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MousePlanet Mailbag for September 9, 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 Karl Buiter

We received quite a lot of responses regarding Karl Buiter's article about the new Las Vegas Monorail system, which opened its four-mile stretch along the Las Vegas Strip earlier this year, as well as its accompanying photo profile by Alex Stroup of the dilapitated and abandoned monorails now mothballed in Vegas (article).

Don Jones writes:

As a Las Vegas local, I enjoyed your article on our new Monorail, set to open… wait, today!

Bombardier had a heck of a time getting the computer controllers to work; unlike WDW, our monorails don't have pilots. Instead, they rely on a computer system to maintain an even “gap” between trains for consistent service. Any holdups caused the system to crash, which has finally been fixed.

Bombardier was paying late fees of up to $80,000 per week for the system not running (it was supposed to open in March). Someone cleverly pointed out that, for that kind of money, they could have hired a staff of pilots for close to five years and ignored the computer problem… except that our Mark VIs don't have a cockpit. Ah well.

It's exciting to see one of Walt's fondest projects brought into the mainstream in America's fastest-growing city. This is exactly what he would have wanted.

When you get a sec… ask someone about the high-speed rail we're trying to build from the Nevada line, so that Californians (something like 60% of our tourist trade during some parts of the year) can “park and ride” instead of clogging Las Vegas Blvd.


Jace writes:

Good story on the Las Vegas monorail. I can tell you put a lot of research into it. My only quibble is the idea that this is going to greatly impact traffic in Las Vegas. It will not. The monorail only runs along the Strip, and thus only tourists for the most part will be using it. It's main draw will be conventioneers who are attending a convention at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Even when (if) it is expanded downtown it still won't put a dent in traffic because locals will still for the most part not use it. Some locals work on the Strip and downtown, but nobody lives in those parts of town.

Hi Jace – Thank you for taking the time to write. I will make sure to forward your comments to Karl, our writer for the article.

I agree that this may not fix all traffic problems in Vegas, but having sat through really long cab rides to travel from the Luxor to Paris (half an hour? That's nuts!) I think this will help a lot! Plus, it will be great to have such a high-visibility project that is successful. Hopefully they will build spurs and extensions, and other cities will join in, too.

Aloha,

– Lani Teshima


Alan Douglas writes:

I really did enjoy Karl Buiter's article on the new Las Vegas monorail network. I visited Las Vegas in late 2002 (After visiting Disneyland Resort of course!) when construction on the track was well under way. I rode on the existing MGM to Bally's line and I remember thinking that the trains looked very much like the Disney Mark IVs, so thanks Karl for confirming that for me. I do reckon that the Disney monorails' “Lear Jet” noses look much more streamlined and stylish than the new Las Vegas Bombardier Mark VI's rounded blunt nose. But I guess that's progress for you, and it does make the new trains look distinctly different from the Disney ones.

The new monorails will certainly be a step up from the old Disney trains that still had manually operated passenger doors. However it is such a shame to see them rusting and vandalized. I am sure that a buyer could easily be found. Remember when eBay auctioned off just the nose (Although the buyer did receive the whole carriage) of Disney World's Mark IV monorail 'Red'? There seemed to be no shortage of keen bidders then and it went for $20,000. You can check Monorails.org for details and photos of Monorail Red being delivered to its new owner.

Monorails rock!

Alan Douglas Wellington, New Zealand (AKA Middle Earth)


Mike writes:

I am so happy to see that Las Vegas sees these monorails as more than just a tourist attraction or theme park ride. These truly are reliable, safe, and just plain good-looking ways of mass transit. They compliment the city surroundings and fit just about anywhere. I live in Clearwater, Florida and recently there has been talk about running 'light rail' through the area (Pinellas County). Many of those talks have included monorail as an alternative to automobile congestion.

I am sad to see that the old Disney monorails that ran so reliably at WDW and then in Las Vegas have just been abandoned in a railyard and mercilessly vandalized. Let's hope that some historical society can buy them and bring them back to glory in a museum of transportation. I really enjoy the columns and articles. Please, keep it up!


JF writes:

Great article! The mothballed/abandoned trains are really a shame! We were contacted by two different clients a few months ago about re-using these for private projects.

One key omission in your article:

Gensler of Nevada was the architect and designer for all the fixed facilities. We also were the architects for the initial one-mile long, MGM - Bally's Monorail as well as the planned Downtown Extension (the only member of the Team to work on every phase of the project). I am the Project Director and have been involved since 1991 in the design and planning of the system.

PS: We are doing professional photography of the station next month, if you are interested in updates.

Thanks for the coverage!

Sincerely JF Finn, American Institute of Architects

Hi JF. Yes, we're interested! Please contact me with your email address, please. – Lani


Scott Jensen writes:

Now if that ain't the most sad sight I have seen.

For all these monorails done for Vegas's tests for a monorail system and success, they put them in a field.

I know I have rode in those monorails many times when they were here at WDW. I wish I could take them home with me but a museum or at least in door storage is a more fitting place for them.

