- Time of Year: Spring
- Travel Method: Plane, Shuttle Service
- Resort: Dixie Landings
- Accommodations: Standard Room
- Ages Represented in Group: Teen, Adult
- WDW Experience Represented in Group: Infrequent
- Comments: Martin's family went on holiday to WDW from Southhampton, UK in February. In addition to a nice report of their stay at Dixie Landings and the parks, Martin provides some insight that can be helpful to anyone that travels from Europe to Florida.
Trip report 2/8-2/15
Trip report for Martin, Gill, Ashley (16) and Yvette (15) James, (all GoH 1991) 8th to 15th February 1997 at Dixie Landings.
I've broken this report up into 6 pieces, partly on account of its length, and partly to suit different audiences (Editor's Note: With the formatting of the report for this web site, the report was combined into a single document.)
- Parts 1 through 4 are a blow-by-blow journal of our week, including comments on the attractions, the crowds and the logistics-two days per section.
- Part 5 is a hard-facts report on the food we sampled, including prices.
- Part 6 is a collection of tips for future visitors, picked up and/or verified during our wanderings around the parks.
Some day, when I get around to it, I will put this lot up on the Web, augmented with suitable pictures. I also intend to draw up sketch maps of Dixie Landings and Port Orleans which may prove useful (and hopefully can be copied and distributed freely without infringing anybody's copyright).
The holiday was a great success. With almost 7 full days on-site, and in a relatively quiet week (considering it's 25th anniversary year) we had the luxury of taking a leisurely approach to everything. We followed our noses, avoided the crowds, and used simple strategies that allowed us to do everything we wanted. (For comparison, our previous visit was 4 days in August. Although we got as much done, it had to be run like a military operation-good fun but definitely not relaxing.)
I hope somebody finds something interesting, useful, or even, possibly, amusing somewhere in this collection. Enjoy!
Package arranged through Bridge Travel (UK) and very highly recommended. Includes scheduled Virgin flights between London Gatwick and Orlando International, private transfers between Orlando airport and WDW, Length of Stay passes and "Flex Feature" bonus package (about $25-worth of meals/trips/events/gifts per person).
SATURDAY 8TH FEBRUARY 1997
Uneventful 8-hour flight to Orlando International to arrive exactly on time. Pleasantly surprised to find that immigration had 26 desks in operation; the last time we flew in to Orlando there were just three. Immigration officer looks at passports, then looks up and says "Hey, I signed you in 6 years ago. Look, that's my signature there!" Switch from official interview mode to smalltalk mode. All together now: "It's a small world after all, it's a..." (etc.).
Just past immigration greeted by a very smartly suited and peak-capped driver waiting to guide us through the intricacies of Orlando Airport. Half an hour later, at just after 6 o'clock in the evening, arrived at the front of Dixie Landings in a limo the size of a small house, feeling, and probably looking, like royalty. Reception was deserted. (I guess we had beaten the rush, following behind in an assortment of shuttle buses and hire cars.) Check-in therefore took just a few moments, to our rooms thoughtfully pre-arranged by phone the previous Wednesday. (Thanks for the tip, RADPers everywhere :-) We had elected for Building 39, at the far side of the resort. Although remote from the main building, it was beautifully quiet and in lovely surroundings, with its own pool right outside the door, and conveniently near the North Depot bus stop.
Took a ride round to the room on the baggage cart. Noted that the room contained exactly 4 face cloths, 8 towels and one bar of soap. (For now, just make a little mental note of this fact. The significance of will become apparent later in this tale.) Unpacked, then debated what to do when the wall clock says 8 pm and the body clock says it's one o'clock the next morning. Decided eating was the best option, so wandered across to the food court (Colonel's Cotton Mill) for a midnight (to us) snack. Returned and crashed out at 9:30.
