We receive considerable feedback regarding our site. Today's mailbag
is full of lots of feedback and responses from our writers, so kick
back and enjoy!
Feedback for Shoshana
The feedback to Shoshana regarding her
comment about Steven Sondheim simply refused to quit! Skypp
Shoshana I respect your opinions, but as a critic, you
I agree that the content of his musicals are dark and morose,
but you're overlooking the fact that that the content is the surface
level of the shows and have the ability to make us think. These
shows actually speak volumes about society. A good theater
student would recognize that. A good student and a good critic
would also recognize that these lyrics are more than face value.
It may seem gross to you and a downer, but the lyrics
are teaching you a lesson and are encouraging you to think.
Sherman music doesn't really encourage you to think. Intelligent
people can recognize the difference
have not shown proof that you do.
Hi Skypp If you'll look at my original articles, you'll
notice I was not writing a critique of all musicals, just
the Disney animated ones. This became an issue when I agreed with
another reader about Sondheim that's all. Intelligence was
never an issue. I enjoy musicals for the way they make me feel and
I don't like feeling depressed, grossed out or less intelligent
because I enjoy happy musicals. People should be able to enjoy something
without having to think about the lesson behind it. The Sherman
Brothers make me smile, and often but not always
Sondheim doesn't. Thank you for your letter.
Kelly P. writes:
I don't really enjoy Sondheim that much, either. And I have a
problem with people labeling him the greatest musical
genius when there have been so many. To me, all his stuff sounds
I also don't understand why someone would use epithets like juvenile
regarding your comments, just because they don't agree with you.
That's bordering on name-calling.
I just wanted you to know that I enjoyed your articles. People
don't write often enough when they like something, but
they sure write often enough to complain. I think people should
try to maintain a Disney attitude and not be so hypercritical
about this free Web site. We're lucky to have people like you
who are willing to write about one of our favorite topics.
Thank you Kelly for your kind words! It is so seldom that people
write when they agree with you. I'm glad you enjoyed the article
and I hope you continue to enjoy all the articles on MousePlanet.
There has been quite an uproar lately about my opinion toward Stephen
Sondheim which all came out a response to a letter several
weeks ago. We all have our own opinions, and what you have seen
are mine. I never said I was a theater critic, but I am a theater
lover and a musical lover. If you don't agree with me, that's
fine. This discussion ends here. If you want to talk more about
Disney musicals, I'm all ears. However, if you wish to talk more
about Sondheim, feel free to start a thread in the MousePad Entertainment
forum. Thank you. Shoshana
Feedback for Cast Place, with
On Shoshana's debut article in our popular Cast Place column,
With the Mouse, Part One: Mouse U from Missouri to Anaheim,
Josh U. writes:
Let me just say, I continue to enjoy your articles on MousePlanet.
For the record, you,re a very lucky person. About
the same time you were discovering a Disney College
Program at Disneyland, I was fighting tooth and
nail with a recruiter to even allow me to be considered
for Disneyland rather than Walt Disney World.
I too was in Missouri, but not at Missouri University.
Nevertheless, I ended up spending time in the
cesspool of WDW, know that your experience was
very rare and count your blessings!
Keep you the good work.
Thanks Josh. I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. I hope you
get the chance even for a few months to work at Disneyland.
It might be after you retire, but don't give up on that dream!
Feedback for Todd Regan
MousePlanet's intrepid Dusty Traveler wrote a
sad farewell to Central Florida's Cypress Gardens. Sarah
Thanks for your well-written article on the closing of Cypress
I grew up in Orlando and my family made occasional visits to
Cypress Gardens. As a little girl my favorite aspect of the park
were the ski shows. I loved the Hatfield and McCoy feud ski show.
It was great! I seem to recall that Cypress Gardens was especially
popular with the senior citizen crowd. My grandparents loved it.
I do have some pictures somewhere, but they are all from the '80s.
I'm so sad to think it is closed now. I hate to think that such
a beautiful place will fall into disarray.
Thanks for the update.
