We receive considerable feedback regarding our site. Although we cannot
publish all of them, the following may be of interest to other readers.
A Quick Note for Our Readers
In light of Al Lutz's and Kevin Yee's recent decision that it was time to move on to new endeavors,
some of you may find it a bit confusing that we've included some responses from Kevin Yee in today's
mailbag. Though those of us remaining at MousePlanet regret their decision, we wish Al and Kevin all the
best in whatever comes next for them.
These emails, and Kevin's responses to them were in the bag, so to speak, before making his decision, and
it is my view that after more than three years of hard work for MousePlanet he earned having his last communications with
our readers published. And, of course, we think you readers will find it interesting and helpful as well.
- Alex Stroup, CEO of MousePlanet, Inc.
Today's MousePlanet Mailbag includes feedback for:
Ian Parkinson Disneyland Paris
First, I'd like to say how much I enjoy your "Disneyland Paris:
Unique Journeys" series. I visited Disneyland Paris (DLP) back
when it was still EuroDisney (EDL) in the spring of '93. That
has been my only opportunity to see the park in person. So many
cool things have been added since then, and I'm grateful for the
work you've done to help show off the park to those of us who
haven't seen it lately, or for those who have never seen it all.
I was pleased to see your most recent feature on the DLP castle.
This was truly one of the most wonderful things I saw while at
the park, and I'm glad you captured so much of the intricate detail.
However, I was surprised that you didn't focus more on the "tree
columns" upstairs that support the ceiling. These stood out to
me as perhaps the most insipired touches of the whole interior.
The stylized branches captured the flavor of the Eyvind Earle's
background paintings, and the fiber-optic lights certainly added
to the magical ambience of the walk-through attraction. We catch
a faint glimpse of the tips of some of the branches in your picture
of the central ceiling chandelier, but I think these trees are
worthy of their own picture. You might even want to consider two
photos... one with fiber-optic lights on, one with fiber-optic
lights off. Just my opinion, but I hope you'll consider it.
Thanks again for the work you do to help share DLP with the
rest of us.
Terry: Thanks for the praise, and I'm glad you enjoyed the story
about the castle. As you say, the trees inside the Castle are great
and I wish I had a photo showing the details you mention. Next time
I visit the park I will get some more shots of the interior. In
the meantime, if any readers have a photo they would like to share
of the missing tree detail, we would be happy to publish it in the
next reader mailbag.
Ian, congrats on your lovely site. My husband and I are thinking
of spending our Christmas at Disneyland Paris. We have done Christmas
in Florida and California, but Paris is nearer for us. Which did
you think was the best hotel to stay in, and did you spend Christmas
there? What was the food like? We would be pleased to have your
opinion, as we are starting to spend the kid's inheritance!
Angela I'm pleased you like the information and photos
of Disneyland Paris, and even better you are thinking of visiting
over the Christmas period. Christmas is magical at Disneyland Paris
they really do make a great deal of this special season.
You can see what they have on offer in this recent MP
I have visited the parks and hotels during the Christmas season,
but I have not stayed at the hotels for the actual holiday.
My favorite hotel at DLP is the Sequoia Lodge, even more so
at Christmas. This hotel really suits the winter weather, offering
a warm and welcome break after the parks. Food at DLP is very varied,
and tends to be quite a bit better at the hotels than in the parks.
If you can afford it, go for full service or buffet style rather
than fast food. You will really notice the better quality.
My favorite places to eat are the Disneyland Hotel Buffet, Annette's
Diner at Disney Village, and Hunter's Grill at Disney's Sequoia
In the movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, inside
one of the rooms there was an iris window that opened like
an old camera shutter. I was wondering if you knew how it was
built, or if there was a replica at Disneyland Paris.
Anderson To the best of my knowledge, there is no replica
of the Nautilus at Disneyland Paris. They do have an attraction
based on the Nautilus that also includes a operating version of
the iris you describe. During a visit through the Nautilus walkthrough
attraction, the ship is attacked by a large squid, which is repelled
by electric shocks that pass through the ship's hull (just like
in the movie). Once the squid attack is over, the large iris across
the huge dome window closes.
