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This guide distills information from the comprehensive Unoffcial Guide to Walt Disney World to help short-stay or last-minute visitors decide quickly how best to spend their limited hours. It will help these guests answer questions vital to their enjoyment: What are the rides and attractions that appeal to me most? Which additional rides and attractions would I like to experience if I have any time left? What am I willing to forgo?
[Attraction profile from Epcot chapter]
Spaceship Earth 4 stars
Appeal by Age
Preschool 4 stars
Grade School 4 stars
Teens 4 stars
Young Adults 4 stars
Over 30 4 stars
Seniors 4.5 stars
What it is Educational dark ride through past, present, and future. Scope and scale Headliner. When to go Before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. Special comments If lines are long when you arrive, try again after 4 p.m. Authors’ rating One of Epcot’s best; not to be missed; 4 stars, Duration of ride About 16 minutes. Average wait in line per 100 people ahead of you 3 minutes. Loading speed Fast.
DESCRIPTION AND COMMENTS This ride spirals through the 18-story interior of Epcot’s premier landmark, taking visitors past Audio-Animatronic scenes depicting mankind’s developments in communications, from cave painting to printing to television to space communications and computer networks. The ride shows an amazing use of the geodesic sphere’s interior.
Scenes are periodically redone to keep things fresh. Interactive video screens on the ride vehicles allow you to customize the ride’s ending animated video. A postshow area with games and interactive exhibits rounds out the attraction.
TOURING TIPS Because it’s near Epcot’s main entrance, Spaceship Earth is inundated with arriving guests throughout the morning. If you’re interested in riding Test Track, postpone Spaceship Earth until, say, after 4 p.m. Spaceship Earth loads continuously and quickly. If the line runs only along the right side of the sphere, you’ll board in less than 15 minutes.
|List of Maps||xi|
|Why This Pocket Guide?||1|
|Declaration of Independence||1|
|How This Guide Was Researched and Written||2|
|Walt Disney World: An Overview||2|
|What Walt Disney World Encompasses||2|
|The Major Theme Parks||3|
|Water Theme Parks||4|
|Other Disney World Venues||4|
|Part 1||Planning before You Leave Home||8|
|Walt Disney World on the Web||9|
|Disney World Information by Mail||11|
|Important Disney World Telephone Numbers||12|
|When to Go to Walt Disney World||12|
|Selecting the Time of Year for Your Visit||12|
|Selecting the Day of the Week for Your Visit||13|
|Early Entry: Now you See It, Now You Don't, Now You See It ...||14|
|And Now ... Ta-Da! Our Recommendations||14|
|Part 2||Making the Most of Your Time and Money||17|
|Walt Disney World Admission Options||17|
|Which Admission Should You Buy?||20|
|Where to Buy Your Admission in Advance||21|
|Which Park to See First?||21|
|The Cardinal Rules for Successful Touring||22|
|Touring Plans Explained||24|
|Part 3||Selecting Your Hotel||30|
|The Basic Considerations||30|
|Benefits of Staying in the World||30|
|Staying in or out of the World: Weighing the Pros and Cons||31|
|How to Get Discounts on Lodging at Walt Disney World||32|
|Choosing a Walt Disney World Hotel||36|
|Camping at Walt Disney World||42|
|Hotels outside Walt Disney World||43|
|Selecting and Booking a Hotel outside Walt Disney World||43|
|Getting a Good Deal on a Room outside Walt Disney World||44|
|The Best Hotels for Families outside Walt Disney World||46|
|Hotels and Motels: Rated and Ranked||59|
|How the Hotels Compare||61|
|The Top 30 Best Deals||70|
|Part 4||Walt Disney World with Kids||72|
|Recommendations for Making the Dream Come True||72|
|Disney, Kids, and Scary Stuff||77|
|Switching Off (a.k.a. The Baby Swap)||77|
|Meeting the Disney Characters||78|
|Small-Child Fright Potential Chart||80|
|Character Meal Hit Parade||86|
|Part 5||Special Tips for Special People||90|
|Walt Disney World for Singles||90|
|Walt Disney World for Couples||90|
|Weddings and Honeymoons||90|
|Quiet, Romantic Places to Eat||91|
|Walt Disney World for Seniors||92|
|Walt Disney World for Disabled Guests||93|
|Visitors with Special Needs||94|
|Part 6||Arriving and Getting Around||96|
|Getting to Walt Disney World from the Airport||98|
|Renting a Car||99|
