We receive considerable feedback regarding our site. Although we cannot
publish all of them, the following may be of interest to other readers.
Regarding our Park Update: Disneyland
In our January
20 edition of Park Updates: Disneyland, we said:
From the unsubstantiated rumor file A cast member
tells us that Disneyland has sold the Parade of the Stars floats
to Tokyo Disneyland, and the Electrical Parade will return to
Main Street this year. Juicy scoop, or urban legend? Only time
Well, the votes are in, and this was apparently just a rumor.
A Disneyland Parades and Show Support cast member writes:
I found it interesting that there are rumors that Electrical
Parade is supposed to come back to Main Street.
I can tell you that this will never be. Not long after E.P.
came to Disney's California Adventure (DCA) park, the (powers)
that be were told by the city that the tents that the floats were
stored in backstage behind California Screamin', must be taken
down by the end of December of that year. Not long after, the
construction of a brand new float warehouse was constructed behind
Pacific Wharf. This new warehouse is large enough to hold all
of the floats and then some, it is also home of the Monsters
Basically, E.P. is now a permanent resident of DCA. There
are no plans to move it back no matter how much the annual passholders
As far as the Parade of the Stars floats, it is possible that
they were sold to Tokyo. But that could not happen for another
that is right folks, we are doomed to have that
parade until the next park anniversary.
The floats were just repainted and reworked during this last
Thank you for your note, and your clarifications. This one sounded
too good to be true, but you never know with Disney.
Feedback for Brian Bennett (WDW)
Loved your Monday column but hate the new format.
Is this the way it's going to be now? If so too bad. We lost something
good. Loved your Monday column.
Thanks for the kind note, Ron.
Actually, we've made two changes. First, the new Park
Updates: WDW is provided every Monday. Second, what e-mail I
get now is shared on Thursdays as part of MousePlanet's site-wide
I am now able to spend more time on updating and improving the
Walt Disney World
Trip Planning Guide and providing more photo tours.
I'm sorry that you're disappointed with how things are now,
but I personally think the changes make MousePlanet a much better
OK, a fast question: I am staying at the Marriot
in Downtown Disney, and I will need to get from the hotel to the
Grand Floridian Resort and the Contemporary Resort.
We are not renting a car, and the hotel offers a shuttle only
to the parks not the resorts. Can I take the hotel shuttle to
TTC and then take a bus or monorail to the resorts, without paying
entrance into the parks. We are going on a day that we are not
going into the parks? So can we get to the TTC without paying
to get into Magic Kingdom?
Kris The buses that run from the Marriot drop
off and pick up at the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC) and
not directly at the Magic Kingdom. Once at the TTC, you can walk
over and take the resort monorail to go to the Grand Floridian.
You will not be charged to enter the TTC.
Heather M. asks:
This site used to provide a map (not to scale), of all the
hotels surrounding the Disneland Park. I am looking for that kind
of map to decide which hotel to stay in when I next travel to
the Park. I try to stay at different hotels each time to get the
full experience of Disneyland.
I think the map you're looking for is in our Disneyland
Trip Planning Guide. The Anaheim/Orange County Visitors &
Convention Bureau also has some wonderfully
detailed maps of the area that you can print out.
Karen D. asks for help with her upcoming trip:
I have just started reading your site, and have found it to
be helpful. My question is, About how much money should I plan
to bring for extras? I am staying in the Ft. Wilderness cabin,
so I am cooking our meals. It will be just me and my 6-year-old
twins and my 4-year-old. I see where a lot of the extra things
at this resort cost extra.
We are staying March 10 to 13 with a four-day spring pass.
What will the weather be like for that time of the year?
I am hoping also that the crowds will be less. It has been 16
years since I have been there, and it is my children's first trip.
Also, should I use the WDW buses or drive my car to the parks?
Thank you for any information you can give me.
Karen In MousePlanet's WDW
Trip Planning Guide, you'll find all kinds of information on
planning a trip to Walt Disney World. I'll do my best to answer
your questions, but in some cases when the answers are right
in the WDW Trip Planning Guide, I'll just refer you to the appropriate
Regarding your question about money, I suggest you look over
Vacation Costs" page. In addition to giving a lot of information
on what kinds of things you need to consider when setting up your
trip budget, this page gives hints, tips, and some other Web references
that can be very helpful in saving money on your trip. Don't miss
my plug for MouseSavers.com,
a site that provides a ton of information on saving money
for a Walt Disney World vacation.
