MousePlanet Mailbag for February 19, 2004
We receive considerable feedback regarding our site. Although we cannot publish them all, the following may be of interest to our readers.
Feedback for Mike Scopa
Scoping the Parks
Will Coleman writes to Mike Scopa about his article, The
Trouble with Epcot (November 7, 2003):
I always enjoy your writings on Mouseplanet. I'd like to know
if you've ever taken the time to read some of the worthwhile biographies
about Waltnot the strictly Disneyfied versions, where all
he says is stuff like it all started with a mouse
but a true biographylike Bob Thomas' book?
If you'd read that, you'd know that later in his life, Disney
was really only interested in city planning and that was what
Epcot was meant to be. Never ever was it envisioned as
a theme park (you're right).
I enjoyed your Epcot article, but you spent such a long time
in the lead up positing that Walt might've envisioned something
elsewell, yes. He did. Certainly.
Walt Disney was never interested in looking back. His enthusiasm
for new projects kept him leaping forward to larger and larger
things. He'd been frustrated with the whole Magic Kingdom
in Florida idea because he'd already done that. Honestly,
building four theme parks in the property is something he'd have
been bored with.
Thanks for the writing!
Hi Will I think I've read a portion of Bob Thomas' book,
Walt Disney, an American Original (New York: Pocket Books
(Simon & Schuster), 1976) but not all of it.
I think you're right about Walt's approach towards progress Will
and the fact that he may have seen the construction of theme parks
as boring or ho-hum
sort of Been there, done that!
He seemed to be driven to improve everyone's quality of life and
when you think of it, by inserting the word Prototype
in his Epcot master plan he actual felt that he would influence
Thanks for the note.
Regarding a previous Mailbag comment by Tim Wolfers (link)
about Mike's article, The
Trouble with Epcot, Karen writes:
I would have to disagree with the statement that yourself and
Mr. Wolfers made about certain economic classes enjoying Epcot
more than others. My husband and I enjoy Epcot; it's our favorite
park and we are not exactly rich people. I would like to know
what you and Mr. Wolfers are basing this opinion on. Just curious.
Hi Karen Of course I speak only for myself and not Mr. Wolfers,
but I do recall him saying, I have talked to all kinds of
WDW-goers and it often comes down to economic class. Those of higher
income levels seem to really enjoy the Epcot experience.
My own thoughts also stem from my experience in talking with many
people over the last 20 years and especially from discussions I've
had with some cast members who have conducted guest surveys over
I'm sure you've seen cast members asking questions of guests as
they exit the turnstiles.
Many of the international guests who flock to WDW are obviously
in a relatively higher economic class to afford to make the trip
across the pond. These guests look forward to shopping
in Epcot. I have also heard the same firsthand from many contacts
in the United Kingdom, Germany, and France.
What also plays into this formula is the level of education of
these guests. That is to say that obviously the higher the level
of education, the higher the earning potential.
So I would go as far as to say that education and economics play
a large part in this theory.
I will add, however, that this theory may not hold as much water
as it did some 10 years back. I believe that Test Track and Mission:
Space have a lot to do with this, as well as the upcoming Soaring
I say this because these attractions are designed to draw the young
adults and teens to this theme park. Certainly they are in a lower
You also have to remember that more than any other theme park,
Epcot draws a large percentage of older guests. Epcot's drawing
power for young adults, teens, and young children was not as great
as the Magic Kingdom nor Disney-MGM Studios.
I'm not rich either, nor do I play a rich person online
I enjoy Epcot, too.
Thanks for the note, as I think your question needed to be answered.
I hope this gives you an idea of how I arrived at this opinion.
It is by no means a scientifically proven fact
just an opinion.
Gregg MacKenzie writes.
We are thinking of taking in the Luau at the Polynesian Resort
on July 4. We have been told that only guests of the resort are
allowed on the beach. Does anyone check this on July 4th? We would
hate to set this up and then be asked to leave the beach we are
hoping to watch the fireworks from. Do you know what the situation
Hi Greg The only problem you would have would be if you
intended to park at the Polynesian.