|A Good Map||99|
|How to Travel around the World||100|
|Transportation Trade-Offs for Guests: Lodging outside Walt Disney World||100|
|All You Need to Know about Driving to the Theme Parks||100|
|The Disney Transportation System||102|
|Part 7||Bare Necessities||105|
|Credit Cards and Money||105|
|Problems and Unusual Situations||106|
|Attractions Closed for Repairs||106|
|Lost and Found||106|
|Lockers and Package Pick-up||108|
|Cameras and Film||108|
|Part 8||Dining in Walt Disney World||109|
|Disney Dining 101||109|
|Walt Disney World Restaurant Categories||110|
|Disney Dining Suggestions||112|
|The Magic Kingdom||113|
|Walt Disney World Restaurants: Rated and Ranked||114|
|Walt Disney World Restaurants by Cuisine||115|
|Part 9||The Magic Kingdom||119|
|Starting the Tour||122|
|FASTPASS at the Magic Kingdom||122|
|Main Street, U.S.A.||123|
|Mickey's Toontown Fair||141|
|Live Entertainment in the Magic Kingdom||152|
|Parade Route and Vantage Points||156|
|Magic Kingdom Touring Plans||157|
|Choosing the Appropriate Touring Plan||157|
|The Single-Day Touring Conundrum||159|
|Preliminary Instructions for All Magic Kingdom Touring Plans||160|
|Park Opening Procedures||161|
|Before You Go||161|
|Magic Kingdom Touring Plans||162|
|Magic Kingdom One-Day Touring Plan for Adults||162|
|Author's Selective Magic Kingdom One-Day Touring Plan for Adults||164|
|Magic Kingdom One-Day Touring Plan for Parents with Young Children||166|
|Magic Kingdom Dumbo-or-Die-in-a-Day Touring Plan for Parents with Young Children||169|
|Magic Kingdom Two-Day Touring Plan||171|
|Live Entertainment in Epcot||198|
|The Best Ways to See IllumiNations||200|
|Epcot Touring Plans||204|
|Preliminary Instructions for All Epcot Touring Plans||204|
|Epcot One-Day Touring Plan||205|
|Author's Selective Epcot One-Day Touring Plan||207|
|Epcot Two-Day Sunrise/Starlight Touring Plan||209|
|Epcot Two-Day Early Riser Touring Plan||211|
|Part 11||The Animal Kingdom||215|
|When to Go||219|
|Live Entertainment in the Animal Kingdom||237|
|Animal Kingdom Touring Plan||238|
|Animal Kingdom One-Day Touring Plan||238|
|Part 12||Disney-MGM Studios||241|
|Live Entertainment at Disney-MGM Studios||261|
|Disney-MGM Studios Touring Plan||263|
|Disney-MGM Studios One-Day Touring Plan||264|
|Part 13||The Water Theme Parks||266|
|When to Go||267|
|Part 14||Beyond the Parks||269|
|Downtown Disney Marketplace||269|
|Disney's West Side||270|
|Disney's Wide World of Sports||271|
|The Disney Wilderness Preserve||271|
|Walt Disney World Speedway||272|
|Walt Disney World Recreation||272|
|Walt Disney World Golf||273|
|Part 15||Nightlife in Walt Disney World||275|
|Walt Disney World at Night||275|
|In the Theme Parks||275|
|At the Hotels||275|
|At Fort Wilderness Campground||276|
|At Disney's BoardWalk||276|
|At Downtown Disney||276|
|Walt Disney World Dinner Theaters||278|
Walt Disney World for Singles
Walt Disney World is great for singles. It is safe, clean, and low-pressure. If you're looking for a place to relax without being hit on, Disney World is perfect. Bars, lounges, and nightclubs are the most laid-back and friendly you're likely to find anywhere. In many, you can hang out and not even be asked to buy a drink (or asked to let someone buy a drink for you). Parking lots are well lighted and constantly patrolled. For women alone, safety and comfort are unsurpassed.
There's also no need to while away the evening hours alone in your hotel room. Between the BoardWalk and Downtown Disney, nightlife options abound. Virtually every type of entertainment performed fully clothed is available at an amazingly reasonable price at a Disney nightspot. If you drink more than you should and are a Disney resort guest, Disney buses will return you safely to your hotel.
Walt Disney World for Couples
Weddings and Honeymoons
Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons department offers a range of wedding venues, services, and honeymoon packages (adaptations of the regular Walt Disney Travel Company vacations). No special rooms or honeymoon suites are included unless you upgrade. In fact, the only honeymoon features are room service (in onepackage) and a photo session and keepsake album (in two others). Package rates range from $1,800-$4,200. Call the wedding coordinator at (407) 828-3400 or (877) 566-0969 or visit disneywedding.com for more information.
