MousePlanet Mailbag for July 22, 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)
In our Park
Update: Disneyland for June 2127, David Koenig reported
about a harrowing incident where a young child was discovered roaming
the rooftop of the Grand California Hotel. Marc Ricketts
Hi David. What I find disturbing in this tale is the statement,
"Here's hoping that they visited the room and kicked those horrible
people out of the Grand Californian. It makes you wonder what
kind of people are staying in some of the most desirable and expensive
rooms at the Grand Cal!"
Unless there is information that is not contained in the story,
I consider this to be highly presumptuous. None of us know the
circumstances that led to this incident.
Now, if the parents were passed out drunk in a pool of their
own vomit, or if the girl's weird uncle was encouraging her because
he thought it was cute, then, yes, you can probably safely call
these people horrible.
What if a single parent was taking a shower and didn't realize
the girl could access the balcony, perhaps left unsecured by housekeeping
or the previous occupants?
What if the entire family was napping, and the little girl awoke
before everyone else, then wandered outside while they slept?
What if the girl's brother just cut his foot, and while Mom or
Dad was attending to that, the girl slipped outside?
What if she was left in the care of her teenage sister, who promptly
left her alone to make out with that really cute guy next door?
I've heard "Tears In Heaven" [Eric Clapton's song for his late
son, who died as a toddler in a fall from an open window in a
tall building], so know full well how this could have ended. Lest
anyone think I don't take child safety seriously, earlier this
year I reported a foster family for suspected child abuse. But
if you're going to call someone horrible parents, it seems that
you should know all of the facts first."
And, David, if it's not clear, the last sentence of the post
refers not to you, but to the person that wrote to you about this
Thanks, Marc. Fair enough. The quote was obviously opinion on the
part of Mr. Titizian. Certainly there could have been any
manner of extenuating circumstances, some of which you've cited.
But in addition to the regular door lock, those patio doors have
a higher security latch well out of reach of a five-year-old, and
I think the likelihood is far greater that these parents were being
One of our MousePad members, "10-8," posted the following information
on our discussion board:
What disturbs me about this article is how uninformed the writer
of this article is. I was there. For those of you that are unfamiliar
with my posts I work for Security and make it a habit of not posting
here, because a majority of topics discussed and the appropriate
answers could compromise our initiatives, however, for someone
to say that there was no Disneyland Security response proves that
they did not do their research before writing.
Being that the incident was at the Grand Californian Hotel, hotel
trained officers respond. Most park officers can't tell you the
room number from the outside of the hotel, but Hotel Officers
can. Inside the Hotel several officers were responding and did
locate the room in question just as the child was pulled back
into the room by the parent who was napping beforehand. It was
a very serious and thorough response, and one that I'm proud to
say I was apart of. So just because the one officer observing
the scene on the parkside (who was from the hotel) seemed passive
and overly calm, know that hysteria and panic just makes things
worse. He was communicating vital information in a professional
and efficient manner.
Good news, although doesn't make me much feel better about the
safety of this child. DK
In our Park
Update: Disneyland for January 26 February 1, David Koenig
reported about an incident at the Mad Tea Party teacup ride in Fantasyland,
which resulted in its spin being tightened. Neal Paton writes:
David My family and I have been Premium Passholders for
many years now, and are very dedicated Disneyland parkgoers. So,
I'm not coming from just a single visit's experience. We're there
nearly every week. My daughter and I rode the teacups last night
and the tightness issue is still a problem. Since they slowed
the "spins" down the line waiting to board the teacups has also
Lately the wait time is equivalent to about two capacity loads.
It's very evident that riders are very unhappy about their experience
after getting off. Many cups will barely spin at all. Even the,
seemingly, strongest of riders aren't able to get the cups to
do much. If Disney were to loosen the cups up just a little it
might make a big difference. They don't need to spin uncontrollably.
However, they do need to spin! The Teacups have been transformed
into a glorified "Dumbo" ride.
Thanks for listening.
Neal Dumbo without the elephants. And the flying. And the
control over the vehicles. A more apt comparison might be a park
Thanks for writing, Neal. I wish there was something more we could
Eli Chance writes:
Mr. Koenig, I was just curious as to what your take is on Michael
Eisner and if you agree with Roy Disney's opinion that Eisner
should be removed, and if so what kind of a person would have
to be in the CEO position, that could truly bring back the old
traditional ways of Walt Disney, mainly in Disneyland. Thank You.
Eli Thanks for the note.
