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Brian Bennett

WDW Trip Planning Guide Reader Feedback

by Brian Bennett

10/24/01

Q.

Buffy writes: Hi Brian, Our family of 4 is going to WDW for Halloween and we are staying at the AKL with the Savannah view. I haven't seen that reviewed on your site and didn't know if that would be helpful or necessary or how we go about it.

Anyway, we are looking forward to our trip for all the usual reasons and also because we live right in NYC and our kids (and we) need some magic, hope, and pixie dust these days.

I have really enjoyed your site and get a lot of great info and look forward to coming back often for more insight.

A.

Buffy,

The page you're looking for is right here. If you go there, you'll find lots of information on the lodge. You'll also find a link to a photo tour (and there's a new photo tour by Sue Holland coming to MousePlanet later this week!) You'll also find links (at the bottom of the page) to several reader-submitted reviews.

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Q.

Michael asks: Mr. Bennett, My family and I are leaving for a week long trip to WDW in 9 days. WOOHOO! sorry, hard to stay focused at this point. We have several meals scheduled including the character dinner at liberty tree, and the elusive Cinderella's Royal Table character breakfast (expect reviews in about 3 weeks lol). We have heard great reviews both on MousePlanet, and from friends about the 50's prime time cafe. So we called tonight to get a PS for it. When we asked about the Fantasmic! Dining Experience we were told that this restaurant DID qualify. But that the experience is only open to WDW resort guests. We are staying off site, and found this odd since friends of ours had stayed in the same hotel (tropical palms fun suites) that we usually stay in. And they did the Fantasmic! experience while staying off site. I basically have 2 questions:

1- Is this in fact true, that off site guests cannot participate in this? It makes sense now that i think about it, early entry, priority seating, all perks for staying in the house of the mouse. :)

But if it is open to all WDW patrons my second question is:

2- Since we cannot make reservations at our hotel, can arrangements only be made at the MGM guest relations, or the restaurant itself as stated here at MousePlanet, or could they be made at guest relations inside the Magic Kingdom? We are not going to MGM until our 3rd day, and would love to get this reserved, if we qualify that is, ASAP.

Thanks for your time.

A.

Michael,

I don't have any information that indicates that the Fantasmic! Dining Experience is only open to WDW resort guests. However, my experience has been that you MUST make the priority seating in person (either at the restaurant of your choice or at the Hollywood & Sunset reservation center in the park).

Of course, it never hurts to ask...

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Q.

Michael (a different one this time) writes: I am helping arrange a trip to Disney for a family friend. There will be 2 adults a young boy of 5 years and two further children age 11 and 14 years. Both the older boys suffer with autism. The family is hoping to have as normal a holiday as possible and although they do not suffer any physical disabilities are wondering what sort of experience WDW staff have when dealing with autistic children. If you have any comments or can direct me to a suitable site I will be most grateful.

A.

Michael,

The best suggestions I have would be... First, ask the advice and help of the person that you contact at Disney's Central Reservations Office. They can provide help in selecting the best room locations and so on for those special needs. Second, when your friend's enter the park, they can go to guest relations and (with appropriate documentation) can request a special pass that can help them bypass some of the queues.

Disney cast members used to be well trained to handle such special situations. Unfortunately, reports I have in more recent years indicate that cast members are no better informed on special needs than the typical person on the street. That may result in a very uneven experience (some CMs will be great, others will be less so).

Unfortunately, that's all of the information I have personally on this one.

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Q.

Lea asks: Hello Brian, I'm trying to get 9 tickets to Cinderella's breakfast. The dates would be 8, 9, 10, or 11 of December. My grandchildren would love to go but I don't seem to be able to get through in the mornings at 7am. Do you have any suggestions?

A.

Lea,

There's no magical solution other than camping out on the phone a few minutes before seven, dialing, re-dialing, dialing again... and, well, you get the idea. (In fact, I use the redial button on my own phone to do this.) Unfortunately, that's how the system works.

The only other answer is very risky.  Only a percentage of the total capacity of the restaurant is tied up with priority seatings, so there is a chance that you could get in by simply walking up to the restaurant on the day you'd like to have breakfast.

as you can read in the next message...

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Q.

"Jay" writes: Hi Brian, I'm a former CM of the Crystal Palace and have a tip regarding priority seatings for folks that weren't able to get a seating in advance. Although all the priority seatings may be booked for a particular day, the computer system holds about 30% of the tables. The 30% becomes available each morning for that day, so there still is a chance for day guests and others to obtain a priority seating if they call WDW-DINE.

Also I know that the Crystal Palace would accept those without a priority seating from time to time if tables were available. There still might be a chance for Rodolfo to dine at Cinderella's. 

I hope this info is helpful.

Thank you and all the folks at Mouse Planet for keeping me up to date on all things Disney!

A.

Thanks for the note. "Jay." I'll share it with everyone in an upcoming Notes piece!

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Q.

