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MousePlanet Mailbag for June 3, 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 The Trip Planner – Lani Teshima

Christal writes:

Can you tell me if their are any weight restrictions at Disneyland? If so, which rides? I can't seem to find any info on the Web sites.

Hi Christal – Since you didn't specify whether you wanted to know if Disneyland had restrictions on how big children had to be, or how large a person could be before they couldn't fit on the rides, I'll try to answer both.

Disneyland does have size and age requirements, but they have to do with children being either tall enough or old enough for some rides.

Disneyland does not impose limits on how large a person can be. All of the Disneyland park rides are designed to accommodate persons of just about all shapes and sizes. For example, if the person is particularly large, he can be seated by himself on a ride unit on the Haunted Mansion, instead of sitting with another person. Since many rides also have special ride units that accommodate persons in wheelchairs, extremely large individuals may be able to take their time to get carefully seated in them as well.

I have been to some other amusement parks, where the roller coaster seats were too small to fit very large or very tall individuals. I don't believe that is a problem at Disneyland in general. The only ride that might be too tight of a squeeze might be the California Screamin' ride at Disney's California Adventure park.

Hope this helps.

Christal wrote back:

Thank you for the quick response. Yes, I did mean for large adults. I had went to Great America and couldn't fit on over half of the rides, either due to my large chest or big waist. Such as with the pull over the shoulder harness or the small seat belts. It was very embarrassing to have to get off of a ride after waiting for one hour in line. Also, my mom said I wouldn't fit on Disneyland's rides and to e-mail you back to see if you had a managers e-mail address or some more info if there are any other rides I should avoid. I weigh about 260. Thanks so much for your time and help!

Hi Christal – I asked our intrepid MousePlanet staff. Assuming you are of average female height (5'5”), the Orange Stinger in Disney's California Adventure is about the only ride that you will not be able to ride.

On the other rides, you can just sit in a full row (such as on Alice in Wonderland) so you should be fine.

I know exactly what you mean about Great America. Their coaster seats are very, very small, especially because they use the overhead shoulder harness with a belt buckle. Even if you can get the harness lowered, you can't buckle the belt. I've been to that park with others who had that problem.

Don't worry at all. Disney is extremely accommodating for folks of different heights and sizes. And you will see guest of all shapes and sizes in the park!

Have a wonderful trip, Christal. I know you will have an absolutely great time.

Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Lani here.
Feedback for World View – Mark Goldhaber

Regarding the very popular series of articles about Epcot's Horizons pavilion (part 1; part 2; part 3; part 4) by former Imagineer George McGinnis, Jeff Gustafson writes:

Hi there,

I just thought I'd drop a note thanking you for putting George's writings up on your site. George is a friend of my dad's. They've known each other for years and years. I still have some sketches he did on napkins of the robots from the Black Hole. I always liked talking to George, I just didn't get to do it that often. I wished I has spent more time talking to him over the years. At least now I can read all about the work he did at Disney on your site. Keep it coming! More please!

I couldn't believe it when I stumbled on your site and saw George's name. Thank you so much!

Hi Jeff – Thanks for your note. It must have been really cool to grow up hearing George's stories. Hold on to those napkins!

We think we have an idea for George's next story, but we don't have a draft yet. I'll forward your note on to George, in case he'd like to reply.

Jeff replied:

Can you get George just to mention projects he did after he left Disney? I only know about the trolley at the Grove shopping center. Has he done anything else?

Maybe my dad has his e-mail address. I've only started reading the articles and I would like to ask him questions about some of the projects.

Jeff – I know that he's working on some proposals right now, but I think that our readers in general are probably more interested at this point in the Disney stories. Perhaps down the line, we could go into some of the later projects. Thanks for the idea.

Martin also writes in about the series:

Wow! This series just keeps getting better - and the included plans and sketches are a real eye opener. As I've said before, my only regret is it's not a 10-parter, or 20! Many thanks to George for sharing his memories, too. This would be great if it became a basis for a further editorial: World of Motion, Spaceship Earth, Journey into Imagination, etc.

Man, I loved these original rides! And none more than Horizons!

Many, many thanks.

Hi Martin – We've got one more part for Horizons, currently scheduled for publication on May 12 (link). Some interesting pictures there, too. I'd love it if I could get some communication going with Tony Baxter and some of the others involved with the original Journey Into Imagination to do a story on the development of that pavilion. I will probably end up doing a piece on the original Future World vs. the current version, but it will most likely not be until after I get through the Epcot portion of the History of the World series. That puts it toward the end of the year there, unless another development starts a story in my mind.

