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MousePlanet Mailbag for June 17, 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 Mouse Tales – David Koenig

David got a flood of e-mail from people responding to M. Daren Quigel, whose letter we published in the May 20, 2004 Mailbag. Dan writes:

Well, I'm sure the floodgates are going to open after Mr. Quigel's tirade. I don't even begin to understand his reasoning for writing this letter. It would be like me going to a gardening site (I don't care a whit about gardening), and berating them for their interest (“I don't need any pompous EXPERT to tell me what flowers to grow!”).

I was giving Mr. Quigel the benefit of the doubt until he made this statement: “I, for one, find myself to be perfectly capable of making my own decisions about what I like, and what I don't like. I can only assume that there must be millions of other mindless drones that find this to be either a painful process, or one which they are totally incapable of performing. How else can one explain how you/they remain gainfully employed?”

What an absurd assumption to make, that I visit this and other fan sites so that you can make up my mind for me! I don't read Ebert's reviews to help me decide whether or not to see a movie. I read his reviews after the fact, so I can relive the movie and ponder whether I agree with him or not.

And that's the fun of the Disney sites—you can find others who have differing opinions, perhaps a different outlook on a situation, that will give me added depth to my Disney knowledge. But I have always been capable of making my own decisions. Too bad Mr. Quigel is a world unto himself, seeking no input from others, and accepting no help to better his life, his hobbies, his passions. How sad for him.

James writes:

When I was living in Southern California, I moved to New Mexico almost three years ago, I used to go to Disneyland at least once a month. I was happy to find a site like MousePlanet where I can keep up with what is going on at “The Happiest Place On Earth.”

I think this is the perfect forum for criticizing the bad and good in what Disney does.

Although M. Daren Quigel is entitled to his or her opinion, I find it quite sad that they have to criticize your work when they hate criticism itself.

Larry writes:

I enjoy MousePlanet and a few other related Disney sites that are not “part” of, or have a stake in, the Walt Disney Company.

After reading the letter lambasting MousePlanet, I had to respond. What the writer obviously does not get, is that everyone here loves Disney. We respect Walt's dreams, his legacy, his creativity and genius, and appreciate what he left for us to share with our children, and they with theirs. But, even for all the love we commonly share for Disney, we also have a responsibility as someone who cares about something, to be honest enough to not only promote and compliment the good and right, but, also to point out the bad and things that can be improved upon. Who better to give opinions on and about Disney than those of us with an emotional attachment, and by the money we spend on Disney products, parks, etc., a monetary stake in this company? We have a responsibility to do those things in order to preserve the history and promote the company to others who do!

He may not know about many of the little things we all learn from each other on here each day, whether through well written articles by MousePlanet staff or from each other on message boards and forums. This gentleman obviously does not understand or believe in the Constitution, which gives us freedom to express our views, common or otherwise. That right is a necessity to our way of life. If you do not like it then use another given right and don't read it. No one forced you to come to our community and read the comments. No one ever said you had to believe everything that is said. Absolutely, form your own opinion. But, making an informed opinion is much better than one that is uninformed. This site, and others like it, do just that. They provide information. I have learned stuff on here that I would never have known and for that, I am grateful. I, for one, and I am sure many, many others, including Roy and Stanley, and Walt if he were here, do and would appreciate all MousePlanet provides in the way of information and history on Disney.

The writer needs to remember the old saying, “It is better to keep your mouth shut and let others think you ignorant, than to open it and prove them right.”

Kevin writes:

What a sad, lonely, and extremely closed-minded person he must be.

He has missed the point of what MousePlanet and other Disney fan sites are all about. It is about a community of people sharing their opinions, their ideals, and their experiences with all things Disney. It's what draws us all together, and gives us a common bond.

I feel very bad for Mr. M. Daren Quigel. He must not have too many friends.

Paul writes:

Mr. Q's criticism of your fine site is hypocritical. If subjective opinions are of no interest to anyone, why is he bothering to share his opinion of your site? Why should anyone care what he thinks of your site? What his letter demonstrates is the blindness some people have to their own hypocrisy and narrow mindedness. Some people like sites like yours, some don't. The Internet is a big place with room for all. If he does not like your site, just go away. What difference does it make to him if you are satisfying other people? Obviously some people can't stand the idea that the world does not revolve around them and their opinions…

Ron writes:

Let me first start by saying I have been visiting MousePlanet for at least five years. I read your response to M. Daren's letter; your response was firm, but I want to give you my opinion. M. Daren needs to mind is own business and go bother somebody else. For someone to “stumble” onto this Web site and degrade you, MousePlanet, and all of its readers is extremely unfair and obnoxious. He just doesn't “get it.” Why did he waste his time writing that letter anyway? If he doesn't like the content, then go away and leave us alone, don't give an opinion about something you know nothing about.