This past July 4th, I found out that at one point the Magic Kingdom
Park Toll Plaza had to turn away cars unless you were a guest at
one of the Monorail Resorts or Fort Wilderness.
I also know that some people tried to drive over to the Polynesian
Resort to watch the fireworks from the beach and they were also
turned away, possibly as early at 4 in the afternoon.
The problems with the crowds this year began late in the day. I
believe that the toll plaza began turning cars away about 6:30 p.m.
One more thing you should know: In December, I met with some WDW
managers to discuss an issue I had with parking at the Polynesian.
My issue centered on the lack of security at that resort in regards
I had found many cars without permits in the parking lot. My voice
must have been one of many because in recent weeks security has
really tightened up.
However, if you are already inside the toll plaza and
want to watch the Fort Wilderness at the Polynesian I would suggest
parking in the Magic Kingdom parking lot and taking the monorail
to the Polynesian.
Again, the issue here for you would be only if you intended to
drive and park at the Polynesian.
enjoy the fireworks.
Staff writer Lani Teshima adds:
I recently stayed at the Polynesian, and I can attest to the difficulty
in being allowed to park there. The parking lot entry has a sign
stating that the only individuals who may park there are registered
guests and those with Priority Seating request numbers for their
Although I had a confirmation number for my valid reservation at
the resort (and I was in their computer system when I checked in),
for some reason the security guard at the Polynesian parking lot
entry gate said I was not on the approved guest list. And because
he could not find me listed as a valid guest, he was going to turn
us away from the lot.
Fortunately, I had a copy of a fax with my confirmation number
from my travel agent, so he finally let me in (without an apology,
I might add). Heaven knows what would have happened if I just had
the confirmation number written down in a notepad without the official-looking
You might be interested to note that because the guard could not
find me listed, he did not give me a parking pass! For the four
days our car was parked there, we went without a parking pass, although
once we were checked in, we used our guest ID cards to lift the
entry gate on the resort guests only entrance. So Mike,
it's quite possible some of those cars you saw without parking passes
were for folks in situations like mine.
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Mike
Feedback for Shoshana Lewin
Sam Lederberger from Australia, writes:
Please advise if, what type, where and the price of glatt kosher
meals are available in Disneyland. Thanking you for your attention
and awaiting your reply.
Hi Sam You're in luck. Here's the lowdown on kosher eats
at the park. What you need to do before you come to Disneyland is
call the Dine Line at 714-781-DINE (3463)to double check which
locations serve kosher mealsand also to make a reservation.
The meals are not prepared at the park but are in packages that
you would find on an airplane.
At the moment, kosher meals can be located at several locations
(see below), although you will have to wait a few minutes extra
to have them prepared for you. If you are making a reservation in
advancefor example, at the Blue Bayou in New Orleans Squarelet
them know you need kosher meals so they can have them for you.
When you arrive, tell your waiter that you had reserved kosher
meals. It will likely take 15 to 20 minutes, minimum, for your order
to be ready. They will provide you with the meal and its original
packaging as proof of the meal's kosher value.
When last checked, all kosher meals cost $11.35but the price
is subject to change. Types of Kosher Meals Available:
- Chicken Fiesta Water, ground chicken, onions, lima beans,
great northern beans, cranberry beans, whole tomatoes, crushed
tomatoes in tomato puree, chicken base, soybean oil, chili powder,
modified food starch, garlic, spices.
- Oriental Chicken Water, cooked rice, boneless chicken,
soy sauce, pineapple juice, modified food starch, sugar, margarine,
catsup, corn syrup, beef and mushroom base, salt, carrots, spices.
- Radiatore Bolognese Cooked pasta product, ground beef,
whole tomatoes, water, crushed tomatoes in tomato puree, onions,
soybean oil, spices.
- Salisbury Steak Ground beef, water, potatoes, nondairy
creamers, bread crumbs, sherry wine, onions, margarine, modified
food starch, beef and mushroom base, spices.
- Linguini No ingredients are available for this item.
