by Brian Bennett
| Sharon asks: Are
the four park passes still available? They were available September,
October, November, and December. It was four parks for $9.00.
The first answer that came to my mind when I read your question
was, "Yes!" Four park passes (called park hoppers)
are available for four or more days. However, the price you
mentioned ($9.00) is way, way off.
If you take a look at MousePlanet's Admission
Media from A to Z page and go down to the "prices"
section, you'll see that four day park hoppers start at over
$200 for an adult.
| Jackie writes:
Brian, FYI, I just recently received the new 100th anniversary
trip planning video from Disney and watched it for the first
time last night. They have now completely dropped MGM from the
Disney-MGM Studios name. It is only being called Disney Studios.
I am interested to see what other changes will be made to the
park and attractions now that the contract with MGM is obviously
That's funny that they've dropped "MGM" again.
They can't seem to make up their mind on that one. A few years
ago they did the same thing, apparently because their licensing
deal with MGM was expiring... but they worked out some temporary
arrangement. Perhaps the temporary deal has expired now, too.
Except for the changes for the 100th Anniversary Celebration,
I don't know of any other imminent changes at the park.
|Eduardo asks: I'm
planning a trip to WDW on November 17 - 23 and have had reservations
in the All Star Movies Resort since March for $77 a night plus
tax. I am from Mexico. With the recent events we
are concerned, but we can not let the terrorists stop our lives.
But my question for is, are there any
discounts on the resort hotels and tickets right now in WDW
in Florida? I have been checking the disney.com site
and the only offers are at the California resort.
Thanks and looking forward for your
YES! There are some great deals going on at WDW right now.
Call the central reservations office at (407) 934-7639 and
ask what is available. I'm sure you'll get a much better deal
for your upcoming trip.
|Craig writes: I
recently read about your annual Scavenger Hunt and Trivia Contest
at Disneyland. I was intrigued by the thought, and wondered
if you had ever done one of these events at Wal Disney World.
I myself have a Premium Annual Pass and live about 30 minutes
away. I would love to either participate or help set up an event
like this. If you have any type of plans to do this, please
tell me so I can spread the news to other pass holders who would
You may be interested in joining the rec.arts.disney.parks
RADP VI meet coming up in December. Deb Wills, at MousePlanet's
friendly competitor WDWIG.com has the following
On Sunday, December 2nd, the group will be having a huge
Scavenger hunt, much like the MouseAdventures that MousePlanet
runs at Disneyland.
MousePlaneteer Pat Edaburn attended the RADP V meet last
year and wrote the a piece on the scavenger
Try it, you might like it. :)
Dear Brian: First of all congratulations again for your great
I am writing from Mexico City and are
planning to take my family to WDW from December the 3rd to
December the 9th. We are taking the kids out from school specially
to try to avoid crowds and take advantage of the off season
I would like to ask you one question:
I read the Pop Warner Super Bowl is taking place during this
dates with 12,000 participants. Do you think the parks will
be dramatically more crowded because of this event?
Thanks again and best regards.
Any time that there is a big event at WDW, the crowd levels
are higher than they would have been. However, early December
is still a great time to visit because, traditionally, the
crowds are at their lowest levels -- for the entire year --
Personally, I wouldn't change any plans based on the Pop
|Rick asks: Brian,
I have a question that I'm not sure whom to send it to, so I
figure you can either answer it or point me in the right direction.
Basically, I'm wondering what happened to the concept of DisneyQuest
locations in cities all over the country. Orlando and Chicago
are great, Philadelphia was publicly announced, and now we just
have the two with no talk of future expansion.
I'm sure that building a DisneyQuest
is no cheap endeavor, although it must certainly get less
expensive with each one since the floor plan and attractions
are basically identical. About a year ago I actually wrote
this question to the link on the Disney web site about DisneyQuest.
Eventually I got a refreshingly frank reply from the GM of
the Chicago location. She said that Philadelphia had been
scrapped due to contract problems with the construction firm
and property owner but that she honestly didn't know why they
stopped talking about other cities. She did say that her location
was doing quite well financially, and I can only assume that
Orlando with its built-in supply of customers is making a
When Universal's GameWorks concept
came out, I thought it was great. Then DisneyQuest blew it
away, and I couldn't wait to see more of them. ESPN Zone is
fun and all, but it's really no better than a GameWorks.
Can you shed some light on this issue
or tell me someone who would be better able to?
Disneyquest just didn't create the cash flow that was expected.
The investment is so high, and the return on investment so
slow, that the company decided to invest elsewhere.
|Cathy asks: Where
can we purchase the teepee chandeliers that you have on your
site of the wilderness lodge and do you happen to know if it
comes as a ceiling fan also?
