Brian's Archive - Contents  Click to go back to MousePlanet main page
 Discussion Boards | Reviews | News | Trip Planning | Shop | Travel | Site Map
Brian's Basement
A Treasure Trove of Archived Stories
Google-
Look in: MousePlanet WWW

Brian Bennett

WDW Trip Planning Guide Reader Feedback

by Brian Bennett

06/03/02

Before we get into other email, I have a whole bunch of reader responses to previous "Notes From the World" questions and answers...

Jason writes:

Hey Brian!  First of all I wrote to you a couple of months ago about upgrading my AP to a PAP and you said that I would have no trouble. You were correct and had no problems. Now you are probably wondering why am I writing to you if there was no problems. I'll tell you that it has to do with what was posted in your update today (5/28) and Stephanie's comments.

Everything she says has no basis in reality. Conditions there were not "deplorable" there wasn't any "paint peeling" anywhere! Splash Mountain's walls were not covered in gum and I certainly didn't see any trash floating around It's a Small World.

I think that you were the victim of a "trollish" poster because of the way they described women walking around in bikini tops. Last time I checked Disney was in Florida and it is known to get hot down there from time to time! :) Sorry but I didn't see any women in bras running around there, believe me I would tell you if I did!

The cast members were wonderful as always and any tour groups I encountered were actually well behaved. I was there a week before "Stephanie" was (May 10-18) and have a hard time believing that things could have gone down hill that fast.

On a plus note I did get engaged so the "magic" was there for me the whole time.

I hope you don't take what this woman has to say seriously and let in affect your next trip. I was also hoping that enough people will write to you and let you know that what Stephanie says is not the case. Who knows....maybe I'll show up in your update section again! My fiancée got a kick out of seeing me "published" so to speak. She's also written you a note as well.

Thanks again for your response last time and hopefully I've helped to shed a less negative light then Stephanie explained to you!

and Colleen shares:

Hi Brian, First of all I just wanted to say thank you for all your efforts and planning material, which has helped us on numerous occasions. That said, I wanted to address the negative comments made by Stephanie in today's letter column.

My Fiancé and I are avid Disney fanatics and read MousePlanet and several other sites and message boards on pretty much a daily basis. We heard so much "mad mad mad and bad bad bad and sad sad sad", that I was half expecting things to not be the same at WDW when we were there May 10-19th this month.

Boy, was I in for a surprise. We noticed no peeling paint, falling apart buildings, trash on the street, or unruly groups. And worst of all, (get this!) the CMs were FRIENDLY! The only time I noticed trash on the ground was when a small child spilled some popcorn, and less than a minute later a CM was ready with a broom and a smile to clean it up. And I'm not saying there weren't groups there, just the groups when we were there didn't seem that bad. The "Zazus" and the "Pumbas" had their little team shirts and colored flags, and seemed well- behaved. Disney World seemed to us just as magical as ever and I would not hesitate to go back.

The reason I wrote this is not to discredit or say anyone was untruthful in their negative comments. I just wanted to share our good experience which will maybe give these people hope to go back.

and Cynthia wrote about her experiences:

Hi, Brian. Thought I would mention, I too was at WDW May 18 – 23, and though I agree with Stephanie that the Magic Kingdom was crowded and less tidy than one would expect (especially in Tomorrowland) when we were there the night of May 18, we were impressed with how clean all of the rest of the parks were. The Magic Kingdom was almost spotless when we returned on May 20th and 23rd. So hopefully Stephanie’s experience was an unfortunate anomaly at an unexpectedly busy park. I never did see any pealing paint or wallpaper – a few of the line management rails were chipped, but other than that we thought the park was really fresh – we particularly enjoyed how lively Splash Mountain felt!

On another topic, Tina writes:

I just wanted to comment on what Adam wrote regarding the 11PM fireworks at MK when the park closed at 6PM. My family was at WDW 4/22/02 - 4/26/02; on 4/23/, 4/24 & 4/25 the MK closed at 6PM. On the evening of 4/23 my husband and I were dining at the Contemporary (CA Grille) discussing our disappointment about the MK being closed at 6PM. Our server informed us that there was a huge software company holding a convention all week at WDW and they had "rented" out the MK from 7:00pm until midnight for their employees, consultants and their families. This was to go on the entire week we were there. Suddenly our disappointment turned to rage. We definitely feel cheated. I think that Adam experienced the same situation we did. I definitely do not think the fireworks were to make up for the early closing. The MK was open that night, just not for Disney Resort guests in general.

