Brenda & Roger

Planning to have FUN at DisneyWorld!

In Dreams Come True on February 14, 2011 at 11:58 am

It was a cold and snowy day.

Both Brenda and I had a “bonus day off” due to inclement weather, and Brenda suggested we use the time to plan our upcoming March Walt Disney World Trip.

Apparently, she got more than she bargained for.

A couple of years ago, I settled down at my local Border’s Book Store with every available guide book to Walt Disney World. They were all useful, but my overwhelming favorite was called  PassPorter.


The best part are the maps!

The reason I fell in love with the PassPorter was the maps–I’ll show you what I mean in a moment.

But I do want to mention a few other elements of the PassPorter which make it a fantastic planning tool:

  • There is a list of every attraction in each park (Magic Kingdom, Animal Kindom, Epcot and Disney Hollywood Studios)
  • With each attraction, PassPorter provides “reviews” from various child perspectives: Toddler, Kid, Tween, & Teen
  • For the rides, PassPorter describes the experience, so certain old fogies (like Roger!) can avoid rides with “drops”
  • PassPorter has envelopes to organize your paperwork: with titles like: “Our Room(s),” “Our First Day,” through “Our Tenth Day,” and one blank; these include (this list is not complete!) slots for receipts, small tickets, etc.; blanks for scheduling each day; “Things to Do, Places to Go, Attractions to Visit”; “Memories of Our Ninth Day”; “Budget and Expenses”; and, my personal favorite, “Notes for Next Time”
  • PassPorter has advice on how to get around the Parks and Resorts, incuding a “Disney Property Transportation Chart”
  • PassPorter provides information about all the resorts and hotels

Additionally, there’s an entire on-line community to share your adventures and passion for Disney with; a ready-made friends group, where you don’t need to explain why you keep going back, over and over and over and over and over again.

I’ve only scratched the surface on all the benefits of the PassPorter–I bought the spiral-bound Deluxe Edition, so I can upgrade the pages for just a few dollars, plus I can remove the important pages and bring them with me to the parks (though there are many folks who would never dream of attending the parks without their PassPorter in their backpack).

The reason I chose the PassPorter from all other contenders was:

The Maps!

Yes, you can get free maps of each park at each park. But the PassPorter map is, in my opinion, superior.

Here’s the Disney MGM (now Disney Hollywood) Studios map  you get at Disney:

The map you get from Disney

Disney map: note "Key"


Each area has a number, you look up the number in the “Key,” and you see what it is.

Here’s the PassPorter version of Disney Hollywood Studios:

PassPorter Map of Disney Hollywood Studios

The PassPorter Maps are great!

Here’s a closer look:

Toy Story Mania: Our First Objective!

A closer look at the PassPorter Map of Disney Hollywood Studios

You can get a better look at the map, as well as get a feel for the rest of the PassPorter, by clicking PassPorter Preview and flipping through the pages. When you decide to join the PassPorter community, tell ’em Brenda and Roger sent you!

Brenda and I went through the list of attractions at each park–for example, Disney Hollywood Studios–picked out our “must sees,” and then, using the map, determined when to do what, so that we are constantly moving from one favorite spot to the next.

So, here’s our plan of attack:

Buzz & Woody Show Us The Way

Buzz & Woody blast through obstacles

Day One: Saturday March 5, 2011 (First day at the parks)

Disney’s Hollywood Studios (One of our favorite parks)

Disney Hollywood Sorcerer's Hat

We're back!

8 A.M. Magic Hour (early entry to park for on-site guests)


Toy Story Midway Mania!

Troops prepare to engage

We begin our assault at Toy Story Midway Mania

Always our first stop in Disney Hollywood–we love the ride, we even love the line to the ride!

We love to play dominos with our friends Deb & Dick Brown!

