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MousePlanet Mailbag for Thursday, October 28, 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 Shoshana Lewin

Shoshana's four-part series on “Working for the Mouse” (read parts 1, 2, 3, and 4) received a number of comments and queries from our readers. Linda Miller writes:

Read your article, and I've been looking for professional positions open at Team Disney Anaheim [Disneyland's corporate office] but haven't been able to find any kind of website. Is this also something that I just need to go down in person and fill out an application?

Hi Linda – Unfortunately, the professional process is not as easy as the hourly one. Your best bet is to go to Disneycareers.com. and click on “job search” and see what is open in the areas you want to work. For jobs at TDA, you need to submit a resume and sometimes a cover letter. If they are interested, they will contact you. If you send it via e-mail, you will get a confirmation e-mail. If you send it by fax or mail, you will get a postcard. Even if they don't hire you for what you applied for, they do keep your resume on file.


William Shandling writes:

Shoshana,

Once again you've picked a very interesting and informative topic to write about. I have found myself particularly involved with this series and can't wait for the next installment. It makes me want to apply for a job an Disneyland right now, even though I am still a senior in HS in the Valley.

Keep up the great work.

Thank you William!

I'm glad you are enjoying it. I hope it helps all who are applying or want to apply in the future. Stay in school—a degree is always a good thing.

When you get to college, you can look into the WDW College Program (which will be discussed in a upcoming column).


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

Even as Hurricane Frances was bearing down on Florida, people were riveted in reading Mike's first-hand account of his stay at Walt Disney World during Hurrican Charley in “Charley, the Mouse, and Me” (parts 1 and 2).

Leslie Meister writes:

Mike,

Thoroughly enjoyed your telling of the tale. That sounds tacky, but hopefully, you know what I mean. I couldn't tear myself away from the boards and the TV coverage for Charley (and not just because we had a trip from the 21st to the 28th!) and now, for Frances. Can't wait to read your first-hand observations in the next segment—we don't have to wait long, I hope !

BTW, always enjoy your columns and your “take” on things.

Hi Leslie – Thank you for the kind words. I think it's human nature to be glued to something like television reports of hurricanes and other disasters. It was quite an interesting experience for me to see first-hand how Floridians and WDW handle hurricanes.

Thanks for the note.


Michelle writes:

Dear Mr. Scopa,

This first entry of your account of Hurricane Charley is riviting to say the least. You should be writer as I honestly felt as though I was there. I know it sounds a bit sappy, however I welled up at the thought of those who had to endure this and now have had to deal with Frances. I ( thank the heavenly Lord above) have never had to go through such a situation only the occasional earthquake. I thank you for your provided information to the relief fund that had been created.

My question is this...

With this fund that Disney had created for its cast members, will it also be available for them through the tragedy of Hurricane Frances?

I hope so because it would seem the least that I could to do help repay them for the wonderful honeymoon they had helped provide magic for!

Thank you once again and have a wonderful day!

Hi Michelle – My guess is that the Hurricane Charley relief fund will also cover those cast members who were hit hard by Frances as well.

Thanks for the note.


Tate Calvert writes:

Where can one buy your book “Scoping the Parks,” and I really like the inside info on Walt Disney World. Attendance numbers, employees, how often the lamp post are painted, what all is found at the bottom of rides, etc. You know the unusual trivia! lol Have any good suggestions as to where to find this information?

Hi Tate – I'm sorry to say that you cannot buy my book because there isn't one, although the thought has crossed my mind. If you are looking for some WDW trivia I would point you to Disney World Trivia (link) where you would get a jump start into the world of interesting facts and figures on Walt Disney World. And as far as a book goes.....hmm.

Thanks for the note.


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

Amanda writes:

I hate to bother you, but I noticed that you may be participating/have participated in the WDW Marathon in January. Could you give me some idea of what to expect crowd-wise? We really enjoy the slow season. What other time of the year would you compare that weekend/week to? A May visit? Spring Break? Do most of the particiapants spend most time at the Sports Complex? I have no idea and am currently trying to decide when to plan our next trip. We have visited in the latter part of January before, but it was during a cheer/dance competition and I'd rather not repeat that.

If you haven't had a chance, you might want to go take a look at the article I wrote about the marathon experience. You can find it here: Hopefully that'll give you an idea of what it's like.

If you're trying to avoid crowds during that time, keep in mind that the reason they have the marathon then is because it's one of the slowest times of the year. The marathon will bring an additional 30,000 participants plus family, but that should still make very little impact in the big picture... especially on Sunday, when everyone will be doing the actual event.