Dan shared this tidbit:

Hey, Brian. In a recent letter Ron said, "For people going to the Magic Kingdom, if you don't have any bags, strollers etc. you don't have to go through the bag check line. There is a spot between the check in tables where you can walk right in. This was not the case at the Studios or Epcot."

While Ron is correct about the gap in the tables at the MK, he is incorrect about Epcot and the Studios. There they have placed the bag check tables closer to the turnstiles, but it is very easy to skip around people who are getting their bags checked and walk up to the turnstile. It may feel a bit like cutting in line, but I've had no problem with it.

Thanks as always!

On several topics, Jack writes:

Brian, you wrote: "On the special viewing area for Illuminations, WDW seems to change the rules on that frequently. Right now, I know that AAA members are eligible for the viewing area if they book their vacation package through AAA.  Also, Disney Club members are eligible, too, but note that this is not a documented Disney Club perk (so it may be rescinded at any time). In any case, only 40 people are permitted in the area. So if you're a Disney Club member or a AAA member that booked through AAA Travel and want to take advantage of this you should stop by at guest relations as early as possible in the day to request permission."

Brian! Disney Club guests do not have a special viewing area for IllumiNations!!!! Annual Passholders still have the viewing area -- it is across the street from Italy. All they have to do is check in at Guest Relations, the AP Lounge or just show up at the area!

There is no fee for using the transportation system at the present time, but only holders of Disney resort IDs or park hopper passes are eligible to use the transportation. Disney does not check the id's or tickets for Disney transport anymore, since there are just to many guests now!

Also, there is no longer a bus from the TTC to Downtown Disney. all connections have to be done via a resort or via Disney/MGM Studios (only after 3:00pm and there is no return bus to the Studios.) SO, it would be wise to drive to Downtown Disney unless you're staying at a WDW resort.  Also, the same is true for the water parks.

The guest who was upset about the lack of boat transportation from Epcot to the Studios -- boats stop running form the studios one hour after park close.  The recommended (by Disney) route is by bus, so there is a bus running to the Studios until Epcot is clear. The boats are designed to shuttle the Epcot resort guests from the parks to the resorts. Day visitors should probably avoid using the boats just because it takes so long to get from point A to point B.

Also, is there still no word on that announcement you mentioned a few weeks ago?

and I wrote back:

Jack,

I was told, by the two cast members at the Italy viewing area (back in April of last year) that Disney Club members can request permission at guest relations earlier in the day, that this is not a documented Disney Club perk, and that only 40 people are permitted in the area.  Perhaps you're not familiar with the policy because it isn't documented or perhaps the Disney folks have already rescinded the policy.

Maybe another reader has some experiences to share? 

I know that your comments about transportation fees and ID checks is completely true, but I refuse to suggest that guests do things that Disney doesn't want them to do (and in fact, have stated policies that say they can not do... even if WDW isn't enforcing those policies.) Folks can do whatever they wish to do, of course, but I don't think it's right for me to suggest or push it.

Thanks for the other clarifications on transport issues.

I'm disappointed about the lack of an announcement. I shouldn't have jumped on that one without better information.

Jim Writes:

Hi Brian, I read your reply to Leslie concerning attractions staying open until closing time (she asked specifically about during Fantasmic!). As you say, there are some exceptions, so I would emphasize READ THE SCHEDULE!

We were there in early May and booked a Fantasmic dinner package, and planned to use the 7:00 to 8:00 hour after dinner to do either the tram tour or Disney Animation (neither of which we'd gotten to earlier). But we were very disappointed to find both had closed at 7:00! We had consulted the schedule for the show times but totally missed the closing times for these attractions. Several other attractions closed at 7:00 as well. If we had realized this we would have skipped the dinner package, or at least planned differently.

