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DVC's Old Key West Resort
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One in a Million Cruise
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A 'Magic' Time In The Mediterranean
A Wrap-Up From DCL's Inaugural Mediterranean Cruise
DCL: Not Just for Kids!
Spa Villas Review
Laugh Floor Comedy Club
Mickey's PhilharMagic
Fantasyland For Adults
Mission: SPACE
Rock 'n' Roller Coaster
Star Wars Weekends
Animal Kingdom
Expedition EVEREST
Surviving the Parks as First Time Parents
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Planning Park Days
Four Parks in One Day
Touring with Toddlers
A Kid's Perspective
A Teen's Take
Educational Epcot
Flower & Garden Festival
Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
Scary Places (Halloween)
Playing "Millionaire"
Winning "Millionaire"
A Day With Allie
Past Attractions at Magic Kingdom
Meeting Mickey
Disneyland at 50
Future of Disneyland
Beyond the Disney Parks
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Monorail System
California Adventure
Expanding Disney's California Adventure
10 Reasons to Love Disneyland
A WDW Veteran's First Trip to Disneyland
A Disneyland Veteran's First Trip to Walt Disney World
Disneyland Homecoming
Walt Disney World With Pre-Teen Boys
Keys To The Kingdom Backstage Tour
Pirates & Princess Party
WDW with Teens? Absolutely!
Disney Dining Plan
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Dining Plan Revisited
Dining Plan Answers
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Artist Point Review
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Character Dinners
Dine With A Disney Imagineer
Eating Healthy at Disney
Food Allergies
White Water Snacks
MurderWatch Mystery Theatre
Disneyland Dining: Yamabuki
Disneyland Area Dining: Pirate's Dinner Adventure
Party For The Senses
Artist Point
1900 Park Fare Dinner Review
Making Magic
Romance At Disney World
Beating The Post Trip Blues
Discovering the Magic
Magic of Slowing Down
Unexpected Treasures
Wishes Fireworks Cruise
Backstage Tours
Epcot's Segway Tour
Epcot's International Food & Wine Festival
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Taking Great Fireworks Photos
Digital Photo Q & A
Souvenirs on a Budget
Pal Mickey
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Richard Petty Experience
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Adventures by Disney: Wyoming
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Zoos of the World
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New Attractions at Universal Orlando
Seuss Trolley Train Ride at Universal Orlando
Sanibel & Captiva Islands
Universal: For Non-Thrill Seekers?
Madison County, Iowa
The Great Smoky Mountains
Discovery Cove (Orlando)
Busch Gardens Africa: SheiKra Coaster Review
NASCAR AllState 400
Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Niagara Falls, New York
Blue Horizons at SeaWorld Orlando
International Travel:
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Kent, England
Bath, England
Great Britain via Harry Potter
Stockholm, Sweden
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Niagara Falls, Ontario

A Disney Resort Primer (Book Excerpt)

authored by Jennifer and Dave Marx, Authors of PassPorter Travel Guidebooks
updated by Marnie Urmaza, PassPorter Guide

The following text is direct from pages 31-34 of our PassPorter's Walt Disney World guidebook for the convenience of our current readers and for the enjoyment of our future readers.

Resort Locations—The Disney resorts described in the PassPorter's Walt Disney World are all located within minutes of the theme parks. We organize them into four areas: Magic Kingdom, Downtown Disney, Epcot, and Disney's Animal Kingdom (use the flap map on the inside back cover of the guidebook for reference). Each resort's area is identified in its description in the guidebook. You can also use the blue "stamps" at the top of each page of the guidebook to locate all resorts in a particular neighborhood.

Room Locations—Room locations such as a building or room number can be requested, but are not guaranteed. However, if you note your preferences when you make your reservation, via phone about three days before arrival, and again when you check in, there is a good chance you will get the room you want. Resort maps and suggestions are given for each resort in the Staying in Style chapter of the PassPorter Walt Disney World travel guide. If you don’t like a particular room you’ve been assigned after you arrive, do as you would with any hotel and politely ask for another.