There are so many great games and toys to enjoy while you wait in line for Toy Story Midway Mania

Here’s how we do it. One of us gets into the line for Toy Story Midway Mania, while the other one takes our Annual Passes to the Fast Pass machine to get Fast Passes. That way, we can go twice! It’s critical to get Fast Passes fast because they are often completely out for the entire day by 2:00 PM! Armed with our Fast Passes, we enjoy the decor of the line until finally, we’re in our car shooting our cannons to earn big scores (Brenda always beats Roger in this game)!

Midway Mania Score

Roger loses to Brenda


Yes, I know I've used this before, but it's just so rare!

Star Tours (now in 3D!)

Now, if you look at the map, you’ll see that our next stop, Star Tours, is not exactly next door to Toy Story Midway Mania. But, Star Tours has just been redone, and is now 3-D, so we figure we want to see if we can get in fairly early, or if you need to get a Fast Pass later to do the ride. Since we have multiple days, we can always come back another time if necessary to enjoy this new ride.

After Star Tours, We are close to:

Muppet Vision (still in 3D!)

The fountain is 3-D

Miss Piggy's Fountain Welcomes you to Muppet Vision 3-D


Studios Backlot Tour

We can do them in both in whatever order we choose.

Then we cross the park to enjoy:

Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream

We'll let you know what's new!

What has changed at Walt Disney: One Man's Dream?

The history of Walt Disney and Associates and their many achievements, this exhibit has been refurbished, and we hope refurbishment included fixing the soundtrack to the film–it was getting pretty scratchy! Beyond that, we have no idea what they might have done to change the exhibit, except maybe clean things up? Not that they appeared dirty, but we’re just not sure what to expect. If it’s anything major, we’ll be sure and let you know.

Not recorded on the map–and one of the many hidden secrets of Walt Disney World–is the:

Disney Drawing Academy

You can learn to draw!

Roger's favorite Disney character: The Goof!

Roger really loves this event–in twenty minutes an artists guides you through how to draw a Disney character. We often do this a couple of times a day, one right after the other. So how many times will we go this trip? What characters will we draw? We’ll find out! And Brenda invented a great tool for carrying the drawings around all day, as well as on the airlines, so they don’t get damaged. She takes an empty paper towel roll, rolls the drawings up and inserts them into the tube–they travel safe and sound.

Disney’s Drawing Academy is near the character meeting area adjacent to “The Magic of Disney Animation.” You can enjoy that demonstration, or go in “the back way.”

Then we head for the exit, but along the way check out:

Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage

The costumes and music are fantastic; Roger’s favorite is “Be Our Guest.” As a recovering puppeteer, Roger is fascinated with WDW’s ability to bring characters like Lumiere to life to really appear like the animated character brought into reality. (Lumiere serves double duty as the character’s name: it is the French for “light,” appropriate for a candlestick; plus, it refers back to the Lumiere brothers, who were early pioneers in developing motion pictures.)

At some point during the day, we will enjoy:

LUNCH: 2 PM: SciFi Dine-In (our first time there!)

We've never eaten here!

Our 2 PM Lunch Stop: SciFi Dine-In

Brenda (unbelieving), Roger & Rebecca

How we'll look at the SciFi Dine-In

The lunch will, of course, occur at the time of our reservations–2:00 PM, which means Roger may have died from starvation. Can’t bring nuts as a snack–thanks to his brand new braces–but we’ll have something to prevent him from becoming a hypoglycemaniac.

We will end the evening not at Fantasmic, which we love but have seen every year, but at:

Evening Show: EPCOT Illuminations

We’ll use our annual passes to scoot over to Epcot, catch a glimpse of the Epcot International Garden and Flower Festival, and watch the end of the night pyrotechnics.

Then back to our hotel, rest, and prepare for

Day 2.

Until then, we’re still in New Hampshire, waiting to leave for Walt Disney World!

Originally, Goofy had a Santa hat

Hand drawn characters on Roger's office wall

  1. Brenda here!! We are VERY excited about our trip… Roger writes well and a lot!! all I have to say is… Disney World… here we come; can’t wait to see all my favorites at the happiest place on earth!!

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