Of course it will be totally different for Leslie in June. But remember - Don't assume, check the schedule!

to which I responded:

Jim,

You're point is right on target. The schedules change throughout the year (and even from one week to another), depending on demand, so guests should assume NOTHING.

on the same issue, Michelle shares this information:

Hi Brian, thanks for the "Developing a daily game plan" section that discussed daily crowd patterns in WDW parks. It was very informative.

I wanted to make a quick comment in reference to an email you received asking if attractions ran during Illuminations. When we visited in November, a CM told us Test Track would be running through 10:00 when Illuminations ended even though the park closed at 9:00. I don't know if that's still the case now though.

Thanks again! Your site has been so much help to me and our family in planning our 3 trips to the World!

and I answered:

Thanks Michelle. Test Track, when it's operating well, is often kept open later when demand warrants. Thanks for the reminder!

And now, back to our regular email...

Q.

Leslie writes: Brian, Here I am bugging you again ! On Mark Goldhaber's trip report (posted today, May 28) he mentions a 1-day after 3:00 pass. Is this available to anyone or just available to those attending a conference ? I've never seen mention of this before but it would be perfect on our upcoming trip. I had gotten five-day park hoppers from AAA ( we're not really interested in the water parks) and then our trip got extended. I hate to pay for a one-day one-park for the afternoon/evening that we arrive, but, I don't know if I can be in Orlando and NOT go to a park. Any answers or advice would be most welcome (as always !). We leave next week so, even I can't come up with too many more questions for you before then!! :)

A.

Leslie,

Partial day passes are available, on a very limited basis, to convention and special (corporate) event attendees. They are not made available to the general public.

-

Q.

Glenn writes: Hi Brian, in a previous Notes From the World you answered this question:

"Julie asks: Dear Brian, I found your website and thought I would email you. You seem to have a lot of good information. Maybe you can help me. My husband and I had purchased into this (Disney Vacation) club three years ago and it has been wonderful for us and our family. The only problem is this year, my husband and I are stationed in Okinawa, Japan, with the United States Marine Corps, and are unable to use our points before they expire at the end of June. We would like to offer them to another member, either for an exchange when we need points in 2003, or for a small fee.

"The Disney Vacation Club customer service, of course were no help, and we did not know where to go to find this information. When we purchased this vacation plan, our selling agent stated people in the club did this all the time.

"I am sorry to have taken up your time but any information would be helpful."

And you answered:

"Julie, there is a site out in the ether at http://www.disboards.com/ that has a board for member trading of points. I can't comment -- either good or bad -- on the board and how it works as I've never used it, but it's one place to start."

I have tried to use this service several times in the past and have not been impressed. The first time, we were living in Australia for an extended stay on business and had points to offer. Needless to say, I was bombarded with email from people who wanted the points for free, or for next to nothing. I was even trying to be fair, figuring out a rough cost for the room over a 7 night stay and averaging out the costs, (roughly $8-9 per point) and discounting them significantly to about $4 per point. In the end, we just gave them to friends. (I figure that if I am going to give them away for free, I will give them to somebody I know)

The second time we needed an extra point for a Saturday night stay. We were low on points, and looked to purchase the number of points needed. The problem in this case, was that everybody selling did the same analysis that I did, but did no discounting. The problem with this of course, is that points for Saturday night are significantly more expensive than for a weekday. This meant that simply paying cash ended up being much cheaper.

My advice for Julie, if the points are still available, is to look into an exchange with a timeshare in Japan, or to simply allow a friend or family member to enjoy them. If she does use the board, expect a lot of emails from people expecting something for free.

A.

Thanks for the note, Glenn. As I'd stated in my answer to Julie, I've never used an exchange board, so I appreciate your comments.

-

Q.

Al writes: Brian, Just returned from Disneyworld in Orlando, had a good time but... Disney does not serve butter anymore at their food outlets. Butter was replaced by butterine a blend of butter and margarine packaged to look like butter patties in foil. Most of the employees that we talked to were unaware of this and the ones that knew smiled and shrugged their shoulders. If you desire the whole sad and humorous episodes that I had you can contact me.

A.

Thanks for the note, Al.

If you would be willing to share the "whole sad and humorous episodes" I'd love to hear them. :)  (Editor's Note:  Al never responded.)

