20 September 2007


Whenever I put together a trip for friends and family, there are always some foreign terms they encounter that they want to know what they are, or what my opinion of these are. So this edition of Dis-tionary is going to be general vacation trip knowledge to those of you who in the Disney Geek category. While this information is regurgitated and available all over the web, I’m also going to put in my two cents on them as well. Keep in mind that the first two topics discussed today require that you are staying at a resort on Walt Disney World property, the third is for all guests with a valid park ticket.

Extra Magic Hours (EMHs) – On any given day a theme park can open an hour earlier than regular park opening or stay open up to three hours after regular park closing. Water parks use only morning Extra Magic Hours. During these hours most attractions are available for you to enjoy. If a park is opening early, you will be required to show your resort ID (keycard) and have a valid park ticket. If a park is staying open late, cast members will be in designated areas checking tickets and resort IDs, after they check your IDs, they will give you a special wristband allowing you to stay in the park after closing.

My feelings on EMHs are thus; I love this idea! Yes, it requires the park to close a little earlier some nights, I can remember when the Magic Kingdom was open until 12 or 1am without any extra hours, but I think overall it does draw guests to the resorts. Now, just because I love the idea, doesn’t mean I love Extra Magic Hours in their execution. In my travels I actually avoid parks with EMHs in the evenings, the crowds are insane and, unless you stay until the very end of the evening, lines are not any shorter. It seems that everyone can stay up late when they are on vacation. As for morning hours, the opposite seems to apply, not everyone wants to get up early enough to get to morning EMHs, and that makes them perfect times to make runs at the major attractions of a given park. Oh, and a final tidbit, Disney states that a park stays open up to an additional three hours, I have never seen an evening Extra Magic Hours that lasted less than three hours.

Magical Express – Walt Disney World will pick you up at Orlando International Airport and deliver you right to your resort. They will also get your luggage and deliver it straight to your room. When returning home, they will pick you up at your resort and hand deliver you back to Orlando International Airport.

Magical Express is a hit or miss with me. While it provides you with less stress, it also condemns you to only Disney transportation during the course of your stay. Sometimes having your own vehicle, or a rental car, is a blessing. You don’t have to get on crowded buses at the end of an evening where everyone is channeling Grumpy or Sleepy, or the occasional Dopey, you can also pick up groceries off property if you need them, and can make better time to the parks than the buses. Now, if you are planning on only using Disney transportation, this is a great benefit for you.

Fastpass (FP) – Fastpass allows you to reserve a place in line at select attractions throughout the parks. Simply slide your park ticket at a Fastpass kiosk which will return your ticket to you as well as a second ticket that gives you a return time to enter the attraction with a nominal wait time. One fastpass is required per person, not group. You can obtain a Fastpass for another attraction after the window opens for your current Fastpass, or after two hours has passed, whichever comes first.

If you know how to use the Fastpass system, this can greatly enhance any trip. That is to say you know when an attraction is worth using the system, what attractions run out of Fastpasses early, and if a wait time even warrants using a Fastpass. Going into that here and now would take quite a bit longer and begin to sound like an annoying buzzing in your ear. So maybe we’ll save that for a later time, a possibly break it up in a few segments.

I’ll be headed down to Walt Disney World next Friday (September 28) through the following Tuesday (October 2) for a final trip with my Dad before my wedding. I will be there for Epcot’s 25th Rededication, the Celebration 25 group photo, and a Netcot get together. There will be plenty to talk about when I get back, and I’ll be letting you in on some of the new things I am going to be talking about near the end of next week, but in order to prepare for the trip I am going to start a series of articles tomorrow that deal with one of my favorite parts of any trip, the food. I know I’ve mentioned some treats and favorites of mine here and there, but now we’re really going to be cooking. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Hope to see you around the table tomorrow. Sorry again.

No comments: