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News and Views

Mission: Space ride designer & Disney spar over cost, ownership, safety

The Walt Disney Company and Environmental Tectonics Corp. are suing each other over their agreement for the construction and testing of the Mission: Space attraction in Epcot, and the safety of the ride has been tossed into the fray. Environmental Tectonics is the parent company of Entertainment Technology Corp. (ETC), which designed the centrifuge ride vehicles for the attraction. ETC also worked with Disney to design Cyber Space Mountain for DisneyQuest, among other projects.

Disney's many change orders caused the cost of the ride to continually escalate during the attraction's design and construction process, until the terms of the contract were renegotiated to a time-and-materials basis with a fixed profit. In its lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, ETC claims that its final bill for Disney was $44.1 million. Disney claims that it only owed ETC the $35.1 million that it has already paid, because it took control of finishing the attraction. ETC and Disney also disagree about ownership of the ride system.

According to stories in the business journals in Orlando and Philadelphia, ETC is concerned that Disney might switch to another vendor to build copies of the ride at its other resorts around the world, stating that it has information that leads its officials to believe that Disney is considering doing just that in Tokyo. However, there is apparently a five-year exclusivity agreement that would grant those rights solely to ETC. ETC claims that Disney only owns the aspects of the ride that were specific for this implementation, while ETC retains the rights to all it had done before contracting with Disney for the ride's construction, including the centrifuge ride technology. ETC states that it has the right to sell a ride based on the same technology to anyone located beyond 100 miles of a Disney theme park. ETC also states that the contract prohibits Disney from building any ride based on the multi-armed centrifuge technology.

In a new wrinkle, ETC this week has asked a judge to expedite the discovery phase of the trial due to a risk to the public because Disney has refused to allow it to be involved in the safety testing before the attraction's opening. ETC claims that it has not been allowed to review the ride's safety systems. Disney's response is that this maneuver is a cover-up for an attempt by ETC to get its hands on Disney trade secrets, and that ETC acted unprofessionally in much of its work.

According to the Orlando Business Journal, ETC has said that “the chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Co., Michael Eisner, informed ETC that, rather than have the work done in-house at Disney by its Imagineers, Disney specifically wanted ETC to buid the ride due to its experience with centrifuge systems.” The article further quotes ETC's lawyer as saying, “If ETC is prevented from using its years of experience with human centrifuge systems to participate in the safety testing and analysis (of the ride)… then there are increased risks of injury to the public at large.”

The Los Angeles Business Journal quotes Disney VP of Communications John Spelich as saying that Mission: Space “successfully passed all of Disney's state-of-the-art safety procedures as well as reviews by leading independent experts. ETC's attempt to play the safety card as means of trying to generate leverage for a simple, straightforward contract dispute is both cynical and nonsensical.” According to Tampa Bay Online, Epcot Vice President Brad Rex said, “I will tell you that we have the highest safety standards in the world and certainly Mission: Space meets all of our requirements.” In its response to the lawsuit, Disney states that documentation was submitted to the state Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection after it completed its own safety testing and hazard analysis. “Given (Disney's) stellar reputation for safety, ETC can add nothing to the analysis already undertaken and completed.”

U.S. District Court Judge Herbert Hutton has not yet ruled on the motion for expedited discovery.

In normal circumstances, this would only be of moderate interest to theme park-goers. However, in light of the September 5 Big Thunder Mountain Railroad accident at Disneyland, anything that questions theme park safety must be taken at a slightly higher level of concern, and Disney's claims of state-of-the-art safety procedures bear additional scrutiny.

We will continue to follow this story for any further developments.

Effect of Disneyland accident on WDW's Big Thunder still unknown

Walt Disney World's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attraction has been down for rehab since August 24, and is currently scheduled to return to service on November 23. The rehab includes painting the mountain and adding much-needed air conditioning to the queue building.

The Orlando Sentinel quotes WDW spokeswoman Rena Callahan as saying that it's too soon to say whether Florida's version of the ride will be closed or modified due to the accident at Disneyland. “The focus is on determining why this happened, and we'll move forward from there,” she said.

The Centre Daily Times reports that the accident in California hasn't changed the approach to ride safety in Florida, according the WDW Vice President for Engineering Services Jeff Vahle. “You take care of the attraction like your family goes on every ride.”

The Centre Daily Times story also describes the daily ride inspection process. It includes inspectors walking the tracks and checking equipment, engineers and maintenance workers examining ride vehicles and parts for wear and checking wheels with torque wrenches, and reviewing everything on the powered-up ride two to three hours before the ride opens for the day. How that process compares with the current level of maintenance in California is uncertain.

