Ali's Mom's Disney Adventure Report

Dates: 8/3-8/8, 1999 (five day trip)


  • Author: Loving Mother, faithful daughter, and Disney Plan-Aholic - Ali's Mom
  • Hubby: 47 and a very loving father, and can't plan for a hill of beans - Doug
  • Daughter: 22 and a junior at a college three hours away - Jennifer
  • Daughter: 20 and a sophmore at college one-hour away - Rachel
  • Daughter: 6, starting first grade in the fall, this will be her second trip to WDW, and is an avid ice-skater - Ali
  • Mom: In her late 60's, first trip to WDW, many many many trips to Disneyland (since we lived 10 minutes away from it for a long time). This is her very first ever vacation - Dotti
  • Dad: In his early 70's, same as mom, many trips to Disneyland, and his very first vacation - Jack
Updated 11/21/03

Copyright 1999-2006
PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

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  Final Thoughts

FINAL THOUGHT: If I were to pass through this earth today, I would knowing that I have pictures of my mom and dad laughing and having a good time. If you do not, and you have the ability to provide a trip (no matter where it is) for your parents. DO IT. Don't wait for tomorrow, because tomorrow may never come.

General Disney Thoughts:

Early Entry Days: So many people avoid them, which make it nicer for people like me who do not. If you have smaller children who enjoy Dumbo, do the EE day at Magic Kingdom at least. The long is not existent for such a long time, and the smaller kids, just fresh for the day, do have the biggest smiles on this ride.

Eating: Don't be afraid to cancel your PS's. If you find that you just don't feel like eating, or perhaps just don't feel like eating at that particular place, call and cancel. This allows someone else to perhaps take your spot that REALLY wants to eat there at that particular time.

Don't be afraid to try new places. Peco's Bill is the one that comes to mind. What a hidden treasure. We had so much food we could not eat it all for two people, and all under $10.00. I never ever would have tried Le Cellier, but now I love it (wish the service was better, but the food was still excellent!)

Don't be afraid to talk to the CM's. I met someone at the Grand Floridian ("C") that I know that if I am ever in a spot, I can call on him. If I had not started a conversation with him, I never would have known that he gives 110% to make sure people at WDW are happy while they stay in his resort.

Time: Give yourself enough time. 4 days is just NOT enough to see everything. If you only have 4 days, then don't "not go", but don't push yourself to where you are not having fun. WDW will still be there many years down the road, and even if it takes 10 years to get back, you will be much happier if you realize that you can only see "X" much and take the time to enjoy it.

Shopping: I have yet to make it to the factory outlet mall, but if there is something you like, that there is A LOT OF of that item, and you have a MKC card, go downtown and see if they also have it. You'll save 10% - especially on large value items (i.e. The custom watches are $20.00 to $35.00 cheaper with your card at Downtown Disney, and it's the SAME watch). ON THE OTHER HAND it you see something that you just can't live without, BUY IT THEN it just may not be there when you go back in 3 days to buy it. Did you get home and just wish you had bought that WDCC piece, but did not? Call 407-560-6481, and they'll help you out. If they can't help you -- they'll get you to another number that can (This is The Art of Disney at EPCOT). - Ask for Debbie, she was real helpful to me.
Packages: If you don't really need it right away - have it shipped to your house if you do not live in Florida, and it's a significant purchase (more than $35.00) You pay no sales tax, and the shipping is usually less than the sales tax if the purchase is a large enough purchase. Consider combining your purchases so that you only pay for one shipping charge. The World of Disney downtown is great for this - it has almost EVERYTHING under one roof.

Mickey Live: Well, okay almost... Even if you don't need one, arrange for at least one wake up call if you are staying at a resort. This is a "free" perk.

Time Out: The Poly has a WONDERFUL child care center. Why not consider placing your child there for a couple of hours in the evening for you to do something that does not involve having a child with you? Your child will get a small time out from you , and you from them, and you'll both be more refreshed for it (or take along my 20 and 22 year old to take your child for a while ). May I suggest Victoria and Alberts, or Narcoossee's at the Grand Floridian? Ask for the chef's table at either place for a real treat.

Transportation: Use a Towncar service. Even if you have a pre-package where you have paid for Mears, DON'T use them!... Spend the extra dollars and get a Towncar service. I happened to use Tiffany's (Desi), and will ask for him again.

Autographs: Instead of a book, carry a T-Shirt (or hat) and Black non washable pen. Have the characters sign the T-shirt (or hat). This is something the person can have forever. Not into doing autographs?, have them do a T-Shirt or Hat to give to a niece or nephew (or grandchild) at Christmas time. NOTE: You can not be wearing the article that you are having them sign.