It appears they do the cheerleading thing about the same time, so that's something to keep in mind. If you avoid the value resorts, though, you should be OK; it appears that's where they are housed.

Does that help?

Amanda wrote back:

Thanks for the quick response. I will have to discuss the options with my husband. One other quick question...Would you speculate that most participants just come for the event and then return home? Or do you think they stay for a week's vacation? The week proceeding the run or after?

Good question! There will be a fair number of people from either the local Florida area or the general Southeast region, who drive in on Saturday, and depart late Sunday or Monday. Many others come to the event with their family and make a vacation of it. That said, I think most people (at least the experienced ones) will choose to arrive close to the event... perhaps Friday or so, rather than show up early.

This is because of a couple of theories:

1: Both the marathon and half-marathon require “tapering off” of hard exercise building up to the event. They will probably not want to arrive early and have to walk around all day and tire out their feet before the event.

2: Those who run the event will be pretty tired, and will probably not want to have to fly home right away if they can spare the extra few days for vacationing.

I don't know what the parks are like the week building up to the marathon. That's because I don't want to have to walk around all day and tire my legs when I should be resting. Those I've spoken to who have vacationed and visited the parks beforehand, though, have all told me without exception that they wished they rested instead (as I do).

I see quite a few marathon participants on the Monday and Tuesday after the event. I know, because they are usually wearing their finisher's medals around their necks. [One lady asked me where I could buy my 'pin lanyard' with the Mickey medal on it!] That's generally an encouraged thing, not only because they earned it, but because the cast members are wonderful to recognize the achievement. You will also see quite a few folks wearing finisher's T-shirts as well. That said, I don't know that there were enough of them to make the parks seem overcrowded.

In all honesty, the only time you'll feel the impact is if you decide to visit Epcot in the morning and early afternoon on Sunday. The marathon route goes through World Showcase and through the center of Future World (past Spaceship Earth) and they rope the route off, so it's a bit of a disruption—especially before noon—when you can't cross the path willy nilly. Let me tell you... by the time the participants have run 25 miles, they do not want to trip over a stroller pushed by an inattentive park-goer.

Other parks also have routes marked off, but by the time the park-goers start showing up, the only other park that you might notice an impact is Animal Kingdom, since the route goes through the major walkways.

In my opinion, I think it might be fun if you join the crowd in cheering people on. You'll have the run of all the parks after the official cut-off time in the early afternoon, anyway. In the meantime, consider plopping yourself onto a spot along the walkway in World Showcase or other route locations. We'll try to publish the key spectator viewing spots in our Park Update: WDW column as it gets closer to the event.


Bill writes:

Help! We are taking our kids to Disneyland for two days (2 parks) Oct 14, 2004, and need a hotel for 1 night. We really wanted to stay at the Grand Californian, but they are sold out. In fact, all 3 Disney resorts are sold out. I've reserved two rooms at the Marriott as a standby, but they're not terribly “kid friendly.” The kids range in age from 10 months to 12 yrs old, so some of the younger ones may need naps, which is why we wanted to be on property. Any suggestions in getting in to a “sold out” hotel or a good property nearby?

Hi Bill – October 14 is a Thursday, so I'm really surprised that all three hotels are booked.

If you are OK with a smaller motel format, there are a good cluster of them across the street from the pedestrian entrance of the resort, on Harbor Boulevard.

They include: Best Western Park Place Inn & Suites (which we try to stay in because they are the closest), Park Vue Inn, Anaheim Desert Inn & Suites, Best Western Anaheim Inn, and the Tropicana Inn & Suites.

I suggest you go to the Anaheim Visitor Industry Web site's map page (link) and take a look at their area hotel map (they are in PDF format so you can print them out) to find out their exact locations. If you are a AAA member, you might consider having them find a room for you in one of those neighboring inns. While they're at it, they might be able to even find room for you in one of the on-property resorts, even if they show as being sold out to the general public.

Good luck, and have a wonderful trip!


Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact us at the Lani here.
Feedback for Mark Goldhaber

Jim writes:

Hi. Is it true that all parts, models, etc., related to the Horizons ride have been destroyed? It would be such a wasteful shame.

Hi Jim – Back in June 2001, Disney's Web site said:

While the Horizons building may be going away, you can look for more than 1,000 props and other show elements from the pavilion to appear in other attractions worldwide, from Walt Disney World Resort to Tokyo DisneySea,” says Mike Lentz, director of attractions development for WDI. “Much of the building itself will be recycled following the demolitions process, which will take place over the next five months."