Room Occupancy— All resorts have rooms that hold at least four guests, plus one child under 3 in a crib. Port Orleans Riverside (Alligator Bayou section) rooms allow up to five guests with an optional trundle bed, as do many of the deluxe resorts. Fort Wilderness Cabins and All-Star Music Family Suites allow up to six guests. The two-bedroom villas in the Disney Vacation Club resorts allow up to eight guests. There may be an extra charge for more than two adults in a single room.

Amenities—All rooms have the basics: television with remote control, phone, drawers, hanging rod with hangers, small table, chairs, as well as simple toiletries. Additional amenities differ from resort to resort and are detailed in the book as appropriate. Tip: If your resort doesn't offer an in-room coffeemaker or iron/ironing board, try asking housekeeping for one upon arrival.

Check-In Time—Check-in time is 3:00 or 4:00 pm (varies by resort), although rooms are often available earlier if you inquire on your arrival. Even if your room is not available, you can register, leave your luggage, and go play at the parks while your room is being prepared.

Check-Out Time—Check-out time is 11:00 am. If you need to check-out an hour or two later, ask the Front Desk upon check-in. If the resort isn’t busy, they may grant your request at no extra cost. Extended check-out may also be available for an extra fee. You can also leave your bags with Bell Services and go play in the parks.

Childcare—Children’s “clubs” for ages 4-12 are available at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Dolphin and Swan, Yacht and Beach Club, and Wilderness Lodge. Programs are typically available in the afternoons and evenings and have an hourly fee. In-room sitting is also available.

Concierge—All of the deluxe resorts offer concierge services, which give you extra perks like a continental breakfast, afternoon snacks, and planning services. Concierge services are associated with certain rooms (often on the higher floors) and invariably come at a higher rate.

Convention Centers—Several resort hotels at the Walt Disney World Resort are popular among convention-goers due to their excellent facilities, including the BoardWalk, Contemporary, Coronado Springs, Grand Floridian, Swan, Dolphin, and the Yacht & Beach Club. For more details on convention facilities, call 407-828-3200. Business Centers offering complete office environments are available at each of the above resorts.

Data Services (Internet)—All Disney resorts now have high-speed Internet access for $9.95 for a contiguous 24-hour period, and some even have wireless (wi-fi) in select areas of the resorts available at the same rate. If you need technical support, call 407-938-4357. All phones have data ports for dial-up access. Local calls are free. The front desk will also receive your faxes for a fee.

Disabled Access—All resorts offer accommodations and access for differently-abled guests. Inquire when you make your reservations on availability and specifics. For details and reservations, call Disney's Special Requests Department at 407-939-7807 (voice) or 407-939-7670 (TTY). Be sure to ask that "Special Needs" be noted on your reservation. See PassPorter's Open Mouse for Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line for much more extensive information.

Extra Magic Hours—Guests at Disney resorts and the Swan, Dolphin, Shades of Green, and Hilton can enter the parks up to one hour earlier or stay three hours later than everyone else. Disney resort ID is required for entry, along with valid admission. Only certain parks and attractions are open for Extra Magic Hours on any given day, however. The schedule can change from week to week (check for the schedule during your visit).

Extra Magic Hour Attractions
(underlined attractions are open only during evening Extra Magic Hours)--In the Magic Kingdom, this usually includes Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, Big Thunder Mountain, Stitch's Great Escape, Tomorrowland Indy Speedway, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, Magic Carpets of Aladdin, and most of Fantasyland. Epcot opens Soarin', Mission:SPACE, Spaceship Earth, Test Track, Journey Into Imagination, "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience," Living with the Land, Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros, American Adventure, and Maelstrom. Disney's Hollywood Studios opens Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, Star Tours, Muppet*Vision 3-D, The Great Movie Ride, and Voyage of the Little Mermaid. Disney's Animal Kingdom opens Expedition Everest, It's Tough to be a Bug!, Kali River Rapids, Festival of the Lion King, Dinosaur, TriceraTop Spin, Primeval Whirl, The Boneyard, Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, and Kilimanjaro Safaris. Attractions are subject to change.

