MousePlanet Mailbag for July 1, 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 Cast
Place Shoshana Lewin
Regarding a CM's response in a recent Mailbag
comments about Disneyland cast member Maynard in a Cast Place
column, Pam Baca writes:
I am the Pam who asked the cast member about Maynard. I'm sorry
I apparently wandered into forbidden territory by asking about
Maynard, but one thing struck me about that cast member's letter.
The cast member mentioned that they are tired of being asked
about Maynard by AP's. Well, why do so many people ask for Maynard?
Why do we know his name and not the names of his fellow cast members?
Because he goes above and beyond, that's why. I have seen Maynard
at two different attractions and he does not overshadow the attraction.
He adds to it. When I walked up to the Mansion and he was at the
door, he was not just an attractions operator, he was the evil
butler and I was really going into a haunted house.
I don't know the man or have any idea about how he interacts
with his fellow cast members, but it sounds like the cast member
who wrote, and those people he/she wrote on behalf of, are jealous
because guests don't ask for them. If guests asked for them, it
would be different. Maynard goes above and beyond to make our
experience unique and enjoyable. Maynard immerses us in the magic.
I think Walt would have loved him.
He bridges the gap between show and cast member. By the way,
I am a little miffed that the cast member did not read the start
of my letter, which was very complimentary to the cast members
we met. We think just about everyone there is terrific, Maynard
is just goes above and beyond. Just for the record, I am neither
a regular nor an annual pass holder. I am a plain, old ordinary
once a year tourist from Colorado.
Hi Pam Over the years there have been other cast members
like Maynard who people looked forward to seeing each time they
met. These are cast members who don't just treat what they do like
an average job, they know they are in the business of happiness.
People ask for Maynard because their friends have had a memorable
experience with him. All cast members can make this kind of magicbut
many choose not to. I was there for three months and in that short
time I had a few people who remembered me (and who I remembered).
Please continue to look for Maynard and maybe other
cast members will strike the same chord in you.
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact the Shoshana
Feedback for the
Trip Planner Lani Teshima
Hi! I was hoping you might be able to help me out. MousePlanet
has been so helpful to me in the past I thought I would see if
you could help me again. My family and I are planning a trip to
Disneyland CA this fall. When we go to Disneyland we always go
in the fall becausewe like the smaller crowds. We usually go right
around the end of October, beginning of November. This year has
been tough for us to decide when to go due to the rehab for the
Matterhorn. I was wondering if you had any idea what the crowds
and weather tend to be like during the first week of December.
We don't mind drizzly weather but we don't necessarily want to
Thank you for any help you can give me, and thank you for all
the past times you have helped me!
Hi Elizabeth I can certainly sympathize with your desire
to avoid the hottest months for the parks. It gets pretty hot and
miserable during those summer months.
My experience is that December provides cool days and chillier
evenings. Average temperatures are around the low 70s during the
day, and high 40s at night. The median temperature, according to
is 58 degrees. That's pretty nice.
Although the average rainfall for December is 1.29 inches, higher
than the summer and fall seasons, it is considerably drier than
the early months of January, February and March, which average over
My suggestion is that you go prepared. Consider carrying an extra
pair of socks and a packable rain jacket in case the weather turns.
A compact umbrella might be OK, but I would avoid it just so you
don't worry about poking people's eyes out in crowds.
One huge advantage: If you go in early December, all the holiday
decorations will be up. You'll be able to enjoy the big Christmas
tree on display in Town Square, for example. In fact, with that
kind of decoration, it might feel more appropriate with overcast
Have a wonderful trip, Elizabeth.
A number of people offered to help with Christal's concerns, published
in a previous Mailbag, about being too
large to fit on rides at the Disney parks. Natalie V. writes:
You can let Christal know that I'm 5'6" ish and 250 pounds and
my husband is 6'2" and 350, and we fit on everything at Disneyland.
At Disney's California Adventure, the only thing we have troble
with is the Orange Stinger, as you mentioned and the Maliboomer.
If she has a large chest like me, it can be uncomfortable. Otherwise
she can enjoy her visit to Disneyland without worry.
Regarding the difficulty in fitting into ride units at Great America,
Marc R. writes:
Saw the e-mail today about Great America. Assuming you're talking
about Paramount's park in Santa Clara, I live about 20 minutes
away from it.
I can also confirm that some of their seats are tight for me
(5'10", 225), although I've always squeezed into them. However,
for the sake of accuracy, wanted to point out that none of their
rides have a combination of seat belt with an over the shoulder
harness. There are, however, some with a seat belt-lap bar combo.
Most noticeably is the horrific wooden coaster, The Grizzley;
I've seen more that one person give up and get off. Greased Lightning
(formerly Tidal Wave) was also in this category before its removal.
I haven't ridden their drop ride recently, so it's conceiveable
that they added a seat belt, but it doesn't look like it from
the pics on their site.
Of course, there are other parks called Great America, so if
you were referring to one of those, never mind. Cheers, Marc.