I visited your Web site and I must say I agree on your views
about the Walt Disney Studios park. We visited the studios last
week and we were very disappointed so much money and nothing
to see. I hope they do something about it, but I guess they think
it's a wonderful park.
Greetz I'm sorry you did not enjoy WDS. Like me,
you seem to have expected more from Disney than they were willing
to deliver. I know that the attendance levels at the new park have
not reached the numbers they expected I suspect many people
are not making repeat visits. They will make WDS better, but not
very quickly. At the moment there are no new attractions under construction,
which means we will not see anything new in the next one to two
And now a thread of emails started by Jon from Seattle:
Thanks for the beautiful
photos of the castle as Disneyland Paris. Just one little
quibble, and I'll bet I'm not the first to point this out. Since
the castle is so thoroughly themed to Sleeping Beauty, I'll bet
the owl you show us on the first page is actually the one from
that film (he helps Briar Rose re-create the Prince by wearing
his cloak and hat during the song "Once Upon a Dream"). I'll admit
that he does bear a resemblance to The Sword in the Stone's Archimedes,
though, so I certainly could be wrong.
Again, thanks so much for all the great features you've done
on DLP for us loyal Mouseplaneteers. Someday, I will get there.
I thanked Jon for pointing out the owl issue, and I suggested
that it might look like Archimedes as the owl looks down on the
Sword in the Stone ceremony held behind the Castle. To try and shed
a bit more light on the problem, I wrote to Eddie Sotto, who was
the Senior Vice President of Concept Design at Walt Disney Imagineering
from 1986 to 1999, and the guy responsible for the design Main Street,
USA in Paris.
Eddie Sotto replied:
Fantasyland isn't my specialty. Outside of Main Street I'm
not so well informed. This is a question best answered by the
Castle's senior designer, Tom Morris. I'm copying him on this
and hopefully he can help you.
Tom Morris replied:
Thanks, just checked out your DLP Castle photo essay on Mouseplanet
and it's nicely done. I would say it made me miss the castle,
but I actually got to breeze through it quickly last Sunday. I
do agree with you that it's the prettiest castle in the world,
but then again I'm a bit prejudiced!
Looking at the owl detail, I can see how one could be confused.
The owl is supposed to be the one from Sleeping Beauty (the one
that she danced with in the forrest). However, when you look at
this owl it does bear a resemblance to Archimedes, the one in
Sword in the Stone. The animators at the studio actually lifted
quite a bit of design for Sword in the Stone from Sleeping Beauty
(even in Walt's time they occassiionally got cash-strapped!).
It actually really looks like neither owl but rather a "love
child" of the two. Don't know how this one escaped our fastidious
attention, all the other sculpts in the castle are right on model
(as the animators like to say). This one may have been contracted
out due to schedule; the better ones I'm sure were done in-house
by our sculpture specialists.
It was hard to get everything just right, but I think we nailed
most of it.
Did you ever notice the gold-leafed escargot climbing up two
of the gold towers? Another piece of trivia! The snails are on
the two gold-leafed towers. They are what appear to be bumps from
a distance. You can probably get a good look at them from the
exterior balcony (I think).
Keep up the good work on MousePlanet!! I'll keep an eye out
for your other articles.
And finally, another Tom wrote:
I've seen some artwork from cities of the future (Jules Verne
style, black-and-white framed posters on walls in Discoveryland)
and I'm wondering were I can find some pictures about them on
the Internet. Can you please tell me were they're from or give
me a clue were I can find some. Because I think they are pretty
cool, but I can't find any. Help me.
Tom I know the exact pictures you mean; they can
be found in the Discoveryland Arcade that runs down one side of
Main Street. I will be producing a MousePlanet story soon that contains
all the pictures, but to show what we both mean, here is an example.
were created by Jim Michaelson, Maureen Johnston and R. Ziscis.
