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MousePlanet Mailbag for December 2, 2004

We receive considerable feedback regarding our site. Although we cannot publish them all, the following may be of interest to our readers. Today, writer and editor Mark Goldhaber pores over all the various e-mail he's received about his many articles.

Feedback for Mark Goldhaber

Darren writes:

Hello Mark. Just two questions:

1. Is Brian Bennett still part of the MousePlanet staff?

2. When are you posting another one of your excellent Trip Reports?

Hi Darren,

1. Yes, Brian is still considered adjunct staff. He contributes photos and the occasional article.

2. I'm not sure when I'll have time to put up another report. Between my weekly Walt Disney World Park Update schedule and my World View schedule (not to mention Real Life), it's been hard to write them up. I keep trying to find time, but I think that the best that I'll be able to do in the next few months will be to write up an article about MouseFest. Will you be there?


Chris writes:

I was wondering if there is a need for positions to fill over the summer months and if so, what those jobs would be/entail?

Hi Chris – If you're asking about MousePlanet, we generally do not have any summer openings. If you're asking about Walt Disney World, I'd recommend checking out Disney's careers Web site (link) for more information.


Stan Schwarz writes:

Just a question. What does Disney plan to replace “Wonders of Life” at Epcot with? Let us know.

Hi Stan – At this point, there are no solid plans to replace Wonders of Life with anything. That's another sad part of the story. There are, of course, rumors; however, nothing is greenlighted yet. Of course, the pavilion is running daily, for cast member events, conventions and plant care. Go figure.


Vivian Henderson writes:

I have heard a rumor and am trying to confirm or debunk, that in the search for a location for Disney World, Disney opened negotiations with a group from Louisiana to aquire a location north of Lake Pontchartrain, and that the legendary crooked politics of Louisiana drove him away.

Have you ever come across anything related to that subject?

Hi Vivian – You're not the first to ask me about this particular rumor. However, I haven't come across anything documenting a foray into Louisiana by Walt Disney. Louisiana may have been one of the spots that one of his scouts had looked at, but I haven't seen any documentation of formal negotiations. That doesn't mean that it didn't happen or that there is no such documentation, just that I haven't seen any.


Paul Martens writes:

Lots of talk about a master blaster for the new Typhoon Lagoon attraction, but looking at the tubes themselves, I honestly don't see any special slides.

For pictures of what I'm talking about: Photo album #1 and #2.

Hi Paul – Nice pics. I've enjoyed the stuff that you've posted over at WDWMagic.

I'm not sure that a Master Blaster slide would require any special track. From their home page, it looks like they have enclosed tubes and open slides with a protective netting to keep riders from trying to jump out. There are probably a few special pieces of track to allow for the water blasters to push the riders along, but they'll probably be a small fraction of the overall track. I can't wait to see what kind of progress they make before I get down there for MouseFest (which incidentally is the weekend that Blizzard Beach will open back up and Typhoon Lagoon will begin its own seasonal close, which should allow the pace of construction to increase).


Daniel Paci writes:

I've seen it advised that the Universe of Energy could go down to remove the ExxonMobil signage since it's sponsorship ended. Why is it taking so long? How about the cast costumes? They advertised Exxonmobil company as well. Is any other company looking into sponsoring it? I would really hate to see this pavillion abandoned.

Hi Daniel – You know, I have absolutely no idea why they haven't done anything yet. They're usually so gung-ho to remove any references to non-renewing sponsors, especially when there's a new sponsor in the same industry. I guess that the fact that Hess didn't want to sponsor the pavilion played a big part in it. After all, Nestle paid big bucks to renovate The Land pavilion when it took over from Kraft.

With the Energy pavilion going sponsorless, it may just be that Disney doesn't want to spend the money to redo the attraction. (As I recall, Exxon/Mobil was an integral part of the closing film, which would require a major reworking to remove them.) I keep expecting them to take care of it, but they seem happy to continue to give free advertising to Exxon/Mobil. We'll have to wait to see what happens.


Seph Bernados writes:

I just finished your first “Shoulda Woulda Coulda” article and I must thank gosh y'all have finally made a series for these things, I've been scouring the Web for months now trying to find out about the lost rides and attractions! Thank you so much for finally making one. I can't wait for all the other attractions for Beastlie Kingdomme as well as all those other rides that never made it off the planning stages.

Hi Seph – Thanks for your kind words. I'll pass them along to Paul, as well.

