MousePlanet Mailbag for January 13, 2005
Romance and the Disney parks
Did you propose to your fiance while watching Illuminations at
Epcot? Was your most romantic dinner at Victoria and Albert's at
the Grand Floridian?
Valentine's Day is fast approaching, and we want to hear from you!
Send us your stories (or suggestions) about Valentine's Day, love
or romance in the Disney parks! We're particularly interested in
Walt Disney World, but we'll be happy to hear about any Disney
theme park. If we run your message, we'll be glad to dedicate it
to your loved one as well.
We receive considerable feedback regarding our site. Although we cannot
publish them all, the following may be of interest to our readers.
Ken Wirth read Swim
With the Stars, Frank Anzalone's coverage about Olympic medal
winners swimming in a temporary swimming pool erected down Main Street,
U.S.A. in Disneyland, and writes:
When I saw this on this and other sites yesterday I wondered if maybe
Paul Pressler had returned to Disneyland. Dumb waste of money if you
How is this an improvement of Disneyland?
I guess the whole pool thing and its intrusion into the park and what
to me seemed a waste of money that might have gone to help in the overall
park upgrade. I guess I have never thought that the Olympics should
be exploited in such a commercial endeavor.
Hi Ken It might have been expensive, but based on the photos it
seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
I think Pressler would have insisted they swim in the hotel pool.
Lani Teshima, Mailbag editor
Ginny wrote earlier this fall about the Walt Disney World Marathon,
scheduled for this coming Sunday on January 9:
I have made plans to travel for the marathon in January 2005 but I
was unable to register for the marathon. Can you help me register?
Hi Ginny Oh dear
it sounds like you're in a bit of a bind.
I know that registration for both the full and half marathons have filled
up, and that registration was closed earlier this fall.
As far as I know, the organizers of the WDW Marathon event do not provide
information in their fine print about stand-by or space-available spots
for their event. Both the full and half events have been selling out usually
by the end of summer for most of the years that I'm aware of, and unfortunately,
I don't think there's any official information for folks in your predicament.
You might want to send email to email@example.com is the official
address of the event organizers. Maybe they can help you.
Your other option is to consider running for a fundraising organization.
I heard once that some of these organizers take out blocks
of seats for the marathon. Organizations such as the Leukemia and Lymphoma
Society's Team in Training have an extremely large and visible contingent
at the WDW marathon. Their Web site is at TeamInTraining (link).
There are others as well; you might want to do an online search for such
charitable organizations as the American Heart Association to see if you
can get a spot with them. It will require that you raise money for their
Disneyland started out to be a family event in the happiest
place on earthhowever over the years, it's become Mickey's
money-hungry theme park. Now that they've tried to get their hands
into every moneymaking venue in the world, it has turned into a place
where a family has to mortgage their home just to spend a day at the
park. From admission, to food and souvenirs, prices have skyrocketed
out of control.
For their 50th anniversary yearlong party, they should roll back prices
for the pubic who have supported them over the past 50 years!
Where can I find the big turkey legs at Disneyland? How big are they
compared to Walt Disney World ones?
Hi Amanda There are a couple of different locations where you
can buy turkey legs in Disneyland, but they are all in outdoor vending
locations, and it appears that they periodically move them around. As
of earlier in 2004, the three locations you could buy turkey legs were:
- Near the Central Plaza (the Hub) at the castle-end of
Main Street, across from the entrance to Frontierland
- Near the Matterhorn attraction entrance
- Along the south side of the Mark Twain dock
They run around $6 or $7 or so, and how they taste seems to vary greatly
depending on people's tastes. I like them, but they are on the salty side,
and somewhat greasy (compared to just moist/juicy).
I must admit, however, that I like the Disneyland version much better
than the Walt Disney World version I've had at their Magic Kingdom. The
meat (not to mention the skin) there was like rubber.
Size-wise, however, I think they are all about the samebig.
They will easily fill you up in place of a meal, or they can be shared
by two people for a snack. If you are on the go and need a quick meal
to share, a turkey leg and a soft Mickey pretzel might do the trick!
