by Brian Bennett
starting our regular email, here are a couple of notes...
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before starting our regular email, here are some responses
from previous Notes From the World columns:
Brian, Mike asked about discounts
in September, and you responded, "My suggestion is
to keep calling the Central Reservations Office, perhaps
once a week or so, until you get the answers you're looking
I had a similar situation and was
pleased to get some useful advise from the Cast Member at
CRO when I called. The CM suggested I go ahead and book
the room, and then if I do hear about any discounts in the
future to call back and change the reservation. The advantage
being that you have secured a room, and you don't risk it
being booked solid and missing out. I actually made two
reservations because I could not decide if I wanted to use
the Disney Club discount, or the Annual Pass discount (especially
since I did not yet have an AP, although I planned to get
one before I checked in) and then later called back and
canceled the Disney Club discounted reservation (and bought
the PAP). Just be sure to ask how long you have to cancel
with out penalties.
Is this a bad idea? I mean, the CM
suggested it so I did not thing there was anything shady
about doing it this way.
Thanks for any advice.
And I answered:
The problem with holding multiple reservations is that
Disney will be holding a bunch of your money, since deposits
are required for each reservation. If that's not an objection,
and CRO doesn't mind, then it's certainly a way to play
the system to your advantage.
Brian, (in response) to the two people
(Patty and Lisa) who had questions on services for people
with disabilities in your June 3 column.
I fractured my hip several weeks
prior to a trip to WDW this past February. Being a relatively
healthy 37 year –old male, with a relatively healthy ego,
I was bound and determined that I would walk the parks even
if it meant suffering the entire trip. No wheelchair for
After walking on day one from the
bus stop to the Animal Kingdom entrance, I changed my mind
– and boy am I glad I did. I learned first hand that Disney
does a great job helping people with disabilities. They
are helpful without ever appearing to be condescending.
Wheelchair rental and return is a fairly quick and simple
process at Disney parks. You simply give them your name
and pay the rental fee. There is no deposit, and if you
lose yours during the day, they simply replace it. At the
end of the day, you can either leave your chair anywhere
in the park, or return it and receive a $1 refund. You only
pay a rental fee once per day. If park hopping – your receipt
is good at all parks. (Conversely, we went to Universal
Studios the same trip and wheelchair rental was a nightmare.
The rental process took more than 30 minutes (and that was
on a slow day!); you either have to leave a credit card
or put down a huge deposit; sign a contract; and God forbid
you loose your wheelchair – you’re stuck paying for it according
to the contract.)
Patty, in answer to your questions,
I don’t recall seeing jogging strollers – but each park
has a huge warehouse just inside the entrance with strollers
and wheelchairs. They also have electric carts, but they’re
rather expensive. I never had a problem obtaining a wheelchair.
Being that you’re going in July, you might want to arrive
at the parks early AM or late afternoon to be sure you can
get one. I imagine that they could possibly be scarce mid-day
during busier months. Also, if staying on property, I believe
all the Disney hotels each have a limited supply wheelchairs
available to hotel guests. We stayed at two deluxe hotels
this trip and they both had wheelchairs – but I’m pretty
sure I saw a similar note in the guide book at All-Star
resorts as well. You might want to call your hotel ahead
of time to confirm. The Disney busses and monorails are
all wheelchair accessible.
Lisa, I don’t have any idea as to
your age – but by all means, don’t be embarrassed to rent
a wheelchair. Although I felt very self-conscious for the
first hour or so, I was extremely glad I rented one. The
Disney parks are huge. It would have been an awful trip
if I had attempted to walk (even though I was capable of
doing so). While riding around, I noticed people of ALL
ages in wheelchairs, which made me feel much less self-conscious.
Hope you both have a wonderful trip!
Dear Brian, Thank you very much for
all of our useful information. My husband and I are planning
our first vacation in WDW in early May 2002. I purchased
our 4-Day Park Hopper passes/ tickets from an independent
company (TicketMania) several months ago. Since that time,
I have been doing a lot of reading, on your web site and
in books, about the tickets being non-transferable. The
tickets do not display any names, they just say Guest. I
don't question the validity of the tickets I hold, I have
more of a logistical question that I hope you can answer
as I am sure I am not the only customer who does not buy
their tickets directly from Disney.