I'm not sure whether it'll be possible to do the rest of Beastlie Kingdomme, but I'll see what info is available. I'm hoping to find out some more about other attractions that didn't make it, but I can't promise anything right now. (Also remember that many cancelled attractions never made it as far as Dragon Tower did.)

Seph writes back:

Howdy Mark,

Aren't you also the one writing the “History of The World” series? It's been one of my favorite series in MousePlanet and I've been wondering when you'd continue it. I can't wait to read what happened in the opening of the Magic Kingdom.

And speaking of Magic Kingdom, I know that the two most popular rumours about Magic Kingdom are both the Fire and Bald Mountains. Is there any truth to any of these two rumoured rides?

And is there any possibility of building a “DisneySea” over in WDW?

Sorry for the many questions I've just been looking so long for a real expert to chat with.

Seph – Yep, I'm also working on History of the World. I'm glad that you're enjoying it.

As for the rumors, there are many, many rumors about stuff being built in the Magic Kingdom (and other parks, for that matter). Many of them are seriously being worked on, but in “blue sky” mode. In other words, there's nothing concrete happening yet. As far as I know, there is nothing that has been greenlighted for Magic Kingdom that hasn't been announced yet. There's supposedly a heated competition between ideas for the former 20,000 Leagues lagoon area, but nothing's been selected yet. So until something's announced to take the place of the meet-and-greet that will be there when the area opens in November, we'll have to wait and see.

DisneySea in Florida? Don't look for any announcement of a new park in Florida for at least a few years. They need to work on the parks that they already have open before they think about putting in a new park. They'd also have to figure out some way to draw in new people with a park without cannibalizing attendance from the existing parks. Otherwise, there's no money in a new park.


David O. writes:

Can't wait to hear the rest of the story. Were budget reasons the only reason this land and ride were shelved? Hopefully, we'll get to hear more stories about rides that never were or the history behind some of our favorites. Thanks again.

Hi David – As far as I know, budget was the only reason that Beastlie Kingdomme was shelved. My understanding is that with WDW pouring money into the Disney-MGM Studios to increase park capacity, they decided that they needed to cut some funding from Disney's Animal Kingdom to save money. Beastlie Kingdomme was officially pushed back to a later phase of the project (remember that Asia was completed after the park opened, as well), but with the unexpected runaway success of Festival of the Lion King, the temporary “placeholder land” of Camp Minnie-Mickey became permanent.

I do hope to bring more stories of rides that never were and/or backstories of rides that do exist to our readers in the future, but I can't promise what or when (though I can tell you that part 2 of the Dragon Tower story is currently scheduled to run on October 27).


Ivan writes:

Hello! I enjoyed your Dragon Tower story; it was very interesting. The thing that I caught right off was that you played an integral part in the Norway project. I have to be honest and tell you that I was really looking forward to both this pavilion and attraction before they opened, but then when I experienced them I was left somewhat disappointed in the attraction (I thought the land itself was done well).

Could you someday write a piece on this attraction's history? What were the challenges with it (I'm guessing $)? Who created the concept to ride backwards, and was there ever a design for a more thrilling waterfall effect (that you see from the outside)? My favorite part of the attraction is the storm at the end, it's very realistic.

One gripe I know I share with many is that the attraction forces guests to stick around for the movie. I seldom go on it anymore for this reason, it wastes too much time and I'm too stubborn to allow others to dictate that I sit through a movie! I've seen dozens of times and don't find entertaining, after all it's my vacation. Are you still with the company? It must have been great to be working there at the tail end of the careers of so many talented men. Anyhow I hope you don't take what I said the wrong way, I love Disney and admire the work creative people such as yourself do. Thank you!

Hi Ivan – Thanks for your kind words. I'll pass your note along to Paul. Maelstrom is one of the possible topics for a next story by Paul, if I can coax it out of him.


Sammy writes:

Hello Mark

I really enjoyed the article about Dragon Tower. It sounds like a really great ride. As a teen, i still enjoy Disneyland and WDW and also the thrills. So the coaster sounds really great. I'm also, although it's an eccletic mix, very into mythical creatures. This attraction would have filled my every aspiration perfectly. I'm really sorry that it never passed, but if I ever make it to the top of the Disney “Food Chain” that will be first on my list. I am anticipating part two.

Hi Sammy – I'm glad that you enjoyed the story. I'll pass your note on to Paul for his enjoyment.


Sean writes:

Hi. I love hearing about all yhe rides that never where. I think they should make a book that has all the old drawings and stuff about the rides that never where. I was wondering if they had any other drawings you could show on the pages with the details of the ride? I own the book so I know a little of what it looks like.