I am someone who believes in Disney maximizing profits by building
itself up, not by tearing itself apart. Traditionally, Disney's
genius (both creatively and financially) has been creating strong
products and nurturing its body of work, so that they remain popular
and profitable for eternity. They also "held back;" they didn't
oversaturate the market (keeping demand always higher than supply)
and they didn't gouge the customer (creating goodwill). Eisner has
turned that upside down, for short-term stock gains.
Current thinking is to ignore the past and the future, and obsess
with only today. I believe Disney needs new co-leadership, just
as in the days of Walt & Roy Sr. and of Eisner & Wells. One person
who will drive the company forward creatively and keep things "sincere."
One person who will make sure everything makes sense financially.
These two should understand and respect each other's "goal," and
work together to rebuild Disney into the world's foremost source
of high quality entertainment.
Don't know if it will ever happen, but if there's anything I've
learned from a lifetime of Disney watching, it can't hurt to dream.
You mention in your Mouse
Tales article, posted June 15, 2004, Disneyland will have
the May 4, 2005 closure and that this would be the first schedule
park closure in nearly 30 years. I thought the park itself didn't
start full, daily operation (meaning running and opening the park
year-round) until sometime in the mid to late '80s. Am I wrong
in that assumption, if you could please elaborate?
Just a question, didn't the park used to be closed on Mondays
and Tuesdays and wasn't that done until the early '80s? I thought
when I first started working for them they still followed that
policy and then it was changed to seven day operations. The only
thing I am sure of, I am not old enough to have been working there
30 years ago.
Pam My bad. I should have written "20" not "30 years." Disneyland
went to 365-days-a-year operation in February 1985.
Regarding David's article, "Winding
Down the West," published back in December 20, 2001, David
As to the Winding Down the West update, for the Universal stunt
crew to work at Knott's was always common, as most of them started
at Knott's to begin with. There are only two or three regular
venues for Wild West stunts in Southern California. During the
boom times of plentiful cash in the late '80s - early '90s there
were quite a few places (Knott's, Universal, the real Calico,
Movieland Frontier Town [now demolished] and a few corporate picnic
parks [some in the local canyons and the one at Camp Frazier in
the former Lion Country Safari]). Having worked the corporate
picnic circuit as part of another stunt show, we ran into the
Knott's/Universal team quite often. These were the days of Young
Guns/Quigley Down Under and similar movies, when the West was
a big draw for a while.
As a whole, it was not uncommon for the stunt actors to work
a few days of the week at Universal and a few more at Knott's
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact David
Feedback to our Mailbag
Regarding Disneyland's anticipated 50th anniversary celebration
next year, Dennis Mattinson writes:
I love the way that people are complaining about things Disney
isn't doing for the 50th anniversary of Disneyland. At last check
our economy was still in limbo, companies are still not turning
a profit, there is still a war going on and people still are not
traveling like they were pre-9/11.
All the things that people are proposing take a lot of
money to implement. Sure, I hate Eisner as much as the others
who withheld their votes but I understand that a company has to
do things with sound business decisions in mind. Doing things
haphazardly leaves the door open for Comcast to come in and take
over and break up all the units and sell them off so it can get
it's hands on ABC/ESPN.
The turn around date for travel to be back to normal (pre-9/11)
is 2007. That's 3 years from now and if God forbid something else
should occur, that date is going to be pushed back more. That's
a long time for the airlines, theme parks, resort destinations,
etc. to have to wait for them to begin to climb out of the red.
Be thankful that you have had 50 years of enjoyment from Disney
in the theme park market and over 75 years of Mickey to make you
smile and laugh. Things don't get too much more American than
So to all those griping about things not coming quick enough
or free giveaways and things of the like, when was the last time
you saw any company doing the things that Disney does?
Be happy that you have Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland
and Disneyland Paris. These places are indeed the most magical
places on earth and I for one am pleased to see that they will
continually improve themselves so that we will have them for at
least another 50 years!
I really don't know what the big deal is about the 50th Anniversary
plans for Disneyland next year. True that the plans are not over
the top, but I feel they are dignified for such an anniversary.
Plans for the 50th should have been made a long time ago. But
unfortunately, with Eisner making budget cuts, Cynthia [Harriss]
and Paul [Pressler; both former heads of the park] only worrying
about merchandise events, things fell apart. Please also take
into consideration the travel conditions of the world a few years
ago when plans needed to be made, and the economy taking a turn.
But with Matt [Oiumet, current resort head] and his right-hand
man (forgot his name, sorry), it seems that things are turning
around. And the crowds are certainly proving it this past spring
and early summer.
