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MousePlanet Mailbag for Thursday, September 30, 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 Mike Scopa

Mark Naka writes:

I'm thinking about going to Walt Disney World in late November or December. How is the weather and the crowds?

Hi Mark – I think the safe bet is to expect temperatures to range from the mid-50s to the mid-70s from late November to early December.

Now having said, that I can also tell you that I have been in Orlando in December and have seen within the same week an 80-degree day and a 50-degree day.

December is probably the driest month for Orlando.

As far as crowds go, there are three levels of crowds to contend with in December. The first week of December may be the lightest week for crowds. This is the post Thanksgiving crowd. Thanksgiving week is usually pretty crowded but the week following Turkey Day should be fine.

The crowd level goes up a notch on either the second or third week of December because of the traditional Mousefest gathering. This annual event will attract enough people to make for a difference in crowds from the first week of the month… but the crowd level is still quite manageable.

The week of Christmas will see some of the highest crowd levels of the year. This week is matched by Easter week, July 4th week, and Thanksgiving week. If you've always wanted to imagine what it's like to be a sardine than this is the week for you.

This year I would recommend visiting Orlando the week of November 28th or the week of December 6th. Both weeks should offer good crowd levels and decent weather. The second week will be more crowded than the first one.

One more thing. You should take note that Friday and Saturday evenings in December bring lots of people to Epcot for the Candlelight Processional. There are many locals who will visit Epcot on these nights to also dine in one of the restaurants.

My point here is to give you a heads up if you are looking to dine in Epcot on one of those nights. If so, think seriously about where and when you would like to eat and make your Priority Seating arrangements as soon as possible. I know I am.

Sara writes:

What are the parks like the last two weeks of December? How crowded does it really get? and for somewhat who doesn't like crowds but loves WDW and Christmas is it going to outweigh the crowds? I have group of 11 coming.

Hi Sara – The week of Christmas is very crowded. Remember that schools are out which means more potential guests for WDW. Some companies close down for the week of Christmas as well. Put these two together and you can see why Christmas week is one of the busiest weeks of the year.

The week following Christmas should not be as crowded but still has the potential to make for long lines.

However, like any other busy time of the year, if you plan accordingly you may find ways around the crowds. Of course staying on resort property will help with early entry days. The key word here is early.

Also, realizing that long lines may be the order of the day by high noon, you should plan on visiting your favorite attractions well before midday.

I would also encourage you to make use of any Fastpass attractions that fall into your plans as well as plan as far ahead regarding your meals.

The Christmas decorations and holiday theme will go a long way towards helping you tolerate the crowds. Many guests actually put aside their attraction plans at night in the parks and just try to enjoy the holiday lighting and nighttime spectaculars.

I strongly suggest you consider taking in a Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at The Magic Kingdom, attend the Candlelight Processional at Epcot, and take a stroll down the Streets of America to see the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights in Disney-MGM Studios.

Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact us at the Mike here.
Feedback for MousePlanet

Rosie De Coito writes:

Someone sent me an e-mail where we might e-mail photos into Disneyland for an archival collage there. I have several but misplaced the e-mail Where may I e-mail it to please?

Hi Rosie;

No problem! We reported about this project in our Park Update the other week. In it, we said that you could submit it in one of three ways:

- Via e-mail through;

- In person at drop boxes located around the Disneyland Resort (including one at City Hall)

- Photo imagery can also be sent via the following mailing options:

U.S. Postal Service:
Happiest Faces on Earth
PO Box 30464
Salt Lake City, Utah 84130-0464


Happiest Faces on Earth
c/o Data Services Direct
2481 S. 1560 West
Woods Cross, Utah 84087

There's more info in that URL I sent you from our park update. Hope that helps!

– Lani

We reported earlier this summer when the first case of West Nile Virus appeared in Anaheim. MousePlanet friend Steven Ng writes:


I'm using Repel Sun & Bug. It's DEET and SPF 15 Sun Block. I found it at REI. It's listed on their web site for $4.95. I've used it twice and so far, haven't had any bug problems. Users are highly encouraged to read the instructions—Keep away from eyes and mouth. When I applied it to my face, I kept it away from my mouth, but was still able to taste it. It's pretty nasty. I showered it off that evening and some of the water got into my eye and it does sting.

