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News and Views

Labor contract voted down again, federal mediation is next step

Last Thursday, the Service Trades Council members again voted on a new contract proposal from Disney. This time, ratification of the contract was supported by four of the six member unions of the STC. The contract was still voted down by the membership, but this time the vote was much closer than those for the previous two contract proposals. Following approval rates of 0.36 percent and 2.6 percent, this time around the contract won approval from 43.4 percent of voters.

Contract opponents continue to argue that the contract's gains in salary would be more than eaten up by the increases in health-care costs. While Disney continues to state that their offer is adequate and competitive and that they would not increase the money in the contract offer, they offered to move it around from one purpose to another, perhaps reducing insurance premiums by decreasing pay amounts.

While opposition turnout has been relatively constant, with 4,122 no votes in August, 3,659 in October and 3,686 last week, pro-contract forces really got out the vote this time, with the insignificant turnouts of 15 and 96 yes votes the first two attempts being dwarfed by Thursday's turnout of 2,827 yes votes. The turnout of 6,513 was about half of those eligible to vote. The STC, which represents 22,000 workers, actually only has 12,000 signed up with its member unions. Since Florida is a right-to-work state, union membership is not mandatory.

Still, there were enough no votes by members of Teamsters Local 385 to authorize a strike by that union's approximately 2,000 members. While that is now a possibility, the Teamsters say that they have no plans to strike. Instead, they say, they want to next try federal mediation. Mediator Conrad Bowling will meet with Disney officials and leaders of the Service Trades Council member unions today at an Orlando hotel.

The only work stoppage in Walt Disney World's 33-year history was in the early 1980s, when a group of musicians went on strike.

On another labor front, the Craft Maintenance Council's 4,000 members overwhelmingly approved their contract in voting results released last week.

Big boss on the property

It appears that Walt Disney Company CEO Michael Eisner has been staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge for the last few days. Eisner is reportedly at the resort for management meetings ahead of this week's year-end earnings announcement and to shoot some scenes for broadcast with the Walt Disney World Very Merry Christmas Parade, to be broadcast on Christmas Day on ABC. Eisner's security detail includes three K-9 units. There is no word on whether or not Michael took part in discussions on the union contract situation.

"Turtle Talk" debuts at The Living Seas

The next phase of the Finding Nemo overlay for The Living Seas pavilion debuted last Thursday. In the 15-20 minute "Turtle Talk" show, a hundred or so guests sit on benches for a two-way discussion with a computer-generated image of Crush from the Pixar film. Crush appears in a porthole-shaped window to "another aquarium tank" and calls on people by their "shell color" (the color of their shirt). Crush asks the guest their name, then uses the name while asking and answering questions. Word is that the show is very well done. A new interactive exhibit in the other lower-level side room focuses on sharks, and features Bruce from the movie.

Holiday tidbits

…Christmas is busting out all over, as decorations are already going up in all of the shops at the theme parks. Decor will soon be spilling out into the general areas.

…The Country Bear Jamboree is currently down for its transformation to the Country Bear Christmas Jamboree Special, and will reopen on Sunday.

…Eartha Kitt will replace Hal Holbrook as narrator for the Candlelight Processional from December 14-16.

…Illuminations will run with a "holiday tag" following the "We Go On" finale from November 26 through December 30. The four-minute addition to the show will feature "Let There Be Peace on Earth," narrated by Walter Cronkite, that was part of the old Holiday Illuminations show. The segment will feature 800 fireworks shells.

…Holiday-themed live shows during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party will include Mickey's 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, Belle's Enchanted Christmas Story Telling, and Celebrate the Season on the Castle Forecourt Stage.

…Parades at two parks are getting a holiday makeover, and Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade at Disney's Animal Kingdom becomes Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade, and the Stars and Motor Cars Parade at the Disney-MGM Studios becomes the Hollywood Holly-Day Parade

…Santa Goofy will be appearing at the Donald's Prehistoric Breakfastosaurus character breakfast in Dinoland U.S.A.at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

…Many sit-down restaurants throughout the resort will be either adding holiday items to their menu or changing over their menu entirely for holiday fare.