I feel the treatment of the castle will be very classy with the
crowns and slight paint treatment. With the drawbridge supposedly
going to be in working order, it should make for a great beginning
and ending of each day.
True that there is no big new attraction planned for the opening,
but the re-engineered Space Mountain and new Buzz Lightyear attractions
opening later in 2005 should help in the lengthened anniversary
It's nice to see that a new parade is coming. It's about time!!
Sorry that it doesn't have an anniversary salute. Could you imagine
pulling floats from the past out of the mothballs or reconstructing
some from the past parades in one new parade. I would love to
see parts of the Party Gras floats and costumes. Maybe even how
the character's costumes evolved over the years.
The new fireworks is fine with me. The Wishes fireworks needed
to be changed for pollution reasons/community noise, etc., so
a new fireworks show is great. Besides, getting a new show for
the celebration is a good thing.
With Disney being Disney, I'm sure there will be some surprises
thrown in along the way. Maybe there will be a entrance contest
like the 30th anniversary.
I believe that they should look to the past for some ideas. Remember
this is billed as the Happiest Homecoming on Earth and homecomings
to me represent reliving the past and looking to the future. Think
of it as going back to a college reunion. You want to relive those
great days, but you also have a chance to show off photos of your
children, which represents your future.
A recent e-mail by Mike Ricciardi had some great ideas (June
24 Mailbag). Yes, if possible, the Golden Horseshoe Revue
should be restored. That would be a great success. Bring back
the Keel Boats or are they beyond repair. Maybe a small amount
of new ones wouldn't breat the bank. Heck, I would even bring
back Magic Journeys in Tomorrowland for a few showings a day sharing
the theatre with Honey, I Shrunk the Audience.
I just wish that Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln would be there
in some capacity. Come to think of it, I will also miss the Country
Bears. It would be cool if they could make permanent type signs
for certain areas with a few photos attached explaining what was
originally on the site. It would bring in the nostalgia for the
The anniversary has also brought out renovations that would never
have taken place. Matt has started in the right direction spiffing
up the place that the old regime left behind. Not only will Disneyland
look clean and in like-new condition for the anniversary, but
will be a legacy for the future. Heaven knows certain areas needed
It's true that the other Disney parks are in on the celebration,
but remember that many of these new attractions or fireworks or
shows would have come anyway. It was a way to tie the parks together
for a year or so. You have to remember that DLP doesn't have the
finances to add anything more than a new fireworks show. Hong
Kong Disneyland was opening anyway, not because of the 50th. Tokyo
Disneyland is an entity of its own. That's why they get so many
great new attractions and a wonderful new park. WDW always needs
to grow. When you are the top vacation spot, you need to keep
things fresh. It just seems like they are getting a lot because
there are four parks to consider.
I certainly hope there will be more surprises for us. I think
there will be. You won't be surprised if you know everything in
advance. That's how you get disappointed. The place will be decorated
from top to bottom that I'm sure someone will complain about.
It will look great, but it will also feel great no matter if there
is a new attraction or not.
Thanks for listening. I just wanted to give you my observations
coming from both points of view.
For the future, decisions should be made for the submarine ride,
Great Moments, the monorail, and any other new attractions. If
signs are posted during the celebration, this would show that
the company is not forgetting about the future. Having a "coming
soon" or "for 2006" signs in certain areas with the crowds that
will be there will create a "we gotta come back" attitude.
I'm sure all will be fine.
Folks, don't get me wrong, the 50th may seem lackluster right
now. But, the mentality behind [resort corporate office] Team
Disney Anaheim's plan is that the nostalgia and the celebration
itself should pull in size enough crowds and attention. Within
the next few years following the 50th anniversary, expect those
much anticipated new attractions and whatnot. But, for now, just
enjoy your time spent at a "work-in-progress" Happiest Place on
Brian Martin writes:
I grew up an hour's drive north of Disneyland and remember going
there twice a year with my family. When I was old enough to drive
I got an annual pass and was there as often as 6 days in a week
Disneyland Resort should be proud to be turning 50. There have
been a lot of attractions come and go, that is the nature of this
sanctuary set forth by Walt himself. Rehabbing existing rides
is good to give a fresh clean look and feel for such a grand occasion;
but I agree with others that there should be some new attraction
that is unique to Disneyland Resort (for the time being). I love
the to see familiar attractions at other Disney Parks, but too
many and it looks as if there are no fresh ideas. Imagineering
is known for creating the impossible. Who would have thought robotic
birds could sing so many years ago.
Disneyland was in constant transition until it stalled as of
late. Upper management should realize what a precious jewel they
have in this first-of-it's-kind Park, and give it the attention
it deserves. A fresh coat of paint never hurt anything; however;
the Park deserves so much more as do the Guests who visit.