When I last checked, the following had the kosher meals:
- Disneyland Hotel Granvilles, HookÕs Pointe and GoofyÕs
- Grand Californian Hotel Napa Rose and Storytellers
- Paradise Pier Hotel PCH Grill
- Disneyland Plaza Inn and Blue Bayou
Almost all the candy around the resort is kosher and labeled as
such. There are also many locations that serve fresh fruit.
If you wish to bring your own food and keep it in a cooler, there
are lockers available near the picnic area (you can't bring coolers
into the park, but you can bring small Ziploc bags of snacks).
Hope this helps, and happy eating.
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Shoshana
Feedback for Mark Goldhaber
Kim Pedersen, President and Founder of the Monorail Society,
writes to us after reading retired Imagineer and contributor George
McGinnis' World View series on monorails (on
the Mark V, and on
the Mark VI):
Monorails aren't just for theme parks!
I, too, enjoyed the feature on monorails, thanks much!
George McGinnis infers that Seattle recently selected the monorail
for aesthetics despite very large switches, the need
for mechanical stabilization and that the monorail
works fine for small systems like Disneyland and WDW.
We at the Monorail Society have been fighting these and other
myths about monorails since our founding in 1989. I invite George
and readers that are interested in learning more about what progress
monorail has made around the world since Walt built his Highways
in the Sky by visiting our Web site at monorails.org (note
the s in monorails).
The Seattle Monorail Project is the result of citizens of Seattle,
many of whom are Monorail Society members, seeing the obvious
advantages of a quiet, fast, elevated Alweg line versus putting
so-called light rail trains in the streets in the middle of traffic
and pedestrians, as many American cities are doing these days.
Like the Disney monorails, the one-mile Seattle Alweg Monorail
has carried millions of passengers quickly, quietly and safely
since it opened for the 1962 Century 21 World's Fair. It's the
only rail system in the U.S.A. to turn a profit!
Monorails have unfortunately been typecast as theme park rides
in the U.S.A., which is not what Walt Disney intended. Still,
many cities outside of the U.S.A. have built monorails and we
are finally starting to make progress here with the Seattle Monorail
Project, the new Las Vegas Monorail, and others. Thanks Walt,
we're finally catching on!
The Monorail Society
Kim Enjoyed your thoughtful letter to Mark Goldhaber regarding
my statement on Seattle's apparent choice of monorails. The statement
was made in an e-mail to Clark Dodge, Staff Chief Engineer for the
May I quote you, from Monorails of North America, Disneyland?
Millions of TV viewers saw the monorail on Walt's Sunday
show and became convinced of its future in transit.
This instant love affair is not unlike the first advertised view
of a successful car model. A large segment of the public are convinced
they need one.
I believe the public wanted to ride the monorail and millions have.
We know what the visual appeal is, especially with the Disney monorails.
They have stayed with an aerodynamic nose and a Flash Gordon fin
to cover side wheels. The affect is of a flying train, swallowing
its rail as it moves along.
In that I believe this is where all monorail interest got its start,
my inference regarding Seattle's selection of monorail has a basis.
I agree with your statements regarding light rail in streets. Wise
city planners will grade separate transit from the beginning.
There are many ways to arrange wheels under or over a train. Inventors
are producing new ways everyday. All have to be compared with what
has worked for over 150 years; inherent stability, simplicity of
switching. The latter is a space consideration, and is very important
in a system that is intended to grow and serve all the city with
many lines and yards.
I have faith the engineers will make the right decision if politics
are not dominant in the equation.
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact George
via Mark here.
Regarding Mark's new series about the History of Walt Disney World
published January 28, Bryan writes:
Enjoyed your article on the history of Walt Disney World. I hate
to nitpick, but Disneyland was not a rousing success.
The entire opening day was a disaster, from people screwing up
many times during the live broadcast to the press blasting it
as Black Sunday (at least I think it was Sunday),
and Disneyland is a spectacular
lost their heels in the concrete, Fantasyland had to be shut down
due to a gas leak, the carousel created a humongous bottleneck
It wasn't until a month after opening that they recovered from
the bad press. Yet thankfully the crowds still came.
