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MousePlanet Mailbag for February 12, 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 Mark Goldhaber

Trey writes:

Please accept my apologies if this is the wrong avenue to submit this piece of information. However, I check MousePlanet daily, am a former cast member (College Program), and couldn't resist sharing this bit of Walt Disney World info with you for you to share maybe with the readers.

Frontierland and Liberty Square are themed so that when a guest starts at the Haunted Mansion and moves toward Splash Mountain, the guest travels through time and space. Let me explain. The Haunted Mansion is themed for the Hudson River Area, as you move “westward” and “forward” in time, we cross through Philadelphia and St. Louis with the Hall of Presidents and then to the Saloon and move furthur west. There are many other details involved (they escape me at the moment) that give historical cues. (Look for a reference for “one if by land two if by sea” in the windows above Liberty Square.) And now, as we move west, we get to what is my favorite detail, mostly unnoticed by occasional guests.

The gravel path right by the porch of the Country Bears (I believe) is a geographical cue. You'll notice standing at the darker, “muddier” path that behind you is clean, orderly, and settled. And just in front of you is untamed land! The gravel path is the Mississippi River! And just beyond that the Wild West with Pecos' Big Thunder, etc.

On a side note, Splash Mountain doesn't exactly fit the time and space movement themeing. It perhaps should be closer to Tom Sawyer's Island. It's more of a Georgia themed critter country, but regardless I found the transition from Haunted Mansion to Big Thunder Mountain amazing.

Maybe you and the readers already knew about this, but if not I hope you can take some time next time you're there and look at the details.

Trey – Actually, back in May in my third article ever for MousePlanet (“Walt Disney Theming, Part II: The Transition of Theming”), I told a version of that story, linking it with Adventureland as well. I left out the story behind that differently-colored strip that runs in front of the buildings though. I think that it would be a case of too much information!

Thanks for writing. If you've got any other cool stuff to share, please feel free. My columns are only as good as my sources!

Regarding “Farewell, Alien” (from November 5, 2003) about the closing of ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter at the Magic Kingdom, Daniel Paci writes:

What a wonderful article. I, too, was in the last show. Remembering the remarks about “Stitch will die,” I half expected to be in those pictures you took.

The article brought back great memories of that trip, and the one time I thought I was going to see a riot at the Magic Kingdom. Too bad I didnt get to meet you as I was also reporting for Talkdisney.com

Daniel – It was a pretty interesting night. I was the guy standing on the railing by the turnstile taking pictures as folks went inside. Wish I met you there. I was chatting with Nate from Doombuggies.com for a while, took a picture of him and his group, and then went to stake out the photo.

You know, I didn't even think about being last one in/last one out until it happened. I was taking the photos of people going in, and said, “Hey, nobody is staking out a position to be last one in. I'm already trailing the pack, why not be the last guest?” It wasn't until I got to the chamber that I ran into the off-duty cast member that had the same idea. Luckily, he came up with the idea that we go in together. He stopped to hug the tube on the way out, so I had to wait a little longer for the four of us to go out together. A bunch of us hung out in the shop for a while until they kicked us out. It was kind of a surreal night, wasn't it?

Thanks for writing!

Feedback for Mike Scopa

Regarding “Capturing the Magic” (from January 2, 2004) about photo tips, Wade writes:

Another wonderful article! All your points are very true. I'm amazed how many have such a hard time getting good footage. A relative of mine never tapes people, only the buildings and landscape stuff.

Sometimes I try to rush ahead and get shots of our party walking by. Other shots include walking right behind the band down Main Street. Or in the middle of the Seven Dwarfs line as they march along.

I wholeheartedly agree that the best videos are the undirected natural interaction of people. Thanks again.

Wade – Regarding the taping of buildings and landscape, Sony and others are now selling camcorders that allow you to take still photography off the tape.

When you play back the tape you can hit a button and a frame can be captured and written on a memory card. I wonder if the people we observe taping buildings have those cameras.

I like your approach to taping the reactions of others to attractions... it certainly makes for some fun viewing.

Thanks for the note.

Rod writes:

I enjoyed your article about videotaping at WDW. I took about four hours of video of my two kids at WDW in 1991, and then again in 1993. We didn't go to WDW again until this past August.