…Disney will be running its annual Yuletide Fantasy Tour from November 29 through December 24. Call 407-WDW-TOUR to make reservations. Annual passholders get a 15% discount. Participants must be at least 16 years old, and must have valid passholder and photo identification. Theme park admission is not required for the tour.

Alamo extends, expands relationship with Disney

Alamo Car Rental has extended its marketing alliance with Disney Parks and Resorts, guaranteeing its position as official car rental company of Disneyland and Walt Disney World while extending discounts for Disneyland and Walt Disney World Annual Passholders and Disney Visa cardmembers. In addition, Alamo is taking sponsorship of the Mulholland Madness attraction at Disney's California Adventure and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority attraction at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

Bullet train lives on, despite amendment repeal

The citizens of Florida may have repealed the constitutional amendment mandating development of a high-speed rail system by a margin of 64 percent to 36 percent, but the project will not be cancelled until the state legislature kills the legislation supporting the authority running the project. In the meantime, the Florida High Speed Rail Authority plans to continue the project.

Last Wednesday night, the authority decided to change the proposed route of the first leg, and began investigating an alternate contractor. In a move designed to circumvent many of the lead forces of the repeal movement, the authority changed the planned route from following the Greeneway from the Orlando International Airport to Walt Disney World before heading down Interstate 4 to Tampa to the main alternate route that would follow the Bee Line Expressway to the International Drive area before following I-4 to Tampa. Some of the biggest forced behind the repeal movement were the Hunter's Creek development, which would have been bisected by the proposed route, and SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Orlando, who felt that they would be put at a competitive disadvantage by having the route go directly to the Disney property.

In addition, the authority started looking at giving the heave-ho to Fluor-Bombardier, the Canadian contractor selected to provide the rail system and the train cars. Global Rail Consortium, a South Korean-led group whose bid was rejected last year, is offering both a more state-friendly financial deal as well as faster trains. Its financial proposal would provide more funding up front, while giving the state a cost-certain annual payment, compared to a Fluor-Bombardier contract that would charge the state more up front, which is causing great financial concern at the upper levels of government. GRC would run electric trains capable of speeds up to 210 miles per hour, while Fluor-Bombardier was proposing jet turbine-propelled trains capable of only 125 miles per hour.

While the constitutional amendment is no more, it seems that the project has not died yet. We'll have to wait and see if the legislature allows the project to continue when the resume session next year.

Ears to the ground

…Rentals of Pal Mickey interactive plushes will be ceasing on December 1, but you will still be able to buy one. It looks like this is a clearance move to run out stock before the debut of version 2 of Pal Mickey in May, 2005. The "Happiest Celebration on Earth Special Edition" Pal Mickey will have his own line of costumes that will debut shortly after the doll's debut.

…We're hearing that Disney has been surveying guests for their opinion on gambling at Walt Disney World. Based on the angry reactions that Disney has been getting, it would seem that there will be nothing happening on that front for some time.

…Victoria & Albert's at the Grand Floridian Resort was one of just two restaurants in Central Florida to receive four stars in the 2005 Mobil Travel Guide. Neither of the two hotels in Central Florida to receive the ranking were Disney hotels.

…Raven-Symon will be performing live at the Theater of the Stars at the Disney-MGM Studios this week. (link) Performances are scheduled Wednesday–Friday at 12:00 and 5:30 p.m., and Saturday–Sunday at 1:45 p.m.

…The Exxon/Mobil signage has finally been removed from Universe of Energy.

…ABC soap All My Children shot several scenes, including a concert, at Walt Disney World before last weekend's Super Soap Weekend. The scenes will air in mid-December. Don't expect them to identify the location as WDW, however, as supposedly there will be events unfolding that are very un-Disneylike.

Mousefest

Are you planning to attend Mousefest 2004 (link)? Let us know! MousePlanet is well represented by Brian Bennett, Mark Goldhaber, Sheila Hagen, Mike Scopa, Lani Teshima, and Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix. Either send an e-mail or post a message to the Mousefest thread on our discussion boards (link). If you choose to send e-mail, please put “Mousefest” in the subject to allow for better sorting of e-mail.


Have any interesting news or rumors? Let us know.


Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

  • it's a small world” – closed through March 18, 2005 for rehab (info).
  • 20,000 League Under the Sea lagoon – walled off to “clear the land as well as add landscape for future use” through November 19.
  • Stitch's Great Escape – officially opens tomorrow.
  • Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress – expected to remain open for the holiday season, then will go down for major rehab.
  • Timekeeper – opens seasonally.
  • Adventureland – opens with the rest of the park daily with the exception of the Jungle Cruise and the Enchanted Tiki Room – Under New Management, which open at 10 a.m.
  • The Hall of Presidents and the Country Bear Jamboree – open at 10 a.m. every day.
  • Country Bear Jamboree – will not be operating November 15–20.
  • The Hub area in front of the castle – undergoes more refurbishing in January 2005 in preparation for the Cinderellabration show coming later in the year.
  • Cinderella's Royal Table – will be closed for rehab January 17–27, 2005. Lunch and dinner will resume on January 28, while character breakfasts will return on January 29.
  • Astro Orbiter – closed January 2 – February 16, 2005.
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant – closed January 10 – February 12, 2005.
  • Cinderella's Surprise Celebration – last performance on February 26, 2005. Expected to return after the 18-month "Happiest Homecoming on Earth" celebration ends.
  • Cinderellabration – begins preview performances in March 2005. Expected to run until the end of the 18-month "Happiest Homecoming on Earth" celebration.

Epcot

  • Soarin' – is officially scheduled to open in May 2005, but may have an earlier soft opening.
  • The Behind the Seeds Walking Tour of the greenhouses at The Land – discontinued construction of the queue area for Soarin'. Expected to resume upon completion of the construction.
  • The Land pavilion – will close January 2 – March 31, 2005 for completion of the Soarin' attraction.
  • The Wonders of Life pavilion – open seasonally. The Pure and Simple eatery and the Well and Goods Limited shop have been removed, while the Body Wars, Cranium Command, and The Making of Me attractions now open when the pavilion is open. The pavilion did not open this summer, which does not bode well for the future. However, it is rumored to be open next January – March during the closure of The Land pavilion.

Disney-MGM Studios

  • Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, an American version of the popular Moteurs… Action! stunt show from the Walt Disney Studios at Disneyland Paris – is officially scheduled to debut in May 2005.
  • Streets of America Backlot – undergoing construction to change facades to represent Chicago and San Francisco. Formerly known as New York Street.
  • The Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights – returns this year on the Streets of America backlot, November 24 – January 2.

Animal Kingdom

  • Lucky the Dinosaur – is scheduled to debut in Spring 2005.

Resorts

  • Port Orleans Resort – Ongoing two-year extensive rehab of its rooms. Phase I's French Quarter has reopened. Phase II is underway, and involves Riverside going through a phased rehab. The Magnolia Bend mansions are being worked on one by one, and will be followed by Alligator Bayou closing in sections.
  • Polynesian Resort – nearing completion of the refurbishment of longhouses. Each longhouse under rehab is walled off and isolated during its rehab. Room refurbishments are resuming. Scheduled: Rapa Nui January 3 – April 1, 2005, Tahiti April 24 – August 17, 2005. Tokelau, not yet refurbished, is not yet scheduled.
  • Old Key West Resort – The main pool is closed through mid-December to construct a new themed water slide.
  • BoardWalk Resort – portions of the resort will see work on the piping system take place in corridors outside guest rooms daily between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. through summer 2005. No work is scheduled inside guest rooms.
  • Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa – Construction continues on the rest of the resort; the other three buildings of Phase I are due by the end of the year, the eight units of Phase II are due in 2005, and the six units of the newly-announced Phase III are due in 2007. Phase III will involve the razing of the old Fairway Villas.
  • Yacht and Beach Club Resorts – An overall refurbishment of the Stormalong Bay pool area at the Beach Club is running through early 2005. Certain sections of the pool will be unavailable at various times during the project. Those parts of the main pool not immediately being worked on will remain available for use. The first portion of the work should be completed by December 23. The main Shipwreck Slide will be closed only from January 3 to February 25, 2005, due to a painting project in that area.
  • Coronado Springs Resort – Construction continues on the 86,000 square foot exhibit hall that is scheduled to open in the Spring of 2005. Construction noises may be audible throughout the Casitas section of the resort during the daytime construction.

