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PassPorter’s Walt Disney World for British Holidaymakers Page 1


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PassPorter’s Walt Disney World for British Holidaymakers

PassPorter’s® Walt Disney World for British Holidaymakers A “Brit” Different View of Walt Disney World by Cheryl Pendry by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc. ©P.O.2009 Box 3880, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106 • 877-929-3273 Visit us on the World Wide Web at http://www.passporter.com PassPorter® is a registered trademark of MediaMarx, Inc. Photographs MediaMarx, Inc.

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PassPorter’s® Walt Disney World for British Holidaymakers is not affiliated with, authorized or endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with The Walt Disney Company, Disney Enterprises, Inc., or any of their affiliates. While every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information in this book, the passage of time will always bring changes, and consequently, the publisher cannot accept responsibility for errors that may occur. The author and publisher of this book shall not be held liable for any information (valid or invalid) presented here and do not represent The Walt Disney Company. Walt Disney World® is a registered trademark of The Walt Disney Company. This book makes reference to various Disney copyrighted characters, trademarks, marks, and registered marks owned by The Walt Disney Company, Disney Enterprises, Inc., and other trademark owners. The use in this guide of trademarked names and images is strictly for editorial purposes, and no commercial claim to their use, or suggestion of sponsorship or endorsement, is made by the authors or publisher. Those words or terms that the author and publisher have reason to believe are trademarks are designated as such by the use of initial capitalization, where appropriate. However, no attempt has been made to identify or designate all words or terms to which trademark or other proprietary rights may exist. Nothing contained herein is intended to express a judgment on, or affect the validity of legal status of, any word or term as a trademark, service mark, or other proprietary mark. PassPorter’s® Walt Disney World for British Holidaymakers is authored by Cheryl Pendry and edited by Carrie Hayward. The information presented is for entertainment purposes. Any stated opinions are ours alone, unless otherwise noted, and do not represent The Walt Disney Company or anyone else. Materials submitted and credited by persons other than ourselves are used here with their permission, and any associated rights belong to them. Any and all written messages, suggestions, ideas, or other information shared with the author in response to this guide shall be deemed and shall remain the property of PassPorter Travel Press. Special Sales: PassPorter Travel Press publications are available at special discounts for bulk purchases for sales premiums or promotions. Special editions, including personalized covers and excerpts of existing guides, can be created in large quantities. For information, write to Special Sales, P.O. Box 3880, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48106. Resale of this guide is strictly prohibited without the copyright holder’s permission. If you purchased this publication from someone other than PassPorter Travel Press, please call 877-929-3273.

ISBN-13: 978-1-58771-041-4 ISBN-10: 1-58771-041-2 Version 1.01 (October 28, 2009)

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All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this publication may be stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under sections 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act.


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PassPorter’®s Walt Disney World® for British Holidaymakers Authored by Cheryl Pendry Edited by Carrie Hayward

PassPorter Travel Press An imprint of MediaMarx, Inc. P.O. Box 3880, Ann Arbor, MI 48106 877-WAYFARER http://www.passporter.com


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PassPorter’s Walt Disney World for British Holidaymakers

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About the Editor Carrie Hayward is the author of Passporter’s Disney Weddings and Honeymoons and the editor of PassPorter’s Disney Vacation Club Guide and Passporter’s Festivals and Celebrations at Walt Disney World. She has edited newspaper, magazine, and web copy since 1994, but she’s been a fan of Disneyland all her life. She and her husband, Patrick, try to visit the park monthly, and they especially enjoy date nights at Disneyland for swing dancing at Carnation Plaza Gardens. Carrie and Patrick were married in Epcot’s Morocco Pavilion last year.

Nathan Root

About the Author Cheryl Pendry has been a Disney fan for as long as she can remember and visits Walt Disney World at least once a year with her husband, Mark. A former journalist and keen traveller, Cheryl has visited many different parts of America, and her travels have taken her across Europe and into Asia. She has now visited every Disney park in the world and was on the inaugural Disney cruise around the Mediterranean in 2007. PassPorter’s Walt Disney World for British Holidaymakers is Cheryl’s second book, following publication of her PassPorter’s Disney Vacation Club Guide for Members and Members-To-Be. She has also made numerous contributions to PassPorter’s newsletter. Cheryl has been a peer reviewer of PassPorter’s Walt Disney World, PassPorter’s Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call, and PassPorter’s Disneyland Resort and Southern California Attractions.

