by Brian Bennett
that admission media and parking prices have increased at
WDW as of September 8th! Parking in the main lots of all the
parks has gone up from $6.00 to $7.00. Admission media prices
have gone up, too, but the price increases have been blunted
a bit by a new advanced purchase policy that gives some discounts
if you buy your admission media before your trip. See all
the details in the "Prices" and "Purchasing"
sections of the Admission
Media from A to Z page in MousePlanet's WDW Trip Planning
Now, as has become our custom,
we'll review some reader responses to recent Notes From the
World material before we move on to cover some new letters...
Brian, regarding Glenn's stay at the All Star Resort. I believe
that they will give him the refrigerator for free since they
are using it for his dad's insulin. I know I have seen reports
of folks being given them for free to keep baby formula, so
I imagine that insulin would qualify also. Anyway, can't hurt
JJ writes: Brian,
I am a diabetic and I am going to Walt Disney World in December.
I am staying at Port Orleans French Quarter. When I made my
reservations I inquired about a refrigerator so that I could
keep my Insulin cool as well as freeze my ice packs to carry
in my insulin case. They told me there would be no charge.
When I received my reservation confirmation, sure enough,
the refrigerator is listed but there was no extra charge.
Hope this helps.
Tremendous! Thanks so much to both of you!
Chris writes: In last week's
piece, Kerry asked:
"My 6' 7"
son was recently turned down at two rides at Great America.
Any too tall restrictions that you know of at WDW?"
Brian, you are correct. There are no
maximum height restrictions on the attractions.
I'm 6'5'' and my father is 6'8'' and
the only issues we have ever had with our height was with
leg room in some of the attraction vehicles. The work around
is for the cast member to not load the maximum number of people
in a row. We almost always have to say something to the cast
member loading the attraction, though. I guess unless you
are tall you really do not know how uncomfortable it is to
be "folded" into a small area even if it is just
for a few minutes.
Certain rows and certain seats have
more leg room than others. In some cases, like the Big Thunder
Mountain cars, he may need to have his own row unless there
is a much shorter party member with him.
Feel free to pass this on to Kerry
and her son. They are more than welcome to contact me (Caines@hauntedmansion.com)
if they have any more questions about possible height issues.
Excellent feedback, Chris. Thanks! As a vertically challenged
guy myself, I don't run into those issues, so I really appreciate
Also, Sam writes: Hi Brian,
as always, I love the site! Kerry asked about height restrictions,
and my husband is an inch shorter than her son, at 6'6",
he's also over 400 lbs, and we have never had a problem with
a single ride. He was nervous about test track and he fit
just fine, this is a man who has gotten his hair stuck in
a regular car sun roof, but that's another story! He never
has to duck and he always has enough leg room. I hope this
Carol writes: In your last notes
to the world, a family was asking about Port Orleans Riverside
with the trundle bed. If you have 5 in the room, WDW charges
you an extra $15.00 a night for the room with the trundle
Comparing rates, it is almost always
possible to get two rooms at All-Stars for about the same
or a little bit less than a trundle room at Port Orleans.
Plus that gives the added benefit of an extra bathroom! It
is also possible to request a King Room connecting to two
doubles which gives mom & dad a king-sized bed and the
three kids can share the two doubles in the other room. (Yes,
I know the King rooms are handicapped accessible rooms.)
Just thought I would pass this along.
Excellent suggestion, Carol. I would add that the only drawback
(at least in my opinion) is that the themeing of the All Star
resorts is not as detailed or as intriguing (at least to me)
as the themeing at Port Orleans. On all other points, though,
your solution is a great one!
Jim writes: Brian, in a previous
Notes From the World, Maria asked about Cirque du Soleil.
You wrote that the show is,
circus-based (but it's a real insult to call it a "circus")
show. The acrobatics are spectacular, and the special effects
are dazzling. This is a pricey event.