Leanne writes: I was reading your map of transportation (there are links to the transportation guide pages that Leanne is referring to on this page) and it seems a little confusing.  If I am going to the Contemporary or Polynesian Resorts from Caribbean Beach Resort, why can't I just take the bus that says Magic Kingdom and get off right in front of the Magic Kingdom, walk to the monorail for the resorts and go to the Contemporary or Polynesian? Isn't this easier that taking a bus to Downtown Disney?

A.

Leanne,

I based the transportation guides directly on the ones that are given out by Walt Disney World at the resort. I agree that there are often alternatives, but I went with the "official" answer.

The reason why the Downtown Disney route is preferred is simply because the monorail only runs during park hours (plus an hour or two on each end). If you were going to one of those resorts later in the evening, the Downtown Disney route would get you there while your proposed solution would not.

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Q.

Susan adds: I love your site! I've gotten lots of great ideas and information from it.

Wanted to let you know, I was offered an after 4pm admission to Epcot when I booked my Candlelight Processional dinner package in 1997. We had a Magical Holidays package at the Poly without park admission. We were just regular guests, not part of a convention. I didn't buy it, but wished I had when we walked in at 5pm! Too bad this isn't offered any longer. Also, we always go to the Poly beach to watch the Electric Light Water Parade or Magic Kingdom fireworks, whether staying there or not, and you can easily buy dinner at Captain Cooks and bring it out to a table near the beach. Its one of our favorite things to do! That's it. Thanks for a great site!

A.

Thanks for letting me know, Susan.

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Q.

Rick shares: Brian, I noticed that someone wrote to you asking about the PI Dual Annual Pass. Yes, there is such a thing and it is still available. One of the benefits of the regular PI Annual Pass is that you can bring a guest in for free on Friday nights. Basically, the dual annual pass (which costs roughly twice as much as a standard annual pass) gives you that privilege EVERY night.

When people write with Pleasure Island questions in the future, I invite you to direct them to my Yahoo club for Pleasure Island enthusiasts. Chances are that someone there will either know the answer or be able to find out!

A.

Rick,

Thanks for the note! I'll certainly direct folks to your Yahoo club. I'm sure it will be very helpful to MousePlanet readers!

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Q.

Sam writes: Brian, Long time reader, first time writer.

You've saved us money, time, and effort in the past and I was wondering something:

We're brand-new AP holders. We do about 14-21 days per year and it was, at the time, a no-brainer with the 7 (AP) and 10 (Premium AP) day payoff. But with the recent discounts on packages including the UMP I was wondering if the payoff were longer now. We purchased the APs in April and activated them in September; the AP prices haven't changed but the 3 day package price sure has! Disney club is offering $601 for 3 nights, including Unlimited Magic Passes, Flex Feature, and AIR from Portland at the All Stars in 2002 value season. Yeah, I do get Contemporary Concierge for 1/2 price so I save $200/ night, but I'm wondering about just admission payoff for the folks staying at the Holiday Inns and Best Westerns.

What about DVC cost comparison? APs and DVC points raise every year, but Park Hoppers and Unlimited Magic Passes do a Yo-Yo thing as the Resort caters to the casual visitor at the cost of the visitors that are worth tens of thousands of dollars in their lifetimes. Seems like a good story to me. I know my family of three spends about $100/ day on food and trinkets for all 14 of those days and we intend to do it for the next 40 or so years. So who's worth more: me or the guy who bites on a $49/ night 3 day All Star trip every couple years?

Sorry about the rant! Great site!

A.

Same, thanks for the note. I'm glad you've enjoyed the site!

The bottom line on the cost comparison that you're making is that there is no substitute for pulling together the information and putting together a comparison spreadsheet. You really do need to look at all of the alternatives to see how things fit together.

Traditionally, my family and I have gotten three trips in on each AP. For example, on our most recent trips we bought our APs for our Fall 2000 trip (October). Then we used them again in the Spring and Fall of 2001 (September) to get a full thirty days out of them!

I've not run a comparison of prices of package deals because we are DVC members and have always picked up our passes ala carte (since our accommodations are already taken care of).

You mentioned that AP and DVC point costs increase every year. Certainly the AP costs are going up, but I'm sure you'll note a general upward trend of package deals including Unlimited Magic Passes, too. DVC points costs are NOT increasing, though. (Well, the maintenance does go up a small amount.) Once purchased the points prices are locked in for the long haul.

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Q.

Susanne writes: Brian, in a previous Notes From the World David asked about things to do, without using the park admission. While at WDW a few weeks ago, my family and I waited for a friend to arrive and decided not to go into the parks that day. Instead, we went over to the Fort Wilderness area, got on a bus and had lunch at Trail's End buffet, did the petting zoo and pony rides. All told, we spent about 3-4 hours relaxing and enjoying the beautiful area.

Another perk, depending on the time of year, is the Electrical Water Pageant, to which they've added a Flag. (I don't remember the flag the last time I saw it, in 1984.)

Hope this might provide a different diversion for David's family that will be lots of fun. As for us, now we want to stay in the wilderness cottages!

A.

Susanne,

Thanks for sharing your ideas!

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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