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MouseStation 301 - Collected Short Subjects

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On today's show, we've got avoiding Dole Whip lines, unexplored trails, eating in the car, MouseAdventure, more congrats on show 300 and more.

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Let us hear from you!

Send in your suggestions, comments or tips via our email feedback form or via voicemail on our toll-free feedback line (1-866-939-2278).

We've put together a new listener survey to help us learn more about you and what you like most about this podcast. This one is much more targeted than the old Podtrac survey. Please take a few minutes to fill it out and let us know what you think.

If you want to contribute a story for our Tuesday Magical Moment segment (and possible inclusion in the Cast Place column here on MousePlanet), you can either use our email Magical Moment story form or the toll-free feedback line. (We love it when you use the voice mail system, because then we can play your call on the show!)

Thanks to our sponsors

Today's show is sponsored by:

MouseEarVacations.com. Providing Magical Vacations for over 21 years.

Scooter Vacations. Official mobility scooter charitable partner to Kids Wish Network and Starlight Starbright Foundation.

Owner's Locker. Why bring all that stuff back and forth, when you can leave it at Disney and have it waiting for you when you come back?

Tip of the Week

Mark put out a call via Twitter and Facebook for Tip of the Week contributions, and got a whole bunch of suggestions in response that we'll use in the coming weeks. Today's tip comes via Twitter from MousePlanet's Jennifer Rich (Andrew's lovely wife). Jennifer suggests that you serve your own Dole Whip at the food court at the Polynesian Resort.

Mark noted that not only do you avoid the lines at Aloha Isle, you can also make the Dole Whip as tall as you can as long as it doesn't tip over. Mike was able to get his almost 12 inches tall when we were there a couple of years ago.

(What's your opinion?)

Featured Attraction

This week we look at the Discovery Island Trails at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

While these have some great animal displays and the crowds are small, they're also the least-known trails of the four at Disney's Animal Kingdom (behind Pangani Falls, Maharajah Jungle Trek and Oasis Trails). They're also Mike's favorite trails. Take some time, find the entrances and check them out.

Review System Spotlight

This week we take a look at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater at Disney's Hollywood Studios. MousePlanet readers like it, rating it 3.3 out of five planets. Our featured review this week is by KGuidoneRunning of Southington, CT.

KGuidoneRunning and her husband enjoyed the service while there on their honeymoon, though the good wasn't great.

Mark agrees that the food is nothing to write home about, and the service is variable in his experience. The B-movie trailers are fun to watch. Mark singled out Robot Monster as a particularly fun (bad) trailer to see. Mike likes the restaurant, though he's not a fan of the food or service. He just loves the ambiance and suggests that you go at off-hours and just get dessert.

Mark recalled a time when he and his wife had a late seating at the restaurant and had a personal escort to the park's exit when they left after park closing.

You can also find the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater in our Park Guide.

MouseAdventure Preview

Mark and Mike presented a look at MouseAdventure for those unfamiliar with the event, since it's coming to Walt Disney World for the first time this fall. On November 14, the day starts with a private breakfast at the Odyssey Center at Epcot before park opening, followed by part 1 of the game, which will be a standard MouseAdventure Classic format run in Future World. Part 2 of the game will be in the Enchanted Race format, run through World Showcase. For more information, check out the MouseAdventure page. Don't forget that registration is open now!

Last Week on MousePlanet

Andrew Rich, down at MousePlanet Global Headquarters told you what you may have missed on the MousePlanet site last week if you're not visiting regularly.

Listener Feedback

Sil Spagnuolo wrote in with some additional money-saving tips as a follow up to John Papas' appearance as our third Listener of the Month.

Sil recommends considering using airports that are not closest to your home or to your destination. While he lives in downstate New York, he and his family have driven to Baltimore and flown the rest of the way to Orlando, and also have flown down to Sanford, Jacksonville or Tampa.

He notes that, if you get free dining, you don't have to feel forced to use every entitlement you receive with the plan. It's free dining, so whatever you do eat is a benefit.

Sil also notes that it's hard for him to justify buying into the DVC when there are always such good deals to be had, such as the free dining promotion. He'd feel cheated if such good deals were around and he couldn't take advantage of them because he was stuck using DVC points. He asked what Mark's reaction to that last point was.

