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Brian Bennett

WDW Trip Planning Guide Reader Feedback

by Brian Bennett

01/21/02

WOW!  This is the fiftieth edition of "Notes From the World."  When I agreed to start up a reader mail column for MousePlanet, I never thought I would enjoy it so much!  I've enjoyed answering -- to the best of my ability -- the various questions that you've all posed.  Thanks so much for participating!

Here's the latest... 

Q.

A concerned cast member writes: Brian, you get a fair amount of user readership. Can you please point out to the readers the saddest signs of a company fallen on hard times and that is the selling off of the Dreamfinder Blimp from JIYI. I can't believe that this item is for sale, and I consider it a slap of anybody who was ever a fan. I'd rather see it in a dumpster than see it used as some quick money scheme for the company.

Here is the URL and I recommend users send email to disney.auctions@disneyonline.com to request that they remove this.

As a side note, the item is charging $5000 shipping/west coast $15000 shipping/east coast. And that's essentially the company's scam to avoid the eBay surcharges by building their reserve price into the shipping costs.

I've read some people have offered to drive and pick it up and were told that's okay, but they'd still have to pay the shipping cost.

A.

Thanks for the note.  I'll share this with MousePlanet readers as soon as I can.

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Q.

Glenn writes:

Hi Brian, Thanks for posting our Trip Report Recently. We are writing in response to a recent WDW Trip Planning Guide Reader Feedback letter from Theresa regarding deals for Canadian travelers.

After reading this, we were somewhat mystified as to why any company should be obliged to offer discounts for foreign travelers. That being said however, Disney is one company that does offer special deals for Canadians. For example, right now Disney is offering a buy one, get another for 50% off Park Hopper pass. The Park Hopper deals are available only to Canadians and only until late April. In addition, hotels can be had at the All Star Resorts for US $59.

Being from Canada ourselves, and frequent WDW visitors, we have found many ways to save money when traveling to Disney. Some of these include:

  1. Invest in Disney Vacation Club if you intend to visit frequently. You will find that in a short period of time the points pay for themselves, and you will no longer have to pay for hotels while at Disney.
  2. If you intend to go every year, buy Annual passes, and straddle your vacation such that you can get two uses for the one pass.
  3. Disney has a Canadian web site www.disney.ca. Check this web site often for special deals targeted specifically at Canadians. Also, check the US site, and watch for offers in your local papers and through the mail.
  4. Often Canadian travel agents purchase special deals from Disney and publish them in local papers throughout Canada. (watch for agency fees)
  5. Visit Deb Wills site for further cost cutting strategies. Her site address is www.wdwig.com.

We do not recall any special deals offered by Disney limited to Americans only. As you mentioned Brian, they do have deals limited to California residents and Florida residents. These deals however are aimed at the local residents that represent repeat business for Disney, those that if they had to pay the same costs as regular tourists would only visit occasionally, and therefore spend less of merchandise, food and restaurants in the parks.

We hope this helps Theresa and all other Canadians that travel to Florida. We recall reading back in the early 1990's that almost 30% of non Florida travelers to WDW were from Canada. Given the cold climate, and the snowbird effect (people love to go south in the winter) this number does not surprise us. However, given the recent decline in the Canadian dollar, it would also not surprise us if the number of Canadian travelers is also down significantly.

 

Rob adds:

I'm not sure what the other Canadian (Theresa) was talking about, but there have been yearly deals on tickets for both Disneyland and Disney World for Canadians.

I haven't seen trip packages for Disney World with discounted accommodations but Alaska Airlines offers a kids fly free deal and it included some sort of kids free admission deal for a while too!

For Disney World Canadian admission see this page. Also, Canadians should be pointed to www.disney.ca for Canadian specific info.

and finally, Allison shares:

I am writing in response to Theresa, who wrote you asking about discounts for Canadian guests. I found this on mousesavers.com. Turns out there are some discounts out for Canadian residents...

"ONLY for Canadian residents - ask for Code CCM and get All Star resorts for $79 US and Moderates for $99 US. Gives excellent discounts at the Deluxe hotels, too. A variation on this, Code CCN, gives you the same room rates and adds on Ultimate Hopper Passes at a 10% discount! Valid 2/14/02-4/20/02 (may be blacked out during Easter Weekend). Thanks to Charles B of WDWorld.com, a wonderful French-language unofficial Disney site, for the info on CCM. Thanks to Mike for info on CCN.

"Another one for Canadians ONLY - Stay 4 nights or more at the All-Star Resorts for $59.00 US per night. Available most nights 1/6/02 - 2/13/02. Rooms are limited and must be booked by 2/13/02. Proof of Canadian residency required. This one also uses Code CCM. Appeared in the Toronto Sunday Sun 1/13/02. Thanks to Sandra C and Mark for the info."