You don't have to buy a honeymoon package to enjoy a romantic interlude, but not all Disney hotels are equally romantic. Some are too family oriented; others swarm with convention-goers. We recommend these Disney lodgings for romantics:
* Animal Kingdom Lodge
* Polynesian Resort
* Wilderness Lodge and Villas
* Grand Floridian Beach Resort
* BoardWalk Inn and Villas
* Yacht and Beach Club Resorts
All of these properties are expensive. There are also secluded rooms in Alligator Bayou section of Port Orleans Riverside.
Quiet, Romantic Places to Eat
Quiet, romantic restaurants with good food are rare in the theme parks. Only the Coral Reef, the terrace at the Rose and Crown, and the San Angel Inn at Epcot satisfy both requirements. Waterfront dining is available at Portobello Yacht Club and Fulton's Crab House at Pleasure Island, and Narcoossee's at the Grand Floridian.
The California Grill atop the Contemporary Resort has the best view at Walt Disney World. If window tables aren't available, ask to be served in the adjoining lounge. Victoria & Albert's at the Grand Floridian is the World's showcase gourmet restaurant; expect to pay big bucks. Other good choices for couples include Shula's Steakhouse at the Swan, Jiko at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Spoodles and The Flying Fish Café at the BoardWalk.
Eating later in the evening and choosing among the restaurants we've mentioned will improve your chances for quiet, intimate dining, but children-well-behaved or otherwise-are everywhere at Walt Disney World, and you won't escape them.
Walt Disney World for Seniors
Most seniors we interview enjoy Disney World much more when they tour with folks their own age. If, however, you're considering going to Disney World with your grandchildren, we recommend an orientation visit without them first. If you know first-hand what to expect, it's much easier to establish limits, maintain control, and set a comfortable pace when you visit with the youngsters.
If you're determined to take the grandkids, read carefully those sections of this book that discuss family touring. Because seniors are a varied and willing lot, there aren't any attractions we would suggest they avoid. For seniors, as with other Disney visitors, personal taste is more important than age. We hate to see mature visitors pass an exceptional attraction like Splash Mountain because younger visitors call it a "thrill ride." A full-blown adventue, Splash Mountain gets its appeal more from music and visual effects than from the thrill of the ride. Because you must choose among attractions that might interest you, we provide facts to help you make informed decisions.
Many seniors like to walk, but a seven-hour visit to one of the theme parks normally includes four to eight miles on foot. If you aren't up for that much hiking, let a more athletic member of your party push you in a rented wheelchair. The theme parks also offer fun-to-drive electric carts (convenience vehicles). Your wheelchair-rental deposit slip is good for a replacement wheelchair in any park during the same day. You can rent a chair at the Magic Kingdom in the morning, return it, go to Epcot, present your deposit slip, and get another chair at no additional charge.
If you can afford it, stay in Walt Disney World. If you're concerned about the quality of your accommodations or the availability of transportation, staying inside the Disney complex will ease your mind. The rooms are some of the nicest in the Orlando area and are always clean and well maintained. Plus, transportation is always available to any destination in Disney World at no additional cost.
Disney hotels reserve rooms closer to restaurants and transportation for guests of any age who can't tolerate much walking. They also provide golf carts to pick up from and deliver guests to their rooms. Cart service can vary dramatically depending on the time of day and the number of guests requesting service. At check-in time (around 3 p.m.), for example, the wait for a ride can be as long as 40 minutes.
The Contemporary Resort is a good choice for seniors who want to be on the monorail system. So are the Grand Floridian and Polynesian Resorts, though both sprawl over many acres, necessitating a lot of walking. For a restful, rustic feeling, choose the Wilderness Lodge and Villas. If you want a kitchen and all the comforts of home, book Old Key West Resort, the Beach Club Villas, or BoardWalk Villas. If you enjoy watching birds and animals, try Animal Kingdom Lodge.
RVers will find pleasant surroundings at Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground. There are also several KOA campgrounds within 20 minutes of Disney World. None offer the wilderness setting or amenities that Disney does, but they cost less.
Eat breakfast at your hotel restaurant or save money by having juice and rolls in your room. Although you aren't allowed to bring food into the parks, fruit, fruit juice, and soft drinks are sold throughout Disney World. Make your lunch priority seating for before noon to avoid the lunch crowds. Follow with an early dinner and be out of the restaurants, rested and ready for evening touring and fireworks, long before the main crowd begins to think about dinner. We recommend seniors fit dining and rest times into the day. Plan lunch as your break in the day. Sit back, relax, and enjoy. Then return to your hotel for a nap.