Hi Marc I think I wasn't being very clear when I talked
about the shoulder harness and seat belt. The seat belts, as I recall,
don't go around your waist, but instead, are used to snap the end
of the shoulder harness to a buckle located between your legs. In
my recollection, even if you could pull the harness down most of
the way, if that seat belt buckle couldn't snap, you were outta
there. And of course, those belts were not adjustable.
Sean C. writes:
Re: Your reply to a correspondent's queries regarding large adults
on Disneyland attractions.
It may be noteworthy that one other attraction at California
Adventure may be difficult for large people to ride: The Maliboomer.
Its restraint system does not appear to have been designed and
built for people over a certain size. I am a 5'-10" male and I
weigh close to 250 lbs. I was barely able to fit into the seat
with the restraint secured.
Regarding a review she read on our Hotel
Reviews page, Stacey writes:
I read in one of your hotel reviews of a room at the Comfort
Inn Maingate was only $30 a night and it gave the Web site and
how to get that room price. When I went to the Web site and did
what was suggested, I was only able to find a room for $63.74
a night, nothing cheaper. Is the price in the review really old
or am I doing something wrong? I was really excited when I read
this review; it had nothing but wonderful things to say about
the hotel and that the price was wonderful. I am trying to do
a Disneyland trip on a budget, and the price of this room was
a dream, especially for the type of hotel it was. Please get back
to me as soon as you can.
Thank you for your time and all that you do.
Hi Stacey I wanted to make sure I was reading the correct
information, so I went to the hotel review that you mentioned. Unfortunately,
the person who wrote the review did not get the hotel room for $30,
but got the room for $30.00 off the rackthat is,
they were able to get a $30 discount on the standard rate.
One thing about hotel room rates that will help you in your planning,
is that they fluctuate wildly based on the time of year, the day
of the week, and whether there will be a high demand on the dates
of your trip. For example, summer is considered high
season, so you will tend to find fairly high prices. On the other
hand, an off-season rate will generally be lower.
To give you an idea of numbers, I punched in three different dates
at the hotel's Web site to see what kind of numbers they provided.
Saturday, July 3 (holiday weekend in high season):
- Rack rate (no discount) $109.
- Internet rate: $81.74 ($27.25 off, almost $30 off)
Saturday, August 21 (high season):
- Rack rate (no discount) $99.
- Internet rate: $74.25 ($25.25 off)
Saturday, October 16 (low season):
- Rack rate (no discount) $69.
- Internet rate: $51.75 ($17.25 off)
As you can tell, the prices from three sample dates vary quite
widely. In addition, the discount for the July 4 weekend is just
shy of $30, which is very close to the discount mentioned by the
reviewer. However, it should be noted that the rack rate (full price)
during low season is cheaper than the discount rate during a holiday
weekend in high season by almost $12! If you are trying to figure
out how best to save your budget, one big consideration should be
in choosing a date in the low season, as the example above shows.
Based on the discount rates, my general impression is that Comfort
Inn Maingate gives its guests 25 percent off if they book using
the Internet rate. That's not bad at all.
I checked two travel sites: Expedia and Travelocity. For the mid-range
dates of October 16 to 17, it looks like the lower end prices are
running around $50. In addition, you might want to check the individual
motel chain Web sites, such as Best Western, to see what rates you
can find for your travel dates.
One thing to be very careful aboutmake sure that the hotel
you make you reservation with, tells you if there are any additional
fees that they add when you check in. A few years ago during the
height of the California energy crisis, a number of hotels were
charging a surcharge to cover for the extra cost of electricity,
even though they did not state this at the time of reservation.
Other hotels will charge for daily parking (as much as $10 a day!),
or for the shuttle to and from Disneyland.
One way to save money is to look for a motel that offers continental
breakfast. By not having to buy breakfast, you can easily save $10
a day or more (especially if you have kids). In addition, consider
bringing a cooler with you (either in your car trunk if you are
driving, or a collapsible one in your luggage). Keep the contents
cool using the ice from the motel's ice dispenser, and keep snacks
and easy lunch munchables in the cooler. You can take some of these
smaller snacks in with you to the park (granola bar, veggie sticks,
fruit roll-ups, and so on), and have a nice lunch back at your room
(or by your motel's pool if they have one) with sandwiches, chips,
fruit, and soft drinksthis will easily save you $20 and up
for meals. Focus your money on one big meal a day where you get
to eat in the park. That way you still get to enjoy the experience,
but it will not bust your wallet.
Finally (and this is especially if you have kids), consider purchasing
souvenirs at someplace other than inside the park. There
is a nearby Wal-Mart, for example, that sells a ton of Disney merchandise.
If your children are small and it doesn't matter whether the shirt
says Mickey or Disneyland on it, you will
save at least 50 percent on your souvenirs.
Good luck on coming up with a trip within your budget. It's definitely
possible to have a wonderful time without spending your last penny!
Have a wonderful journey.