Mark noted that he and his family will be there for the first week of free dining this year. They'll be fighting with all of the free dining folks to get all of their preferred reservations while they're there. He'd love to get free dining, but they don't end up spending less than they would normally, they're just not saving what they might have had. Because Mark and his family enjoy the type of accommodations that they have at their DVC lodging, he feels that it's an acceptable tradeoff for not getting access to the free dining.

Mark from Evansville, IN called the voicemail line to let us know that he and his wife have been going to Walt Disney World annually since their honeymoon in 1988. They really appreciate the free dining plan, especially since they usually stay for two weeks. Since they're annual passholders, they buy a one-day pass even though they're staying for 14 days. They alternate trips between late September and early September, so they can get two annual trips on one annual pass. Their trip this year will cost them the price of one room at All Star Music and one flight (they're using airline miles for the other), which comes to about $50 per person for two weeks at Walt Disney World including food. He'd rather have less dining choices and stay 5-6 days longer than to take a shorter trip.

Mark also offered to join us to talk about how to enjoy pin trading without losing your shirt.

Mike asked Mark whether free dining would be OK if those not on the dining plan got to make their reservations earlier than those on the free dining plan. Mark doesn't think that it would be fair to those on the dining plan.

Sharla Manglass wrote in to thank us for our 300 shows. She also thanked Steven for his hard work. (As our first Listener of the Month, Sharla is very familiar with what Steven sometimes has to do to edit a show together.) She couldn't come up with a single favorite moment from the show, but she really appreciates how much we pay attention to listener feedback from all of our listeners.

Molly wrote in to say that she appreciates the fact that we bring her favorite place to her every week. She wishes that she could do what we do for a living. We had to correct Molly that we do not make a living from our work on the MouseStation. We have day jobs. If Molly (or any of you) want to do a podcast, go for it! There are plenty of people out there doing podcasts because they want to.

Stuart Sternberg called the voicemail line to congratulate us on show # 300. He said that he'd call back to congratulate us again when we hit 500, 1000, 2000, 3000 and more. Mark doesn't know if he can do another 3,000 shows, but we really appreciate the support. He also congratulated Stuart on his daughter's recent Bat Mitzvah, and on his work on his Disney Geek Dad blog.

Big Brian called the voicemail line to say that the new pre-recorded audio spiel on the buses may be to make it more ADA-compliant, since that is one of the reasons given for his local city buses getting pre-recorded audio. Mark thinks that it's possible that it is the reason, perhaps some bus drivers had not enunciated clearly enough to keep disabled folks informed of the destination, though he's not entirely convinced.

March of Dimes

Mark was recently named the top walker for the March of Dimes Northeastern New York region for 2008, and second overall in Upstate New York (above the counties of Westchester and Rockland). MousePlanet readers and MouseStation listeners helped Mark to raise over $5,000 for the worthy charity. We're looking to beat that this year and raise $6,000! Just go to Mark's fundraising page and help to provide a better chance to prevent prematurity and to help those babies that are born prematurely.

Facebook and Twitter

We're now on Facebook! Join our groups:

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You can even follow us on Twitter! Twitter links:

MouseAdventure at Walt Disney World, November 14

Don't forget to sign up for the MouseAdventure Newsletter, which will keep you informed as the MouseAdventure on the High Seas cruise and other details are announced!

Wrapping up

We've put together a new listener survey to help us learn more about you and what you like most about this podcast. This one is much more targeted than the old Podtrac survey. Please take a few minutes to fill it out and let us know what you think.

Don't forget to go to the iTunes podcast directory and give us a good rating for the combined feed!

You can get your MousePlanet (or MouseStation) swag from the MousePlanet CafePress store and the MouseStation CafePress store.

Also remember to go out to our main podcast page and stick a pin into our Frappr map.

Thanks to our audio engineer and sound editor Steven Ng and to announcer Andrew Rich.

Thank you for listening!

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(Send an email to MouseStation Crew)

The MouseStation crew (@MouseStation) currently consists of Mark Goldhaber (@MPMark) and Mike Demopoulos (@MPMike).