Everything BUT the Parks

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Everything but the Parks
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Sue Holland

Everything but the Parks – Reader Feedback

Friday, October 25, 2002
by Sue Holland, MousePlanet staff writer

About six months has passed since the last Readers' Mailbag in this column. Here you can find some of the questions asked by readers like yourself. Hopefully the questions and answers might help others as well.

A Reader asks:

I am taking my children to Animal Kingdom Lodge on June 2 and want to know if the standard rooms offer a savanna view... Will we still have a view of the animals from our room?

There are both standard rooms and standard view rooms at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Standard rooms are smaller than deluxe rooms but some do have a savanna view. Standard view rooms do not, as these rooms are on the front of the resort and face the parking lot. The standard view rooms are the least expensive, but there are animal viewing areas throughout the resort.

Robert asks:

What Disney World resorts are available for trade-ins with Interval International?

The four Disney Vacation Club resorts would be the only ones. They are: Disney's Old Key West Resort, Disney's Boardwalk Villas Resort, Disney's Villas at Wilderness Lodge, and Disney's Beach Club Villas Resort.

Disney's Boardwalk Villas Resort.

Monica asks:

I purchased Premium Annual Passes for everyone in my family, through my local Disney store. I realize those are actually the "vouchers." I have never received the Mickey Monitor... will I have to wait until my trip in July when I activate the passes?

Yes, Disney does not enter you into the system to receive the Mickey Monitor (newsletter for annual passholders) until the pass is activated. In other words, the date you first use it to enter a park is the date Disney puts on the mailing list.

NZ asks:

Do you know if the Southern California annual pass is available to anyone regardless of residence?

No, these California "resident" passes are only good for people living in specific zip codes. There are annual passes available to people who live outside of southern California, at a higher cost.

Margaret asks:

Is the concierge worth it ?

This is truly a decision each person must make for his or her own party. Concierge can add $100 or more to the nightly cost of the room, and the "free" food and beverage may not necessarily come close to that amount. However, it is definitely luxurious and if you can afford to splurge, I would highly recommend a short concierge stay to anyone as a way to help determine if it will be worth it for a longer stay. Unless you are leaving early on your last day, consider making your last night or two a concierge stay somewhere - it's a great way to end a trip!

Concierge lounge at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

John asks:

What kind of smoking rules do the ships have?

The staterooms are all non-smoking, which is a change from most of the other cruise lines out there. Smoking is permitted on all of the verandahs, and in sections of the bars. Smoking is not permitted in the dining rooms, main show lounge, movie theater, kids' clubs, shops, and inside hallways. Out on deck there are ashtrays installed in certain places but people generally smoke wherever they happen to be when outside.

Jane asks:

What about this Comedy Warehouse? This sounds like a good place to take the teens (16 and 19). What do you think?

The Comedy Warehouse is my favorite spot in all of Walt Disney World, and the primary reason I make trips so frequently. The comedy is improvisation, so no two shows are the same. The actors do not use foul or obscene language, although there may be sexual innuendo. More often than not if a guest shouts out an unacceptable suggestion the actors decline to use it, and seek another. There really isn't anything that wouldn't be appropriate for teens. The ongoing debate is whether or not it's an appropriate setting for younger children!

Actors improvising a scene at the Comedy Warehouse

Karen asks:

I have a question about the clubs at Pleasure Island. Is it possible for children to visit the clubs during the day before the nighttime opening at 7:00pm?

Before 7:00p.m. none of the clubs are open, so nobody can visit anything other than the street and shops. From 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., Pleasure Island has a "Sneak Preview" where people can enjoy the band performing on the outdoor stage without paying for admission. They will not be permitted into any of the clubs unless they pay the admission to the Island. Children are permitted into Pleasure Island when the clubs are open, but they must remain with their parents at all times and are not allowed to enter Mannequins or the BET Soundstage clubs. There also is no discounted rate for children.

Karen also asks:

We will be using the Ultimate Park Hopper Passes for eight days. Can I still purchase the E-nights tickets?

Absolutely. You will be a Disney resort guest, and the Ultimate Park Hopper Pass is considered a multi-day ticket. You will need to use that pass to enter the Magic Kingdom that day, and your E-Ride ticket permits you to remain in the park for the three hours after it closes.

Cinderella's Castle late at night in the Magic Kingdom.

Margaret asks:

Can I go to the contemporary resort marina even if I am not staying at that resort to ride on one of the boats?

Yes. The only requirement for renting the boats is being old enough and having the money to pay for it. If you are staying at a Disney resort, they will hold your resort identification card until your return, and if you are staying offsite they will want your driver's license.

Shawn asks:

We have reservations for a preferred room (which I understand to be in the Fantasia buildings) but I was wondering if it would be worth it to request a room in the Toy Story buildings. I'm concerned about the distance to the pools, Cinema Hall and bus pickup.

At All-Star Movies, I consider the Fantasia, 101 Dalmatians, and Toy Story sections to be equally convenient to the pools, Cinema Hall, and bus stop. Since only Fantasia has the extra $10/night charge, I would definitely request Toy Story!

Statue of Woody in the Toy Story section of All-Star Movies Resort.

Pat asks:

I have always heard the summer was crowded and that October was the best month for small crowds. Is this true? Can you also tell me how crowded it would be in April?

While October used to be a very quiet month, in recent years it got upgraded from "value" season to "regular" season due to crowds consistently growing larger. October is a big month for conventions and golf tournaments, which draw many participants and their families. Summer is definitely crowded, as is any period when children are out of school. Summer is also terribly hot and humid. The smallest crowds tend to occur in January, very early February, and September. May is moderate, as is October, November and the first half of December. April varies depending on when Easter falls. If Easter is mid-April, it makes for a very crowded month! If Easter is in late March, then April will be low-to-moderately crowded once you get a week away from Easter Sunday. Weather is April is pretty close to perfect!

A reader asks:

On the days that Orlando Rays games are played, do you still have to pay admission, or is it a separate admission/entrance to Disney's Wide World of Sports?

Admission to Wide World of Sports is included in your O Rays ticket price. Any event held at the complex, which requires a separate ticket, will also get you in without a separate admission.

Natalie asks:

My question for you is, (as my memory has lapsed) you mention that the [Disney Cruise] staterooms have a refrigerator. Is it really an open (for use) fridge? I'm thinking (or assumed) it was a mini-bar.

The refrigerators are empty. I do not recall a mini-bar in any of my staterooms (inside, oceanview, and verandah), and the empty fridge comes in handy to keep a limited supply of drinks or snacks cool.

Well, that wraps up the article this time! Feel free to ask questions of me or any of the people at MousePlanet. We'll provide an answer to you directly, and some of us periodically publish a recap like this for the benefit of anyone else who may have the same questions.

Contact Sue at sue.holland@mouseplanet.com.


Sue has been hooked on Walt Disney World since her first visit in 1972 with her parents and younger brother. She kept returning more frequently until she moved to Florida in 1986.

After joining the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) in 1997, she now visits almost monthly. She also spends time at the DVC's non-WDW locations, and is experienced with the Disney cruise ships.

She takes many of these trips on her own, but she's also toured WDW with large groups of people, including families, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

She works as the Administrative Services Division Head for a large residential facility administered by the Florida Department of Children and Families. She currently resides in Southwest Florida with her teenage son.

Sue is one of our most prolific trip report writers. Read her trip report archive here.

You can contact Sue here.

Get the latest info about the resort at “Park Update: Walt Disney World.”


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