by Brian Bennett
Just sharing a note that I received
Brian, as a longtime
reader of your reports (& fellow Michigander), I realize
you have a large readership.
A small group of us
who were at the final shows were talking that afternoon
about all the great Live Entertainment Acts at WDW that
have been cut, even before the 9/11 wave of cutbacks. In
an effort to let WDW Guest Communications hear of our disappointment,
we have begun a small, letter/e-mail writing campaign. I
have written a short article below. We have actually been
encouraged by Cast Members to get this together & while
the show is gone, we hope to see a return of Live Entertainment
to the parks as this same type of response was greatly responsible
for the reinstatement of Early Entry after a 1 year absence.
Would it be at all
possible to get a little "press" on your site
supporting this effort?
Any help would be
If you are disappointed
in the closing of Disney's, The Hunchback of Notre Dame,
A Musical Adventure show which was performed at Disney MGM
Studio's Backlot Theater from June 1996 - September 2002,
we urge voice your feelings to Disney without hesitation.
just may be beginning to listen to all the complaints they
received regarding the closing of the show and are quite
amazed by the amount of fans the show had. Our only request
is that you keep your message in a "positive"
E-Mail WDW Guest Relations:
To send a message
from the www.Disney.com home page, click
You may also write
a letter to be mailed to:
Walt Disney World
PO Box 10040
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-0040
I completely understand
Hunchback may not be everyone's favorite show as it was
mine, but it may be very important to voice your concern
over this cutback in that so many wonderful Live Entertainment
Acts have been eliminated since the spring of 2001.
After all, early entry
has come back in some form after guests voiced their concerns,
it may just be worth a try to see a return of more Entertainment
in whatever form to the parks.
I hope that some folks take up
Karen's challenge. I, for one, am still very disappointed
about the cutbacks in "streetmosphere" and live
entertainment. I'd love to see more!
Next up, after
the wonderful success (at least in my opinion) of the Military
Honeymoon scenario, when I invited readers to provide
input on a Walt Disney World trip planning scenario, I offer
this new one...
As before, your
assignment is to read through the situation,
then either answer the questions I've posed,
provide suggestions, or put together an entire trip itinerary
if you'd like.
In an upcoming edition
of Notes From the World, I'll reiterate the scenario and then
share both my thoughts and the responses that were sent in,
capturing the information in a new page of MousePlanet's Walt
Disney World Trip Planning Guide so folks can refer to
Here's the scenario:
sets of single parents are planning separate trips to Walt
Disney World. "Samantha" is mother of eleven-year-old
"Katie" and nine year old "Jennifer."
"Brian" is six-year-old "Allan" and
three-year-old "Michael's" dad. (hmmmmm... more
on that later...)
these two trips as separate ones. I just wanted to get a
mix of kids and ages.
should Samantha and Brian make plans to stay with their
respective families? Neither family is flush with money,
so they can't really afford a week in a suite at the
Grand, but make your best suggestions for accommodations
and justify your thoughts.
do you have about how to attack the parks? Their kids
are different ages and different sexes. How do does
that affect what should be planned?
- Do you have
any specific thoughts about attractions, restaurants,
or activities that Samantha and Brian should consider?
What else would you suggest to make their trip very
special for Samantha
and her girls? What other ideas would you share with
Brian to make his trip with his boys a blockbuster?
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, I really enjoy your site!!! I've never written before
but just saw a question from Mike regarding using your Disney
dollars at Downtown Disney. Well, from past experience the
"Lego" store does NOT except Disney dollars.
My nephew was quite disappointed when
he tried to use birthday "Disney dollars" but lucky
for him "Auntie" was there with the cash!!! Keep
up the good work.
Thanks Monica. Very likely, the "non-Disney"
stores do not take Disney Dollars... based on your experience,
that would make sense. Does anyone know for sure?
About my recent trip
to Las Vegas, Christine writes: Dear Brian, Being a Las
Vegan, I was interested to read your description (trip report)
on our city. I enjoyed your descriptions and felt your ratings
were pretty accurate. The one point I will differ with you
is on Las Vegas as a family destination.
I have two children, ages 5 and 8,
and before we moved here had spent numerous trips back and
forth (from NYC). My children always loved coming to Vegas.
Yes, you cannot gamble with the kids (I don't anyway, I can
just as easily tear my money up and flush it you know where...)
but there is a tremendous amount of fun activities for the
- The pirate show at Treasure Island.
- The circus and Adventuredome at
- The Secret Garden at the Mirage.
- Gameworks at MGM.
- The Merlin show and other free
shows at Excalibur.
- Imax at the Luxor (We saw Beauty
and the Beast there).
- Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay.
- Side trips to Red Rock Canyon and
Valley of Fire - where you and your children will be able
to walk and see landscape that is truly amazing and ancient
- Plus loads of off-strip activities
like the Lied Children's Museum, Hoover dam, Ethel M Chocolate
I could go on and on but I really should
do some real work.
Love your column, by the way, and am
still working on my trip report from my family's August stay
at Port Orleans, French Quarter.
I'm looking forward to that trip report. :)
Thanks for your note. I don't disagree with you in general.
I suppose my report should have made it clear that I was referring
to a family trip to the strip alone.
Although there are things to do there, you must admit that
there are a bunch of unnecessary adult distractions, too.
I also had
several notes sent to me about where to find gelato at Walt
I had to laugh when you asked where to find gelato - coming
from Boston / North (where there is only one purveyor who
makes real gelato) my feeling is that while is it the most
wonderful concoction it has a tadzillion calories per spoonful
- tastes so innocuous... right??? Good luck with the hunt
but if you want to splurge on the calories - Ben and Jerry's
is probably the right choice :-)
Thanks for the note, Faith. Ben and Jerry's
is good, and I love good ice cream, but the gelato thing is
just my newest fad. :)
Stew writes: Brian,
I found the following sources for Gelato at Walt Disney World:
- Seashore Sweets (Boardwalk) --
by the scoop -- (best deal on Gelato at Walt Disney World)
- Mama Melrose's (D/MGM)
- Portobello Yacht Club (Downtown
- Palio (The Swan)
- Hollywood Brown Derby (D/MGM)
There might be others, but that's
what a search of menus at Deb Will's WDWIG site resulted in.
Nicole's response was:
Hi Brian, I was just reading your column today and saw your
inquiry as to where to buy Gelato in Walt Disney World. Last
time I visited in January, I purchased some right in front
of the Italy pavilion at Epcot at one of their ODV (outdoor
vendor) carts. It was the type of cart that appears to be
Thanks Nicole... looks like a stop at that cart is in my
back to our regularly scheduled email...
|Amy asks: Hi Brian,
first - thanks for the great information. I have seen mentioned
in trip reports that people upgraded their remaining days on
tickets to new tickets. Such as they had two days leftover but
needed four so they were able to apply the two days to their
new pass. My question is, is this correct? If so, how is it
done? How do you know they way they figure out the remaining
value of the old tickets and thus the amount of money you need
to pay to do the upgrade? I am trying to figure out if it would
be better to take the two days left on my pass and upgrade it
or just get an additional new pass for my trip in November.
Thanks for all your help.
That is true. You can have it done at Guest Relations at
any of the parks or Downtown Disney.
They will happily tell you how much value they'll be applying
to the new passes. As you've surmised, in many cases, it might
just be better to use up the old ones rather than trading
them in on new.
However, if your older passes do not have magnetic strips
on them (because they're the very old ones), you'll want to
trade them in even up (at no cost to you) so that you can
(you need the magnetic strip for the Fastpass distribution
machines to work).
|Bob writes in a follow-up
to an earlier note: Brian, Thanks for the response. I think
the spirit of Walt is sending me signs that I should go to the
Disney / MGM Studios while I'm there. Originally, I'd planned
on myself and my nephew going to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and
Animal Kingdom (we're only going to be there for 3 full days).
Animal Kingdom was going to be done on Saturday.
Today, I noticed two distinct changes,
Early Entry is back
with Saturday being the Studios early day. Also, they've extended
the 100 Years Celebration through February. I never got a
chance to see all the celebration stuff at the Studios when
I was there this past February, and of course it's my nephew's
first time so he hasn't seen any of it. This is the perfect
chance to see the Studios and the 100 Years celebration!
But, alas, the Animal Kingdom will
have to be skipped, again. It stinks though because this'll
be my fourth visit to Walt Disney World since Animal Kingdom opened and
I still haven't seen it.
Sorry to babble but this was very
exciting for me and my friends and family just don't get it
("that's nice Bob, pass the salt") and I needed
to tell someone who understood and my nephew won't know about
the trip until Christmas eve.
Thanks for your help and your ear...
I'm sure you'll enjoy the trip very much. :) The return of
Extra Magic Hour (previously known as Early Entry) and the
extension of the 100 Years of Magic is great news!
One thing I'd suggest that you consider. If you think you
and your nephew will ever return to Walt Disney World, you might want to
buy four or five day park hopper passes. That way, you can
take your three days and spread the time around the four parks
more evenly. Instead of planning a full day in any one park,
you could spend the morning at one park, the afternoon at
a second, and the evening at a third. Three times three gives
you nine blocks of time to spread around the four parks. You
could enjoy all four parks that way!
|Jeneice writes about
the Walt Disney World's reinstatements to some the cutbacks
that were made in the Fall of 2001 and other topics: Dear
Brian, First, I must say I am so glad about the changes that
Walt Disney World is making. I was one of the many people who
emailed them after our December trip to let them know I was
unhappy about the Early Entry and the show cuts at the Disney
/ MGM Studios and also that the Character Caravan was not a
good replacement and was a feature we never used during our
I will tell you that Kimberly from
Walt Disney Executive Offices called me and we spoke at length
about our two visits (September and December 2001.) The many
differences that I noticed in our trips and benefits of staying
onsite for our family.
She listened and did let me know that
my opinion is important and that Walt Disney World was listening
to all the feedback. I was impressed she called. I also let
her know that everyone I know asks me for advice on where
to stay, ticket media, meals etc. (Of course I recommend your
site and a few others), since I love Walt Disney World and
have been there more than a few times. But I just wanted them
to know that my trip and experiences will effect the family
and friends at home.
Second, I do have the trip report
from December at the All Star Movies forthcoming and we visited
again (August 2002) at the All Star Music. Just wanted to
wear out the magnetic strip on our annual passes one more
time. That report is also in the works.
Third, I received a postcard both
times from The Cast of the Walt Disney World Resort to do
an online questionnaire. So my opinion is getting heard at
Walt Disney World.
Fourth, about a week after we returned
from Walt Disney World we opened a Princess Figure frame we purchased and
it was broken. (We never opened the box at the store to check
it out). Also one of our CD's was not working. I emailed Walt Disney World
about the items and gave the item #'s from the receipt. They
emailed me back in about two days for more info like my address
and full name. They followed up saying that my new items would
be received in about a week. I was so pleased with their prompt
Last, just a note the Official Album
Walt Disney World Celebrating 100 Years of Magic CD is great
and so is the Magic in the Streets Parade Memories. My family
listens to them all the time. This songs actually have my
daughter interested in the Haunted Mansion after hearing the
them. All attraction songs are on the 100 Years CD plus music
from all the Parks.
Well Brian I'm finished my long letter.
I hope this is of interest to your readers. I enjoy reading
the daily updates and trip reports.
I love Walt Disney World and reading
about everyone else's adventures.
Thanks for the note. I'm glad that the Walt Disney World
folks have made the changes they have. It shows me that they're
not complete dolts, but that they realize that their cuts
(at the customer's expense) were too severe -- and that even
the tragedies of last Fall didn't justify them.
What the Walt Disney Company needs to do now, to really get
park traffic going again, is start investing in the parks!
They need some new attractions, and not just some Fantasyland
theater makeovers. They need a new E-Ticket attraction, and
frankly, I think they need to put a plan in place that lets
them trumpet a new E-Ticket attraction every couple of years,
with some other lesser additions on the off years. Only by
continuous improvement of the parks are they going to see
the steady attendance numbers that they've enjoyed in the
I'm looking forward to those trip reports. :)
Thanks for the reports on the new CDs and on Walt Disney World merchandising's
efforts to correct your problems. I'll have to buy those CDs
when I get back to Walt Disney World myself in a few months...
Larry writes: Brian, Well sir,
it appears that all of our diligent efforts in contacting
Walt Disney World with our frustration about Early Entry and
other cutbacks has paid off.
I am sure that the powers that be
at Walt Disney World will never admit it, but the thought of regulars abandoning
their trips to Walt Disney World or staying off property had to help create
such rethinking on certain policies. I have had several changes
in my job responsibilities over the last year and a half,
thus keeping me from planning a trip. But, similar to your
self imposed hiatus, I have been on one also, due to such
cutbacks. Now, there is a new optimism.