Kristen writes:

Hi there Mark!

I just recently discovered your site after having been at Disney World in January with my husband and one of my children for the first time. I check your site nearly everyday for updates on the parks and information concerning them. I am actually just letting you know that the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party tickets are officially on sale as of last night, April 30.

I just purchased our tickets for the party for October 31st. Yes, we are already planning a shorter trip back for October to celebrate Halloween with Mickey and the gang. See, initially we went for a week in January/February and after doing much research we felt our toddler would not enjoy herself. Well, we agreed with that except for while we were at Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom. So, feeling guilty ever since, we have planned a shorter trip for Halloween weekend just to take in Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom with her and my son both this time. I am not sure how many enthusiasts are as into planning the trips ahead of time myself so I thought I would pass this along to you since you were so kind to post the dates of the party not too long ago.

Thank you again for the wonderful site and I hope this information has been useful for you. Then again, you may have already known about this and it just has not posted yet.

Have a wonderful week. Kristen

Hi Kristen – Thanks for the info. I'm still catching up after returning from WDW last night myself. I know that several people on our discussion boards had already asked when tickets were going on sale, so you're not the only one looking for the info. If I hadn't been away and off-line over the weekend, I would have put it into this week's Update. I'll get it in for next week, though. Thanks again for passing it along.

And keep an eye out for MousePlanet staff on Halloween. A group of at least four of our West Coast staff will be in attendance that night!


Brian Rawson writes:

I'm curious if there are recent rumors about replacing the movie. I live in Ottawa and in 2000, our former mayor (Bill Watson) joined the Canadian Tourism Commission as chairman. At the time, he campaigned to have Disney replace the movie. The 1982 footage was embarrassing. (Square cars and pedestrians wearing checkered lumberjack jackets... Ugh... Thank god styles change.)

The last I heard was that Disney agreed to replace the footage if the Canadian Tourism Commission or the Canadian government paid for the new film. Of course this was rejected. Stories about this were published in local and Canadian newspapers in 2000, but I can't recall seeing any updates in 2001 or later. Bill Watson has since left the Canadian Tourism Commission and reentered politics.

Hi Brian – As I reported in this past week's Park Update: Walt Disney World (link), “There is some talk that the O Canada! film may be replaced in the next year or so. No announcement has been made regarding this change but Disney and Canada are currently discussing this possibility.” The information was passed to me by another MousePlanet staff from one of their contacts. I really don't have any further information than that. I'd love it if anybody with more solid information would contact me, but at this point, I've reported all that I have.

Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Mark here.
Feedback for Scoping the Parks – Mike Scopa

Regarding Mike's current series of articles on Howie's Angels (part 1; part 2), Debby writes:

Kudos to you for writing an objective article on the beginnings of the Breakfast Club and its “angels.” Your article is accurate in how it all began and that's how it should be told. Right or wrong, Howie and the angels created a whirlwind across the Internet and speculation and observations were used as facts.

Personally, I'm grateful that this group exists to help those who want it. Many times, I've been shut out at the crack of dawn and Howie was able to help. The memories for my little one will be with her for the rest of her life. Priceless. The man's generosity is boundless—how can that possible be bad?

Thanks for your article. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.

Hi Debby – I thought about writing this story many times but thought that it would not run well with either Howie's supporters or detractors. The challenge was to do the research and present the facts in an objective manner.

Hopefully when all is said and done I will have satisfied both sides.

I am also hopeful that telling this story will also accomplish something else. Stay tuned.

Thanks for the note.

Jeremy also writes about Howie's Angels:

Interesting articles. I for one have never had problems getting a table at that restaurant. I was told to call exactly 60 (or was it 30) days prior to the reservation. Being in California, I had to call at 4 in the morning. This was 2.5 years ago. Now, my son is on his way, should be arriving/born within the month, and I can't wait to take him there.

The best part of any Disney world trip is the planning. My wife and I spend hours and hours planning on what we should do and when. We love it so much that we plan the whole trip ourselves, including making those 4 in the morning phone calls. No travel agent is ever involved.

For me, getting the Angels to help would be like asking the concierge or the travel agent to make my reservation for me. For me, that takes away the fun, and the magic, of Disney. Lets just say, when we go back in 2006 and the Angels are still out in force, and I can't get my son in to that fabulous dining experience, I won't be happy.

Hi Jeremy – First and foremost let me wish you and your wife the best of luck with your upcoming bundle of joy. Something tells me your child will be surrounded by special parents and maybe a talking mouse and duck... am I right?

