become our custom, we'll review some reader responses to recent
Notes From the World material before we move on to cover some
To start off, I got several responses about
Mickey's Backyard Bar-B-Que. Here's a sampling (without comment
Lu writes: I have
been going to WDW for many years now and have just found your
site. I thinks its great to allow guests to bounce ideas around
with each other. I wish I had someone to ask before I dragged
my entire family of 4 with a 2 & 3 yr old in addition
to my in-laws, both sisters in law plus one brother in law
along to the BBQ for $30 or so each for our 2000 Thanksgiving
What a fiasco! When they
say Backyard BBQ they aren't kidding! Since I have been to
almost every character meal and dinner show they offer I had
my expectations, and sold my family on them. I EXPECTED something
similar to the Hoop De Doo since the prices were similar and
the locations almost on top of each other buy I was wrong,
VERY WRONG. When I first saw it I was shocked, it is set on
a slab on concrete with a plain wood roof cover like you see
at any municipal park. The seating was on plain old picnic
tables. The entertainment was some no-name country band that
was very good although not what I was expecting. No characters
were in sight. The buffet of big pans of food on 2 tables
where you walk in were obviously being recycled from seating
to seating. I believe we ate off of paper plates. The food
was tolerable. I would recommend that a family skip this alltogether
and go see the Hoop De Doo twice rather than waste their money
Libby adds this:
Dear Brian, I haven't sent this as a review as it has been
four years since we were there. When we went the food was
good - as long as you're a meat eater .. ribs, chicken drumsticks,
cornbread, sponge cake and planty of soft drinks.
The entertainment was country
music,line dancing and a few games for the children, but not
really our thing, did a bit of line dancing but found the
evening fairly boring. Highlight of the evening were the characters
- Mickey, Minnie, Chip, Dale and Goofy all dressed up in wild
We were on a package trip
from UK and bought our ticket from our Virgin rep. Virgin
must have block booked the whole evening as all the guests
were from England or Wales. Quite a surreal evening Wild West
theme in USA but with British audience!!
Not our cup of tea but
might be more fun if we'd been travelling with a group of
PS thanks for the info
on your site, I really enjoy getting a disney fix!
writes: Dear Brian, You asked for information on Mickey's
Backyard Barbeque in today's column. I haven't been myself
but, as I know that MousePlanet and WDWIG are friendly rivals,
I thought I would mention that Deb Wills has posted several
reviews of it. There's a considerable disparity of opinion.
Apparently attendance isn't limited as at Hoop-de-Doo and
so it can get very crowded, but people who have gone at less
crowded times have enjoyed it. It also seems to be a better
value than Hoop-de-Doo, at least if you like country music.
Thanks so much for your input, Margaret. I certainly
count Deb Wills as a friend and a great asset to all of us
Disney nuts out there. I don't like to advertise "the
enemy," but in this case, I'll share your note ASAP.
Then, a few other topics were brought back up
by Notes From the World readers...
Jim Writes: Brian,
I always enjoy reading your site. I have a couple of comments
on questions people asked in your 7/8 trip planning guide.
Regarding E-Ride Nights: Weve
done this one three times at different resorts. Im not
sure about the boats, but busses and/or monorails definitely
run to each of the resorts following E-Ride. They make enough
trips to get everyone back to their hotels just like they
do after the park officially closes.
Regarding laundry at All Star Movies:
I would not plan on using this option unless absolutely necessary.
Yes they do have a Laundromat with supplies, but I believe
the total number of machines was 6-8. Definitely not enough
for a resort with nearly 2000 rooms. I spent more than 4 hours
one evening attempting to wash a sweater that I desperately
needed the following morning.
Finally to the family of 10 asking
about staying on or off property at a rental home. I would
definitely attempt to stay on property even if budget only
allows several rooms at one of the all star resorts, or camping
at Fort Wilderness. The reason simply comes down to transportation
and convenience. Our family of two (sometimes three) has never
been on a trip to WDW where we felt like doing everything
together at the same time. It would seem that trying to keep
a group of 10 happy would be a nightmare if staying off property.
By staying on property, the cranky one can go and take a nap
easily and rejoin the troops again later, or family members
can park hop and all meet up at the resort in the evening.
At the very least, if staying off property I would recommend
taking several vehicles so people can come and go a various
times, or the parents can visit another park when the kids
are ready for day five at the Magic Kingdom! I cant
imagine 10 people all being happy on the same schedule.
Dana shares this note:
Hi Brian, Your site was a lifesaver during my pre-trip planning,
it's absolutely the best site out there!!
I just wanted
to comment on two of the e-mails sent to you.
Lori had some trouble getting in to
her 9:00 a.m. priority seating at Cinderella's Castle due
to the park not opening until 8:50 a.m.. I just wanted to
let you know that during my stay in June I had priority seating
at the Crystal Palace for 8:10 a.m. I arrived at the park
at about 7:50 a.m. and there was a a turnstile line open just
for priority seating holders. They checked you off of a clipboard
list and then they let people through 1-2 turnstiles right
at 8:00 a.m. I wonder if maybe the cast member Lori spoke
with didn't know about the special "Priority Seating"
line (it was at the far end of the turnstiles---opposite of
the bus loading/unloading sites. Anyway, we were actually
in the Crystal Palace eating (where my daughter was Chef of
the Day) by 8:10 a.m. and were standing behind the velvet
rope at Fantasyland by 8:45 a.m. I got some great pictures
of the castle with hardly anyone there and Mickey Mouse was
also out already greeting guests!!
