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INTERCOT > Interactive > INTERCOT Insider Archive > February 2009 Edition 2


February 2009 Edition 2

Now Over 16,000 Subscribers!

Brought to you by INTERCOT's network of sites:
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<< Introduction >>

Winter is beginning to wind down as Spring starts to creep in, snow banks are melting and giving way to running streams.  With Spring right around the corner Spring Break is approaching fast and there's no better place to spend it than at a the Walt Disney World or Disneyland resorts.  In this edition of the Insider we get the low-down on some great hotel rates, bring you some great trip tips, cover dining budgeting FAQ's, learn some great ways to bid the time while traveling, get the best reasons to stay on the board walk, and tackle some Disney trivia.  It's Insider time!

<<Many Ways to Save>>


With the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin 


Special Days Means Special Rates!

Celebrate Your Birthday: Receive a complimentary room night on your birthday and more!

Stay Connected: Book any room in 2009 and reserve a second guest room for only $99.

Additional Special Offers: If you are a member of our military, a teacher or school support staff member, nurse or Florida resident, we have additional packages available just for you!

2009 Special Values: Take advantage of these special low rates available now for various dates in 2009. 

May 20 – May 27 Starting at $169
Aug. 19 – Sept. 11 Starting at $149
Sept. 25 – Oct. 2 Starting at $149
Dec. 13 – Dec. 21 Starting at $149


To learn more about our specials, call (888) 828-8850


>> Details and Reservations


<<INTERCOTee Trip Tips>>

A sampling of tips and tidbits shared on the INTERCOT Discussion Boards during the month of February 2009:

You can get FastPass's during an a.m. Extra Magic Hour - they usually don't kick in until after 10:00 am, but we've never had a problem getting FastPass's  during an a.m. Extra Magic Hour for various attractions. The only caveat would be if Disney is not opening a section of the park or the FastPass kiosks at the particular attraction you're going for. For example, in the Magic Kingdom, you can't get over to Splash Mountain/Big Thunder Mountain until 9 am, so you wouldn't be able to get a FastPass.--KylesMom

What I love about the Polynesian Resort is the casual, remote feel. You walk around the lush, tropical grounds and almost forget you're not on an island somewhere. But then you get a glimpse of the castle and you remember you're in Disney World. The beach is a great place to relax, watch fireworks, and catch the Electric Water Pageant. Captain Cook's, the quick service place, is open 24 hours, making it easy to grab snacks or refreshments at any time. Great restaurants and fun shopping at the Great Ceremonial House. The transportation options are the best anywhere, right next to the Ticket & Transportation Center.--SBETigg

We like The Captain's Gill a lot. Food offerings and overall feel reminds me a lot of the Grand Floridian Cafe. Not on the high end, not on the low end. Just a nice meal, a nice atmosphere and a great location. Always great to walk around the Yacht Club/Beach Club area before and/or after your meal and take in the beauty of the resort.--jakeybake

I highly recommend to pre-purchase PhotoPass CD. We only had about 100 shots from my dear wife's birthday, but by the time we added embellishments, changes to black n white, adding signatures etc, we had over 300 final shots. Also, if you pre purchase, there is no shipping and handling fees.--DDuck66

Boatwright's Dining Hall at Disney's Port Orleans - Riverside will no longer be open for breakfast effective Sunday, February 22, 2009. Dinner will continue to be offered daily. Guests looking for dining options at Port Orleans - Riverside throughout the day are invited to visit the Riverside Mill for a wide variety of meals or the River Roost for lounge-style dining.--joelkfla

We spent an entire evening in World Showcase at Epcot going around to each Kidcot stop with my son's autograph book.  Each Cast Member at the different countries stamped his autograph book and wrote something in there. The Norway girl wrote in Norwegian "Did you know that Norway invented the paper clip". Other countries like Japan and China wrote our son's name in their own letters. The best was the guy in Morocco - he wrote a ton of things in Arabic and French for our son, and taught him some new words! He really spent a lot of time with our son who was 3 and we will always remember him in particular.--Buttercup