You and the other writers keep doing what you are doing and I will keep reading! There are plenty of people out there who support MousePlanet and the “Disney zone.”

M. Daren, you have too much time on your hands!

Thanks, David and MousePlanet, for all of your hard work!!

Cynthia writes:

Take heart, M. Daren's letter sounds like sour grapes; he probably wishes he had the foresight to start such a Web site. The rest of that famous phrase should be, “Those who can do; those that can't, teach, and those that are afraid, complain.”

Vincent writes:

I've had several trip reports published on MousePlanet, and several letters. I know you receive tons of mail, and would have choice as to which ones to publish or delete. Thank you for publishing my letters of praise, my letters seeking guidance because of concern, and my letters in which I flat out say, “things suck.”

I very much agree with Mr. Quigel's commentary regarding critics. Art is defined on an individual basis. Each person's experience is their own, and they reserve the right to that take. And when my take is different from yours, of course I respect your angle, because you've respected the angle of others.

Therefore, I am unable to see the coattail riding you and the board are doing. I see this as a very well-maintained information site regarding to The Walt Disney Company.

The function is to offer an objective overview to each assignment. And you do that by offering all sides to each story. Without question, anyone who has been a regular visitor to the North American properties since 1996 (or before that until now) cannot help but notice a downward trend in the Customer Service and Guest Experience Culture W.E.D. (That's Walter Elias Disney, Mr. Quigel) worked a lifetime to create, build and maintain.

Changes with the times, that happens. New ideas for new attractions, great. New marketing? Sure. Risk taking? You bet. The major concern I have, and I think this is similiar to those at, is the apathetic attitude the Management has allowed to bleed from their offices down to the parks.

W.E.D. said on more than one occasion, “Disneylandia will be a place of magic. NO garbage, no arcade games, no filth.” Disney's California Adventure violates every edict Disney made when he was offering guidance for the future, and yet helping future generations to hold on to the original work.

Without MousePlanet, I do not know if there would be a place for people who care to go and find out what's been improved, what's not, what doesn't need to be touched, and what is being salvaged.

Please keep up the work. Each day, especially since Mr. Ouimet came on board, I've been seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. And I think there is a man and a mouse, hand in hand.

Regarding the new Tower of Terror attraction at Disney's Califronia Adventure park, Pam writes:

I want to point out one thing about the Tower of Terror and why marketing Soarin' is a good idea. Tower is a seriously scary ride. I have a satellite dish and my “local” ABC affiliate is from Los Angeles, so we have seen the ads here in Colorado. My family, part of the 15 of us who travel to Disneyland Resort every year or so, saw one of the ads and the general consensus was “No way, not in a million years.” They, however, did not ride Soarin' the last time we were there. Based upon the enthusiasm my nephew and I have Soarin', the majority of them are going to ride that. Marketing Soarin' may not be such a bad idea.

Pam – I don't think marketing Soarin' is a bad idea—it's just infinitely more difficult. Film-based rides in general have trouble conveying their sense of excitement in marketing. Tower of Terror, as a heavily themed drop ride, is intrinsically “marketing friendly.” (Even if it may not be as “rider friendly” as Soarin'.)

Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact David here.
Feedback for Brian Bennett

Regarding Brian Bennett's essay, “The Boycott and the Bible” about Christians boycotting the Walt Disney Company, Michael Gonin from Switzerland writes:

Hi. My name is Michael Gonin, from Switzerland. I read your page about the boycott and the bible, since I'm actually working on a paper about boycott (I'm assistant for business ethics at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland… and a christian). I think I have to agree about your statement that we should not try to change, but simply testify... and boycotting for moral reasons seems not founded in the Bible (the only thing, I guess, would be to prefer doing business with brother in Christ if possible... but is there a christian theme park like Disney?!?).

My problem is actually somewhere else: Disney is accused of using child labor and producing some of its goods in the third world without respecting the standards set by the International Labor Organizations.

I was actually surprised that, when typing “disney boycott” in, I found most of boycotts calls for moral reasons. Although, typing “disney sweatshop” shows over 12,000 pages about working conditions of Disney employees. Some of them asking thus to boycott Disney until all employees (also those working indirectly in factories producing Disney goods) have decent working conditions. And here my questions: Don't you think that, although you can visit a Disney theme park even if you don't agree with all moral convictions of Disney, you cannot go any longer when the time you enjoy there depends of very bad working conditions of other men and women. As soon as you buy some Disney products, you buy products that were produced in inhuman conditions.