I would totally agree and would like
to add that La Nouba was truly the highlight of one of my
trips to WDW. The production is dazzling and could be compared
to a top-of-the-line Broadway show. It is pricey (I believe
we paid $65 per person), but a bargain compared to the only
other two Cirque du Soleil shows with permanent homes, both
of which are in Las Vegas. Those shows Mystere
and O are priced at $90 and $122 respectively,
making the show at WDW a true bargain. Not often you get to
say that about Disney!
Thanks so much for the input, Jim. Someday my family will
definately have to go see La Nouba. :)
Dave writes: Hi, Brian. Thanks
for posting my trip report several weeks back.
I noticed in today's Notes From the
World you had some comments from Disney staff regarding Early
Entry. A couple of months ago, I hademailed guest communications
to express my disappointment at thediscontinuation of Early
Entry and its' "replacement" by Character Caravan.
I got an email back a day later asking for a good time to
call me during the day and in the evening. About 3 weeks later,
I got a call from Deborah in the executive offices. I was
not there, so she left a message. I tried to reach her, and
she was in a meeting, but she tried 4 other times to reach
me before we finally connected last week.
She was very kind and sympathetic
toward my concerns, and I copied a few notes from our 10-minute
conversation (quotes are accurate to the best of my note-taking
She said regarding Character Caravan
and Early Entry, that "one was not meant to replace the
other--we didn't intend them to appeal to the same group of
people" but that Character Caravan was rather meant "to
soften the blow" of the discontinuation of Early Entry.
(She said the addition of Character Caravan was the result
of guest surveys on park exit, where people said they were
looking for more character interaction.) She also said that
although there were a good-sized contingent of faithful users
of Early Entry, "Early Entry was not as widely used by
resort guests as we would have liked, considering the effort
it takes to produce Early Entry."
I asked if there had been a big outcry
about the discontinuation of Early Entry, and she said "it
wasn't huge, but it sure has been vocal." I'm Not sure
exactly what that means. =) I also asked if there was any
chance Early Entry would be reinstated, and she said that
it was certainly possible, but she knew of no plans at the
present time to do so.
I certainly have no reason to doubt
Deborah's sincerity or truthfulness, but this information
is somewhat different than the summaries I've read of other
peoples' conversations on this topic. She is certainly to
be commended for her persistence in trying to reach me, her
candor, and her kindness throughout the conversation.
I just thought you might like to have
this information and/or post it in a future column. Thanks
for the great job you do, Brian!
Thanks for the input, Dave. We'll just have to wait and see
if WDW sees benefit to Early Entry down the road.
Steve writes: Brian, Found this
website today. Thought you might find it useful. Man,
26 days to go and I'm alreadygetting useless at work. Thanks
for everything you do.
Thanks so much for the kind note, Steve... and for sharing
And now, back to our
regularly scheduled email...
|Michael asks: Hi
Brian, great site (heard that before? :)
We were at WDW in April/May for our
son's 5th birthday. In Innoventions (can't remember East or
West) at Epcot - they had an interactive video game called
Toon Tag that 4 kids at a time could play. Essentially - the
player becomes a character (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, or Goofy)
and runs around town trying to get ice cream cones while avoiding
getting tagged (if you're "IT" you can't get the
ice cream cones).
Our son loved it. And they were telling
people it would be coming out as a home computer game soon
(playable over the internet with others).
I've looked - but never heard anything
about it being released. Any way to get the inside scoop on
whether it's coming out (and if so, when)?
I have absolutely no idea. :)
I'll post your note in an upcoming Notes From the World column,
though. Perhaps someone out there will know something and
will share it with us.
|Sandra asks: Do you
have any suggestions for Thanksgiving dinner ? We are staying
at Fort Wilderness and have a Cabin, also. We will be four adults
and two children. Your input will be appreciated.
You really have a bunch of options. First, you could get
the fixin's and make your own turkey dinner there in cabin.
Second, you can visit any one of a number of Disney restaurants
and just enjoy a meal. Third, several of the Disney restaurants
serve up a special Thanksgiving dinner. If that's what you
want, and you don't want to make your own in the cabin, I'd
suggest you call (407) WDW-DINE and make reservations for
that dinner ASAP!
