MousePlanet Mailbag for August 26, 2004
We receive considerable feedback regarding our site. Although we cannot
publish them all, the following may be of interest to our readers.
Sally Drennan writes:
Ever since my daughter was smaller, she watched the Disney Christmas
Parade that aired on Christmas morning! This past year, we realized
that parade and other events were prerecorded the first weekend in December.
I e-mailed Disney and asked them if that would be the case this year.
I was told this information is not availble to the public.
We are planning a trip from Dec.2-6 with hopes of seeing this parade
as it is taped. Who can give me information of when this will be recorded?
I was made aware of the 2003 taping because of Clay Aiken fans who knew
weeks ahead of time that he would be there the first weekend in December
taping the parade that is hosted by Regis and Kelly! Thanks for any
information you may be able to pass along!
Hi Sally My guess, and it's only a guess, is that the Walt Disney
World Christmas Parade will be taped on the weekend of December 3rd. I
think one of the reasons why the parade is taped so early in December
is that all the decorations are fresh and look their best and the weather
is pretty dry.
I don't expect we'll hear the exact taping dates until late October or
I think many people want to see this parade taped in the hope of getting
on television and watching themselves on Christmas morning. Last year
I was one of those people who got their 15 seconds of fame
can tell you it takes a large chunk out of your day.
The parade is taped in bits and pieces and then spliced together in the
studio. This means that it takes forever to tape it all. I think it took
three days last December to collect all the footage.
Kelly and Regis usually show up for one day, sit in their parade location,
and read copy as if they are right there as it's happening
If you want to be there to see it taped you will be committing to a large
portion of your day.
Send your thoughts, questions, or comments for Mike here.
Daniel Carrera writes:
I had the opportunity to read Mike Scopa's article about how busy Walt
Disney World is on July 4th. Well, first of all, I want to tell you
that I live in Mexico.
I'll be visiting the Disneyland Resort in California in July 3rd,
4th, and 5th with a group of about 11 people, and we were wondering
if as Walt Disney World, Disneyland gets very crowded those days. Also,
if you could help us, we wanted to know which are the most popular
rides in the Resort, so we can get early a Fastpass and don't spend
hours in the queue.
What can you recommend us if we visit Disneyland those days? Is it
going to be extremely crowded? And also, where can we get
disccounts to visit Disneyland?
We will be thanked if you answer this mail
Hi Daniel The Fourth of July (Independence Day) is one of the
primary holidays in the U.S. (after Christmas Day and New Year's Eve,
and about equivalent to Labor Day and Memorial Day). Because the Fourth
of July is the only big holiday in the middle of the summer and one where
most people get the day off, the Disney parks are always traditionally
quite busy. Add to that mix the fact that this year's Fourth of July falls
on a Sunday, and you can expect the park to be much more crowded than
usual. I also suspect that many people will have Monday, July 5th off
(employers would give them a day off on the Fourth of July, except that
it's already a weekend day).
As a bona fide three-day weekend, you can expect the entire weekend to
be extraordinarily crowded.
To add more factors to this, many Americans are taking their family vacations
within the country because of the hassle of air travel, and the uncertainties
of being at war. And because Walt Disney is known as having been a very
patriotic American, many people associate Disneyland with patriotism (for
example, the park holds a daily flag-lowering ceremony at sunset), so
people may particularly gravitate towards the parks for this patriotic
The bottom line is that this year's Fourth of July weekend has the risk
of reaching maximum capacity in Disneyland. Be prepared for extremely
long lines in hot weather.
Definitely take some of the tips from Mike Scopa's article about the
Fourth of July. Consider reading my article on dealing with hot weather,
as well (link).
The most popular rides you will want to go on are:
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Haunted Mansion
- Splash Mountain
- Indiana Jones
In general, all of the attractions that use the Fastpass system are considered
popular rides. And since you have such a large group, it may be best if
you grab a guidebook such as Bob Sehlinger's Unofficial Guide to
Disneyland. His is one of the few books that rate the various rides
for different age groups, so you can all decide what rides are best for
the various members of your party.
