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
few weeks ago, I posed a scenario about a young military couple
planning a honeymoon at Walt Disney World. Here's some of
the feedback I got on that idea:
- Lynnette writes, "Thanks
for a great mind exercise."
- Robin writes, "What
- Maus writes, "This
was a fun exercise, thanks, Brian!"
- Todd writes, "What
a great idea!!! Thanks!"
- Dreslaine writes,
"Brian - Thank you for your devotion to your web site.
You allow us to experience the Disney park's magic every
day of the year."
- Julie writes, "The
school year has started and I should be working on lesson
plans. Instead, I saw your Kevin and Melissa "puzzle"...Some
day I'm going to quit my job and just plan Disney trips.
- Rick writes, "I
imagine you'll get lots of responses to this idea of yours.
What a great thing to try! I certainly had fun putting a
plan together, although I probably spent more time on it
than I should have. If nothing else it made me realize that
I could probably put my knowledge of the WDW resort to use
as a specialized vacation planner!... I'm looking forward
to hearing what you think of my plan and to reading what
others have come up with!"
finally gotten the new
page on Kevin and Melissa's honeymoon up on MousePlanet,
in the WDW Trip Planning Guide. Thanks to all of you for helping
me put that page together! In a few weeks, I'll pose another
scenario and well do it again, OK?
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...
Last week, a reader named Vicki asked about the existence
of a boat from the France area of Epcot to D/MGM, and you
responded: "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." I just wanted to throw in that the International
Gateway is between the France and England areas of the World
Showcase, and as you said just outside the Gateway's entry
turnstiles. I didn't want her to be wandering around outside
the main entrance of Epcot looking for a boat dock!
Thanks Daniel. That's a good point for follow-up.
Dear Brian, you said in a previous "Notes from the World"
that the plus options on Park Hopper Plus passes expire.
You specifically state
Media from A to Z" that they do NOT expire. I also
did not see anything about this in the huge amount of online
research and guidebook reading I did before my August trip.
Please clarify - I saved my plus options for another trip.
If you look through ALL of the emails about the plus options,
you'll see that I was mistaken when I said they do expire.
You're absolutely correct. They do NOT expire.
Sorry for the confusion.
Rob writes: Brian,
I read through today's update on Mouseplanet... Just wanted
to let you know that you're not *totally* going insane on
the park hopper with plus options questions. Perhaps you were
thinking of the old Park Hopper Passports that were discontinued
in mid-1997. A 5-day hopper back then would be good for 5
days that never expired, as well as unlimited admission to
ALL water parks and Pleasure Island for 7 days from the first
use of the pass. As long as Suzanne has one of the newer "plus"
passes (or for a time I think they were called "All-In-One",
but essentially the same thing), the Plus options never expire.
(I've used unused Plus options a year later, in fact).
Disney discontinued the first Hopper
pass in late August of 1997 and replaced them with the All-In-One.
Though they had stopped selling them over the phone and at
the Disney stores, I was able to snatch up two of the tickets
for our December '97 trip on Disney.com just 24 hours before
they removed them from the site. (In this case, Disney's slowness
in updating their site was a *good* thing for us :-)
And Steve writes:
Brian, the answer you provided Suzanne regarding the plus
option expiring or not expiring was partly correct. Disney
used to sell a park hopper with plus option that expired seven
days after the first use of the ticket. The difference was
that the plus options were not limited during the seven. You
could go to as many of the minor parks as you wanted as many
times as you wanted. The switch to the limited options that
never expire occurred sometime around 1997/98. I hope this
was helpful in muddying up the waters some more.
Thanks guys. I knew in the recesses of my mind that the old
passes worked that way. The embarrassing part was that my
own pages in MousePlanet's WDW Trip Planning Guide had it
right... and I just messed up.
Mike writes: Hi Brian, Joanne
asked about the cost for a taxi within WDW. We took a cab
from Coronado Springs to AKL for an early breakfast (before
the buses were running) last April. The fare was $6, plus
tip. I would imagine this would be typical for any short hop
around the world. Mike Burkhardt PS - Maybe you could suggest
Joanne check out the MousePlanet
message boards. There is all kinds of good stuff there
and other folks are real good about giving suggestions, etc.
Thanks Mike... both for the answer and the suggestion.