There is a bounce back in my thoughts
about Walt Disney World. I am sure that all is not rosy, but
I will be getting new Annual Passes in May and take a trip
down with my family, mainly so my three year old can have
her first experience, and timed with the opening of the new
ride at Epcot. It really is nice to see the new changes and
even if they will not admit it, we had a great deal to do
Keep up the good work. Your site gives
great information and keeps all of us in tune with the happenings
at Walt Disney World, even when we can not make it down there.
Thanks for the note, Larry.
My personal take is that Walt Disney World's guests actually
did provide feedback that made it clear that the cutbacks
were too deep and too severe. You just can't save yourself
to prosperity when your business is in the service industry!
You have to spend money and provide outstanding customer service...
something that the Walt Disney Company used to know well,
and DO well, until the most recent of years.
I hope we've turned the corner and that things will continue
Jayne writes: Hi Brian, I am
planning a trip to the world in early November for a party
of four. We are Annual Pass holders at Disneyland and frequent
it often. There you can go to city hall and get a special
assistance pass by showing a disabled parking permit. My mother
has a hard time standing in lines for long periods of time.
This pass allows us to enter through the exit or through the
fast pass line (without a fast pass), thus eliminating the
long waits. The question is, do the parks at Disney world
offer this same type of pass or any thing similar?
I want to say thank you for all of
the knowledge I have gotten from you. This is an awesome site.
I always read Al's updates, and now I read yours too and I'll
continue even after our trip just so I'll be in the know.
Thanks again and I pray you have had a restful, and safe vacation.
Jayne, thanks for the very kind note.
Yes, a Guest Assistance Card is available. Be aware, though,
that you can not simply go to the front of the line using
the Guest Assistance Card. Instead, those passes, used in
conjunction with Fastpass, allow some special ways of handling
the queues to assure access... but not necessarily a "line
For your mother's situation, what you'll likely do is have
her (along with one or two other members of your party, just
to keep her company) will go to a special location where she
can wait. Then, the rest of your party will go through the
queue. When you get to the waiting location, your whole party
will be reunited for the last remaining part of the wait before
loading onto the attraction.
Of course, this is a generalization. Actually, things are
handled a bit differently on each attraction. You'll be given
specific instructions on how to handle things on each attraction
when you get your Guest Assistance Card at Guest Relations
at each park.
You might want to call Walt Disney World's special assistance
phone line at (407) 939-7807 to ask for more specific details
about how to handle your situation.
John writes: Brian, I'd be very
curious to know what reader/guest reaction is to the Mickey
hand at Epcot and the Sorcerer's Hat at Disney-MGM Studios.
For my two cents, both are garish and ill-thought additions
to the parks, no matter the justification.
The Mickey Hand takes a world-class,
instantly recognizable icon and covers it with garish pop
art. It would be like adding a giant sign that says "New
York" to the side of the Empire State Building.
We KNOW we're in Epcot! The majesty
and beauty of unadorned Spaceship Earth is indescribable;
to me, the hand looks like so much graffiti.
The hat is, if possible, even worse.
The concept of Hollywood Boulevard is gone. It's as if Disney
is saying, "This park is no longer about movies and entertainment,
it's a big commercial for DISNEY." You can't even get
a good glimpse or photo of the Chinese Theater anymore. Worse,
the hat is so oversized it completely ruins the forced perspective
and visual trickery the Imagineers built into the park. It
just seems so out of place as to be almost comical.
Those are my unsolicited views, but
I really would be curious to know how other readers and park
|Thanks John. I don't feel as strongly about the
Mickey hand as you do. I don't think it's necessary, but it
certainly doesn't add much. On the other hand (no pun intended),
the Sorcerer's Hat obstructs the view of what I think IS the
icon of that park.
Josh writes: Hi, Brian, I'd
like to offer Michael (and several others who have written
in recently with similar questions) a parking alternative.
Michael asked about parking at the Boardwalk in order to make
a quick exit from Epcot after Illuminations.
You suggested parking at the Beach
Club Resort and paying the valet parking fee. I would completely
agree with that plan if you have small, tired children or
are visiting when the parks have extended hours-which often
leaves you feeling small and tired at the end of the day.