Kristen asks: Dear Brian, We
are planning a family reunion trip to Disney world and can't
decide whether to go the week of Thanksgiving - Tuesday November
26th to Sunday December 1st or arriving on Thanksgiving day
and staying the next 6 days after thanksgiving. Do you have
any suggestions. Also do you know what the parks are like
on Thanksgiving day?
Is there any way I can convince you to delay the trip a few
more days? If you could plan to arrive on the Sunday or Monday
after Thanksgiving (or better yet, a full week later yet),
you'd find that the crowd levels for your trip would be MUCH
lower than Thanksgiving week.
If the only choices are the two you posed, then I'd go for
the Thanksgiving Day arrival option. At least the last part
of the trip would be with relatively lower crowds.
|Bob asks: Hi, do
you have a section on golf at Walt Disney World? either regular
18 holes or the new miniature courses (I believe there are two
If you go to this
page you'll find a bunch of information on the WDW golf
courses (the various pages are listed at the bottom). Also,
the miniature golf courses are mentioned on the "other
sports options" page.
|Sam writes: Hi Brian,
I was just reading your WDW Trip Planning
Guide, it's an addiction at this point, and I saw mention
of places to stop on the road on the way down to Walt Disney
World. I'd like to add my own favorite.
We drive down from New Jersey on I-95
every year, we drive straight through with only minimal stops
for food and the prerequisite JR Discount Store stop 4am -
However, on the way home we take 2
days for the trip. Our absolute favorite is to drive an hour
off I-95 to Charleston, SC. We usually plan on arriving there
at around 3:00p.m., perfect for a late lunch, early dinner
at Hyman's, otherwise the wait can be astronomical.
I believe they are currently ranked
#1 in the South and #2 in the country for seafood. The place
is frequented by stars, as table plaques and autographed plates
proclaim. It's a regular, not fancy, restaurant with some
of the best service and best food you'll ever taste.
We drive in, take a ride along East
Bay Street and past Rainbow Row, eat lunch or dinner, walk
it off along the harbor walk, and head back to I-95. In 2
hours you can have that little relaxation that we all need
after the hustle of the world.
Charleston is a vacation in and of
itself but a mini stop in is wonderful too.
Just thought I'd share.
|Thanks for the note, Sam. I thoroughly enjoyed
our stopover in Charleston a few years back. Sticky Fingers
was the downtown restaurant where we had lunch. I believe that's
another local favorite. Of course, being a history nut, I also
loved our visits to Fort Sumpter and the U.S.S. Yorktown, an
Essex class aircraft carrier that was built during World War
|Kelly asks: Hi Brian,
Having thoroughly enjoyed the recent reports about the Disneysea
resort in Tokyo I was just wondering if Disney has any intention
of bringing such a resort to the US. Being from California and
hearing so much bad news about Disney's California Adventure
I was wondering if they would try to make amends by bringing
this incredible park to the states. I am not suggesting building
it in California, although I would love that, but would love
to have the opportunity to visit such a neat place and don't
forsee getting to Tokyo in a long while if ever.
Just wondering if you might know anything
about that possibility and hoping it might happen!
I haven't been to Disney's California
Adventure yet, I've just heard all the bad news about it.
I will be going in October and will definitely do a report
and let you know my take on it.
Thanks for any info you might have.
First off, I'll be looking forward to that report in a few
Regarding the likelihood of building a new park in the U.S.,
I don't think it's likely for a few years. Perhaps I'm wrong,
but I don't think that the finances of the Walt Disney Company
are in shape to handle such a huge capital investment right
now. Instead, I think the company will add attractions to
it's existing parks in Florida and California.
I'm basing this only on my own personal opinion, but I don't
think we'll see the construction of another major Disney park
in the United States for eight to ten years or more. I just
don't think the company has the vision it used to have...
although clearly Imagineering still has "it."
|Rich asks: Hi Brian,
I'm going to be at the All-Star Movie resort the second week
in January. As someone who's staying on-site, would I be able
to use the Spa facilities at the Grand Floridian? Or, is this
just for people who are staying at Grand Floridian?