I have two questions:
- How does WDW link my name to the
- Do we need to do anything with
the passes or register with Customer Relations / Ticket
Center before going to the entrance of the park with the
passes? I don't want to make a beeline to the park entrance
just to find out I missed something.
Thank you very much for your help.
and I responded:
The passes usually have a place for you to sign them. Then,
when you enter the park, you show both your pass and a valid
photo ID with your signature so your signed pass can be
validated. Of course, it's very, very rare that visitors
are actually asked to produce that valid photo ID, but the
admission media fine print usually states that such ID is
required. I'd suggest you look over your passes, read everything
in detail, and see what it says. If you have any other questions,
I'd suggest you call your ticket agent ASAP and make sure
you thoroughly understand all issues regarding the use of
I wish you well on your ticket purchase. Let me know how
it goes as I have had no one give me any feedback (good
or bad) on using a third-party for admission media purchases.
And Debra followed-up:
Brian, I wanted to let you know that
everything was fine purchasing our tickets through a third-party
provider. We ended up saving about $10 off each ticket (we
did not have any other way to obtain discounts -- not a
member of any Disney Club or AAA). In addition, the ticket
agent sent a lot of Disney and Orlando information with
the tickets which was nice to look through at home before
departing. It was also nice from a convenience and budgeting
standpoint to have the tickets in hand before we left. The
only negative I would say is it was difficult to reach the
companies via the phone. I always got an answering machine
when I called. They did always return my calls.
Only other thing I would pass along
is that we had one of those "free" Orlando Magic
Cards that give you discounts at selected attractions/restaurants
in the Orlando area. We found that every place we stopped
at gave us a discount (off Disney) by showing them the card
-- even those not affiliated with the program.
Lastly, as I know everyone is always
asking about crowd levels...we were at Disney World from
May 3 through the 10 and found crowds to be low (with the
exception being Saturday at the MK of course). Maximum wait
we experienced was generally about 10-15 minutes. Many rides
we just walked onto.
Thank you for your input and valuable
A MousePlanet reader writes:
To a reader that asked, "We'll
being arriving 6/19 and I've heard that the new version
of BLAST! called SHOCKWAVE will be playing in Epcot. Have
you heard anything more on this, and will there be a Dinner/reserve
seating package available?"
BLAST! Shockwave will begin on 6/15.
There will be no dinner packages this year. But some seats
for annual passholders may be in the works, I'll keep you
posted on that. It's a tough call on that one, we want to
offer it, but we don't want.
Hi Brian, Just read your update today
(6/10) and might have an answer to your question. I worked
at the turnstiles at Epcot last May, during one day that
we were closing early (6pm) due to a convention. Signs were
posted across property that Epcot would be closing early,
and we we told that day by our Managers that we were to
treat ANY valid form of park admission media as a Park Hopper.
I am not sure if this is still the procedure, but that is
how Disney made sure the guests got their value in the past.
Hope this info helps!
to which I answered:
Thanks for the note, Lee. I've not heard of such sign postings
from other readers, but I'm glad to hear that WDW does something
to deal with the issue.
Of course, what you've described really only helps those
folks that have purchased single day tickets. Do you know
what compensation multi-day and AP pass holders are given
when a park closes early for several days in a row during
and Lee responded:
Hey Brian, You are absolutely right.
The steps I mentioned would only help single-day ticket
holders who are visiting the park that is closing on that
day. I'm not sure if there was any compensation given to
APs or Multi-Day passholders. Sorry I can't be more help.
If I run across the problem again when I'm working in Florida,
I'll research the issue for you.