Walt Disney World for Disabled Guests
Valuable information for trip planning is available at the website disneyworld.com. At Walt Disney World, each of the major theme parks offers a free booklet describing disabled services and facilities at that park. The Disney people are somewhat resistant to mailing you the theme-park booklets in advance, but if you are polite and persistent they can usually be persuaded. The same information can be found on the website. Type "Guest Disabilities FAQ" in the search tool and browse through the results.
For specific requests, including specialized accommodations at the resort hotels or on the Disney Transportation System, call (407) 939-7807 [voice] or (407) 939-7670 [TTY]. When the recorded menu comes up, touch "1" on your Touch-Tone phone. Calls to this number should be strictly limited to questions and requests regarding disabled services and accommodations. Other questions should be addressed to (407) 824-4321.
Visitors with Special Needs
Wholly or Partially Nonambulatory Guests may easily rent wheelchairs. Most rides, shows, attractions, rest rooms, and restaurants in the World accommodate the nonambulatory disabled. If you're in a theme park and need assistance, go to Guest Relations. A limited number of electric carts (motorized convenience vehicles) are available for rent. Easy and fun to drive, they give nonambulatory guests a tremendous degree of freedom and mobility.
Close-in parking is available for disabled visitors at all Disney lots. Request directions when you pay your parking fee. All monorails and most rides, shows, rest rooms, and restaurants accommodate wheelchairs.
An information booklet for disabled guests is available at wheelchair rental locations in each park. Theme-park maps issued to each guest on admission are symbol-coded to show nonambulatory guests which attractions accommodate wheelchairs.
Even if an attraction doesn't accommodate wheelchairs, nonambulatory guests still may ride if they can transfer from their wheelchair to the ride's vehicle. Disney staff, however, aren't trained or permitted to assist in transfers. Guests must be able to board the ride unassisted or have a member of their party assist them. Either way, members of the nonambulatory guest's party will be permitted to go along on the ride.
Because waiting areas of most attractions won't accommodate wheelchairs, nonambulatory guests and their party should request boarding instructions from a Disney attendant as soon as they arrive at an attraction. Almost always, the entire group will be allowed to board without a lengthy wait.
Visitors with Dietary Restrictions can be assisted at Guest Relations in the theme parks. For Walt Disney World restaurants outside the theme parks, call the restaurant a day in advance for assistance.
Sight- and/or Hearing-Impaired Guests Guest Relations at the theme parks provides complimentary tape cassettes and portable tape players to assist sight-impaired guests ($25 refundable deposit required). At the same locations, TDDs are available for hearing-impaired guests. In addition to TDDs, many pay phones in the major parks are equipped with amplifying headsets. See your Disney map for locations.
In addition, braille guide maps are available from Guest Relations at all theme parks. Closed captioning is provided on some rides, while many theater attractions provide reflective captioning. Walt Disney World will provide an interpreter for the live theater shows. To reserve an interpreter, call (407) 824-4321 (voice) or (407) 939-8255 (TTY).
Non-Apparent Disabilities We receive many letters form readers whose traveling companion or child requires special assistance, but who, unlike a individual on crutches or in a wheelchair, is not visibly disabled. Some conditions, autism for example, make it very difficult or even impossible to wait in lines for more than a few minutes, or in queues surrounded by a large number of people.
One of the first things to do is obtain a letter from the disabled party's primary physician that explains the specific condition and any special needs the condition implies. The doctor's letter should be explicit enough to fully convey the nature of the condition to the Disney cast member reading the letter. Bring your doctor's note to the Guest Relations window at any Disney theme park and ask for a Guest Assistance Card. The Guest Assistance Card is a special pass designed to allow the disabled individual and his touring companions to wait in a separate, uncrowded holding area, apart from the regular queues at most attractions. One card is good for all four parks, so you do not need to obtain separate cards at each park. You should also pick up a copy of each park's Guidebook for Guests with Disabilities (also available online at disneyworld.com).
Excerpted from Mini Mickey by Bob Sehlinger Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted April 6, 2009
This is an extensively researched "how-to" guide for visiting the Disney, with a helpful advice on every single aspect of the expedition. We used it this year for our first visit and did not have any single glitch or problem ( believe it or not, we did not have to wait in a single line during that week). Extremely useful.
I grade the books as Buy and Keep (BK), Read Library book and Return ( RLR) and Once I Put it Down I Couldn't Pick it Up ( OIPD-ICPU). This one is RLR ( read it as you plan your visit, and then take it again with you to Orlando).
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Posted March 28, 2013
Posted April 24, 2010
This is a very handy, very useful guide. There are definitely enough tips here to make it worth the purchase price. It is the mini guide so one can't expect all the info & maps a bigger guide would have but it is MUCH lighter in the backpack!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 15, 2010
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