They are in the style of the 19th century French artist Robida,
as well as the spirt of the American magazine Popular Mechanics.
for Brian Bennett Walt Disney World
Matt R. writes:
Love the site, and keep up the great work. This April, my
family and I will be staying at the WDW Swan, which we heard is
an excellent hotel. I just can't, however, find a list on your
site of nice restraunts, ala the Norway place, that are nice,
upscale, not too expensive, but don't have alot of characters
running around. If you have time could you just list me a couple
restraunts, hotels or parks, that are great places to eat without
the sometimes annoying interruption by charcaters (...for nights
when I'm not in the mood to be bothered)? Thanks alot, and keep
up the excellent site.
Matt In MousePlanet's WDW
Restaurant Resource, you'll find all of the information I have
on the restaurants of WDW. I think you'll find it very helpful.
If, after you've checked out the WDW Restaurant Resource, you
have specific questions about any of those restaurants, e-mail me
back and I'll do my best to help you out.
Amy asks about her recent trip report:
Hi Brian. I am sorry to bother you, but I was just wondering
when my report might be posted. I have seen reports for dates
past mine already posted and was just curious if there were any
problems with mine. Thanks and have a happy holiday!
Amy Your report is third in line to be added to the archive.
I should get that done over this weekend. However, due to the huge
backlog I've had over the last few weeks, I don't think your report
will be "splashed" on the front page of MousePlanet until early
By the way, the reports are put on the site in the order I receive
them, not the chronological order in which the trips were taken.
In any case, I am sorry that it's taking so long. Frankly, I'm
glad for the backlog because I like having so many reports to share
with everyone... the sad thing is that folks have to wait so long
to see their report on the site... and for that I'm sorry.
Thanks for all of the great info! We are planning a family
trip January 1 - 6, 2003. What should we expect for the crowds
that week, and also how should I pack for the weather?
Beth All of the days right around Christmas week will
be very busy. Christmas week is, in fact, the busiest week
throughout the year at WDW! The week followingthe one you're
asking aboutis only slightly less busy, as the holiday crowds
start to dissipate and folks head home to resume work and school.
The week after you're there, however, is much less busy and that
remains the pattern, for the most part, throughout the remainder
of January and February.
It's not likely you'll experience much precipitation and average
highs are in the 70s and average lows in the 50s. For the trip planner,
that means you really have to prepare for anything from warm to
cold weather. During the day, you'll probably find it cool in the
morning, warming up into the 70s during the mid-afternoon. At night,
though, the temperatures drop to the point that you'll likely want
to have a jacket and warmer clothes.
I'd suggest you read through the information the Year-at-a-Glance
page in MousePlanet's WDW Trip Planning Guide, as it more details
that you may find helpful.
Great site. We are going to Disney World in February. While we
are at Epcot, my family would like to go to the Boardwalk. I do
believe you can get there by way of the International Gateway.
If you can do this, is this an entrance? If we leave by this route
can we get back in by this route or do we have to go back to the
main entrance to re-enter the park. Thank you
Pete Yes, you can enter and exit Epcot at the International
Gateway and simply walk over to the Boardwalk and back. The Yacht
and Beach Club Resorts as well as the Swan and Dolphin are, likewise,
within walking distance from the International Gateway.
Finally, a note from Lynn:
Thanks for the excellent Web site! Just a quick e-mail to
let you know that all character meals are included in the silver
dreammaker package. Apologies if you already have this info.
for Kevin Yee Cast Place, etc.
Sarah S. asks a frequent question:
I was wondering if you could provide me with information
regarding Disney resort job opportunities for college students
during the summer. I was hoping to take part in a program that
provides housing and work experience in the park. I know that
this program exists, but I don't know the specifics. Could you
refer me to a site or provide me with an information number? Thanks!