So... the jury's still out on that one. :)
I just read your notes from the world,
and I thought I should mention that I was told that the
points were definitely increased when they were supposed
to. Although my mother was able to buy an additional 100
points for June at 75$ but she had to basically reserve
them ahead of time BEFORE the price went up. ( The reason
she had to reserve them is that she lives in Quebec and
as a result, cannot actually purchase over the phone but
only in person ).
Hi Brian, I love your site!! I visited
WDW in May and I am returning again in July! I have always
loved WDW but I have to agree with the recent
complaints that you have received!
In May the park hours were not good, E-ride nights were
cancelled, and Epcot was so dirty that neither my husband
nor myself could believe it! That used to be my favorite
park but absolutely no one was there! I went into three
bathrooms with no tissue or paper. Can you believe that?
Magic Kingdom just wasn't up to snuff
either. A lot of the paint had faded on some of the older
attractions and the trash in the park was terrible.
Animal Kingdom (my new favorite park)
was great!! MGM was fine also. I complained to guest relations
via email and no one has bothered to contact me. Oh well,
I guess they cutback on staff in that area too!! I will
update you next month when I return! Pixie dust to you !!
But on the flip side, Dominic
Brian, I wrote to you back in October
when my wife and I returned from a trip to WDW as a sort
of rebuttal to the letters and comments you had printed
about the cutbacks and changes due to the slowing of tourism
and 9/11. Our experience in October was very positive and
enjoyable. We just returned from a week at WDW (6/2-6/9)
and I wanted to report that we again had a wonderful time.
The crowds were noticeably larger, the weather noticeably
hotter (my wife insists we'll never go in June, July or
August after this trip-we Minnesotans aren't used to the
heat, apparently!), but we experienced the same quality
service that we've come to expect from every cast member
associated with Walt Disney World. I even kept a list of
outstanding CMs would went above and beyond with the idea
of writing a trip report (which I may still do).
We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside,
just like in October, and even though the resort was clearly
busier than last trip, when we checked in at around 1:00
Sunday afternoon, our room was ready. The room was nice,
clean, and the housekeepers re-arranged the four Disney
plush toys we brought down every day and even left us washcloth
"origami" a few days. The food court was always
full of guests, but did not seem too crowded or noisy and
was continually cleaned every time we ate there. We really
enjoyed the resort this time, walking along the paths and
generally relaxing, much as people should do on vacation.
The transportation was really good,
given that the guests seemed fairly impatient if a bus didn't
show up every thirty seconds or so. Only on our last day
did we have to wait more than 10 minutes for a bus. The
monorails and ferries were clean and efficient. The boats
from Port Orleans to Downtown Disney were running at what
I can only assume was peak operation, as I counted five
or six boats on river at any given time the two times we
took the boats. French Quarter had just re-opened a few
days earlier and seemed to be bustling, but obviously slower
The parks were clean, with a very,
very few exceptions and the cast members were very friendly
and helpful. My only real complaint about any of the parks
has nothing to do with cleanliness or cast members. We visited
the Chester & Hester's Dinorama area at Animal Kingdom
and came away disappointed that someone thought turning
a part of Walt Disney World into a midway was a good idea.
It simply doesn't fit the rest of WDW. I don't know if anything
can be done about re-doing it or even abandoning the idea
anytime soon, but it was really out of place.
I know some people have reported
concerns about cleanliness at the Magic Kingdom, but I didn't
notice much of a problem. There are a few areas that could
be touched up and I'm not trying to defend Disney management
or make excuses for them, but the resort is massive and
I believe the crowds have increased faster than had been
anticipated, causing more wear and tear on things than can
be fixed easily. It would be nice to read an announcement
from Disney that they have returned
to overnight cleaning and painting crews, but I'm sure that's
a thing of the past.
Overall, I'd have to say that either
I'm really lucky when I visit that I just miss bad days
and things are fixed before I get there or that the Disney
magic is simply different for everyone. I expect incredibly
high levels of service, appearance, cleanliness, and professionalism
at WDW and I got all of those things on this trip. Now,
if I can just figure out how soon I can get back down there!
Thanks for the great site, I check
it every day!