Stacey wrote back:
Dear Lani. Thank you so much for getting back to me and for your
money-saving tips! they are wonderful ideas. I do have two children,
3 and 13, but the only time we can go this year is in July. Even
though I have been to Disneyland several time growing up, this
will be the first time in July. I look at the MousePlanet site
almost everyday and read tips and tricks of the tradethey
have become so helpful. Tell you staff and friends there, thank
you for me! As for the hotel review, thank you for clarifying
that. I figured I had misunderstood something. Thank you again.
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact the
Feedback for Scoping
the Parks Mike Scopa
Regarding Mike's very popular article
about the Disney Zone, Wende writes:
Hi there. I just finished reading the Disney Zone and even though
I onley visited Disney World once in my lifetime, I spent most
of my life wanting to visit and hope some day to see it again.
It was 1990 when I saw the parks for the first and only time but
I was amazed at the size, having only experienced Disneyland,
I really enjoyed being able to see the Magic Kingdom, eating in
the exotic resturants of the world and seeing all the attractions
of the parks, although the Carrousel of Progress was not exactly
as I remembered and our trip was just one week. I wouldn't have
traded that for anything, except more time to see everything.
It was fulfillment of a wish I had had sence Disney World's opening.
It was the best birthday present I had ever gotten and something
I'll always treasure. Thanks, Uncle Walt, for giving us a wonderfull
Hi Wende It sounded like your 1990 trip made quite an impression
upon you. It would be difficult for me to put into words what kind
of an effect 14 years of change would have upon you today. Hopefully
you'll get a chance to visit Walt Disney World again and see if
these changes have enhanced your enjoyment of The Disney Zone.
Thanks for the note.
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact the Mike
Feedback for the Mailbag
I have a question. I thought that I had read, not that long ago,
at MousePlanet that Disneyland's Space Mountain was not going
to have a loop once the rehab was finished. My nephew just got
back from Grad Night and said that several cast members had told
him that Space Mountain would have a loop. I was wondering if
you guys had any extra information on this.
Hi Elizabeth Our information about the rehabbed Space Mountain
is based on a number of interviews with individuals involved in
the planning of the attraction, as well as a visual confirmation
of an illustrated design (it may have been a copy of a blueprint
but I cannot confirm this) that happened during the recent 50th
Anniversary media event. If the loop was inserted since that time,
I am not aware of it. A loop would be fun, though, wouldn't it?
David Koenig adds:
Track layout will be absolutely the same, but with a launch start
instead of chain ramp. This is from someone involved in design
of the ride. As my corrections [of information disseminated by
CMs] illustrate, don't believe everything you hear from hourly
David Maxey writes:
Hi. I already made a comment to David Koenig about this, but
in all the stuff I've read about the current state of affairs
at Disney, I haven't read anything about the exodus of talent
from ABC News. Great news personalities like Anderson Cooper and
Aaron Brown have fled from ABC. I think that's a big issue in
discussing Eisner's handling (or, rather, mishandling) of his
I hope some commentary can be written on this subject.
After we published a rather impassioned e-mail from M. Daren Quigel
to David Koenig in our May 20 Mailbag,
we received (and ran) quite a few comments
from our readers. The following, from Stephen Halpin,
has been approved for publication by David:
I tend not to read the column on days that the mailbag appears
but was intrigued today with the headline concerning David Koenig
and a letter by M. Daren Quigel. While the responses printed today
had the overall arching theme of opinions and discussions in general
I would like to respond directly to the questions about what David
Koenig's legacy and life's work will end up being.
David Koenig and I have forged a friendship these past several
years (despite being on opposite coasts) because of our mutual
love of things Disney. The friendship started from a single e-mail
to David telling him how much I enjoyed his books and his columns
on MousePlanet. That e-mail began a friendship that has included
many hours of talking about things Disney. We have visited the
Disney parks on both coasts together and we have introduced each
other to our wives and children. Since David took the high road
in his reponse I would like to offer the following thoughts:
David Koenig's life's work is not everything Disney. David has
a writing career that is completely seperate from his work about
Disney. I think there are many people who assume that David is
compensated for his work on MousePlanet. My understanding is that
he is not. And I have never gotten the impression from David that
his book writing has made him a lot of money. In fact, he laughed
when I once suggested (kiddingly) that the income from the books
was making him rich. Even when our discussions turned critical
about the current state of affairs at Disney, the overriding thing
that came through from David was how much he enjoyed the Disney
Most importantly, David Koenig's legacy will be that his work
in his career as well as his work about Disney was enjoyed by
many people. He made us think, he challenged us and he entertained
us. And he did it with an incredible amount of class and respect.
His legacy will be that he was a good friend to many people and
was repected by enough people within the Disney Company for them
to sit down and offer their opinion about their careers and their
company. Most of all, his legacy will be that he was a devoted
husband and a loving father. And that is not too bad a legacy
to leave behind.
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact the
Do you have specific questions about an upcoming trip
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your trip planning? While you can contact one of the columnists, we encourage
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