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Brian Bennett

WDW Trip Planning Guide Reader Feedback

by Brian Bennett

3/25/02

Q.

Jason asks: I have a question. I currently own a Annual Pass and want to know if I can upgrade to a Premium Annual Pass. I've heard differing views that you can and you can't.  I was looking for your input as to whether it can be done.

A.

Jason,

You can certainly upgrade to a PAP. You'll have to pay the difference in the value between the regular AP and the PAP, of course.

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Q.

Lori writes: I will be traveling to WDW early in June. I was told by a Disney employee to allow myself an hour to get from the Magic Kingdom to my hotel room via Disney bus. The whole reason I am staying on-site is so that I can get back to my room quickly so that the kids can nap. I understand I can drive my own car to the park, but when I leave will I be able to park close to the entrance when I return? Is there a guest only parking lot? Can I drive to the contemporary and then take the monorail directly into the park to save time? An hour travel back to the hotel hardly seems worth the extra money. Any help would be appreciated.

A.

Lori,

I don't know what resort you're staying at, but an hour transportation time seems a bit high. From gate to room, though, I wouldn't be surprised to see the timing be 30-45 minutes. If you stay offsite, though, the time from gate to room will be much greater... more like an hour or more.

For example, if you leave the Magic Kingdom and walk to the bus stop (2 minutes), wait for a bus (10-15 minutes), then ride the bus to Port Orleans (10 minutes), then walk from your bus stop to your room (2-5 minutes).... the total is about a half hour.

If you leave the Magic Kingdom and walk to the monorail (2 minutes), wait for a monorail (10 minutes), then ride the monorail to the Ticket and Transportation Center (5 minutes), then walk from the monorail to the tram loading area (2 minutes), then wait for a tram (10-15 minutes), tram ride to your car parking area (5 minutes), walk to your car (1 minutes), then drive to your hotel (15 minutes), then walk from your car to your room (2-5 minutes).... the total is about an hour.

In both cases, these are about average scenarios. If a bus or monorail or tram comes earlier, you could get back a bit earlier, but if any of those legs of your journey are delayed, you could be in for a longer wait. During the middle of the day during the busiest seasons, a trip from the MK to an offsite hotel could easily take an hour and a quarter to an hour and a half.

The parking areas near the parks are all very, very large. The one for the MK and Epcot are particularly humongous. There is no special parking area for on-site guests, so you'd be parking along with all of the day visitors.

Here's why I would still recommend staying on site. You may have a slight wait for a bus, but that's the only potential delay in the whole return trip to your hotel. When driving (to the MK anyway), there are many possible delays. Besides that, there are irritations... delays, wrong turns (that can take you a long way from where you meant to go), traffic, construction... all of those things can strip the magic from your mind long before you return to your hotel room.

I strongly urge you to stay on site, and plan (worst case) for a 45 minute return trip via Disney transportation to your hotel... and enjoy your vacation.

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Q.

Evan writes: I saw that someone was talking about their 7 day plus passes and mentioned that they can go to DisneyQuest. And you said yes. Well just so everyone knows DisneyQuest is not an option on the passes (you probably know that already though).

A.

Yep,

Thanks for the correction Evan, I let that one slip. Sorry. :)

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Q.

Bruce asks:

Brian, Thanks for providing all of the great information!  Since Early Entry hasn't been around for a few months now, have the parks settled into a daily attendance pattern? When we stayed off-site, it was always easy - avoid the park that had Early Entry and you should be fine. Now we're going to be on-site, but I feel like I'm guessing instead of planning.

Thanks for any help!

and Brenda writes

We are planning a trip at the end of the month. What days are best to see the four parks? Since Sunrise Mornings are canceled, what should be our plan? Any information would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks so much!

A.

Bruce,

The main thing to remember now is to avoid the Magic Kingdom on Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Epcot gets busier mid-week. The Studios is pretty even in traffic throughout the week, but a bit lighter on Mondays and Tuesdays. Animal Kingdom is so large that it's difficult to see any pattern there.

In all cases, Sundays are still the quietest days at all of the parks.

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Q.

Bill asks: Brian, Our family visited WDW in December. I made the reservations using my Disney Club membership through the Walt Disney Travel Company. I made room-only reservations which they classify as a basic package or some other term.

Anyway, they included one day passes for everyone in the family to the Wide World of Sports complex. We didn't get a chance to use them so my question is, are they still good? And if they are still good, how long will they be? There is no indication that they expire anywhere on the passes themselves, which look just like one day, one park passes (character picture on the front, magnetic strip on the back) but with sports complex admission printed on the back.

Keep up the great work

A.

First off, Bill, thanks for the kind comment on the site.

I'm not familiar with Wide World of Sports admission media specifically, but in general, WDW admission media is pretty specific about printing the rules regarding it's usage directly on the ticket or pass itself. The reason is that WDW wants the cast members right at the venue entrance to be able to make judgment calls if any issue arises.

You can always check the admission media at guest relations, but I think, if you're sure no one has used the tickets, they're probably still good for admission.

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Q.