Water Parks

  • Blizzard Beach – undergoes its annual refurbishment from October 24 – December 11.
  • Typhoon Lagoon – will close for its annual refurbishment from December 12, 2004– March 12, 2005. It is expected to reopen with a new water coaster.

Elsewhere

  • Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba – performs Tuesdays through Saturdays, but closes December 5–13.
  • The All Star Cafe at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex – now closed Monday–Wednesday. Open Thursday–Sunday, from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Disney's Vero Beach Resort (a Disney Vacation Club resort) – still closed due to hurricane damage. The resort will "soft open" today, but some common areas may remain closed for repairs, including Sonya's and the Tiger Lily wet deck.

Park Events

November 2004

  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (link). November 28 & 30, December 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, & 17.
  • Festival of the Seasons at Downtown Disney (link). November 26 – December 24.
  • Holidays Around the World (link). November 26 – December 30.

December 2004

  • Pop Warner Super Bowl and National Cheer and Dance Championships (link). December 5-11.
  • Join MousePlanet at MouseFest (link). December 9-13.
  • Disney's Soccer Showcase (link). December 27-January 2, 2005.
  • New Year's Eve celebrations at Pleasure Island (link) and Atlantic Dance (link). December 31.

January 2005

  • Disney's Health and Fitness Expo (link). January 7 & 8.
  • FamilyFun Magazine Family Fun Run (link). January 8.
  • Disney Marathon (link) and Half-Marathon (link). January 9.

February 2005

  • Twirl Mania - The Twirler's Championships (link). February 18 - 21.
  • Atlanta Braves Training Camp at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex (link). Dates in February – April TBA.

April 2005

  • Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (link). April 15 – June 5.
  • Walt Disney World Inline Marathon (link). April 30 - May 1.

May 2005

  • Star Wars Weekends (link). Weekends in May – June TBA.

June 2005

  • Gay and Lesbian Day at Walt Disney World (link1)(link2). June 2–5.

October 2005

  • Funai Classic at Walt Disney World (link). October 20?23.

Current Discounts & Promotions

Discounts for early 2005 are out

Resort discounts for the first part of 2005 have been announced. Annual Passholder & Florida Resident discounts are valid for January 2 through February 16, while general & Canada Resident discounts are good for January 2 through April 16. Room-only and Dream Maker packages are available. See the Walt Disney World web site (link) or MouseSavers (link) for more information.

Play 4 Days is back

The Florida Resident Play 4 Days Ticket allows Florida residents four days of play in Disney's four theme parks through November 21, 2004 for $119 per person ($126.74 including tax). Park-hopping is permitted on the days used. The ticket is available at Disney theme parks, Florida Disney Stores, and other locations such as Florida AAA offices. Proof of Florida residency is required.

Radisson Resort Parkway announces rates through 2005

Radisson Resort Parkway, a MousePlanet sponsor, has announced their rates through the end of 2005, and has reduced their rates for much of the rest of this year. Guests can receive a complimentary upgrade to deluxe pool view accommodations for the remainder of 2004 simply by typing in the code of "UPGR" in the promotional field of the reservation.

Courtyard
View
Deluxe Pool View
Bed & Breakfast Pkg - Courtyard View
2004
     Through Dec 21
$69.95
$79.95
$87.95
     Dec 22 – Jan 1, '05
$109.95
$119.95
$127.95
2005
     Jan 2 – Feb 3
$79.95
$89.95
$97.95
     Feb 4–16
$109.95
$119.95
$127.95
     Feb 17–20
$119.95
$129.95
$137.95
     Feb 21 – March 17
$109.95
$119.95
$127.95
     March 18 – Apr 9
$119.95
$129.95
$137.95
     Apr 10 – 16
$109.95
$119.95
$127.95
     Apr 17 – June 29
$89.95
$99.95
$107.95
     June 30 – July 4
$99.95
$109.95
$117.95
     July 5 – Aug 13
$89.95
$99.95
$107.95
     Aug 14 – Sept 29
$79.95
$89.95
$97.95
     Sept 30 – Oct 22
$89.95
$99.95
$107.95
     Oct 23 – Dec 22
$79.95
$89.95
$97.95
     Dec 23 – 31
$109.95
$119.95
$127.95

Click here for more information, or here to make reservations now.

