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, April 26, 2002
by Sue Holland, MousePlanet staff writer

It's hard to believe, but more than a year has passed since I began writing this column. During this time, several readers have written to share their thoughts or to ask specific questions. Since others can benefit from reading my answers to these questions, let me spend this column sharing them with you.

Q.

Mary Lee writes:

Hi Sue - I read with interest your review of the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We are taking our kids down in February, and we have reservations there for one night, staying the rest of our stay at Old Key West. Do you think it is worth the bundle of dollars we are spending just to see the Lodge?

A.

Mary Lee,

Without a doubt, whether or not a resort is worth the price is an individual decision for each party. However, the Animal Kingdom Lodge is a unique resort, and if it appeals to you and will not break your budget, then I certainly recommend trying a one- or two-night stay. A short stay keeps the cost down and minimizes the risk just in case it does not live up to your expectations.

-

Q.

Pat writes:

Hi Sue, My family and I are going to Walt Disney World January 1 through 6, 2002. I was wondering if any of the Christmas decorations will still be up on the 1st of January?

A.

Pat,

The holiday decor will still be there on January 1st of each year. The Candlelight Processional will have ended, but the decorations will not come down until the weekend following the 1st.

-

Q.

Jennifer writes:

My family and I are planning to go to the Magic Kingdom. When do you think is the best day or is there really that much difference.

A.

Jennifer,

Now that Early Entry has ended, the answer to this question is less clear-cut. Saturdays are the single worst day to visit the Magic Kingdom, and should be avoided if possible. I have found Fridays and Sundays to be pretty good, except during holiday weekends.

-

Q.

Marguerite writes:

There will be five of us, (my husband and me, and three kids: 14, 12, and 6). Our relatives strongly suggest staying at the Grand Floridian due to quaintness and convenience, but our other option is the Beach Club. Do you have a preference?

A.

Marguerite,

While both are beautiful resorts, my personal preference is going to be the Beach Club. Judging from the ages of the kids, it is unlikely they will be focusing primarily on the Magic Kingdom, so the Beach Club will be much more centrally located. In addition, the pool at Beach Club is much better than the pools at the Grand Floridian - sure to appeal to all three kids.

-

Q.

Jessica writes:

I am planning a vacation to WDW during Thanksgiving of 2002 and I'm wondering if the water parks will be open, considering the cooler weather.

A.

Jessica,

During the Thanksgiving season Blizzard Beach will be open. The water is heated, but if the air temperature gets too chilly they may close the park for the day. Thanksgiving typically is a safe time to plan to enjoy a water park, though. In fact, we spent last Thanksgiving day at Blizzard Beach!

-

Q.

Referring to Sue's Piece on the death of Chuma, one of the gorillas at Animal Kingdom, Pat writes:

I did have a question about the gorillas. How do you tell which one is which?

A.

Pat,

Disney has taken the position of not disclosing the gorilla's names to guests, a practice many in the zoological world disagree with. Animal Kingdom has two separate groups of gorillas. The ones on the right are the family group, which consists of Gino (dad), 2 females, and the 3 children he has fathered. The ones on the left are the bachelors - Gus (the dominant silverback), Spike, Zawadi, and KJ. In very general terms, a gorilla's nose is like our fingerprint. No two are exactly the same, and the shape and folds of the nose identify one gorilla from another. Some time this year I plan to write an article specifically about the gorillas at Animal Kingdom, and since I am not affiliated with Disney, I will be free to use their actual names.

-

Q.

Robert writes:

Thanks Sue, for your write-up on the Disney Cruise Line Western Caribbean itinerary. I live about 20 minutes from Disneyland making it really nice to have an annual passport, but very inconvenient to take a Disney Cruise. Do you know if they would (or have) considered doing some kind of West Coast Disney cruise?

A.

Robert,

Disney has not released any information to indicate that they are planning a West Coast cruise. In 2001 they announced that they were considering a third cruise ship, but they have not made further announcements regarding any progress. I agree - a cruise option for the West Coast would be a good thing. Perhaps Summers in Alaska and Winters on the Mexican Riviera! However, until Disney issues a press release on the subject, I have to assume there are no current plans to position themselves on the West Coast.

-

Q.

Donna writes:

We are heading to WDW in July and I was wondering if you had any suggestions on the best nights in terms of crowds to go to Pleasure Island. Have you found that it is more crowded on weekends versus weekdays in the summer, or does it not make much of a difference?

A.

Donna,

Typically Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights are the most crowded. Thursdays are cast night, where WDW cast members get in for free (they also get in for free on Mondays but not as many come out that night) and can overtake the Island by their sheer numbers. Fridays and Saturdays are busy with locals coming out on dates, particularly later in the evening. During seasons when the parks close early, we tend to see guests arriving at Pleasure Island earlier. During the summer however, it sometimes does not get busy until later because guests come after they are finished in the parks.

That wraps up this article. Thank you for making the past year so enjoyable, and for the support you have shown me as the newcomer to MousePlanet! Please continue to write if you have a question or comment, or even if you have an idea for an article that would fit into the column!


Contact Sue at sue.holland@mouseplanet.com.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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