My own dear (not so old) Dad wrote
me this note:
Hi Brian, During a conversation tonight
at our Pot Luck Group dinner the question was asked about
WDW. How much of the park including rides, etc., is accessible
by customers in wheel chairs. The percentage named was about
Do you have an accurate number?
And I answered:
Dad, The question is an easy one, but the answer is a bit
more complicated. Of course, the entire park itself (the
walkways, various "lands" or pavilions, restaurants,
etc.) is accessible to wheelchairs. However, the various
attractions are the complicated part.
Attractions, as you know, are broken up into several types
(I did a quick count of the attractions at the major parks
of each type, but I may be off by a couple here or there
as I didn't double check... there is a total of 83):
- (28) Shows (like the Beauty & the Beast stage show)
- (9) Wheelchair access rides (like the Great Movie Ride)
that guests can get into without getting out of the wheelchair
- (26) Static loading, easy access rides (like the Great
Movie Ride) that guests can get into without the ride
- (14) Static loading, difficult access rides (like Space
Mountain) that guests can get into without the ride vehicle
moving, but with ride vehicles that require significant
physical dexterity to get in and out of.
- (6) Continuous loading rides (like Spaceship Earth,
Peter Pan, etc.) that require that guests get onto a moving
platform to get onto the ride vehicle.
Other issues of accessibility:
- There are designated wheelchair areas for watching parades,
fireworks, IllumiNations, Fantasmic, etc. However, it's
usually important to grab a spot early because they do
fill up quickly.
- For most rides, the guest in the wheelchair will have
to be able to get out of the chair and walk a short distance
to get into the ride vehicle. If the guest is completely
unable to get out of the chair without significant help
or has a very difficult time walking, then the number
of attractions that that guest can enjoy drops significantly.
- Some of the static loading, easy access rides actually
accommodate wheelchairs on the ride vehicle, Ellen's Energy
Adventure and the Great Movie Ride are examples.
- Most rides have a separate entrance for wheelchairs
(usually the exit, where you enter "backwards"
and go up to the loading area).
- Some attractions, such as Alien Encounter, just have
you wait in the regular queue.
- Many attractions, Voyage of the Little Mermaid for example,
have a separate waiting area for wheelchairs but only
allow a limited number per show.
- All the restaurants are very accommodating.
- Getting the wheelchair on and off a bus is time consuming
and not all buses are handicapped accessible so you may
have to wait for one to arrive.
- The monorail stations are equipped with portable ramps
for wheelchair access on and off.
To answer your bottom line question, "How much of
the park including rides, etc., is accessible by customers
in wheel chairs?" If we just go by the number of attractions
(knowing, of course, that the vast majority of the parks
-- including restaurants and so on -- is at least "accessible"
via wheelchair), and if we assume that the guest is completely
unable to get out of the wheelchair, then I'd say the answer
is (28+9)/83=45%. If the guest can get out of the wheelchair
and walk for short distances and deal with easy access,
then I'd say the answer is (28+9+26)/83=76%. If the guest
can get out of the wheelchair and walk for short distances
and deal with more difficult access including moving platforms,
and so on, then I'd say the answer is 100%.
Note: All of that got my research juices flowing,
so I pulled together some information and created a new
page on the issue of special assistance. If you
have some experience in this area, and can critique the
content for me, I'd greatly appreciate it!
Jim Ryan shared this note:
Greetings, Event information for
the 5th Annual Disney Institute Animation Event is now
posted on Disney's site.
Event material from the previous
programs is available on the Animation
Event Guest Site.
and Leeann Snyder, of the Busser
Bears web site, shares this information:
Info on the 2002 Epcot Teddy
Bear and Doll Weekend. The show is ON!!!! The dates
are Dec 13, 14, and 15th!!!
EXCLUSIVE EVENT PACKAGE INCLUDES:
- 2 Day Park Admission to Epcot
- Complimentary 2 day Auto Parking
- Private Shopping and Live Auction
- Commemorative Gift
- Evening Reception with Artists
- Complimentary Lunch
- Private Illuminations Viewing
- VIP Candlelight Seating
Total Package Price $250.00
For Exclusive Package Reservations
call 407-827-7600 or FAX 407-566-1387 to book an event package.