On one of the Web pages, I found the following sentence: “I think that the Southern Baptists are right in boycotting Disney. But they are doing it for all THE WRONG REASONS.”

Boycott is not biblical, but buying sweatshop products is not biblical neither? What do you think about that?

I'm looking forward to reading your answer.

Michael – I can't disagree with your comments. As I stated in my “Boycott and the Bible” article, I think the idea of boycotting for moral reasons (and I certainly think that the child labor/sweatshop concerns are a moral issue!) is a personal one. I don't have a problem with the folks that decide to join in a boycott of Disney (or any other organization for that matter) if they personally decide that the boycott is one that they agree with.

My argument is not that a boycott should never be engaged in by individuals who feel strongly about the issue that has caused the boycott, but rather that Biblical standards of right and wrong are not good reasons for an organization of Christians to call for such a boycott. The difference is one of acting on personal conviction (when an individual decides to participate) versus acting on corporate convictions (when an outside organization decides that the “offending” organization should be “taught a lesson” in an effort to change their corporate behavior.) The reality is that for-profit corporations are not organisms with a moral conscience as human beings are. Instead, they are inanimate beings that operate according to corporate guidelines that are designed to maximize profit for the owners/shareholders within the legal limitations imposed upon them by the government under which they are incorporated. To try to change the moral behavior of such an amoral, inanimate corporation is simply, in my own opinion, a waste of time from a moral perspective.

A boycott can be effective if the corporation is convinced that their behavior should change in order to improve the profit and loss performance (specifically, to avoid a loss of corporate income). That, of course, is the reason why any boycott is begun, and it's a legitimate approach when trying to change corporate behavior. When dealing with moral issues, though, I just personally think that a much better use of one's time is to share Christ with individuals so they can make a personal decision to either accept Christ or not. Jesus himself focused His ministry on individuals and held the organized religious leaders of His day in contempt. He didn't attempt to boycott the religious leaders, instead He tried to convince them that they were wrong and when they refused to admit that, He ignored them. That He was so effective in dealing with individuals is shown by the fact that eventually the religious leaders were eventually forced to stop ignoring HIM and then they “took Him out.” That, I think, is a powerful example that tells me how I, at least, should operate.

Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Brian here.
Feedback for Cast Place – Shoshana Lewin

Regarding a tale shared by Pam in a Cast Place piece about guest experiences, a Disneyland cast member writes:

You may wish to let Pam know that while it was unfortunate that she wasn't treated well among many of our Cast, she should not be surprised by her treatment when she asked about Maynard. Maynard would have been fired by Walt if he were still around for failing to remeber Walt statement that, “Disneyland is the show, everything else is a supporting role.”

Maynard is one of the most self-centered Cast Members I have ever encountered. He forgets about everyone else, including his fellow Cast Members. We AREN'T his keepers, and we get quite tired of Annual Passholders endlessly asking for him. We think we all are great Cast Members, and we all add to the magic of Disneyland. Maynard doesn't, because he never seems to notice that he isn't supposed to be the center of attention. If anyone is supposed to be, it's the mouse out in Toontown.

Thank you,

An Attractions Cast Member (on the behalf of many)

HR writes:

Regarding kosher meals as listed in MousePlanet, are these available in Disney's California Adventure? Thanks

Hey HR – Just made a call to the Disney Dine Line at (714) 781-3463. There aren't any kosher offerings available at Disney's California Adventure (DCA) restaurants, however you can get kosher food at any resort hotel restaurant (such as Goofy's Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel and Storyteller's Cafe at the Grand Californian Hotel, which is connected to DCA and you can go back and forth between the two).

If you go to Disneyland Park you can get it at Plaza Inn and Blue Bayou. Depending on your level of kashrut, there are also several dairy/vegetarian options around the resort. At DCA you can get vegetarian at Bountiful Valley Farmer's Market, Fairfax Market, Malibu-ritos, Pacific Wharf Cafe, Pizza Oom Mow Mow, Schmoozies, Taste Pilot's Grill and Wine Country Trattoria. If you need to bring food you can store it in a locker left of the Disneyland entrance. You will have to go through security first, so bringing plasticware vs. metal is probably a good idea.

Almost all the packaged candy at the resort is kosher and there are a number of other pre-packaged products for sale such as cookies and other goodies. Also you can purchase fruit at Bountiful Valley Farm

Good luck!


Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Shoshana 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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