SUNDAY 9TH FEBRUARY
It being Sunday, we treated ourselves to a gi-normous table-service breakfast. Had the restaurant (Boatwrights) to ourselves until we were nearly finished. Crossing 5 time zones does have some advantages after all, when it comes to getting up early! The day's target was MGM, (a) because it had previously been our favourite park, (b) because it was the day's "Surprise Morning" park, and because we guessed (correctly as it turned out) that although it should be a quiet week, the weekend would be busy, and especially so at MK and EPCOT.
Got to the park a bit before 8 o'clock. Straight round to Tower of Terror for our first experience of this much-praised attraction. Wow!!! Definitely top of the "don't miss" list. Legged it across to the Great Movie Ride (oh the nostalgia!) Then on to Star Tours where, following oft-quoted advice, we chose the left line. Walked straight past 10 minutes' worth of queue in the right hand line and on to the ride without stopping.
By now the park was getting a lot fuller than we had expected. Turned out to be a cheerleading competition, being hosted in the Indiana Jones pavilion. The bad news was that the normal Sunday attendance was swelled by about 3,000 cheerleaders, plus about 6,000 attendant parents and/or guardians. But the good news was that none of them seemed to be going on any of the rides. The cheerleaders milled around practising confidently, and the attendants wandered around looking nervous on their behalfs. So, despite the huge crowds, the longest line we saw all day was a brief peak of 20 minutes at Star Tours. ToT never exceeded 10 minutes, and was generally turn up and walk on.
Unfortunately we weren't able to do Indiana Jones, another family favourite, because of the competition. But there was plenty of week left. Did the set of four inside-the-movies tours. (No waiting for any of them.) "Evita" was disappointing-high on advertising the movie and low on interesting information-but the other three were as fascinating as ever. Made a note to re-visit the "Animation" tour during the week, when people would be working there.
Dinner was an eagerly-awaited return to the Prime Time Cafe. You either love it or hate it. I guess we're exactly the right age to love it-it's just like home used to be when we grown-ups were little. The food was good, but it's really the atmosphere and the fun that dragged us back. Play along, get into the spirit and a great time is had by all. Discovered you can't beat the system. Yvette left most of her vegetables, so, of course, the whole restaurant had to "make aeroplanes" while the server (sorry: big brother) flew a forkful of peas "into the hanger". Yours truly, on the other hand, ate up his whole dinner but still became a victim, being made to parade the empty plate round the restaurant as an example to the other diners of what was expected! Oh, and if there's still a sketch of Madonna/Evita on the wall by the bar, that was Ashley's creation, drawn while waiting between courses.
Finished the day with another quick round of Star Tours and a couple of ToTs - this time at night, which is even more effective. (Try it-you'll like it!)
Got back to our room to find there were now 6 face cloths, 8 towels and 3 bars of soap. Also, a nice touch: our assortment of toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes had been turned into a kind of floral bouquet with the aid of a glass stuffed with one of the face cloths as "oasis" :-)
MONDAY 10TH FEBRUARY
Another early start. Breakfasted in the Cotton Mill, then off to catch the "Surprise Morning" at MK. Straight round to Tomorrowland and on to the first Space Mountain departure of the day (left-hand side). Another Wow! Marched round for a second ride. 15 minute delay just before boarding while all the lights came on, and an army of CMs scoured the bottom of the dome for a lost pair of spectacles. (You have been warned!) Spent the rest of our morning (i.e. up to 11 o'clock) finishing off Tomorrowland. Alien Encounter is another "don't miss". For those readers who haven't experienced it yet, I won't spoil the surprise, but the lady sitting next to me took it very badly indeed. She beat the canned screams by a good 40 decibels. My left ear will never be the same again!
Took a leisurely food-cart lunch, then went to register ourselves as GoHs at the 25th Anniversary Welcome Centre. Watched, and enjoyed, the film on the history and future of WDW. (Your mileage may vary, depending how much of a "Disney Nut" you are, and how desperate you are to get back out to the action.) Made a long study of the large model of the new Animal Kingdom, and got talking to the attendant CM. Ended up chatting for half an hour, learning all about the plans for AK. Layout will be somewhat like MK, with a set of three themed areas, real, fantasy and extinct, arranged around a central hub-in this case a huge, artificial tree. All the areas will be jungle-like, with appropriately-styled buildings and vegetation. There will be rides through the wild-animal reserves in safari trucks, informative exhibitions/displays/shows/animations (including a kind of Jurassic Park ride), and shopping. The real animals will appear to be completely unconstrained, through clever use of hidden ditches and camouflaged fences.