Acknowledgments Many thanks to Jennifer and Dave for allowing me to start out on this journey and to Carrie for her help and support—this would never have happened without you! Even bigger thanks to my husband Mark for putting up with all the writing, re-writes, and changes that helped to create this. It’s been a long road, but I got there in the end with something to show for all my hard work! Thank you to the many people who contributed photos to this book: Peter Dutton, DisneyDiana, Michelle Clark, Eileen Farnsworth, Gina Morgan, Barry H., Stephanie Fieldstad, Brad K., Sue M., Jensey Root, Nathan Root, Janet Simonsen, Steve Simonsen, Keith Stanton, Sharon Stevenson, and Marnie Urmaza. A special thanks to these important folks behind the scenes at PassPorter Travel Press: Publishers: Jennifer and Dave Marx Office Manager: Chad Larner Newsletter Editor and Online Coordinator: Sara Varney

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PassPorter Team


PassPorter’s Walt Disney World for British Holidaymakers

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PassPorter Peer Reviewers A regular visitor to Walt Disney World since the age of 8, Carolyn Benjamin is married to Andy and has two children, Joshua and Charlotte. She lives in Hertfordshire. Carolyn says on each and every Disney visit there is a new experience waiting to happen—it truly is a magical place!

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Ray Chapman lives in Bromley with wife Donna and princesses Natalie and Nicola. He first visited Walt Disney World in 1988, was married in the Wedding Pavilion in 1995, and is a Disney Vacation Club member. His favourite spot is the bridge to Adventureland. Isabel Davis lives in North London with her husband, Paul, and two boys, Joshua and Ethan. They love to travel the world but have to feed their Disney addiction by returning to their “happy place,” Walt Disney World, as regularly as time and finances permit. Catherine Deith lives in Glasgow. She is married to Tony and has two sons, Anthony and Christopher. She loves trips to Walt Disney World and is now planning her eighth. Her favourite ride is Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Fiona Hall lives in North Yorkshire and is a regular visitor to the US— especially to Walt Disney World and Disneyland. She and her daughter are working their way through the on-site hotels; if they win the lottery, they would like to stay at the Contemporary and visit Tokyo Disneyland. Emma Hayward lives in Surrey with her husband, Mark, and daughter Evie. She has visited Walt Disney World six times, as well as New York, Boston, Chicago, and Las Vegas, to name but a few! Riding Spaceship Earth is her favourite Disney thing to do. Rachel Hazel lives outside Edinburgh with her husband, Andy, and their daughter, Alexandra. Rachel is a Disney Vacation Club member and has visited Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris. She now hopes to convince her husband to go on their first Disney cruise. Celestine Taylor lives in Reading with her husband, Paul, and daughters, Lauren and Hermione. She has visited the Disney parks on both coasts of the US, cruised on the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder, and been a Disney Vacation Club member since 2007. Kay Ray lives in Yorkshire with her husband, Roger, and three children, Annabel, William, and Imogen. She loves to travel, especially to Florida, and has visited Walt Disney World 12 times since 1994. Her favourite place to be is World Showcase.


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PassPorter’s Walt Disney World for British Holidaymakers