I think many people would agree with your mention of how planning is a big part of the fun. Making reservations and planning your activities is part of the overall excitement package.

I, too, enjoy dealing directly with the WDW resort when making plans.

Thanks for the note and good luck.

Regarding Mike's very popular Disney Zone series of articles (part 1; part 2), Diane Sheimo writes:

Hi Mike,

Boy you really understand those of us who love WDW!

I make an “annual pilgrimage to the mouse” and there are many in my “real world” who don't get it! As Dr. Phil says “Either you get it or you don't.” I am extremely glad I get it! I am in the planning phase of my trip. This makes the fun last longer as I spend hours poring over the guide books, deciding what I am going to do this year. Last year I met Calvin the dolphin up close and personal, saw the utilidors again,and went back stage at the Animal Kingdom.

Lots of Disney Magic to you!

Hi Diane – It's difficult for me to see people who “don't get it” and frustrating for me in figuring out how to get them “to get it.”

To those who “get it” the fun is also the trip planning as well as writing a trip report to recall all the fun you've had.

Have fun on your next pilgrimage.

Katrina also writes about “the D Zone”:

Our family loves Disneyland. I grew up down there and couldn't wait to share the joy with my children. We started visiting the park as a family when our first daughter was three back in 1997. Her 5th visit will be this summer with our newest addition to the family, our 9-month-old. We are always sad to return to reality after a vacation to the park. Our families think we are strange having to return every couple years but I am so glad to see others like us exist in the world. WDW will come eventually. Disneyland is closer to us in Oregon.

Hi Katrina – Yes there are quite a few who have experienced and relished the Disney Zone.

It's time for everyone to stand up and be counted.

Ali Peters writes:

Dear Mr. Scopa:

Thank you so much for your article on the “Disney Zone.” You couldn't have explained the joy or magic of Walt Disney World any better. We thought we were the only crazy ones who were so passionate about our trips to Walt Disney World. You are correct, once you pass through the welcome gates, the outside world ceases to exist. You are able to shed your adult stressed out life and relive the world of children where your only concern is having fun. Who cares what day it is!!

We say thank you to Walt Disney each and every time we arrive and leave the “World.” He provided us a way to escape the mundane and rejuvenate ourselves so that we may reenter our normal lives with a sense of hope—hope that we will be back soon to visit Walt Disney World.

Hi Ali – Please call me Mike. Mr. Scopa sounds so formal... we're all friends here.

With the enormous following of the Disney culture and the popularity of the Disney theme parks, I figured there was at least one other person out there who felt the same way as I did.

Boy was I wrong. There's quite a few out there who share this passion.

Escape... stress free... who cares what day it is? Yep, you know what I'm talking about.

Thanks for the note.

Mike (formerly Mr. Scopa)

Diana Siragusa writes:

Hi, could you tell me the dates of when the Disney parks in Florida open?

Thanks for the help, Diana

Hi Diana – The Magic Kingdom opened, along with the first hotels, on October 1, 1971. Epcot (then called EPCOT Center) opened on October 1, 1982. The Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park opened on May 1, 1989. Disney's Animal Kingdom opened on April 22, 1998 (Earth Day). I hope this helps.

Chris Coffman writes:

I have a bad ankle and am planning a trip (my first!) in June. I've been looking for a map with actual distances (feet, yards, miles) between each park's main attractions, and am unable to come up with one. I've checked all the guide books, and many sites on the Web–to no avail. Any help from you would be appreciated. Thanks! Coffman

Chris – Hmm... If it's your first time, it might be best if you consider renting a scooter at the parks.

Phil Hoeffner writes:

Mike - My sister and brother-in-law have an ongoing argument about Voyage of the Little Mermaid in MGM-Studios Florida. My sister swears the cast member that plays Ariel does her own singing in the show, and my brother-in-law is convinced the singing is a soundtrack. I so far have been unable to find any information to help settle the debate. Can you help me or at least point me in the right direction to finding an answer. Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.

Phil – Each time I have gone to that attraction I was under the impression that the cast member portraying Ariel was indeed singing. Each time I've gone there's been a different Ariel and a different voice. Plus, when I've watched the videotape she appears to be singing.

On my last visit, I sat in the second row and I would almost swear that she was singing.

At least that's my impression. I'm not sure where you would go to find out for sure.

Recently, I've discovered that cast members who sing are paid at a higher rate than those who do not sing.

By the way, the next time you are in the Magic Kingdom, try to hang around Main Street, U.S.A. for that little trolley show. Try to get close to the cast members who are “singing,” and you will notice that they aren't singing, but are mouthing the words.

