Hi! I'm Anita!
We have read that the parks are a lot busier on days they have Extra Magic Hours (EMH). We are trying to plan our trip and we are staying onsite at Walt Disney World. What do you suggest would be the best for us to do in regards to EMH -- go to the park that has EMH that day or avoid that park? Would the answer to this question change if you purchase the park hopper option?
Yes, the answer does change depending on whether you have park hopping privileges, you clever girl! I see you've been doing your homework, and it makes me so happy when readers do that. Now, where was I? Oh yes, Extra Magic Hour.
Morning Extra Magic Hour:
Evening Extra Magic Hour:
Have a magical time on your vacation!
First let me say thank you so much for the wonderful wealth of knowledge you provide. I am so nervous about our first trip to Walt Disney World and your answers have been so helpful.
Everyone says bring a backpack, diaper bag, etc. to carry all the things you will need throughout the day, and we will have children in strollers. My question is, when you get on a ride, are there "safe places" to leave these backpacks and strollers? What do people typically do with their backpacks and such when on a ride?
I'm not one of those "everyones" who says to bring bags, boxes, bins and backpacks into the parks. I'm just the opposite, because, as I tell every first time visitor, the less you drag with you, the better. Now, it's understandable if you have small children with you, you'll want to pack some extra clothing, sunscreen, diapers, wipes or maybe some snacks, but what else do you actually need to bring with you? Try to stick with the bare minimum in a small totebag or drawstring backpack and you'll find yourself much happier in the long run. Here's why:
-- If you choose to bring a big bag or backpack, the first problem you'll encounter is at the bag security checkpoints outside the parks. You'll be asked to unzip every pocket, and each area of the bag will be searched. That's a few minutes of park time you could be enjoying. The more stuff you're hauling with you, the longer it takes. If everyone would pare down to only what they really need, those lines would move much more quickly -- I'm just sayin'... By the way, if the bag you're carrying is too large or violates policy, you may be asked to take it back to your car or hotel. That would not be good use of your vacation time, right?
-- Whatever you drag in, you have to drag back out, usually with some purchases added in by the end of the day. I don't know about you, but the thought of schlepping a heavy bag around after a day in the parks isn't very appealing to me.
-- A big backpack or bag will not only be tiring for you to carry all day, it gets in the way of other guests. It's not a good way to make friends, if you know what I mean.
-- As you suspected, there's nowhere to put it while you're on the rides. You'll either have to carry it through the queue and onto the ride, or leave it in your stroller. You can rent a locker and leave it there, but that defeats the purpose of bringing it into the park in the first place. Solution? Leave it at your hotel and travel light.
-- If you leave a bag in the stroller it could get stolen, and sometimes unattended bags are treated as security risks. There's nothing quite like getting off a ride to find a K9 unit sniffing around in your belongings, is there? If you can't easily carry it onto the ride, leave it at the hotel.
-- Say you've pared it down to the bare essentials but it's still a lot of stuff. Divide it between two smaller bags and have someone else carry the other one. Remember what I said though -- the more you carry, the longer it takes to get through Security.
-- Did I mention you should leave everything but the essentials in your room and travel light?
I could go on all day about why it's better to carry less to the parks, but you get the idea. Now let's talk a little more about security and personal safety, which I already touched on above. At the World, it's very easy to get the warm, cozy feeling of being away from the real world causing you to let your guard down. The truth is that criminals can be found everywhere you travel. This is not to say that WDW is a hotbed of criminal activity, because it most certainly isn't. Disney security does a great job and as vacation resorts go, it's pretty darned safe. Unfortunately things can still be stolen if left unattended. It's extremely unlikely you'll be a victim of any sort of crime at the World, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea to let down your defenses, does it? Would you leave a backpack unattended at the mall, for instance? Would you leave your car unlocked in the parking lot? Of course you wouldn't, and you should follow those same rules at the World just like you would at home. Keep this in mind when you consider leaving something unattended in your stroller in the parks, okay?
For more information about what to take to the parks with you, please read AllEars.net's What to Tote Around the Parks pages.
Lecture over. Have a safe, happy and unencumbered trip to the World!
Hi Anita. I love your hard work. It keeps us informed on all the new and old that we didn't know in anticipation of our upcoming trips.
My question is about the IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks show in Epcot. How do they get the giant barges, especially the one with the rotating earth on it, into the World Showcase Lagoon? I've walked all around the lagoon several times and I can't figure it out. Does one of the bridges open up, and in classic Disney fashion, do they hide this so you cannot find it? It's been puzzling our minds for a couple of years now. Thanks a bunch, Anita!