All resort pools have life vests. All you need is to show your room key, also...they are complementary length of stay. -- Figaro

The Walt Disney World Dolphin resort has several restaurants from cafeteria (Picabu) to fine dining (Shulas). Picabu's is a good place for breakfast and they have a refillable mug. It is there own mug though, you can't use the Walt Disney World mug.--big blue and hairy

I get motion sick easy and often and Toy story Mania was no problem. Sometimes the corners, as you go from one shooting screen to the other, are abrupt but I just close my eyes. The "shooting" at the targets is all done while your cart is stationary so there is no "3D effect" while the cart is moving. When the shooting is done and you get ready to move to the next target room I just close my eyes. It is nothing like a 3D motion simulator ride.--Jeff

We stayed at the Grand Floridian resort on the second floor of the Conch Key building right above the boat dock and had a spectacular view. We got to see and hear wishes each night from our balcony plus see the water light parade! It was awesome, I doubt that I would do it again just because of the extra cost, but I am glad we did it one time. It was also so relaxing to just sit on the balcony and see the water and the view.--tnpoohbear

We love breakfast at the Main Street Bakery. They have lots to pick from like muffins, breakfast sandwiches, cinnamon rolls and even assorted cereals if your kids are ultra picky.--emmatink

The campfire program at Fort Wilderness is free and completely separate from the Hoop-de-Doo Revue. The fire lighting is at 6:30, sing-along starts at 7:00, and the movie starts at 7:40.  We did this a number of years ago and the kids really enjoyed it. They sell kits to make smores there, which was a big hit. Chip and Dale come around and sign autographs. We didn't stay for too much of the movie, just because it was going to be too late for young children. We were staying at Fort Wilderness in a cabin, so it was very easy for us. If you're staying somewhere else you'll want to have a transportation plan so you can get back later.--princessesmom

<<Food For Thought>>  

Jeanne will return with another scrumptious restaurant review next month, in this edition we take a look at some FAQ's regarding how to budget for Dining while at vacationing at the Walt Disney World resort.


Q: Are restaurant menus with prices available on-line?

A: Full menus are not officially published on-line.  Many unofficial sites, including INTERCOT.com, publish official menus from many Walt Disney World restaurants.  While these menus contain accurate pricing at the time of publishing, prices fluctuate often. Prices published on-line should not be expected to be exactly the same during any Guest's visit to the Walt Disney World resort.  Prices published on-line should be used as a general guide to budget for one's trip.


Q: What tax rate can I expect?

A: A sales tax of 6.5% should be budgeted for most Walt Disney World restaurants when applicable. The All-Star Resorts are located in a different county than the rest of the resort and a 7% sales tax should be budgeted for applicable meals at these resorts.


Q: What amount of Gratuity is typical?

A: While gratuity is typically at the Guest's discretion, the Walt Disney World resort suggests a gratuity of 18% for adequate service.


Q: Is Gratuity ever automatically included?

A: For parties of 6 or more Guests; Guests using the Tables in Wonderland discount; Guests dining at pre-paid locations; or Guests using a dining delivery service, a gratuity of 18% is automatically included.  The Pepper Market at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort automatically charges a 10% gratuity for all meals.


Q: I've found a menu posted on-line from the same month I am visiting, should I expect this to reflect the same prices I will encounter?

A: No, prices can change at anytime with-out notification.  Although it may seem likely that a recent menu may contain the same prices one may encounter on their trip, there is no set time at which prices may change.  Prices published on-line should only be used as a general guide to budget for one's trip no matter how recent the menu is.


Q: What should I budget for bottled soft drinks and snacks?

A: Bottled soft drinks should currently be budgeted at ~$2.00, ice cream novelties should currently be budgeted at ~$2.50 to  ~$3.00, and most other snacks should currently be budgeted at ~$2.50 to ~$4.00.


<<Hitting The Holiday Road with Jen>>  


Driving to the Walt Disney World or Disneyland resorts for Spring Break can be a long journey for many Guests.  Jen has a family game to share that can make hitting the Holiday Road just as fun as the vacation itself!


