We'll continue today
with a couple of recent guest updates!
Dave writes: Hi
Brian, we spent eleven days at Walt Disney World during the
last week of August and first week of September.) We split
our time between the Polynesian and the Beach Club Villas.
We just wanted to give you our impressions on our trip.
We asked at Guest relations
in the Magic Kingdom concerning E-Ride nights, and we were
told that there would be none until Christmas, maybe Thanksgiving.
We went to the new princess
breakfast at (Akershus in) Norway. It was super. We can highly
recommend it. We talked with the one host there, and said
they were just told that is was going to be permanent. (As
permanent as things are at Walt Disney World).
Cleanliness was as good
as ever. They were painting the Magic Kingdom Castle turrets,
using a big crane. It's good to see them keep up with the
paint, but it ruined any photo ops of the castle.
Though it wasn't crowded,
it seemed pretty busy, our guess due to the shortened hours
of operation. 9:00am to 6:00pm.
We had a Character lunch
at Tony's Town Square with Pooh and friends. It was great.
Our 2 year old loved the characters, and the pre-plated food
We got to the Magic Kingdom
several times at 8:30am. They did not open the turnstiles
until 10 minutes of 9:00am. This was disappointing, because
you then have a mad rush to get to Fantasyland by 9:00am for
The buses ran great, normally
five to seven minutes, Once or twice we waited 12 minutes
or so. We were fortunate to snag two reservations to Cinderella's
Royal Table character breakfast. We should have stopped at
the first one. The first time was absolutely delightful. The
second time was a nightmare. We waited downstairs for 30 minutes,
then another seven minutes upstairs to be seated, the food
the second time was just so-so, and the waitress very slow.
Some one else can take our spot next time we are down.
The only real complaint
though was the rampant line butting that was going on, especially
at the Magic Kingdom. What we saw multiple times was one person
in a large group (8 to 15! people) who could run the fastest,
would get in line, and then when all the slower people made
it to the ride, they would just muscle their way up to the
first person. This really was upsetting, and I wish Disney
could do something about it.
Despite the minimal problems
listed above, (except for the last one) we really did have
a super time, and look forward to our trip now planned for
next year. If you have an opportunity to stay at the Beach
Club Villas, I think you will really like it. Being close
to Epcot (our second favorite park) is a real plus.
Thanks for sharing your experiences, Dave!
Hi Brian, just got back from Walt Disney World last night
and wanted to thank you. I learned so much from your site
in the past year and a half, that everything was perfect!
I had been to Walt Disney World before, but I wanted this
trip to be amazing since my mom and brother had never been.
Boy, did I learn a lot!
From the moment we landed, everything
went like clockwork - Tiffany Town Car was great! Although,
I might mention, if you have more than four people, you should
really request a van. I did not know this was an option and
we were really squished on the trip from the airport (we upgraded
for the trip back, and it was very comfortable - and only
cost $10 more!)
We stayed at the Wilderness Lodge
and - WOW! I love this hotel. We requested the Magic Kingdom
view rooms, and were very flexible about where (i.e., our
rooms didn't have to be together, but on the same floor would
be nice, etc.). Well, we had two rooms - 6034/6028 a few doors
apart, and they were awesome! We could go out on the balcony
each night and watch the fireworks, and even see some of the
Bay Lake festivities.
The week was perfect. It truly was
the "down" week - lines no longer than 5 minutes
(until yesterday, that is!).
I only found a few instances of poor
service - one was a cast member with a really poor, nasty
attitude. Other than that, people were more than helpful and
The character breakfast at Tony's
was wonderful. We all really enjoyed it - funny, because we
didn't intend to go there, but were hungry for eggs and bacon!
I will send a trip report shortly
- and my mom is planning on sending you one, too.
Just wanted to thank you for all the
tips and suggestions - it truly made the difference in our
trip. We took your information and researched what was right
for us, and the trip was magical. Thank you!
