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Brian Bennett

Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide Reader Feedback

by Brian Bennett

9/23/02

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This information was distributed by the internal Walt Disney World news organization:

"Distribution Date: September 18, 2002

"Subject: Propertywide Expansion of Entertainment Offerings

"We are pleased to share the following information regarding an exciting propertywide expansion of our entertainment offerings:

"Effective October 1, we will offer Walt Disney World® Resort guests exclusive time in our theme parks. We will launch this program, Extra Magic Hour, by opening one of the four theme parks for Walt Disney World Resort guests an hour early every day. As part of this change, we will no longer offer Character Caravan at our resorts as of this date.

"To further enhance the guest experience, we are making the following additions beginning in October:

"An unprecedented expansion of characters at the Magic Kingdom® Park, with more characters meeting, greeting and interacting with guests than ever before, starting each day with a special character-focused park opening. We will also increase the character presence in World Showcase at Epcot®.

"The new Princess Storybook Breakfast at Norway, previously operating under a test phase, is now a permanent offering.

"The Disney-MGM Studios will expand the show schedule for Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage from 5 to 7 days.

"We are adding additional nights for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom Park.

"Guests to the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot will experience expanded name entertainment with the Eat to the Beat music series.

"In addition, the Hunchback of Notre Dame - A Musical Adventure will be performed for the last time on September 28. This show premiered in 1996 with the release of the animated film when it was top of mind to guests. It’s a testament to the quality of the show and the Cast that it has been part of the offerings for so long."

Kudos to Walt Disney World for these tremendous moves! They go a long way to restoring the damage done during the cutbacks implemented in the Fall of 2001. Hopefully, the trend will continue... If you would like to read more about the Cutbacks or the Extra Magic Hour, you can follow the links provided.

Mark provides this additional information: Wow, here's another update. Heard this just now, from a Walt Disney World cast member. Effective 9/29, Tapestry of Nations will only be performed from Morocco to Germany. The Germany to Mexico segment will be no longer.

Some good news and some bad, huh?

Patty writes: Hi Brian! I haven't seen this anywhere today but on WDWIG but it appears that Early Entry is coming back (but called something else) and the Character Caravan will bite the dust! This will begin October 1. Hope this will convince you to come back to the magic!

Thanks for all you do! Your hard work is so appreciated.

Thanks Patty.

[ Editor's Note: Yep, Deb beats me all the time. The only thing I can say is that I got all of my pages reworked to provide the information throughout the Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide... right down to the information on Extra Magic Hour as quickly as I could... plus, I have the entire text of the internal memo on the changes. I didn't see that on the Walt Disney WorldIG yet. Hey, what can I say? Deb does an awesome job, and I'm -- at best -- the #2 Walt Disney World information source. Anyway, it's obvious that there's room for both us us, since our site's both get a good number of hits each week. ]

By the way, I already have plans to visit in December, then again in June and September next year. :)

My self-imposed hiatus is just about over... and I can't wait!!!

Scott writes: A while back your column shared a cynical viewpoint about Disney's swtich to personal phone call responses to complaints they'd received by mail or e-mail. It pointed out that yes, folks who receive these calls are amazed and pleased to receive such a personal response. BUT... the real reason they're doing it might be less magic and more business. 1. It's cheaper. 2. No more written responses that they can be held to later on. Anything they tell you on a phone can be dismissed, denied, or forgotten.

Now there's news that the written complaint forms at Guest Relations in city Hall at the park have been discontinued. Guests are instead given an index card with an e-mail address to send their complaint to. Double-check me with others to see if I'm right, but if so, this cements the motive to me. Now there's REALLY no written record of anything. AND.... who's going to go to the extra trouble of e-mailing them after the fact (and after they're home from their vacation?). Sure looks like a convoluted way to say "we don't really care" to me....

Could it be that the complaints have just gotten too numerous to handle?

Scott,

I know that the guest-filled-out forms are no longer available. However, if you absolutely INSIST, the CMs at City Hall will take out a form and fill it out FOR YOU.

I agree with your conclusions...

But, if you look at what recently happened at Walt Disney World (reinstatement of Early Entry and increases in characters, etc.)... maybe they got the message anyway? :)

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...