As for discounts, you can take a look at our Discounts and Promotions
section of the Disneyland park update (link),
as well as visit MouseSavers.com. Mary Waring does a great job of posting
The parks will be very crowded, but I think you can still enjoy yourself
as long as you take it easy and realize you won't be able to see everything
all at once. Since you are there for three days, spread out your strategy,
making sure to incorporate breaks (including naps or pool time), and you
should be able to have a great time!
My husband and I have decided to make a trip to Disneyland in a couple
of weeks. I bought a Premium Annual Pass to help save on money since
we will be staying at the Disneyland Hotel (we will be going down again
at the end of November and the annual pass will come in handy at that
I have called and talked to two different people about this, and I
have even sent an e-mail through the Disneyland Web site asking the
same question. Each person gave me a different answer
answers! So I thought, Hey, those people at MP know what they
are doing. Maybe I should contact them again.
So here I am and here is my question: We will be staying at the Disneyland
Hotel July 11 through July 16. I will use my annual pass for the room.
I am also a AAA member. When we go to pay for our room, can we use our
AAA membership card to save an additional 10%? One person told me yes,
one said no, and the other said that AAA and the annual pass both get
the same discount this summer
which, in fact, they do not. I would
appreciate any help you might be able to give me. Thank you for your
Hi Elizabeth Sorry for not replying to you right away. I had to
check with our contact at AAA for you. According to her, you may only
apply one discount to the room, not two. You can find out which is cheaper,
and go with the cheaper rate, but otherwise you cannot combine them.
Hope that helps. And have a wonderful trip!
You did not mention in your advice to Elis. that Disneyland will also
have their share of large ride referbishments going on in Dec. as well
as her missing the matterhorn if she visits this fall.Also larger crowds
in Dec. than average fall time.
Hi Ron You're quite right! Thanks for the reminder, and thanks
for taking the time to write.
Cindy Larsen writes:
How can you find out if a ride is scheduled for maintenance if you
plan for a vacation, and you definitely want to enjoy the attraction,
such as in the Rock 'N Roll Coaster (in Walt Disney World's Disney-MGM
Hi Cindy Sometimes we know quite a bit in advance when an attraction
is going to be down for scheduled maintenance or a major overhaul. For
those that we know, we try to make sure to include it in our weekly park
updates. For example, a substantial number of rides will be undergoing
spiffying up in Disneyland as the park readies itself for its 50th anniversary
celebration next year.
The best you can do is plan based on known information, and the rest
is up to luck. For example, a ride can go down because of a mechanical
problem the day you visit that park, and you will not be able to go on
the ride through no poor planning on your part.
Good luck, and have a wonderful trip!
Send your thoughts, questions, or comments for Lani here.
E-mail continues to arrive for Cast Place editor Shoshana Lewin about
Disneyland cast member Maynard. Jon M. writes:
Well I am an A.P, and my wife and I absolutely despise Maynard. So
the cast members who are so sick of being asked where Maynard is should
feel vindicated. He currently works the Tiki room and when we see him
we make sure and walk away really fast. The guy is just obnoxious and
his performance in the Tiki room show is rude, overshadowing,
pandering, distracting and cheapens the experience of a beloved attraction.
It's funny, but we thought we were among the few who knew and were
rather annoyed by this CM, but after asking other Guests it seems we
are but 2 of a chorus of annoyed voices about the annoying obnoxious
cast member known as Maynard.
William Shandling, curious about a Jewish mezuzah on Main Street
in Disneyland, writes:
My name is William Shandling. Me and my family are APs and visit Disneyland
often. On our last outing, July 1st, as we were leaving the park, we
noticed something that we had never seen before. On the door of the
fake facade to the right of the Crystal Arcade, we saw a mezuzah, a
sacred object that Jews put on the door jam of their front door.
What was even more interesting was that the first time it was put up,
it was clearly improperly placed. You are supposed to hang a mezuzah
slanted, so that it leans toward the door. When we saw it, the mezuzah
was hanging correctly, but we clearly saw the two other holes that idicate
that it was origanally placed wrong. We also noticed the dedication
on the door for which the mezzuzah was hung for: Benajmin Silverstein,
When I went home, I consulted my Disneyland books: Mouse Tales,
More Mouse Tales, Magic Quizdom, and Disneyland Detective,
none of them had any mention of this specific dedication. Furthermore,
there is nothing on the Internet about it, almost like it doesn't exist.