Chapter 1: Planning Your Holiday................................................................................................. 9 Finding the Magic at Home .................................................................................................. 10 Online Disney Magic .............................................................................................................11 Reader Tips: Plan It Up! ........................................................................................................ 12 Chapter 2: Budgeting for American Prices.............................................................................. 13 How Much Does It Cost? ...................................................................................................... 14 Exchange Rates ......................................................................................................................17 Currency Conversion Rate Tables ........................................................................................ 18 Reader Tips: Money, Money, Money! .................................................................................. 22 Chapter 3: Travelling to the States .............................................................................................23 When To Go ...........................................................................................................................24 Orlando Weather .................................................................................................................. 26 Passports and Visa Requirements........................................................................................ 28 Travel Insurance ...................................................................................................................30 Finding Your Way to Florida ................................................................................................. 36 Choosing an Airline .............................................................................................................. 38 Staying Healthy and Happy ................................................................................................. 41 Airport Information ..............................................................................................................43 Arriving in America ..............................................................................................................45 Getting Around .....................................................................................................................49 Driving in America ...............................................................................................................54 Staying in Touch ................................................................................................................... 57 Staying Safe ..........................................................................................................................60 Packing ..� 62 A Brit’s Packing List ..............................................................................................................64 Reader Tips: Travel Time! ..................................................................................................... 66 Chapter 4: Staying in Style ...........................................................................................................67 Staying in Walt Disney World............................................................................................... 68 Disney’s All-Star Resorts ...................................................................................................... 71 Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Villas Resort ............................................................. 72 Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and Villas Resort ........................................................................... 73 Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort ....................................................................................... 74 Disney’s Contemporary Resort ............................................................................................ 75 Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort ...................................................................................... 76 Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground ............................................................ 77 Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa ............................................................................ 78 Disney’s Old Key West Resort .............................................................................................. 79 Disney’s Polynesian Resort ..................................................................................................80 Disney’s Pop Century Resort ............................................................................................... 81 Disney’s Port Orleans Resort ............................................................................................... 82 Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa .......................................................................... 83 Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resorts ...................................................................84 Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Villas Resort ...................................................................... 85 Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club and Villas Resorts ............................................................. 86 Disney Vacation Club ........................................................................................................... 87 Staying Outside Walt Disney World .................................................................................... 89 Reader Tips: Rest Easy ........................................................................................................ 102 Chapter 5: Touring the Parks .....................................................................................................103 Tickets to the Magic ...........................................................................................................104 Other Park Tickets .............................................................................................................. 106

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Table of Contents


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Walt Disney World Resort.................................................................................................... 111 Magic Kingdom .............................................................................................................112 Epcot ..............................................................................................................................118 Disney’s Hollywood Studios......................................................................................... 122 Disney’s Animal Kingdom ............................................................................................ 124 Parades and Night-time Entertainment ..................................................................... 126 Backstage Tours ........................................................................................................... 128 Disney’s Water Parks ....................................................................................................132 Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex ..................................................................... 136 Downtown Disney .........................................................................................................137 Beyond Walt Disney World .................................................................................................144 Universal Orlando ........................................................................................................144 SeaWorld Orlando ........................................................................................................ 155 Discovery Cove .............................................................................................................163 Aquatica ........................................................................................................................167 Wet ’n Wild ................................................................................................................... 169 Busch Gardens ............................................................................................................. 170 Kennedy Space Center .................................................................................................178 Planning Your Stay...............................................................................................................181 Reader Tips: Smart Touring ............................................................................................... 184 Chapter 6: Feasting and Snacking ............................................................................................ 185 Dining Differences ............................................................................................................. 186 Dining Disney-style ............................................................................................................ 188 Disney Restaurants ............................................................................................................ 195 Dining at Universal Studios Florida ................................................................................... 210 Dining at Islands of Adventure ...........................................................................................211 Dining at CityWalk .............................................................................................................. 212 Dining at SeaWorld Orlando .............................................................................................. 213 Dining at Busch Gardens.................................................................................................... 215 Dining Outside the Parks ................................................................................................... 216 Dinner Shows ...................................................................................................................... 219 Reader Tips: Chew on This!................................................................................................ 222 Chapter 7: Making More Magic ................................................................................................ 223 Magical Beginnings ............................................................................................................224 Magic for Children ............................................................................................................. 231 Celebrations at Disney ....................................................................................................... 233 Disney Magic Outside the “World” ................................................................................... 236 Disney Cruise Line ............................................................................................................. 237 Even More Magic ............................................................................................................... 240 Shopping in Style ................................................................................................................ 241 Understanding the American Language! .........................................................................245 Reader Tips: Maximise the Magic .....................................................................................250 About This E-Book ..................................................................................................................... 251 “Free” E-Books ............................................................................................................................ 252 PassPorter 30% Discount .......................................................................................................... 253 Partial PassPorter Title List ........................................................................................................ 253 What Is PassPorter? ...................................................................................................................254 More PassPorters ....................................................................................................................... 255 Even More PassPorters .............................................................................................................. 256 PassPorter E-Books .................................................................................................................... 257 Register Your PassPorter ........................................................................................................... 259 PassPorter Online ......................................................................................................................260


