September 2001
WDW Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the September 3, 2001, Issue #102 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

September Disney World Anniversaries:

September 1997 -- Downtown Disney opened.

September 1994 - The one billionth Guest visited a Disney Theme Park worldwide

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN RAILROAD

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad debuted at Disneyland on September 2, 1979. It joined the mountain range at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom one year later, on September 23, 1980. (Tokyo Disneyland saw the arrival of its own runaway train on July 4, 1987, while Disneyland Paris didn't see BTMRR until April 12, 1992.)

According to Dave Smith: " For the original attraction at Disneyland, Disney designer Ton y Baxter was intrigued by the scenery at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, so he designed the first BTM to resemble it; the three later ones resemble scenery in Monument Valley (in Arizona)."

Six trains make up the mine's runaway railroad: U.B. Bold, U.R. Daring, U.R. Courageous, I.M. Brave, I.B. Hearty and I.M. Fearless.

There are 20 animatronics throughout the attraction, including a goat with a stick of dynamite in its mouth, pigs, a possum hanging overhead, and bats.

Dallas McKennon recorded the "Hang onto Your Hats and Glasses" announcement that is played just before you leave the station. Dallas also provided the voice for Benjamin Franklin in Epcot's American Adventure.

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This month's money-saving report from Mike Corbo, www.themouseforless.com :

How Can I Save Money on My Resort? or What Code Is It This Week??!?!

There have been some great discounts on rooms at Disney resorts available to the general public through mid-December. As you may already know, a lot of the codes that have been available to the general public are no longer valid and have been discontinued by Disney. Bookings are still down, as new resort discount codes have recently been released. It looks like all the hype around the "100 Years of Magic" celebration is still not selling enough full-price rooms. Even without these codes, you can still save money on an on-site room with a few different strategies. And even with the codes, you still may find that there are no discounted rooms available for your selected dates. Here are some strategies for helping you save some money on your resort stay.

First, make sure you know what the rack room rate is with and without sales tax for your dates. This will help in determining if what you are being offered is discounted.

Annual Passholder discounts are usually available most of the time on just about every resort. Only one Annual Pass is required to get these discounts. While you will not need an active Annual Pass to reserve the room, you will be required to present it when you check in at your resort. Call and ask for these rates, then do the math and see if it will save you money. Annual Passholder rates can be up to 45% off!

You may be told that buying an Annual Pass, instead of a Park Hopper, will save you money. This is not always true. You need to 'do the math' and determine if the Annual Pass will suit your touring needs. A regular Annual Pass will not replace an Ultimate Park Hopper Pass or a Park Hopper Plus Pass because it does not include minor attractions, like water parks or DisneyQuest. Instead you would need to either purchase a Premium Annual Pass, or add in the cost of the missing minor parks that you plan on visiting. The Annual Pass room savings quickly erode if you need to pay for four admissions to water parks!

Central Reservations also may have AAA rates available. Once again, being a member is usually not required to book the rooms (they may ask for a membership number, but most often will not). These rates are typically 10%-20% off rack rates depending on season and resort.

Of course there is always the ever-faithful Disney Club Card. You need to be careful using this one. Occasionally the Disney Travel Company will quote you a price that is little more than a rack rate room with a Disney Club discount on the Ultimate Park Hopper Passes. Know your rates!!

There are always unadvertised specials. Most of the time these will not be offered, but it never hurts to ask. Sometimes they are referred to as Manager's Specials; just ask if there are any special rates for the dates that you are interested in. You may just get a Cast Member on the other end who is sympathetic to your plight! Also, ask if there are any special rates for residents of whatever state you are from.

Always, always, always show the following whenever you are paying for something: Disney Club Card, American Express Card, AAA Card, Annual Pass.

Always keep in mind too that the Swan and Dolphin, while not officially Disney hotels, are on property and do offer half-price rooms with an Entertainment Card, as well as specials for teachers and government employees.

Sometimes there are undocumented discounts that will be available at gift shops, restaurants, recreation areas and shows that you will not be offered unless you simply show the card. I usually just hold them all out and ask, "Do you offer discounts for any of these cards?" Most Cast Members are more than willing to give you a straight answer and you never know -- you could save anywhere from 10%-20%!


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Editor's Note: This story/information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all current rates, information and other details before planning your trip.