Bryan You're probably right. I probably should have said
something like Walt could already see that the park would
soon become a rousing success. I guess that, since I was rushing
through that part of the story to set up the quote from Walt and
the rest of the series, I didn't want to get into the lost microphone
and other problems during the broadcast, the Fantasyland gas leak,
the disappearance of the crowds after Labor Day, and so on.
Thanks for keeping me honest, and for writing!
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Mark
Feedback for Lani Teshima
The Trip Planner
Al Edwards writes:
I was wondering how you came about the information on the Mr.
Toad's car that sold on EBay. I have not been able to find any
references to this as I would love to purchase some of this kind
of stuff from Walt Disney World and Disneyland retired rides.
Hi Al Every so often, the folks at Disney sell off their
old attraction ride vehicles on the Disney eBay auction site. How
much money these ride vehicles finally sell for depends greatly
on demand, as you can imagine. Some attractions, such as the Dumbo
ride, have such strong sentimental value, that bidders are willing
to spend enormous sums to take home a piece of the park for themselves.
Although the original auction listing is not archived with Disney
Auctions, some research has revealed that the Mr. Toad ride vehicle
sold for a final price of no less than $6,800.
Disney does not sell ride vehicles often. If you are actively hoping
to bid on one, you might want to make the Disney Auctions Web site
one of your regular stops online.
Mark Goldhaber also adds:
Al Disney occasionally auctions off some of their old theme
park ride vehicles, signs, and other items at their eBay store.
Just check the store occasionally at Disney Auctions (link)
and go to their Theme-Park Artifacts section. In fact, there's currently
another Toad car up for auction at the moment (link),
that is currently at $2,500 with almost 10 days to go. I don't really
check the site frequently, though, so I sometimes come upon the
auctions when they're remarked upon on one of the discussion boards
that I participate in. Good luck!
Mark Lewis asks this odd question about Tomorrowland:
Not to be a total wiseguy or nothin', but has it ever come to
anyone else's attention that people seem to flatulate more often
in Tomorrowland, between the entrance and Innoventions? Why is
that? I go to the park once a week, and I sometimes start my walk
through Adventureland and other times through Tomorrowland; but
every time I go through Tomorrowland lately I'm walking through
clouds of noxious fumes. And this is first thing in the morning!
Am I insane?
Hi Mark I am going to reply to your rather humorous feedback
with the assumption that you are serious.
In the last year, I have had the opportunity to visit Las Vegas
on four separate occasions. Each time, the sidewalk in front of
the construction wall at Caesar's Palace seemed to have a foul smell.
My initial thought was that it was bodily gas, but in subsequent
visits, I have come to believe the construction has exposed some
If you seem to notice the same odor emanating from a single location
in the park on a regular basis, it's quite possible it has to do
with the sewage system. Either some pipes are outgassing to the
Tomorrowland area without proper ventilation, or some pipe is broken.
You might consider notifying the fine folks at City Halland
make sure they understand that you are not complaining about people
tooting, but that you suspect it may be a sewage issue.
Good luck! In the meantime, try breathing through your mouth, like
[Note: Mark wrote back, and assured me that what he detected was
not sewage waste, but bodily gas emissions. Without getting too
much into TMI (too much information) territory, if anyone
has any serious theories I'll gladly entertain them.
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Lani
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.
January: 6, 13, 20, 27
February: 3, 10, 17
March: 10, 17, 31
April: 14, 21, 28
June: 2, 9, 30
July: 7, 28
August: 4, 11, 18, 25
September: 4, 15, 22, 29
January: 8, 15, 22
Febuary: 12, 19, 26
March: 18, 25
April: 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
May: 13, 20
June: 3, 17, 24
July: 1, 22, 29
August: 5, 26
September: 9, 23,
October: 14, 21, 28
November: 4, 18
December: 2, 9
September: 4, 18
August: 21, 28
July: 10, 17, 24, 31
May: 22, 29
April: 10, 24
March: 6, 13, 27
February: 13, 20
January: 9, 16, 30
December: 5, 12,
Help us continue to bring you fresh daily news about Disney
and its theme parks.