Doug writes: Brian, first, I want to tell you how I look forward to each week of "Notes from the World". You've done a tremendous job keeping your composure answering some "tough" mail lately (a testament to Christian beliefs!).

Now onto my real reason for writing. A lot of people ask, What's the weather like.... (fill in the dates). Amy mainly asked about the room requests at the Boardwalk Inn. However, her last question was about the weather in late October. I noticed you didn't really try to answer her, so being that I am a meteorologist, let me give her (and other fellow Walt Disney World fans) some weather information. If anyone is interested in the climatology for the Orlando area they can go to the Weather Channel website. This provides an excellent overview of Orlando weather, not just monthly, but daily high, low and average temperatures along with the record highs and lows (with the year when they occurred) for each month. I use that, as well as, several other weather websites when planning my Walt Disney World vacations.

The one caveat is, that you must realize these are averages and not necessarily typical values. I check what the current weather patterns are before leaving to find out if temperatures and rainfall are running above or below the averages (check out the regional Melbourne National Weather Service site.

When I went to Walt Disney World last year the week following Thanksgiving, I was expecting high temperatures in the mid-70s and low temperatures in the mid-50's. What we really had was a high temperature of 81, every single day (without rain!) and with low temperatures in the low to mid-60s (perfect for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party on Nov 30th). I couldn't have scripted better weather for ANY vacation.

Keep up the great work keeping all of us informed!

Thanks Doug! I just completely missed Amy's question on the weather. Too much email, and I guess I'm getting sloppy. :(

Mark shared this information: Hi Brian, thanks for all the work you do to keep the site going! I've got two responses for recent items in your column.

First, In your 9/9 column, Stephanie asked about Walt Disney World property maps. You said that you couldn't reproduce them as they were copyrighted, and that you didn't know anywhere online that she could get them. Actually, they're available on the Walt Disney World web site, if you know where to search for them. You can get maps for all four theme parks, both remaining water parks, Downtown Disney, Boardwalk, and a complete resort map. They're available in both JPG format and PDF format. (Of course, I've downloaded the PDFs to my PC to refer to whenever I'm missing the World.) ;-)

Second, In your 9/16 column, Lisa asked about a good place to have dinner with a large group, including kids, outside the parks. You gave some great responses, but I'm surprised that you didn't also mention 'Ohana. It has great food (and great quantities of food), activities for the kids, and the added benefit of (if you time it right) letting you see the Magic Kingdom fireworks, complete with soundtrack. They're also used to handling large parties, as they sat our group of 23(!) with no problems three years ago.

I've already got the skeleton of my trip report for November set, and I plan to write as we go, so I should be able to get it to you before December. (And I promise that it'll be more entertaining than the one for my April trip -- I won't be by myself this time!) Keep up the good work, and I hope you're starting to get excited about your December trip!

Thanks Mark!

I did check out the link you provided. The Walt Disney World Transportation Guide map that I referred to in my response to Stephanie is MUCH more detailed and useful, but those maps on the Disney site will be helpful too, I'm sure.

Thanks for the other comments... and yes, I am getting VERY excited about my December trip. I have another personal trip first, next week in fact, but the Walt Disney World one is looming large on the horizon. :)

Then, on to another topic... In last weeks Notes From the World, Amanda had written,

"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 ourtrip to come. We have decided to keep our reservation and visit as planned, but I am worried about how the trip will be."

Dan wrote: Brian, The newest edition of Sehlinger's Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World has added an excellent section on visiting while expecting. You'll find some valuable tips and suggestions for how to tour, which rides to stay away from and which rides are safe, etc. It looked like a pretty nice resource.

Matt writes: ...My wife and I just came back from a week long trip in August. She was 9 weeks pregnant at the time and we still had a great time at the parks. Basically what I believe Amanda should expect is that she won't be able to go on any of the e-ticket or the water slides at the water parks. But there are plenty of other rides she can do and by doing this it allowed me and my wife to have an incredibly relaxing vacation. It also allowed us to see the other side of Walt Disney World and do stuff like play miniature golf or enjoy the resorts and that kind of stuff. If Amanda has any other questions she can email me (mcarey@gbbk.com) and I can get her in touch with my wife if she would like more personal experience. Thanks again Brian for all you great info. You make the day at work go by just that much quicker.