I also had a tip for Jackie who was
concerned about souvenir money. If she is a member of the
Disney Club then she can get 10% off at most of the Downtown
Disney stores, including World of Disney, Pooh Corner and
the Christmas Store. I waited and went to the Downtown Disney
stores and saved around $25 - 30.00, if you're planning on
a trip to Downtown Disney anyway... They also deliver the
packages to your resort too.
Thanks for all that you do!!
Andy writes: Brian, I'm responding
to a recent letter you received from Nancy and then responded
to by Allison. I stayed at the Wilderness Lodge a couple of
years ago and also did the e-ride night. Wilderness Lodge
is a great resort but transportation can be a problem. The
boats from MK do stop running before e-ride night is over
and actually stopped running even before closing time of the
Magic Kingdom. At that time the only way to get back to Wilderness
Lodge was to take the monorail to the TTC and then transfer
to a bus going to Fort Wilderness. The bus stops at Wilderness
Lodge as well. You need to check the name of the bus you get
on. I believe the Boone bus goes in one direction and the
Crockett in another. Since there were not a lot of buses running
late at night it did take over an hour to get back to WL.
We rode the same route in the day and had no problems.
Marc writes: In your last update,
Vincent wrote about the Animal Kingdom Lodge rooms: "The
rooms are no bigger than the rooms at the value and moderate
resorts. (If they are, I couldn't tell) " I have never
stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, so I don't know about
their rooms size. But in the past, Disney's rule was that
value resorts have the smallest rooms, moderate a bit bigger
and Deluxe the biggest. In the All-Star Resorts, they used
a little trick that the rooms don't look too small: The beds
are a bit shorter, so there is still enough space between
the beds and the drawers/TV stand.
The rooms at Animal Kingdom Lodge are smaller than most of
the deluxe resorts. They're actually pretty comparable to
Wilderness Lodge in size, but smaller by about 10-15% than
the other deluxes. The are also 8-10% bigger than the rooms
at the moderates, though, so Vincent was technically incorrect...
although I can't fault him for having that impression (without
whipping out a yardstick).
Jo Ann writes: In response to
Bob's question about wheelchairs, we had the occasion to use
them while visiting the park in December 2001. The wheelchairs
are readily available and come in two sizes, regular and wide.
The non-motorized wheelchairs are a lightweight nylon version,
color coded for each park e.g. Epcot's were purple. The cost
was $8.00 per day with a refund of one Disney Dollar if you
returned it when you left the park (and didn't just abandon
it). There is a pocket on the wheelchair for a card with your
name so someone else doesn't take your wheelchair in error.
And, correct me if I'm wrong Brian, you can obtain another
wheelchair for no additional cost if you park hop. Just save
your receipt. Hope this helps, Bob.
Thanks so much for your input, Jo Ann. I'll share it on the
site soon! You're correct, by the way, that wheelchairs (but
not ECVs) are free of charge with a same-day receipt.
Julie writes: Hi Brian,
I just wanted to defend myself from
the 6/24 comments that Sharon made regarding her vacation.
The parks were simply not as they always are. I guess people
who have not been to WDW often just do not recognize where
many of the cuts are taking place. I have been to WDW 5 times
in the last two years (any many other times in years' past).
I may be expecting just too much, but I believe that WDW has
a responsibilty to all of us, veteran or rookie, and we should
hold them to it! Vacations are not cheap and we all want the
most for our dollar! Thanks!
I agree with you wholeheartedly. Some folks just want to
defend Disney, though, either because they're so immursed
in the magic that they can't see the slips, or because they
feel like they have to defend the company they just spent
thousands of dollars with, or for some other unknown reason.
I guess all we (you and I and others that agree) is continue
to warn folks to seriously consider what they're paying for
their vacations against what they're going to receive. As
long as folks are satisfied with the value they receive for
their money, all power to them!
And Julies note ties directly into the next one...
Vicky writes: Dear Brian, Two
things today. First, thank you (et al.) for MousePlanet! It's
a great way to start my day. Second, I wanted to share the
following in the hope you might include it in a future "Notes
from the World".
Last month, on a whim, I sent an email
via the official WDW website, to complain/express my dissatisfaction
with the cancellation of Early Entry. I'm sure many would
agree that it was one of the best perks to staying on-site.
In my email, I also mentioned that the Character Caravan might
be great for small children, but as a parent of teenagers,
Early Entry was by far the better deal. I also stated that
I did not want a "canned reply" (having received
one from Disneyland when I complained to them about the loss
of Magic Mornings).
Today, I received a call from some guy
at WDW (I was in total shock so I'm not sure who he is or
what his title is...). He called rather than reply via email
so that I would know his response was not "canned".
He said the response WDW has received re: the Character Caravan
has been "overwhelming" and "positive".
He says they have received VERY LITTLE complaint about the
cancellation of Early Entry. "Really?!" I asked.
Really, he replied. So, to all fellow fans of Early Entry...
let's get the word out! Send WDW a quick note if you're dissatisfied
with the loss of Early Entry. Probably won't help, but certainly
can't hurt... ;-) Has anyone else had a similar response?
Thanks for your time.
Thanks so much for the note! I'll definately share it in
My own personal take on the Caravan is just that the folks
that take advantage of it probably say good things about it,
but that they're not being asked the key question, "which
would you prefer, Early Entry or the Character Caravan?"
I bet if the question was asked clearly, the answer would
be just as clear.
Not everyone (myself included) did take advantage of Early
Entry, but I hate having a perk removed that used to be a
standard... even if I personally chose to rarely use that
perk. It just detracts from the value of staying on-site...
an expensive proposition anyway, even before the cutbacks
reduced the "worth" side of the value equation.
So folks, there you have it. If you would like to register
your opinion about the cancellation of Early Entry, contact
WDW guest communcations and let them know what you think!
Walt Disney World Guest Communications
Post Office Box 10040
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830
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