Growing up with 6 brothers and sisters, our family vacations involved camping all over the Eastern seaboard – anywhere and everywhere from Niagara Falls to Fort Wilderness and back again. So, there were many, many, many (did I stress many?) long car trips during our summers growing up. Entertainment for those car rides was a world apart from what it is today, as there were no iPods, no portable DVD players, no Nintendo DS Lite’s…..there were books, magazines, I spy games and word games. When the Walkman first came out, we were opened up to a whole new world…..one that didn’t involve fighting over the radio, or listening to Mom and Dad’s music!

One of our favorite games to play in the car was Uncle Steve’s Game. Now, this may already be a popular game, and it may go by another name, but it was our Uncle Steve who taught it to us when we were kids, so it’s always been Uncle Steve’s Game to us!

Supplies needed: Paper, pencils 

On a piece of paper, write a column of numbers from 1 to 26. Next to those numbers, write the Alphabet, in order. (so, you’ll have 1) A; 2) B, etc.)

Now, you need to think of a phrase that is 26 letters long – for my example, I’ll use “Disney World is our happy place”. Write that phrase down, line by line, along side the alphabet. So, it should look like this:

1) A D
2) B I
3) C S
4) D N
5) E E
6) F Y
7) G W
8) H O
9) I R (and so on….)

Now you should have a list of 26 initials – the object of the game is to come up with as many people or places that you can (no more than one for each set of initials). Cartoon and television character names are allowed, as this makes it easier for smaller children – but, you can really set your own rules for what’s allowed.

So, here are some of my answers as examples:

1) A D
2) B I Burl Ives
3) C S Chelsea Staub (Conor helped me with that one!)
4) D N
5) E E Erik Estrada (sorry, I’m dating myself with that one! J )
6) F Y
7) G W George Washington
8) H O
9) I R

For every original person or place you come up with, you get 10 points. If other people come up with the same person or place, everyone gets 5 points. When time is up (again, you can set your own amount of time), you go through the list, figure out your points, and whomever has the highest number of points wins. You need to be flexible, especially with kids, and it helps to have an impartial judge if someone questions an answer.

Once that game is done, then you can switch things around – you can use your phrase column first, then the alphabet, or list the alphabet upside down, then use your phrase….there’s no limit to how you do it, as long as you end up with 26 sets of initials.

Thanks Uncle Steve – you helped make many a car trip fly by with this game!!

<<Clubbing Around the World with Mikki>> 


In this series of articles we will take a personal look at the various Disney Vacation Club (DVC) resorts at Walt Disney World. Having covered the first resort, Disney's Old Key West, we move onto the second resort that opened in 1996, Disney's Boardwalk Villas. 

The Boardwalk couldn't be more different to Old Key West. From a quiet retreat you come into the center of the action. You can walk to Epcot (and the studios if you are feeling energetic) and at the end of the day the fun still continues when you get back to the Boardwalk. Plenty of choice for Restaurants and Bars close by, as well as a fun old time bar inside.

Did I mention the views? Boardwalk has a few standard rooms (very few if you ever try to book them) but the views over Epcot and the other hotels are stunning. Frankly the pool view is fun too but it isn't quite the same. Talking of the pool, some people love it while others don't rate it. Personally I think it looks cute.

I like to try out the new resorts so one time I did try and stay here and used the waitlist. No luck so this is one of the few DVC places I have never stayed at. Like some of the newer DVC sites there are not that many rooms but the next couple had fewer yet. Oh, and what rooms there were, were a lot smaller than at Old Key West. Disney claimed that feedback from owners said they didn't need such big rooms. That may be true but it sure is nice to have the big rooms! Whatever, all DVC resorts since then have been to a smaller standard layout (until Kidani village – more later on that). For many years the DVC preview site was here, after Commodore house closed at Old Key West. It was a good location with the boardwalk being central and having plenty of walk in visitors.

Boardwalk Villas and Old Key West have something in common that none of the other current Walt Disney World DVC resorts have. Do you know what that is? Some planned but discarded DVC resorts would have had the same but you will have to wait till the next installment to find out what it is!