If applied in the morning before going into the park, reapplication is not necessary. However, users should reapply plain sunscreen as necessary.

From my Basic Mountaineering Training Class, years ago, if you use bug repellent and sunscreen separately, you apply the repellent first, then apply sunscreen over the repellent. Sunscreen is reapplied as necessary throughout the day.

I hope that helps.

Tom Moore writes:

I was just looking through the information on the trip planner portion of the site and it appears that a lot of the information out of date. For example: The schedule of events is for 2003. The packages listed are no longer available or have changed names. Just thought you should know.

Hi Tom – Thanks for taking the time to write! Yes, we have been aware that parts of our site need updating. It's tough to do a daily publish site with a small team when the resorts keep insisting on changing their information. How dare they!

Suffice it to say, we're well aware of it, and we're hoping to slowly remedy the situation over time. In the meantime, you can be assured that our Disneyland and Walt Disney World park updates (link), published every week, are current.

Thanks again!

– Lani

Joyce Edmonds writes:

I have read the book, The Man Behind the Myth and enjoyed it very much. I have been a Disney fan for many years, Disney World a splendid place to visit. Is there an address of Mrs. Diane Disney Miller that can be given so she can receive mail? I would like to be able to write to her, thank you.

Hi Joyce – Our best guess for an address for Mrs. Miller is at the Silverado Winery up in Napa Valley, which she and her husband own:

Silverado Vineyards
6121 Silverado Trail
Napa, California 94558

Hope that helps!

– Lani

Patrick N. writes:

As a former character, and a guy who's played Tigger, I was astonished at the recent case of the cast member accused of groping two park guests. I'm so glad that at the trial, the jurors got the chance to see that even if someone attempted to fondle someone, the Tigger paws gave no sensation at all. And moreover, those same paws made it very difficult to know just what one was touching.

I can attest that many times in Br'er Bear, I had teenage girls trying to pull my hand over their breast! I can only figure they thought it would be "cool" to get a picture taken like that, but I wasn't going to allow that to happen, and kept pulling my hand away. Sometimes I had to hold my arms rigidly at my side to prevent this from happening!

Yes, characters are people, but please! This is not something you try to do in a heavy, hot costume, where you have so little vision that you can't easily distinguish Pamela Anderson from Barbara Bush! And add to the fact that you know you have dozens of cameras surrounding you, attempting to grope someone would be idiocy. And don't forget—you can't feel anything that well anyway! Try on a pair of the Mickey gloves that are sold in the park, and then try to grab someone, and see if you get any satisfaction out of it.

I found the video that supposedly showed Tigger "grabbing a woman's breast" at a Meet & Greet. That video shows nothing of the kind. It shows Tigger putting his (or her—it might be a woman in the costume) paw just below the woman's arm, but only at the side. You can not see Tigger reaching around to the front of her in that video—this is not evidence of anything. Tigger may have seen this woman about to fall over, and was trying to help her upright, or Tigger may have suddenly turned, not seen this woman, and was trying to avoid tripping over her (in Br'er Bear, a three-foot-tall child could stand right in front of me, and I couldn't see the child at all!).

Additionally, characters go through a rigorous test to be able to get into that costume. It's two days long, and includes a number of animation, flexibility, endurance, and improv tests. Then the character-hopefuls are interviewed and screened for their reasons for wanting to be a character. Very few make the cut and those that do are very professional performers.

So—characters go through a lot just to become characters; they are in tight, hot, constrictive costumes that allow very little sensitivity and less vision and so are unable to tell a "hottie" from a "nottie" when in costume; they are surrounded by many cameras, guests, video recorders, and other cast member and as such would be idiots to try and grope someone; they are often unable to know where they're 'mitts' are when hugging someone for a picture; and they meet thousands of park guests every day!

Oh—and you often have guests trying to grope you as a character, or trying to get you to 'grope' them for the camera - do I smell entrapment here or what?

Hi Patrick – I totally believe you with regard to the difficulty cast members have in being able to differentiate much when wearing the costumes. I once worked for an oceanarium that had a couple of costume characters—and 30 minutes in those things and our staff were bushed! I am always so impressed at how much emotion they can communicate through the outfits, and I have the utmost respect for them.

I'm glad that the jury agreed with the defense and returned with a not-guilty verdict so quickly.

Thanks for taking the time to write and share your thoughts.