However, if there are no small children
in your party or you are visiting at a time of year when the
parks close a bit earlier, there is a pleasant but often overlooked
alternative. Park in the normal park lot and then, at the
end of the day, rather than sprinting for the exit, relax
and enjoy what is probably my favorite time of day at the
After the attractions close, you have
the better part of an hour, or sometimes even more, in which
to take in the parks atmosphere. You can stroll around
World Showcase Lagoon, shop on Hollywood Boulevard or just
sit on a bench near Cinderella Castle for quite a while after
the official closing time. With most people thronging the
exits and no attractions running, this is an excellent time
to quietly admire the parks. Cast members will let you enjoy
yourself and they even keep the music playing for those who
choose to stay a bit later. I have very fond memories of one
trip where my grandmother and I sat at the far end of Main
Street in the shadow of the castle watching the people file
out while we talked about what a wonderful day we had.
By the time you are ready to leave,
you wont have any real traffic and you will be able
to get home in no time. This may not be for everyone,
but trust me, it can be a very sweet end to a great day. (You
can use the $7 you save in valet fees to send me a thank you
|Thanks for the suggestion, Josh. It's an excellent
|Cindy asks: Brian,
hi how are you? My husband and I are returning to Disneyworld
in December and are staying at the Grand Floridian. We are staying
in a lodge room. Is there anything special we should check out
at the hotel while we are there? I have stayed at every property
but this one.
We have also booked the Discovery
Magic package. We are having dinner at the California grill.
Any other recommendations for romantic dinning?
The Grand Floridian is a gorgeous resort. You may want to
check out the "Fast
Facts" page on the resort in MousePlanet's Walt Disney World Trip
Also, I've put together a little photo
tour of the resort that you may enjoy seeing.
I don't think there is anything special to check out that
you won't find at other Walt Disney World resorts. The resort's lovely grounds,
the great new pool, the marina (the boats are fun to take
out on the lagoon. I'd personally recommend the water mice,
especially. They're a riot!), and the shopping and restaurants
all make the list, though.
To answer your question on romantic dinners, I'll refer you
page which lists some great ideas for planning a romantic
trip, including a list of particularly romantic restaurants
in the resorts and parks.
|Ken writes: Brian,
greetings once again from your Williamsburg area NASA geek.
Hope all is well with you up there. I assume that soon leaves
will be changing and there will be a nip in the air. We seem
to go directly from Summer to late Fall here (and it doesn't
happen until December). I miss the gradual change of seasons
in the north.
First, again I want to thank you for
your great web site. There is NO WAY that I could have gotten
things figured out for our perhaps one and only trip to Walt Disney World
without your help. Thanks so much!! I'm only sorry that you
will be there at a different time (otherwise I would love
to thank you in person!).
I do have two questions (if you don't
1) Early hours - I know that Early
Entry is a really good thing during busy times of the year
but I wasn't sure how important they were for the first week
of December. Do you have any thoughts on that? My itinerary
matches up pretty good with Early Entry other than Friday
and Saturday. If I went with Early Entry I would do Animal
Kingdom on Friday and the Disney / MGM Studios on Saturday.
Since we really want to get to the Disney / MGM Studios soon
after arriving, we want to do that on Friday with Animal Kingdom
on Saturday. Is that a mistake (i.e., Are we missing something
we really should do?). We will get Early Entry in the Disney
/ MGM Studios the following week so it really boils down to
one less Early Entry for the Disney / MGM Studios and no Early
Entry for Animal Kingdom.
2) Because you recommend Fantasmic
so highly, we really want to see it. We decided we were going
to try for a Fantasmic dinner package (the old kind). Then
they announced the Fantasmic dinner package test where we
could order the dinner package now (with credit card of course).
I signed up but could only get a 4:00p.m. dinner package.
That means we eat at 4:00 and Fantasmic isn't until 6:00.
However, we will get in (like the Candlelight Processional
dinner package). I know you sometimes say that you just wait
in line. Any thoughts? We might do it anyway to not wait in
A lot of this is personal preference
but you know so much about it all.
One last question - I'm going to get
an Annual Pass (since I have business trips to Daytona from time to
time) but I couldn't convince my wife that the rest of the
family would go again within a year (I've done most of the
planning - she isn't into all this planning stuff). So we
went with 6 day Park Hopper Pass's for them. I was surprised at how flimsy
the cards seemed. Any advice on how to protect them well?
|Thanks for the note, Ken. Regarding your questions:
I don't personally think that you need to plan your trip
schedule around Extra Magic Hour. In fact, I very rarely plan
from day to day exactly what we're going to do on any given
trip. I am doing that on my upcoming trip just because our
group size is so large that advanced priority seating plans
are going to be very important. Normally, though, just just
for me and my immediate family I wouldn't bother. In early
December, when crowds are already low, I don't think it will
be a bit deal.
