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Brian Bennett

WDW Trip Planning Guide Reader Feedback

by Brian Bennett

12/3/01

Q.

An unnamed MousePlanet reader writes: I need the mail address for the Disney Institute, Fairway Villas.

A.

Check this page.  In the left-hand margin, you'll find MousePlanet's "Fast Facts" for the Villas at the Disney Institute including the mailing address.

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Q.

An unnamed Cast Member writes: Hello, You don't know me, but I happened to stumble onto your web page (on Tapestry of Dreams) awhile ago as a result of a search for Tapestry photos online. I am a Tapestry cast member, I opened the show back in fall '99. I love the parade and recently I went in a search online to see what kind of a guest response it has received. It's amazing!

I wanted to thank you for your appreciative comments and praise of the parade. It's a lot of hard work, sweat and muscle, but it's worth it. :) I don't know if you are a guest that has visited the parks or a fellow cast member, but I wanted to thank you either way. :)

A.

Thanks to you, and all the other cast members, that have performed in Tapestry over the last couple of years! My family and I have enjoyed it each and every time we've seen it... and every other Epcot guest, I'm sure, would second that.

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Q.

John writes: Hi Brian! We are due to have our ninth Disney vacation for two weeks in early February 2002.  We have nearly always stayed at 'Dixie Landings' and, therefore, have booked Port Orleans Riverside again this time.

However, I was upset to read that Port Orleans French Quarter was being temporarily closed - do this mean that Port Orleans Riverside will be 'heaving' with guests in February? (if French Quarter guests are being transferred to Riverside).

Also, we used to love the walk from 'Dixie' to 'Port Orleans' - will this now be off limits?

Any comments you could offer would be gratefully received Brian.

Site continues to be a wealth of info for us - keep up the good work!

A.

John,

The guests that were booked at the French Quarter are being moved to resorts all over WDW. Mostly, they are going to the other moderates... but I know that some guests have been up-sold to some of the pricier resorts, too.

I have no idea whether or not the carriage walk will remain open to guests. Frankly, I suspect that it will be open but that, with no reason to make the walk, very few guests will take the stroll.

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Q.

Bryce writes: Hi, Brian, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed and appreciated the recent article on cutbacks at WDW. I recently returned from a visit to the World for a wedding of my best friend, and my wife and I spent a week at the Grand Floridian. We made these arrangements last August, so I was concerned when I read about all the cutbacks in the park. I briefly considered changing our reservations to something "off-campus," but then learned that the bride and groom have to pay for whatever allotment for housing isn't used by their guests! Oh, well... I was determined not to let the bad news ruin our fun.

And what do you know? We had a terrific time, and were affected by very few of the cutbacks! In fact, the reduced amount of crowds added to our appreciation of the parks! I've been a regular visitor of WDW since its opening in the early 70's, and have stayed at most of the hotels, so I think I have a fairly good standard to judge by, and frankly, I had very few complaints on this trip!

My biggest concern was the cutback of hours of operation by the parks, as that's one of the main reasons for staying at one of the Disney hotels. In particular, I was concerned that the Magic Kingdom was closing too early. And perhaps we might have stayed there longer than we did, but we got to be there to see the lights in the evening and even enjoyed a Fantasy in the Sky fireworks show before beating the crowds out of the park. But in those afternoon hours, we walked on practically every ride we wanted to go on and only used Fastpass for Peter Pan's Flight (which I doubt will ever be empty!). Yes, I was disappointed not to see the Carousel of Progress again, but that was probably my major disappointment for the trip. Many of the Fastpass rides weren't using it, and although there were plenty of people visiting the parks, it was not the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds that make the average trip somewhat miserable. (I think Disney believes that anything less than a jam-packed park means it's sparsely-attended..!) Epcot, as well, was easy to visit, and was open into the evening hours. Even the Disney MGM Studios was a delight. I ran to get my Fastpass for Tower of Terror, and then walked on the ride 3 times in the space of a half an hour before I could use it! The evening hours were spent at Victoria and Albert's (a restaurant I had always wanted to try, but could not get reservations), or the Adventurers' Club on Pleasure Island, or visiting the other hotels.

All in all, it was a terrific trip, and we enjoyed it immensely. The cutbacks were not as obvious to us as they may be to others, and frankly, I have to say I would encourage anyone to take a trip to WDW now--before it regains popularity and gets crowded again! The air fares are cheap, the planes are not crowded, and the parks are more delightful than ever (for the most part!) and definitely worth the trip. The perceived value may seem less because of the reduced hours and attractions, but the reduced crowds and stress easily make up for it.

Just thought I'd let you know!

A.

Bryce,

I'm so glad you still had a great trip Thanks for letting me know!

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Q.

Linda asks: Hello Brian, I am new to everything Disney and your site is great! Thanks for all the wonderful tips.

We've booked a vacation to Disney World, Orlando, for this coming February 2002 for me, my husband, and our 3 kids ages 4, 8 and 11. I live in New Jersey and watched the 9/11 travesty out of my office building across the Raritan River in NJ, so no thanks to the plane ride - we're taking Amtrak to Orlando - which costs $200 round trip for adults, $100 round trip per kid - We're staying at the Contemporary Hotel in Disney, and got the limited concierge 12th floor (our little 4 yr old is a bit of a terror, and we needed to be near the monorails, character meals, quick food breakfasts/snacks etc...). Our travel agent told us to get a $40 Disney club card so we saved a lot of $. It isn't applicable to the 15th floor full concierge, only to the 12th limited and below.