I guess you can consider those last two notes as public service
Now, back to our regular
question and answer email...
|Kelly writes: Hi
Brian, Well we are finally off on our adventure tomorrow and
I was thinking I would do a trip report on my return and probably
should have asked this sooner but do I need to do it any format
or have any info beforehand to do this or can I simply come
back and compile it from memory? I will await word from you
on my return as to whether or not I do one. We are leaving tomorrow
a.m. for our first ever trip and we have 3 kids and my mom going
so 6 total.
May be of interest for anyone traveling
a long distance with kids. We are in CA. Also we are trying
Netgrocer and I know you wanted feedback on that. We are staying
at the Contemporary and they authorized shipment so our groceries
should be there when we arrive tomorrow. I will let you know
how that went regardless of the trip report. Thanks and I
look forward to hearing back from you.
I would love to have you submit a report! Go to MousePlanet's
Trip Report Archive. There you'll find (in the left
hand margin) all the information you need to write and post
a trip report to me.
(Editor's Note, since Kelly and I swapped email, she has
report which was "splashed" on our front page
on June 7th. A note to all
of MousePlanet's trip report junkies... I am running very,
very, very low on trip reports to post! If you have
a report and would be willing to send it to me, I would greatly
| Leona Writes: I
have a student who needs information on the construction and
architecture of Cinderella's Castle at WDW. Where can we find
information about that or can you provide it to us?
There are several books that cover the construction of the
Magic Kingdom. I don't know exactly which ones mention the
Castle specifically, but they'll all be helpful at least for
- "The Art of Walt Disney : From Mickey Mouse to the
Magic Kingdoms," by Christopher Finch
- "Walt Disney Imagineering : A Behind the Dreams Look
at Making the Magic Real," by The Imagineers, C. E.
- "Designing Disney's Theme Parks : The Architecture
of Reassurance," by Karal Ann Marling
- "What Would Walt Do? : An Insider's Story About the
Design and Construction of Walt Disney World," by D.
- "Building a Dream : The Art of Disney Architecture,"
by Beth Dunlop
- "A Brush with Disney : An Artist's Journey, Told
through the words and works of Herbert Dickens Ryman,"
by Herbert Dickens Ryman
That should be a good start.
| Ken asks: Brian,
please excuse this intrusion but I would like any information
available for the first time visitor to WDW. I will be traveling
with my wife and 6-year-old daughter from the UK on the 29 April,
staying on International Drive.
My daughter is very excited (so am
I), and would be grateful for any tips for the first time
I'd suggest you start at the WDW
Trip Planning Guide if, after you'd surfed through those
pages, there are questions you don't have answers to, let
me know and I'll be happy to help as best I can.
|Mandy writes: Hi
Brian, thanks for the info last time around:). I have a few
minor things to ask about.
- Will Star Wars weekend be back in
2003?(I would love to go but have to convince my parents)
- Which on-site hotels are the best
for single female guests?
- How safe is the travel on-site at
night? (to please the parents)
- How busy are the parks during Star
I don't know exactly what the relationship between Disney
and LucasFilms is like right now... so I don't know if the
Star Wars Weekends will ever be back.
As far as which hotel is best for single female guests, my
wife suggested that you, "go to one of the deluxe resorts...
if you find an eligible male, he's likely to have money."
Other than that, I don't know that any resort is better than
any other for single ladies. You'd have to think through your
criteria for making that decision and go through the resorts
one-by-one and think it through.
In general, on-site travel is very safe. There are known
examples of problems, since WDW exists on this planet it can't
be totally isolated from bad people, but those examples are
The Studios gets noticeably busier on Star Wars Weekend,
but it doesn't affect the other parks very much.
|Allan writes: Hi
Brian, First I have to tell you how happy I was to read about
how Michael was returned to you.