Thank you, Sarah. I hope Disney, Six Flags, or Cedar
Fair takes advantage of the plants and animals or
buys the whole park. However, I fear that it will
all just be sold off at auction and then the land
will be developed into housing tracts. It is just
so sad to see yet another icon of Florida's past slip
I read on CNN that Jeb Bush is considering taking it on as part
of a state project called the Florida Forever program, which was
established to conserve environmentally sensitive land. I look
forward to seeing what the outcome is.
Sarah Now that is an interesting concept! Let's hope that
the gardens remain in at least some form. I wonder if Jeb would
be conserving the water ski shows as well. Hmm.
Thank you so much for forwarding this along!
Caswell A. writes:
I just read your article on Cypress Gardens. My parents used
to take us to Disney every summer, back in the '70s and early
'80s. On just about every trip, we would go over to Cypress Gardens.
Although I thought it was boring (I was a kid, what did I know),
I have many found memories of the water skiing shows. I'm sorry
to hear of its closing. My guess is, some developer will probably
buy it and turn it into a golf course and high priced houses.
Thanks for writing this story.
Caswell Thank you very much for your reply.
I can understand why you would find the gardens a little boring
when you were younger. Cypress' target market was of retirement
age. However, the ski shows and animals were compelling to people
of all ages. I fear that your thoughts on what could happen to Cypress
Gardens may actually come to pass. That land is simply too valuable
to just sit idle. Although, you never know, someone in the industry
may still buy them out and reopen it.
Take care, and thank you for writing.
Bob L. writes:
For what it's worth, just last summer here in Los Angeles,
my wife and I enjoyed Cypress Gardens vicariously by way of a 50th
anniversary showing of This is Cinerama at the Cinerama Dome
(in threeprojector Cinerama!).
This film (the top-grossing flick of 1952) apparently was responsible
for really putting Cypress Gardens on the map. One of the highlights
of the travelogue featured the Florida attraction with all the
flora, the water skiing and, of course, the Southern belles in
glorious Technicolor. The breathless, gee-whiz narration and storyline
were 1950s cornball in the grandest sense but, nonetheless, it
showed this charming attraction in its heyday.
Thanks, Bob. The information about This is Cinerama is priceless.
Feedback for Adrienne VincentPhoenix
Kudos are coming in to Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix for the images
she took for our Walt
Disney World Spring Desktops. Mike B. writes:
I was just admiring the spring break pictures you posted on MousePlanet,
and was wondering what type camera/film you use. The one that
really caught my eye was the Illuminations shot
been able to get one with that much color and clarity. I also
admired how you were able to snap places like [the] China [pavillion]
without anyone in the picture!
I enjoyed your piece, and look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks for your note. I've received quite a few questions about
those photos. I use a digital camera for all of the photos I take
for MousePlanet. Specifically, I use a Sony Mavica FD85, which,
amazingly, is only a 1.3 megapixel model.
For daytime outdoor photos, I shoot with normal outdoor white balance,
normal exposure, but I always use a flash. That helps with color
saturation if I don't use the flash, the colors are often
The Illuminations photo was taken with the night setting
basically a long exposure. I had the camera balanced on a
fence, and tried to anticipate the shells. I've seen the show a
few times, so I have a pretty good idea of when things will explode.
My Mavica is quite sensitive to red light, something common to digital
cameras in general. That is why we went with the blue photo you
liked. Any of the photos of red shells burned too much
all the camera saw were red blobs.
We were really fortunate to visit Epcot on a fairly uncrowded day
in March, but my husband and I had to demonstrate a lot of patience
to get those shots me, as the 100th person stepped into my
perfect shot, and my husband, as he stopped yet again to figure
out where I had disappeared to. Oh, look honey there's
nobody in the butterfly garden!
Feedback for Lani
After publishing articles on exercising
at Disneyland, as well as on the Walt
Disney World Marathon, Lani now gets inquiries related to
staying fit while on vacation. Lynne T. writes:
Lani Do you have any idea what resorts and/or places
in Walt Disney World have fitness rooms? We're staying at Port
Orleans resort beginning next week. I like to run in the morning
but lift weights after that. Are there fitness rooms I could run
to in the a.m.?