In a previous Mailbag, Kimberly A. asked for
more information about the mini-fridge available in Disneyland's Grand
California Hotel rooms. Rich Hamilton writes:
The mini-fridge at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel is very high tech.
If you take a can of (soda) pop out of the fridge and just look at it,
it's added to your bill. Then, if you put it back, it's removed from
the bill only if they note it when inventorying the fridge.
Yep! Every item in the fridge is wired to the billing system.
And, yes, it's pricey, too. Like most hotel mini-fridge units.
Rich Yikes! The high-techy part of me thinks that's really cool,
but I don't really care that they refund you only when manually inventorying
the fridge. I realize it's to prevent people from popping in their own
generic cheaper brand items back in, but still, the system should at least
flag that something was taken, then replaced, so when they do an inventory
they know to double-check.
Thanks for that info. Very interesting!
I think we took the hit the first night, then the next day there was
a credit on the bill when they did the inventory. As I recollect, I
noted the charge, then we figured out it was credited back.
Needless to day, they're very polite about it. But think of the family
whose kids pull stuff out, then put it back. It must be a nightmare
for accounting. And could be a rip for those who don't check their bill.
More and more hotels are doing this, too, so it's not just Disney.
Ed added his two cents regarding Kimberly's inquiry:
I'm sure others are writing about this, but I thought I'd ask the obvious
question. Regarding the Mailbag for October 21, if Kimberly A. is on
such a tight budget, why on Earth is she staying at the single most
prohibitively expensive hotel on or near the disneyland resort?
I'm guessing you presumed that the decision had already been made,
but I was kind of surprised that you didn't even suggest that she stay
at a more cost-effective hotel. They could save literally hundreds of
dollars for spending elsewhere, like on balcony seating for Fantasmic,
or eating at expensive restaurants.
Anyway, thanks for all of your work. Visiting MousePlanet is the next
best thing to being there, for those of us who don't live right next
Hi Ed You make a really good point about Kimberly staying at the
Grand Californian. It's quite possible that that was their one big splurge,
and that that meant they had to be budget-minded in other parts of their
Patrick Samonte writes:
Does anyone know what they are doing with the Tahitian Terrace area
(in Disneyland's Adventureland)? I remember reading somewhere that currently
the entertainment department is having a tough time justifying the cost
of resurrecting that show, but it seems that with all of the Tiki Culture
fans in the area and indeed all over, as well as the popularity of Lilo
& Stitch, having a fun "fakey luau" would be a good draw, not to mention
something a lot of old timers would enjoy revisiting. Perhaps we could
rally the Tiki Culture folks?!
Hi Patrick The last time we published news about Aladdin's Oasis
(formerly Tahitian Terrace) was back in our July
26 Disneyland Park Update, in which David Koenig reported the following:
Beginning Friday, July 30, the Enchanted Tiki Room, the Plaza Pavilion
and Aladdin's Oasis will be shuttered for a major, seven-month rehab.
One source claims all three structures will be gutted and the interiors
Most in need of attention is the oft-neglected, termite-infested
Tiki Room. "The Tiki Room interior will be completely rebuilt with
the audio-animatronics sporting new technology," a cast member reported.
"The show will NOT change to the one like Walt Disney World. Our
Tiki Room will retain the original music and show."
The last few years Plaza Pavilion has served as an Annual Pass
processing center, currently handling overflow with primary operations
transferred two months ago to the Bank at Town Square. It will eventually
be replaced by a permanent AP processing center in the San Francisco
District at DCA. One rumor is that the Plaza Pavilion will get new
kitchens and return from the rehab as a restaurant once again. Others
claim the facility will be converted into a giant pin store/trading
The possibility of new kitchens will also determine the fate of
Aladdin's Oasis, which had common food prep areas. Some speculate
the area, now used as a storytelling venue, may again become the
Scheduled completion date is March 12, 2005.
I asked David Koenig for an update, and the following was his response:
No, I haven't heard anything else about the Tiki complex update. I'm
inclined to believe, however, that Tahitian Terrace won't be returning,
but that it will be some form of Aladdin's Oasis for storytime/meet
& greet, mostly due to the content of the rehab signs now hanging on
We will going to Disneyland for the first time next year July. Can
one book a 1 night/2-day stay/package, as everywhere advertises minimum
2 or 3 night stay.