Thanks for sharing the pictures. I am glad they have their system up and running (which I have been watching closely) but to have done that to the old monorails was so sad. I am glad I was able to find a few pics of them when they ran at the beginning of the Vegas monorails days

Scott with www.bigfloridacountry.com


In addition to his article about the Vegas monorails, Karl also got some feedback about his profile of the Fantasy Waters show at the Disneyland Hotel. Ben writes:

Hi. I just wanted to say thanks to Karl Buiter for his article on Fantasy Waters at the Disneyland Hotel. I have a few comments about it, though. The song from The Rescuers that he lists as “Someone,” is actually “Someone's Waiting for You.” Also, “Golden Dreams” from the American Adventure at Epcot was also used at Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln at Disneyland. It was added in 1984 when Mr. Lincoln was updated with many parts from American Adventure added in. So, technically, the show is still Disneyland specific.

Anyway, thanks, and keep up the good work!

Ben


Send your thoughts, questions, or comments for Karl here.
Feedback for Shoshana Lewin

Christine writes:

I just have some questions I was wondering if you could answer. What is the weight range for Disney princesses? Are some skinnier than others? And is dance ability important in the audition process?

I looked around and couldn't find anything specifically about weight—just height. If you call the audition number found on this page—they might tell you.

All the princesses I've seen look about the same weight—but it is hard to tell (Ariel is in a body suit and Belle and Cinderella are always in large ball gowns). I've heard they go for a certain “look.” Movement is an important component for auditions. Some characters dance and others do not, you might be asked to learn a basic dance (but they will teach you the steps).

They might look at you and decide you might fit better as a different character—like Cruella or one of the fairies from Sleeping Beauty. It all depends on what they have open.

For more on the auditions themselves, you might want to read our article about face character auditions.

Hope that helps.


Shoshana continues to get raves about her article, “Going Solo at Disneyland.” Don writes:

Hello Shoshana.

I read your article last week regarding visiting Disneyland on your own.

The article was timely in that I just spent the last 3 days at Disneyland on my own.

I took advantage of your many tips. I have a fantastic time and your advice made it even more enjoyable.

One thing in particular, the single rider line at Splash Mt was absolutely the tip of the day. The wait time was 120 minutes and I was going to head elsewhere when I remembered your single rider line tip. I checked with the cast member at the Fastpass entrance and he handed me a single rider pass and informed to go to the exit of the ride. I went in and there were only 4 other single riders in front of me. I waited no more than 5 minutes. It was so fantastic I did it a second time.

Thanks to you, I avoided missing out on a personal favorite attraction that I otherwise would not have known about.

Thanks again.

Don.

Hi Don!

You made my morning. I'm so glad that you were able to enjoy a short wait—twice—for Splash (in the summer the line is beyond ridiculous). Three days at the resort sounds like a wonderful vacation and I'm glad you had a great time!


Send your thoughts, questions, or comments for Shoshana here.
Feedback for Mike Scopa

Kenny writes:

I'm interested in purchasing meal voucher tickets for walt disney world. i was wondering if you had any idea were to purchase these tickets? if so, would you be kind enough to pass on this information. Thank you, kenny

Hi Kenny,

The most popular vouchers these days are the “Quick and Casual” vouchers.

These can be used at counter service restaurants and include a full meal plus tax and tip (if applicable).

The prices are $17.50 for these vouchers.

You can get these vouchers at Florida Orlando Tickets. For more info go to their Web site.

I do not recommend the use of these vouchers unless you do research and know how best to make use of them. You may not save as much money as you think.

You possibly could save money on the Character Breakfast vouchers but not that much. For info on these vouchers go to their character dining page.

There are other sources for these vouchers but they may be higher priced and come with a membership fee requirement.

If you are really interested in trying out these vouchers, please consider going to Florida Orlando Tickets. By the way neither myself nor MousePlanet is compensated by them… I just know that I have yet to hear a complaint about them.

Good luck and please let me know how things pan out.

Mike


Send your thoughts, questions, or comments for Mike here.
Feedback for MousePlanet

Lynne Brochu writes:

Hello,

I was curious if you would know where I can find a a list of when Disney plans to re-release videos? I having been waiting for several years for the The Jungle Book to come out again since our copy got destroyed.

Thanks!

Lynne Brochu

Hi Lynne;

I believe The Jungle Book is getting a nice Platinum Edition makeover, and the word I've heard is that they might be reissuing it in 2006 or so.

Hope that helps.

– Lani


We reported in an earlier Park Update: Disneyland about Disneyland's “Happiest Faces on Earth” photo submission project. Sue Flores writes:

The paper says to go to address at subject above, but when I do I can't find any information about sending in photos for your amazing photo collages. Please advise. Sue

Hi Sue - Make sure when you go to disneyland.com/photos that you click on the “Skip Intro” link at the Web site. It will then take you to the main information page. From there, you can click on the blue “Start Here” button for the actual submission process.

Thanks for writing!

– Lani


Send your thoughts, questions, or comments to our mailbag here.

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