Anyway, I'm trying to make preferred seating reservations for my husband and I at a few nice restaurants (California grill, Narcoossee's, Victoria and Albert's...) but I'm not sure about what time to make all these reservations. The kids will be booked at either the Neverland club at the Polynesian or at our Mickey club at the Contemporary Hotel on those evenings me and my husband want to have a nice dinner. I don't' want to make the reservations too early or too late, but also don't want them to interfere with perhaps that once a week parade they may have due to cutbacks.

Can you assist? I called the hotel directly - all they said was that there is no more early entry in light of the 9/11 event - they need to keep careful watch on who arrives and they didn't have a full crew during early entry. The characters come to the hotel instead. They also didn't know when the parks would be open or closed in February. Do you know of a normal February 2001 schedule that I can at least work off of? This was the only time we could take the kids out of school. We know it is very off season, but what the heck - a vacation is still a vacation!

A.

Linda,

I would suggest, to be conservative, that you use the hours listed on the WDW Cutbacks page as you plan your trip.

Unfortunately, there is no way to tell what the park hours or parade schedule will be that far in advance -- even during the "normal" situation, Disney doesn't share that information this far in advance.

The restaurants you mentioned are all located in the resort hotels, so you shouldn't have a time problem other than, as you mentioned, the possibility of scheduling over a parade. You can avoid that, for the most part, by scheduling your nice dinners on nights other than Friday and Saturday as they are the most likely days to have a nighttime parade if one is held.

I hope you have a great trip! I think you'll really enjoy the Contemporary. It's a very stylish resort.

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Q.

Ruth asks: Brian, Can you please tell me if any of the restaurant's have gift certificate's available? My parents winter in Florida and love going to the Grand Floridian for lunch. I am looking to purchase gift certificate's for them for Christmas if they are available. Please let me know.

A.

Ruth,

I have no idea! My best suggestion would be to call (407) WDW-DINE and ask the reservationist that question.

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Q.

Another Brian writes: Brian, I read your updates all the time and love them. The other day, a woman wrote to ask for information about off-site accommodations in a specific price range. Well, I have a bit of news for this woman and anyone else looking for off-site accommodations. In response to the slump in tourism, many WDW area hotels have teamed up to offer big discounts over their normal rack rates. These rates can be found on the Official Site of the Orlando / Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Go to the site and just click on Hot Hotel Rates and it will list all the participating hotels, the rates, and the code you need to use (OCVB). There are also links that describe the amenities, including whether they offer a free buffet breakfast or not.

Hope this helps.

A.

Thanks for the note, Brian. I'll make a note of that link on the site.

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Q.

A "concerned CM" (from Disneyland) writes: Dear Brian, Thanks for all the info on WDW. All you guys at MousePlanet do an excellent job.

Anyway, I am a CM at Disneyland Anaheim and I was planning on going to WDW in about a year. But one of the reasons why I was going is now closed: the Carousel of Progress. I am not sure I want to go.

I have never been there and I know there is more to see over there, but for a Disney fan like me, Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress would be the highlight of the trip. I have never seen it before in any of its incarnations (1964 World's Fair, Disneyland, WDW) and I feel like I was cheated out of seeing it. Now I don't know if I'm going to be able to see it at all.

But, I have an idea: bring the Carousel back to Disneyland. It would make perfect sense! The Innoventions attraction in Tomorrowland is really tanking because people think it's boring. I think they should put the Carousel show on the first floor and Innoventions on the second floor.

The corporate sponsors would still have their exhibits and Tomorrowland would see the return of an all-time great show! The show and the exhibits would fit together because the theme is the progress of technology. And believe me, there is a HUGE fan base for the Carousel here. The locals and hard-core fans would go NUTS.

Let's hope the suits realize there's a great, big, beautiful tomorrow for Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress at Disneyland.

A.

I like your idea, but I don't know what it would cost to pull off the move. Maybe Tony Baxter will think about it, though. :)

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Q.

Jennifer asks: My mother just gave me some money - with one stipulation - some of it is to take my family to Walt Disney World. I heard you can get great deals last minute, so I was thinking of going the week of New Years (December 27 - January 6). I first thought this would be a good time; however, after reading comments, it sounds very busy. Is it just around Christmas, or do the crowds reduce after New Year's? I will have a four and five year old. I would love your input.

A.

Jennifer,

Any time around Christmas (up to a week or so after New Year's) is still very busy. Of course, the actual week between the two holidays is the most busy.

If you can delay your visit until the middle or end of January, you'll be in a much less crowded situation.

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Q.

Ana writes: Hi, I am writing from NYC and after the attacks my 11 year old daughter does not want to fly. She does not know about the WDW vacation in February.  Should I buy plane tickets now and hope her fears will diminish or buy train tickets?

Also, I have never nor my family been to Florida or WDW where should we begin planning our WDW vacation? We will be staying at a resort, so no need for hotel reservations, but what should I plan to see on a one week vacation with a husband, 2 daughters, and 1 son?

A.

Ana,

You know your daughter better than I, so I think you'll have to evaluate the flying vs. ground transportation issue.

I would suggest you go over MousePlanet's WDW Trip Planning Guide. There you'll find lots of information about planning a trip.

If you have some specific questions after you've gone through the guide, things that I haven't made clear or covered at all, then feel free to email me back! Have a great trip!

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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