by Brian Bennett
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...
| 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.
is the URL and I recommend users send email to email@example.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.
|Thanks for the note. I'll share this with
MousePlanet readers as soon as I can.
| 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:
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- Often Canadian travel agents purchase
special deals from Disney and publish them in local papers
throughout Canada. (watch for agency fees)
- 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
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
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
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!
|Obviously, several of our readers knew more about
this that I did. Thanks for the help, everyone!
|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
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.
Regarding your park admission issue, I'd suggest you read
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
Facts page and look over the Coronado Springs Resort photo
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.
|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
|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.
|Dan writes: Just
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
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.
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).
|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.
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!
|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
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).
|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
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
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
Orleans Riverside, and the on
site, but non-Disney resorts which includes the Swan and
Wyndham Palace Resort & Spa.
|Jeannie writes: Hi
Brian, Thank you for all the work you do on this very informative
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.
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!
|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?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org!
Brian Bennett's Disney Trip Planner
Click here to see
some awesome WDW pieces that have run on MousePlanet recently!
here to check out the rest of Brian's Archive, including all of the previously
published "Notes From the World" pieces!
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!