I have been a daily reader of your site for approximately a
year. I read the story when you first posted it, when you had
to return him to his birth mother. I am a 33 year old guy who
does not get emotional, but I was in tears. It left an empty
feeling in my stomach. I was so happy for you and him when I
read that you had been reunited. I am adopted and I can't imagine
what my life would have been like if I had been taken from my
parents. I shared the story with many of my close friends and
family. Michael has a fan base in the Atlantic City area.
I have two girls ages 5 and 2 1/2.
We are going to be in Orlando at Westgate from July 21 to
28. My five year old has been dying to go to WDW for more
than two years. Due to various reasons we have not been able
to go. My father has a time share at Westgate, so we are going
with him this year.
I have always wanted to stay onsite
with the kids because it is easier, I hate dealing with commuting
and parking hassles and I want the kids to experience the
magic. I have two questions:
(i) Is it worthwhile to spend two days
of my week onsite? I realize you usually answer these questions
that it is up to personal preference. I would just like to
get your thoughts. I honestly feel like we will be missing
something if we don't stay on site.
(ii) Could you provide me with a short
list of things that I should not miss with the kids? What
I'm looking for is advice regarding the 3-5 things at each
park that you should try to see if possible. I will do and
have done my own research. I would like your insight as a
Disney expert and a parent of young children.
I apologize for the long e-mail. Any
help you could give would be appreciated. Please keep up with
this fantastic site.
Thanks so much for the kind note. Michael, and Allan before
him, make both Barb and I very happy parents. I'm very proud
of my boys. :)
Michael (right) and big
brother Allan pose during our recent trip to Williamsburg.
Regarding your upcoming trip...
First off, I know you'll love Westgate. It's a good organization
(although the sales pressure is high, the product is top quality).
Since your Dad has a timeshare there, you probably already
The issue of staying onsite in your case is an interesting
one. If you're talking about staying onsite during the time
you could be staying in the timeshare, I'd say you're nuts
to consider it! However, if you're talking about tacking on
some time before or after the timeshare stay, I'd be all for
it. I don't know that you really "miss" anything
from staying on-site versus off-site. The Disney resorts are
lovely, and I personally love using the on-site transportation,
and the service is generally very good on-site... but it's
not like you'll notice a night and day difference when you
move from an on-site to an off-site property. Rather, I think
the overall experience is just more convenient on-site.
If you haven't yet nosed around in my section, "WDW
With Kids," in MousePlanet's WDW Trip Planning Guide,
I'd suggest you spend some time there. That section has lots
of information on all of the issues around taking kids on
a trip to Walt Disney World. There's information there on
how kids react to the various attractions, what the age and
height restrictions are, and lots of helpful information on
how to adjust your daily plans to accommodate the younger
ones. Pay careful attention to the page on Attraction "Fear
Having said that, I think you'll really enjoy a lot of things
at each park. I'd make sure to take time to see all of the
attractions that are based on Disney films that your girls
will recognize (for example, the Fantasyland attractions and
Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin in the Magic Kingdom.)
Jungle Cruise, the Country Bear Jamboree, Tropical Serenade
- Under New Management, and the Carousel of Progress are fun,
too, although there's no reason why your girls would recognize
any of them. Your older daughter might enjoy "driving"
on the Tomorrowland Speedway.
In Epcot, there really isn't anything that is geared specifically
toward children, but they'll likely enjoy many of the attractions
there. The Kidcot stops, in World Showcase, although time
consuming and tedious for adults -- are stops that your kids
will talk about for a long time after the trip. Since those
stops are so interactive, the children really seem to enjoy
At the Studios, you'll find a lot more stuff that's geared
to kids. Playhouse Disney, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, the
Honey I Shrunk the Kids Play Adventure Set, and the musical
Hunchback of Notre Dame and Beauty and the Beast shows would
top my list.
At Animal Kingdom, I would put the shows second only to Kilamanjaro
Safari. Trust me, the Safari is an incredible experience.
The girls will really enjoy it!