-

Q.

Bob writes: Brian, I was checking out eBay today and saw something so shocking I just had to let all the WDW Disney planning sites I know. There was an auction for the Cinderella breakfast! Some opportunistic moron was selling a priority seating confirmation#! This person paid absolutely nothing and is trying to make a buck off it. What makes it worse is people were bidding on it. As of today, the auction has 6 bids and is now selling for $31.

I don't know who is more deplorable the person selling a number or the dummies bidding on it. There has to be a way Disney can put a stop to this kind of thing. I'm planning on taking my nephew to WDW in January and I'd hate not to get priority seating because of something like this.

Thanks for letting me vent.

A.

My original answer to Bob was:

"Bob, The way that Disney can put a stop to it is to required photo ID at check in for priority seatings. That way, all priority seatings would have to be made specifically for the party that will use them. It wouldn't eliminate all graft in this area, but it would be a big step."

Of course, since then Disney has announced their own solution to this black market problem which I reported on a couple of weeks ago:

A major change will be made to the priority seating policy for the character breakfast at Cinderella's Royal Table.  As of June 9, 2002, a credit card deposit (the card will actually be charged) of $10.00 / adult and $5.00 / child will be required at the time that the priority seating is made.  After the priority seating is booked, no changes can be made to the name on the booking.  If necessary, priority seatings may be cancelled without penalty (i.e. the deposit will be refunded) if the cancellation is done at least twenty-four hours before the priority seating time.

So, it turns out that I was right as part of the policy change was designed to ensure that no changes be made to the name on the booking.  Effectively, that wipes out the possibility of anyone bending the rules to get a highly-prized priority seating.

-

Q.

Lee writes: We're interested in the vacation club. Have been around the site and seen the basics offered there. Are points currently available for Old Key West? If so, is the $65 price per point still in effect? If not, what is available and what's the price? Can you send (email or snail mail) information including financing info, availability, scheduling vacations, etc. Would also like to see the fine print.

A.

Lee,

MousePlanet is not affiliated with the Disney Vacation Club. The only way to buy into the DVC is through the Club directly (contact info is on this page) or through a real estate reseller (more reseller information can be found here.)

Points are sold out for Old Key West. Currently, sales are being concentrated on the new Beach Club Villas Resort at a price near $72/point, if I remember correctly.

-

Q.

Mike writes: Dear Brian, I read your site everyday and have really learned a great deal for planning our September trip.

Have you ever been to WDW during the end of September? If so, did it rain everyday that you were there? Our trip is the last week of September and we were curious to learn how others trips were that time of the year.

My second question is when will the discounts for September become available. I have not seen any past August 24, 2002.

A.

Mike,

I've been to WDW in September many times. In general, unless a hurricane or tropical storm hits during your visit, you'll likely have some rain on some days, but not every day. I've had late Summer trips when it rained every day (like the year that hurricane Hugo hit, during our honeymoon no less, and when Andrew hit a handful of years later) and other late Summer trips with nothing but gorgeous weather.

Disney's Central Reservations Office (CRO) is tight-lipped about when the last Summer / early Fall discounts will be announced. They really want folks to book for the months coming up soon first, before they give incentives to folks to delay their vacations by offering those discounts. My suggestion is to keep calling CRO, perhaps once a week or so, until you get the answers you're looking for.

-

Q.

Robert asks: We have searched through various WDW sights but have seen nothing in regards to Orlando by train. We live in Toronto, Canada and would like to travel by train. We have a seven year old and an eleven year old and would appreciate information on scheduling, pricing and any other info you may offer in this regard. Hoping to book our vacation in mid August. We have two weeks including travel time.

A.

Robert,

I have only limited (and fairly dated) information on train travel to Orlando. Amtrak runs the well-known "Auto Train" down the East Coast, and that is the most popular way to use the rails to get to WDW.

Here's a link to a page I have that can at least give you some ideas.

-

Q.