Yes, Walt Disney World may get more attractions; but Guests should
also realize that in Disneyland Resort space is in short supply.
A new attraction often means an existing attraction must say good-bye.
If Disney takes away "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln"; perhaps
replace it with something similar to the "Hall of Presidents"
or "The American Adventure." Yes, that is again borrowing from
another Park, but if you have seen either of these attractions
you'd agree they'd be a good addition to DLR.
Disneyland Resort is quaint; it is cozy. It will not ever be
(nor should it attempt to be) Walt Disney World. Walt put his
own stamp of approval on this his first Park. Disneyland's 50th
Anniversary should be nothing short of honoring the Man behind
Carol Z. writes:
It's wonderful to see Disneyland getting the much needed rehab
after years of neglect. For years I watched the Park deteriorate
and it just broke my heart. I've been following the progress of
the rehab on MousePlanet. One issue I haven't seen addressedthe
costumes for cast members working rides. They add so much to the
total experience. It's wonderful to go to the Haunted Mansion
and be greeted by the "Maid" or "Butler" like they do a Walt Disney
World. I'd love the see the costumes back for the Matterhorn and
other rides too. Any word on this?
Josh Sarvinski writes:
I have a few idea to celebrate DCA's 5th anniversary by opening
a new section in the Timon parking lot. One idea is to have a
big replica of Mount Shasta. It would be a roller coaster and
on the inside it would circle a big pit of lava.
Another ride would be like a wilderness tour where you would
ride in Jeep Wranglers and there would be waterfalls, mountain
lions, bears, bugs, etc. Of course there would be other rides
too but these are just a few. I am currently working on sending
these ideas in to Walt Disney Imagineering. I would make sure
they only use these ideas for DCA only. Not for Walt Disney World
since they always get the better stuff. What do ya think?
Hi Josh Thanks for taking the time to write. Your ideas
certainly sound better than some of the ideas I've seen over at
DCA, although I don't know if they would want to spend the effort
to build a brand new roller coaster for DCA, when they just opened
Tower of Terror this summer. Your jeep ride sounds interesting.
Were you thinking something along the lines of Jungle Cruise with
fake animals, or Kilimanjaro Safari Tours with real animals over
at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom in Florida?
-- Lani Teshima, staff writer & editor
Josh wrote back:
Thank you for responding! I would want the jeep ride to have
animatronic animals only because you never know what a mountain
lion or bear would do. They could attack someone ya know. It wouldn't
be like a safari though because I don't know if you have been
to Mt. Shasta, CA but it snows there and stuff so it would be
animals that live there. I think with the technology they have
I was hoping they could make like animatronic lizards and stuff
that crawl on the car but are somehow magnetized so the guests
can't grab them and stuff. Thank you for responding to me once
again and I hope you do the same for this message!
Hi Josh Well, a Jungle Cruise-like jeep tour of the California
wilderness might be interesting!
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact our mailbag
Feedback for World
View (Mark Goldhaber)
I am not sure if I am directing this question to the right person,
and forgive me if I have bothered you. I am giving the gift of
a honeymoon to my sister and her new husband to WDW for a week
next month. They will be staying at the Boardwalk. I would love
to have some sort of welcome gift waiting for them when they get
to their room. Are there any services that would cater to my requests?
I do not want the typical fruit/champagne basket. I would actually
like to have something like a 6-pack of beer for him and diet
coke for her, and some goodies that I know they will love? Any
information you may have will be greatly appreciated. I love
this Web site and your columns and I thank you for taking the
time out to read this.
Hi Amy. Lani referred your letter to me as one of the WDW subject
matter experts at MousePlanet. Wow, what a wonderful wedding gift!
Your sister is very lucky to have you as a sister.
Now, to the business at hand. You don't mention whether they will
be staying at the Boardwalk Inn or the Villas. I know that DVC members
can pre-order groceries before arrival at the Villas by faxing the
form that I've attached to the number on the form. However, I'm
noticing that there is no beer on the list. Other options are contacting
the resort directly (Front Desk: (407) 939-5100, Fax: (407) 939-5150)
or calling the Disney Florist at (407) 827-3505 weekdays between
8:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., as they are said to be able to provide
anything, floral or not.
Congratulations to your sister and her fiancé, and good
luck in getting the goodies delivered. (If you don't get a positive
response from any of the leads that I've given you, let me know.
I may be able to help you set something up through alternate means.)