Thanks! Can't find much info on this on the WDW and related Web
Our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide includes a list
of onproperty fitness and health clubs, with their
Although it does not appear that Port Orleans has its own fitness
center, Old Key West Resort nearby has something called Slappy Joe's
Massage Room I don't know if they have a full fitness center,
but you can phone them at 407-827-1677 to find out.
I do know that as a guest of a WDW on-property resort, you can
also purchase passes for the health club at the Grand Floridian
(4078242433). St. John's Health Club has treadmills,
Stairmasters, elliptical trainers, as well as good complement of
Cybex equipment. They even have free weights if that is your preference.
They are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. I believe you can purchase a
one-day pass for $15, or a length-of-stay pass for $30.
Unfortunately, the Grand Floridian is some distance from Port Orleans.
Unless you have your own car, getting to and from the Grand Floridian
may end up eating quite a bit of time in your day.
What kind of weight work do you like to do? It's difficult to
put in a full workout on vacation (unless you are specifically taking
a fitness vacation at a spa). When I'm home, I, too,
combine resistance training with my cardio workouts (mostly free
weights but some Body Masters equipment). However when I'm traveling,
I find it difficult to get a satisfying workout in because of various
factors (lack of time, easy access to facilities, and so on). Instead,
what I do is to take a rubberized resistance band with me. These
take up almost no room in a travel bag, but you can get almost a
full workout from one of these and in fact, I sometimes use
these bands during my regular workouts at home.
Make sure you find the optimal resistance for you (as they come
in different strengths), and take some time to get used to the band
exercises before your travel. Most of them come with brochures showing
the different positions. If there is a trainer at your gym who uses
bands, consider arranging for a training session with the person
so you can learn how to use them correctly.
One more thing if you like to run, don't forget that WDW
has both a 10K in the fall, and a very popular marathon in January.
Have a great vacation!
Feedback for Mike
When Mike wrote, How
not to Spend the Night in the Magic Kingdom, a belated
April Fool's story about how he found himself accidentally in the
park after closing, Mike's in-box was deluged with e-mail.
The following are some representative samples.
Timony W. writes:
Great story! Maybe someday you could get permission to spend
the night there with the maintenance crew to see what really goes
Tim I'm sure they work hard. When the park opens each day
everything always looks freshly painted and clean. And sometimes
there's a flower or shrub or tree that wasn't there the night before.
Thanks for the note.
Dan Y. writes:
I read articles written by you and others on this site to gain
more information about the parks, and occasionally to enjoy a
good story. This night in the Magic Kingdom story contained neither.
I usually enjoy your writing, but this time you really let me
down and wasted my time. Just thought you'd like to know.
Hi Dan, I'm sorry that my article disappointed you but also am
glad that you took the time to drop me a note to let me know how
It's important for me to understand what my readers like, and I
hope that I can win you back with my upcoming articles.
Thanks again for being honest with me.
You haven't lost me, Mike. And I guess I have to sort of apologize
for the caustic nature of my last e-mail. I'm usually a pretty
mellow guy, but we all have our moments, don't we? Keep the good
stuff coming I appreciate your insights!
Hey Dan, Not only are you mellow but also classy. How many people
would write back and apologize
especially when it's unnecessary
to do so?
Everyone here at MousePlanet appreciates the feedback we get and
you were justified in letting me know how you feel.
So keep those cards and letters coming, Dan.
Michael P. writes:
Hey Mike. Just read your story, funny.
Here's a story for you: In the '60s my sister worked at Disneyland.
That's when they still closed on Mondays and Tuesdays for repairs
and stuff. Well, then they had cool benefits for cast members.
One of them was movie night at the park, on I think the first
Tuesday of the month.
Anyway, we would enter through the main gate and walk through
the park to the Fantasyland Theater (long gone). It was strange
walking through the park when there's nobody in it.
It was like being in the Twilight Zone all the lights were on
music playing. It was cool and scary at the same time.
I've never forgotten it.
Hi Michael. Thanks for the story.
It sounds pretty much how most of us envision how it would be
surreal. I'll bet that's a memory that will last forever.
