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Brian Bennett

WDW Trip Planning Guide Reader Feedback

by Brian Bennett

11/12/01

Q.

Mashelle asks: Hi Brian, I'm planning a trip to WDW this summer,2002. I will be going with my sister and brother in law. Okay we have never been to WDW so how can we make this a good trip. we can only go in August due to my brother in law's job. I have written down everything that we want to do. Should I throw out my ideals and just wing it or should we stick to my written ideals?

A.

MousePlanet is really oriented toward the do-it-yourselfer. We have a lot of information to wade through, though, so for folks that don't have the inclination to do so -- or are just overwhelmed by all the details of planning a trip to Walt Disney World, I highly recommend calling MousePlanet's partner company, Discovery Hills Travel, at (800) 750-5975. Discovery Hills can help you sort through all the options and plan the perfect vacation.

Of course, you're welcome to browse through the trip planning guides on MousePlanet in case you decide to do things yourself. :)

I'd suggest you start at MousePlanet's WDW Trip Planning Guide.  If, after you'd surfed through those pages, there are questions you don't have answers to, let me know and I'll be happy to help as best I can.

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Q.

Charlotte writesBrian, Can you give a current club listening for Pleasure Island? My mom wants to go to a country western club.

A.

Charlotte,

There are two MousePlanet pages that you may want to check out. First, Sue Holland recently provided this report on Pleasure Island.  Also, in MousePlanet's WDW Trip Planning Guide, the following page gives a list of shops, clubs, and restaurants on the Island.  Unfortunately, if you're into country music you're a few months late. The Wildhorse Saloon closed and was reopened as "Motion" a top 40s venue, a few months ago.

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Q.

An unnamed cast member writes: Dear Brian, There was much debate on my part on how to start this letter, so I will include some positive and not so positive things in this. Let me begin by first saying that as a current DL cast member I was not a big fan of MousePlanet, nor were quite a few cast members after that lovely little story about the attractions that were not doing CDS (Cast Deployment). It was our happy little secret and by putting it up on the web for everyone to see, our management on Jungle Cruise found out and was not too pleased. We now have to fill out a "optimized task" sheet every time we are out of rotation. We realize what you were trying to do but please in the future think of the people that will be affected in the future. Things are not always black and white with Disney and MousePlanet should realize that.

That having been said I have begun to grow on your site and now turn to it for most of my information, which is actually a sad commentary if you think about it, I and a few others are planning a trip to WDW in late March and I would like to know how crowds generally are, if the Carousel of Progress closure is a permanent thing and if Fantasmic! is ever coming back at WDW.

Thanks for your feedback.

A.

I'm glad you're finding that MousePlanet isn't as bad as you originally thought. I know the whole cast deployment thing has some folks rankled... but if you look at it from the other point-of-view, perhaps someone at DL (Cynthia Harris??) might reconsider some of these system changes if they're not really working. The bottom line (i.e. $$$) is a crucial thing for ALL companies. Being efficient helps that bottom line, and cast deployment is not efficient. But of course, you know that much more so than I...

Anyway, on to your trip planning questions on WDW...

  1. Late March crowd levels are generally pretty light. You may find that some spring breakers are about, but for the most part spring break is in February and earlier in March. Easter week crowds will hit hard the very last week in the Month though. Easter is on the 31st, and many schools in the South give their students that week off while up North the week prior to Easter is a common vacation time -- so the two weeks straddling Easter itself are often much busier.
  2. As far as I know, the Carousel of Progress closure is as permanent as it can be. The park has been wanting to close the attraction for quite some time just because the cost of maintenance is so high. It is a very old mechanism, after all, and bearings and gears only last so long.
  3. Fantasmic! is currently running at the Studios. It hasn't been closed to the best of my knowledge. (Although it may run less frequently when crowd levels are down.) Of course, as you know, the Disneyland version of the show is not currently running. There is no word on whether or not that is a permanent situation. The jury is still out.

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Q.

Mary-Ellen shares this information: This is in response to "Michael" who is planning a trip for some friends who have an autistic child(ren).

I took my autistic son to WDW the last week of August until Labor Day (I am still working on that trip report I promised you). The parents need a letter from their children's' neurologist or other health care provider containing the diagnosis and need for special considerations.

Take the letter to guest relations (we used MK) and they will issue a guest assistance pass in the child's name, including number of people in the party (parents, siblings, etc) and length of stay. This pass is to be shown at all attractions with either a Fast Pass queue or handicap entrance.

Essentially it serves as a Fast Pass, good at that very moment. We didn't abuse the Pass, never using it more than once a day for the same ride. Also, if the posted wait time was 10 minutes or less, we waited in line. The Pass is good for everyone in the party, but only if the special child is there, naturally. We had virtually no problem with the Pass and plan to write to Mr. Eisner to thank him for his generosity and sensitivity. (I say, "virtually", because one CM made a face when we showed him the pass, looking at his watch, looking at the posted wait time (30 minutes) as if he thought we should wait in line like everyone else. He was the only one -- everyone else was very gracious.)

It depends on the level of autism these children possess whether room location makes a difference. We had a centrally located room at Port Orleans Resort French Quarter but it was more for my convenience than my son's. A resort with a great pool is important -- the larger the pool, the better. However, the lifeguards are NOT experienced with the autistic.

My son was fine in the restaurants but afraid of the characters at the character dinners. The characters are DEFINITELY experienced with special needs children and were very gentle and protective of my son. He did not scream or anything, but was very shy. He was fine on the busses, even to the point that we knew it was time to leave the park for a break when he asked "to go to the bus now".

