Hi! I'm Anita!
Help! I'm still confused about this Birthday Celebration stuff! Can you explain about the special Fastpasses? Do I have to stay somewhere special? Do I need proof of my date of birth? Are there restrictions as to who can get the gifts? Is there a Birthday will call window at Epcot's International Gateway? Will any other special occasions be celebrated with gifts?
This week, questions regarding the birthday celebration perks continued to outpace Dining Plan questions in my mailbox, which is a fairly significant occurrence! There seems to be much confusion around what the perks are, who can get them, and when they can get and use them, so I'll attempt to address the newest questions that have rolled in since last week's Birthday Fun Card answers.
Q. Do I have to stay at an official Disney hotel in order to get my free birthday ticket or can I stay in another hotel?
A. Birthday celebrants are not required to stay at a Disney resort. The promotion is open to anyone but cast members, their families, and employees of sponsors and their families. In addition, the promotion is open to anyone regardless of U.S. residency; in other words, it doesn't matter where you're from. For more information about eligibility, please read the official rules on Disneyparks.com.
Q. Do we need proof of date of birth to be eligible for the promotion? Do we need to bring a birth certificate or something like that with us?
A. Yes, you will need to bring valid proof of birthdate for anyone age 3 or over who is celebrating a birthday at the World. Acceptable forms of identification include an original or certified copy of a birth certificate, valid driver's license with photo, valid passport, and government or state issued photo ID. It's also a good idea to pre-register on Disneyparks.com, and print out and bring the acknowledgement so that you won't have to fill in all of that information at the Guest Relations window. You must be 18 to register online, so an adult must register any guests 17 and under. Guests under 3 are not eligible to receive any of the gifts.
Q. We are considering the Birthday Fastpass option. I've heard there are restrictions on the Birthday Fastpass, in addition to making sure you get them early in the day. Can you outline how the Birthday Fastpass works?
A. As you mentioned, the Birthday Fastpass gift should be obtained early on the day of your birthday, as supplies will be limited. Originally announced as a "badge," it turns out it isn't a badge at all, but a card with a magnetic strip (not unlike your park pass) that is inserted into the Fastpass machines. The Birthday Fastpass exchange card has a picture of Donald and Daisy on it, which will be explained below. The machine will produce a Fastpass that is active immediately, and is good for the celebrant and up to five other people in the celebrant's party. The Birthday Fastpass Exchange Card is valid for four select attractions in the park in which it was obtained, on the day it was obtained. The celebrant may only receive one Birthday Fastpass Exchange Card valid for one park on the celebrant's birthday.
Information on which attractions the BFEC can be used for and how many times it can be used on the same attraction seems to be very much in flux at the moment and appears to be interpreted differently by each park. Keep in mind the information below can differ from what you may actually experience in the parks. Hopefully, this will all shake out soon and everyone will be on the same policy page. That said, here's how I understand it:
The specified attractions to choose from are divided into two lists: Donald and Daisy (basically, E ticket and D/C ticket attractions). The celebrant may select two attractions from each list and may only get one Fastpass for each attraction chosen. The Fastpass is valid immediately and is good for up to six people. As this is a new program, some guests have reported being able to choose all four from one list, and also report getting more than one Fastpass for the same attraction. As I said, it's all in flux right now, apparently, so be prepared to go with whatever the policy is on the day you redeem your Fastpass Exchange Card. In addition, it is my understanding that the BFEC will work in designated Fastpass machines even after all other Fastpasses for that attraction have been distributed for the day. This would be a handy perk for extremely popular attractions like Soarin' or Toy Story Midway Mania, where Fastpasses are often gone early in the day. Here's the list of attractions, keeping in mind they are always subject to change:
Magic Kingdom BFEC attractions:
Disney's Hollywood Studios attractions:
Animal Kingdom attractions:
A. Yes there is; however it's located at the Ticket Window and not at the Guest Relations Window, so be careful not to stand in the wrong line. The Ticket Window at the International Gateway is equipped to distribute any of the special Birthday Celebration gifts.
Q. Will there be gifts given away for any other celebrations such as graduations or anniversaries?
A. No, not at this time. Only birthdays are being celebrated with the free gifts.
I was curious about why there was no Christmas tree by the train station in the Magic Kingdom this year? We were there the first week of December. Thanks.
There was a Christmas tree in Town Square this past year, but unfortunately, you were there too early to see it. The Magic Kingdom's tree was delayed until after the Walt Disney World Christmas Parade taping on the weekend of December 5, 2008. The Christmas tree was then placed in its usual spot on Town Square early the following week.
