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MousePlanet Mailbag for March 27, 2003

We receive considerable feedback regarding our site. Although we cannot publish all of them, the following may be of interest to other readers.

Feedback for Shoshana Lewin

We introduced our newest staff writer, Shoshana Lewin, with her debut articles reviewing Disney musicals (part 1 about the Walt years, and part 2 about the Eisner years). Shoshana has received quite a bit of feedback about them; here are some samples.

Arnold writes:

Since finding MousePlanet about a year ago, I've been an almost daily visitor. I especially liked your two articles on the music of the Disney animated films. I have all of the released features on either VHS or DVD and all of the soundtrack albums since Oliver & Company.

I do, however, have to disagree with your assessment of the three non–kiddie animated films: Black Cauldron, Atlantis, and Treasure Planet. You basically write them off as a waste of time. But I couldn't disagree more.

I'll concede that these three films were targeted at a different audience than the one that traditionally has been the focus of the Disney animated films and that, because of the more limited target audience, they did not do well at the box office. However, from the point of view of a 50+ male who is also a science fiction fan, I completely enjoyed those three films because of their inventive stories and magnificent animation artwork. No, they didn't have any catchy songs and they weren't geared to the kiddies or to a generally female audience, but they don't deserve to be written off as unworthy of the artistic talent and craft that is the Disney Studios. They're all works of art in their own right even though they don't fit the mold laid out by your articles.

I don't mean this letter to be a criticism of your articles, which—again—I very much enjoyed. But I just couldn't let your criticism of Black Cauldron, Atlantis, and Treasure Planet to go unchallenged.

By the way, you may want to take a look at my tribute to Disney Animation. From the splash page click on Movies and then navigate to Disney Classics.

Arnold – Thanks for your letter, I think it is great to challenge opinions.

I didn't mean to “dismiss” those three films — it is just that Disney is known for its musical animated features. When the company releases films with music, they reach a different audience and have a different purpose then the ones without. Those three films were used as an example of how audiences react when music is not used (their box office numbers were considerably lower than the films with music.)

As you are a sci-fi fan, I'm sure you enjoyed Treasure Planet and Atlantis more for their visual appeal and story development than someone else (like me) who wants to walk out of a Disney movie humming something.

Wouldn't it be great if they could reach out to a wider audience by combining the wonderful animation with some wonderful songs?

Lori writes:

I read your article and loved it. I have been telling everyone that since Mulan, I have been very disappointed in the Disney movies and no music or little music along with the new weird animation with squared-off fingers is a large problem with me. I agree to go back to the fairy tales. Where do I write and where can I tell my friends to write?

Hi Lori – I'm glad you enjoyed it. I wrote it because, like you, I have been disappointed in the recent animated features and thought looking back at the previous movies might help me figure out what went wrong. Sadly, I don't have a magic wand to make them turn out more musicals, but here is the address for the Studios:

The Walt Disney Studios
Walt Disney Feature Animation
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521-7454

Maybe if enough people write in, something will be done.

Craig writes:

Just a comment on your great article about the Eisner-era musicals. You wrote:

"The film [Beauty and the Beast] would go on to spawn one of the most successful Broadway hits of all time, receiving a Tony Award for Best Musical."

Beauty and the Beast was nominated for Best Musical in 1994, but did not win the Tony. Passion, by Stephen Sondheim took that award home. Beauty and the Beast won the “Best Costume Design” by Anne Hould-Ward.

Craig – Awesome, I agree... Beauty and the Beast is way better than Passion! And thanks for the heads-up. The sentence should read: Beauty and the Beast would go on to spawn one of the most successful Broadway hits of all time, receiving a Tony nomination for Best Musical and an award for Best Costumes (Ann Hould-Ward). I still think it should have won. Sondheim is such a downer.

Diane writes:

I agree totally with your take on disney movies. They have been awful in the last few years. We loved The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. I have a little girl who loves all the fairy tale stories. Someone needs to tell Disney.

Diane – I hope your little girl will continue enjoying the Disney fairy tales. Don't forget that 30 years separated Sleeping Beauty and The Little Mermaid. If we consider Aladdin to be the last “fairy tale,” I'm expecting something by 2022 (but I hope it will come sooner). Keep your fingers crossed!

Contact Shoshana here.
Feedback for Brian Bennett

Magdalene writes:


First of all: I love reading the trip reports and admire your work on MousePlanet.

I started reading trip reports in 1998 when planning a trip to the Southeast U.S.A. including some days at WDW. I am from Germany and so this would have been a rather big trip. The trip took never place. I got to go to southern Africa on safari instead, so it was not so bad. But I kept reading reports now and then.

After having been to Disneyland Paris in 1995 and 1997, my sister, a friend, and I will now spend three days at Disneyland Paris Resort in two weeks time. I am very excited about it as you can imagine. The trip to WDW is still something I want to do, but I feel that if I am in the U.S.A. I should also have the time to see other things there, too!

My question is now, do you think MousePlanet readers will be interested in a trip report on Disneyland Paris by a German? I get the impression that most readers of MousePlanet are Americans and have a good knowledge of either WDW or Disneyland. While I have been to Disnexland in 1992, I know nothing of WDW and will not be able to make any comparisons. Also my experiences and views might be rather different and perhaps not at all interesting for most readers of MousePlanet. What do you think?

Magdalene – I think MousePlanet readers would enjoy the report no matter what nation you're from! You would provide a unique perspective to the report (everyone does) that would make it fun to read, and helpful to other trip planners.

By all means, send it in!

Ann writes:

Dear Brian,

Thank you for all of the time and work you put into the Mouseplanet website. I have found the information and updates very interesting and useful.