Dennis writes: ...First off, congratulations Amanda! My wife and I are also expecting our first child in April 2003 (and coincidentally will be on property in early November).

As for visiting Walt Disney World, ask your doctor about the rides with warnings. Being in a similar situation, I had posted a similar question on a message board for Disney fans (sorry for visiting a competitor Brian :-)!). Responses varied. some said their doctor told them to obey the signs very strictly. Others said that their doctors recommended that their husbands try first and see how bad the jostling is. One even said the doctor gave the full thumbs up for all rides. Pretty much all the responses said to take a break in the middle of the day (a point seconded by our gracious site host, even if not pregnant...cue link to touring strategies...).

[ Editor's Note: I object! I haven't seconded anything... I firsted it (at least versus that doctor!) ]

So if you do decide to not do those rides, many of them have the FastPass system in place, so you can give your Fast Pass to your husband or in-laws and they can ride twice! Plus, as Brian mentioned, there are lots of things to do while waiting for them while on the ride...people watching (especially people with babies...that'll be you in a few months!), taking in all the detail Disney surrounds you with, soaking up the sun, or singing to your baby (I believe they start to hear things at around 16 weeks).

Anyway, I hope that helps. Good luck with your baby, and enjoy your trip!

Nancy wrote: ...I've been pregnant at Walt Disney World and am going back at 20 weeks pregnant this fall. The usual advice to visitors about starting a walking program before the trip, and staying hydrated while on the trip count doubly while one is pregnant. Even in a second trimester, one's circulatory system is working overtime. She'll probably want to keep a map with her to locate restrooms. And I encourage her to stop and smell the roses, go to more shows, enjoy eating leisurely meals and generally do things she hasn't done before. I concur that the ride warnings should be heeded. No small risk is worth it.

Tracey shared this: ...I was 20 weeks when we went in 1999. I was able to enjoy almost everything except for Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, Countdown to Extinction (I think it's called Dinosaur now), Test Track and Tower of Terror. (I did go on Splash Mountain) Of course those rides are my favorites but hey, baby comes first. I had an easy pregnancy so walking wasn't an issue for me. The only difference is that I wasn't able to take the heat quite as well and I usually can. I just took breaks in the air conditioning. I did find however, when we were there this past August, the air conditioning didn't seem nearly as cold as it used to be so she should be prepared.

As long as everything in her pregnancy is going along well, she should have a great "last time doing adult things" at Disney. (Trust me, I've been on Dumbo more times now that I care to count). I even felt the baby move the first time on our trip. I knew then I had a Disney lover growing inside me!

I also got a lot of great feedback on Kim's question from last week 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."

And my reply:

"Kim, 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."

Mike wrote: We attended the halloween party last year, and are eagerly awaiting this year, as we are going twice. I would have to disagree with how many adults dress up. We saw MANY adults dressed up last year and we actually felt like the "party poopers" since only our children dressed up last year. And it was Pouring rain (a good excuse for grown ups not to dress up) the night we were there, and yet there were many adults in costume. This year we will all (including grandma and pop-pop) be in costume for both parties we are attending. As far as the fake weaponry goes, they provide an excellent guideline when Disney mails you your halloween party tickets. This is taken directly from their letter, but i think it answers the question rather well.

"Costumes - Children (and adults) are encouraged to attend the party in costume. FOR THE SAFETY OF YOUR CHILD AND OTHERS, PLEASE ADHERE TO THE GUIDELINES BELOW.

"Halloween costumes should NOT:

  • "Obstruct the guests view or interfere with their ability to board/unload from attractions and/or the Walt Disney World Resort transportation system (including monorails, ferry boats, and motorcoaches)
  • "Drag on the ground
  • "Contain sharp or pointed objects or material that may accidentally strike another guest.
  • "Be offensive to other guests.
  • "Contain any weapons which resemble or could easily be mistaken for an actual weapon."

I think they are directing that last rule at fake guns, but i might ditch the sword just in case, or as you said, just buy one in the park rather than before hand.

Hope this helps. And if you see a bunch of jacksonville football players (our kids idea, and dad's favorite team) with the jerseys and the black glare strips under our eyes say hi. Odds are its us.