Until this past year, the tree had been placed near the Rose Garden until after the parade taping (so as not to block the cameras' view down Main Street) and then was moved to Town Square and reassembled when taping was completed. This year, it seems they decided to only put the tree up once in the Magic Kingdom instead of twice.
Hi Anita. I have to start with how enjoyable it is just reading your column, like your recent queso fundido answer. It was great that you not only gave an entire recipe and added your own notes, but the best part was your "digression." Really great writing.
To my question: My partner and I attended the most recent Epcot Wine and Food Festival and loved it. (Yes, I know I have it reversed but we all have our priorities!) This was our first - I don't know what took us so long! Two of our favorite activities at our favorite place! We'd love to go again this year but need to know when it is, so we can make plans as early as possible. Looking at past festivals it seems to go from the last weekend in September to the first weekend in November. Do you know if that will be the case again or do you know when they will announce the dates?
Thanks so much and we look forward to more "digressions!"
Thank you for the kind compliments. Most of my friends and family glaze over and fall into a catatonic state when I start my digressions, long-winded stories and instructions on how to build a clock when they ask me what time it is. I'm glad to hear that someone else enjoys hearing my ramblings as much as I enjoy writing them down, so thanks! Anyway, before I digress anymore than I already have, I'd better get to your answer:
The dates for the 14th International Food and Wine Festival have been tentatively set for September 25, 2009, to November 8, 2009. No formal public announcement has yet been made by the Walt Disney Company, and no other details are known at this time. Be sure to watch AllEars.net for any new information as it develops. For a general idea of what to expect this year, you can read about 2008 Festival activities here.
Have fun planning your trip to the World, and thanks for reading my column!
You probably get this question all the time, but what's the status of the Germany pavilion in Epcot? I've been to Walt Disney World 15 times and this is the only thing about Epcot I don't understand. Will they ever actually open it? Thanks.
I assume you're asking about the proposed ride inside the pavilion that was never opened, and not the Germany pavilion itself, which of course opened with the rest of the park on October 1, 1982.
Early on, before EPCOT Center opened, a plan was on the Imagineering drawing boards for a boat ride called "Rhine River Cruise." The ride would have taken guests past miniature recreations and scenes of the German countryside. Due to lack of funds (isn't it always?) the ride was cut from the pavilion construction plans in 1981. The ride entrance area and what would have housed the queue were built, but the ride building itself never was. Sharp eyed visitors can spot where the ride entrance would have been to the rear of the Sommerfest counter service restaurant. The area is now closed off and the entrance is covered with a mural, and is used for storage.
The Rhine River Cruise is just one of the many pavilions, attractions and shows that were planned but never built in World Showcase. Will anything new ever be built? As Imagineering is fond of saying, "No good ideas ever really die," but with today's economic climate, I wouldn't count on anything to appear in the near future.
Trivia Question: Which of the four Hapsburg emperors was left off the facade of Das Kaufhaus shop in the Germany pavilion? The answer will be revealed next week!
When did Walt Disney World tickets stop automatically having no expiration for unused days and start having an additional charge for that feature?
As you wrote, it used to be that any unused days remaining on multi-day passes were good forever. When Disney changed to the current "Magic Your Way" ticketing program and customizable tickets were introduced on January 2 of 2005, that changed.
Instead of a "one size fits all" ticket, guests must now buy a Base Ticket and pay extra for the non-expiring feature on their passes, as well as for other options like park hopping. For instance, currently it costs an extra $50 to add the non-expiring option to a $219.00 4-day base ticket or an additional $70 for a $222.00 5-day base ticket. (All prices subject to change.) Adding park hopping or water parks admission, for example, would incur additional charges. With the MYW tickets, guests can customize their park admissions to suit their budgetary and travel needs by choosing and paying for exactly the features they plan to use.
You can read more about WDW ticketing options on AllEars.net's Ticket FAQ.
Hello Anita! I love reading your column every week! Thank you for all of the great information!
Here is my question. We have a trip planned for the end of May 2009 at the Caribbean Beach Resort. This is our first visit to this resort and we have a standard view pirate room reserved. I have received different information on the whereabouts of these rooms from different cast members at the resort. I have been told that they are only located in the Trinidad South building, but also that they are spread equally throughout the different areas of the resort. I know if anyone can get the scoop it is you! Thanks so much!
All 384 of the new pirate-themed rooms are located in the Trinidad South buildings. Although Trinidad South is the least-conveniently located "village" at the Caribbean Beach Resort (farthest from the Old Port Royale pirate-themed pool and the food court), the new pirate-themed rooms are now among the most expensive rooms at the resort. In my opinion, this was an "arrrrrrguably" clever way to generate new interest in an area of the resort that was formerly a less popular location.
Have a wonderful time at the World!
That's it for this edition!
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