll include it in an upcoming Notes From the World, and slip it into the WDW Trip Planning Guide, too.

As for the Mousesavers reference, I'll leave it in. We're sensitive to mentioning sites that compete with us directly, but there is value in sharing on-line references at times. I don't have a problem with that at all.



Diane asks: Hello Brian, Could you please tell me if the Bar-B-Que is on in the month of November, or is it just the summer months only? Can you email me this information as I am trying to decide on shows to attend during my stay at Disney World in November, any suggestions.



The Backyard Bar-B-Que is generally held only when the crowd levels are high at WDW. In general, that would mean that it's not available during November, but if you're at WDW around Thanksgiving time you might catch it.

I'd suggest you call (407) WDW-DINE and ask about the specific date you're interested in.



Jan writes: Hi Brian, Just thought I'd let you know, if you didn't already, that the 2002 edition of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland is now available. I got mine from Amazon yesterday. It's gone up a dollar-to 4.99. The ISBN is 0-7645-6415-3. Thanks for all the hard work-I love Mouseplanet!


Thanks for the heads-up, Jan.

This is the time of year I have to update a lot of information on the guidebooks... thanks for the reminder. :)



Randy writes: Brian, as a follow up to Rodolfo's question on character meals, when I was there in August, cast members were actually asking (shouting) if guests had a PS for a character Breakfast. If you did, they would let you through the turnstile when everyone was held back at the TTC. (I didn't do Crystal Palace myself.)


Thanks for the note, Randy.

Yes, I know that folks with priority seating do get passed through the TTC. That's a good deal, frankly, for folks that want to get a small head start in the park (although you do lose the time for the meal, it's still better than waiting for a later priority seating time).



Bob asks: Brian, Would you please send me the address of the Disney headquarters in Florida? I would like to write a letter and not an E-mail.



The best address that I've been able to find is a generic one:

Walt Disney World
P.O. Box 10000
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Hope that does the trick!



Kayla writes: What special little details would you suggest that a newbie check out when visiting WDW for the first time?



Here's a page with a great list of special things that I like at WDW. Enjoy!



and in a similar vein, Michael asks: What would your answer be if I was to ask what you like most about WDW?



That's a tough question!  There are so many things about WDW that really make it a special place to visit.  Certainly the escape from reality and the tremendous customer service are good reasons.  However, I really have to quote myself to answer this question the best... this is from my own 1997 trip report when we enjoyed a trip during the 25th anniversary of Walt Disney World.  "Remember the Magic" was the theme that year, and here's how I wrapped up our last visit to the Magic Kingdom that trip:

"This was our last visit to the Magic Kingdom this trip. Whenever I leave there, I get a lump in my throat. It's a very special place. The last glance down Main Street, the railroad station as we pass underneath it for the last time, the last sight of the castle's spires as we leave... each vista carries with it a multitude of memories.

"I'm fortunate to be able to return to Walt Disney World year after year, but I have so many things that are more important to be thankful for: My wonderful wife, my precious son, my wonderful family, my church and our many friends there. The last day at the Magic Kingdom always makes me think of the wonderful blessings I've been granted.

"Coming to Walt Disney World is fun because of the great times I've had here with my family and's those memories that makes this "the happiest place on Earth." I look forward, as always, to visiting again next year."

And in my 1995 trip report, I wrote:

"I hate leaving the Magic Kingdom for the last time... I always feel so empty when we leave the Magic Kingdom... It's not in Florida or California, it's in the heart. Coming to Walt Disney World is fun because of the great times we always have here...but it's the memories...the fun that I've had here with Barbara and our family and friends that makes this "the happiest place on Earth." Thanks Walt, for the "little family park" you've given us, West coast and East."

I don't think I could have said it better myself.  ;)

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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