Alan writes: Hi Brian last time I was at WDW December 2001. I got to Pleasure Inland about 9:00pm. I paid for my Premium annual pass and I needed to see a Guest relations booth. So I can see friend in Pleasure Inland. On the West side there is a Guest Relations booth a short walk from the entree to Pleasure Inland. I do not know what time the booth open but there are no lines, so people can get their tickets scanned and see residual value is left on them.

A.

Thanks for the tip, Alan. I'll share it in an upcoming Notes.

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Q.

David writes: I'm sure I have seen it somewhere, but could you enlighten me as to what the breakeven point is for purchasing an Annual Pass versus park hoppers. Specifically, if a family of five buys one AP (adult) and regular park hoppers for the other members for a 6 day visit, is it an advantage taking into account AP discounts on Disney resorts?

A.

David,

You can get an excellent deal on accommodations using an AP discount, but it depends on when you plan to visit. Disney often makes AP discounts available only during the very quiet times of the year (not surprising). Worse, Disney has an annoying habit of not making those discounts available very far in advance. Still, it never hurts to ask when you call to make reservations.

The break even point is about seven days. If there's any chance of using the pass for another trip or two during the year, you'd be very wise to buy the APs.

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Q.

Sherri asks:  I am writing because I would like to look into getting hopper passes for Walt Disney World at a discounted price. I will be going to WDW for the first time in late May with some friends. Please email me back if you have any info about discounted Disney tickets. Thank you very much.

A.

Sherri,

There is information on admission media discounts on these two MousePlanet pages, first the Disney Club page and also on the Admission Media from A to Z page.

-

Q.

Marilyn writes: Brian, First of all, let me tell you what a great site you've created! This is our second trip in less than a year and both times I've gotten a ton of information! Thanks!

I've heard that there is construction going on at all the moderate hotels except Coronado Springs. Can you confirm that? In fact, our AAA travel agent told us if you want to stay at a moderate, right now that only one she would recommend in Coronado Springs. We need a room for 5 and were hoping for Port Orleans Resort Riverside.

If this is true, is there a completion date scheduled?

Thanks for your help!

A.

Marilyn, I don't think your AAA agent is completely correct. However, I know Disney is trying to push Coronado Springs over the others. Here's the scoop....

Port Orleans Resort French Quarter is currently closed (completely). Port Orleans Resort Riverside is now partially closed (many of the buildings are not being used. Caribbean Beach Resort and Coronado Springs Resort are both operating normally.

I'd suggest you call your agent back and just ask him (or her) to book Port Orleans Resort Riverside as it is the only moderate resort that can sleep five.

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Q.

Fran asks: Is there a credit card that is best to you while at WDW I'm hearing that there is one that you can get discounts it you use it, but I don't know which card that is, there are so may.

A.

Fran,

American Express is the official card of WDW. You can use the Am Ex card, book special packages through it, and so on... and be given special privileges as a result. For example, there if you book certain packages using the Am Ex you may receive special "white glove treatment" that includes special give-aways, and so on.

However... I don't know of a credit card that gives you discounts. There is the Disney Club membership which can provide discounts, but it's not a credit card... it's simply a club (for which you pay a membership fee) that provides some discounts.

You can read more about it on MousePlanet's Disney Club page.

-

Q.

Tim writes: Brian, Good Morning! My wife and I are trying to book a character breakfast at Cinderella's Castle for our little boy and I was told that we needed to book the reservation 60 days in advance. The question that I have is, we have been calling at 6:59 am each morning and by 7:03 am we are told that the breakfasts are sold out. Is there something that we can do differently to try to secure a slot?

Thank You and have A Snapple Kind Of Day!

A.

Tim,

The best way that I've found for getting reservations at Cinderella's Royal Table is to start calling at about 6:55am Eastern time, then repeatedly hitting "redial" on my phone until I get a live operator. It worked for me on a couple of occasions, but I might have just been lucky.

I don't know of anything else you can do other than try to get into the restaurant on the day you're in the park (hoping for a cancellation or an unlikely opening).

Sorry, but that's the situation at this, WDW's most popular breakfast.

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Q.

Lisa asks: Hi, could you give me some information on the Beach Club Resort?  I have reservations there in August. Also I would like to have you're opinion on the time I am going... is Disney world very busy at that time?

A.

Lisa,

You'll find a ton of information on this page, including a link (at the very top of the page) to a "photo tour" of the resort.

Walt Disney World won't be too busy early that week, but with Labor Day being the day after your departure, you'll see a big increase in crowd level for the last part of your trip.

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Q.

Velma states: I need an area map of the Disney Wide World of Sports complex, showing hotels and resorts in the area.

A.

Velma,

Unfortunately, I can't provide you with such a map. Disney does have a great map of the whole WDW complex, but it is copyrighted and I can't reproduce it on MousePlanet.

However, I can tell you that the Wide World of Sports Complex is down in the South Eastern part of WDW. The All Star Resorts are pretty close by, followed in proximity order by Animal Kingdom Lodge, Coronado Springs Resort, the Boardwalk, the WDW Swan and Dolphin, the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, and Caribbean Beach Resort.

Sorry I can't provide a map, but at least that should help a bit.

-

Q.