Ron shared much the same information: ...I have tickets for this year and they list Five rules pertaining to costumes.They should not:Obstruct the guest's view or interfere with their ability to board/unload from attractions and/or the Walt Disney World Resort transportation system(including monorails,ferry boats and motorcoaches).They should not drag on the ground.They should not contain sharp or pointed objects or material that may accidentally strike another guest.They should not be offensive to other guests.They should not contain any weapons which resemble or could easily be mistaken for an actual weapon.

Hope this helps. As usual love the site.

and Stephane added: I just wanted to mention ... that not only does the Magic Kingdom sell fake weapons, you can ( to my last knowledge ) still buy REAL swords in the shop inside Cinderella's Castle!!

Ken wrote about Kevin's comments on Universal's Islands of Adventure park:

"I find "Islands" more Disney than Disney, and have it tied as Epcot as myfavorite American theme park. (Don't get me started on the crappy Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom and Disney's California Adventure!)"

Puh-leeze!! I was treated to a run-of the-park day sponsored by a client of the tradeshow production company I worked for. IOA -is- the best non-Disney park I've ever seen, but it hardly out-Disneys Disney. One small example: The small dinos who "jump out at you" on the Jurassic Park ride very obviously and laughably slide out smoothly from the set on tracks. It isn't remotely startling or scary. (The T. Rex is impressive, though). The park was full of that kind of stuff: Close but not all the way there.

And how exactly is the Magic Kingdom "crappy"? Granted, it doesn't have the quaint charm of the original Disneyland, but its grandeur far exceeds it's older sister's. I dunno, brother. I think you're confusing "different" with "better/worse." the Magic Kingdom has a different feeling from Disneyland. IOA fhas a different focus from Disney parks. People will prefer one or the other, but it can't be said that one is categorically better than another. I haven't seen DCA for myself yet, but given what Al's been reporting about abysmal attendance and large areas of the park slated for demolition/overhaul, I think it's safe to say that Disney has awakened to its failure. I don't think even Disney suits would argue with you (privately, anyway) at this point.

As a postscript, during my 1999 visit the client put us up at the then-new Portofino. Compare Uni's Portofino (run by Leows but built by Uni-magineers), a Xerox copy of the real Portofino with painted-on architectural details, to the MiraCosta, a place inspired by Portofino but not a literal copy, with its lavish 3-dimensional details. No contest. Besides that, during the 4 hours after I checked in, there were three false fire alarms that forced all the guests to evacuate each time. The last came after 11pm. Not a good way to engender a feeling of safety or care - no hotel representative addressed the crowd gathered by the lagoon to apologize for the inconvenience or offer any "make it better" goodies af any kind. It was the maintenance people who told us when it was OK to reenter the building. Lame.

You're right about the newer U.S. parks being a joke compared to DisneySea. Right now the Oriental Land Company seems to care more about the Disney theme-park legacy than does Disney itself, but TDS proves that the Imagineering department is FAR from depleted; they just can't express their talent in the U.S. parks because of the inconceivably clueless cost/benefit analyses done by our friends Pauly, and Mike. And that Braverman character.

Barry chimed in too: ...The former imagineers certainly did a wonderful job on this park, but Universal fails to keep the park up to Disney standards.

For example, Disney's parks are non-smoking with smoking only in designated areas which will not bother the other patrons. Universal has smoking everywhere, ashtrays on every garbage can and they even sell smokes in the park. I suppose that could be an advantage for the nicotine addicted, but for myself, I'd rather not spend time wandering through a park that sometimes has smoke thicker than most bars!

Universal's staff just doesn't measure up the quality of most of Disney's staff. On some other columns on MousePlanet there are regular complaints about how Disney's cast member's don't seem to measure up to their old standards. If these folks spent a couple of days at Universal, they'd see they really have little to complain about. Similarly the "good show/bad show" concept doesn't seem to have registered with the Universal managers--there are regularly things and people looking very out of place at their parks.