Regarding Fantasmic!, I don't recall the age(s) of your kid(s)
(or even if you have any), but unless they are very small,
I don't think a brief wait is a problem. We've allowed Allan
to take a toy or two with him, and he's generally been able
to be perfectly happy for an hour of sitting. The main drawback
with the Fantasmic! dinner is that the seating that is set
aside is far to the right. Personally, I'd probably skip the
dinner package and go a bit earlier to sit more in the middle.
That is reasonable in early December, but would be a nightmare
during high Summer and Christmas season when the crowds peak.
I can't suggest anything special on the park passes. They
must be protected, of course, but I usually just keep them
in my wallet like a credit card.
Maybe after being at Walt Disney World for a few days, your
wife will let you upgrade those six-day passes to Annual Passes
after all. :)
|Ken follows-up with:
Brian,interesting notes about Fantasmic. My kids (13,10, 7)
would probably enjoy some down time with the schedule I've set
up! :-) Just kidding, I promise to chill some! Thanks for the
tip. We thought it wasn't such a bad idea to do the dinner package
because we wanted to eat at Mama Melrose's anyway but 4:00p.m.?!
That seems early. If memory serves me right (and I wouldn't
be surprised if it didn't), I thought you really like Spoodles.
Maybe better than Mama Melroses? Maybe we should do that instead?
I forgot about the Annual Pass upgrade idea.
Not a bad idea!!! Although my '93 Taurus just required it's
4th transmission so extra cash will probably get tied up in
a new car instead!
Thanks again. I wish you good luck
with your trip. Not only do you have the big group but it
is a popular time of the year too!
I know that Spoodles gets good reviews, but I've never actually
eaten there personally.
On the Taurus, all I can say is that you should have bought
a GM car (but since I went to General Motors Institute, I'm
a tad bit biased.)
Tifany writes: Brian, I have
been trying to contact Disney / MGM Studios Guest Relations,
and have emailed several people and still haven't received
the answer to the question I have. I know that you have cast
members that read your site & I was hoping someone could
answer the following question.
Do you know what the 1,000,000 point
prize is now for Who Wants to be a Millionaire Play It? Has
it been changed to or is it the same? I know the grand prize
used to be a trip for 2 to New York to watch a taping of the
show at the ABC studios, but since ABC canned the show (after
playing it too much to compete against Survivor and Friends)
it is now playing in syndication.
Will the point prizes still be the
same or will they (Eisner & friends) close this attraction
because the show it was based on got canceled?
The reason why I am asking is because
I have been in the hot seat and got up to two questions away
from the 1,000,000 point level; and my husband has been in
the hot seat twice! I believe that I have as good a chance
as anyone else to get in the hot seat again, and I know that
some people have reached & even won the 1,000,000 point
I hope you will be able to shed some
light onto this question, because the only response I got
from Disney was to call ABC in New York and ask them about
the taping of the show. ABC, of course, had no idea why Disney
had directed me to contact them about prizes that were/are
given out at Disney. (It seems there is still a lot of miscommunication
with the Suits and the worker bees!) At least our voice was
heard and we have EXTRA MAGIC mornings now!!
Sorry, I have no idea... but I will share your note in an
upcoming Notes piece and we'll see what response we get.
So folks... what do you know?
|Barry asks: Do you
have an e-mail address for Don Sullivan?? I did a very dumb
thing - - I sent a letter saying I wanted to subscribe to his
newsletter and that I was enclosing $12.95 and I mailed it without
the money order. I would like to reach him BEFORE the empty
envelope to tell him I am sending the $12.95 under separate
cover. I tried calling directory assistance in Columbus and
there was no listing for Mouse Tips. If you could help me I
would appreciate it. I am sooooooooooo embarrassed.
|Don and Amy Sullivan can be reached at email@example.com.
I hope you do subscribe. Their MouseTips
newsletter is an excellent one!
|Alden asks: Dear
Brian, we are thrilled that Early Entry has been reinstated,
but are more confused about where to go when. We will be arriving
the Saturday after Thanksgiving (just enjoying the Grand Floridian,
not the parks), then onto the parks the next day. The Magic
Kingdom is scheduled for Early Entry that day. Will it be horribly
crowded? Should we avoid that park altogether, or just go for
Early Entry then head out to MGM? We planned our trip at this
time because I kept hearing how the first week in December is
low crowds. I am now worried that post-Thanksgiving crowds will
be huge. (We leave for the 3 day cruise on Thursday, December
5, so just 4 days in the parks)
Thank you soooo much for any advice
you can offer.