By now crowds were building up so we took a stroll through the shops on Main Street, a selection of street performers, and a slow train ride round to Adventureland and Frontierland. Did just about everything, including the Tiki Birds. (And regretted it. Why didn't somebody warn us-this is strictly a "DO miss". The only thing in its favour was that it had just started to rain outside, so it saved us getting wet!) Seemed to be lots of people around, but the queues never got beyond about 15 minutes at their worst. Did Thunder Mountain (in the rain) when the line had reduced to 10 minutes. Then did Splash Mountain. Thought we were being smart keeping our plastic ponchos on for this, even though the rain had all but stopped. Wrong! Got a plume of water straight down the inside through the neck opening. Yup, they *are* waterproof-not a drop came out :-)
Finished off the afternoon at the Haunted Mansion (no queue), then took the Skyway across to Tomorrowland and walked round to Tony's Town Square Restaurant for dinner. For the evening's entertainment, strolled back to Fantasyland for assorted rides, including Peter Pan (OK) and Snow White (short-wouldn't be worth queuing for). Had a family debate and mutual-encouragement session, and finally decided to be brave and go for that well-known white-knuckle song "It's a Small World". Had the ride to ourselves (not surprising, really) and came out relatively unscathed. We'd almost completely stopped humming the tune by Thursday! Back to Tomorrowland for a final Space Mountain before closing time, this time taking the right-hand side for comparison. The right-hand ride is definitely "rougher", with the cars (or should I say rockets?) bouncing up and down much more. Back to DxL for a swim and sleep. Noticed that we had now reached 6 face cloths, 10 towels and 4 bars of soap.
TUESDAY 11TH FEBRUARY
World Showcase day, to catch last day of Carnival celebrations. Since World Showcase doesn't open until 11:00, planned to take advantage of EPCOT's Surprise Morning to do its more popular attractions and fill in the early, quiet hours. Walked straight on to Spaceship Earth. Stimulating as ever; nice to see it's being kept up to date with the latest advances in technology.
Left the Activity Center underneath for another day, and marched over to Honey I Shrunk the Audience-which was broken, with no outlook for repair :-(
Went round to The Living Seas, theoretically to fill in a few minutes in the hope that HIStA would be fixed. Got sidetracked by the small tanks of fish. Got very sidetracked by the huge fishtank. Got extremely sidetracked by the manatees, which we watched for a quarter of an hour from under water, then another three quarters of an hour from above, chatting with the CM about their history and habits, and watching them being fed (continuously!). Finally emerged from the building at 10:30 to find EPCOT swarming with guests-largely senior citizens. Fortunately they adopted a lemming approach to visiting the attractions, so, for example, there was a flash queue of over an hour for Behind the Seeds, while the other events in The Land (where we went to finish off the morning) were all but deserted. Circle of Life and Food Rocks both so-so.
Caught the first boat of the day over to France for a take-out lunch from the Patisserie. Watched "Impressions de France" and got a yearning to go to France. Browsed our way clockwise through United Kingdom and Canada, where we watched "O Canada" and got a yearning to go to Canada. Caught the boat back to France and carried on browsing, now anticlockwise, taking a quiet break at the lovely Japanese garden. Got into America in plenty of time to catch the pre-show Liberty Singers, who were as superb as ever, and who make the main event "The American Adventure" almost incidental. Tried to find a CD of their singing, but could only find a few cassettes. Oh well, maybe another day.