Thanks for hosting such a wonderfully informative site! Keep up the great work!

A.

Obviously, several of our readers knew more about this that I did.  Thanks for the help, everyone!

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Q.

Paul asks: Brian, I have a convention at the Coronado Springs Hotel for a week. My wife is going to join me with two 9 year olds on Wednesday evening. They will be/can be in the park Thursday thru Sunday. I will join them at least Saturday and Sunday and maybe some on Thursday.

We are looking for park passes staying on the Disney property and wonder what is the best kind. We have not been there before.

Also, would like to have a room at the Coronado starting with Thursday or Friday with a separate connector room for the kids or a mini suite kind of thing with a separate bedroom without getting hammered on price. My company is paying $133/night and we have no cancellation penalty so if you can do something wonderful or have ideas, let me know via email.

A.

Paul,

Regarding your park admission issue, I'd suggest you read through the admission media page.  This page covers all of the available types of tickets, so you can select the one that meets your needs the best. Be aware that January is the traditional time for admission price increases, so unless you buy your tickets soon (through your local Disney Store, if possible) you may end up paying a bit more than the prices I've listed on the page.

Regarding your Coronado Springs questions (and it's a very nice resort, by the way), I'd suggest you read, from MousePlanet's WDW Trip Planning Guide, the general page about the WDW resorts as well as the Coronado Springs Resort Fast Facts page and look over the Coronado Springs Resort photo tour.

Once you know more about the resort, you should call WDW's central reservations office at (407) 934-7639 and make the reservations. Since your trip is so close (only a couple of weeks now), you're going to be pretty much at Disney's mercy on pricing. You may get a seasonal discount, though. You should also check with the convention planners to see if they have block room rates available.

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Q.

Janet asks: I haven't been able to find anything regarding my question on your site, or other WDW travel sites. We are planning a trip to WDW in April and will be flying into Orlando with our 2.5 year old son. Do we HAVE to bring a car seat???? I know it is recommended on planes, but not required.

My real question is transportation to and from the airport to the Disney hotel. What is the law in Florida regarding taking a child in a taxi or limo service type thing. Do you have to have a car seat? Also we are planning to rent a car for 1 day for a side trip to Sea World.

Am I correct in assuming you can make arrangements through a rental company for a car seat with the car? Would we be better off just to call a taxi to take us to Sea World and pick us up later in the day?

Especially with the new laws limiting carry-on baggage, I can't imagine bringing a car seat, stroller, and the diaper bag along with  our son. Thanks for your help!

A.

Excellent question, Janet! I'll have to make sure I address this one on the site!

Florida law requires that children under the age of six be restrained in an approved car seat. That means that yes, you need one (not for the plane, but for ground transport).

You can make arrangements with a rental car company for a car seat. Make that clear up front when you make the reservations. A small surcharge should be expected. Be aware, though, that most rental car company's car seats are in less than great shape. When we rented a car from a major rental car firm in 1998, we brought our own car seat (we checked it on the plane) -- but my wife and I did see the car seats that they had available and they were in pretty tough shape.

On the Disney transportation (buses, monorail, and boats), no car seats are required. I don't know if that's a loophole in Florida law or not, but young children are routinely held on their parent's laps.

I don't know the specific answer for a taxi or shuttle service. The situation may be similar to the Disney Transportation. You can make sure when you make your reservations or call the taxi company, though, just to be completely confident.

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Q.

Dan writesJust wanted to report that all went well with the request to knock two days off our length-of-stay passes. We arrived at about 3:30 in the afternoon to the Boardwalk and began check-in. Initially the women indicated she could only knock one day off.

I then hemmed and hawed to the group on should we just buy hoppers, as we had tickets to MVMCP which meant at least one day either at the pool or a water park.

Well during this discussion she piped up that she could sell us the 8 day/7 night pass down from 10 day/9 night pass. It saved the family we where with approximately $200 and us $150.

Thanks again.

A.

Dan,

I'm not surprised that you were able to get that worked out. I think the Cast member gave you the company's official line with the "I can only knock off one day" statement, but I also know that when pressed, WDW will knock off both ends if it means keeping you on site (versus going to Sea World or Universal, for example).

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Q.

Steve asks: Brian, I check your site about 3 times a week and am grateful for the info especially when planning our trips. I have a few questions before we call to make reservations for this summer:

We have a (by the time we go) 2 year old daughter and are struggling over staying at the Polynesian, or Port Orleans Riverside (if it's still open by then) our concern lies in the transportation (bus versus monorail) and the cost difference of the two resorts. We've never stayed at either of them before so we don't have a good reference to work from.