Sarah I get this question a lot. You'll want to search
for current opportunities by starting at the official Disney
Careers Web site. There's a link near the bottom for the Disney
College; click that to find out all the updated info you need to
Rose A. asks:
My classmates and I are in the process of writing a paper
for my college Human Motivation Course. The problem is that we
are having a hard time finding information on the inner workings
of Disney. We need things like the organizational structure, motivational
strategies, and brief financial information for the last five
years. I have searched the Web and found quite a bit, but nowhere
near enough to write a paper. Any ideas? I could sure use some
help. If you do not know, please point me in the right direction,
or send this on to someone who could be able to give us a hand.
Rose This is another question that I see a lot of. Some
people specifically want to have access to the training materials.
I'm afraid this sort of thing is strictly prohibited. At one point
in the mid '90s, I saw a video they used for training purposes
purchased from outside called "The Guest." They had paid $5000
per copy of this video (they bought three), so you can understand
why they jealously guard their training secrets! The same is true
of their printed materials from Orientation and the advanced classes
Shirley, a cast member from the Disney Store, asks:
As a part-time Disney Store cast member, I had heard we got
free parking at the Mickey and Friends garage [at Disneyland].
Since I've had an annual passport, I didn't try it for a while.
But one day I did try it, figuring if it didn't work, I'd still
get free parking with my AP. Disney Store CMs do get free
parking!! That's about the only free thing we get at the Disneyland...
but at least it's something!
Shirley You and others are right; I double-checked,
and indeed Disney Store CMs do get free parking at Disneyland (along
with your normal discount when purchasing merchandise).
Daniel, a former cast member, asks:
I am a former cast member from the Disneyland Resort with
a no rehire status. I recently put in for an appeal. What I did
to get the no rehire status, I find a bit bogus. I didn't commit
any criminal acts, destroy company property, wasn't insubordinate,
or anything like that. I was wondering if you happen to know anyone
in casting that can give me some answers, beyond what a casting
representative would do while on the job?
Daniel The way it used to work, only your local manager
could assign rehire or no-rehire status. I think that part is still
true. Thus, the only way you used to be able to rehire was to convince
that manager to change the status, not something easy to do.
I've heard, however, that in recent years even people who have
been outright fired (which presumably means no-rehire status) can
re-apply for a job after six months. Personally, I don't know why
in the world they would institute such a policy; werent people
fired for a reason? But then, there are doubtless many instances
of people fired as required by contract (for instance, for attendance
violations) who may deserve a second chance. Still, I rather liked
having the manager have the final say. Perhaps the job market has
necessitated this ability to re-apply in six months. Strange.
Rodney writes with a comparison between Disneyland and Walt
I find it interesting that you have to go through the main
gate to "play" after your shift. In Florida you can walk on and
off stage anytime. During my lunch or in-between sets, I would
go up in the park and eat lunch or watch special events ( New
Year's or 4th of July fireworks). It's funny to compare and contrast
the little rules of each park.
Rodney It's for liability reasons. Anyone who comes
in via Main Gate has, by virtue of either buying a ticket or "signing
in" (so named because in the old days you literally signed your
name after showing your ID), tacitly grants Disney less liability
when it comes to worker's compensation. If you "sneak in," and get
hurt while on Disney property, in theory you are still working.
Wanting to close that loophole, Disney requires you to sign in.
You can, of course, still sue if you get hurt, but worker safety
laws don't cover you. I wonder how WDW gets around that.
I need to know if the waffles and the pancakes served in the
Plaza for the character breakfast contain egg? We have a 4-year-old
travelling with us, and he is very allergic. And if we ask for
things to made without egg, do we have to tell them ahead of time?
Karen I don't have any special access when it comes
to ingredients. The food reservation line at (714) 781-DINE might
be able to help you, but the one rock-solid strategy is to make
City Hall (or its equivalent) your first stop when you arrive at
the Disney park you're visiting. They probably don't know either
offhand, but they can call the various restaurants you want to visit
and speak with the chefs. It will also work to visit the actual
restaurant and request a special meal without the problematic ingredient,
but that often takes 15 to 20 extra minutes.
