Friday, May 23, 2003
Text and photos by Sue Holland, MousePlanet staff writer
[Although all of our reader feedback is now
published in a single Mailbag
column on Thursdays, Sue wanted a chance to clear out her
cache, which has been building up for some time. In the future,
reader comments to Sue and her responses will be published
in our regular Mailbag column. - Ed.]
Do you think the crowds at DisneyQuest on a Saturday
will be manageable, or are my husband and I biting
off more than we can chew trying to keep track
of five kids at once? Also, is it a safe assumption
that most attractions are included in the admission
price with the exception of a few games that dispense
the tickets for prizes"?
Suzanne Unlike the Magic Kingdom, Saturday at
DisneyQuest is not significantly more crowded than
any other day. During school vacation periods it is
common to find large groups of local children from
camps or daycares on a day trip to DisneyQuest, but
those usually occur Monday through Friday.
Suzanne had five children, ages 7, 10, 12, 12 & 14,
which makes a DisneyQuest visit easier than it would
be if the children were younger. There is so much
to do inside, I would be comfortable letting the 4
older children go off on their own provided they can
be trusted to not leave the building. The 7-year-old
would need adult supervision, and may be unable to
do some of the attractions. Everything is included
in the admission price except for those ticket
for prizes" games, and those are grouped together
so they're easy to avoid.
Is the comedy club (at Pleasure Island) like Whose
Line Is It, Anyway? in terms of style? I love
the show and improv comedy. Is there a hip-hop
music club or some place that plays urban music?
April The Comedy Warehouse is improv comedy,
featuring five talented actors in each show. Every
show is different, and the format is very similar
to Who's Line except there is no Drew Carey-type
host. BET Soundstage plays urban music, and only people
21 years of age or older are allowed inside.
Improv comedy is performed nightly at the Comedy Warehouse.
Can you stroll Animal Kingdom and World Showcase
and enjoy yourself during the Thanksgiving weekend?
I remember you had luck touring Blizzard Beach
on Thanksgiving; is it a good bet for the holiday(weather
permitting!)? How is Comedy Warehouse that weekend?
Jonathan While every park will be busier than
usual on Thanksgiving weekend, World Showcase in Epcot
will still be less crowded than it was during the
Food & Wine Festival! It should be very pleasant.
Animal Kingdom can be pretty crowded, but getting
there early and using fastpass can help make your
visit enjoyable. We enjoyed one Thanksgiving day we
spent at Blizzard Beach. The weather was warm, and
the crowds were small. Comedy Warehouse is a little
risky. In 2002 it was great, but in 2001 many of the
regular actors had arranged time off for the holidays
so the shows consisted of mostly subs and less experienced
people. The crowds were not significantly worse than
any other weekend, though.
We have been warned multiple times that we must
be at the entrance when the park opens to guarantee
admittance [for our trip] December 26 through
January 3. Disney said that once the park is full
it is closed for the day. Does that mean even
if we are staying on-site we might not get into
a park? If we enter the park and then it closes
can we still return that night?
Stefanie Disney has several stages of park
closure, which affect people in different ways. The
first step generally means people not staying in a
Disney resort will be turned away, but Disney resort
guests are still admitted. As things get busier, even
Disney resort guests may be denied entrance into a
park, but that happens very rarely and does not last
for the entire day. They continually monitor the situation
and if a park is closed to everyone at 2 p.m., it's
entirely possible 45 minutes or a couple of hours
later that guests will be admitted again. The safest
thing would be to enter the park early and not leave
until you are finished, but that makes for a very
long and tiring day. Wherever you plan to spend New
Year's Eve, definitely plan to be in that park by
Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Are their fun free things to do around the Animal
Kingdom Lodge or other hotels while we are stating
at the AKL?
Melissa There are a number of things to do at
Animal Kingdom Lodge. Besides the pool, playground,
fitness center and arcade, there is a nightly storytelling
activity around a fire. Animals are active all evening,
and if you are not staying in a room with a savanna
view there are many viewing locations that are open
to the public. Cast members will be out to answer
questions or explain any animal behavior. Animal Kingdom
Lodge is also home to two excellent restaurants
Boma and Jiko.
If we purchase an annual pass, do we get a discount
on the additional 5day hopper passes that we
will be needing to purchase?
Diane No, the purchase of an annual pass does
not grant discounts on any park passes for the four
main theme parks. There is a discount to renew the
annual pass at the end of your year, provided you
do not let the pass lapse at all.
My wife and I are considering taking our 9- and
12-year-old daughters to Disney World for three
days beginning the Sunday, April 27 after Easter
(April 20). What type of crowd should we expect?