You're right, though. Some of the activities at Fort Wilderness
and the other WDW resorts require extra fees, such as boat rentals.
I can only suggest that you set aside some portion of money for
such activities if you wish and ration it appropriately. Frankly,
though, I think you can keep everyone very happy in the parks without
spending that additional money, especially for a shorter trip like
you have planned.
to Go - Year-at-a-Glance" page has the information you're
asking about regarding weather and crowds.
Since you'll have three kids in tow, I'd suggest you take the
WDW Tranportation. For one thing, it's really easy to use once you
get the hang of the routes. Second, it really does add to the "magic"
of being at WDW to not have to deal with parking lots and such.
In my opinion, using the buses, boats, and monorails is the way
to go. I'd suggest you read over the "How
to use the Walt Disney World Transportation System" page.
I'll share one last page, too, but this is just my own advice
and isn't an answer to any of your questions. At the "Walt
Disney World with Kids" page, you'll find information on
all of the issues around taking youngsters on a trip to Walt Disney
World. There's information there on how they might react to the
various attractions, what the age and height restrictions are, and
lots of helpful information on how to adjust your daily plans to
accommodate the younger ones.
Hope I was helpful.
You always answer my questions so let's try this one....do
you have or where can I find current info on the opening schedule
of Pop Century and room rates?
Julie Walt Disney World has not yet announced
the actual opening dates. I can only suggest that you contact the
Central Reservations Office (CRO) and ask.
The room rates will be the same as those of the All Star Resorts
as both resorts are in the "value" category.
Glenn V. asked:
Brian and Kevin,
I wonder if either of you can give me some background on a
video version of Song of the South, and if we will ever
see Disney release it again. I see expensive bidding for it on
eBay, but have gotten the idea that it is no longer considered
politically correct, and Disney will wipe it under the rug. I
recall enjoying the movie sometime on the big screen, in a re-release
I'm sure. Thanks so much for any input.
Glenn It is my understanding that Song of the
South is available in the international market. What you're
problably seeing on eBay is a DVD that is coded for a different
region, or other format video tape formats such as PAL.
I have no idea whether or not Disney's self-imposed hiatus on
releasing the film in the U.S. will continue or not.
Kevin Krock added:
Song of the South is one of those home video titles that
has more underground publicity and rumors than any other movie I
know. We are coming up on about 3+ years of DVD, and every nine
to 12 months, I hear that Song of the South is being released.
However, shortly thereafter, stories abound about how we'll never
see Song of the South it's just too racially sensitive
an issue. I've asked Disney representatives on a number of occasions,
and they simply reply, "We have no current plans to release
that title," or "No. Never."
Based on what I've heard over the last few years, it is clear
that there is a portion of Disney that wants to release it in a
restored state with contextual/historical commentary of some type.
Then, there is Disney upper management, who would rather not deal
with the potential backlash if it ever materialized. It is
kind of like Disney releasing the War Time animation. That was supposed
to happen last December as part of the 2002 Walt Disney Treasures
according to Leonard Maltin, but for one reason or another, the
DVD set was not released. Maybe it was politically motivated because
of the extreme stereotyping of Germans and Japanese in the animation
(even though Maltin purportedly provided considerable historical
context). Or maybe they just hadn't completed its production. I've
heard both. Regardless, I think in time we may see Song of the
South on DVD, but it may still be a while. I think the political
climate and Disney management need to be perfectly aligned for it
As for eBay, there are both Japanese laser disc versions as
well as pirate VHS copies available on the site, and they are usually
pricey. The VHS copies tend to be low quality, though, so if you
are looking to buy one, be cautious.
Until something more concrete comes along, keep your fingers
Feedback for David Koenig
In response to last
week's article on the Fantasia Gardens that never was, Bryan
Fantasia Gardens was also a portion of Beastly Kingdom before
it was put on the shelf. Concept art actually showed a swan boat
moving through a scenic Fantasia landscape. It's pictured in the
Since the World Began WDW book.