I can't seem to find your list of Disneyland restaurant recipes.
Can you direct me? Also, I'm the dad taking a large group to Disneyland
in January. We like to eat in Downtown Disney but the prices are
gonna kill me. Come on, $10 for a hamburger at House of Blues.
Do you know of any discount coupons, maybe in the local paper,
for the Downtown? Thanks
Kent The Disneyland
Restaurant Reviews menus page has its own internal navigational
bar along the right hand side. The recipes are listed near the bottom.
As a reminder to all who ask, I am not able to obtain any other
recipes besides those listed here, but there are directions for
you to write Disney yourself and request them!
You'll get no argument from me about the prices in Downtown
Disney. Some folks don't seem to mind, but then again, I have to
remind myself that there are also people in the world who make six
figures in a year (and I'm not one of them).
But you asked about coupons. If there are coupons for anything
at Downtown Disneyand I doubt there arethen I haven't
heard about them.
John and Houri F. write:
While at the park over the weekend, we noticed that the popcorn
vendors close down well before closing time. When we ask why,
they simply told us they have to "close out" and it is for "shift
reasons," etc. None of this makes any sense to us. We are the
customer, and we want some popcorn. Can't Disney keep these stands
open all night? Would they really lose money if they left them
open? I seem to remember that the popcorn vendors were always
open, up to closing, some 10 years ago. It just seems absurd to
John and Houri My heart breaks to hear this story. What
you relate is all too true, of course, and I've noticed it myself,
but it's heartbreaking to hear others notice it, too. Why? Because
at my own Orientation, back in 1987, they drummed into us the importance
of Show at all times, and used the popcorn as an example. In those
days, the wagons were always full of popcorn, even late at night,
because Walt had wanted the guests to never see Disneyland as a
"half-show," in a state of closing down.
How far things have come down in 15 years. Now it's not just
the vending carts, but also the full-sized restaurants too. So much
is closed by 9:00, even when the Park itself doesn't close until
Anthony D. writes regarding Kevin's recent Coaster
Six Flags parks in Europe are more themed [than U.S. Six Flags
parks] because they weren't Six Flags parks originally. Six Flags
Belgium, for example, was known to us until two years as "Walibi."
New rides added by Six Flags aren't themed either.
Anthony Thanks for the heads up. I got a few comments
like this, the ACE crowd continues to amaze me with their knowledge
(and love) of the parks worldwide. I guess it's not due to some
conscious decision by Six Flags to be more themed in Europe; that's
Do you have specific questions about an upcoming trip
to Disneyland, Walt Disney World or another park, or do you need help with
your trip planning? While you can contact one of the columnists, we encourage
you to join our special MousePlanet community on our MousePad
discussion board. There, you will find like-minded Disney park fans who
can try to help answer your questions.
Did you read something interesting (good or bad) on MousePlanet, or here in the Mailbag? We'd love to hear from you! Send your comments to the Mailbag here.
We welcome your questions and comments, but keep in mind
that all questions submitted to MousePlanet become property of this Web site.
Letters of interest to the readership may be published, and may include your
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Questions may also be quoted on other parts of the site as well.
January: 6, 13, 20, 27
February: 3, 10, 17
March: 10, 17, 31
April: 14, 21, 28
June: 2, 9, 30
July: 7, 28
August: 4, 11, 18, 25
September: 4, 15, 22, 29
January: 8, 15, 22
Febuary: 12, 19, 26
March: 18, 25
April: 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
May: 13, 20
June: 3, 17, 24
July: 1, 22, 29
August: 5, 26
September: 9, 23,
October: 14, 21, 28
November: 4, 18
December: 2, 9
September: 4, 18
August: 21, 28
July: 10, 17, 24, 31
May: 22, 29
April: 10, 24
March: 6, 13, 27
February: 13, 20
January: 9, 16, 30
December: 5, 12,
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