The last thing I would point out is that all four parks have
a daytime parade and all of the parks except Animal Kingdom
have some sort of night time show. All are spectacular and
are must sees!
|Laura writes: Brian,
I love this website! My husband and I are planning our second
trip to WDW in November. We are Canadians and will be there
during November 11th (Remembrance Day in Canada, Veterans Day
in U.S.) Is this a special day? I would like to recognize it
but I am unsure how it will be done in the U.S.
Thanks for your help!
I'm sad to report that we don't celebrate Veterans Day in
the U.S. as much as we should. For all of our patriotic fervor
at times, as a nation I'm afraid that we tend to ignore those
folks that did so much for us.
Maybe, post 9/11, things will start to be different. :)
|Meaghan asks: Brian,
Can you please tell us if we are able to leave our car at the
Contemporary, the morning of our Char breakfast at Chef Mickeys?
We were considering leaving it there and riding the monorail
to Epcot. Is this permitted? Or do they keep time limits on
other resorts guests using their parking lot?
Thanks for the great site!
If you are staying on property, you'll have a parking pass
that will permit you to park at any resort. Otherwise, you'll
only be given a temporary pass which has a time limit on it.
|Michelle asks: Hi
Brian, I am laughing right now because I've just read your latest
emails and I had no idea I'd written you FOUR times! I really
sound neurotic! Thanks for your help and putting up with me!
Also, does MousePlanet have a link
to amazon.com that will help you if I go through it to purchase?
Thanks again (and you don't have to
include this email later!)
If you want to buy any of the WDW guidebooks, we have a
page with Amazon links that will, indeed, give MousePlanet
with a small kick-back. There's a handful of other Amazon
links on this
|Joe writes: I know
your comments regarding pool hopping are correct but it also
makes me think back to not too many years ago when the situation
was different. Pool hopping was a perk and actually encouraged
and advertised as part of the package. When our children were
young we used to let them choose which pool we'd go to for an
afternoon break. At the time the Poly was our favorite! I still
remember doing it up to about the time the Floridian opened
then it became 'taboo'. Oh well, the memories are nice!
|I wish I could remember back then, Joe, but my
first visit to WDW was actually back in 1988... right before
the "Grand Floridian Beach Resort," as it was originally
known, was opened. That trip, we stayed offsite... and also
on our honeymoon trip the following year. We didn't learn the
on-site lesson until our 1991 visit. :)
|Jean comments: Brian,
I think only DVC members who are staying on points can pool
hop. And I think AKL is excluded.
You're right about the fact that DVC members are eligible
only when they're staying on points. I'm not aware of any
specific resort exclusions, Jean, but AKL may be excluded...
I just don't know Also, any WDW resort can turn away even
DVC members if their pool area is busy.
|Tricia writes: Hey
Brian! Even though we won't be going back to the World for awhile
I still love to read all the info you give.
We stayed at the Beach Club last November
and at all times they actively were checking guest status
in the pools. We had to "check in" and get a wrist
band each day to allow us to use the pools. It was not at
all crowded so I am sure they are even more so diligent about
it in peak times. Often times when people walked up from the
boardwalk path, they were told, feel free to look around but
don't get toooooo cozy. We even had our guest status checked
in the smaller pool to the far end of the resort (closer to
the Epcot gate) late one night while we were doing laundry
and dipping our feet in and still in street clothes.
The Beach Club pool is great. For those
that don't know, the large main pool(s) area is sand bottom.
They have a seperate childrens wading area that has large
areas to build sand castles and they even will loan you sand
toys and buckets (from the little grill facing the lake, not
Beaches and Cream). We had a life guard that would play Marco
Polo with a towel wrapped around his head when we parents
were too tired out to get off the lounge chair. There are
also two water slides, one quite fast and the other going
into a smaller pool practically on the lake. Also they "rent"
rafts to ride the current around the larger pool. Often later
in the day they would not bother to charge us for the rafts
and told us just to be sure to return them to the stack. And
lastly there is a really nice jacuzzi that overlooks the childrens
wading area. Perfect for soaking those aching legs!