– Lani

Tim Wolfers writes:

"If the ride is down, go find another one that is up and running; it's not like there's a shortage of rides at Disneyland "

I found the above quote in your recent reader mailbag, concerning the Big Thunder problem. The truth is, there is a serious shortage of attractions at Disneyland. Adding to the rehab schedule, an unexpected shuttering of a very popular attraction, can only compound the disappointment of park goers. I had planned on going next year, but a trip to Yellowstone or Colorado is looking much more likely. I have put any thought of a Disney trip on the way back burner, until they can get things back to where they were in the productive years.

Hi Tim – That rehab list for Disneyland sure is getting long, isn't it? I think you are probably being wise to wait to visit the park until they're done with getting everything ready for the 50th anniversary next year.

Thanks for taking the time to write.

– Lani

Kelsie writes:

Big Thunder had a couple of accidents, big deal! I know some people got hurt & killed, but how many times does that happen at Disneyland? I will still go to Disneyland 2 or 3 times a year, & still ride Big Thunder over & over again & still fell safe on Big Thunder. I love Disneyland! Good luck!

PS: Do think Big Thunder will be taken out of Disneyland park?

Hi Kelsie – I would certainly hope not! It's a wonderful little ride. I hope they can figure out what's causing all the problems, and fix it for good. While the risk of getting hurt on Big Thunder is minuscule (lower than most accident stats, such as being hit by lightening or getting bitten by a shark), something is not right when they have three incidents in 10 months.

Thanks for taking the time to write!

Adventure Frontier Cast Member writes:

This is a very sensitive subject for most of the cast members who work this attraction, and for the rest of my business unit. Before posting, next time, please make sure you have all of your facts right.

Hi JungleCruiseQT – Thank you very much for taking the time to write. Our thoughts are with the CMs at Disneyland, especially those on the front lines who have to work with the park guests during times of difficulty such as the most recent incident at Big Thunder.

We do try to be as thorough with our research as possible, but as with most breaking news we often find that it takes time for the truth to come out.

Was there anything specific that you believe we reported inaccurately? That would help greatly.

– Lani

Annie B writes:

I know that three accidents is too much but we shouldn't blame anyone yet. We still don't know if anyone is at fault for the latest. All I know is I would ride Big Thunder no matter what. I've been going to Disneyland for years and even when Space Mountain kept breaking down no one said "get rid of it". It's just a case of a park being neglected for a long time. Hopefully they've learned from their mistakes and will no longer let these rides go to ruins.

All I know for sure is why take away a ride from the next generations unless it truly is irreparable, and there is no evidence of that. I will continue to ride Big Thunder until I no longer can. This ride is responsible for some of my best memories and I couldn't bear to see it go.

Nicole writes:

if you think that Big Thunder was a bad accident lately, just because the trains bumped… that isn't bad… do you complain when the boats hit each other while on Pirates of the Caribbean or on it's a small world or on Splash Mountain? I don't think so. All you people are reading into this accident way too much. It was only a bump… a bump only… I am a cast member here at the resort and I have a friend who was there at the accident and said it was nothing, and they only bumped like on Pirates or Splash Mountain… so all you people get your facts straight and stop blaming people who have nothing to do with the accident!

[I saw Dale Earnhardt's accident footage repeatedly, and still couldn't believe what looked like such a light bump could cause the race driver's death. I am in no way comparing the two, but I suspect those who were on the moving train might argue about how mild the "bump" was, considering some sought medical treatment. Bump or slam, the accident should still have not happened. Let's hope it doesn't happen again. – Lani]

it doesn't matter to you writes:

I know this is coming a little late but I think you need to get your facts straight about things before you print them. Yes, I work Thunder.

Yes, I was there the day of the recent accident and I know the ride well enough to know human error could not make the track switch go the wrong way, even at that when something like that does happen the computer is supposed stop the train before it gets to the station as you know that didn't happen.

Second the train numbers you gave were completely wrong considering there is no Train #2! there hasn't been since the accident in September and they won't bring it back. And as cast member we are really fed up with the death jokes—they're not funny. Especially the parents who are too scared to ask themselves and send their little kid up to ask for them.