I speculate if the dedication has always been there, then at least the
mezzuzah was added during this past refurb because, if it has been there
for a while, then they did not ever cover up the holes from the first
time it was hung.
Do you have any information about Dr. Silverstein, or any suggestions
on how to get more information about this dedication? Perhaps a question
could be posed to your weekly update readers? I found this particularly
interesting because there does not seem to be any other religious references
in the park.
Thank you for your time and hope to hear from you soon.
Hi William Don't worryyou aren't losing your mind: Benjamin
Silverstein is complete fiction. I noticed the mezuzah during a
Holiday Time Tour I took a few years ago and wrote about it in 2003 in
a review of that tour (link).
We then walked north to the mezuzah on Main Street at the
office of Dr. Benjamin Silverstein, where Lera Rae explained the basis
of Chanukah. (Although there were no decorations to be found, I'm glad
Disneyland added this component last year as it was missing the first
I was very curious about this since there are no chanukah decorations
up in the park and finding anything Jewish is rare. So I did some digging
for an article that ran in the Jewish Journal of Orange County..
It took them several weeks to get back to me since most of the people
that work there didn't know it was there. Here's the scoop:
While walking down Disneyland's Main Street, U.S.A., one might look up
and notice that the windows above the stores are covered with the names
of the men and women who helped build the park more than 48 years ago..
However, if you peak in a doorway along the Emporium on the west side
of the street (before reaching New Century Jewelry) there's one name that's
a bit different from the rest: Dr. Benjamin Silverstein.
It's not just that Silverstein's name is on a door rather than a window.
It's that if you look to the right of the door, you'll find a mezuzah
on the workplace of the only fictional person on Main StreetDr.
Benjamin Silverstein, general practitioner, only exists at the Happiest
Place on Earth.
Don't worry if you missed seeing the mezuzah during your last visit;
the well-hidden piece of Judaica (which does have a scroll inside, although
its authenticity has yet to be verified) has only been around for a few
When former Disneyland president Paul Pressler, who recently left the
company to head Gap, Inc., took the position in 1995, he expressed concern
that, during the holidays, there was nothing in recognition of Chanukah,
according to John McClintock, regional market publicity manager for the
So the decorating team at Disneyland placed a menorah in one of the upstairs
windows on Main Street andas Disney is notorious for its storytellingcreated
the name below to go with it.
But despite the welcoming sign on the door, Have a fever? Have
the Flu? Come on in and we'll cure you, if you do get nauseous from
one too many spins on the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, it might be best to
stick to the First Aid Center.
I hope this helps.
Brian Lane writes:
RE. MousePlanet Mailbag for June 17, 2004 regarding a tale shared by
Pam in a Cast Place piece about guest experiences (link),
a Disneyland cast member writes:
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
Maynard isn't on-site much of the year. Despite this, he gets the lion's
share of praise. He's also called back season after season by a very
conservativeand frankly group-think mindedmanagement, which
frowns on idiosyncrasy and egocentricity. This tends to indicate he's
doing something right as far as the Guests and management are concerned.
The motto It was all started by a mouse. doesn't mean it's
only about Mickey et al. The strolling bands and various street entertainers
certainly are centers of attention. The Jungle Boat and Canal Boat narrators
are central to both rides.
Cast Members are called Cast Members not attendants, associates or
park workers as they're expected to be part of the Disney experience.
That experience is intended to entertain and amuse the Guests. If Maynard
is drawing attention to himself by being outstanding in both meanings
of the term, I sincerely hope more Disney Cast Members are allowed and
encouraged to be outstanding.
As an aside: Given some of the letters in Cast Place [example Tony's
Story and the one referenced above], I doubt all Cast Members
are great. The letter complaining about Maynard is a poison pen letter.
It complains about Maynard being one of the most self-centered
Cast Members I have ever encountered. He forgets about everyone else,
including his fellow Cast Members If Maynard forgets about everyone
else, its odd so many Guests remember him making their visit special.