I got all ready to take my videos. Forgetting lessons learned 10 years earlier, I left the videocamera on top of the air conditioner in our room at Port Orleans Riverside... got up in the morning... ventured out into the muggy August morning... and saw nothing but the dew light.

Every night afterward I left the videocamera in our car so it didn't get cooled down and cause condensation the next morning. Worked fine.

As you can imagine, I was upset about missing my little ones' first reactions to the Magic Kingdom—but over the next week I got some great videos. You might talk in future articles about the condensation problem.

Hey, thanks for the great article... thought I'd offer my two cents.

Rod – Thanks for pointing out that condensation problem and how to avoid it.

It's probably a good idea to tell everyone to check their camera as soon as they step out of their room.

I sometimes remember. If I do and I have condensation I keep the camera out and the lens cap off to hasten the eventually evaporation of the moisture.

Thanks for the note.

Feedback for Adrienne Krock

Regarding Adrienne's “Parenting in the Parks” series, Michelle writes:

I have been enjoying your reports—thank you. I do have a question. We will be headed to Disneyland (again!) at the end of March and will have a newborn baby with us who will be about 6-8 weeks old at the time. Do you know if we will be allowed to take him on rides if he is in a Baby Bjorn carrier? Obviously I am not thinking of the scarier rides but more along the lines of Small World, Jungle Cruise, etc. I would appreciate any advice you can give us. Thank you.

Michelle – I love my Baby Bjorn baby carrier! It's wonderful! You should not have problems bringing your baby on a ride in the Baby Bjorn. On Roger Rabbit, the cast members usually require riders to be able to sit unassisted, so you will not be able to take the baby on that ride. But any other rides without height restrictions should not be a problem. Have a great trip, I know you will.

Feedback for Shoshana Lewin

Regarding “Holiday Time at Disneyland” (from Dec. 11, 2003) regarding holiday activities available at the park, Wendy writes:

I don't know how many of you have noticed that for over two years, they have not placed the Christmas trees right by the castle. Well, I can tell you why they are no longer there. I was a cast member in store operations and I worked in Package Express (we picked up the merchandise from several park locations and we held them at the newsstand).

One day as I did the package run, I walked through the castle when all of a sudden, the trees came down due to the huge Santa Ana winds. The first tree fell over onto the water, but it was the second tree that was my concern.

Instead of falling like the other tree onto the water, this tree fell on the center on the castle where there were, as always, adults and kids there taking photos. I reacted as it went down and got people to move, but it was too late. The tree had taken down an elderly man and a young couple. Given the fact that these trees are heavy—they are adorned with glass decorations—I pulled the people out and attended to the man who had bloody head.

To make a long story short, I stayed there until help arrived and I never got any recognition from helping people.

Wendy – Even though you didn't get any recognition from the park, which seems odd since that was a very brave thing to do, I'm sure the people you helped will remember you always. Disneyland is lucky to have a cast member like you who cares that much.

Wendy replies:

Thank you for your kind words, I actually left Disney in May 2003 because I hate their politics and the only way to move up is to kiss up to people.

That is why I want to share what some managers really think about their cast.

General comments and feedback for our mailbag

Regarding the November 13, 2003 Mailbag, Greg Askins writes:

Regarding the Brother Bearoverlay in Disney's California Adventure park and its use of the northern lights:

Northern lights are not unheard of for Northern California: “Rare glimpse of northern lights possible,” Sacramento Bee (link).

Here's a link that notes they were even visible earlier this year as far south as Southern California: “Geomagnetic storm sparks northern lights,” Space.com (link).

Here's a recent photo of the Northern Lights over Oklahoma!: Picture of the day from NASA (link).

As a follow-up for a 2001 article about Club 33, Doug writes:

We submitted an inquiry regarding Club 33 membership nearly 3 years ago. We received an application from them relatively quickly (about 1 month) after sending in the original inquiry. About a year after that, there was another note from them whether we were still interested. However, we have yet to actually have any real confirmation or anything else as to when or if we will ever be a member. We asked one of the waiters about it and they said that the waiting list is huge - it could take as long as 5 years. Not bad for something that is never advertised or rarely talked about!


GENERAL QUESTIONS

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.

VOICE YOUR OPINION

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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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