Natalie shares this information:
Brian, In response to the trundle
bed dilemma at Port Orleans, I think most Alligator Bayou
rooms have the trundles. So, on our last visit, we requested
an Alligator Bayou room and received the trundle at no extra
charge. Of course there's no guarantee of a trundle unless
you book one. It was also big enough to accommodate my 15
year-old son (he was about 5').
Thanks for all the great planning
Thanks Natalie. The main point that I want people to know
about, and that you've reinforced (thanks), is that the trundle
is just not big enough for an adult.
Glenn writes: Brian,
Just wanted to thank you and the all the readers that responded
to my questions from a while back replayed with suggestions
published in your 9/4 and 9/9 Notes... First of all, I did
call back to Disney Travel and they did note on my account
that since it was for insulin, the refrigerator is no charge!
Thanks for the follow-up, Glenn.
Hey there, Brian. You should know by now that I'm a regular
reader of the entire MousePlanet site. I'm probably the only
idiot in the state of Texas with both WDW and DL annual passes!
As such I really appreciate the updated information that you
provide, and the sense of humor with which you deal with us
crazy folks. That said, I have a suggestion and a correction
for your perusal -
When you list a link to another site,
you usually do it this way - "click to this web site
for more information." It would be very helpful to me
if you actually gave more information as to what the web site
is, as in "visit WDW for Kleptos for more information."
It'd give me an idea of where you were sending me before I
The other thing is really REALLY picky,
but hey, if you're like me, you'd much rather have a friend
point out these things than to keep on doing them. So here
goes - "definitely" instead of "definately",
and "theming" instead of "themeing". There
- told you it was picky!!! Understand that it's only in the
spirit of one trying to help, to contribute to an already
terrific site. Keep it up, buddy!
Thanks for the suggestions, Daniel. I'll "definately"
keep them in mind. ;)
Honestly, I do appreciate the feedback. I'm far from infallible...
as you're already well aware.
And in a follow-up,
Daniel writes: Hey, I'm so far from infallible that I
can't even see it! I've never understood how a friend can
let me walk around all day with spinach in my teeth, when
it'd be so easy to just tell me about it. Better a moment's
embarrassment than a day's worth of regret when I look in
the mirror before bed! And please don't feel that I'm gonna
be sitting out here trying to be the grammar or spelling police.
I'll just continue to enjoy the excellent information you
and your readers provide. Thanks again!
Regardless of errors, omissions and "snippiness",
you will always be a celebrity to me.
You're too kind. But thanks anyway! :)
back to our regularly scheduled email...
Hi, I recently saw on e-bay that there are many people selling
meal vouchers called "quick and casual meal pass".
Are these something that you can buy at the park or are they
a perk of staying at a Disney resort. Just wondering if they
are worth it or not.
The "Quick & Casual" meal passes are available
only through a membership-only organization called "Connections."
It cost's $89.95 per year to join, and provides you with many
opportunities for savings on a Disney vacation (including
There's a ton of information on the program at the MouseSavers.com
site. Here's a direct link to the
Connections web site.
Looks like some folks are joining Connections, buying some
of the vouchers and so on, and trying to turn it into a moneymaking
venture by selling them off via the web. My advice is that
you check them out very carefully before joining Connections
or buying any of their vouchers because the company is NOT
affiliated with the Walt Disney Company as far as I can see.
Cindy writes: Hi Brian, first
of all I must tell you how much I enjoy reading your "Notes
from the World"! I finding answers to questions I would
never have thought of asking.
I have two questions of my own - first,
how early in the day can I catch the monorail to the Magic
Kingdom? I thought that guests could get all the way to Main
Street USA before they actually opened the gate. When we were
there in December 2000 we arrived at the the Ticket and Transportation
Center at 8 am, the park opened at 9:00a.m., and when we finally
arrived at the turnstiles, they appeared to have been open
for some time.
Question two - we are going again this
December for 2 weeks, staying offsite first, and then at All
Star Movies for the last 3 nights, meaning we will move there
on a Saturday. I understand we can get our ID's, do the paperwork,
and leave our luggage earlier than check-in time, but exactly
how early can we do this? We would like to get the most out
of our day at the Parks.
This will be our second time going
to Walt Disney World in early December. I must say that this
has to be the best time to go! The crowds are down, the weather
is perfect (I can't take the really hot temps in summer, and
the cold nights don't come close to Manitoba winters!),and
the Christmas decorations and events are awesome!