As for going to Magic Mountain over Disneyland, hmm let's think about that one. They kill someone on accident all the time but it doesn't get publicized like we do, and then they open that attraction back up like a few days later. Hmm, safe. We have had 2 accidents that we are at fault for in 49 years. That is an impressive record.

["it doesn't matter to you" didn't provide any fatality or accident statistics for Magic Mountain, so we can't support or refute his charge. Although there are occasional accidents in theme parks, however, I believe most park fatalities usually become a news headline, regardless of the park. And I haven't heard of any fatalities at Magic Mountain; have you? Certainly I am certain that his accusation of it happening "all the time" is patently false. And while IDMTY may be correct regarding the 49-year safety record, those who are concerned would point out that the two accidents occurred within a year of each other. – Lani]

Speaking of Magic Mountain, Scott writes:

Disneyland has some serious issues to take care of (as if all of us did not know), I watch the events at Disneyland closely as I work in ride maintenence for Magic. We don't have the kind of problems they have had with their rides, nor do we have the injury rate. We are structured differently. Maintenence works closely with Ops to ensure proper function, mech. and elect., and above all safety. Disney has provided a learning experience for all of our mechanics and electricians. They have helped us to provide our guests with a safer product. After all, roller coasters don't inspect or repair themselves. Sometimes I wonder if anyone knows what they are doing or if it is being done at all at Disneyland.

Vincent Randall writes:

A few readers are sick and tired of the negative emails about BTM "bump", yelling at Cast Members, etc.

Am I sick and tired? You bet I am. I am sick and tired of wondering if anyone in a position of importance within the Walt Disney Company is even aware that Tomorrowland should be renamed Deadland; DCA is a joke; and the overall continuity of the company is in the toilet. Speaking of which, (and this is not hearsay), while I was in a men's facility at DCA, a janitorial CM used the "F" word in full voice, in front of children.

Concerned guests who cherish and love Disney, do not want to complain over and over about what can be deemed a minor problem. It's time consuming, and makes digestion difficult. For me, I feel that until someone at TDA actually wakes up and realizes the serious problems, I am going to continue my "alarm clock" ways.

B. Fountain writes:

People whine and cry that they don't want Big Thunder closed or torn down and that they will still ride it even though it is unsafe. What a very intelligent thing to say. What about the other side? What about the parents and kids who will not get back on BT unless they are sure it is safe to ride again and who are not impatient like the roller coaster nuts. What is wrong with making sure that the ride is safe and not wanting Disney to open it too soon again? Disney should rush it so we can have accident number 4? Where are you hiding the wait till it's safe again letters? And that guy in your emails who is ready to clock someone is himself a horse's butt! You don't solve anything with violence even if it is against a rude guest. Just my opinion.

D. Proctor writes:

As a longtime reader of MousePlanet, I would just like to say that, IMHO, the Mail Bag was much more useful (and enjoyable) when people would write in asking questions to try and gather information for an upcoming trip and offer constructive information/suggestions instead of being nothing but editorial comments and arguments between staff and readers debating the goodness or badness of Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Who wants to read article after article of nothing but people bickering over who's right and who's wrong. If you are unhappy with the way Disney is run, if you don't like the cleanliness of the parks, if you are worried about the safety of the attractions, if you are unhappy with the upkeep and maintenance of the parks, etc., etc., etc., then don't go. It's that simple people!

[BTW: Maybe you could change the MailBag back to the way it used to be (in the good old days when Brian Bennett was there and create message boards or a chat room for this other garbage.]

Hi D. – We print 'em as we get 'em. What gets printed in our Mailbag is usually a mishmash of various topics, but overall the feedback tends to reflect a combination of what we cover, as well as what our readers perceive as happening with Disney.

You mentioned the way Brian used to manage the mailbag. One big change since then is that we now have an active discussion board (MousePad), where people can get immediate feedback from a community of members. When we do get questions that we think are of interest to our general readership, however, we do still publish them.

You might want to look through some of our past mailbags for such examples.

Thanks for taking the time to write!

– Lani

Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact us at the Mailbag 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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MousePlanet® is not associated in any official way with the Walt Disney Company, its subsidiaries, or its affiliates. The official Disney site is available at This MousePlanet Web site provides independent news articles, commentary, editorials, reviews, and guides primarily about the theme park resorts of the Walt Disney Co. All information on this site is subject to change. Please call destinations in advance to confirm the most up-to-date information.