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PassPorter’s Walt Disney World for British Holidaymakers

About this “Brit” Different Guide

If you’ve already read PassPorter’s Walt Disney World guidebook, you’ll know that it runs to more than 250 pages of everything you could ever want to know about all the Disney resorts, parks, attractions, and restaurants. There’s not enough space in there to add everything that we Brits also want to know, so that’s what this guide sets out to accomplish. If you haven’t read PassPorter’s Walt Disney World, there’s never been a better time to get your hands on a copy, as this book is designed to be a companion to it. Orders can be made online at http://www.passporter.com. This book looks at everything British travellers need to know to ensure that their Disney vacations go as smoothly as possible. We start with the planning, budgeting, and travelling stage of your holiday so that you know everything you need to before you head to the airport. It’s just as important to know what awaits you when you get to your destination, and we’ve covered that with chapters looking at the wonderful resorts, parks, and restaurants in and around the Walt Disney World Resort. We also look at other magical ways to spend your time in Orlando, including the all-important pasttime of shopping, with plenty of bargains to be found. Planning is definitely the key to a successful holiday, and nowhere is that more true than at Walt Disney World, with its myriad of choices of things to do. This guide helps to take some of the stress out of the planning process and makes sure that you don’t miss anything important.

Kent, England

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Cheryl Pendry

Cheryl Pendry

I hope that this guide helps you to discover the wonderful world of Disney magic that awaits you—and don’t forget to submit your magical memories and travel tips to share with other British travellers! You can contact me and the publishers with your tips and comments at http://www.passporter.com/wdw/ britsguide.asp.

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Having been involved as a Peer Reviewer of PassPorter’s Walt Disney World for a number of years, I’ve been waving the flag for British travellers for some time, making many comments about extra information that should be included for those of us who head across the “pond” rather than across a few states.


PassPorter’s Walt Disney World for British Holidaymakers

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Chapter 1:

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Planning Your Holiday Walt Disney World is 43 square miles, which means it covers a larger area than many of our cities, including Liverpool, Newcastle-uponTyne, Manchester, and Bristol. So forget any ideas that this place is an American version of Chessington World of Adventures or Alton Towers. It’s on a far bigger scale altogether. With four major theme parks, two water parks, a massive shopping and dining complex, three golf courses, and more than 20 on-site resort hotels, a world of choice awaits every visitor to Walt Disney World. Your first decision is usually the length of your holiday, with most people opting for at least the standard fortnight. A minimum of two weeks may sound like a long time, but by the time you add in the other major theme parks of Orlando—Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and SeaWorld—you’ll soon be running out of days to visit everything. And that’s before you’ve even planned time for relaxing or that all-important pastime for any of us visiting America—shopping. This is also why planning ahead is so important. There’s too much to see and do on any one trip, but by working out which parks and attractions matter most to you, you can set realistic targets for your holiday. This e-book is designed to be a companion to the general guidebook PassPorter’s Walt Disney World, which gives you the basics. Use it in conjunction with this book and you’ll have everything the British traveller needs to know. This first chapter of PassPorter’s Walt Disney World for British Holidaymakers looks at the planning resources available to you before you even leave the country and shows how you can get in the mood for your Walt Disney World visit. The following chapters take you through the planning process from a purely British perspective, looking at budgeting, travelling, accommodation, touring the parks, and, my favourite part, dining.


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PassPorter’s Walt Disney World for British Holidaymakers

Finding the Magic at Home

The Disney Store—We’re lucky enough to have a number of Disney Stores around the country where you can get your regular Disney fix. The traditional range of cuddly toys and children’s clothing remains, but is now complemented by adult clothing and accessories and more items for the home. Locate your nearest UK Disney Store at http://disneystore-shopping.disney.co.uk. For those of you who are Disney Vacation Club members (see page 87), don’t forget to present your membership card every time you visit for a 10% discount on all your purchases.