One more comment - What I enjoyed
most on your web site was reading the article "Brian
and His Family". Reading about your Christian views
and values, and your testimony was so uplifting! Being a Christian
is nothing to be ashamed of, it is something to be excited
about! Thank you for sharing that with your readers. I hope
everyone has taken the time to read it.
Thanks so much for the kind comments about my personal page
here on MousePlanet. I appreciate the excuse you've given
to provide another link from a Notes piece to it. ;)
Also, I'm sorry it's taken me so long to respond, but I was
out of town (my day job pulled me away from the hobby).
Now, to answer your questions...
The monorail is generally operational about an hour before
the park is scheduled to open. In general, the gates of the
park open a bit early and Main Street (the shops and so on)
is open for browsing and snacking. "Rope drop,"
when the barrier at the end of Main Street is removed and
the park opening announcement is made, is usually right at
the scheduled park opening time.
Regarding early check in at a Walt Disney World resort, you
can do that any time on the morning of your scheduled arrival.
Frankly, if you wanted to go over just after midnight, I bet
you'd be permitted to handle things then even.
Personally, I would plan to go over early enough to handle
things without big check-out crowds (maybe around 7:00a.m.
or so), and leave my car there at the resort. I'd take the
resort transportation to the park, and then return to the
resort and my car later in the day to move into my room.
Rob writes: Hey Brian, I was
just checking out your list of romantic
stuff to do at Walt Disney World that you put on that
new page, and wanted to suggest that you add the Breathless
Fireworks Cruise for Two to the list of water tours under
"stuff to do."
The Disney folks will arrange any type
of food, wine, desserts, etc. I think they even have a CD
player on board, and it would be real cool to burn a CD of
your own "special" music to play while on the cruise.
I can hear her saying, "How did they know all of our
favorite songs?" Talk about Disney magic!
|Thanks so much, Rob. That will be an excellent
|Rich asks: Hi Brian,
We're planning our trip to Disney World in early December and
hopefully the Crowd Gods will smile on me, my wife, and my 2-year-old.
I'm writing because I have a question on park passes and hard-ticket
We'll be at Disney for a full 6-days
but have decided to get a 5-day Plus Pass (so we can take
a day off from the parks and not get Disney-burnout). During
that day off I'm thinking of purchasing tickets to Mickey's
Very Merry Christmas Party. If I go to that event will I lose
a day off of my pass?
Thanks for all of your help.
No. Hard ticket events are handled separately from your park
hopper passes and will not affect your park hopper pass usage.
|Joy asks: Brian,
what happened to the off site hotel reviews? I checked those
periodically as I was planning for an upcoming '03 trip. I'm
a 27 year old single female taking my 50+ year old parents with
me. Is that a reversal of roles or what? Thanks for all the
work you do. I read MousePlanet just about every day.
MousePlanet now maintains a bulletin-board-based
review system for resort and restaurant reviews. Be aware,
though, that the review system has only been up for a few
weeks, so I don't know how many reviews are now in the system.
Hopefully you'll find some help there, though.
reviews are also still there, too. Perhaps those will
be of use to you, as well.
|Mia asks: I am wondering
if you are a Travel Agent. I am, and a graduate of Disney's
"College of Knowledge" and during that course, there
are questions exactly like this one that you have posed, to
help the agents develop their knowledge of the park services
and offerings and help their clients to plan a great vacation.
Just curious, because the questions
are so familiar... :)
|No, Mia, I am not a travel agent. The questions
that I answer in my "Notes From the World" column
are actually real email notes that were sent to me. :)
I'd first like to tell you how much I have enjoyed your site
over the last 7 months. This is the first Disney trip that
I have actually planned and researched for and MousePlanet
has been a great help.
We (My Husband,
Myself, his parents) made our reservations back in February,
visiting Walt Disney World for seven days in early November.
We are staying onsite, have already purchased our Park Hopper
tickets, and have our flight reservations made.
Three weeks ago,
we found out that we are expecting our first child in April
2003. We were very excited about the news but were concerned
about our trip to come. We have decided to keep our reservation
and visit as planned, but I am worried about how the trip
First of all,
please understand that I love Disney and think that Splash
Mountain was one of their best additions - followed closely
by Tower of Terror. I have visited Walt Disney World about
5 times since 1996 and I am always eager to "do everything".
I am worried that I will not enjoy myself as much this time,
given the ride restrictions, sickness, tiredness, etc. Do
you (or any readers) have any suggestions for pregnant visitors
to Walt Disney World?
