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MousePlanet Mailbag for March 10, 2005

We receive considerable feedback regarding our site. Although we cannot publish them all, the following may be of interest to our readers.

Feedback for Lani Teshima

Gloria Duran writes:

When will you be releasing the Official 50th Anniverary Pin?

Hi Gloria – Since we are not officially affiliated with the Walt Disney Company, we do not release Disney pins at MousePlanet. Disneyland has not announced pin release dates for the 50th anniversary, but I suggest you keep an eye out in our weekly Disneyland Park Update (link) so that you might hear about it as the information becomes available. I suspect there will be numerous related pins released, and that they are likely to coincide with their official events. Since the start of the official celebration is May 5, I suspect that might be a key date for a pin release, for example.

Dennis Freeman writes:

Hi. I just wanted to put in a good word for the Disney buses at Walt Disney World.

Often the only comments that make it to this site and others is when someone has a bad experience.

We always use the buses at Disney World and would not think of driving to the parks. Sure, sometimes, like when Epcot closes after Illuminations and everybody leaves at once, there can be a wait for the bus. Sometimes you have to wait while a handicapped person's wheelchair is loaded. By far, however, the Disney buses are great and are part of the experience.

On the way to the park in the morning you see the happy eager families headed for some Disney magic. You hear and see the excitement and sometimes even meet interesting fellow Disney fans. In the evenings, when returning to your Disney resort, you sit on the bus and see the happy, often tired, kids with their souvenirs and hear the stories of the day from people around you. The Disney magic continues on the bus.

There are even some drivers who do a good job of entertaining you as they take you to your destination. Sure, sometimes you have to stand, if the bus is crowded, but that doesn't take away the Magic and the trip is short anyway. You sway along with the turns and remember a favorite ride, like the Tea Cups or the Barn Stormer. The Disney buses are great and, just like staying on Disney property, the Magic continues even when you're out of the parks. Thanks.

Hi Dennis – We've visited Walt Disney World and relied on the Disney buses in the past. Our experience has been generally positive, like yours. The drivers have been pleasant, and will often provide helpful information or crack funny jokes. I still remember one driver who was transporting a lot of runners to the Fitness Expo during the 2003 WDW Marathon weekend. He warned us that he was one person we did not want to see the next day, on the day of the marathon, because he was scheduled to pick up the slow stragglers on the course. “If you see me, you know you're going too slow!” That elicited quite a bit of chuckles from the riders.

I think my only caution would be that the buses are not the optimal solution for those who need to go from one resort to another (instead of to a park), since that usually requires a transfer at either Downtown Disney, or one of the parks. And late at night, after a dinner at Boma for example, getting back to another resort hotel might take a bit of doing because the buses don't run as frequently.

Katrina writes:

Hello Lani,

I am just writing to ask what I hope is a simple question. My question is: With all of the refurbishment that is going on right now in preparation for the 50th anniversary of Disneyland when would be the best time to come out and visit so that we can have the best experience of everything?

Hi Kat – If you do not have the luxury of visiting Disneyland on a frequent basis, my suggestion for you is to wait until the park actually rolls out its 50th anniversary celebration later this year. That way, the bulk of the attractions should be reopened so that you can go on more rides.

Many of the rides that are currently under refurbishment are scheduled to open in mid-March. The official celebration begins in early May. The actual birthday is in mid-July. Keeping all those dates in mind, the celebration itself will run about a year and half, so you can even wait a year or longer and still be able to enjoy the festivities.

The primary drawback for waiting until the celebration begins, is that Disney is likely going to advertise with guns blazing, so you can expect the parks (both Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure) to be quite busy, and you may have some difficulty finding cheap hotel rooms. However, if you are willing to travel during off-peak periods (for example, avoiding the busy summer months altogether), you might be able to find some good deals.

Hope this helps. Feel free to email me if you have anymore questions.

Larry Stone writes about a trip he took before the Christmas holidays:

We made our first trip to Disneyland since 1998 (plus a week at Walt Disney World in 1999) last weekend.

We were there Friday (very crowded) and Saturday (fortunately the rain kept attendance down). Needless to say, the information on MousePlanet was invaluable. It's nice to still have the Annual Passholder attitude and not feel like we had to do everything. Other than some must-see stuff we had in mind for Disney's California Adventure park (it was still just a hole in the ground the last time we were there)—Screamin', Mulholland Madness, Soarin', the Tower of Terror, and Main Street Electrical Parade (Disney can rename it if they want but it's still MSEP to me) plus the fireworks at Disneyland, we just took it easy.

Despite the crowd on Friday, we never felt crowded. Between Fastpass and enjoying the short wait stuff, we were almost always doing something. For instance, about 4:00, got Fastpasses for Mulholland Madness. Then we spent the time waiting by going across to Disneyland and watching “A Chrismas Fantasy” (which was better when we were saw it in 1997—I have it on video from then and they've cut what I thought was the best part which was the live carolers).