<< Disney Facts & Stats with Ron >>

Big Thunder Mountain at Walt Disney World cost as much to build in 1979 as the entire Disneyland theme park in 1955 - $17 million.

How fast is Space Mountain? The top speed of this popular attraction is a mere 28 mph, the slowest of all the Disney mountain rides.

The very first attractions to offer FastPass were Countdown to Extinction (now Dinosaur!), Kali River Rapids and Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney's Animal Kingdom in July 1999.

The former Horizons attraction at Epcot (October 1983 - January 1999) was the first attraction to allow guests to actually choose their own ending for the ride. Guests would push a button in their ride vehicle to select one of three ending scenes.

The restaurant in Cinderella Castle was originally named King Stefan's Banquet Hall. But King Stefan was Sleeping Beauty's father, not Cinderella's. Oops! The restaurant was renamed Cinderella's Royal Table in 1997.

<< Conclusion >>

That wrap's up this edition.  We hope it's given you some great ways to save on your accommodations, helped you budget your dining expenses, or given you some great tips to make a on a 2009 Disney World Vacation extra enjoyable.  As flowers start to peak out from snow dusted feilds, something magical is starting to bloom at Walt Disney World.  We'll be back in a few weeks with a first look at the 16th Annual Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.  See ya real soon!

<< Thank You To Our Sponsors! >>

The INTERCOT Insider and INTERCOT.com are supported by the following sponsors who in turn, help us bring the Magic to you!

All Star Vacation Homes
Website: Vacation Home Details Here
Choose from the finest selection of vacation homes and condos in the closest locations to Walt Disney World.

Clarion Resort & Waterpark
Website: http://www.clarionwaterpark.com
The perfect hotel for your family's next vacation. Conveniently located in Kissimmee, yet convenient to many Orlando attractions, the Clarion Resort & Water Park is a full-service Orlando area hotel and conference center with four restaurants, a spa, a teen activity area, a children's playroom and a state-of-the-art water park that's perfect for kids of all ages.

The Official Ticket Center
Website: Buy & Price Tickets Now!
The Official Ticket Center is Walt Disney World’s, Universal Studios and Sea World’s #1 guest service provider for the last 3 years. The Official Ticket Center sells tickets only, at a discount price.

Magical Journeys
Website: http://www.yourmagicaljourneys.com
INTERCOT's Official Travel Agency.  An unconventional Travel Agency for the unconventional client, Magical Journeys is dedicated to finding the best pricing for your next magical journey. We work hard to save you money, and still give you the quality service you deserve.

Mandara Spa - WDW Swan & Dolphin
Website: http://www.mandaraspa.com
The spectacular Mandara Spa creates an unforgettable guest experience within a magical setting surrounded by the paradise that is the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin.

Quicksilver Tours & Transportation
Website: http://www.quicksilver-tours.com
Our drivers are the first personal contact you have when you arrive in Orlando.  No other transportation company goes to the lengths we do to ensure that your trip is exactly how you imagined it. At Quicksilver, we truly believe there's no such thing as going "above and beyond" for our clients. Instead, it's all part of doing our jobs correctly.

Radisson Resort Orlando - Celebration
Resort Details Here
Conveniently located just 1.5 miles from Walt Disney World with free shuttle service. roomy guest accommodations and a Starbucks and Pizza Hut right on property!

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort
Website: http://www.swandolphin.com
In the heart of the Walt Disney World® Resort, the award-winning Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort is your gateway to Central Florida’s greatest theme parks and attractions. Come discover our 17 world-class restaurants and lounges, sophisticated guest rooms with Westin Heavenly Beds®, the luxurious Mandara Spa, and many special Disney benefits.

The Timeshare Store
Website: http://www.dvc-resales.com
This Disney Vacation Club resale site offers the largest selection of DVC Resale's anywhere!  They are the number one Disney Vacation Club Reseller in the world. See how easy and affordable it is to purchase your very own piece of the "MAGIC".

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