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Food—Every resort has places to eat, such as food courts, cafÈs, fine dining, and room service. These are detailed in the dining sections of each resort’s information page later in the Staying in Style chapter. Details on the table-service restaurants begin on page 226 of the PassPorter's Walt Disney World travel guide. If you are looking for snack food or groceries, each resort has a store that provides a small selection of food and drinks. No gum is sold on property. Special dietary requests can be made (see page 204).

Housekeeping Services—Almost every resort offers daily "mousekeeping" services and happily provides you with extra towels, pillows, and blankets upon request, as well as a hair dryer, iron, and ironing board. If you require extra toiletries, just ask for them. Note: Disney Vacation Club (DVC) resorts provide reduced housekeeping services to DVC members using points.

Ice and Soda—All resorts have ice machines within easy walking distance. Most, but not all, also have soda machines. The rule seems to be the more plush the resort, the harder it is to find a soda machine. If soda is important, pick some up before you arrive (it is cheaper anyway).

Information—Check the Walt Disney World Resort information channels on your in-room TV. These channels are available at every resort and offers a nice introduction for newcomers, plus a peek at what’s new for veterans. You can touch "0" on any resort phone for more information.

Laundry—Every resort has either coin-operated washers and dryers in a laundry room near the pool expect to pay 8 quarters/load) or a washer and dryer in your room. Tip: Old Key West, The Villas at Wilderness Lodge, and Beach Club Villas offer complimentary self-service laundry facilities (no coins needed). Laundry bags and laundry lists are also available in each room for same-day laundering service (though it is expensive). Tip: Store your dirty laundry in the laundry bags.

Lobby Concierge (formerly Guest Services)—Each resort has a Lobby Concierge desk where you can purchase park passes, make dining reservations, and find answers to just about any question. You can also connect to Lobby Concierge (and other Disney Services) through a button on your in-room phone.

Mail and Packages—Purchase stamps at Lobby Concierge and in many shops; mail can be dropped off at Lobby Concierge or placed in mailboxes. Federal Express also picks up and drops off packages here. A full-service post office is located at the Shoppes at Lake Buena Vista at 12133 Apopka-Vineland Road, about one mile north of the Crossroads Shopping Center.

Merchandise Delivery—Resort guests can have park and Downtown Disney purchases delivered free to their resort, usually by the next afternoon or the day after. Inquire before your purchase is rung up. Your package is delivered to your resort's gift shop for pick-up, not your room. (Includes Swan/Dolphin guests.)

Money—Cash, Disney Dollars and Gift Cards, travelers checks, MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Diner's Club, and JCB are accepted. Personal checks are not accepted on property. ATMs are located near the front desk. Make your room deposit over the phone or fax with the above credit cards or by mail with a credit card or check.

Parking—Secured, free, gated parking is available at all Dsney resorts. The deluxe resorts offer valet parking ($10/day, free to those with handicap parking permit/tags); Swan & Dolphin valet is $16/day. Show your resort ID or confirmation at the security gate--parking is reserved for resort guests and those using a resort's restaurants or recreation.

Pets—Pets are not allowed in the parks or resorts (except for a few campsites at Fort Wilderness) unless you travel with a companion (servie) anmal. Kennel fees are $6/day or $9/night per animal for Disney resort hotel guests ($11 per night for non-Disney resort hotel guests). Although the kennels are designed primarily for dogs and cats, they can also accommodate birds, ferrets, small rodents, rabbits, and non-venomous snacks. Pets in kennels must be walked two to three times per day by their owners.

Pools—Every Disney resort has at least one swimming pool. Hours of operation vary, but usually the “theme” pools close in the evenings while the “quiet” pools may stay open all night. Only guests staying at the resort can use it’s pool, though some resorts share pools and Disney Vacation Club members using their points have access to all but Stormalong Bay (Yacht & Beach Club) and the pool at Animal Kingdom Lodge (unless they are staying there.)