Round as far as Germany, where your scribe had to be forcibly dragged away from the hoards of dads at the model railway. Found a good spot to wait for the carnival parade, which fooled everybody by going in the opposite direction to all the announcements! It was also some 15 minutes late, and we ended up walking very positively to claim our table at Norway's Akershus for dinner at 5 o'clock. Very quiet, great food and great value (we all managed the "obligatory" 7 visits to the buffet). Loved the wandering trolls.
Saw a 20 minute wait for Maelstrom, so did Mexico first. Lingered in the shops, then rode a deserted River of Time. Went back to Norway where the line had vanished. Walked straight on to the ride. Good fun as ever. Got wet, watched the film, browsed the shop, then on to China to finish off the World Showcase. Watched "Wonders of China" (in an audience of just 9 people) and got a yearning to go to China. Watched some excellent Chinese acrobats outside, and then "Illuminations 25", one of the most spectacular firework displays we've seen for many years-and they do this *every* night? We worked out that it must take the entrance money of the first 500 guests each day to pay for it!
Huge queues for the bus back to DxL, but it was only 10 minutes before we were on our way, thanks to the arrival of a couple of "special buses" (18-wheel articulated trucks with small windows in the side to look less like cattle trucks-though not much!) Still "only" 6 face cloths and 10 towels, but yet another bar of soap. A leisurely swim in our all-but-private pool, and off to bed.
WEDNESDAY 12TH FEBRUARY
Finish-off-EPCOT-day. Tried to start with Honey I Shrunk the Audience. Broken again. Advised to come back in half an hour, and if there was a long line enter through a side door at the head of the line and say "Mark sent us". Did "Living with the Land" to fill in the time. Fascinating. Back to HIStA, which was now working and had a line of only about 10 people, so no chance to try the legitimised line-jumping. Definitely worth the perseverance. Very clever and great fun; I hope you're not scared of mice!
Over to Innoventions, starting at the Discovery Center (recently moved to ground floor west) where we picked up enough packages of information to complete two of Yvette's homework assignments. Accidentally let the kids slip into the video game section ("but you can play all these at home"-"So?") and only managed to bribe them out again, 2 hours later, with the promise of lunch. Still very quiet everywhere, as it remained all day. Took the boat across to Germany, and ambled round clockwise until we found something to tempt us (chilli-burgers at America). On to France for Ashley and Yvette to buy some presents spotted the previous day, large Hunchback of ND gargoyle glove puppets reduced to half price-about $6 each.
Back to EPCOT for the afternoon, starting with a long time exploring the Wonders of Life. Finished off with Horizons and then Ellen's Energy Adventure at Universe of Energy, which is 45 minutes of great educational entertainment. (We're all big Ellen fans anyway.) Leisurely stroll across to our second eagerly-awaited return dining visit, this one to the Coral Reef in the middle of the huge fish tank in Living Seas. It was just as good as we remembered it. Superb food, superb surroundings and superb service.
The evening's entertainment was a repeat ride on Spaceship Earth, and a slow, thorough exploration of all the exhibits underneath in the Global Neighbourhood. Found ourselves a good spot on the EPCOT side of the water to watch "Illuminations 25" again (and make a quick get-away afterwards). Back to DxL and our now 8 face cloths, 10 towels and 5 bars of soap.
THURSDAY 13TH FEBRUARY
Back to MGM today, this time to do all the fixed-time shows- Hunchback of Notre Dame, Indiana Jones, the Toy Story parade, and Beauty and the Beast. Jotted down a timetable that fitted them all in comfortably, then set off to fill in time until our first "appointment". Started (of course) at Tot, with three walk-on rides. "Lights, concrete, action"! (Recognise it?)
Back via Muppet Vision 3D (still on the family-favourite shortlist) to Star Tours. Now 9:30, and still hardly a soul around. Lovely surprise on Star Tours. As many readers will know, the pre-ride safety instructions show what looks like a completely ordinary view of the ride loading, except for the inclusion of a couple of hairy aliens (presumably from Endor). We've always appreciated this little joke as a bit of atmosphere-setting, so you can guess how surprised we were, on boarding the ride, to see these two alien characters in the flesh (so to speak) getting on with us! The short alien took the seat to my left, on the back-row-but-one, and the tall one sat in the middle of the back row. The people in the front rows hadn't seen any of this, and it was great seeing their reactions as they left at the end and saw who was walking out in front.