The Spiderman ride at IOA is one of the best anywhere, but some of the other rides aren't as guest friendly as Disney's. The Hulk and Dueling Dragon's coasters are a rush, but the restraint systems are difficult for heavy people like myself. You have to sit in a special seat with a modified restraint for large upper body types, but there are no cast member's to direct you to those seats. Also, when loading be very very careful--I was having problems with the buckle on my restraint on the Hulk and had to scream out to stop them from launching and get a loader to help with the buckles. IOA has fewer staff for loading rides which I fear is a real safety issue. Finally, the seat design for the coasters can be very uncomfortable in a tender area for adult males. 'Nuff said.

Three of IOA's six "E-rides" are guaranteed to get you soaked to the skin. Great if you like that sort of thing on a hot day or if you are staying at one of the Universal resort hotels so you can change before dinner. Not so great if you don't like wandering around with wet undergarments all day.

The Sinbad and Poseidon shows are great. I don't think anything Disney has can match these. On the other hand, neither Universal park has nighttime entertainment like Phantasmic or Reflections of Earth.

So while I'll usually take a day or two out to visit Universal on my Orlando trips, I spend most of my days at Disney parks.

Suzanne shared this feedback: Brian, Taunya asked about purchasing another mask from Epcot's Italy Pavillion, and you gave her the Merchandise Guest Services number. Another resource is to email (wow, really neat) Walt Disney World.mail.order@disney.com. For about 16 months now, they've been printing this on all merchandise receipts!

Also, Sandra had comments about Chef Mickey's. That's one of our favorites for dinner, but based on what I've heard about Cindy's breakfast selections, it will always be a pass for my family. Just goes to show, different strokes for different folks!

Thanks for the extra help, Suzanne.

Rob writes: Brian, I still love your site, and now I am planning my May trip to Walt Disney World after just doing 4 nights at the DLR in Anaheim for my anniversary (#10, and we left the kids at home). I have to take exception to Kevin's comments on California Adventure. I do believe that Islands of Adventure is a fantastic park, but after spending two of my four days at California Adventure, let me say, Disney did not miss a beat with this park. Sure it has room to grow, but don't all Disney parks. This place is very well themed, has some fantastic rides, and is very pleasant to visit. It is not a park high on thrills (although California Screamin' is an intense coaster), but it does have the wonderful Disney atmosphere. This park has turned Anaheim into a true resort destination.

I really recommend that anyone who loves Walt Disney World take a trip to Anaheim. Everything is within walking distance (no buses, monorails, and associated waits), Downtown Disney is fantastic, the granddaddy of them all, Disneyland, is there, and California Adventure is much more of a park than, say, Disney MGM was when it first opened. Some people may want to wait for the Tower of Terror to open their, but let me say, right now, the two theme parks are a fantastic destination. Now I can vary my vacations after about 7 years in a row at Walt Disney World, now I can throw in DL Resort every couple years.

Thanks for the note, Rob. I'll share it soon. :)

And now, back to our regularly scheduled email...

Q.

Michelle writes: Hello - I am in the process of planning a Walt Disney World trip for 6 people. We will be in the Walt Disney World area for 11 days in December and in the Disney parks for 7 of those days. We were originally booked to stay onsite but I have since booked us a private home offsite. Being that we are a party of 6 this works out better for us. I'm hoping this doesn't start an onsite v. offsite debate amongst your readers but I have a question with regard to that. Now that we are offsite, are there activities we cannot participate in (i.e., Fort Wilderness Campground Campfire, Fort Wilderness Campground Petting Zoo, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, etc.)? We do have priority seating arrangements at various restaurants and plan to tour some of the resorts to see the decorations and the shops. I'm fairly confident we will still be allowed to enjoy the restaurants and resort shops but if I understand correctly I may be limited time wise, please correct if I'm mistaken.

Thank-you for the work you put into this site. I have only just started reading it and have already discovered a vast wealth of information. I'm sure by the time of our trip I will have filled an entire notebook with tips taken from MousePlanet.

A.

Michelle,

Thanks so much for your kind words. I'm glad you're finding MousePlanet to helpful.

Regarding the issue of what activities you won't be able to take advantage of as an offsite guest, you really don't have to worry much. The list is very short now (compared to a few years ago). Basically, you can't use the resort's pools or enjoy the campfire program at Fort Wilderness. Other than that, everything is pretty much paid for as you go, and no one at Disney will say, "no," to a paying customer. Also, there is no prohibition on offsite visitors attending Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, so those are still available to you, too (of course, both are "hard ticketed events," so you have to pay extra for those too).