World View/WDW Update
Kyle Fox writes:
I am writing this for I am looking for any information about
Alien Encounter merchandise, especially the Skippy doll. My girlfriend
and I went on vacation back in Feb. 2003 and she loved the Skippy
character but at the time did not purchase it. She's been looking
ever since the closing of the attraction for any of the merchandise.
Do you have any info where to find the Skippy doll or Alien Encounter
items for sale?
Hi Kyle Unfortunately, I'm not aware of any Alien Encounter
merchandise remaining, even at the warehouses. Your best bet may
be to check out eBay. Sorry I couldn't provide more promising news.
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Mark
Feedback for Lisa Perkis
Perkis' review of Disneyland's new "Discover the Magic"
walking tour, Bob Starcher writes:
I loved your article about the new tour, it sounds great! I think
Disney has a great idea there!
The one thing you didn't point out however, is what age would
be best for the tour? I know it depends on the "mentality" of
the child as some 12 year old boys may feel they are to old for
such things, but a 16 year old girl may still want to act like
a little kid. While a one year old may not get much out of it
other than seeing the characters. Also I'm not sure if the cast
members tend to "talk down" to the kids a bit like as to preschoolers.
But it sounds like the best ages would be 5 to 12. Is that about
Thank you, and keep up the good work on MousePlanet!
Hi Bob! I would say the ages of five to twelve are pretty accurate.
Strollers are not recommended on the tour, and there's a pretty
good amount of walking. I think any older than twelve and the kids
might not want to enter into all the dramatic play elements of the
Bob Fike writes:
My wife and I do not have any kids, but would like to take the
tour. Can we go? Can we rent kids some where?
Thanks soooooo much for your helpful article and time!
Hi Bob! You know, a few people have asked about taking the tour
wanting to know where they could rent kids. I know they bill the
tour for families with kids because most of the time the tour guides
are directing comments and activities towards them. It was fun as
a parent to be able to watch my kids have a blast. Do you have any
nieces or nephews? Or maybe you have friends with kids that would
love an afternoon off while you took them on the tour. Good luck
and thanks for the e-mail
Regarding Lisa's June 23 Parenting
in the Park article, "Keeping
Kids Cool at Disneyland," Lisa notes: "I got a lot
of responses about the places I failed to mention! I guess all I
would say is that I wrote about places that my family particularly
enjoys when we go to the resort, and every family has their own
cool spots. I did like the tip about the Disneyland hotel and the
Rustworthy at DCA is another good place for kids to get wet."
What about the SS Rustworthy? Should be a 4 towel rating
You forgot to mention the water play area at DCA over by the
ship at Pizza Oom Mow Mow and Splash Mountain at Disneyland.
Brian Seed writes:
OK, to beat the heat AND the crowds, we go to a spot in Disneyland
that I think practically nobody knows about!
From the hub, enter Frontierland. To your right is the pin cart.
Walk behind the pin cart and you will follow a short, rather
unimproved path into the bushes and then you will come to a couple
benches looking over some water and then back out into the hub.
This spot is completely shaded, very cool and since nobody
knows about it, no traffic. It is a great place to sit and people-watch!
Continuing down the path takes you to the Plaza Gardens.
You simply cannot forget about the Haunted Mansion! That is our
family's #1 place to cool off! You never have to wait too long
outside in the sun and once inside....brrrrr I mean aaaaah! It
is so refreshing. Hard to think about as I sit here at my desk
in Seattle but three weeks and we'll be back at our favorite vacation
spot....Disneyland!!! Woo hoo!
Dean Paul writes:
Lisa, I know you were concentrating on the parks themselves,
but my favorite place to cool off (and it doesn't require an admission),
is at the Horseshoe Falls at the base of the Bonita Tower of the
Disneyland Hotel complex.
Regarding "Better than Disneyland," Lisa's two-part article
where a Disneyland native compares the original park to Walt Disney
I | Part
II), Mary Kraemer writes:
I live in California, and DL is "my" park. We've gone
to WDW several times, and it is a wonderful place to visit.
I read your article with interest, and I felt like I knew what
the answer would be: WDW hands down.
I was so pleasantly surprised to read your last paragraph:
"It's great fun to visit Walt Disney World and experience
all the amazing attractions, but it's even better to come back
to Disneyland and look up at the light still shining in Walt's
apartment on Main Street and realize there's no place like home."
That sums up my sentiments perfectly. DL was Walt's creation;
WDW is a fabrication, although a nice one. Now, when we take family
photos at the park, it's not usually with the castle in the background;
it's the Matterhorn!
Thanks for your article!
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Lisa
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.