Sarah-Jane writes: Brian, your site has proved invaluable for my husband and me as we plan our trip to Disney World (June 4-11, 2002). When we were married last year my husband and I were both 22 and didn’t have the finances to go on a honeymoon trip to Orlando, so we opted for hiking the Rockies instead (we live in North West Canada). We have now saved up all year and are taking the Disney World trip to celebrate our first anniversary. Due to financial constraints, we are staying off-property near International Drive, but our hotel offers free shuttle service to all major parks. We have 5-day park hopper plus tickets, as well as 3-day 2-park Universal Orlando tickets. Do you have any suggestions of special events we might incorporate into our vacation to commemorate our 1st anniversary/honeymoon?

I hate to bother you with a second question, but do you have any experience with getting around (to and from the theme parks) from off property without using a rental car? Our main mode of transportation at home is walking, and we are quite accustomed to trekking long distances, but we have found no information about pedestrian traffic routes in Orlando. Obviously, we would waste much of our day walking to Disney World, but Universal Orlando is only 1 mile from our hotel. It seems most people who have written trip reports do rent a car, so the information on the subject of using hotel shuttles, public transportation, and walking seems quite limited. My husband and I, both being under 25, have been quoted nothing but exorbitant rates for rental car services and we cannot afford the additional expense. Would you be so kind as to offer some information and insight about transportation options for offsite guests?

I have truly enjoyed exploring your site and am very impressed by the depth of information to be found here. I have been a MousePlanet addict since we booked our flight to Orlando. Keep up the excellent work. Thank you so much for fielding my questions. I appreciate your prompt and knowledgeable responses.

A.

Sarah-Jane,

I'm glad that you've found MousePlanet to be helpful! :)

There aren't any Disney-sponsored "special events" that I'm aware of during the early part of June.  For an anniversary trip, though, a special meal (dinner at Cinderella's Royal Table, for example) would be a fun thing to do. Some of WDW's hotels have excellent restaurants for special meals, too, but since you're staying offsite getting to and from those places would be a bit more difficult. Other restaurants in the WDW parks (where you can enjoy a more romantic meal) include: Chefs de France, Bistro de Paris, Marrakesh, Coral Reef, and the Hollywood Brown Derby.

The best suggestion I can give you about travel from offsite to WDW (or Universal) is to call the hotel where you're staying and get confirmation that they have a park shuttle. Many (but NOT ALL) local hotels and motels provide a shuttle... so make sure that you're staying where there is such a service! (You may have to pay a fee for this service, but it's likely to be much less expensive than using taxis (although that's another alternative). Unfortunately, the greater Orlando area is not well-known for it's public transportation, so I wouldn't plan on that as a good solution.)

-

Q.

Patty asks: Dear Brian, We are headed to WDW in July (I know, a real busy time to go) and I've been reading everything possible about it but I haven't been able to get much information about bringing children with disabilities. Do you have any information about this? My son has Cerebral Palsy -- he can walk with the aids of orthotics but I know that he is going to get tired the first 20 minutes of walking. Someone had said that they have jogger strollers for older children (not infants) but I haven't been able to verify that information. I guess the next best thing would be to get a wheelchair but are there enough to go around or do people swipe those too?

A.

Patty,

You can see pictures of the strollers that are available for rent on this page. I don't know the age/weight of your son, but the strollers are designed for older kids (not really for infants) anyway. The jogging strollers are only available at the Studios.

This page is really oriented towards adults with disabilities, but some of the information there may be helpful.

-

Q.

A MousePlanet reader writes: Hi Brian, I'm coming to WDW in July with a nine year old and a two year old. My two year old is not old enough for the kids programs, but all the premium resorts have a check in the babysitting column. Do the resorts themselves offer babysitting services, or do I need to contact an outside daycare?

A.

What the WDW brochures are probably talking about when they have a "check mark" for baby sitting services is that they have kids clubs where you can drop off your children for a few hours in the evenings. A two-year-old, though, is too young for such a service as you already pointed out.

There are several options for in-room babysitting that you could use, though. All About Kids ((407) 812-9300), Fairy Godmothers ((407) 277-3724), Kid's Night Out ((407) 827-5444), and Kindercare ((407) 827–5444) all offer this service. Kindercare also has an on-site facility that provides "day care" services.

I've personally never used such an in-room service. I don't know what kind of employee qualifications, screening, or other safe-guards are in place to ensure that good care is provided.