Thank you very much. Keep up the good work so far.

Hi Sean – Thanks for your kind words. I'll pass them along to Paul so that he can enjoy them as well.

I'd love to be able to do a book on all of this some day. Some of the stories that Paul and George McGinnis have passed along are really great and I'd love for people to be able to read them. Maybe some day. Unfortunately, Paul's files of his artwork were misplaced, and we're not allowed to use Disney-copyrighted artwork without permission. If Paul's artwork ever surfaces, maybe we'll be able to publish some of it.



Glenn Vines writes:

Wow! Exciting stuff and coincidental. Just yesterday was the first I had ever read on the land that never was on Wdwmagic and now here's your story! Will we ever see this land be resurrected or was it just too grand an idea? I also learned recently that's why a dragon appears in the current Disney's Animal Kingdom logo.

Hi Glenn – I'm not sure that Beastlie Kingdomme will be built, especially not in its original form. Festival of the Lion King is too popular to be removed right now. Also, with Expedition: Everest, mythical creatures have made their way into the other lands of the park. I think that it's a shame, but there's not much that can be done any more.

And yep, the dragon on the logo (which goes all the way back to when it was going to be called Disney's Wild Animal Kingdom) was indeed for the Beastlie Kingdomme land.

Glenn writes back:

Interesting. I have enjoyed your articles in the past and am looking for to part 2. I look forward to a new land in future years. It's hard to believe all the work Imagineers do and plan to have all that work scrapped. I love to read about the history of the parks, can you recommend some books? Thanks again.

Glenn – George McGinnis told me that so many ideas died during the “blue sky” phase that the Imagineers got used to it. George quoted Marc Davis as saying, “No good idea ever really dies at Imagineering.” And it's true. If the idea is good, it may very well resurface at a later date. Sometimes, it takes decades, but ideas do return. That's why the Imagineering archives are so huge, and why there's so much warehouse space to store all of the old models. (Boy, would I love to get a tour through there one day!)

As to books on the history of the parks, I'll start with the easy one: Walt Disney World. For WDW history, check out the sidebar in my History of the World series here on the site. There are a lot of good books listed there, including some that have some Disneyland history. Others for Disneyland would include Disneyland: The Nickel Tour by Bruce Gordon and David Mumford, Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making the Magic by the Imagineers, and Disneyland: Inside Story by Randy Bright. That should be enough to get you started.


Susan S. writes:

I would like to know why Walt Disney World doesn't offer a parking pass. If you know your going to be in the parks, say 5 days and you have a 5 day hopper pass, why don't they offer a 5 day parking pass. It would be so much easier to hand a pass to them at the gate, rather then fumble around for money each day, entering the park. Or. they could just include the parking in the price of the ticket. And if you have a annual pass, well why not a pass that has say 5 or l0 days on it and when it runs out, you buy another. Just a thought. What do you think?

Hi Susan – I would expect there are several reasons for not creating a multi-day parking pass. One of those would be money. A multi-day pass would be expected to carry a discount, and Disney wouldn't want to give up the revenue. Another reason would be that parking is already free for guests staying at the resort hotels and for annual passholders (which answers your last question). If you'd like to suggest the idea to them anyway, you can always write to Guest Communications. (Hey, you never know. They instituted the multi-day stroller and wheelchair rentals, maybe they'd consider doing the same for parking.) You can contact Guest Communications at wdw.guest.communications@disneyworld.com or at:

Walt Disney World Guest Communications
P.O. Box 10040
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-0040


Kathy writes:

Hi Mark. I know this is kind of far in advance, but I have a question(s) about Mousefest 2005. I know that for the 2004 fest, there were some great prices. Do you have prices set for next year yet? Or if not, do you know how soon this info would be available? We are thinking of doing the cruise portion. Any advise or help you can give would be greatly appreciated. We like to plan ahead. LOL Love the Web site!

Hi Kathy – I have no idea what the prices will be for MouseFest next year, or even what the overall setup for the event will be. Some changes are under discussion, but I don't know that anything will be nailed down until after this year's event, as Deb, Jennifer and Dave have their hands full running this thing. I believe that the committee to plan the event will probably grow for next year's event, and I believe that there will be more “official” travel agency options. At this point, I really can't give you any info beyond what's on the MouseFest web page. Just make sure that you're on the mailing list and keep checking for updates. Hope to see you there!


Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Mark here.

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