Thanks for sharing that memory.
Rodrigo Hernandez from KOST radio writes:
I produce a hugely successful morning show in Los Angeles called
The Mark and Kim Show. We work a lot with Disney.
Dick Cook and Roy Disney are huge fans of ours. (As a matter of
fact, we're going to do a Breakfast with Winnie the Pooh at Disneyland
to promote the new ride.)
I was reading your report thinking to myself, He would
be a great interview!
You got me! Hook, line and sinker... That's what I get for playing
an April Fool's joke on our listeners!
Pat yourself on the back...
Producer, The Mark and Kim Show
KOST 103.5, Los Angeles
Hi Rodrigo Glad you liked it. I wonder how many other April
Fool pranksters found themselves caught hook, line, and sinker?
Continued good luck with the show, and say hi to Dick Cook and
Roy Disney for me and everyone at Mouseplanet.
Jim K. writes:
Hi Mike Just got reeled in to your Falling Asleep
in the Magic Kingdom story. It was very funny you
totally had me. Well done.
Hi Jim, If it made you smile, dream, or laugh then the author is
pleased. Thanks for the note.
Keith C. writes:
Mike, I enjoyed your story it really drew me in, which
I suppose makes the joke aspect of it all the more
effective. But I'd have to say that it's bad form to attempt an
April Fool's joke after April 1st. Beyond the breach
of April Fool's etiquette, my bigger concern is that
it may give people ideas. Is the prospect of being banned from
the park enough of a deterrent? Perhaps, but I'm not sure.
As a former cast member, I've heard of guests stowing away,
and they are not looked upon kindly. It's my understanding that
they are pressed with trespassing charges (no, the Disney guards
can't press charges, but they can and will call in the Orange
County Sheriff). And they will be banned from the park. Guests
are often banned from the park even for something as relatively
minor as shoplifting. I would be astounded if you ever set foot
in any Disney park again after stowing away.
In the current climate, where terrorism is such a concern (and
Disney parks have been specifically targeted), stowing away is
a worse idea than ever. I would be very surprised if a stowaway
didn't receive a great deal of attention from the FBI and other
authorities well beyond the Orange County Sheriff.
I've never seen the Magic Kingdom after closing, but I've spent
many, many hours in Epcot after closing (officially, that is
when I worked second shift, I often had to stick around as much
as three hours after the park closed, to make sure there were
no stragglers left). It's really not as exciting or magical as
you might expect. If anything it's a bit surreal, but not much
more so than being the park among the handful of stragglers at
closing. Throw in a handful of third-shift Custodial and Maintenance
workers (who in my experience, aren't a very chatty bunch), and
you have that coveted after-closing experience. It's hardly worth
being banned, let alone the other probable consequences.
Hi Keith You're probably right about me stretching April
Fool's a few weeks.
I wonder if more of MousePlanet's readers would have suspected
an April Fool's joke earlier in the month.
Thanks for pointing out the consequences for stowing away in the
parks. I was remiss in mentioning that important point.
Also, your point on the post-9/11 atmosphere is well taken. We
all should be aware of increased security measures being taken by
Disney's theme parks.
Thanks for the note.
That was an unnerving shaggy dog story. I bought the story hook,
line and sinker. I really thought you had spent the night at the
Magic Kingdom. I have always wondered what happened when they
closed the parks and I thought I would find out today while reading
your piece. I was so excited that the laundry is still sitting
downstairs and my hungry dog is still hungry. I have to get moving
now but thanks for the long break from reality.
Hi Marylyn Gee
sorry about the laundry and please
convey my apologies to your dog for keeping him from his meal.
But I'm glad I was able to drag you from reality if just for a
Now fold that laundry and feed that pooch.
Heinz S. writes:
I have to tell you I loved your article. It was
awesome. WOW! You kept me hooked until the very
Now I have to have my wife read it as a night in
Disneyland has always been a dream of mine.
I'm just afraid of being kicked out for life.
Hi Heinz I agree.
Is lifetime banishment worth it?
Glad you enjoyed the article and thanks for the note.
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.
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