Secondly, we have also been considering the concierge service at the Polynesian to make breakfast and snack time for our daughter a little easier is the service really worth the extra $$$? We had it on our Honeymoon 5 years ago at the Grand Floridian and it was excellent but is the Polynesian any different?

Third and final question.... wasn't the island off of Fort Wilderness (in Bay Lake) called "Discovery Island" and it had a sort of tropical animal park and trails? Is it still accessible?

Thank you for any help you can give me and especially thank you for this great site.

A.

Steve,

In my opinion, the price of the Polynesian isn't worth it just for the monorail. If cost is an issue, make your reservations for Riverside! You'll enjoy it very much, and the buses are really very efficient anyway.

I'd add concierge service if I had the money, but since you already mentioned the cost difference between the Polynesian and Port Orleans as being an issue, I personally wouldn't add it on. Instead, assuming you're driving down), I'd throw a toaster in the car and take some bread, pop tarts, cereal, and such and just have simple breakfasts in the room. If you're driving, the toaster is out -- but you can still do the same thing by buying groceries and using them in the room.

The incarnation of Discovery Island, being the Island in Bay Lake, is no longer operating. The central part of Animal Kingdom is now called "Discovery Island." I don't know this for certain, but I suspect that the renaming of "Safari Village" to "Discovery Island" allowed WDW to transfer their zoological park credentials. In any case, Animal Kingdom blows the socks off of Discovery Island. Make sure you see it during your trip!

-

Q.

Chris writes: Great Site.  I have quite a few WDW tickets with dates left on them. I think I read on your site that if I were to purchase a annual pass I could apply these to the purchase. Or is this just wishful thinking on my part? I know that they do not expire. Thanks for your help

A.

Chris,

Thanks for the kind comment!

The most correct answer is that you can apply any unused days to an annual pass (or any other new multi-day pass) as long as the original passes were used by you in the first place. For example, you can't collect up the passes that various family members used (that have unused days on them) and apply them to a new pass. In reality, you might get away with such a thing, but officially it's not allowed. It's especially true that you can't apply the unused portion of a child's pass to an adult pass (unless, of course, the child in question has reached adult age in between the time that the old pass was purchased and the new one is being bought).

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Q.

Geri asks: Hi Brian, We planning a trip to Disney the second week of May. We are having a real problem figuring out where we want to stay. There will be two families.

Our choices are:

  • The Swan
  • The Wilderness
  • Port Orleans Riverside
  • The Wyndham

Could you please give us pros and cons of each hotel and your recommendations? We would greatly appreciate it!!!!

A.

Geri,

I don't know what your needs and budget are, so I'll just give you some over all differences to think about...

First off, the Wilderness Lodge and Port Orleans are all owned by Disney while the Swan and Wyndham Palace Resort & Spa are not.

Wilderness Lodge and Port Orleans are both themed resorts, with a very strong atmosphere about them. The Swan and Wyndham Palace Resort & Spa are very nice resorts, but are not themed.

All four resorts are serviced by shuttle transportation, but the Wyndham Palace Resort & Spa is serviced by Downtown Disney Resort shuttles (which drop off and pick up at the same locations where off site hotel shuttles would) while the other three resorts are serviced by WDW Transportation (which drop off and pick up at more convenient locations.

Price is a factor, but I don't have recent pricing on the Swan and Wyndham Palace Resort & Spa, so you'd have to do that homework yourself.

You may want to read MousePlanet's Fast Facts Pages on Wilderness Lodge, Port Orleans Riverside, and the on site, but non-Disney resorts which includes the Swan and Wyndham Palace Resort & Spa.

-

Q.

Jeannie writes: Hi Brian, Thank you for all the work you do on this very informative site!

I have heard recommendations against going to the Magic Kingdom on weekends because the local crowd adds dramatically to the numbers. Is it true of just that park?  Is it typically Saturday or Sunday that we should avoid or both days? I am specifically thinking of the winter off-season and in particular a possible trip this February.

A.

Jeannie,

All of the parks get busier on the weekends due to local traffic, but the phenomenon is most prevalent during the busier times of the year and at the Magic Kingdom. Frankly, during the Winter off-season, I wouldn't worry about it at all.

Be aware that you may run into significant college Spring break crowds during February!

-

Q.

Scott writes: Brian, we are traveling to WDW March 20-29 for our annual trip. Will Port Orleans Riverside be open and available for us? We have had reservations there for quite some time. Any other areas we need to be aware of that have changed/closed?

A.

Scott,

Riverside is open, but some of the buildings are closed. Bottom line, the capacity at the resort is much lower than normal. Since you have confirmed reservations, you shouldn't have a problem.

Besides, you're going to be there just before Easter, so crowd levels at that time might dictate that all the buildings be open again anyway. :)

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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