Specific Thoughts:

Magic Kingdom:
If you want to do breakfast at Cinderella Palace, please make sure you call on day +60. Call CRO if you are unsure when that day is, and they will tell you. Call right at 7am Florida time. Most people assume that it is 8am, and by that time it is usually too late.

If you have two people in the car on Buzz Lightyear, don't let the other person control the stick if you are trying to beat their score

Parades: This is a very good time to go on rides if you don't have a lot of time to see things. The ride lines tend to be much smaller during this time. On the flip side, if you really love parades, you need to stake out a place very early in parade time (i.e. at least 1 hour ahead of time).

Heat: Take a lot of breaks. Go inside the stores, cool off. Disney sells a form of ICEE drinks... Consider one of those if you are tending to overheat.

Medicine: IF you find you need something that you did not bring, go to the end of main street, next to Casey's, to the Baby Comfort Station. They sell packs of 2 in their little store inside.

Don't try to do this park all at once. It is just too overwhelming. Break it up into two or three sections and enjoy them all.

Fireworks: The BEST (in my opinion) place to see these (but not Tinkerbell Fly) is to the right of the Toon Town Train Station entrance. There is a little cul-de-sac with park benches that you can sit and enjoy AND hardly ANYBODY is around.

Ring at the Haunted Mansion: Don't be afraid to ask a CM to see this.. If you look for it on your own, you'll probably NEVER find it . And if you take a picture of it, remember that you did... you should have seen the laughing at my house when I remember that that picture of the sidewalk was not my camera malfunctioning, but the "ring" picture (sure enough, you can see the ring!)

On the new Pooh Ride, as you enter Owls section, look to the left, and towards the back of the wall - you'll see Toad passing over the deed. There is also a hidden Mickey in the Woozel scene. I think there is a hidden Mickey with the dishes on the small table going into the ride also, but I did not confirm this.

Hidden Mickey's: On the subject of Hidden Mickey's, have you caught the one on It's a Small World - The hidden Mickey vine is in Africa

Wishing Well: Stop and made a wish at Cinderella's wishing well.

Take the time to view all the lands and the gardens within the countries. Hidden in most of them are wonderful things that you would normally just pass by (a little town with a running train station comes to mind here).

Food: Ever want to try something out of the American food ordinary? The countries usually have a counter type service in each one, and you can try something for fractions of a cost then in their full service eateries.

Honey - I shrunk the audience: Please pay attention to the posted signs. There are things in this that CAN and DO scare small kids and even bigger kids (like mothers!). If you really want to see this, and have a smaller child, have them sit on their feet and NOT wear the 3-D glasses, or accidentally knock them off their face (gently!) during the snake scene. Your nighttime sleep will be glad you did.

Also, on all rides please make sure you remind your child to stay seated at all times. I never once told Ali (I just assumed she would) - This week a 5-year-old boy went though 4 hours of surgery after "falling/climbing" out of a very tame ride.

If you have time, tour THE LAND. It is amazing how much (and how) Disney grows to feed the people in the park. You will have a very different feeling after going through this. There is a back stage tour that I have not been able to take yet, but it is on my list of "next time"

Dinner Packages: When you hear $42.50 per adult (which is the highest charge), that sounds like so much. But my meal (after taxes and tip, which is included in that 42.50) was $43.50. So Disney lost a dollar on me, and I got excellent seats at the Lord of the Dance (or Candlelight Processional). If you plan on eating a good sit down meal at EPCOT, PLEASE don't pass this one up. You will need to provide Disney with a Credit Card (and here they will accept Visa/MC over the phone where they won't for your initial reservation) when you make your PS's and they WILL bill your card weeks/months before you get to Disney.

Passports: Buy a passport at any EPCOT store - have you child take it to all the countries (into any store), and they will stamp it (like a real passport), and write a special message in the lang of that country. Not sure what it says? ASK! and then on the same page - write in English what was said so you can remember 2 years from now. Already have the passport and did not do that? Go to and click on translator. You can type what was written in and it will translate it to any language you wish.

Disney-MGM Studios
There are shows that are wonderful to see. However, these take a LOT OF time into your day/evening. If you are on a time budget - pass most of these up to be able to see the rest of the park.