Can you recommend through who I must book as we live in the Middle
East. There seem to be loads of different packages if you live in the
US but not if you live elsewhere.
Hi Michelle With the opening of Disney's California Adventure
park over three years ago, Disney now considers a visit to the Disneyland
Resort in California to be a multi-day trip. I suspect this is the reason
you are hard-pressed to find any packages that are only for a one-night
If you cannot stay more than one night, I think your best option is to
find a travel agent who is knowledgeable about booking trips to Disneyland,
and have them make the appropriate reservations for you. You can go to
our MousePlanet Restaurant
and Hotel Reviews page and read our reader-submitted reviews of nearby
hotels. If you are unfamiliar with the area and would like some visual
guidance on where hotels are located, visit the Anaheim Convention Center's
map page (link)
and download a PDF copy of their local area hotels map. You will find
it to be very helpful.
Is there a specific reason why you can only stay one night? Hotels in
the U.S. traditionally have a check-in time of 3:00 p.m., with a check-out
time of 11:00 a.m. or noon the next day. This means you will not actually
have a full day in which to enjoy Disneyland, especially if you have a
bit of luggage to carry. If you can afford to add just one additional
night to your stay, you will be able to spend the entire day on your second
day (that is, your full day when you are neither checking in nor out of
your hotel), in which you can go to the park at "rope drop" first thing
in the morning when attraction queues are shortest, take an afternoon
break back in your hotel, and return for an evening visit. Purchasing
a two-day parkhoppper pass will provide provide you savings over the two
days, than if you were to purchase a one-day pass.
William Turnbull writes:
I recently took my family to Disneyland and I saw a model monorail
I knew I should have bought it! Do know anyway I can buy one without
having to go back to the park?
Hi William Your can call Disneyland Merchandise at (800) 760-3566,
or you can try MouseShoppe. Good
Marina Wright writes:
How can I get tickets to the Fantasmic dessert area? I have been there
several times and want to take a first-time Disneyland guest, and forgot
where to make the reservation.
It used to be that Disneyland required interested parties to wait in
front of their ticket office early in the morning to purchase tickets
for the Fantasmic Dessert Buffet on the day of the show.
This procedure was changed some time ago, and you now have the luxury
of being able to phone them in advance to purchase your tickets beforehand.
The number you need to phone is (714) 781-4400, and they will take your
Fantasmic dessert buffet reservation request up to 30 days in advance.
Their reservation office is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific time,
so my suggestion is that you count backwards 30 days of your planned visit,
and phone them promptly in the morning.
Keep in mind that Fantasmic itself is currently not showing, while the
Sailing Ship Columbia is being refurbished. A quick check with the reservation
office shows that they are not booking Fantasmic Dessert Buffet seatings
now, and that the show will return in mid-December (which means you might
phone them in mid-November.
Fantasmic is hands-down my favorite attraction at Disneyland, and the
Dessert Buffet is definitely worth trying once as a splurge.
I just read the e-mail from a mother that needed a hotel. I would not
avise her to stay at the Best Western Park Place Inn. Here are my reasons:
- The pool is way too small.
- The rooms are not kid friendly.
- The veiw is nothing but a brick wall.
I would really try to find a more kid-friendly place. I heard the Fairfield
Inn is kid-friendly, and I believe they have free shuttles (to the park).
I hope this helps.
Hi Marshelle Thanks for taking the time to write.
My preferred lodging of choice is the Best Western Park Place Inn, because
I do not use the hotel pool, I do not have children, and I don't care
whether I have a view from my room. For me, it's important that we are
as close to the pedestrian entrance to Disneyland as possible, and the
Best Western works for that purpose.
I haven't stayed at the Fairfield Inn, but I do believe they are somewhat
close to the park, within a fair walking distance (and the shuttle, if
they are free, could be a plus).
If you have not had a chance to do so, please submit your comments to
our MousePlanet Restaurant
and Hotel Reviews.