Thanks for the note Heather... and I'll be looking
forward to those trip reports. :)
Mark shared this note:
Hi Brian, Here's another little rehab tidbit:
attraction will resurface" (quoted from the Orlando
By Robert Johnson
and Todd Pack
Voyage of the Little Mermaid attraction at Disney MGM Studios
will undergo its second temporary closing and rehab in a
year starting next January.
But fans of Ariel
needn't worry when the multimedia show featuring animations,
live performers, puppetry, lasers and special effects closes
again. She'll be back and the popular show, which opened
in 1992, won't change.
"This is basically
the second phase of a routine refurbishment that started
last year," said Rena Callahan, a Disney spokeswoman.
The show is based on the 1989 hit animated feature The Little
Mark also shared:
The Polynesian Luau at Disney's Polynesian Resort is going
down for refurbishment from January 7, 2003 until February
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...
Todd writes: Brian,
I want to respond to Kevin's blunt remarks about Disney magic.
We love Mouseplanet.com and look forward to constructive advice
and sharing a comradeship with others who love all things
Disney. Maybe Kevin can explain, if he is so disgruntled,
why does he feel it necessary to frequent a Disney web site
and spend time sharing his negative feelings on a site where
people are looking for constructive advice that will help
in planning their Disney vacation. My advise to Kevin would
be to share his negative Disney feelings on a "Islands"
web site where it will be more likely to be accepted.
Kevin please spare us your disturbing
comments which contain less than family value language.
I gladly include such comments as Kevin's, because the perspective
One thing that I've learned in this year of self-hiatus from
the Disney parks is that Disney really does do some things
very well. However, they really don't do as well as they could
(or used to do themselves) in some areas. (I'll share some
specifics both ways in an upcoming piece.)
I don't think it's ever a mistake to make comparisons and
consider how best to spend our vacation budgets. Some folks
really might enjoy driving up to Universal for a day or two
(or more) and enjoying a somewhat different park experience.
Some of us (myself included) have done so in the past and
enjoy the time at other venues, but then return to WDW time
after time. That's OK too, because it can even help us enjoy
the Disney parks much more if we personally think that they
are the better executed ones.
Todd responded back:
Brian, I too feel it is important to share views from all
angles... and I too visit offsite venues. I even look to the
information on your site that provides the good information
along with the bad, which will really help me with planning
and dreaming of my next trip. But I don't look to your site
to hear different ones chiming "Disney sucks".
Criticism is fine and
necessary for any business to know where it needs to improve.
My only beef is with over-the-top, extreme spectrum "Disney
doesn't do anything right". That is NOT constructive
and was the point I was trying to make.
Moving along to the topic of being pregnant while on vacation
Dear Brian, I'm writing in response to the lady (from a couple
or three weeks ago) who wrote asking about being 16 weeks
pregnant in Disney World.
I did the same thing she
did back in '97. I had been planning the trip with my husband
and daughter and my sister and her family for months when
I found out that I was expecting. And to top it off, my trip
was in June!! But I went ahead and we had a great time anyway.
The weather was not too hot and although I didn't get to ride
everything (and I really missed the Twilight Zone Tower of
Terror the most) they have so much more to do, that you can
still have a great time.
The main problem was needing
so many potty breaks. But the rest rooms are always so clean
that even that wasn't too bad.
I would encourage her
to go and have a great time. She can always catch the rides
that she misses another time. I've since been back (this past
June) and got to ride the Tower of Terror two times back to
back. And you never know about the weather, because this time
it rained every single day. We still had a great time and
plan to go back in a few years, even though it is an 8 hour
drive from South Carolina.
Sorry this is so long.
I read your Notes From the World everyday while I was planning
this trip and was very informed when we got there thanks to
Thanks so much for your help, Ashley.
Sam writes: Hi
Brian, I traveled to WDW when I was 5 months pregnant, if
Amanda would like to e-mail me (Nickybear3665@cs.com) I'd
be more than willing to answer her questions.
Yes, it's harder to be in WDW pregnant
than not, but there are ways to still have a fabulous time.
We found that regular breaks helped,
as I got tired much more easily. The Steam train and the monorail,
the Ticket and Transportation Center, boats etc., are nice
relaxing ways to get off your feet. And find a nice place
to sit while the rest of the party rides the off limits rides.