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Q.

Randy writes: I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your web site, am a dvc owner at Old Key West Resort and always looking for up-to-date info before I go. With 8 Walt Disney World trips under my belt from the West Coast you'd think I'd know all there is, but sadly, no. With the help of sites like yours though, I'm the go-to guy in our group for information. Thanks for your help and keep up the good work!

A.

Thanks so much for the kind note, Randy. I'm glad you've found MousePlanet helpful!

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Q.

Sarah writes: ...My question about Disney is this: since my husband is in a wheelchair and unable to transfer into the ride vehicle, we were wondering how accessible the rides really are by wheelchair. I have all 4 of the parks' accessibility guides, but we'd feel better if we could actually see pictures of the accessible ride vehicles that have ramps. Do you know of any web sites that have pictures of this nature? I've seen a picture of the Small World ramp boat, but that's it. If you could offer some insight it would be extremely appreciated.

A.

Sarah,

I'm not sure from your note whether or not you've seen the Special Assistance from A to Z page. Although it only has a very few photographs, it still might be helpful.

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Q.

Robert writes: Hi Brian, just recently found your site (awesome). My wife and I are taking our 13-year-old nephew to Walt Disney World for his first trip. We are planning to go in early January. I'm concerned about crowds that close to New Years. My wife feels that most people will be leaving on that Saturday, the 4th. What do you think?

Also, we will be arriving at around 11:00 and staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge. I thought we would tour Animal Kingdom the first day before we check in because we will already be close to there. What do you think?

Thanks for any input in advance.

A.

Robert,

You will see a large decrease in crowds after the 1st. Your wife is correct in thinking that there will be another drop off after the 4th. However, with the Walt Disney World Marathon coming up on the 12th, you won't see a really big change in crowd levels until after that weekend.

As far as what park to visit on your first day, I'll leave that completely to you. It really depends on personal preference. My own preference is to visit the Magic Kingdom first, but that's just a Bennett family tradition. :)

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Q.

Beth writes: ...I am looking for discounted park tickets. I would like to have the 7-day Park Hopper Plus. Can you help me out? I will be at Disney in October.

A.

Beth,

Here's a link to my Admission Media from A to Z page that you may find helpful.

This page, on the Disney Club, has information on saving money on park admission media.

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Q.

Michael writes: Hey Brian! First and foremost, the site is wonderful. Not a day goes by that I don't stop by for the daily update, and if I'm lucky, a trip report. Speaking of trip reports, you will be getting one from me in October. My family and I will be going down October 5. Four weeks away, and we can't wait. It will be our third time. Anyway......

We plan on spending Monday at Epcot, as usual. We also plan on seeing Illuminations that night. Problem is, my best friend's daughter is only 3 (a first timer!), so I'm guessing we will leave the park and come back that evening. When we come back, I'm thinking about parking at the Boardwalk (we are staying off site at the Orange Lake resort) and going back into Epcot through the Gateway. I'm hoping it will be easier leaving this way instead of from the main parking lot with everyone else. I've never gone this way before, so I'm just wondering if this is a good idea or not. Is it a long walk from the parking lot to the Gateway? Also, how is the parking at the Boardwalk?

Well, that's it for the questions. Again, your site is great, and you'll be receiving our trip report sometime in October. Thanks!

A.

Michael,

I'll be looking forward to that trip report!

Regarding your idea of parking at the Boardwalk and walking into Epcot. First, be aware that only folks that are planning to shop or dine at the resort are supposed to park there. However, if you pay for valet parking, no one will mind a lick. Furthermore, I'd suggest, if you plan to do this, to consider valet parking at the Beach Club instead, since it's a shorter walk from the International Gateway to the Beach Club than it is to the Boardwalk.

Q.

And in a follow-up, Michael writes: Brian, thanks so much for the return e-mail, and the quickness in which you answered it. I'll consider the valet parking at the beach club. So many times people that run large web sites seem like they are inaccessible, but this is not the case with you. Keep up the GREAT work, and I'll talk to you soon!