-

Q.

Lisa asks: Good Morning Brian. I am writing to ask a question about the parks. My family and I are going to Disney this Thursday and I have had a bad flair up of my Rheumatoid Arthritis and am wondering how to get access to handicap privileges without renting a wheelchair. I could have my doctor write something about it. I have the arthritis in my hands, legs and hips and think that the standing in lines will be harder on me then the actual walking. Normally I do not use this illness ever as an excuse but I am afraid I need to figure something out this time for our trip. I do not want to be in a wheelchair. Thank you for your time.

A.

Lisa,

This page has information that may be helpful. You can get a medical pass that can help provide access to some attractions, but the wheelchair idea might be worth considering. You'll be doing a LOT of walking around the parks.

By the way, that page has information on some companies that rent electric vehicles, too, so that may be of help.

-

Q.

Johnny writes: Brian, Love your column on MousePlanet.com! I'm hearing rumors about a Halloween event in WDW this year sometime in the month of October. I'm curious to know if it will be anything like Disneyland's 30th anniversary event for their Haunted Mansion (doesn't WDW's HM turn 30 this year?) or if the powers that be plan to do the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay that they did at Disneyland last year. Any info would be MUCH appreciated!

A.

Johnny,

You can read more about Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. The party is NOT the same as the Disneyland events that have been held. It's actually an annual event that is really a Halloween party, NOT a special haunted mansion event.

There are rumors about a "Nightmare" treatment for the WDW haunted mansion, like what's been done at Disneyland recently, but there's no confirmation of that.

-

Q.

Kim writes: Hi, Brian! I've completed another trip report which is attached in a Microsoft Word document... I want to let you know that I continue to enjoy the trips reports that you make available. Your reader feedback columns are a wonderful addition too.

I was so sorry to hear your last trip was not at the level as previous trips. It was good of you to be honest but objective with all of us. As I mention in my report, we didn't have a bad experience. I think you will find WDW a better place when you return this December.

My next visit will be to Disneyland and I wish there was something similar to your reader feedback column and Deb's WDWIG for Disneyland. Al's DIG is useful, although I feel the tone is sometimes pessimistic (SSHH don't tell I said that), but gives more information about the status of the parks rather than planning a visit. If there is an area on MousePlanet or another website that I'm missing please let me know.

Take care and keep up the good work.

A.

Kim,

Thanks so much for sending me your report, Kim! I really appreciate that you took the time to write and send it to me.  (Editor's Note: and that goes for all trip report authors!  Thanks so very much!)

Regarding trip planning info for Disneyland, I'd suggest you check out my section of MousePlanet on that topic: Disneyland Trip Planning Guide.

I think you'll find it helpful. :)

-

Q.

Steven writes: Dear Brian, "It's a long story and even longer when I tell it."  On a recent trip (April 2002) my son celebrated his birthday at the parks.

After stopping at City Hall to get a birthday sticker, he was immediately accosted by a pin laden-lanyard wearing CM who offered him a pin of his choice. Thus began a serious addiction to pin trading for my young man.

My son is a huge INDY fan and so spent the rest of the day looking for INDY pins. Unfortunately he couldn't find one at any of the pin stations in all of the parks. We asked everyone and still couldn't find any INDY pins. At MGM the CM's and manager of one of the pin stations called everyone and physically went out on a scavenger hunt for INDY pins. They were quite surprised they couldn't find any INDY pins but promised to send my son an INDY pin if he would give them our address. Which we did. This was on day four of a seven day trip.

Every day after that we kept a look out for INDY pins but never saw any until the last minute of the last day as we were leaving the MK and saying our farewells basking in the castle kiss. My son saw an INDY pin on a CM and made the trade. Thereby saving a very special trip.

Yesterday a letter came in the mail from Disneyworld addressed to my son. We had all but forgotten about the "great pin hunt" but the CM's at MGM did not. In the package were three different INDY pins with a very nice letter.

Who do I write to ensure these CM's are recognized for their truly outstanding efforts at creating a magic moment 1000 miles from the park and almost a month later. Thanks and please keep up the wonderful work that you do.

A.

