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Brian Bennett

WDW Trip Planning Guide Reader Feedback

by Brian Bennett



Jana asks: Hi Brian. My family has booked a trip to WDW over the Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday Weekend (1/18-1/23) and would like to know how the crowds are during that time. In the past we have avoided the Magic Kingdom on Saturdays but on this trip would like to see the Spectromagic Parade without park hopping. In your opinion, would the crowd size on that Saturday of a holiday weekend motivate you to visit a park other than the Magic Kingdom & then hop over to see the parade or is it not such a big deal? Finally, do you have any feedback regarding how early the parks are opening since the elimination of the early entry privileges and other cutbacks? In other words, do the parks still open earlier than the published time? Please provide specific times to arrive at each park in order to be one of the 1st people through the gate. Thanks for all of your help & information. It's a great site.



You're asking a very difficult question of me because I almost always have park hopper passes and have no reason to have to make such a difficult decision. :) However, I must be honest and tell you that I enjoy Spectromagic so much that I would, indeed, brave the crowds to see the parade. Perhaps you could go to the MK first thing in the morning and just leave the park (for lunch, a swim, a nap) when the crowds get larger in the early afternoon -- and then return in time for the parade run? That would be my personal strategy anyway (the daily break is a mantra of mine), but it would be especially true here.

However, I don't think that Martin Luther King Jr. weekend is that big of a draw. It comes just a few weeks after Christmas and New Years, and it's smack in the middle of the (traditionally) slowest month of the year at WDW. You may get a small bump in crowd size because of locals on the weekend (in fact, that's almost inevitable), but it shouldn't be bad.

The information that I have on park hours is listed on the cutbacks page.

I'd suggest that you ask, immediately upon check in, when the transportation to the parks starts up each day... and plan to be out for the first bus/monorail/boat to the park of your choice each day. You won't get to the park too soon that way, but you'll be as close to "first in line" as possible.



Jay writes: Brian, I am new to your site. Tremendous site!!!! If you could, please give me any information on the Grosvenor Resort. We are going to WDW January 2 - January 8. I seen some very god rates there on the internet but don't know if it is a nice place to stay. My neighbor stayed there a few years ago and said it was great as far as location and upkeep. Any information will be greatly appreciated. Thanks and keep up the great work at MousePlanet.



I've never personally stayed at the Grosvenor. I spent a little time walking around there during a recent trip, though, and it does look to be a reasonably nice property. It's located fairly close to Downtown Disney (within walking distance if you have the time) and is linked to the WDW parks via special shuttle buses that service the Downtown Disney resort hotels.

The main difference between the Grosvenor and the moderate Disney resorts is the lack of a resort-wide theme -- although Moriarty's and Baskerville's (the lounge and restaurant) do have a Sherlock Holmes / Victorian London theme that is very nice. If you get a real good rate, you can't go wrong.



A potential DVC buyer asks: Please review these 4 choices and tell me which is best! Number one - we will "usually" vacation in a one bedroom - in the off season (September or October) and "sometimes" need a 2 bedroom if my parents come. Point wise we really only need around 208 - 218 points to accomplish this and so anywhere from 189 - 210 would really work. Here are the scenarios:

#1 -- 230 points - $58/point -- only 216 to be available in June 2002 (borrowed 14 from this year). We pay closing $500 and then the dues on the 216 points. ( or something like that ....

#2 -- at the advice of "" a lovely lady named Jackie A (I think) - she recommended a package with 189 points -- that was advertised at $62/point with 87 points leftover from this year - giving us 276 for next year. I put in a bid at $58 and asked that she pay the dues on the 87 and she accepted and also "gave" us the 87 points (no dues due by us except on the 189). DOES THIS SOUND GOOD ENOUGH?!?!

#3 -- I just went back on and found a listing for 210 points - at $60/point of which I think I could get at $58 and 71 points are now available and all 210 for next year in March 2002 (this seems VERY appealing to me!!!). I think that is more like the number we ** really ** will need.