One note: We recently had the opportunity to stay at the Marriott's Residence
Inn in Anaheim. Although at a few blocks away it is not within easy walking
distance from the Disneyland Resort, the Residence Inn chain is considered
a long-stay facility, and we were amazed at how much we got for our price.
The room was huge and could easily accommodate a family, and it included
a full kitchen. Any family considering a longer stay should definitely
look into this place. We were quite impressed.
When we ran a reader-review of Disneyland's new Myths, Mysteries and
Legends tour back in November (read
the review here), we received quite a bit of feedback with range of
reactions. The following are some representative samples.
Kelly OConnor writes:
Yes, I too went on the tour, on Thursday, October 21. We also had a
wheelchair person in our group, and did not ride the train at all, nor
did we climb up the Skyway area at all. In fact, before reading the
other reviews, I didn't even know these were parts of the tour.
Anyway, the tour was a complete letdown and bordered on my complaining
in City Hall, but I refrained. The Gracey (tour guide)was just about
the worst actor one could ever hope for, even at a theme park. I figured
he was perhaps a substitute on his first night and that the regular
was spectacular, perhaps along the lines of cast member Maynard, but
after reading the other reviews on MousePlanet today, it seems we've
all been subject to this catastrophe. I had heard that there were auditions
for this role and if this was the best that Disney could find, I'm sorely
afraid for their current talent booking department.
Conversely, the young lady who began and ended our tour was excellent
and most of us were wishing she had done the entire tour. I also thought
that if the male host was to be named Gracey, that there might be a
tie-in explaining that he was the real Master Gracey from the Haunted
Mansion, but even that simple correllation was left out.
The whole experience left me with a negative feeling toward taking
any future tours at the Parks. I'd expect for a tour with this dramatic
nature that they would hire staff from the parades and shows department
rather than from Guest Relations, the latter of whom who are more accustomed
to delivering straightforward spiels on the regular tours than fudging
make-believe semi-spooky fables.
Our entire group was silent for the entire tourI think because
we were all dumbfounded at how bad the event turned out to be. As a
small bonus, it was great riding the Tower of Terror and the Haunted
Mansion in silenceI heard more sound effects that night than in
my entire history of riding these attractions!
I absolutely loved the tour! Total Disney theater at its best. The
Gracey character must have had a bad night on your tour because the
Halloween evening tour was great. Gracey was in rare form and had our
attention the entire time.
Jenny S. writes:
On October 23rd, when I inquired about the tour was told it was sold
out for the year and it may be back after the holidays.
Why offer and advertise a tour, when it is sold out?
I took the tour on October 13 and I thought it was great. I went with
my family and a friend and we all had a fun time on the tour. I thought
our Gracey was a fantastic storyteller and I really don't see why every
single person that was quoted in the article said they hated it so much.
Did everybody who took the tour really have that horrible of a time?
I just have a hard time believing that.
I, too, went on the tour on October 17. I had been looking forward
to it as I have been on many other tours at Disneyland and have always
The tour was great
until we finished riding Tower of Terror the
second time. Once she started telling the stories and I realized that
they had nothing to do with the parks I completely zoned out. I thought
it would have been better if it was themed to myths that happened at
the parks or created some sort of mystery we had to solve by visiting
For a brief moment I was excited at the thought of getting to visit
the old Skyway again, but was thoroughly dissappointed by having to
stop just a few steps up. Ultimately I was very thankful when it was
over and could resume my life again which seemed to come to a standstill
for 2 hours.
As to how to improve the tour
If they insist on keeping the script,
what would make it better would be to forget about the walking part
and tell their stories with everyone gathered around the large fireplace
at the Grand Californian with many, many adult beverages for everyone.
Now that would make it worth $25 to me.
Steve Spencer writes:
My daughter and I had a great time on the tour. I specifically went
in thinking low expectations because otherwise you get disappointed.
Gracey, a female, was, in my opinion, just great. She was kind, yet
spooky at the same time. She took special care of my non-goblin
daughter, which just added to the fun. I saw several poor reviews of
the tour, but I wanted to say that we had a great time.
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact our Mailbag
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