The spa at the Grand Floridian is an "ala carte"
facility. That is, you pay for whatever services you want
That being the case, it is definately available to anyone.
Note that the spa at the Disney Institute is likewise open
to anyone with a bulging wallet. :)
In a followup, Rich asks: Thank
you Brian. I don't hear too much about the Disney Institute
lately. Is it still open, or have its services been cut back
due to the company's financial problems?
It's been cut back, actually several years ago, but not because
of corporate problems but rather just because the services
of the Institute were not highly sought-after by customers.
|Michael asks: Hi,
Brian, I really enjoy your articles about Walt Disney World.
My wife is going to a conference there in late September and
we are staying at the Coronado Springs Resort. We decided to
make it a mini-family vacation since our son turns 18 during
the trip. Can you suggest any restaurants or other activities
at Walt Disney World that we can do to make our son's birthday
special? I sent an e-mail to WDW via the Disney website, but
received a canned response that was more appropriate for a couple
rather than a family. Thank you very much for your time and
page you might want to check out. Other than that, I can
only suggest that you ask your son about what he might want
to do that day and what restaurants he might enjoy for a special
meal or two.
Mike writes: Brian: I read your
article about the boycott
(of Walt Disney World) from a Christian point of view.
First I would like to say well done!
I am a Christian man who loves the Disney experience and have
since I went for the first time in 1988. I remember when the
boycott was announced and I cringed. I understand that they
wanted to send a message but this was not the way. I immediately
recalled all the good that the Disney company had done for
families up to that point which should not be forgotten. When
I read your article I figured I could share this thought with
When Walt and Roy were alive Disney
was a family business with family values, just like their
majority owners. After Roy died the company did well, but
did not progress much beyond the two theme parks. When Eisner
came in the company lost its family business mentality and
it became a corporate giant that had to satisfy hungry investors.
The family values that once were the backbone of the company
gave way to a new form of society that passed Disney by.
Now Disney is no different than other
big companies. They are out to make money, period. (I don't
care if their employees are gay or not. I may pray for them
but that would not stop me from visiting their business.)
People seem to think Disney should stay the way they always
remembered it was. For them change is a tough thing to accept.
I will continue to take my family to
Disney because of the joy it brings to my family. Finding
family time together let alone a place the entire family enjoys
is rare in todays world. Disney does that and that is a good
thing not to be forgotten.
Brian keep up the good work and God
|Thanks Mike. I couldn't agree with you more. :)
Vicki asks: Hi, heard that there
is some type of boat transporation from one of the countries
in Epcot, I think France, that will take you over to the Disney
MGM Studios park. I was wondering if this is true, I have
never seen it, but I always seem to find something that I
missed the time before when I visit Disney. Your help would
be greatly appreciated if you have any information on this
connection by boat between Epcot and the Studios.
You can take a boat from the International Gateway (just
outside the park) that goes to the Yacht & Beach Club,
Swan & Dolphin, and Boardwalk Resorts as well as the Studios.
You can NOT take a boat from inside Epcot to the Studios.
|Joe writes: I really
enjoy the site, read it daily to get my Disney obsession fix.
I am planning a trip to WDW next year, probably early May or
late April, depending on when its best to get the kids out of
school. This is going to have to be a shoestring budget due
to the many health problems my family has went throught this
last year (my wife had throat cancer). I read on mousesavers.com
that only one person had to get an annual pass to receive the
discount for the resorts. My question is this, does the passholder
have to be an adult, or can I get my 9 year old son an annual
pass and then make the reservations in his name to get the discount
rate? I know that sounds horribly cheap, but every penny is
going to count on this trip. I appreciate any help you can give
me, and thank you for the great site. It really is a highlight
of my day to get my daily Disney fix.
Since the room has to be booked by an adult and the person
booking the room has to be the AP holder, I think you're stuck.
I certainly wouldn't risk it because if the Cast Member checking
you in balks at the child's AP, you'd either have to buy an
adult AP on the spot (which could knock out a good part of
your savings) or else forfeit the discount. It would be much
safer to get an adult AP, book the room under that person's
In any case, I'm glad you've been nosing around at Mousesavers.Com.