I have a Walt Disney World transportation question. I have been to WDW twice: once off-property and a honeymoon in the Contemporary Resort. My husband and I went to the Ohana breakfast at the Polynesian Resort when the Contemporary breakfast was full last time and loved it. We are going back to WDW in May for our second anniversary but are staying at Port Orleans French Quarter this time. We wanted to go back to the Ohana breakfast and made priority seating arrangements for 8:00 a.m. on a Wednesday morning. Now, I am a little concerned that we will have trouble getting to the Polynesian resort this early in the morning, relying on Disney transportation from French Quarter.

How early does the transportation start running at the parks? I have heard that some transportation starts running earlier for “extra magic hour” into the specific park of the day. How early does this transportation run? What all would be included in this early transportation? Like, does the monorail run between the MK, TTC, and the monorail resorts for early Epcot opening?

One idea that I had and would like you opinion on is the following: I have read that Wednesday is early entry for Epcot. I was hoping that French Quarter buses would start running to Epcot at 7:00 a.m. that day. Outside the Epcot entrance, I thought we could board the monorail to the TTC and either walk or take the other monorail to the Polynesian Resort. Alternatively, at the Epcot entrance I thought we might be able to simply catch a bus running back to the Polynesian Resort.

What would you recommend? Is there any reason that we would have trouble utilizing the early entry transportation to go away from Epcot? Do you think we will have enough time to make a 8:00 a.m.priority seating arrangement?

Thank you for your help, Ann

Ann – Special buses run, starting at 7:00 a.m., to the various character breakfasts. I'd suggest that you keep your reservations as they are currently set, but make sure to confirm the details on the special character meal buses when you check in.

Sara writes, on ticket prices:

Brian: I thought you might like to let your U.K. readers know about a special offer on WDW ticket prices that travel agents are running. The special offer is on the 10-day world ticket. It is being offered for #199 per adult. This is less than the 7-day pass (the brochure price for the 5-day hopper plus pass is #185 for adults, and it's #228 for the 7-day hopper plus pass). The ticket includes 10 days entry to the four theme parks, and the two water parks. It also includes unlimited entry to Disney Quest and a free character breakfast. The only drawback is that you can't use unused days on another occassion — the ticket is only valid for 21 consecutive days after the first use. Our travel agent called us to let us know about it, so I assume most travel aents will know about this deal if you ask them. I just thought you would like to know about it — our family have had a hard time tracking down a good deal but this seems perfect!

Thanks so much, Sara. I'm including your note in this Mailbag piece so we can spread the word.

In our March 6 Mailbag, a reader asked if there was a way to check the balance on leftover passes. Grace provided some information in our March 13 Mailbag, and now, we hear from Bruce, who follows up with his own tip:

Hey Brian,

Just a quick note... back in 1998 we were staying at the All-Star Music resort and asked the front desk CM to check our old tickets for remaining days. They had the ability to do so back then. The reason this stuck in my head is that we both had used our old tickets the same number of days for the same parks, but they showed one less day on one than on the other. That's the only time they've ever had it wrong, and they did correct it in their system. They can also check tickets that have no park days but have “Plus” admissions like Pleasure Island left on them-we had them check that for us on our last visit in November 2002 since we had about eight tickets we weren't positive had been “used up completely.”

Maybe it's something they didn't advertise or openly admit they could do at the resorts, but at the All Stars, at least, it's been possible to check remaining days for some years now.

Thanks, Bruce. You're not the only one to confirm that. However, I know that some guests at some resorts have been told that they have to go to one of the parks or Downtown Disney to handle that chore.

Maybe someone (a cast member or someone otherwise connected?) can shed further light on the mystery.

Ruth writes:

Just visited your Disney web page re: Disney World travel. We are planning to visit WDW at this end of this month (March) and see that you haven't updated your e-mail...since last year! and would like to ask some logistical-type questions.

Ruth – My former column has been rolled into MousePlanet's site-wide Mailbag, where you can read the latest email responses there. And note the list of previous mailbag pieces in the right-hand margin.

Also, MousePlanet's new Park Update: Walt Disney World column is a great resource.

If you have some specific questions, feel free to write me. I'm still happy to answer as best I can.

Feedback for Park Updates columns

Cory from Utah writes:

Since my first son turned 2, my wife and I have annually visited Disneyland and have enjoyed the Disneyland experience through his eyes. We are now four with another boy, and enjoy the experience with double excitement.

I first found your Web site several years ago and have found it a way to maintain a connection with Disneyland. The things I like the most are the pictures and updates on new Disney ideas, improvements, and positive changes. The things I like the least our the comments and articles regarding the negativeness of park management and park upkeep.

Although I understand that there are problems at the park and your Web site more than likely creates awareness, I have at times exited your Web site with a bad and discouraged feeling about Disneyland. Because of that I began not visiting your page in order to avoid an anticipated negative feeling during my annual visit to the park. Being from Utah that visit is usually once a year.

I visit your Web site once in awhile currently I have noticed some changes in your approach. I do appreciate your frustrations and your dedication to insuring Walt's legacy remains. I will continue to visit your Web site but will more than like focus on the good rather than bad.

Cory – Thank you for your candid feedback. It's always a juggling act to provide professional and balanced news coverage; we'd like to think that our content is a good combination of both, with an ongoing dedication towards helping the Disney consumer stay well-informed. – Lani Teshima


The Mailbag is maintained by Lani Teshima. If you have any comments or would like to respond to an item here, contact the writer directly, or Lani here.

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 full name unless you specifically request that your last name not be published. They may be edited for length or style and in consideration of a family readership. Questions may also be quoted on other parts of the site as well.



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