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 $26 per adult, per ticket with the “Advance Purchase Savings” program. These prices are before the 6.5 percent Orange County sales tax.

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
$219
$202
$17
     Children ages 3 - 9
$176
$162
$14
5-Day Park Hopper: Adults
$249
$230
$19
     Children ages 3 - 9
$200
$184
$16
5-Day Park Hopper Plus: Adults
$282
$259
$23
     Children ages 3 - 9
$226
$208
$18
6-Day Park Hopper Plus: Adults
$312
$288
$24
     Children ages 3 - 9
$250
$231
$21
7-Day Park Hopper Plus: Adults
$342
$316
$26
     Children ages 3 - 9
$274
$253
$21

Annual Passholders

Receive 10 percent 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

Hours and entertainment schedules are currently available through January 2005.

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
 
11/15
11/16
11/17
11/18
11/19
11/20
 

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

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

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

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

MK 9a-7:30p
EF 9a-7p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-7p
AK 9a-5p
BB closed
TL 10a-5p

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

11/21
11/22
  • 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-12a
EF 9a-7p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-7p
AK 9a-6p
BB closed
TL 10a-5p

MK 9a-12a
EF 9a-7p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-7p
AK 9a-8p
BB closed
TL 10a-5p


Entertainment Schedule

Hours and entertainment schedules are currently available through January 2005.

Theme Park Events

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney-MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
Monday 11/15

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 6p

Wishes Fireworks 7p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 3:45p

Tuesday 11/16

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 7p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 3:45p

Wednesday 11/17

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 7p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 3:45p

Thursday 11/18

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 6p

Wishes Fireworks 7p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 3:45p

Friday 11/19

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 7:30p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 3:45p

Saturday 11/20

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 8p, 10p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 8p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 3:45p

Sunday 11/21

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 8p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 3:45p

Monday 11/22

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 3:45p

Downtown Disney Entertainment

(Separate admission required)

Jazz Club
West End Stage
Rock & Roll Beach Club
House of Blues
Monday 11/15

Barbara Trent

 

Kabang

 

Tuesday 11/16

Barbara Trent

 

Kabang

Yellowcard with Starting Line, The Matches and Hey Mike (main room), $20 advance/$22 day of show; 8 pm

Wednesday 11/17

Barbara Trent

 

Frankie & the West End Boys

Coheed & Cambria with Special Guests Underoath and 3 (main room), $15.50 advance/$17.50 day of show; 8 pm

Thursday 11/18

Tierney Allen

 

Frankie & the West End Boys

XBOX presents Finger Eleven with Local H and Burden Brothers (main room), $15; 8 pm

EC Scott (Blues Kitchen), free; 11pm

Friday 11/19

Tierney Allen

 

Frankie & the West End Boys

Kenny Wayne Shepherd with Dan Dyer (main room), $25 advance/$27.50 day of show; 8:30pm

Lil Bryan & The Zydeco Travelers (Blues Kitchen), free; 11pm

Saturday 11/20

Tierney Allen

 

Frankie & the West End Boys

Frontline Promotions & Remy Martin Presents: The 8th Annual Official FL Classic After Party Grown Folks Night with The Notorious Biz Markie & Doug E. Fresh (21 & Up Only) (main room), $38 advance/$43 day of show; 9pm

The Legendary James Peterson (Blues Kitchen), free; 11pm

Sunday 11/21

Barbara Trent

 

Kabang

Apostle JL Cash and Praise (gospel brunch), $30 adult, $15 child (3-9); 10:30am, 1pm

Straylight Run and Hot Rod Circuit with Northstar and Say Anything (main room), $9.99 advance/$13 day of show; 6:30pm

Monday 11/22

Barbara Trent

 

Kabang

The Killers with Special Guests Now It's Overhead and The Zutons (main room), $13 advance/$14 day of show; 9pm



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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.