I find it rather telling that one of the lines in the complaint is ...we
get quite tired of Annual Passholders endlessly asking for him
Poison pen indeed!
Our readers couldn't get enough of Shoshana's article about visiting
the park by yourself (Party
of One: Going Solo at Disneyland, July 13, 2004). Kevin O'Neal
Thanks for this article. I was at the park(s) last year on the 4th
of July and at first it was intimidating but then it became fun. I could
do whatever I wanted! I've also met people there and even going on the
tram solo was and is still weird but it's something I'll need to get
Anyway, thanks for the great tips and for bringing this topic to life.
Hi Kevin I'm glad you enjoyed going by yourself. The first step
is always the hardestbut it gets easier each time. And going on
the 4th! My hats off to you for braving the crowds.
Heinz Schoner writes:
Hi, I wanted to tell you i loved your article on going to Disneyland
alone. I live in Reno Nevada and was born in Hunnington Park, CA. So
i get homesick for Disneyland and come down about 3 or 4. Thanks again.
Hi Heinz I'm glad you liked the article. I totally agree with
you about the atmosphere at the park. Sometimes just people watching from
a bench on Main Street or the balcony at River Belle Terrace can be enjoyableand
there is no pressure to run to another ride. Hope you have a wonderful
time in August!
Tom Jukes writes:
Are you a mind reader? I too am an AP holder who leaves about 60 miles
away. I am almost always going to the resort by myself. This past trip
was Sunday and as I was going for Grizzly Rapips, Tower of Terror, Screamin',
and Sorian' I was thinking MousePlanet should list all the rides
that have a single rider line. And you did it!
This was by far a very useful and wonderful article.
Hi Tom We don't read minds here (at least not officially). Hopefully
a single rider will soon appear at Tower of Terror. For the moment, I
think the best use of a single-rider pass at Disney's California Adventure
is Mulholland Madness, as the stand-by line can take a very long time..
Enjoy your solo trips.
Louise Hirabayashi writes:
Many thanks for publishing this great article. I've been an annual
passholder for 5 years and have gone to the Anaheim parks solo many
times. It was tough the first year to say one when asked
People think I'm brave to venture out to the parks on my
own. My response to them is if I don't go on my own, I probably wouldn't
go at all.
Please thank Shoshana for her article. Who knowsmaybe I'll run
into her at Disneyland or DCA one of these days.
Hi Louise I'm glad you enjoyed it. I think it is great that you
did the Fantasmic Dessert Buffet (still haven't had a chance to do that
yet.). I agree with you: if I didn't go alone, I wouldn't go at all. I
hope I will run into you at the parks at some pointI'll be the the
party of one.
Clara Doray writes:
I just had to comment on your article. I am frequent solo-flyer,
and for the most part, I wouldn't have it any other way. When you love
something and others don't share your passion the way you do, it's better
to just enjoy what you love by yourself. I love eating in restaurants
alone, helping other guests as you stated in your article,
and just basically doing what I want, when I want. Thanks for showing
everyone that people who go alone aren't weird, (as my friends think
I am) that we are just people who want to have fun!
Nutsy MacLewis writes:
I just e-mailed this because I read your Going Solo article
and liked it. I'm a Solo-Goer myself, usually Thursdays (once a week
or every other weekor, during the summer, every other-other week,
and maybe a full day if I've lacked in attendance for some time).
I like going by myself. My brother and I moved down here to be closer
to Disneyland, and without a Premium Passport I'd feel lost. I love
the place too much to express in words. Some people love cars, some
people love food, I love Disneyland. When I was younger it was a goal
to get down here, and now I can go to my laughing place
whenever I want. I ask for nothing else; except perhaps to get some
books published or win the lottery and then go to the park on Tuesdays,
Wednesdays, and Thursdays. That would be happiness.
I usually walk through the place, enjoying the atmosphere for the most
part, and video-taping anything that catches my eye. Something new or
beautiful or nostalgic, usually. The only times it seems a bummer to
be alone there is when some macho screwball decides he wants to pick
on the loner to impress his girlfriend or buddies. I don't
mind, I can take care of myself, but it still sucks.