If I understand your question correctly, you're asking about
the chandeliers that are hanging from the lobby ceiling at
Wilderness Lodge? If so, I have no idea where one would purchase
them. They're huge pieces, each one is ten to twelve feet
high. They don't have ceiling fans.
My assumption is that they were made specially for the Lodge
and aren't available for retail purchase.
|An unnamed MousePlanet reader writes:
Hi Brian!!! I like your site... we're planning our fourth trip
to WDW in five years for early December. It's the only time
of year to go in my husband's opinion, especially since both
he and our older daughter are very fair and tend to burn easily.
They'd cook in the summer!!!
My tips for shopping with the kids
is to set a rule that souvenirs are only purchased at the
end of the day, on the way out of the park. This way you avoid
lugging things they "promise" to carry and don't
have to wait on line to claim your purchases later at the
exit. Having these things sent back to the hotel room doesn't
usually work for kids (at least mine!) - it doesn't count
till they have it in their hot little hands. I let them browse
through every shop they see; if they really want it we'll
go back and get it. This works even with pretty young kids.
My nephew was five when we took him and once he saw the cap
pistols at the end of "Pirates of the Caribbean"
nothing else would do. But even he agreed that it would have
been hard to ride Splash Mountain or Buzz Lightyear with his
pistol (although we did have to take another trip through
"Pirates" so he could "shoot" the "bad
Another tip we used was setting a limit
of $10 per kid per day Setting up a limit before-hand can
avoid battles over the lovely and expensive items; we put
each kids money in $10 bills in a separate envelope (which
was helpful since both could recognize their names and count
the bills). My then 4-year old daughter loved a $40 Dumbo
until she realized that one toy today would mean no toys for
the next four. "It's not worth it, Mom" she said
as she put it back. This rule is flexible, however, depending
on the item in question; my nephew did go home with the cap
long-gun on our last day which was more than $10 - he put
in his daily allowance and my husband chipped in the rest.
I paid the difference for the lovely china Mrs. Potts tea
set she fell in love with in Epcot. Dumbo we can get anywhere;
long-guns and a "real" Mrs. Potts we can't.
Hope these tips help!!!
|Thanks so much for your note and great tips! I'll
add it to an upcoming Notes From the World feature.
Brian, I've been reading your columns for over a year and I
have enjoyed them very much. I especially enjoy the trip reports
people send in, because they provide useful tips and hints,
as well as giving me my Disney fix!
I read your own trip report with interest,
as I would be going down to Walt Disney World fairly soon
after your trip and I thought it would help me with last-minute
hints. I'd like to share some thoughts about our experiences.
This isn't a full trip report, but
I think my comments might be an interesting viewpoint, given
the large amount of negative things I've seen recently.
My wife I just visited WDW Oct. 11-20.
This was our fourth trip in four years, but the first time
we stayed somewhere other than All-Star Music. This year,
we stayed at Port Orleans Riverside. The trip down was uneventful,
security at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport was tight, but
not overly intrusive and very calming to us. Our Tiffany Towncar
driver was at the baggage claim to greet us and very friendly
and helpful, getting us in the Disney mood right away. Even
though we arrived at around 12:30 in the afternoon, check-in
was a breeze, the room was ready, and we purchased our Ultimate
Park Hoppers (which started the next day and ended at midnight
on the 19th-we were checking out at 5:00 in the morning on
The person who checked us in, Heidi,
was wonderful and very helpful. The bellman, Rene, was
a hoot and so friendly that my wife and I were smiling and
laughing the whole time he took us to our room and brought
our luggage up to our room (we stayed in Alligator Bayou,
which has no elevators and the room was on the second floor).
We wandered around the resort for a
while, noting that there were not many people there (but realized
later that most people were in the parks during the day) and
had a nice lunch at the food court. We also spent time at
Downtown Disney and even went over to the Polynesian (my first
time there) to look around.
The first day was very relaxing and
definitely full of the Disney magic I (and everyone else)
has come to expect.
The parks themselves were not crammed
with people, but did have a good number of people in them
each day, especially the Magic Kingdom. We didn't have to
wait long for many attractions, nor did we have to wait long
for any transportation.
In fact, the longest wait for a bus
was when I wanted to return to POR from Epcot on Tuesday morning
(while my wife slept in). I waited about 15 minutes for a
bus and when it came the driver told me he was a "special"
just bringing guests to Epcot and not returning to POR. He
asked how long I had been waiting and when I told him about
15 minutes, he said another bus should be by soon. He then
parked his bus and waited. About two minutes later, he pulled
up in front of me and said that he would take me wherever
I wanted to go. I got a personal bus ride back to the resort
and had a nice chat with the driver (unfortunately, I didn't
get his name).