#4 -- I think this is a "loaded" one that some speak of -- 210 points for $66 per point -- however, they've "banked" 103 from 2000 (so I know those will expire soon right?) - and then there are still 210 from 2001 and plus the 210 we'll get in June of 2002. Again - that is $66/point -- quite higher than the rest.

WITH ALL THOSE ABOVE SITUATIONS - WHICH IS BEST? You'll have to explain to me how to handle that #4 loaded one as far as bottom line price - and then of course the dues -- etc., etc., -- See we'd like to stay a "week and a half" if possible -- say Sunday - Wednesday (10 nights per stay) and with going in the off season and starting the stay on Sunday (to avoid double points) - we'd need 208 to do a Sunday - Tuesday (leaving Wednesday) in a 1 bedroom and to do a 2 bedroom from Sunday - Sunday (leaving Sunday) we'd need 218. (We'd probably figure doing that every "other" year perhaps.

So the way I look at it is we need that higher number of points (210) ? What do you think?



I'll address some of the issues you brought up, but I'll have to leave the big question (which option to pursue) to you and a spreadsheet. The bottom line decision is yours, and I wouldn't want to make a recommendation that turns out to be less than best for you, perhaps because of information in your situation that I'm not privy to...

There are pros and cons to each option, and you've documented them well, so you really have to decide which of them best meets your needs given your financial ability to do this (for example, if any of the options is over your budget, then you can eliminate them from consideration right off the top!)

The major thing I need to caution you about, though, is your assumption about how many points you'll need for each stay. DVC does reserve the right to change the points schedule from year to year. Of course, the TOTAL number of points required over the course of the entire year can not change, but supply and demand comes into play and DVC may shift points from one part of the calendar to another. For example, if DVC notices a trend that fewer members are staying during high season and are shifting to make the Fall time more busy, they WILL increase the number of points required to stay in the Fall (with a corresponding decrease in points required during that high season time). If you plan so very carefully for a particular schedule, you may find yourself in a bind down the road...

The other thing you'll have to be careful of (and again, I think you have a good handle on it) is that often points are less expensive on resale than others... and usually that's because of points that are unavailable (already used this year and/or borrowed from next year). Make sure on any deal that you know exactly what you're getting!

Finally, one personal comment... no matter what number of points you feel you need, you'll likely wish you had more down the road. Many, many members that I've talked to over the years have added points because they found other ways to use them and found that they enjoyed extended trips more so than they thought. I, for example, started with 210 points and ended up adding 150 more.

Hope that helps... but you really should lay out the pros and cons of each option and decide where to go from there. You may also want to contact the DVC directly -- perhaps they'll "dicker" with you if you make it clear that you're looking at resale options. I don't know, but it's worth checking out.



A MousePlanet reader asks: Hi! I'm planning a short visit to Disney World for New Years and I have the Birnbaum's 2001 Guide. On the one day schedule it has it suggests having lunch either on Tom Sawyer Island (at Aunt Polly's Dockside --), in Frontierland, or in Liberty Square. Please tell me what you think has the best atmosphere and food (with vegetarian options) in one of those areas!! Please e-mail me back soon! With many many thanks!!!


Both Aunt Polly's and the Liberty Tree Tavern are nice places. Aunt Polly's is much less formal (it's an outdoor counter service sandwich stand while the Tavern is a sit-down restaurant). Also, in the evenings the Tavern is actually an all-you-can-eat (family style) character meal venue. Both have vegetarian options, but as you probably already know -- vegetarian options are limited.



Sara comments: There needs to be a lot more photographs of people enjoying themselves at your parks.


Thanks for your comment, Sara. I'm constantly working to add new photos to MousePlanet, but be aware that the Disney parks are not "my parks." MousePlanet is not affiliated with the Walt Disney Company in any way.