As well, JimHillMedia.com magnate/MousePlanet alumnus Jim Hill
I'd never heard about this particular version of this ride
concept before. An earlier version, I had. The "Fantasia
Gardens" that Marc Davis and Claude Coats had actually proposed
for building at Disneyland back in the early 1960s as a retheming
of the Fantasyland Motor Boats. Marc himself showed me the concept
art for that particular version of the ride back in January 1993
when Michelle and I were visiting he and Alice at their home in
Plus there was that great article that Craig McNair Wilson
wrote about the "Fantasia Gardens" concept for the Winter
1990 of "WD Eye" (Issue 7). In the article, John Hench
"tells of a plan to convert the motor boats in Fantasyland
to a world of character-shaped 'water sculptures.' Marc Davis
would provide the character designs for the attraction that was
tentatively titled Garden of the Gods. Imagineering would 'figure
out' how to carve the characters with water. Eventually the idea
was shelved, not because Imagineers couldn't do the character
fountains and falls, but because of the unacceptable sound intrusion
of the Autopia cars. Music was to play a key role in the Fantasia
boat-through experience and there was no effective way to balance
the ever-present (and impromptu!) internal combustion 'Freeway
fusion' and the 'Pastoral.'
"Then, just a couple of years ago, Claude Coats developed
another retrofit concept -- again for the Swan Boats in the
canal around the hub of Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. This
time, though, the classic Fantasia characters would be realized
in topiary bushes. Working with Katy Moss Warner of Walt Disney
World's Parks Horticulture group, Claude discovered the existence
or possibility of flowering topiary (animals and other figures
sculpted in bush or other fauna). Although this Swan Boat area
was not developed, some consideration was given toward developing
these concepts for the gardens at the entrance to Euro Disneyland."
There was also the version of the Fantasia Gardens float-through
ride that was supposed to have been one of the three opening day
attractions for Animal Kingdom's Beastly Kingdom area (along with
Quest for the Unicorn and Dragon's Tower).
I just love how WDI does stuff like this. Never letting an
idea die. Always resurrecting promising concepts with the hope
that -- someday -- this idea for a new ride, show or attraction
will finally find a home at one of the theme parks.
Finally, two skeptics challenged the optimistic outlook for DCA's
upcoming Tower of Terror attraction. First, a former Disney World
cast member wrote:
Yet more Disney Double Talk has arrived. Regarding the each
shaft having "totally separate ride systems with separate
towers and control systems" so the ride will never shut down
completely: Well, that's not anything new. WDW's Tower already
can do that. One side can go down, while the other remains up
and running. Even the four-lift shafts can do that. Star Tours
can have one sim[ulator] go down while the others are up. How
new is that?
Regarding the variable ride programs: Geez, that sounds a
lot like the new "Randomizer" program install at WDW
currently. No matter what shaft you enter, you never know what
program is being used or what to expect. Disney Double Talk!
Next, a former Disneyland cast member wrote:
Regarding Tony Baxter's positive hinting: Unfortunately, any
time a Disney executive (or any Disney cast member), in
an official capacity, makes a comment at any public function,
little can be expected other than the company hype that's expected
from them. Even an executive as excellent as Tony Baxter will
choose his words very carefully in those situations. If you want
an uninfluenced opinion, you need to catch them in informal non-Disney
situations. From what I've been given to understand, while the
attraction does maintain much of the quality efforts of the original
attraction, especially in the pre-show, the cutbacks due to budgetary
constraints have definitely reduced the overall quality and content
of the ride experience.
The 101 aspect of the attraction is of little consequence.
There are a number of attractions that fit that situation. While
it is a minor point, it in no way guarantees an unerring operation.
Even so, operation benefits are not going to be any sort of draw
As for claims that the new effects, that they have been touting
in DCA's ToT are better than the 4th dimension effect they eliminated,
reports that I've heard indicate that they are far from convincing
and are in no way a successful replacement.
Also, the claim that the variations to the ride profile are
a key element in the new attraction just isn't a worthwhile point.
Very few if any will be able to notice. Only those very few who
repeatedly ride the attraction will tell the differences. If you
didn't notice the differences in the Indy ride variations (outside
of the first door sequence, which is fairly obvious when it's
actually working), you probably won't notice the differences in
We'll see what happens on this one. I'm trying to stay as optimistic
as possible, since I think so much of DCA's chances for success
hinge on this single attraction. As far as the ride never going
101 (inoperable), I disagree that this is of no consequence to the
guest. Especially as someone who's spent innumerable hours waiting
in the Rocket Rods queue only to see, moments before boarding, the
ride go down for the day.
Do you have specific questions about an upcoming trip
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