Thanks for the great note, Steven. :)

What I would suggest is that you write to:

WDW Guest Communications
Post Office Box 10040
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830

Your letter should include as much detail (names of CMs, dates when the situation occurred, etc.) as possible.

-

Q.

Joanne asks: Where is the info on the Disney Cruise line?

A.

Joanne,

Sue Holland has written several Disney Cruise Line articles in her column.  Also, there are several trip reports on DCL vacations that you may want to check out.

-

Q.

Ashley writes: Hello, my name is Ashley and I am a junior in high school. I am doing a research paper for school. My topic is.....Is Disney World the way Walt Disney wanted it to be (family place) or is it just a money making business. I was wondering if you would take a few minutes to just give me your opinion on the subject. It would really big a big help for my paper. Thanks.

A.

Ashley,

Wow... your question really raises more issues than just what you mentioned as your topic.

Walt Disney envisioned "Disneyworld" (as it was then called, the "Walt" was added by his brother Roy only after Walt had Died), to be two things. First, it was always intended to be an East coast version of Disneyland. Second, it was intended to be a living, working city. EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow), you may recall, was originally envisioned to be an actual city... and the legislation approved by the Florida State Legislature was written with that goal in mind.

I'd like to recommend a few books that you may find helpful (Editor's Note: all links go to Amazon.com):

Married to the Mouse, by Dr. Richard Fogelsong

Walt Disney: An American Original, by Bob Thomas

Building a Company : Roy O. Disney and the Creation of an Entertainment Empire, by Bob Thomas.

Work In Progress, by Michael D. Eisner.

The first book, "Married to the Mouse," is an excellent resource on the historical background of how Walt Disney World came to be as far as the local Florida history goes. Of course, the biography by Thomas provides the background from the perspective of Walt Disney -- why he wanted to build his "Disneyworld" and his EPCOT. The biography of Roy Disney, Walt's older brother -- and his partner in building the company, provides the history of WDW from the time that Walt died until it opened in 1971. Finally, the book by Eisner, who is the current chairman of the Walt Disney Company, gives his opinions about the company and what turned it around from almost being bankrupt in the mid-1980's to becoming one of the most powerful entertainment companies in the world.

Now, having said that, I never did answer your question, did I? :) So, here goes...

Did Walt Disney World's EPCOT turn out to be a living, working city? No, it didn't. But Epcot -- the park -- has turned out to be one of the most successful theme parks in history. Millions of people enjoy it every year. In just the last few years, the Florida "new town" of Celebration, developed by the Walt Disney Company, has lived up to much of the original promise of the EPCOT concept as it truly is a living, working city.

However, I think that Walter Elias Disney was first and foremost a showman. He loved to create things that people enjoyed and that entertained them. He wanted people to laugh at the jokes in his animated shorts (Mickey Mouse, the Silly Symphonies, etc.) -- he wanted people to be moved at his animated features... when Snow White fell into her deep sleep, when Bambi's mother was shot, when Geppetto found Pinocchio lying in the pool of water after their fight with Monstro the whale... -- he wanted people to be happy together when they visited Disneyland.

Do people enjoy Walt Disney World? They certainly do. Are people entertained when they visit there? They certainly are. Do people enjoy being together with family and friends when they visit Walt Disney World? Of course they do! Those questions, I think, would have made up Mr. Disney's litmus test, and I think Walt Disney World, as it exists in the year 2002, passes that test with flying colors.

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!

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More

Brian Bennett's Disney Trip Planner


Click here to see some awesome WDW pieces that have run on MousePlanet recently!

Click here to check out the rest of Brian's Archive, including all of the previously published "Notes From the World" pieces!

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!

 

Go to: Top | Section Contents | MousePlanet Main Page

Copyright © MousePlanet® Inc. | Legal Information & Privacy Policy | About/Contact MousePlanet | Link to us

MousePlanet® is not associated in any official way with the Walt Disney Company, its subsidiaries, or its affiliates. The official Disney site is available at www.disney.com. This MousePlanet Web site provides independent news articles, commentary, editorials, reviews, and guides primarily about the theme park resorts of the Walt Disney Co. All information on this site is subject to change. Please call destinations in advance to confirm the most up-to-date information.