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MousePlanet Mailbag for January 15, 2004

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 Mike Scopa

Regarding "The Trouble With Epcot" (Nov. 7, 2003), Randy Stockdale writes:

Just read your article on Epcot never really meeting Walt's vision. Excellent article on past, present and future of Epcot. I personally like Epcot because it both has the thrill rides AND has the culture of World Showcase. (I'm 44 and enjoy Test Track and Mission: Space.) But where else can you get your fill of thrill rides in the morning and listen to music from around the world in the afternoon? Epcot's identity may be just as most guidebooks put it – a mix of fun and learning.

What I found most interesting, however, were Walt's comments and vision of a place with parks for kids, pathways and various types of recreation throughout the community for residents. Many of these same ideas were used when Jim Rouse developed Columbia outside of Washington, D.C. Shortly afterward. Rouse envisioned a community with a mix of various peoples who would live and work in Columbia. Certainly, Walt and Rouse had similar ideas in developing the recreational areas. Columbia is well-known for its walking pathways, community pools and recreation centers. Columbia has its problems today as well – mostly governmental authority. To my memory, Walt never mentioned how EPCOT would be governed.

Just thought you might be interested in the analogy and comparison between these two great visionaries.

Randy – You may be interested to know that Rouse was quite an admirer of Walt Disney and Disneyland.

In 1963, in his keynote speech before the 1963 Urban Design Conference at Harvard University, Rouse said:

"I hold a view that may be somewhat shocking to an audience as sophisticated as this: that the greatest piece of urban design in the United States today is Disneyland."

"If you think about Disneyland and think of its performance in relationship to its purpose, it's meaning to people—more than that, it’s meaning to the process of development—you will find it the outstanding piece of urban design in the United States."

"It took an area of activity—the amusement park—and lifted it to a standard so high in its performance, in its respect for people, in its functioning for people, that it really does become a brand new thing. It fulfills all its functions it set out to accomplish, un-self-consciously, usefully, and profitably to its owners and developers."

"I find more to learn in the standards that have been set and in the goals that have been achieved in the development of Disneyland than in any other piece of physical development in the country."

I don't recall seeing any material indicating that Walt had in fact contacted Rouse to get feedback on the EPCOT master plan but it certainly would not surprise me.

Your point on how EPCOT would have been governed is well taken. I don't think Walt addressed that issue in his film presentation but surely EPCOT would have required some governing body.

Unfortunately that might have been a topic on the agenda for a future discussion which, sadly, Walt never had the opportunity to organize.

Thanks for the note.

Feedback for Mark Goldhaber

Linda Beavers writes:

Thank you for your insights on Walt Disney World. Keep 'em coming. Whenever I go to the parks, I usually feel too rushed or tired to really stop and look at the details. But it's the details that set Walt Disney World apart from all the other theme parks and why I love it there so much. Thank you for pointing them out. I'll try to be more observant next time I go (June 2004).

Linda – I'm glad you're enjoying the stories. It's been fun writing them so far. If there's anything in particular that you'd like to hear more about, please let me know. The only way for me to find out what people want to hear about is for them to tell me. Thanks for writing!

Regarding "Betcha Didn't Know, Part 2" (Oct. 8, 2003), Mark's series on lesser-known facts about Walt Disney World, Andy Schubert writes:

Hi! Just finished your latest article and was intrigued by the connection between the resorts and the sections of the Magic Kingdom. I had made the connection myself, but haven't seen it in print until now. Extending your idea further, it seems to follow that the Wilderness Lodge would complement Frontierland and the Grand Floridian, with its Victorian style architecture would complement Main Street. This leaves Fantasyland and Toontown (and Liberty Square) without complementary hotels (yet), but I believe there have been rumors for many years regarding a future "Asian"- or possibly "Venetian"- themed hotel to be built on the large parcel of land within the monorail loop on Seven Seas Lagoon (not far from the Contemporary). Do you have anything to support that this notion of matching lands to resorts would continue?