Remember to hydrate more than usual.
In my case, while I was in Ellen's
energy adventure, the sound effects were so loud that it made
the baby jump, so you might want to avoid that.
We also scheduled down time in our
room in the afternoons, just an hour or two to regroup which
we normally don't do, it made a world of difference. Just
remember going Disney commando will not be pleasant, take
it slow and enjoy a different Disney.
Scott follows-up from
an exchange of email I shared in the last Notes From the World:
Oh, I agree.... the flurry of recent good news certainly outweighs
the bad in this most unusual week. And as one who had lobbied
hard for return of Early Entry, I'm definitely psyched. But
I'm a big picture guy. I see almost all the positives as being
more of a return of stuff cut, rather than a real enhancement,
whereas the discontinuation of the complaint forms is a true
step backwards, and one that seems to be part of a longer-term,
concerted effort to minimize, bury or otherwise make invisible
negative guest feedback.
Does the return of Early Entry mean
they listen to guests? Hard for me to agree with that... as
recently as a few weeks ago, the Disney rep who called me
with my "personal response from the executive offices"
assured me that, unfortunately "the executives"
had NO plans to bring back an early entry program in the future,
and specifically told me that they had received "very
few" complaints about it being discontinued, and further
that the Character Caravan was "extremely popular."
All of which seems to be in contradiction to the recent news
release (at best), or a lie (at worst). Of course, I can't
document that she actually told me these things, as it was
a phone call... But my point is, it left me with a feeling
- Disney wants to make it harder
to lodge a complaint at the moment of it's happening (thus
avoiding a need to make it right on the spot).
- Disney want to make it harder overall
to make a documented negative comment by limiting the way
in which it can be made to a medium that's pretty impractical
within the park, which is a major step backward in customer
- Disney continues to find ways to
ensure it's guest feedback interactions overall leave no
records. And it also left me a mistrust of anything they
might tell me in a phone call.
And yes, I think they DID get the
message anyway. I just think that the wall keeps getting taller,
though, which is going to make us all have to yell louder
each time we really want them to hear us. Like a clerk at
the store who gets deafer as she gets older, until we have
to yell so loud at her for something that we have to really,
really want it, or we just say it's not worth the bother and
You know, Scott, if one was to question Disney
on the issue, I'm sure he'd be told that Early Entry wasn't
brought back and that "Extra Magic Hour is a totally
new program designed to be even better and provide an improved
guest experience." Somehow, I just figure that would
be the line. The scheduled days of Extra Magic Hour did, indeed,
get changed from Early Entry's old schedule. Animal Kingdom
is now included (it wasn't before), but certainly the concept
is the same.
In any case, I'm glad that Extra Magic Hour was either created
or brought back. However, I agree that WDW hasn't even returned
to the former services levels, much less improved.
Moving to a completely egotistical topic... In an editor's
note, also in the last Notes From the World, I wrote:
"Yep, Deb (Wills
of the WDWIG) 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 WDWIG 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."
Commenting on that note, Sam wrote:
Hey Brian, Yeah, I subscribe to the WDWIG newsletter, and
I check into Deb's site regularly, but pound for pound, I'd
say you give better service, are more involved with your readers
and more devoted to making people feel welcome.
So, # 2 in hits maybe, #1 in customer
Thanks again for the great site.
Thanks so much for the kind note, Sam. You made
my day! :)
Sarah shares this tidbit:
The Fantasmic Dinner package is now a prepaid dinner package.
The New dinner package consists of
3 dining options with set prices:
- Tier 1: The Hollywood Brown Derby:
- Tier 2: Mamma Melrose's: $32.99
- Tier 3: Hollywood and Vine buffet:
- The Children's price for all 3
tiers is 10.95
Guests can book the package up to
60 days in advance by calling 407-WDW-DINE or by stopping
at any Guest Relations. Guests may pick up their dining coupons
the the Disney/MGM Studios Guest Relations or at Hollywood
The Dining times are still the early
Hope this helps.
back to our regularly scheduled email...