A.

I guess it's a case of, "We're number two... we try harder." :)

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Q.

Blossom writes: I'd like to see a photo tour and information on the Beach Club Villas!

A.

Blossom,

Sue Holland provided a fantastic photo tour of the Beach Club Villas a few weeks ago.

I'll get cracking on adding some additional information to the Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide on the Beach Club Villas, too.

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Q.

Janet writes: Dear Brian, I love your site. I just read the email concerning the mother with the six foot seven inch son. My question is, is there any weight restrictions on the rides? The reason I ask is that some other theme parks do have weight restrictions. As you might guess, I'm not of the smaller size. I have never had any problems with Walt Disney World. I've been there six times. I was just wondering. Thanks.

A.

Janet,

No, Walt Disney World does not have any maximum weight restrictions on any of it's attractions. However, some attractions (the Astro Orbiter, for example) may be less comfortable to get in and out of than others.

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Q.

Stephen writes: Hi Brian, I don't want to start a flame war here. I was offended by the article on the boycott that you cited this morning and I thought you should know about it. I really love you and your articles. I read everyone of them because I'm a Disney fanatic and I learn from you. Comments like the following, however, get under my skin:

"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.)"

Some of your readers (myself included) are gay. I don't appreciate the suggestion that I need to be prayed for because I'm gay. Feel free to pray for me as a person. I don't believe that gays need "special prayers." :)

I realize that you have a different opinion, and that's fine. But, I don't believe that a Disney planning page is the place to air/debate such opinions. Perhaps you could have responded to this gentleman privately instead of expressing your religious views on a theme park site.

I will continue to be a devoted reader, I'm just asking you to reconsider putting religious opinions in your theme park planning articles. Yes, it's a free country. But, please consider your audience. I read your articles to learn about planning Disney vacations, not your religious views.

Still a fan,

A.

I'm sorry I offended you, Stephen. That certainly wasn't my intent.

I may anger you further (or just again) when I say that I believe that homosexuality is sin. I'm sorry being offensive, but I believe that the Bible has made that clear. It doesn't mean that I think you are any different than me, though. You've sinned (in my opinion according to the Bible) by committing the sin of homosexuality, but I've sinned just as much -- if not more -- through lying, cheating, stealing, showing anger, lust, and any number of other sins. I'm not proud of that, but neither do I think of you as "worse" than me.

So, no, I don't think that homosexuals need to be prayed for any more than any other sinner. I firmly believe that everyone on Earth is a sinner (myself included) and that the only way to be brought back to a good relationship with God is to accept Jesus Christ as his or her personal savior. Jesus died to pay the penalty for sin -- regardless of what sin any of us has committed.

If you'd like to know more, I'd love to share more with you. If not, I'll be happy to "agree to disagree." I also do my best to keep my personal views out of my Notes From the World column. I don't always succeed, but I do try. Just remember that the piece on the boycott is out there... and if I refer to it again, I certainly don't mean to offend.

Also, I don't want to start a flame war either. I'll be happy to include your note and my response in a future Notes piece, but I'd like to hear your opinion before I do so.

[ Editor's Note: I made this offer, which Stephen accepted, because I don't want anyone to think that I feel like I can use this column to push my own agenda without giving a fair viewing to the opposing point of view. ]

Q.

Stephen responded: Brian, I didn't ask for nor do I care to hear about your views or your religion's views on homosexuality. That's my whole point. I respect you and your right to think/feel whatever you wish. If I want to discuss or hear viewpoints on sexuality, religion, and morality, I will visit a different web site. It seems very clear to me that this is a web site devoted to Disney and not religious viewpoints.

No, I do not need a clarification or expansion on your viewpoints. Nor do I want to clarify or expand on my viewpoints. However, if you want to discuss the best way for 2 adults to see Epcot in a day, bring it on. :)

Feel free to include my comments on your web site if you wish.

Still a fan,

A.

Stephen, I'm glad that you signed your note, "still a fan," because I hate it when my strong beliefs (which I admit are very dogmatic) turn people off.

So... what is the best way for two adults to see Epcot in a day?