All in all, this is a great place to take an autistic child and he made break-throughs in his development during and after the trip. We hope to go again this February, if the airfare and resort rates drop low enough. We will also be driving our camper down in the summer to stay at Fort Wilderness.

Hope this helps!!

A.

Thanks for the detailed information, Mary-Ellen!  I'll add it to a future piece... and I'll be looking forward to that trip report, too. :)

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Q.

Randall writes: Brian, I love your site. Since you have helped me in the past, maybe I can help Michael from your 10/24 Notes. The Fantasmic dinner experience can, indeed, be reserved from guest relations at the MK. I did this in August. Just make sure they "tie it to the Event" not just a PS.

I did check at the Hollywood and Sunset kiosk to double-check on status before I went down Sunset to get in line for Rock n Roller. Also a note to Michael about Tropical Palms - there are no phones in the "villas" (park model trailers) - so take cell phone!

A.

Thanks for the help, Randall. I'll make a note of it in an upcoming email piece.

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Q.

Marc writes: Hi Brian, Concerning Michaels question about not being able to make priority reservation for the Fantasmic Dining Experience at 50's Prime Time Cafe.

Isn't this problem related to the fact, that off-site guests only can make PS only on the same day and in person. On the other hand, Disney Resort guests can make PS at theme park restaurants up to 3 days ahead and by phone.

I'm not sure if I remember this correctly.

A.

Marc,

Actually, the rules for making priority seating for offsite visitors has been greatly relaxed in recent years. It used to be that only on-site guests had the privilege of calling ahead... now anyone can do so (they do ask where you're staying, but it doesn't matter if your answer is "offsite").

In any case, priority seating for the Fantasmic! Dining Experience can be made up to seven days in advance, although it does have to be done in person (at Guest Relations at one of the parks or at the restaurant itself).

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Q.

A MousePlanet reader writes: I am trying to find out about the Cypress Pointe resort at Lake Buena Vista. I am going there next month and would like some info. I did not find anything on the Mouse Planet site for it. Can you give me some info or direct me to a place to get info on the resort?

A.

Resort Condominiums International, LLC has a website with this link page.  It's the best info on the resort I was able to find. After your trip, perhaps you'd be so kind as to submit a review for MousePlanet? ;)

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Q.

Leeann Snyder, from Busser Bears, shared this information: Brian, Hi, here's the person you might get more info for the Epcot Teddy Baer and Doll Weekend: Cindy Weber, Project Manager, Epcot Creative Operations, (407) 560-6010.

A.

Thanks Leeann!

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Q.

Ron writes: Brian . Looking for help to plan a golf package for a group to play the Disney courses. Any suggestions where I can find that info.

A.

Ron, This page and this page, and the various ones that are linked to them, should set you on the right path.

Let me know how it goes!

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Q.

Kathie writes: Hi Brian, I just found your site and I must say it is very informative . Our family has walked through Cinderella's Castle over 300 times and we never tire of it. I have home schooled my children throughout the years there and no matter what Park we were in there was always a learning adventure around every corner. My Children have grown up doing Math Lessons at picnic tables at Fort Wilderness and History in Epcot's World Showcase. They've recited poems while eating cheese fries and sitting on the rocking chairs at closing time (sitting there at closing time with cheese fries from Casey's, is now a family tradition of ours) ,in the Magic Kingdom and saw science in the works in Epcot's Body Works. ALL my children were raised on Disney. We go there 2-3 times a year for up to 6 weeks at a time (Annual Passes, of course), and we've stayed at all different Disney Resorts, but our favorite is Fort Wilderness Campground. We started with a tent, moved up to pop-up, stayed in the homes, and now we own a motor home. My children have gotten to know Disney so well that my oldest two children even worked there a few times. Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, MGM Studios, Blizzard Beach and Santa's Mini Golf, just to name a few places that they worked at.

My youngest is now 16, and he is still home schooled and looks forward to his "lessons at Disney.'

We are all planning our BIG shebang for Christmas , and we will be staying at the Campground again. (we take advantage of a discount that offers a monthly rate at the Fort wilderness Campground). We will be met at Christmas time by friends & family members from all over and are vacationing there at the same time we will be . My Mom and Dad are meeting us down there as well as my sister, her hubby and their two children. We are even taking our family dog, McGyver, who's picture of him reading a Disney cookbook, was hung in a Disney Kitchen for a few years ! We usually stay in a Pet Loop (1600 -1800), and of course we always take advantage of the Kennels at MK , Animal Kingdom, Epcot, the Studios, and Fort Wilderness also. I wonder if McGyver has a favorite ??!!

I'll be visiting your site , to keep that good old Disney Magic from fading in-between vacations, from now on.

My husband and I are Travel Agents in New York and I am a Disney Specialist and I've learned to rely on daily input from people vacation experiences, because what we thought was standard at Disney one day, is always changed the next day. That's why after ALL my 300 plus times through those Magic Kingdom turnstiles, no two visits were ever alike.

Christmas in Disney is the most Magical thing I've ever experienced. Adults see things through the eyes of a child, and it is wonderful. Gingerbread, pine, Christmas songs , even the Disney snow on Main Street all add wonder to this truly magical event . I can't wait to get down there!

Um... I have to go pop a Disney Park Songs CD in the player real quick.

A.

Kathie, Thanks so much for your note! It's always great to hear from fellow Disney fans. :)

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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