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Cheryl Pendry

Get your fix at the Disney Store

Other Shops with Disney Items—The Disney Store isn’t the only place to find Disney merchandise. These days it’s available in many of the major shops, with Disney DVDs, videos, and CDs widely available. There are a number of magazines for youngsters, including Disney and Me, Playhouse Disney Magazine, and Disney Tinkerbell Magazine. Many shops have realised the selling power of Disney and are stocking a range of products. Clinton Cards (http://www.clintoncards.co.uk) has a cute selection of Eeyore items, including cuddly toys and cards. Adults can find Disney clothing at several other shops. BHS (http://www.bhs.co.uk) in particular stocks a great range of women’s nightwear. Disney Online—There’s plenty more to explore online at http://www.disney.co.uk, which has details of all the Disney offerings in the UK. There are links to help you plan your holiday not just in Florida, but also on the Disney Cruise Line and in the parks in Anaheim, Paris, and even Tokyo and Hong Kong. Also available are Disney ringtones and graphics for your mobile phone, along with audio-visual products made especially for boys and girls. And there’s a complete range of baby products and a wide range of games and “D-cards” to send on special occasions. Disney TV—If you’re lucky enough to have Sky or Virgin Media, you c a n g e t a d a i l y d o s e o f D i s n e y w it h a p a ck a g e o f D i s n e y T V (http://www.disney.co.uk/DisneyChannel). In addition to the original Disney Channel, which has popular shows like Lizzie McGuire and That’s So Raven, Disney Cinemagic offers you a mix of your favourite Disney films and animated TV series; Playhouse Disney provides entertainment for the youngest of children, like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Handy Manny; and Disney XD (which replaced Toon Disney) is aimed at boys.

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Let’s start with the fun stuff—Disney magic! Here are some of the best ways to enjoy the magic here at home as you prepare for your Disney holiday.


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Online Disney Magic These days, you can find just about anything you want online, and information about Walt Disney World is no exception. There are plenty of sources of Disney information on the Internet, many of them aimed specifically at British travellers.

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PassPorter has its own web site, with articles from the weekly newsletter, tips, ideas, and forums discussing all things Disney. Visit us at http://www.passporter.com. Did you know that Walt Disney World has its own web site especially for the British market? You can find it at http://www.disneyworld.co.uk. Although it has the same basic information Disney offers American travellers—such as calendars, maps, and a dining finder—the web site has lots of special offers, including ticket options that are only available to purchase in the UK. This is also the place to get your free holiday-planning kit, check the park hours, find out about special events, and explore the restaurants (to book dining reservations online you will need to visit the US site at the following link, which will prevent your being redirected to the UK site: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/restaurants/?forceDomestic=true). The Walt Disney World & Orlando Unofficial Guide, which can be found at http://www.wdisneyw.co.uk, is a UK-based guide packed full of useful information. It’s not just about the Disney parks; it also covers the Universal parks, SeaWorld, and Discovery Cove. The Resources section is particularly useful and includes maps, tips, photos, and sounds from Walt Disney World—even Disney lyrics! The Dibb, at http://www.thedibb.co.uk, describes itself as “Disney with a British accent”. This is another extremely comprehensive web site covering accommodation and attractions inside and outside of Walt Disney World. It has some very useful sections, including tips about diabetic dining, travelling to Disney while pregnant, and bringing children with autism. The Dibb’s review section, which covers restaurants and hotels, is a good way to find out about places you might be thinking of staying or dining. The DIS Discussion Forums at http://www.disboards.com have some good British discussion boards. DIS-UK includes a trip planning section and UK trip reports. This is very useful for a British slant on trips to Walt Disney World. Another helpful forum is their DIS-UK Disney Vacation Club discussion, which covers issues unique to British owners in Disney’s version of timeshare (see page 87). Last but not least, AllEarsNet, at http://www.allears.net, is a handy resource. Although this is an American site, it’s packed full of just about anything you could ever want to know about Walt Disney World, and the range of online menus is a particular favourite of mine. We all know that the weather is a major concern when you have a dream vacation planned to Florida. To help with packing, you can find a 10-day forecast on the Weather Channel’s web site (http://www.weather.com) or a 15-day forecast at Accuweather’s web site (http://www.accuweather.com). To search for Walt Disney World by zip code, use 32830. Another option is the BBC, who offer a five-day forecast at http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather. Placeholder text to make link work!


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