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In this week's Listener Feedback:
Terry wrote to ask us what "Scopa Towers" is that many people talk about. Scopa Towers, of course, is Mike Scopa's favorite resort, Disney's Pop Century Resort. (Mike will be spending his 100th night there in January.) Terry also started a thread on MousePad to ask the question, which was answered both by Mike Scopa and the originator of the term, Len Testa.
We got a lot of responses to our discussion of "The End of Spontaneity" in Episode 58.
The first one came from Lori, who hates having to make dining reservations six months in advance. She doesn't want to have to plan every minute of her trip months in advance.
Mike noted that she didn't think that a vacation should be a major military operation, and she's a Shades of Green patron, which would indicate that she knew what she was talking about.
Alicia kept delaying in making dining reservations, and finally made two reservations for a five-night trip. She thinks that all reservations should be eliminated and all dining should be first-come, first-served.
Steve Russo used a response to the show to plug his book again, offering an excerpt that basically agreed with everything that we had discussed about dining reservations on Episode 58. He gave examples of how setting up your reservations before the entertainment schedule is finalized can backfire on you.
Responding to a comment about SpectroMagic, Mike accidentally remarked about Spectrobes, instead. That reminded Mark that the copy of Spectrobes finally went out to Todd Anger, and now we'd love to hear his review of the game.
Heather wrote in complaining about having to make dining reservations six months in advance. (Three months was bad enough!) She was also wondering what effect the expansion of the dining plan would have.
Mike remembered being told as a cast member that he was not allowed to eat at table service restaurants during certain times of year. Mark talked about how Walt Disney World needed to add more opportunities to have table service meals because people were getting blocked from using all of their table service dining credits.
Pete Altemese wrote two emails, first noting that he refuses to make reservations 30-60 days in advance, as his family is happy enough eating at a counter service location. His second email noted that he was fine with us moving to a single feed, and that he'd even like the shows to be longer. Since we're already doing two hours of audio a week, that's plenty for us.
Kelly wrote that she didn't mind planning trips six months in advance. She has only made two trips so far, though, and has only been visiting since the advent of the dining plan.
Mike noted that some people really like planning. Mark replied that he does some planning, but keeps it loose and is nearly always willing to call an audible.
Kim Shoening was upset at the reservation process, as she was only able to call for reservations two and a half months in advance due to uncertainty about the trip. It took several iterations of calls and checking for availability before she could find anything with the times that they need for their family's requirements.
Alan Cranford wrote that touring plans were to help people maximize their Disney experience with the same amount of time and money, but that plans should only be a starting place, and if you become a slave to your touring plan, you lose.
Mike noted that you shouldn't take the touring plan to the nth degree, but that various touring plan tools do a good job of cramming things in.
Mark said that if you keep it loose, that's fine. If you do the heavily ambitious plans like the "Dumbo in a Day or Die" touring plan from The Unofficial Guide, you're going to drive yourself nuts trying to keep up. Mike didn't get Mark's "It's not so much a code as a guideline" reference.
Peter Ciarcia is attending his first MouseFest this year, but hasn't been back to Walt Disney World since 1991. He was caught completely unaware when he tried to make dining reservations in September, as some restaurants are already booked through February.
Mark noted that the only dining reservations he has were made by someone else and he was just taking one seat.
Mike realized that he needs to make some reservations himself. Mark recommended that he quickly check the DaisyDuck001's MouseFest dining reservation status post on the MousePad discussion forums to grab any remaining seats.
Mike also recommended that this is a good reason to consider using a Disney specialist travel agent, who would be on top of these things and help you plan your trips.
Thomas Melanson wrote that he really likes planning things out. Since his family only visits Disneyland every three years, they plan things out as much as possible, and storm the parks from gate opening to gate closing. He also finds that all of the planning helps them to anticipate the trip even more. Still, he wouldn't want to impose his family's touring styles onto anyone else.
Mark noted that sometimes he has to do an uber-planned trip, such as his research trip next week. He's completely planned from touchdown to wheels-up with interviews and the like. While he's generally a Type A planner, he doesn't like to do it on trips for pleasure.
Mark Winters (a.k.a. RideMax Mark) wrote to tell co-host Mark that if he ever wanted to give a RideMax plan a try, RideMax Mark would be glad to set him up, and even tag along. Co-host Mark isn't sure if there will be an available day during MouseFest, so he'll have to figure out when he could set up this trial day. RideMax Mark also noted that most RideMax plans include a large block of "free time" in the afternoon to allow some flexibility.
With that, we ran out of time and had to hold the rest of the emails and voicemails for next week.
Please weigh in on the idea of returning to a single feed via email or by calling our toll-free feedback line at 1-866-939-2278. Don't forget that we love voicemails because then we can put your voice on the show!
We also wanted to remind you that we have now scheduled our MouseFest meet for the podcasts. The MouseStation Hustle-tini Meet will begin at 5:30 p.m. at Classic Concoctions in the Everything Pop food court at Disney's Pop Century Resort for Bluetinis to get our nerve up to get up and boogie. We'll make sure that we're in the lobby before 6 p.m. so that we can do The Hustle, then return to Classic Concoctions or elsewhere to record some more for the podcast. For more information on the Hustle-tini or any other MousePlanet-sponsored meet at MouseFest, check out our MouseFest information page. If you've got any ideas on what might make a cool MouseStation T-shirt for MouseFest, let Mark know!
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Thanks to our West Coast correspondent Andrew Rich, and audio engineer and sound editor Steven Ng.
Thank you for listening!
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The MouseStation crew (@MouseStation) currently consists of Mark Goldhaber (@MPMark) and Mike Demopoulos (@MPMike).