I'm not sure if they followed through on it, though a Hovercraft part was seen at Backlot Express at the Studios. I'm pretty certain that parts of the attraction went home with Imagineers and other folks, as well.

That's the best info that I can give you.


Ellen writes:

Hi, Mark! Not sure if you'll remember me... we met at the Biergarten in late April (or maybe early May) at Epcot, and you gave my husband a line pass for Test Track. Just wanted to let you know we had a great time the rest of our trip (though Test Track broke down before Buck could get on it—but they were nice enough to let our son ride with him and they did finally get on after a 30 minute wait). We had such a great time we are using our annual passes one more time and going one more time. This time we're planning to stay at Caribbean Beach and planning not to use the bus system anywhere but Magic Kingdom.

Anyway, hope you had a great 40th birthday. I enjoyed reading your series on the building of WDW.

Hi Ellen – I was actually just talking about you folks to someone. We were discussing sharing the Magic, and I mentioned how you had had problems with the child swap at Test Track with Buck being unable to ride, and we just happened to have that extra reride pass (that had been passed along by another reader). It was a very easy decision to pass it along so that Buck could get another shot at riding. I'm glad that he finally got on, despite the ride shut-down.

My birthday trip was really great. I got to do a number of things that we usually skip when we have kids with us, and it was fun to have a “guys' weekend.” Of course, I also love going with my wife and son when possible.

I'm glad you're enjoying the History of the World series. I've taken a little time off to cover some other topics, but the series should continue again at the end of October or mid-November after the other stories have run.

Thanks for checking in, say “hi” to Buck and the kids, and enjoy your trip!


On Mark's Business of Magic article, “Lame Duck,” about Michael Eisner (link), Owen writes:

Mark,

I really like your dark horse pick to be CEO! I only hope something like that happens. Great article!

Thanks, Owen! While I think that it's got a good outlook to it, it remains to be seen what the Board thinks, since that's whose opinion matters. We'll just have to wait and see, and handicap it from the sidelines.

Thanks for writing!


Daniel Rose writes:

Hi Mark. I have a few questions.

1. Why would Eisner take the time to pen his resignation now, with still 24 months remaining ? Is this not opening the door for the Disney Corp to pay his contract out early and move on to the “new times of Disney"?

2. With your list of candidates for the new CEO, I'm surprised that Steve Jobs is listed. He is in the same position that Eisner was many years ago - he is the prodigal son of the company he works for (Eisner wasn't really Mr Popular at Coke - see the book “I'd like the world to buy a coke” [link] - for more information) and Jobs will never be the most admired man at Apple. Hasn't Disney learned its lessons?

Just a few comments.

P.S. I love your History Of The World column and can't wait for part 8.

Hi Daniel,

1. There are a couple of possibilities here. The first one is that Eisner figured that he could still control the board, and that he'd convince them to not replace him until his contract ran out. By announcing early, he would take whatever wind remained out of the sails of the movement to replace him, since many people would hear that he was leaving and not push for him to leave sooner. The other one is that he saw the handwriting on the wall, that the board was going to do something to replace him, and wanted to put his spin on it.

If they replace him in June (or next fall, after a transition), it's now because they were trying to complete a smooth transition, rather than kicking him out. Either way, as long as he lasts through the end of this fiscal year, he'll get a huge bonus based on the stock's gain during the fiscal year, which will bump up his kiss-off bonuses. I wonder if that came into play in the decision to change the bonus formula.

2. Jobs is listed simply because the handicappers in the major media consider him to be a viable candidate. In many analyses, Jobs is one of the top candidates. Also, the Save Disney forces have also come out saying that Jobs would be on their short list of people that they'd like to see running the company. Personally, I'd rather see John Lasseter than Jobs, as he's a better creative storyteller, though Jobs is strong in the “visionary” area. My biggest concern about Jobs is the ego factor. Disney needs someone who understands the business, knows what “Disney” means to people, and is willing to put the company's good above their own. It's the third one on which I have the biggest concern about Jobs.

Interesting questions!

Oh, and the next History column won't be until late October or early November. I've got a great two-parter coming before that on an attraction that was designed for the legendary Beastlie Kingdomme land that was originally intended to be built at Animal Kingdom.

Thanks for writing.

Mark


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

Liz Willis writes:

I literally can't wait for your 50th anniversary celebration. I was actually hoping it was going to be earlier. My 50th birthday is March 29th. My daughter's have teased my for years because they knew Disneyland opened in May 1955 that means their mother is older than Disneyland and since we all know God must have created the “Happiest Place on Earth” on the eighth day that is pretty old. I have celebrated my 25th and 40th birthday's with my daughter's in Disneyland and this year I will be with my daughter's, grandaughter's and of course our wonderful husband's. We all are making plan's to just be happy together at a celebration that will be over the top.