Kelly McBride writes:

Hi, I am a regular here, and I have been to Walt Disney World one other time in 2002 but at that time we only went for eight days and only needed six days of tickets so we just bought regular park hoppers. Also, my husband is in the military so we got discounted tickets through Shades of Green.

We are returning in October of 2005. My husband will no longer be in the military at that time, and we are going to be going for two weeks this time instead of one.

I have been looking at the ticket options and we are going to need eight days of tickets this time, but I didn't even see any options for that. We will not be staying on property, but rather in my mom's timeshare and therefore cannot get a length-of-stay pass. I therefore thought it would be cheaper to buy an annual pass than a 7-day hopper-plus an extra 1-day hopper.

Is this a correct assumption, or am I missing something? Even if it is only less than a hundred dollars difference, I still think it would be worth getting the annual pass because if we do get one, I have convinced my mom that we could go back in the spring of '06 for a shorter trip, but our park tickets would then be free and we could use our passholder discount to get a deal on a room on property.

Can you help me out here on this one? If we do go for the annual pass how do you obtain one? Can you get it ahead of time or do you have to get it at the park.

Also we would be buying a ticket for my dad, too, and he would most likely not return the following year, so would it be better not to get him the annual pass?

Thanks for all your help. We are going October 22-November 5, so if there is anything else important to know about that time of year, I would really appreciate it.

We went in May last time. We are choosing to go in the fall this time to be able to go Mickey's Halloween Party and also be there for the Food and Wine Festival.

Thanks for any and all help.

Hi Kelly – By all means purchase the Annual Pass. Beyond the savings vs. other ticket options, the Annual Pass—assuming nothing changes—will also get you free parking and lunch discounts at many restaurants in the theme parks.

There are also other benefits that will be listed in the jacket that holds your AP.

The last time I checked I remember that you can purchase the Annual Pass vouchers at The Disney Store, online at, or by calling 407-WDISNEY.

Hope this helps.

Kelly replied:

Thanks so much for the response! Even though our trip is more than a year away, we will be reserving our timeshare this summer so as to assure that we get it so that will get the ball rolling.

My husband is currently in Iraq and will be returning in March or April of next year, so this trip will be a perfect getaway for him once he returns.

Thanks for the info.

Hi Kelly – Just a note to wish that your husband returns safely to you as soon as possible.

Josh Thompson writes:

Hi. I was curious what you recommend in video cameras and digital cameras in regards to security and avoiding theft. For instance, I assume that on many rides (particularly thrill rides for adults), one can't take one's video camera and/or digital camera on the ride with them (because it will fall out of the ride). Can one leave them with cast members upon boarding and ask that they be given to cast members at departures?

What do you recommend?

Hi Josh – One would hope that the Imagineers would keep in mind, during the attraction design phase, that guests come to the parks with such things as digital cameras and camcorders. If so then the attractions would allow for safe concealment of those items.

There are some obvious “intense” attractions that offer a challenge for these items.

I think the first piece of advice would be to make sure that you bring a good carrying case for your cameras. This case should be well-padded and waterproof to give as much protection as possible to the unit.

Whenever possible, secure your camera (and bag) behind your feet for those Tower of Terror drops and those Space Mountain turns. That is usually a good practice for safe passage of these items. It would also help to make sure the strap is securely wrapped around your hand... just in case.

Also, keep in mind that certain attractions, like Star Wars and Dinosaur, have places (usually netting behind your feet) for these items.

I do not know offhand of any attraction where you could ask a cast member to hold onto your items... think of the volume of guests that would involve.

Lauren Tuttle writes:

Of the articles that I have read on MousePlanet, I gather that to attend/be there for an E-Ride Night you must stay at a WDW Resort, do you have to purchase a pass or can you just have a normal ticket for that day? Thanks!

Lauren – Yes, you must be a resort guest and own a multi-day admission pass to comply with the E-Ride Night.

You must purchase these tickets at Guest Services at your resort hotel prior to the day of the event.

On the day of the event, you may purchase these tickets only at Guest Services at the front of the Magic Kingdom Theme Park.

You cannot get into the theme park with these tickets. You are required to have park admission.

Once inside you trade your ticket for a wristband that identifies you as an E-Ride guest.

One more note: There is a limit to the number tickets sold on E-Ride Night.

I do not presently know what that number is so my suggestion is to secure your tickets as soon as possible. The earliest you can purchase your tickets is the morning following the last E-Ride Night.

I hope that answers your questions.

Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Mike 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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