Now, maybe some people would expect
that kind of service, but I figured that I was one person,
heading back to my resort at 9:30 in the morning when there
was no one else at any of the bus stops I could see. I could
have been made to wait for the regular POR bus, but either
the driver or the dispatcher felt I should be taken back to
the resort right away. The whole dispatching system for the
buses seemed to work fairly well and I saw plenty of buses
waiting at Epcot and the Studios when we left after closing.
Almost every cast member we came into
contact with was friendly, polite, or even extraordinarily
courteous. I know that's something that we should expect from
WDW cast members. But I also know, having worked in both the
retail and tourism industries, that uncertainty about job
status, jitters related to recent events, and the fact that
the nature of their jobs in working with the public sometimes
creates a bad day makes the fact that so many cast members
were so nice simply amazing to me. Given the fact that there
are thousands of cast members working at WDW and that in any
organization, there is bound to be people who, for whatever
reason, aren't happy when they are at work, I'm still amazed
at how little I noticed "attitude," indifference,
or discourtesy among the cast members. In fact, at several
attractions and shops, the cast members were extremely cheerful
and exuberant, especially at the shops at the United Kingdom
pavilion at Epcot.
We attended the Halloween Party on
the 18th and had an absolute ball! The decorations were wonderful
and the whole atmosphere was just incredibly festive. We rode
Splash Mountain at night for the first time and thought it
was even better in the dark! Alien Encounter took on a different
feel at night and, of course, the Haunted Mansion was wonderful
spooky. Everyone seemed to have a great time. I would recommend
this to everybody!
I know I'm forgetting a lot of the
good things that happened during our vacation, but I also
don't have much to complain about. I think the problems you
had during your visit might be attributable to the attacks
and the effects of the slowing economy, but I fear you're
presenting a view of WDW that might have already passed. I'm
not able to get down to WDW as often as I'd like, but I have
been there four times since November 1997 and I have to say
that despite the doom and gloom reports I read from people,
I'm just not seeing it.
Maybe the perspectives of people who
visit more often are different from mine, but the vast majority
of people I saw at WDW, both visitors and cast members looked
like they were having a great time. A vacation resort as big
as WDW is bound to have some problems, simply because of its
size. Very rarely, on any of the four trips, did the real
world intrude on the experience (and I was there last year
during the election-not the post-election problems, but on
election day itself and several days following). In fact,
even with newspaper vending machines all over the resorts
and Downtown Disney, I still did not hear much outside news
(nor did I want to). Walt Disney World is still a great place
to escape the drudgery of work, to relax from the everyday
world, to get away from it all.
I believe things have improved even
since your visit in late September.
Thanks for reading my response.
Thanks so much for your note. It's great to have folks sharing
their experiences right now.
I agree, that the problems that I experienced in late September
may be attributable to some extent to the attacks. I hope
you're correct in your assessment that things are looking
up, although with the recent cutbacks in entertainment, park
hours, early entry, etc... I seriously wonder if you're right.
I hope so! :)
What does Epcot stand for?
EPCOT was Walt Disney's own personal plan for a planned city
where people would live, work, go to school, and play in a
well-designed environment. He proposed building EPCOT as part
of the Disney World complex (he called it "Disney World"
and it wasn't until after he passed away that his brother,
Roy, decreed that the resort would be formally known as "Walt
Disney World"). It was always scheduled to be built after
the Magic Kingdom opened, but was supposed to be a real working
city, not just a theme park.
EPCOT is an acronym that stands for "Experimental Prototype
Community of Tomorrow." The model that Walt had built
that captured some of his ideas is now on display in Tomorrowland
at the Magic Kingdom. You can see it, in the Alien Encounter
building, as you ride the Tomorrowland Transit Authority.
After Walt and Roy's passing, Card Walker became the head
of Walt Disney Productions (as the company was then know).
Under Mr. Walker, the concept of EPCOT as a working city evolved
into EPCOT as a permanent world's fair -- the present day
park. The acronym was changed to a real word, "Epcot,"
just a couple of years ago. Epcot, officially, now simply
represents the park that is located at Walt Disney World.
Just to completely close the circle, in the late 1990's the
Walt Disney Company began to design and build Celebration,
Florida, which is the closest thing to what EPCOT was originally
supposed to be. It's definitely a trendy and well-designed
town -- far from the futuristic city that Walt had imagined.
I think it's probably much more livable than the Jetson-like
environment that the original EPCOT concept was like.
Just as a side note, there are several unofficial explanations
for what EPCOT stands for, too. "Each Parent Carries
One Tot," "Every Pocket Comes Out Trashed,"
and some cast member's favorite, "Employee Polyester
Costumes Of Torture," are some that I've heard of over
the years. ;)
Well, I hope you enjoyed the reader feedback
for the WDW Trip Planning Guide! Feed free to send more questions
or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Brian Bennett's Disney Trip Planner
Click here to see
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always gotten email about the WDW Trip Planning Guide, but since we added
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!
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!