Hotel market saturated?

In an early sign that the metro Orlando hotel market may be reaching capacity, at least for the post-9/11 tourism market, two venerable properties are closing their doors. Recently, the Four Points Sheraton in Downtown Orlando told employees that it would close at the end of October. Now, employees at the Orlando Hyatt on Route 192 were given one day's notice of that hotel's closing due to a collapsed financing deal while operating under bankruptcy protection. Hotel guests were told to vacate the premises by the hotel's closing at noon last Friday. A call placed to the hotel early Saturday morning went unanswered.

This loss of 1,200 hotel rooms (not to mention 450 jobs), in the face of the gain of 4,000 more rooms by the end of the year, calls into question whether or not these new hotel rooms come at the expense of the old, and whether they will increase capacity or merely force the closure of other properties.

There are conflicting signs. While hotel occupancy for the first half of the year was down by 3.6 percent versus last year and 9.5 percent from 2001, occupancy for July was up 3 percent over last year to 72.2 percent. However, the average daily room rate was down 4 percent at the same time. A one million square foot expansion of the Orange County Convention Center is expected to be finished in a few weeks, and is projected to increase attendance there by a quarter next year.

In the meantime, it wouldn't hurt to double-check those reservations before you leave home.

Jury awards $668,000 to guest scalded at Ohana

A guest who was scalded by a pot of hot coffee spilled in his lap at the Ohana restaurant at Disney's Polynesian Resort was awarded $668,000 by a jury in Orange County, Florida.

On October 7, 2001, a waitress was carrying a 28-ounce coffee pot with 180-degree coffee at shoulder height when it spilled into the lap of then 31-year-old Anthony Alloco. Testimony showed Allocco suffered extensive blistering as well as pigmentation changes to his genitals and groin as a result of the spill. Allocco's attorney, John Elliott Leighton showed that the coffee pot should not have been carried at shoulder height, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Allocco, a former police officer, holds FAA airplane and helicopter licenses. However, because a prescribed drug he takes for nerve pain is prohibited for pilots, he has been unable to fly since being injured.

The $668,000 included $50,000 for future medical care and $100,000 to Allocco's wife for “loss of consortium.”

Break bread with an Imagineer

Following the success of the Lunch with a Disney Animator program, Walt Disney World launches a new program of lunch or dinner with a Walt Disney Imagineer on Monday, September 22. The program will include a private four-course meal in the private Bamboo Room at the Hollywood Brown Derby at the Disney-MGM Studios with an Imagineer, and a special souvenir. Dinner also includes a wine pairing with each course. The cost is $60.99 per person for lunch, and $99.99 per person for dinner. The meals will be available on select weekdays. Reservations may be made via 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463) up to 30 days in advance.

Flavor of the month?

There are a couple of new flavors in town at Ice Station Cool, the Epcot location that allows you to try Coca-Cola products from various countries. Lift Apple (from Mexico) and Diet Tai Guarana (from Brazil) have left the building. Taking their place are Fanta Kolita (from Costa Rica) and Lychee Mellow (from Thailand). Not to worry; all of the rest are still there: Smart Watermelon (China), Kinley Lemon (Israel), VegitaBeta (Japan), Mezza Mix (Germany), Krest Ginger Ale (Mozambique), and—of course—Beverly (Italy).

Patience, please

It seems that the reservations system portion of the Destination Disney project has been rolled out. Mousesavers.com is reporting that the new system “is frustrating for the agents and requires them to ask you a lot of questions including demographic information. It's not their choice, but they are stuck with it, so please be patient.” And, of course, once you're in the system, they can track all of your contact with the company. Hotel reservations, priority seatings, admission media purchases, complaints and compliments, birthdays, anniversaries, and whatever else you give them. Some see it as Big Brother, while others see it as a way to help Disney make vacations more magical. Of course, it could be both.

Training camp

The NBA's Orlando Magic basketball team will conduct its 2003 training camp at the Milk House at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex starting September 30. In addition to the Magic, the Wide World of Sports Complex serves as the training camp home to the NFL's 2003 Superbowl winners Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Major League Baseball's Atlanta Braves.

Studios Kennel walkway temporarily closed

For the next several weeks, the Kennel walkway at Disney-MGM Studios that leads from the Television parking lot to the kennel entrance door will be closed for construction to all cast and guests for construction of a permanent security checkpoint in front of the kennel.