Brian writes: Brian, Hello! I am a senior (about to graduate) at Illinois State University where I major in parks and recreation. My girlfriend Amy and I have been planning a trip to WDW for over a year now and in just 6 days we will be there! The excitement has hit me so hard I find it difficult to stay focused when studying for finals. We are both about to graduate and this trip is our Christmas gift to each other.

We're staying at the All-Star Sports. Anyhow, ever since we decided to go I have turned into a Disney Fanatic! I have checked your website daily and I love the helpful hints and the trip reports. I was hoping that I could write a report myself for the website. I have read a lot of them and I haven't found many written by college age kids so maybe my report would be helpful.

My only question is where do I start? The anticipation is building each day and I just cannot wait to walk into the Magic Kingdom for the first time. So, if you could tell me where I could start, I'd appreciate it. Thanks a bunch!



Thanks so much for your note! I'm glad you've been finding MousePlanet helpful as you plan.

I would be very happy to get a trip report from you. My suggestions are all online. If you look at the "articles" listed in the left hand margin, you'll find lots of information about writing and posting your report.

Have a great trip!



A MousePlanet reader shares: Dear Brian, Mannequins Dance Palace is now open. They opted not to keep it closed until New Year's Eve, much to our relief. 

As for the Living Seas, the ride portion is indeed closed. Why, I couldn't say. When you enter the first holding area, you have the option of watching a "briefing" (the pre-show film - I assume it's the same one, but I didn't check) or taking the "hydrolator" directly to Seabase Alpha. After the "hydrolator," you must walk through the gift shop (imagine that!) to arrive in Seabase Alpha. It feels pretty strange, & it doesn't look all that great, either. I hope that this is just a temporary measure.

I go to the parks quite a bit. I enjoy your trip planning guide, even though I live here, which should tell you something!


Thanks for the update!  It's great to know that even some "locals" are finding MousePlanet's WDW information helpful.  :)



Joan asks: I cannot find map on your site with all the roads, Parks and Hotels on it - a general view of WDW. I want to show friends the Hotels and their Christmas decorations and I get lost out there without a map . I had a pamphlet with everything on it and loaned it out so there it went.



I would suggest you go to any WDW resort hotel and ask for the WDW Transportation Guide. That's the brochure that has the great map.

Unfortunately, due to copyright restrictions, our lawyers have told us that MousePlanet can not reproduce that map on the site.



Another Brian shares: Brian, I've enjoyed your site for a long time, and wanted to drop you a little bit of unfortunate news. Our family is meeting up at Walt Disney World next week, and we got the call a few days ago from Disney telling us that Port Orleans Riverside, where we were scheduled to stay, is also shutting down. We were a little worried when the French Quarter shut down, and it looks like the closure of Port Orleans is complete.

We managed to negotiate an inexpensive upgrade to the Contemporary, but they were pushing us to the Caribbean Beach or Coronado.

Thought you might like to know, since I was surprised I hadn't seen it mentioned on your site yet.


Thanks for the note, Brian.

The reason why I haven't made a big deal about the Riverside situation is that it's not closing completely. They are in process of reducing the number of open buildings, but the resort itself will remain open. The problem for WDW is that, with less rooms available in the Riverside inventory, it's starting to fill up. That's why they were trying to move you out -- to one of the moderates if at all possible.



John WritesAm so far having a tricky time trying to find the answer to what I thought would be an easy question: If you've purchased a WDW Park Hopper Plus ticket, for example, does that include parking at the different theme and water parks, or do they still ding you extra if you go from park to park in your own vehicle?

Looked through several pages, and searched under parking, but couldn't seem to nail this one down.

Lots of great stuff on your site though, and I'll be studying it more soon.



The park hopper plus does NOT include parking. However, you only ever have to pay for parking at WDW once each day. Your receipt will ensure "free" parking at all other WDW lots from that time forward during the given day.

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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