Preferred Rooms—Disney's value and moderate resorts offer preferred rooms with better locations and higher rates.

Recreation—Every resort has something to do, with many offering a wide variety of outdoor activities. Remember, even if your resort doesn’t offer what you’re looking for, you can visit another resort to use its recreational facilities (with the exception of swimming pools). Be sure to note the recreational hours upon arrival or by phoning ahead.

Refillable Mugs—Most resorts sell thermal mugs that can be refilled for free or at a reduced rate at your resort for the duration of your stay. If you drink a lot of soda, tea, coffee, or hot chocolate, these are a blessing—and they make fun souvenirs to take home. Mugs are about $12 and can generally be refilled on your own at a resort's food court or snack shop. In 2007, the resort-specific mugs changed to a general design available at all resorts. Neither milk nor juice is a refill option unless it appears on the soda fountain.

p>Refrigerators—In-room refrigerators are provided at no charge in Disney's delulxe and moderate resorts. You may request a refrigerator for $10/night fee at the value resorts.

Room Service—The deluxe resorts and some of the moderate resorts offer room service. Most resorts offer a pizza delivery service in the afternoon and evenings.

Security—Security at Disney has always been good, and since 9/11 security has visibly heightened. A gatehouse guards entry into every resort. If you arrive by car, plan to show your resort ID and photo ID and explain that you are checking in, dining, or using the resort's recreational facilities. All resorts have electronic locks which open with your resort ID, or a punched plastic key for added security. In addition, you can store small valuables in your in-room safe (most, though not all, rooms have them) or with the Front Desk.

Smoking—All Disney resort guest rooms (including patios/balconies) are now nonsmoking. Designated outdoor smoking areas are indicated on resort maps.

Spa—This is Disney’s term for a hot tub. At least one spa is available at every resort but the All-Stars, Fort Wilderness, Polynesian, and Pop Century resorts. There are also traditional Spa facilities (massages and manicures) in some resorts.

Tax—Sales tax is 6.5% in Orange County (most of Walt Disney World) and 7% in Osceola County (Pop Century and some parts of All-Star Resorts); sales tax is charged on all purchases and lodging. An additional lodging tax is assessed on guest rooms: 6% in Orange County and 6% in Osceola County.

Telephones—All rooms have a phone and information on how to use it. Local and toll-free calls are free; long distance calls are the cost of the call plus a 50% surcharge. Ouch! Use a calling card or cell phone instead if possible. Incoming calls are free.

Transportation—Every resort offers complimentary transit to and from the parks via bus, boat, monorail, and/or pathway.

Wheelchairs—Wheelchairs can be borrowed from every Disney resort (inquire at Bell Services). A deposit may be required, and availability is limited. Motorized wheelchairs (ECVs) may be rented at the parks for in-park-only use. You can rent ECVs at the BoardWalk Resort for use anywhere from Buena Vista Scooters (866-484-4797; http://www.buenavistascooters.htm)--they also deliver to resorts. Other sources are Care Medical (800-741-2282 -- and Walker Mobility (888-726-6837 --

Voice Mail—Every resort offers free voice mail that can be retrieved from your room or any other phone in or outside of the Walt Disney World Resort. You can even personalize the message callers hear when they are connected to your room. Business travelers find this particularly useful, as do those that are expecting calls but don’t want to wait around for them. We’ve used it to leave updates to other members of our party (we’ve hosted several large gatherings at Disney). If you are on the phone when a call comes in, Disney still takes your caller’s message and places it in the system for you to receive when you are ready. Everything you need to know is available in your room.

This article was last updated on 2/19/2008 by Marnie Urmaza

Related Articles:

Choosing a Disney Resort
Reserving a Resort Room
Key to the World Card
Fun at Disney Resort Hotels

Return to | Visit the PassPorter Message Boards

Updated 02/19/2008 

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