For your safety, please do not walk in the tram lane to get to the main entrance of the park. All guests who wish to check their animal in to the Studio kennel must do so by going through the Main Entrance Security checkpoint, and walking past the Guest Relations Window, to enter the kennel.

There will be a construction wall backstage behind the Kennel, which will allow guests to walk their animals during this construction phase.

New Dolphin restaurant construction delays

The conversion of the Dolphin's Coral Cafe into Boston chef Todd English's new 300-seat restaurant Bluezoo has hit some delays in construction. They still expect to be open before Christmas.

Ears to the ground

The construction walls around Mickey's PhilharMagic are down, and the Fantasy Fare gift shop will open shortly.


Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

  • Big Thunder Mountain is closed for refurbishment through Saturday, November 22. Of course, in light of the accident at Disneyland, this date may change.
  • The Swiss Family Treehouse will be closed for refurbishment through Friday, October 24.
  • Mickey's PhilharMagic is slated to open on Wednesday, October 8. Cast Member previews are planned for September 18 and 19; Annual Passholder previews on September 20-21, and a soft opening is expected on September 30.
  • Wishes: a Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams, the new fireworks show for the Magic Kingdom, debuts on Thursday, October 9 at 9:00 p.m. The final showing of Fantasy in the Sky is Monday, October 6 at 7:30 p.m.
  • The Fantasyland Character Festival Meet and Greet location has been temporarily closed. It is scheduled to re-open September 21.
  • Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress and TimeKeeper are closed for the season, and will most likely next open for the holiday rush.
  • Due to refurbishment of the Castle Forecourt Stage, there will be no performances of Cinderella's Surprise Celebration nor will there be Castle Forecourt Meet and Greet opportunities from September 2 to 20, 2003.
  • The Liberty Belle Riverboat will be closed for refurbishment from Sunday, September 21 through Saturday, September 27.

Epcot

  • Mission: Space is now in soft opening status, with the official Grand Opening slated for Thursday, October 9. Epcot will close to the public at 3:00 p.m. on that day.

Disney-MGM Studios

  • Magic of Disney Animation closes for refurbishment September 30 to November 23.
  • Residential Street at the Disney-MGM Studios has been closed and is undergoing demolition to prepare the site for a new “E-ticket stunt-show attraction” believed to be an American version of the popular Moteurs… Action! stunt show from the Walt Disney Studios at Disneyland Paris.
  • Due to the loss of Residential Street, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights will not be presented this holiday season. It is expected to return in some form for 2004.
  • Rock 'N' Roller Coaster closed for refurbishment through September 14 for brake replacements and other rehab work.
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror will receive a lot of rehab work from September to November—reportedly on the ride control system and cable replacements—but will only be closed from October 13 to 18. One side of the tower will be closed from September 18 to October 12. Both sides will be down from October 13 to 18, and the Tower opens again running one side only from October 19 to November 17. Capacity will be decreased during the rehab, but should be offset by smaller off-season crowds smaller crowds.
  • Sets from the upcoming Haunted Mansion movie are scheduled to open in the old Backstage Pass soundstage on October 6.
  • The Brown Derby Restaurant is closed September 14 to 20 for rehab.

Animal Kingdom

  • Festival of the Lion King – Disney has now confirmed that, as first reported here on July 21, this popular show at Animal Kingdom will be down through September 19 for work on enclosing the open-air theater and adding air conditioning.

Resorts

  • Pop Century Resort – officially opens on December 14.
  • Port Orleans Resort – a two-year extensive rehab of this resort's rooms is ongoing. For Phase I, French Quarter closed May 4, 2003. Phase II involves Riverside going down in sections. We have not yet heard a date for completion of Phase I.
  • Polynesian Resort – sees its longhouses refurbished one by one. Each longhouse under rehab is walled off and isolated during its rehab. There are only a couple of longhouses remaining. Hawaii is currently in rehab thru October 17, and Concierge has been moved to Tahiti during this period. Tonga is scheduled for rehab through December 20. Niue is the only other longhouse currently scheduled to undergo rehab, and is tentatively scheduled for January 18 to May 2, 2004. Rarotonga has not received a rehab yet, but is not on the current schedule.
  • Shades of Green – Major construction and rehab is ongoing at this resort run by Morale, Welfare and Recreation for members of the military. It is currently expected to reopen in March 2004.
  • Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa (a Disney Vacation Club resort) has a tentative grand opening date of May 1, 2004.

Water Parks

  • Blizzard Beach – undergoes refurbishment beginning November 1.
  • Typhoon Lagoon – undergoes refurbishment beginning in late December.