I will be approximately
16 weeks along during our trip - out of what most consider
the dangerous, most critical period - and just don't know
what to really expect. Any personal reader experience would
be great, as well as your advice on things to avoid or perhaps
new ideas to try.
Thank you for your help:-)
I'll copy Adrienne Krock (who writes MousePlanet's Parenting
in the Parks column) on this note, since she's actually
BEEN pregnant in a Disney park... which is something I've
not yet done. ;)
Anyway, the main thing that I would suggest is to plan to
take things slowly and be prepared for daily breaks. Don't
push! If you just take a slower pace, you'll enjoy yourself
oh so much more.
I also feel strongly that Disney's warnings about some attractions
are to be heeded to the letter. I know Disney, like any other
such company, tends to be lawyer-crazy, but still... it's
simply not worth tempting fate and risking a problem just
to ride an attraction. Instead, take the extra time to just
enjoy some of the more laid-back things in the parks... and
stop to "smell the roses," literally and figuratively.
Lisa writes: Brian,
great site. I'm addicted. I like to learn all I can about
places I will be visiting before I go there - and this site
is certainly informative.
My husband and I are planning a trip
to Walt Disney World in February 2003 with our children, ages
3 & 5. I have been planning this vacation for 2 years
in my head and finally the time has come to make the reservations.
We will be staying seven days at Port Orleans.
In the middle of the trip my parents,
grandparents and my brother and his wife will be joining us.
They will be arriving on Wednesday at all different times,
so I thought dinner would be a great way to start out their
stay and get our plans together.
I am looking for a restaurant for all
of us to have a good time and good food. We would like to
eat outside of the parks (so we don't have to waste a park
ticket). Any suggestions?
My husband and I will have already
have been to the parks with the kids for 3 days before the
others join us, so we will already be somewhat acclimated
to the parks and what to expect. Any advise or suggestions
on what we could do in or out of the parks with the entire
family that would make it a successful (FUN) vacation for
Thanks for the kind words about MousePlanet.
My suggestion on which restaurant you should visit is that
you should consider what kind of meal you'd like to enjoy
and then move on from there. For example, you might enjoy
a character dinner (which would be fun with the kids) at Chef
Mickey's or 1900 Park Faire. A seafood buffet at Cape May
Cafe would be another good option. One restaurant that I think
is just fantastic is Boma, at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Downtown
Disney and the Boardwalk have a bunch of other options.
In MousePlanet's Walt
Disney World Restaurant Resource, you'll find all of the
information I have on the restaurants of Walt Disney World.
You may want to browse through those pages for other ideas.
|Amy writes: Hi Brian,
First off, I love your site. We are planning a trip to Disney
World for the last week of October. We are staying in a standard
room at the Boardwalk Inn for 6 nights. When we were at the
Boardwalk in April our room was very far away from the elevators
and when we were exhausted at the end of the day, that walk
to our room was one thing we did not look forward to. Is there
any way I could request a room closer? If so, where would I
call? Also, what is the weather generally like that week in
October? Thanks and keep up the great work!!!
to this page and read the sections labeled, "Special
Requests," and "Room Controller." I think you'll
find some helpful hints there.
As far as who to call to make those special requests, you
would call the Central Reservations Office at (407) 934-7639
or call the Boardwalk Inn directly at (407) 939-5150.
|Julie asks: I read
the information on Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, and
it is recommend to purchase tickets in advance. Can you tell
me where and when the tickets can be purchased?
You can order your tickets right now by calling Disney's
Central Reservations Office at (407) 934-7639 or (407) 939-3463.
|Kim asks another question
about Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party: Hi Brian, I
have a question regarding Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.
Can adults dress up in costumes? and if so, are they allowed
to wear fake weaponry?
My husband is toying with the idea
of being a pirate, but assumes he would not be allowed to
wear a plastic sword.
Thanks for your help and all of the
Adults certainly can dress up in costumes, although you'll
find that very few do so. On the weaponry issue, I don't think
you'll have a problem. For one thing, Disney still sells such
things in the parks (at the shop as you exit Pirates of the
Caribbean, for example), so I'm sure they won't have a problem
as long as it is quite obvious that the "weapons"
are indeed only for show and not at all dangerous.
Cat asks: Dear Brian, the DVC
program is something that my husband and I have been looking
into. The official site does not have a lot of information
about the benefits, so I thought I would ask you.
Are you able to use your points to
purchase or for discounts on Ultimate Park Hopper passes?