Took our seats at for the first Indiana Jones of the day, arriving 30 minutes early to catch the (great!) pre-show entertainment. (All the MGM pre-show spots are good; we make a point of getting in early enough to see them.) Greatly enjoyed the show, which played to a strangely half-empty audience. Had a leisurely, quiet lunch just outside at the Studio Catering Co. (things-and-fries) then took up station outside Star Tours ready for the one o'clock Toy Story parade. Great parade-blasted off a whole roll of film.
Next appointment, Hunchback of Notre Dame. Wandered in 30 minutes before showtime for the pre-show entertainment, Matt the Juggler, who is wonderful. The show-proper was spectacular, but I've a sneaking feeling we all enjoyed Matt more! Re-did the Animation tour, now on a working day, then the Little Mermaid (good fun). Grazed the shops for an hour or so, then made our way to Beauty and the Beast (arriving half an hour early, of course). Not so convinced about this one. It was OK, but nothing particularly special.
Dined at the Sci-Fi Dine-in. Now that's fun! Bit tricky finding enough light to read the menu, though, and difficult holding a conversation when two of you have your backs to the other two. Slight panic at seeing the too-smooth progression of the servers through the restaurant until we realised they were all on roller blades!
By popular request, went for a second viewing of Muppet Vision, followed by an evening stroll up New York Street and back. It was a really eerie feeling, too, as there was absolutely nobody else around. We've seen it packed, and we've seen it quiet, but we've never before seen it deserted. Left the park at closing time, 7 o'clock today, and got back to DxL early enough for a long swim and, for one young lady, 2 hours' homework. (Some things just don't go away, even at Disney!) Two more towels today, bringing us up to 8 face cloths, 12 towels and 5 bars of soap.
FRIDAY 14TH FEBRUARY
First destination MK, to fill in the bits missed on Monday, plus do a few popular repeats, starting with the two Frontierland "Mountains". Took the Liberty Belle cruise, in the company of Captain Hook and Smee. Captain Hook sneaked up on Ashley and tried to throw him overboard. Three of us enjoyed this greatly! Then over on the raft to Tom Sawyer Island, which is a great place to get away from it all for a while. Spent a good hour wandering around exploring, or relaxing in some of the strategically-placed rocking chairs and watching the world go by. Lunched on the terrace at Aunt Polly's Dockside Inn on their excellent picnic packs. Fascinating bread for the "doorstep" ham and cheese sandwiches - a swirled mixture of white caraway and dark rye. Particularly high concentration of opportunist seagulls here, but we showed them who was in charge!
Back to the mainland and a repeat of the Haunted House (5 minute wait) before strolling round via the shops and a showing of Lion King (good) to a final ride on Space Mountain. Noticeably busier today; had to queue a whole 15 minutes. Thought the school holiday didn't start till next week, but there seemed to be a lot of highschool-aged kids around. No doubt there was a reason. Quote of the week, overheard in Fantasyland: mother to young child, "OK, honey, do you want to do It'a a Small World again?". Here was somebody brave enough not just to ride it once, and brave enough even to queue half an hour to do so, but brave enough to queue half an hour again to do it a *SECOND TIME*. If I was that poor kid I'd be looking for the men in white coats!
Time to leave MK and catch the monorail to EPCOT for our dinner reservation. Arrived with time for a rerun of Ellen's Energy Adventure, before a brisk march to our all-you-can-eat German buffet dinner. Good food, good entertainment, good beer, and good company (seated with a similarly-profiled family from Minnesota, just arrived at WDW.) Allowed the junior members of our party another hour on the Sega consoles in Innoventions before an early, beat-the-rush departure to DxL for swims and packing. Final delivery of bathroom accessories brought the week to a close at 10 face cloths, 12 towels and 6 bars of soap.