Just curious.

Andy – Well, I'm not sure that the Wilderness Lodge and Grand Floridian were designed to follow the original plan of matching architectural styles. I think that the concept is now dead. However, Fort Wilderness dates back to that time and would seem to be a good match for Frontierland, though it's not really visible from the park.

Hold the thought on the other, originally planned resorts. I'm planning an article that will include a little about the Asian (planned for current site of the Grand Floridian), Venetian (planned for a site between the Contemporary and the Transportation and Ticket Center), and Persian (planned for the shore of Bay Lake behind the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway), among other planned-but-never-built stuff.

Thanks for writing!

Feedback for Lani Teshima

Regarding "Whose eBay Auction Was It, Anyway?" (October 17, 2002), Holly writes:

My name is Holly. I'm a 14-year-old from West Virginia. I just read Holly's trip to California to meet the cast of Whose Line is it Anyway? Is there any way that I could have a chance of doing that or do you know? My 15th birthday is coming up and it would be a dream come true to meet Ryan Stiles and Drew Carey. I know that's asking a lot, but I have been dreaming about meeting them since the first time I watched Whose Line which was about three years ago and I have yet to meet any of them. Whose Line has inspired me to want to join in on the comedy career. I look up to those guys more than anyone I know. They're truly my heroes and will always be for the rest of my life.

This might be my one and only chance on meeting them, especially Ryan Stiles, because I barely have any time to travel. This would be the best thing that would or could ever happen in my life! You don't know how much this would mean to me if I can have this chance. If you know of any way I could have this thrilling experience will you please let me know. I would very much appreciate it! And yes I do know that there's a lot of people out there that would love a chance like this, but you don't know what this means to me. No one does. I really, really need to meet them. I can't explain it... I just do.

Holly – Thank you very much for taking the time to write.

The Holly that was interviewed for the article was the winner of a very exclusive auction held by Disney. Disney only sold two of these packages on the auction, and another woman bought the second auction (Holly getting the first). So far as I know, Disney has never sold such a package since.

That said, I have some extremely bad news for you. As of the Fall 2003 TV season, ABC-TV did not pick up Whose Line for its fall line-up. What that means is that the show, at least for now, has been cancelled. This means that Disney will not be auctioning off any more of these special opportunities.

If the show were still on the air three years from now, one thing I would recommend would be for you to write away for tickets to see the taping of the show. Many of the TV shows give away tickets to watch the tapings for free... unfortunately almost all of them, including Whose Line, required that the audience members all be adults at least 18 years of age.

If you would like details on how they USED to give out tickets, you can visit this site.

Warner Brothers (the company that produces The Drew Carey Show) used to have a mailing address to which you could send letters to the actors in its shows, but I am told that since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, they no longer accept mail at the address. You could give it at try anyway, although I don't know if you will be successful:

Ryan Stiles
c/o The Drew Carey Show
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522

In the meantime, you can also send him an e-mail at the Warner Brothers' Web page. There is an online form you can use to send Mr. Stiles e-mail.

I'm sorry I don't have better news for you.

Feedback for MousePlanet

Regarding the March 6, 2003 Mailbag, Kathie writes:

I just went to this Web site [DealPass.com] per a posting by Stan, to get Disney Meal vouchers. It is a fraudulant website and you should not do any business with them. If you would like to see for yourself type connections by DealPass in a search engine you will pull up a site with 12 seperate postings of how people were signed-up without their consent. And if you forget or don't cancel within the 30-day trial, which they may change at their discretion, at anytime, without notice, they will charge your card of record $139.99 per month until you do cancel by the specific manner they request. If you call the number on the website you are put on hold "forever."

Just FYI. Hope it helps.

Kathie – Thanks for the tip. It's always a good idea to research companies before trusting them with your hard-earned vacation money!


GENERAL QUESTIONS

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