Elsewhere

  • The All Star Cafe at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex is now closed Mondays through Wednesdays. It is open Thursdays through Sunday, from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Park Events

September

  • Disney's Pin Celebration at Epcot [September 19-21]
  • 22nd Annual World Airline Road Races (link) [September 24 - 27]
  • Tri-America Triathlon Series Finale (link) [September 27 & 28]

October

  • Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom [October 3, 5, 10, 14, 16, 19, 24, 26, 30 and 31]
  • Disney's 10K Classic (link)[October 12]
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival [October 18-November 16] – Included with park admission, sample wine and food from 25 countries (link)
  • 999 Happy Haunts Ball at the Magic Kingdom [October 27, 28, and 29]

November

  • Festival of the Masters [November 7-9] – 150 artists and their creations on display at Downtown Disney's West Side
  • ABC Super Soap Weekend at the Disney-MGM Studios [November 8-9]
  • Pin Trading Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder [November 16-20]
  • Festival of the Seasons at Epcot [November 28 to December 24] – featuring lighting displays, fun window displays, and more
  • Holidays Around the World at Epcot [November 28 to December 30] – lets you celebrate holidays in the style of the World Showcase countries
  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom [November 30, December 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 19] – Order by phone at (407) W-DISNEY (934-7639)

December

  • Doll & Teddy Bear Weekend [December 7]
  • Disney's Pop Century Resort opens [December 14]

January 2004

  • Disney's Health and Fitness Expo (link) [January 9 & 10]
  • FamilyFun Magazine Family Fun Run (link) [January 10]
  • Disney Marathon and Half-Marathon [January 11]
  • Annual Passholders' Cruise (4 nights) on Disney Magic [January 25, 2004]

April 2004

  • Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival [April 16 – May 30]

May 2004

  • Walt Disney World Inline Marathon (link) [May 2]

Current Discounts & Promotions

Special Lion King offer for Walt Disney World Annual Passholders

Pre-order The Lion King Platinum Edition DVD or VHS at the Walt Disney World Resort through September 20, and receive free shipping and two free gifts: a limited edition plush Simba, and a limited edition pin. The Lion King Platinum Edition DVD will include new scenes and a new song by Elton John, and can be pre-ordered at Town Square Expo Hall (Magic Kingdom), Pin Central (Epcot), the Sorcerer's Hat (Disney-MGM Studios), Island Mercantile (Animal Kingdom), or Disney's Pin Traders (Downtown Disney Marketplace).

Winter Dream Maker Package

Walt Disney World is offering the "Winter Dream Maker" package starting at $99 per adult per night. The package includes a room at a Disney Value resort and an Ultimate Park Hopper ticket. For example, you can save about $230 on a three-night stay for two adults at the All-Star Movies resort, specially priced at $661 (including taxes). The package is good Monday, November 10 through Wednesday, February 11. Blackout dates are November 25 to 27 and December 27 through January 1. Call 407-939-7843 and ask for code ZXMJ, or book at the Disney World Web site (link). You must book by September 22.

Mousesavers.com is also reporting that there is a special Disney Visa Winter Dream Maker package that is basically identical to the Winter Dream Maker package above, but covers different dates and includes a $50 bonus in Disney Dollars. Dates are November 2 through December 25, with blackout dates of November 25 to 27, and you must book by October 14. To book this package, contact a Disney Specialist travel agent and ask for booking code ZXBL for a Value resort or ZXBM for Moderate, Deluxe or Home-Away-From-Home resorts.

Great rates at the Swan and Dolphin

Are you planning a trip this fall? Check out this offer from the Swan and Dolphin:

  • WDW Annual Passholders can book rooms as low as $139 per night, plus tax and resort fee, through the end of 2003, including a FREE upgrade! Rates include a free upgrade, and are subject to availability.

Get more details and the discount codes at MouseSavers.com.

Cruise discounts

MouseSavers maintains a Magical Rates list, updated with the lowest fares each week. Current specials on three-night cruises start at just $379 per person.

Disney Cruise Line is offering special savings for Florida residents on select cruise vacations for late summer and early fall dates. Florida resident rates start at $349 for three-night cruises, $399 for four-night cruises and $599 for seven-night cruises.

Special rates for Florida residents apply to most three-night itineraries departing between August 28 and October 2, most four-night itineraries departing between August 31 and September 28 and seven-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries departing between August 30 and September 20.