I can only share my own opinion. Since Extra Magic Hour is
a bit different than the old Early Entry program, things won't
be exactly the same and it will take a while for things to
settle down so we really know how Early Magic Hour affects
park traffic patterns.
But based on experience during the old Early Entry program,
it's pretty clear that the park that is offering Extra Magic
Hour will be significantly more busy than the other parks
on any given day. Also, that effect is likely to be multiplied
since you're visiting during a holiday weekend. The first
couple of weeks in December is less busy, but that doesn't
kick in until after Thanksgiving Weekend is good and done.
Bottom line... You really do need to expect the Magic Kingdom
to be VERY crowded on that day.
Personally, I wouldn't go with your strategy of visiting
the Magic Kingdom first and then switch parks after the first
hour or two just because you'll waste so much time in transit
during prime park hours. I'd just avoid the Magic Kingdom
altogether that day and go elsewhere... but that's just me.
Shelley shares this report:
Hi Brian, Just a quick note. We just got back from a nine
day trip to Walt Disney World and the parks were empty. We
didn't need to use Fastpass but one time and were usually
done touring the park for the day around 3-4:00p.m. (except
on nights we were seeing a night show). We went to DisneyQuest
four times and it didn't cost any extra or use up a plus feature
(we used those plus features for 2 character breakfasts).
This is in reply to Dianna's note on
9/23/02 I started planning this trip 9 years ago, I own a
daycare & it's hard to close for along time. This was
hubby's first time & my 12 year old daughter & I haven't
been there since she was 3 1/2. Hubby now wants to move to
Orlando & work as a paramedic in the area. I hoped to
do a trip report, but when we got back I got 3 new children
in for daycare. Sometimes a well deserved break can make your
job worthwhile again.
|Thanks for the note, Shelley!
shares another note on DisneyQuest:
Hi Brian, I'm a longtime reader and love your column (even though
I live on the West Coast and rarely get out to Walt Disney World).
I was in Orlando this week for a few days on business, and although
I didn't go into the parks, my work colleagues and I went to
DisneyQuest for some entertainment after dinner at Wolfgang
Puck's. I just wanted to let you know that although the $31.00
admission rate may seem too steep for those without this option
on their Hoppers, DisneyQuest offers a late night entry fee
of $16.00. I believe it's just offered on weeknights, and is
valid for the last 2 hours (i.e. 9-11 p.m.). It was well worth
that price - the virtual Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean
were both fun, but the best is still the build-your-own roller
Thanks for all your work on the site.
|Thanks so much for the note! I'll share it in
on the site in the next few weeks.
|Cindy writes: Brian,
I am one of your newest MousePlanet dependents! Judging from
other emails I've read, it really is an interesting phenomena
how we get hooked on your site. Thanks for such an informative
and pleasant service!
We are planning our first Walt Disney
World trip in April over Easter weekend. I know it goes against
everything I've read regarding peak season, but that's the
best we could do. Our biggest expense, next to airfare from
Tucson, is accommodations. I actually have two reservations
pending... one at the All-Star Music and one at the Dolphin
using an Entertainment rate of $182.00. The bottom line is
a $500 difference for a 5 night stay between the two resorts.
My question is, do you think it's worth it? Or should I consider
a middle-of-the road option at the Port Orleans? We are a
family of four, including two teenagers in tow.
Here's my own opinion. The Dolphin (and Swan) resorts are
very nice. They are well appointed, beautiful buildings (if
you like that entertainment architectural style). However,
they lack in one major thing... Disney Magic. Sure, the resorts
are on the property, and they're serviced by Walt Disney World Transportation.
They are upscale accommodations, without doubt. But they just
lack the theming that takes the guest away to another place.
My opinion of the All Star Resorts is similar, except that
instead of being a top-end resort the All Star Resorts are
price leaders. Again, they're nice (for the price) and are
on property with Walt Disney World Transportation service, but they're just
not as "magical" as the themed Walt Disney World
In my opinion, I'd split the difference on the cost and go
for one of the moderate resorts that have significantly more
But that's just me. :)
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!