SATURDAY 14TH FEBRUARY
Departure day :-(
But not till 4 o'clock :-)
Back to room after breakfast to await Express Checkout paperwork (arrived at 8:10) and baggage cart (arrived at 8:11). Sent our worldly possessions for safe keeping, then set off for a look round the Village Market Place. Thought of taking the Sassagoula River boat ride, but would have meant waiting 45 minutes for the service to start. Took the bus, instead, which meant we were safely under cover in the World of Disney Store when the cloudburst started. Felt very smug when the first boat arrived and disgorged its cargo of soggy passengers, who must have spent a good 20 minutes sitting unprotected in the horizontal rain. Decided somebody "up there" liked us.
Bought a little, and browsed a lot. Showed great restraint at the Gourmet Pantry (just!). Particularly impressed by the Christmas Shop, Rainforest Cafe (shop part), 2R's Reading and Riting (sic) and Gourmet Pantry. All signs of rain having now gone, decided to make a slow boat-then-bus trip round to MGM for lunch and a few farewell rides. Saw one boat just leaving, and believed the sign that suggested the next one wasn't for half an hour. 20 minutes later ended up sprinting to catch it as it was about to pull away. Well worth the effort. The river cruise between the Market Place and DxL, via Port Orleans, is a delightful way to pass half an hour.
With the promise of airline-sized meals to come, elected to have a slightly more substantial lunch than usual, and made a selection at Hollywood & Vine (enjoyed the ribs!). Sat at the corner table, overlooking Hollywood Blvd., eating slowly and enjoying the sights and sounds of MGM. (Street music in the foreground, puppet shows in the background, screams from ToT in the distance.) Busy but certainly not packed; quieter than we would have expected for a holiday Saturday.
A final 3 rounds of ToT (5 minutes' wait each), a slow stroll back up Sunset Blvd., a final viewing of Muppet Vision, a leisurely icecream break, then the bus back to DxL to retrieve our belongings and be whisked away, again like royalty, in a huge chauffeur-driven limo. Arrived at Orlando Airport an hour before our stated check-in time to find an already huge queue. However, with 8 desks in operation, check-in was surprisingly quick and painless. Disappointed to find how badly the airport caters for checked-in passengers who are far too early for their flight. What we wanted was somewhere to get a snack and a drink- something like a pastry and a coffee-and somewhere to sit down and enjoy it. The three food outlets provide the staggeringly-unexciting choice of burgers, or burgers, or icecream. And why, in the vast expanse of open floor area, is there just one single bench? Ended up in the overcrowded departure lounge, where, due to a delayed flight, we had to stand for 2 hours until boarding.
Took off half an hour late, rode a storm across the Atlantic to arrive one and a half hours early-and already planning our next visit.
All prices are *inclusive* of taxes and suitable gratuities, and are averaged over 4 people of roughly-equal appetite. (Note that some meals were only 2 courses rather than 3.)
***** Superb -- sue if it's off the menu
**** Great -- complain if it's off the menu
*** Good -- grumble if it's off the menu
** Edible -- choose something else if it's off the menu
* Inedible -- choose something else if it's ON the menu
COLONEL'S COTTON MILL (food court), DxL (snack)
3x Nachos *** ("more chillies would improve them")
1x Ceasar salad ***
$6 per person
COLONEL'S COTTON MILL (food court), DxL (breakfast)
4x Short-stack pancakes ****
Assorted fruit ***
Juices and coffees
(coffee **** - and we're fussy about our coffee!)
$6 per person
BOATWRIGHT'S RESTAURANT, DxL (breakfast)
Lashings of fruit ****
2x "Oink, cluck, moo"s ***
2x Basic breakfast ***
Assorted muffins and pastries ****
Juices and coffees
$13 per person
TONY'S TOWN SQUARE RESTAURANT, MK (dinner)
Huge bowl of salad ****
1x Catch of the day (salmon) ****
1x Chicken lasagne **** ("Dad, you've got to get the recipe for this!")