The only other time it's a bummer is when you see romance all around
and you think 'this would be the perfect place to fall in love'. I actually
prefer to go alone, since most people find a way of ruining the experience
with complaints or something.
That's all I wanted to say. Going alone to Disneyland is an experience
in itself, if you can do it and feel confident about it. My brother
tried it onceonceand, unfortunately for him, he decided
to have lunch alone (yes, alone!) at the Blue Bayou restaurant.
Some wise-guy in a passing Pirates boat said, Don't worry, pal,
I'll come and eat with you! That did it; my brother has not come
to the park without me or my parents ever since. That's the kind of
experience that kills going solo.
Take care and keep going to the park when the spirit moves you!
Hi Nutsy I'm sorry that happened to your brother. Some people
can be real jerks and one person can ruin something for many. I hope he
gives it another try one day.
Your Party of One article was really well written. It is a great experience
to go thru the park by yourself sometimes. I did it a lot in '95, when
I had a AP and in '98 when I was an Imagineer.
I'd like to suggest that if you can edit what you already wrote, please
change your description about the Pinocchio ride entry to say to watch
for overanxious children climbing into the back seat of your car as
you get into the front row and push down on both rows' safety bars.
It is possible that the ride operator can be so engrossed in a phone
conversation and aware that you're going to ride alone that he or she
doesn't see the child behind you rush into the back seat while a single
rider in the front blindly pushes down the back row safety bar.
Also, if you go alone to Disneyland on a crowded day, you might not
get a row to yourself on Pirates and you might be asked to share a vehicle
on any of the 2-row dark-rides, Space Mountain, and maybe even the Mad
Tea Party. At least those are all the rides I had been asked to share
on in 1995. And for historical (or Walt Disney World) purposes, I was
also asked to share on the PeopleMovers and Skyway.
Here's some other advantages to going alone:
*On Star Tours, if you go often enough to know how many seats there
are per row, and you are being directed to the far cabin, if you can
count the number of riders waiting in the near cabin and notice there's
room for one more, you can ask to be sent in therethat could save
you 3-4 minutes.
*At all the theater shows, especially the Fantasyland theater, you
can arrive just before showtime and find single seats available all
over the theater. When the nearby guests hear you asking if that one
seat is available, they nearly always start up a conversation.
Other fun things to do when you're alone at the park:
*Regularly pop your head into City Hall. (it goes with your comment
about helping/eavesdropping) I once volunteered/got enlisted by the
folks at City Hall to be a tour guide/interpreter for some folks visiting
from Eastern Europe who didn't speak any English, but could understand
my limited ability to speak Yiddishand from reading your article,
it sounds like you have at least as much Yiddish ability as I do. (The
trouble I had explaining the names of some of the rides to those people
reminds me of the time a blind man (who was at Disneyland by himself)
standing outside the Swiss Family Treehouse asked me how he could go
in or find the disabled access entrance to the Treehouse.)
*Check out ToonTown late at night because sometimes some of the characters
will be looking for someone to ride with on Gadget's Go Coaster. They
wait until late at night so that they're not accused of making the line
*Disneyland Railroad: If you're by yourself, you can ask to sit up
in the locomotive, with the engineer and fireman. They have a whole
lot to talk about. I don't know how much of it is scripted. I don't
recommend this during summer because of the heat, but it's nice and
warm for a cold winter night. I think you can only board the locomotive
from the Main Street Station.
In general, keep your eyes and ears open for anyone else that's in
the park by themselves. They'll appreciate spending even just a minute
or two talking with someone who's also there alone.
Thanks for the great tips, Mark!
Regarding Pinocchio: Usually I end up pushing down the back bar even
before I get in (sort of a blocking move), although the ones who usually
try to join me are over-anxious adults.
I know that if they do need to seat someone with you on tea party, the
CM makes sure you are OK with itat least that is what I did when
I operated it. I've never hit Pirates or Space in the middle of the day
(considered the most crowded), so I can't update you on the seating situation
I love that you led a tour in YiddishI wish mine was that good.
I know some general expressions and some Romanian/Hungarian phrases my
Zayde taught me that really would not come in very handy.
I'm glad there are people like you out there who are willing to help
those in need.
Send your thoughts, questions, or comments for Shoshana
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