There isn't a better place on the web to get good information
on how to legally save money on a Disney trip.
Hi Brian, I'm looking for an overall map of all of WDW. I've
never been there, and I'd like to get the lay of the land into
my head. I read in someone's trip report that you can walk to
the Magic Kingdom from the Contemporary resort (I think that's
the one), and I never knew that before.
Anyway, I couldn't find one on your
site, and I'm not having that much luck with Google either
(I've only been trying for a few minutes.) Any help you can
provide would be greatly appreciated.
WDW itself produces a fantastic map, but unfortunately it's
copyrighted and I can't simply scan it to make it available.
If you're staying on site, I would suggest that you contact
the resort you'll be at and ask them if they'll send you a
copy of the "WDW Transportation Guide," which includes
Sorry, but that's the best I can suggest for now.
Good morning Brian! Kudos to you for providing such an informative
and enjoyable service to your readers. In my opinion, your
advice is second to none.
My husband and I, along with our 4
year old son and 9 year old niece will be traveling to Disney
from Massachusetts on 9/22 through 9/29. We will be staying
at the Wilderness Lodge and have hired Tiffany to transport
us to and from the airport ($80). I have read the horror stories
in regards to the WL transportation and am a little bit concerned.
We do not anticipate a problem but want to be prepared with
a back up plan just in case. We have been tossing around the
idea of renting a vehicle but I would like to get your opinion
first. We do plan to visit all parks (including the water
parks). After studying the maps I'm thinking that we would
only use the car on two or three occasions and possibly just
one way as we would be using a taxi in conjunction with WDW
transportation. Could you give me a guesstimate on how much
it would cost to hire a taxi from WL to Blizzard Beach. This
will give me a better idea as to whether or not a rental would
be worth it.
Thanks so much for your help. I will
do my part and send you a trip report sometime in early October.
I have absolutely no idea how much it would cost to use a
taxi from one place to another on site. I've never done it!
I really don't think you have any reason to be concerned about
the transporation at Wilderness Lodge. My experience there
has been good.
Comedian Steven Wright has a line about using a microwave
to make instant coffee and "going back in time."
Unfortunately, some folks want instant everything nowadays.
As long as you're a bit patient, and don't mind some minor
(fifteen to twenty minute) waits, you'll be fine. The only
time that the waits will be significantly longer is at the
very end of the day when a given park closes and thousands
of people have to be transported back to the hotels. Again,
with patience it will be no problem.
I really wouldn't rent that car. It's just not worth the
money for the use you'll get out of it, given your description
of your plans.
I'll be looking forward to that trip report. :)
|In a followup, Joanne
writes: Brian! I can't believe that you actually answered
my question. I thought that I was going to have to wait and
hope that you chose my question to put in reader feedback. I
am so honored that you took such time to personally respond.
You are like a celebrity to me and I feel as if I just had a
brush with greatness.
Thanks for your advice. I so needed
to hear that. You are the greatest! Many thanks!
I am hardly a celebrity! :)
Thanks for the kind words, though. Although now I have a
big head to go with my oversized ego.
(Editor's Note: Just
so you all know, the email that I answer in this column are
actually just cut and pasted from actual email sent directly
to me or questions that were posed in my WDW Trip Planning
Guide reader feedback
form. I really do my best to answer each and every one
of the emails that are sent my way, although I do reserve
the right to determine which of those are posted in the Notes
From the World column, as I try to avoid being too redundant
from week to week.)
Susanne writes: Dear Brian,
first off, let me just say that I am in awe of your site and
with you as well!!! You have been such a wealth of information
for many of us and your ability to respond to our questions
with such kindness and patience (even when I know you must
have answered most of these questions many, many, many times
before), is astounding!!! I have been reading the e-mails
for many months in the hopes that my question would have appeared
by now and I wouldn't have to bother you with it. But, no
such luck so here goes.