1x Spaghetti Speciale ***
1x Country Penne ** (too much pasta, too little everything else, cold plate)
Assorted sodas, including pink lemonade ****
(QUESTION: anybody know what makes it pink?)
$25 per person
50'S PRIME TIME CAFE, MGM (dinner)
2x Large salads ****
2x Grilled mushrooms ***
1x Dad's Fishin' Trip (swordfish) ****
1x Blackened chicken ***
1x Meatballs and spaghetti ***
Large quantity of house white wine ***
$27 per person
RESTAURANT AKERSHUS, NORWAY, EPCOT (dinner)
4x All-you-can-eat buffets
(highlights: sherry herring ****, sour herring ****, stuffed pork ****, smoked pork ****
lowlight: macaroni cheese **)
Several Ringnes beers *****
$29 per person
CORAL REEF, EPCOT (dinner)
1x Lobster soup ****
1x Poached shrimp ****
(2x First course abstentions)
1x Barbecued grouper with black bean sauce *****
1x Seared tuna steak *****
2x Grilled chicken ****
2x White chocolate mousse ****
2x "Just Chocolate" ****************************************...
Bottle of Guenoc Chardonnay '95 ***** (No. 21 on the list)
$47 per person (and worth every bit of it)
SCI-FI DINE-IN THEATER RESTAURANT, MGM (dinner)
4x House salads, with various dressings ***
2x Towering Terror (BBQ chicken) ****
2x "No Wing" chicken ****
2x Sci-Fi Sundae Spectacular ****
1x The Cheesecake hat ate New York *****
(now that's what a cheesecake should taste like!)
(1x Dessert abstention)
Several Heineken beers ***
$27 per person
BIERGARTEN, GERMANY, EPCOT (dinner)
4x All-you-can-eat buffets
(highlights: fresh-cooked sausages ****, red cabbage ****, Kasselrib ****
lowlight: overcooked spaezele *)
Several Becks Oktoberfest beers *****
$23 per person
VARIOUS COUNTER-SERVICE OUTLETS (lunch, snacks)
Something-and-fries plus soft drink
Typically *** and $7 per head
(Note: in general Resort Id cards are NOT accepted at these outlets. It's probably the only time you will need cash.)
Icecreams $1.25 to $2 each
Some tips for future guests at WDW:
- (For European visitors especially). To lessen the effects of jet-lag, and to beat the crowds a little, we planned to live on a timetable about 2 hours earlier than real time. We stuck to a pattern of getting up at 6 o'clock, having lunch around 11, dinner around 5, and retiring around 10. With the parks closing fairly early at this time of year this worked extremely well.
- If there is a choice of lines, always take the left one. (The difference wasn't always dramatic, but we kept to it all week and it never let us down as a strategy.)
- If your stay is long enough to give you at least two days per park, either take in *all* the shows in one day, or none of them. It makes planning much easier. On the "show day", make a timetable that fits them all in, plus meal breaks, then just take whatever happens to be handy and quiet to fill any gaps.
- For out-of-season visits, if a line is longer than 10 minutes, do something else and come back later. You'll always get there in the end.
- On non-Surprise Mornings, Tomorrowland and Main Street open at 8:30, but all the other lands stay closed and roped off until exactly 9 o'clock.
- The Discovery Center, where you can get heaps of free information and educational material, has recently moved to the ground floor of Inneventions West. Many guides still list it in its old location upstairs (now a shop selling Disney art).
- A bit of fun at ToT, while standing in the library for the build-up: the instant the lights go out and the TV goes off try a very loud scream. It can be surprisingly effective :-)
- Do the "Animation" tour on a weekday, when people are working there.
- Do the four inside-the-movies tours clockwise, from the Backlot Tour to Animation, to minimise walking. That way all your exits and entrances will connect up. (They each have their exit well to the right of their entrance.)
- If you get the chance, try Tower of Terror after dark, it's even better!
- Get into the stage shows 30 minutes before the start time to catch the superb pre-show entertainment.
Bursledon, Southampton, England