As you suspected, the answer is hidden in plain sight. Next time you're in Epcot's World Showcase, take a closer look at the bridge between the China Pavilion and the Outpost, and note the canal that runs between the two toward the backstage area. The bridge lifts and if you're lucky enough (or unlucky enough if you're in a big hurry!) you can see it happen every afternoon as the barges are brought into the lagoon. If you happen to be in World Showcase long enough after the park closes, you'll see them all go backstage again to be set up for the next night's show. Note that this can be difficult to do as the park is usually "swept" of guests before that time, but it's not impossible if you're patient enough and the circumstances are right.
I read the info on strollers on AllEars.net, but didn't see this specific item: Are strollers permitted in the lines for attractions? We had read in an older guide book that they were not. We understand that you can't take them ON the rides, but can you use them up until you get on?
The old guidebook is still correct. In general, strollers are not allowed in ride queues. There is one exception: The queue for Kilimanjaro Safaris in Animal Kingdom will allow strollers part way through the queue, but you must surrender it a designated point along the route. Cast members will take your stroller from there and park it in an area located near the ride's exit where you can pick it up again as you come out. At all other rides and attractions, you must park your stroller in the closest stroller parking area. Certain walk-through attractions may also allow strollers, so be sure to ask the cast member at the entrance.
For more information and tips about strollers at the World, please read AllEars.net's Stroller FAQ.
We just had our first visit to Walt Disney World. We loved it! One thing that doesn't really come across very well on the maps is how huge the whole property really is. Can you tell me what the size of the whole Florida property is, and what is that in comparison to a U.S. city so I can really understand the size? Thanks.
It's very common for first time visitors to be shocked and sometimes overwhelmed with the size of the Walt Disney World Resort. In actuality, the resort only covers part of the property, which is encompassed by the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID), the government body that oversees infrastructure, utilities, tax collection, etc.
OK, you asked for it, so here comes the really dry stuff:
RCID is currently approximately 25,000 acres or 38.6 square miles. Until recently, when some parcels of land were divested, it was larger (about 47 square miles at its peak). For comparison sake, the city of Ocala, Florida is about the same size as RCID. The city of Orlando is larger at about 68 square miles. Speaking of cities, there are two cities in RCID: Lake Buena Vista and Bay Lake.
More dry stuff:
Of the 25,000 acres, about 18,800 are in Orange County and 6200 are in Osceola County. 2118 acres are owned by RCID, 450 by the State of Florida, and the balance is owned by the Walt Disney Company and its subsidiaries. More than 2/3 of the property remains undeveloped, including about 12,000 acres devoted to the gorgeous Disney Wilderness Preserve. (www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/florida/preserves/art5523.html)
Now I hear many of you asking, "So where do the parks fit in all of this?" Well, since you asked:
The Magic Kingdom is approximately 107 acres, Epcot is 300 acres, the Studios is 154 acres and Animal Kingdom is 500 acres. By the way, the Magic Kingdom's parking lot, at 125 acres, is larger than the park!
OK, that's enough math for this week. My brain is beginning to hurt!
We recently visited the Magic Kingdom and went into Monsters, Inc. I remembered going into that same building in 1989 or 1990 to see a Circle-Vision 360 film, but I can't remember the name of it. Something about America, perhaps? Thanks for all your great informative answers.
The correct answer is probably American Journeys, because it fits the dates you supplied.
There have actually been several Circle-Vision 360 films inside that theatre:
Trivia Question: What is the actual title of The Timekeeper's Circle-Vision 360 film?
Which well-known Disney Animator/Director/Producer/Writer provided the voice of the Hypothalamus in the Wonders of Life attraction Cranium Command?
Lots of right answers this week! Eight Disney Geeks of the Week (ten if you count my friends Mickey and Donald,) had the correct answer, which is of course, the multi-talented Kirk Wise. Highlights of Wise's considerable body of work include directing Disney animated films Beauty and the Beast, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Animation credits include Oliver and Company and the Great Mouse Detective. He served as executive producer of Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, and as a writer on Atlantis, Oliver and the Lion King. Busy guy!
The Disney Geek of the Week salute goes to readers Catherine, Ken, Kevin, Denise, Glory, Leslie, Randy and George (and Mickey and Donald, of course!). Thanks, everyone!
That's it for this edition!
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