Itinerary
Rates
Dates
3-Night $349 9/11-10/2
4-Night $399 9/21, 9/28
7-Night $599 8/30-9/20

Rates are per person, based on double occupancy and subject to availability. Government taxes and fees are not included. At least one adult guest per stateroom must be a Florida resident. Proof of residency is required.

Free 5-day Park Hopper for Active Military

Disney is offering a special for active duty military — a free five-day park hopper ticket, as well as discounted companion tickets. Offer valid through December 19, 2003 and includes all active military personnel, including Coast Guard, as well as activated National Guard and Reservists. See their official Web site for more information.

Play 4 Days pass

Florida residents can purchase a new four-day ticket for just $109, plus tax — that's almost 1/2 the price of a regular four-day park-hopper ticket. The ticket is valid for four admissions from now until September 30. These tickets are park-hoppers.

Residents can purchase just one ticket per person, per day, so your out-of-town relatives must buy their own, regular-priced admission. Tickets are nontransferable, and you must show a valid ID each time. These tickets can be applied towards the cost of any Annual Passport, as long as you upgrade by October 31 (your annual pass expires one year from the date you first used your Play 4 Days Pass).

The Play 4 Days pass can be purchased at any WDW park ticket window, local AAA offices, Florida Disney Stores, by phone at (407) 939-4329 or on the WDW Web site (link).

Plan ahead and save a few bucks

The Walt Disney World Resort is encouraging visitors to buy their theme park tickets before they even leave home, by offering a slight discount on advance purchases. You can save as much as $22 per adult, per ticket with the 'Advance Purchase Savings' program.

You can also receive these Advance Purchase Savings with packages purchased through AAA.

Multi-Day Tickets
Gate Prices
Advance Purchase Price
Savings
4-Day Park Hopper: Adults
$208
$192
$16
     Children ages 3 - 9
$167
$152
$15
5-Day Park Hopper: Adults
$239
$217
$22
     Children ages 3 - 9
$192
$172
$20
5-Day Park Hopper Plus: Adults
$269
$247
$22
     Children ages 3 - 9
$216
$197
$19
6-Day Park Hopper Plus: Adults
$299
$277
$22
     Children ages 3 - 9
$240
$222
$18
7-Day Park Hopper Plus: Adults
$329
$307
$22
     Children ages 3 - 9
$264
$247
$17

Annual Passholders

Receive 10% off the price of their lunch meal at selected Walt Disney World Resort hotel restaurants, and the discount is good for up to three guests. The offer is valid Mondays through Fridays. Call 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463) for locations and reservations.


Park Hours

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
 
9/16
9/17
9/18
9/19
9/20
 

MK 9a-8p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-8p
AK 9a-5p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p

MK 9a-7p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-8p
AK 9a-5p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p

MK 9a-8p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-8p
AK 9a-5p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p

MK 9a-7p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-8p
AK 9a-5p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p

MK 9a-7p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-8p
AK 9a-5p
BB Closed
TL 10a-6p

MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-8p
AK 9a-5p
BB Closed
TL 10a-6p

9/21
9/22
  • MK = Magic Kingdom
  • EF = Epcot, Future World
  • EW = Epcot, World Showcase
  • MGM = Disney-MGM Studios
  • AK = Animal Kingdom
  • BB = Blizzard Beach Water Park
  • TL = Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

MK 9a-7p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-8p
AK 9a-5p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p

MK 9a-8p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-8p
AK 9a-5p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p


Entertainment Schedule

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney-MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
Monday 9/15

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 8:15p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4:30p

Fantasmic! 8p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Tuesday 9/16

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4:30p

Fantasmic! 8p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Wednesday 9/17

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 8:15p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4:30p

Fantasmic! 8p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Thursday 9/18

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4:30p

Fantasmic! 8p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Friday 9/19

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4:30p

Fantasmic! 8p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Saturday 9/20

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 8p, 10p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 9p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4:30p

Fantasmic! 8p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Sunday 9/21

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

 

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Paradeaa 4:30p

Fantasmic 8p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Monday 9/22

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 8p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4:30p

Fantasmic 8p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p



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(Send an email to Mark Goldhaber)

Mark (@MPMark) is a veteran of dozens of trips to Walt Disney World starting in 1972, with a few Disneyland trips thrown in for good measure. As a Disney stockholder and a Disney Vacation Club member, Mark is always in touch with what's going on with The Mouse. Mark serves as MousePlanet's Walt Disney World content coordinator. Mark is a senior information technology manager working for the State of New York. He lives in the suburbs outside Albany, New York, with his wife and son.