Back in 1999 I purchased a park hopper
pass that included entry to the water parks as well. We still
have one day left on our passes. Can we still use these passes
to get into the water parks? My plan is to use these passes
to get into Blizzard Beach on our first day, then use these
same passes for entry into one of the theme parks on the following
day. Will we even be able to get into Blizzard Beach with
these passes or by doing so, will we have used up the last
available day altogether?
The answer to my question will help
me decide what type of admission media to purchase for our
upcoming WDW trip in early November. Thank you, in advance,
for your help!
The park hopper plus passes that were sold in 1999 (and now,
for that matter) specify that the "plus options"
expire a certain number of days from the first use of the
pass. For example, I believe a five-day park hopper plus comes
with two plus options, both of which expire seven days after
first use of the pass. The major park days never expire, of
course, but the plus options do.
|In a follow-up Suzanne
writes: Dear Brian, WOW - now I'm really impressed! I can't
thank you enough for your super quick response to my e-mailed
question regarding the plus options on the park hopper passes.
You've help me decide that purchasing the 5 day park hopper
plus pass (with two options) would be best for us. I will use
our remaining day from our 1999 passes for MK and then use our
new 5 day plus passes for a trip to Blizzard Beach and then
2 days worth to visit MGM and Epcot. That way we will be left
with three days for the theme parks and one remaining water
park plus option for our return trip in 2003 or so. I'm pretty
sure I read on your site that with these new park hopper plus
passes the "plus options" never expire. (WOULD YOU
KINDLY CORRECT ME IF THAT IS NOT THE CASE?) Thanks again for
You didn't read carefully what I'd written. What I said was,
"The park hopper plus passes that were sold in 1999 (and
now, for that matter) specify that the "plus options"
expire a certain number of days from the first use of the
pass. For example, I believe a five-day park hopper plus comes
with two plus options, both of which expire seven days after
first use of the pass. The major park days never expire, of
course, but the plus options do."
Again, the plus options DO expire!
Susanne wrote again: Dear Brian,
once again, thank you for your prompt response to my e-mail
regarding the expiration policy of the plus options on the
park hopper passes. I noticed, however that after I complimented
you on your seemingly endless amount of patience with your
avid site readers questions, you seemed a little snippy with
me. So I guess there is a limit to your patience and kindness
The reason I am bothering you again
is to let you know that I was mistaken when I thought I read
on your website that the plus options on the park hopper passes
never expire. It was actually on the mousesavers website that
I read this. I was not sure who was correct you or the mousesaver
folks so I called Disney directly (at 407 824-2222) and was
told that if I purchased a 5 day park hopper plus pass with
2 plus option that the two plus options DO NOT EXPIRE. Just
thought I would let you know. Perhaps you might like to verify
this for yourself as well and then update your site.
I'm sorry I disappointed you.
However, I AM glad that you persisted because I clearly was
incorrect in the information that I'd provided to you. Since
I'm getting on in years (my 39th birthday is just around the
corner), I must be losing some of my memory cells.
Clearly, the plus options on the Park Hopper Plus Passes
that are currently being sold do not expire. (The funny thing,
is that I DID have it right in my WDW Trip Planning Guide
on MousePlanet... I just got it wrong in our email communications...
Thanks for straightening me out!
(Editor's Note: And there
goes both my celebrity status, my reputation for being patient,
and my infallability all in one short series of email. My
head has now returned to it's normal, shrunken size.)
Well, I hope you enjoyed the reader feedback
for the WDW Trip Planning Guide! Feed free to send more questions
or comments to email@example.com!
Brian Bennett's Disney Trip Planner
Click here to see
some awesome WDW pieces that have run on MousePlanet recently!
here to check out the rest of Brian's Archive, including all of the previously
published "Notes From the World" pieces!
always gotten email about the WDW Trip Planning Guide, but since we added
form to the site several months ago, the number of questions has increased
dramatically! I do my best to answer each and every question personally,
but I've noticed that a lot of the questions are asked again and again.
The question that one person asks might very well be the question that
someone else is wondering about. Thus this page!
reader email and feedback every once in a while, because the question
someone else asks might be the same one you're thinking about yourself!