[ Editor's Note: Unfortunately, Stephen hasn't yet responded to that question. I hope he does. :) ]

-

Q.

Christine writes: Dear Brian, I think you do a tremendous job with your column. My family and I just returned from Walt Disney World in August where we stayed at Port Orleans. I have a million comments and am hoping to write a trip report on the good and the bad.

I had to respond to the woman who booked Tiffany Towncars. We had also booked Tiffany Towncars but when we arrived they were nowhere to be found. I tried to call from my cell phone and I asked information but there was no response from Tiffany Towncars. We ended up booking Mears at the airport and taking the bus. Please have the woman confirm her Tiffany Towncars. My children got a little upset that the car wasn't there and I was annoyed at the lost time due to the shuttle.

A.

Christine,

Thanks for the note. I'm looking forward to that trip report. :)

-

Q.

Dianna writes: If I visit a park in the morning to early afternoon and have my hand stamped, is admission to Disney Quest covered in my already paid park admission or will I need to use a plus feature.

A.

Dianna,

My understanding is that DisneyQuest is not included as a "plus" option. As I understand it, only Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon (Note: all water parks open seasonally), Pleasure Island, and Disney's Wide World of Sports are plus option venues.

In any case, when you use a regular admission and have your hand stamped, that permits you to return to one of the four major parks -- but it does NOT permit you to visit one of the plus option venues without using up a "plus" option.

So, the answer to your question is, neither... as you can't use a plus option, but admission to DisneyQuest isn't cover either.

-

Q.

Merle writes: Hi Brian, we are taking our first trip to Walt Disney World in October (12-20) - and heard that Florida Public schools have Columbus Day off and the parks are really crowded this weekend. Is this true and if so can you recommend which parks to visit on these days to avoid big crowds.

Thanks.

A.

Merle,

I'm not certain if that's true or not. In any case, I'd recommend that you visit either Epcot or Animal Kingdom if you find that it is true... because both of those parks are huge and absorb lots of people fairly easily.

-

Q.

Jana writes: Hi Brian, I just wanted to let you know how helpful I have found your web site is in planning a vacation to Walt Disney World.

I do have a question that I hope you can answer. We will be staying at the All Star Music resort and I was wondering if the gift shop can transfer digital film off of digital cameras onto a disc or floppy? I read that they can develop film, but I have not been able to find any information on digital cameras.

If they do not do it, do you know of any of the camera shops in the parks that are capable of transferring the film? Thanks for the wonderful web site and all the great information.

A.

Jana,

The shop at the All Star Music Resort is not likely to be able to help you out. However, Image Works, over at the Imagination! Pavilion at Epcot, may. They are able to take images from several standard media types and put them on disks. They can typically fit about 40 images on a disk, and charge $11.95 for the job.

You may want to call them up at (407) 560-4111 to confirm that they can handle the media (Smartcards or whatever) that your camera has.

-

Q.

(another) Brian writes: Hi Brian, I have been an avid MousePlanet visitor since last year when my girlfriend and I had decided to go to Walt Disney World after we graduated from college. I even wrote a trip report for your archives! We were in Disney World from December 15 - 22. We had Ultimate Park Hopper Passes for the 15th through the 22nd. On Saturday the 22nd, we did not go to any of the parks. I guess my question is, do I still have a day left on my pass? We were contemplating going back in November and we were just wondering if this was a possibility. Thanks for everything you do!

A.

Brian,

The Ultimate Park Hopper Passes are considered "length-of-stay," so they actually expired at the end of the day you checked out. There is no residual value in the pass (other than sentimental value, of course).

One final note for this week. I'll be out of town for awhile, taking a personal vacation away from my day job AND MousePlanet. Notes will be back on or around October 7th. I hope you enjoy the break from my drival as much as I'll enjoy being away.

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 brian@MousePlanet.com!

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I've always gotten email about the WDW Trip Planning Guide, but since we added the feedback form to the site several months ago, the number of questions has increased dramatically!  I do my best to answer each and every question personally, but I've noticed that a lot of the questions are asked again and again.  The question that one person asks might very well be the question that someone else is wondering about.  Thus this page!

So...I'll post reader email and feedback every once in a while, because the question someone else asks might be the same one you're thinking about yourself!

 

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