Food: Hollywood and Vine has the only character place here, and the food is wonderful. If you have a little girl, she will get to see Minnie dresses up oh-so-elegantly. If you have older kids, please don't pass up the 50's prime time. This is a place where if you don't care to be harassed by the CM, DON'T GO - as you will be HARASSED!

This park is big, and has plenty to see and do. When you think you have gotten to the end of the park, turn left or right and you'll probably find a road that takes you even further into the park.

Tower of Terror (TOT) and Rock N Roller Coaster: Do both of these before you eat Also, Try TOT in both the daytime and the nighttime for a different effect.

Animal Kingdom
The animals tend to NOT be out during the heat of the day. If you want to see lots of animals, you need to go very early in the morning, or later in the afternoon/evening.

This park is very confusing - don't be afraid to ask a CM where you are. It also has narrow walkways, so you might want to rent a stroller here, instead of bringing your own.

If it is hot, this park has little cover from the heat (or even the rain). It this is a factor for you medically, you might want to wait until it is cooler to do this park.

Downtown Disney
In my own personal humble opinion, I have YET to see a good bus for Downtown Disney. They are too crowded, usually stuff to the gills with standing room only. If you can afford the luxury, a taxi from the Grand Floridian to Downtown Disney with tip is $15.00 (and bless my dear husband, no, they don't take Disney dollars, they Don't work for Disney). You will be very glad you did!

You can get a personalized CD at Studio M - It takes 20 min for them to make it. (You can also get it at EPCOT, but if you are here, you save 10% with your MKC card).

Don't try to do The World Of Disney at 11pm when the store closes - we did it, and lived to regret it . It seems that everyone had the same idea as we did - (that no one would be in the store right before closing). It took us almost 25 minutes to get through the line after closing.

Give the kids enough time to enjoy the Lego store... they can play til they heart is content (or you get tired, whichever comes first)

Special Moments
The following is NOT a paid political ad:
Use Gifts of A Lifetime. I can't stress this enough... Whether it be for a husband (from a wife), a wife (from a husband) A kid from a parents... or just to get pictures of the family done at WDW together. Jane will make sure you always remember this day. Got someone going to WDW that you want to leave a gift for (i.e. a honeymoon?) Have her do a gift basket for their room. Learn more at

I stayed at the Grand Floridian. I have always hear "This is not a children's resort". This is farther from the truth. From Fishing trips, to face painting, to cooking with the chefs, to Tigger being in the pool with my child... this is indeed a children's resort. You need to read the info given upon check in and check the white board by the pool daily

New Rooms Tour: Even if you are not staying, do the 4pm tour, its a good time to wind down and relax, and you get to see the new rooms. No camera's please.

Bottom Three Final Thoughts
Not EVERYTHING will go as planned When it doesn't, remember that more flies are killed with honey then with vinegar. Your blood pressure will thank you, and the persons that YOU WISH YOU COULD CHOKE THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS OUT OF will thank you

Bottom Two Final Thoughts
Can't afford Disney? Do the Vacation on Layaway plan. Book your trip now for 2 to 3 years out. Send WDW a little money at a time. By the time you go, it will be all paid for. A little known fact. If you can't save money for a hill of beans, send the extra money to Disney and ask them to "Hold it on your account" Yes, you lose the interest, but you gain the fact that the money is gone from you now (so you won't spend it), and the money will be there to spend if you need to. If you have any left over, the resort will refund what is left the day you check out.

Bottom Final Thought
This is your vacation. This is your hard earned cash that you are spending. If something is not right - find the resort manager, and talk to him or her. Remember in one of my reports I talked about "C" and the Grand Floridian? The one thing that struck me the most was his love and care for the people who stay at his resort. He wants everything to be perfect for you, and if it is not, he'd rather hear about it then, instead of a letter 3 months from then (he'd still like to hear 3 months from then if it's the only time he's going hear, rather than not hear at all). Give the resort a chance to make things better for you. I think in the long run, you'll be glad you did. Afterwards, write a letter to the resort. Tell them what you liked and what you did not like. It does not have to be in the form of a complaint, it just might be something you did not like (i.e. they may have pink soap, and you have a creepy dislike of pink soap). If enough people have the same dislikes, that's how they know to make changes for others.

Parting Thought
Thanks for sharing my vacation with me (and my parents). My next one will be on December 20th, 2000, where I will be making a return trip to the Sugar loaf Concierge. They've already promised they will get me a Christmas Tree in my room, and I already plan on having Santa (Gifts of a Lifetime) visit Ali in the room on Christmas Eve (Jane, did you get that?)

If I can answer any questions, please feel free to e-mail me at

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