The only exception was post-fireworks when the crowd trying to leave was insane making it difficult for those of us trying to go from Main Street deeper into the park (but they were doing a good job of crowd control—in the street to leave, sidewalks to go towards the Plaza).

Saturday was rarely a long wait—25 minute standby wait (40 posted) for Splash in mid-afternoon in light rain! I think Small World was a longer wait! Parades were cancelled due to the rain but the fireworks went (well worth seeing a second time).

All in all, it was good to be back.

Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Lani here.

Feedback for Mark Goldhaber

Jeremy writes:

First time I actually read the mailbag and it was interesting. Here's a question: What's going on with Discovery Island? As a boy, that place was like Tom Sawyer Island. I'd love to go back there again, beats the Discovery Island in Animal Kingdom. I was thinking maybe putting a resort there. That would be nice.

Hi Jeremy – Our mailbag is usually very interesting. As to your question, as far as I know, nothing has been greenlighted for the island yet. There were several rumors over the years, including honeymoon cottages and a high-priced park themed to the game “Myst.” The wildlife sanctuary attraction there was closed down when most of the animals were moved to the Animal Kingdom. I hope that Disney can find a way to utilize the island again, but there's nothing cooking for now.

B. Foundatin writes:

Has Save Disney really called it quits? Is Eisner going to win and have his way? If not, the web articles tell a different story.

B. – Good question. Roy and Stan sent out a note that they weren't going away, and were going to watch the succession process closely. However, they're largely toothless at this point. As they said in a letter to supporters earlier this month, “With the stock price up in the short term and promises to select a new CEO on the table, we were convincingly advised—by many—that proxy support would not favor us at this time.” There's very little, aside from saber-rattling, that they can do at this time. Unless the search for a replacement CEO does not proceed in a timely fashion, I don't know how much we're going to hear from them. We'll just have to wait and see.

Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Mark here.

Feedback for our Mailbag

Mashelle writes:

I have been a Disney fan for a long time and will never forget my first trip to Disneyland without mom and dad. It was magical. I was celebrating a late birthday and all the guets sang happy birthday to me just before the parade. Yes there are somethings about Disney that i don't understand but when Walt died there was no plan on how things were to be run. Michael was good but now I think Disney needs someone like Walt if that person can be found.

Mashelle – Eisner has let it be known that he will step down after his contract runs out in 2006. In the meantime, we will see what the Walt Disney Company's board will do when it meets for the annual shareholder meeting later this month.

We are still getting comments regarding Disneyland's Myths, Mysteries, and Legends tour, which we reported on last November (link), and for which we published reader feedback for in our January 13, 2005 Mailbag (link). Lesa May writes:

The other posters here are correct in their statements with regard to Gracey's delivery and volume, as his voice resonates in a low alto tonality. However, his ability to remain in character was top-notch and highly enjoyable. Especially since he chose a very willing young “assistant” from our group who was so enamoured and enthralled by Gracey that we almost suspected that she was an audience plant! The chemistry between the two of them was perfection and very, very fun. Robert—the first guide with the nerdy walk and nervous lilt in his voice—was great, too.

I agreed with my husband and the other attendees that have posted here, that this tour would have been much more effective had it been customized to the time of year, and more clear in its purpose had the stories somehow linked together from start to finish with a little more clarity. Still, the stories were enjoyable when you could hear what was being said over the park announcements, Christmas carols, and chatter from the crowds and children.

One of the things that most appealed to my husband and I was the fact that the tour boasted “backstage” inclusions. These never did materialize, leaving us disappointed and confused. We didn't catch the Pet Cemetery portion at all, nor did any of the others in attendance. We also felt pretty rushed during certain parts of the walk, having to step up the pace a little too much instead of enjoying the after dark atmosphere of the park, while other parts seemed tiresome and slow.

Our tour also happened to be on Veteran's Day, which did not allow for the park to empty out nearly enough to up the spook factor. It was downright crowded, the lines were long for the ride portions (especially during Indiana Jones) and this put a damper on the spirits in general.

Insofar as the tour souvenir we were given, in the form of a light-up “amulet,” well, it's Disneyland, after all. A place where things are very over the top and attention to detail is particularly well done. Given that the Nightmare Before Christmas experiences were chock full of treats and giveaways, I pictured the same for this tour. All we got was the necklace. They were a distraction during the tour and the rides, but they did serve the purpose of making our group easy to keep track of in the crowds—and causing many of the other parkgoers to ask where we got them and what they were for.

I'm not much of a sentimentalist, but even I expected something a little more fun to walk away from the experience with, especially with a price tag of $25 per person.

The best part of the tour was the “twist” at the end, which only about half of the group actually caught. Sadly, I wouldn't recommend this tour to others, but I could think of worse ways to spend a Thursday evening.

Brian Smith writes:

Thank you for the excellent page on the Big Thunder incident. It was just what I was looking for in detail. A mechanical engineer at heart I wanted to know the mechanical details. I thought it was a design flaw but reading this article sheds new light and it puts my mind at ease.

Thank you so much.

Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact our 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.


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