When you get in trouble and you don’t know right from wrong
Give a little whistle! Give a little whistle! — Jiminy Cricket
Do you have a Disney dilemma? Are you wondering about a certain attraction? Are you curious about a resort or a cruise? Give us a little whistle and we’ll help you sort out how to handle it. Questions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. If your dilemma is trip-related, please include when you will be traveling.
Q. Do you think that the week before Easter 2011, which is April 24, will be very busy next year? (Submitted by Margie)
A. Margie, the weeks before and after Easter are traditionally chock-o-block, second only to the week between Christmas and New Year, for the prize of “most crowded” at the Disney parks. The upside of the crowds is that Disney pulls out all the stops, scheduling lots of extra entertainment and super-long park hours. The downside is, clearly, the sheer number of people with whom you’ll have to contend. We have to say, though, that as much as we like a quiet day in January for visiting the parks, there’s something really exciting about being at Disney during the busy times, too. Everywhere you look, there’s something happening. But it’s not for the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants traveler.
If you’ve no flexibility as to dates, we’d highly recommend having a good plan. It’s very doable to have a great time at Disney and experience the highlights of Walt Disney World. But seriously, not if you are with a group that wants to wing it. We’d recommend thinking through your vacation, knowing when you’re going to each park, having all of your dining plans in place, etc. Resources we like are the knowledgeable folks at TheMouseForLess.com’s yahoogroup, the forums at TourGuideMiKE.com, and the touring advice at Touringplans.com (associated with the Unofficial Guide to WDW).
Q. I’ve been to the World four times and I’ve always been able to go around late September, or the beginning of October, with wonderful weather and minimal crowds. My husband is finally ready for his first trip, but the dilemma is he wants to go somewhere around the 18th of December till the 24-25th. I love the idea of seeing all the Christmas decorations and especially the castle lit up, but honestly, how bad are the crowds going to be? Also, I see that it is much more expensive to stay there at that time. I love the Fort Wilderness Cabins, peaceful, full kitchen, quiet, outdoorsy, but wow, the price is much more than I expected. What are your thoughts? (Submitted by Amy)
A. Amy, our advice to Margie counts for you too, as that week leading up to Christmas is very, very popular. Planning will be the name of the game, especially since we’re sure you want your husband’s first trip to be extra magical (and not only because it might translate to even more Disney trips in the future). The nice thing is that, if you plan, there’s not a more wonderful time to visit Disney World than the holiday season. The Osborne Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Candlelight Processional at Epcot, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom – you just can’t beat this stuff.
As for the added expense, there’s no getting around it, unless perhaps you’re willing to stay off-site (and we get that this is a hard pill to swallow). If your husband has any flexibility on his dates, and can even move up your vacation by a week, you avoid the holiday season price hit. If there is no flexibility in your dates, you can console yourself that your dates aren’t as expensive as those the following week.
Q. We will be at Walt Disney World this summer for a week, first time. I’m trying to fit everything in, but I also don’t want to kill my family. Do you think Downtown Disney is worth visiting? Or could we skip it, without regrets? (Submitted by Elliot)
A. Elliot, you are a smart man. You’re recognizing that you just can’t do it all. Between us here at Magically Speaking, we’ve been to WDW an embarrassing number of times, and yet even we haven’t done everything. You just can’t!
So, you have a week, and you wonder about Downtown Disney. While we know we’ll receive e-mails from folks begging to differ, we’d say that yes, you can skip Downtown Disney without regrets. Especially if the tradeoff is getting to have a waterpark visit, for instance, or a second visit to the Magic Kingdom or Epcot. And a schedule that doesn’t have you going from sun-up to sun-down every day. That’ll suck the “magical” out of anyone’s Disney vacation.
Downtown Disney has some fun shops, no doubt about it. If you have a shopper in your group, we can’t say enough good things about Mouse Gears at Epcot. Mouse Gears isn’t as massive as The World of Disney at DtD, but it’s second best. And while you’re at Epcot, don’t miss the shops around the World Showcase!