Hi! I'm Anita!
April 20, 2009
for a Change
As some of you know, I've been enjoying myself writing this column for almost six years now. Over those years, it's undergone a few changes, and it's about to undergo another one. Things have been crazy for me lately, and the next few months are shaping up to be Completely Nutz for me and my family. A few things in the works include my annual Mother's Day trip to the World, Minnie Answer's high school graduation and first semester of college, a two week trip to Europe, and some exciting projects that have to do with my regular day job. The trivia part of the column has literally taken on a life of its own, and takes a lot of additional time and attention. All of this has caused a huge problem for me, time-wise. In short, there's just not enough of it to get everything done. So, what to do?
I recently had a chat with Deb about my options. I could let the laundry, dustbunnies and dishes pile up to the sky and continue on as I have always done. (Not a good option, tempting as it is.) I could stop writing the column entirely. (Also not a good option, right?) I could write the column monthly. I could write it bi-weekly. I could take a leave of absence. I could get someone else to write it. Many options, but none of them great.
Obviously, some sort of compromise was called for, so here's what I've come up with. I will continue to write the column weekly, although it will be abbreviated to only four questions, and some weeks only three. You may see more repeat columns depending on where I am in the world at that time. The trivia questions will continue because you all seem to enjoy them, and there will be an occasional WDTHTDWD as well. I've had to give up the blog entirely -- I just can't do everything and still expect to do it well. I've chosen quality over quantity and I hope you'll all understand and won't be too disappointed with the changes.
Hi, Anita. We had a great WDW trip in December and used many suggestions from your column and AllEars readers to help navigate the parks and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. Thank you much!
My question is about the new Bay Lake Tower. We are kicking around the idea of becoming Disney Vacation Club members, but we can't decide where to buy. I like the new tower but we were wondering about the fireworks viewing area. In the description of the amenities it says something about use being of limited availability and usage guidelines applying. That has a bad sound to me. Can you translate?
You're very welcome! We on the AllEars team are always happy when we help make someone's vacation wonderful. It's what we do!
First, you didn't really ask the question, but I'm going to give you the same bit of advice I give to all potential Disney Vacation Club members before they buy at a particular property: Buy where you want to stay. It sounds simple on the surface, but it's more complicated than it seems. If you buy where you plan on staying, you'll be able to book there 11 months prior to your visit. If you buy elsewhere, you won't be able to book at other DVC resorts until seven months prior to your arrival date. If you want to stay at the more popular resorts, those four months can make a huge difference in availability, especially during peak travel times like holidays.
Now, on to your question about the Bay Lake Tower fireworks viewing deck. What this scary-sounding legal language essentially means is that the deck is limited to a certain number of guests, and those guests must be staying at Bay Lake Tower. If the deck reaches its capacity, you will not be allowed onto the deck, so plan accordingly and get there early. It also means that the resort can close the deck for whatever reason they choose (such as inclement weather or maintenance, for instance) and you will have no recourse for compensation for it being unavailable to you. Further, it means that guests on the deck must adhere to certain rules of behavior, and if a Cast Member deems anyone to be in violation of the rules, the guest can be asked to leave the area. None of these rules and regs is out of the ordinary for such a venue, so I wouldn't make too much of it when making the decision to buy at the resort. It's a wonderful location, and the views are spectacular.
The construction of the original three buildings built in 1971(of which only two remain) at the Contemporary Resort share something in common with the original longhouses at the Polynesian Resort. What is it that they share? For bonus Disney Geek Points, what was the Contemporary's name originally supposed to be, and what was the Poly's original name when it opened? Answers in next week's column!
Guests at WDW can get a second Fastpass after their "appointment" time for the first one starts, or at the time indicated on the bottom of the first Fastpass.
Can the second one be for the same attraction? Example: I have a Fastpass for Peter Pan's Flight valid between 11 a.m. and noon. Is it possible to arrive at the ride at 11:20, get another Fastpass for Peter Pan, and then get on Peter Pan (sometime before noon) using the first Fastpass?
Thanks, Anita. I hope you are enjoying your spring vacation.
I enjoyed my spring vacation time with my family very much, thank you!
Now for your question: The answers are "Yes" and "Sort of..."
I'm mostly kidding, but basically the answers are real. You may get a Fastpass (FP) for any attraction you choose, including the one you just had a FP for, as long as they are still being distributed for that attraction. The "sort of..." part comes into play because by the time your second FP window opens, chances are that the return times on your next FP will already be several hours later, particularly on very popular rides. In other words, if you want to get another FP for Peter Pan, your return time may not be until late afternoon or early evening, depending on how busy the park is that day, so it's unlikely you could get right back on the ride. You can read more about how Fastpass works here.
Have fun planning a great vacation!
Anita, I have been reading your column every Monday for the last three years - it is a joy and a pleasure. I am hoping you can help me with something that pertains not to the World, but to Disneyland. I know that years and years ago, there was a Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-through that had scenes from the film depicted by Eyvind Earle. I was just wondering when and why that attraction closed? The one thing I hate about the Disney Parks is that they have these beautiful castles as centerpieces, but you can't really do anything in them (unless, of course, you dine at Cinderella's Royal Table at WDW). Please fill me in on why they closed this seemingly-phenomenal attraction.
The original Sleeping Beauty diorama, which opened in 1957, closed in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks. At the time, it was said that it closed because it was a security risk, but it may have also been due to the downturn of tourism in the aftermath when no one was traveling. Either way, you'll be excited to hear that a brand new version of it opened in Sleeping Beauty Castle last November, so you're free to move about the castle and enjoy it once more.
Also, if you're ever at Disneyland Paris, don't miss the wonderful life-size dragon in the caverns below the castle or the beautiful Sleeping Beauty windows and displays on the upper floor.
In the fall I will be going back to Walt Disney World. Although I have been many times in the past, this will be my first trip with my daughter, who will be just over a year old at the time of the trip. My question is what are, if any, the rides or attractions that she would be able to enjoy while at WDW?
The easiest way to answer this question is to turn it around and ask what rides and attractions a toddler cannot enjoy, which is a much shorter list. In general, if a ride or attraction has no height or age restrictions, a small child or baby can participate. The list of height restricted attractions can be found here. Read this list carefully, as there are also a couple of rides with age restrictions, and there are some attractions without restrictions that may be too loud, intense or scary for very small children that you may wish to avoid. Also familiarize yourself with the Rider Switch procedure, where one adult stays with the child while the other rides, then the other adult can ride with minimal wait time. This is generally employed at age/height restricted rides. Inquire at the entrance to find out the procedure for each ride as it varies. Finally, read AllEars.net's Infant and Toddler FAQ for tips on traveling with very small children.
Have a great time at the World!
Martin Short can be found in at least two other current Disney Parks attractions, and at least one other former Disney park attraction. What parks does/did he appear in, and what are the attractions' names?
Martin Short currently appears in the new film at the Canada pavilion in Epcot, as well as CineMagique in the Walt Disney Studios Park at the Disneyland Paris Resort. He used to appear in the former Disney-MGM Studios attraction, the Monster Sound Show.
Our Disney Geek of the Week honor goes to: Brian, Melissa, Allison, Justin, Willie, Chrissy, Jamie, Lynn, Kristin, Jeff C., Jim, Jeff G., Colleen and Ken. Thanks everyone!
That's it for this edition!
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