Joshua Atkinson writes:

Regardless of the recent accidents with Thunder Mountain it is still one of the top three rides at any of the Disney parks. I would be very disappointed if Disney decided to close the ride pemanently as they have with other rides in the past that have caused injuries. I grew up in southern California and held a annual pass to Disneyland. I have been living in Texas for the past 10 years, but still vacation in California and visit the Disney Parks. I have another vacation planned for June 2005 and hope the ride is open. Me and my wife will ride Thunder Mountain several times during our trip to Disneyland as long as the other cry babies of the world dont get it shut down first. If your afraid to ride it dont get in line. It will make my wait that much shorter.


Melinda writes:

Hello all at MousePlanet!

As a long time devoted reader of your site's wonderful news updates, I just know you'll have the answer I'm looking for about Disneyland tickets. My family has planned to visit Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure in June of '05 for the 50th anniversary (its going to be a madhouse, I'm sure, but thats the only time all our “schedules” allow us to make the trip).

I'm wondering, if due to the heavy price tag on this vacation, we could purchase our tickets in advance, one at a time. I'm sure if I called to ask Guest Services at the park, they wouldn't encourage that, but if it is easier for our pocketbooks, we'd be very much inclined to do so. Our concern is that prices or other elements of the ticket's actual appearance/system will change in the meantime before our trip, and then those we have purchased will be null and void. What do you think the best route is to take on this matter, and can you give us any more 50th trip advice?

Thanks so much!

Hi Melinda – As long as you purchase regular tickets that do not have expiration dates, you will have no trouble purchasing them now. In fact, by doing so, you will be able to get into the park for the price you paid for your ticket today, in case they increase admission prices next year. That is, they will not make you pay the difference when you get there. It doesn't matter if the ticket gets a different look for next year; what matters is that the ticket you buy today will still get you in through the gate.

Do be aware, however, that there are occasionally special promotion tickets that have expiration dates on them. Disneyland was offering a few of those this summer. But if you were to go to a Disney Store or AAA office (or any travel agent) to obtain your tickets now, you can just tuck them in a safe place and use them next year.

– Lani


Shawna writes:

Dear Mouse Planet.

My Husband and I have already got our Disneyland tickets. Our vacation is from July 15-22, 2005. I'm so excited.

You might consider adding to your Web page that package plans are selling out fast. Usually you cannot buy until November 1st. Not the case for Summer 2005, we booked this past August. We wanted to stay at the Grand Californian, nuy it's booked for the Anniversary week.

So you were saying prices might go up, they have. 7 nights 8 days at the Paradise Pier Hotel and two annual passports is $2,800. We also have a day at Universal Studios and the San Diego Zoo. So say Disneyland is $2,700 without the other two parks. I really liked your Webpage; it was informative. Thank you.

P.S. My travel agent spoke with someone at Disney Travel and she mentioned to get to the park early on July 17, that the park will reach it's limit. They will not let you back in if you leave, and it's at it's limit. Not sure of numbers they will not say.

Hi Shawna – Thanks for taking the time to write! You must be very excited and looking forward to visiting Disneyland for its 50th anniversary. You're quite right that Disney started taking reservations earlier than usual. I suspect many accommodations are selling out quickly for that time period.

You are also right about the park closing its gate to new attendees on extremely busy days. Although it doesn't happen too often, some holidays and special events add so many folks through the turnstile that they shut the gates to all but those who are staying on-property. So you were smart to stay at the Paradise Pier Hotel; you will be ensured admission into the park even after they start turning people away midday.

Have a wonderful trip!

– Lani


Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact us at the Mailbag here.

GENERAL QUESTIONS

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.

VOICE YOUR OPINION

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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.

PREVIOUS MAILBAGS

2005

• January: 6, 13, 20, 27
• February: 3, 10, 17
• March: 10, 17, 31
• April: 14, 21, 28
• May: 26
• June: 2, 9, 30
• July: 7, 28
• August: 4, 11, 18, 25
• September: 4, 15, 22, 29
• October: 1327

2004

• 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, 30
• October: 14, 21, 28
• November: 4, 18
• December: 2, 9

2003

• November: 13
• September: 4, 18
• August: 21, 28
• July: 10, 17, 24, 31
• June: 12
• May: 22, 29
• April: 10, 24
• March: 6, 13, 27
• February: 13, 20
• January: 9, 16, 30

2002

• December: 5, 12, 19

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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 www.disney.com. 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.