Many Disney sources indicate the weeks before
and after Easter are very crowded.
Elliot You will be arriving just as everyone
else leaves, so there should not be heavy crowds during
your trip. The really busy period runs from the week
before Easter through the Sunday after Easter. Once
you get beyond that, the crowds shrink considerably.
One of the two heated pools at Disney's Hilton Head
A reader asks about Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort:
Are the pools heated? I'm sure it will be cool
if not cold in early March.
The pools are definitely heated, and get a lot of
use in early March. We've visited the resort in March
2003 and 2002 and although the air temperature can
be a bit cool, the pools are quite warm.
My wife and I are considering becoming passholders
this year. I was wondering if you had any further
information on whether there would be resort discounts
offered in 2003.
Michael Historically there are always passholder
discounts offered, but when rooms are booking quickly
the discounts may not be announced until a few months
prior to arrival. In 2002 and so far in 2003 there
have been many discounts on Disney resorts, and although
I do not have any inside information I expect the
discounts to remain plentiful through 2003. The current
discount codes can be found at MouseSavers,
and you may find one that matches or beats any passholder
Disney Vacation Club is Disney's version of a timeshare.
With the closing of the Disney Institute and the
new hotel in the works, is this a direct result
of failure/lack of interest in the Institute theme,
or is it simply DVC demand overtaking its usefulness?
Tim Disney has admitted that the Disney Institute
never was as popular as they had hoped. Disney Vacation
Club on the other hand sells out faster than Disney
predicts, and thus far does not show signs of slowing
down. It's strictly my opinion, but I see the closure
of Disney Institute as a way to eliminate a resort
that wasn't meeting the profit targets Disney expects,
while at the same time providing a new Disney Vacation
Club resort for members to purchase more quickly than
waiting for the location proposed near the Eagle Pines
golf course. The Disney Institute buildings that were
knocked down to make room for the new resort were
quite old and very ugly compared to the other buildings
and other resorts, so the overall area will be upgraded
when the Disney Vacation Club (Saratoga Springs Resort
and Spa) resort opens.
I was wondering if you thought it was worth getting
a preferred room at this resort. My family is
taking our first WDW trip November 28 through
December 7 and staying at the AllStar Movie.
My children are ages 5½, 3½, 16 months.
Are the Fantasia buildings that much closer?
Nikki In my opinion, no. Movies
is extremely well laid-out and the Fantasia, Toy Story,
and 101 Dalmations sections are all equally close
to the main building. I've stayed in Toy Story twice
and Dalmations once, and every time my room was closer
than some of the preferred rooms in Fantasia.
Plus, in Fantasia there's the chance your room would
face the big pool, which can mean pool noise well
into the evening.
Even the furthest buildings (Love Bug) at Movies aren't
as far away as the furthest buildings at the other
AllStars. I'm assuming you've got a stroller
for the little one. I wouldn't bother with the preferred
room I'd rather spend that $10 on something
Typhoon Lagoon water park.
At Typhoon Lagoon, how safe is the Summit Plummet?
My son is 13 and we both enjoy thrill rides. I'm
a big girl. I'm 5-foot-10 and weigh 280 pounds.
Big but healthy and very active. Will I be able
to go on most of the thrill rides there? Will
Summit Plummet be safe for me?
Michelle Summit Plummet appears to be very safe.
I'm too cowardly to go on it, but I've seen all sizes
of people on there and don't think your size will
be an issue at all. The water slides and the rides
in the parks are generally built to accommodate people
who are your size and larger, so you should be able
to do everything with your son.
Michelle also asks:
Isn't there some kind of pass to get ahead of the
line for the more popular rides?
This is Fastpass, and it's free. It's only on certain
attractions you put your park pass in the machine,
it reads it, and gives you a slip of paper with the
1-hour window of time you can come back and ride without
going through the regular line. You can't get another
fastpass until the time indicated on the slip of paper,
which will be five minutes after the start of your
ride time or two hours from now whichever is
sooner. When you enter the parks, pick up a Guide
Map. The Fastpass attractions are all listed in there.
On my last few visits (year 2000 and before), the
first show at Comedy Warehouse each night, they
have done a pre-planned skit about the guy selling
duck hats. Do they still do this?
Rob Seen it for at least a year or two. Most
recently it was performed during the Christmas season,
but not in the past couple of years. They have one
very short scripted piece they still do occasionally
a spoof about finding your car in the Disney
parking lots at the end of the day.
Well, that wraps up the article this time! Feel free to ask questions
of me or any of the people at MousePlanet.
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.