A MousePlanet reader writes: Brian, I have two questions that I've been unable to find answers on your site (which is amazing by the way!) We're coming in July 2002 to Disney:
  1. Kidcot stops in Epcot - what times do they open and close. I read somewhere they only open at 1:00 pm? Are they open until closing?
  2. In-room babysitting - what do the sitters do when the kids are sleeping? Do they keep the lights on/watch TV or read with a book light?

A.

Last time I checked, the Kidcot stations did, indeed, open at about 1:00pm. They are open until 8:00pm (thanks to MousePlanet reader Patrick Carey for that correction).

As far as in-room babysitting goes... you have me stumped. I've never used such a service, so I really don't know what the in-room sitters do after lights out. When you call to make the sitting arrangements, though, I'm sure you can discuss that issue and how you would like for things to be handled versus the sitter's policy.

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Q.

Lynn writes: Hi, I've been reading your site for about a year now (just before my first visit to Disney) and I am now returning with my mum, boyfriend and his little brother for the 4th of July celebrations. Have you any suggestions as to what goes on in the parks then? As you are very busy running the site, I'll understand if there is no reply, but thanks again for your invaluable help anyway.

A.

Lynn,

Early July is one of the busiest times of the year just because of the Summer school break. As a result, there usually isn't much that is done then. However, you will find that there's a special fireworks display at the Magic Kingdom, and you'll see some decorations and so on, but nothing as extravagant as the Christmas holiday decor.

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Q.

Susan writes: I understand that there is a tour available for all ages in the Magic Kingdom but can't find any information on it. It is not the backlot (Editor's Note: actually the "Behind the Magic" tour) tour if you have any information about this private tour could you please e-mail me?

A.

Susan,

Check out this page. You'll see that there is a tour called "Family Magic" which is actually more of an activity than a tour. You can always check in at City Hall (Guest Relations) to see what other options may be available during your trip.

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Q.

Janet asks: Hi Brian, I have a question about old park tickets. I was told that unused days on passes do not expire. I have a couple of All-in-one hopper 6 day passes from 5/99. I believe there is one day left on them. We are going back to Disney this May and I would like to use them. How do I find out?

A.

Janet,

The only way to know for sure is to go to guest relations at one of the parks or hotels and have them scan the ticket. You're right, though, if there is any residual value left on the pass you can still use it.

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Q.

Christi asks: Hi Brian, I am a daily visitor to your site and thought I knew where to find everything but I am having some difficulty locating information on specific discounts that are available to annual pass holders.

The reason I am asking is that we are planning an 8 day visit in September this year and are staying at Port Orleans Riverside. We usually use the Disney Club discount but the annual pass holder discount is better. When I compare the prices of purchasing four 5 day passes and using the Disney Club Discount on our room versus purchasing one annual pass and three 5 day passes and using the annual pass holder discount, the total cost is only about $30 more for the annual pass. Although we have been going to Disney World annually now for the past five years, we have no plans to go again until2004 so the annual pass would only be used during this visit. Are there any other benefits or discounts available other than the discounts on the room?

A.

Christi,

There's a lot of overlap between the Disney Club and AP discounts. I don't have a complete list of the discounts because they do change frequently, but there are other benefits (besides discounts) that AP holders receive. I also happen to know that there is an upcoming piece which will run in Sue Holland's "Everything but the Parks" column (scheduled to run in April) on MousePlanet that covers all of those perks.

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Q.

Cynthia writes: My family and I visited Disney World 6 years ago, and have I day left on our tickets. The children are now 13 and 15 years of age. How do we use the leftover day?

A.

Cynthia,

You can use any residual value on the adult pass as is. The residual value on the old children's passes will have to be credited towards the value of new adult passes since both of your kids are over nine years of age now.

You can get that taken care of at any guest relations center at WDW.

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Q.

A MousePlanet reader writes: ... I have reservations for Port Orleans Resort Riverside, but was wondering if you have an idea of a great place to stay outside Disney... I have stayed at the Vistana and enjoyed it. Any other places that you would recommend?

A.

I generally stay on site since I prefer the themeing and proximity of being right at WDW. I enjoyed my stay at Westgate Lakes, though. Vistana, of course, also comes highly recommended.

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Q.

Scott asks: Dear Brian, I was raised on the West coast and grew up thinking of Disneyland as "the" Disney theme park. In recent years, I have supplemented my many trips to Disneyland with trips to WDW (specifically the Magic Kingdom at WDW) and Tokyo Disneyland.

Upon visiting these newer parks, I was taken by the more "generic" layout (i.e., no Matterhorn and no New Orleans Square.)

As these are a couple of my favorite things at Disneyland (and I'll bet I'm not alone in that observation), can you shed any light on why they were omitted from the other parks?

A.

Scott,

I don't think you can say that things were omitted, just that the parks are a bit unique. Disneyland, for example, doesn't have a "Liberty Square," although WDW's Magic Kingdom does. There are also a few attractions at the Magic Kingdom that Disneyland doesn't have.

My own take is pretty simple. If I had to choose where to spend a day or two, I'd go to the Disneyland Resort any time. However, for a week-long visit, I still have to give the nod to WDW.

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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