Disneys site hints at it but no one else mentions it.
If you could let us know that would be greatly appreciated.
There is no program whereby you can use your DVC points to
pay for passes. However, DVC owners do (at least we do right
now) receive discounts on those length-of-stay passes (similar
to The Disney Club discounts), golf, and other additional
cost activities at Walt Disney World. All special programs
that are available to DVC owners are subject to change, though.
There is no guarantee of any special privileges being made
available to DVC owners (other than accommodations in our
home resort which are tied to our points).
|Tracey writes: Hi
Brian, just back from Walt Disney World and thought I'd let
you know everything worked perfectly with those passes [that
we'd bought from a third-party vendor]. We used our plus day
at Blizzard Beach.
I also wanted to let you know that
never have I seen crowds so light at Walt Disney World. Even
last year when we went back on September 13 (we were there
on September 11 and were given passes to return another day
that week), the crowds were greater than this year. We never
waited for anything.
Thanks for your site. It's great.
|Thanks for the update, Tracey. I'm glad that all
went well and that you enjoyed your trip.
Sandra writes: Hi Brian just
got back from Walt Disney World and I want to tell you and
your readers about Chef Mickey's. The food was just okay.
This really isn't the best place to eat. The food is plain
and not exciting. The characters are okay but the seating
in this place is the pits.
You really can not see anything. This
place is expensive. For me the bill came to $17.00 dollars.
Most of the food was cold. I think Disney really has to do
some major overall on this place. However most of the places
that I ate at were great. Cinderella's royal table was the
|Thanks for the input Sandra!
|Taunya asks: This
past summer my family bought three masks from the gift shop
at the Italy showcase. I would like to buy one more mask. Is
this possible? I live in Sarasota, Florida.
One solution, of course, would be for you to make a quick
trip back to Epcot. :)
If you really don't want to go back, though, I would suggest
you call Walt Disney World merchandising at (407) 363-6200
and ask. In my experience, though, you'll have to either have
a very good description of the product you want to buy or
else actually have the product ID number in order to order
it from them. However, perhaps merchandising will hook you
up with the shop in Italy and you can work directly with them.
|Kevin writes (and the
capitals are his): I love your comments and replies to reader
feedback. In regards to the woman who said her kids loved "Islands
of Adventure" I thought it odd she said the Disney magic
"passed them by."
LET ME BE BLUNT: THE ONLY PLACE THE
DISNEY MAGIC LIVES IS AT ORLANDO's UNIVERSAL PROPERTY WHERE
THEY STILL HAVE AMBITION, EARLY ENTRY, AND REAL THEMING!!!
I find "Islands" more Disney
than Disney, and have it tied as Epcot as my favorite American
theme park. (Don't get me started on the crappy Walt Disney
World Magic Kingdom and Disney's California Adventure!) From
start to finish "Islands" is an exquisite voyage
of discovery with fast rides that cram amazing experiences
into a brief period of time, slow ride which tell wonderful
stories, wonderful details and theming, and exciting touches
everywhere! In fact, the only place that compares is Tokyo
Disney Sea, which my sister votes as the "best place
on the planet!"
So you might want to encourage their
readers to go visit the park designed by the Imagineers that
did Disneyland Paris, the best of all four of Disney's "magic
kingdoms," because when Disney laid off all those Imagineers
in the early 90's they went to Universal where they topped
themselves by designing the only park in the United States
to rival Epcot. The original Epcot that is. Not the Epcot
with Horizons closed, The Living Seas partially closed, Journey
into Imagination ruined, etc. You get the idea!
|Thanks for the input, Kevin. Now you've made me
want to go over to Islands of Adventure. I haven't been over
to Universal since 1991. I guess it's time to go back, huh?
|Tanya writes: I just
have to give you a big, Thank You!", for your web site
We are huge Disney fans. Growing up
and living in Florida, we've been there a lot. Since we have
children of our own, we want them to have wonderful Disney
memories, too. We purchased Disney passes this year for the
first time, and have used your site to research everything
from what a ride is like (water ride at Animal Kingdom), maps
and pictures of the resorts, and critiques on restaurants
in the resorts and parks. You have helped to make our visits
to the land of Mouse even better!
Thanks again, for all the work and
time you've put in to managing and maintaining this site!
|Thanks so much for the kind note, Tanya. I'm glad
you found my material on MousePlanet helpful.
Well, I hope you enjoyed the reader feedback
for the Walt Disney World 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
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!