I totally loved the Beach Club pool
area. I now say that I could spend another 9 days there without
the parks and just utilize the pool. But because we live in
California I would only settle for another long stay.
|Thanks for the note, Tricia!
|Brenda writes: Dear
Brian, We're going to be at WDW 12/28/02 thru 1/04/03 (yeah,
we know - crowds out the wazoo but it was our only choice).
My question is: Are the parks open late for New Year's Eve and
do they do anything special to celebrate? We know about Pleasure
Island but that's not our cup of tea.
Our planner suggested EPCOT at midnight
which got me wondering about park hours that night and the
other nights of our visit. Also, what about E-Ride nights
at that time of year? E-Ride nights are THE BEST!!!
Thanks in advance for your input.
I asked Sue Holland, who writes MousePlanet's Everything
But the Parks column, about the park hours on New Years.
Here is Sue's reply:
"Yes, the parks do stay open later on 12/31. I think
last year it was 1 or 2am (thinking 2am), but many people
clear out right after the countdown, creating major gridlock
on the roads! MGM always has live bands and they do Sorcery
in the Sky Fireworks. MK does extra fireworks, and so does
Epcot. I'm pretty sure Epcot had some extra entertainment,
as well. AK does not stay open late.
"Last year I heard MK closed in the afternoon - but
we were able to get into MGM around 8pm. It's very crowded,
and can be quite chilly. Honestly, it was an experience I
don't care to repeat <gbut someone else might find it fun.
I would have rather stayed in a resort room/villa sharing
a bottle of wine with friends instead of killing time in a
crowded theme park with them, waiting hours for a 15-minute
fireworks display and 10-second countdown. At least we had
the sense to stay near the exit - I got right on the OKW bus
and was in my unit by 12:30....my friends who left the same
time as us got back to AKL almost 1.5 hours later by their
|Joe writes: Hi, I
am a Member of the New York City Police Department, I am receiving
a free voucher at the Disney parks and a half off for my family.
We are two adults and three kids (9, 11, and 13 years old).
We can not have two rooms for our stay
since the kids are old enough to stay in there own room. Can
we stay at the Caribbean Resort or something equal in value?
Also have you heard of any discounts available to us in since
I work at the World Trade Center efforts.
I visited your web site and thought
that you would be the people to the best answers to my questions.
There isn't anywhere you can stay with three kids of that
age in one room at WDW except for the deluxe or home-away-from-home
resorts. Port Orleans does have some rooms that can accommodate
up to five, but the fifth bed is only for smaller children.
I don't know of any discounts that are being provided specifically
due to the 9/11 situation other than a military discount that
is now in place. The best suggestion I would have is to visit
check the savings specials that are available.
|Rhonda asks: Brian,
We are Disney Club members and have rooms booked for the first
week in December at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. While we do have
a discount through the DC it is really not so great ( basically
pays your room tax, which is better than nothing ). Now, the
AP room rates are really good so buying just one AP and getting
the room discount would be worth it for us. I understand this
can be done, that only the person with the reservation needs
to have a AP and that can you book up to 3 rooms ? If I am okay
so far, when we would be able to make the reservations ? Do
we just call and ask or do we have wait for a specific date
The only thing you can do about AP discounts is to repeatedly
call the reservations center until AP discounts are made available
for that time of year. Usually AP discounts are only made
available a few months out.
(Note: In last week's Notes,
it was reported that discounts have been announced into early
|Jeff writes: Brian,
Love your site and appreciate your help. Me and my wife will
be in Disney in 2 weeks. I can't wait, I haven't been there
since 92. My question is We have reservations at Boma in the
Animal Kingdom lodge. We are not driving just relying on Disney
transportation. Is it easy to get to the Lodge from Animal Kingdom.
Also since the park closes at 6 will we have trouble getting
back to another park that is open late?
You can easily catch a bus from Animal Kingdom to Animal
Kingdom Lodge. After dinner, you can take a bus from the Lodge
to one of the other parks.
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
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always gotten email about the WDW Trip Planning Guide, but since we added
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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!