MousePlanet Mailbag for April 21, 2005
|We are just a few short weeks away from the start of Disneyland's
50th anniversary celebration. A number of you have been sending us
anecdotes and tales of your wonderful memories of the park. If you
were there in the first years that the park opened, we would love
to hear from you! Have you been back since? What were your impressions
of the park at the time? What do you think of all the changes that
the park has seen? Send us email HERE.
We receive considerable feedback regarding our site. Although we cannot
publish them all, the following may be of interest to our readers.
Brandon Grego writes:
I was just writing to say how much I enjoyed your history of the world
saga. It was everyting I wanted to know. DO u have any other articles
around that explain the history of other aspects of disney?
Hi Brandon Thanks for your kind words. I'm hoping to return to
the series in a couple of months, picking up with the beginnings of Epcot
To my knowledge, the only other historical saga on the site is Jason
Schultz' Magic Kingdom Chronicles (link),
which describe the history of Disneyland
We have a few shorter pieces, such as the twopart series on the
Mark V and Mark VI monorails, the fourpart series on Horizons and
the twopart series on Dragon Tower. I hope to have more stories
from George McGinnis and Paul Torrigino this year. Is there anything in
particular that you're looking for? We can put it on the list of possible
Do you have any biographies of Walt Disney or picturess or videos on
Victory Through Air Power? I am A 8th grader making a report
on Walt Disney, A National History Day report and I have looked at your
Web site, and it is difficult to find information.
Hi Sean We haven't written any biographies of Walt here on the
site, and I don't think that we've done any indepth coverage of
Victory Through Air Power except as part of the DVD release. I'd
recommend that you see if you can find the Walt Disney on the Front
Lines DVD from the Walt Disney Treasure collection to see Victory
Through Air Powerand some commentary on the film, and Walt Disney:
An American Original by Bob Thomas for a great biography of Walt.
I don't know whether or not they'd be available in your local library,
but you can probably try to find them in an online search.
Good luck with your report!
B. Green writes:
Hi Mark! Thank you for your wonderfully informative Web site! Our family
will be moving to Hilton Head Island this summer, and we were wondering
if the summer camp is was just available for guests who stay on premises,
or if local families could visit/take part on a day camptype basis?
We would appreciate any insights that you have!
Hi B. As far as I know, the activities at Disney's Hilton Head
Island Resort of for guests of the resort only. I believe that there are
some other resorts on the island that do have children's activities that
are available to the general public, but I can't confirm that. Think of
the Disney activities as similar to the activities available at the Disney
Vacation Club resorts at Walt Disney World, such as the craft projects
and unbirthday parties. They are announced only in the resort newsletter.
I don't think that they have somebody checking IDs when you go, but I
think that for every activity that requires a reservation, they do ask
for your room number. Of course, you could always call the resort and
ask if you could come anyway.
I saw your comment in the Walt Disney World Park Update regarding room
requests. Here is my bit of advice: Make your request when reserving
the room but call the resort directly within the week prior to your
visit. When I last was at Disney, I requested a nonsmoking room.
Unfortunately, Disney (like many hotels) only notes this as a request
and requests are not guaranteed.
I called the resort directly (do not ask them for reservations because
you will be transferred out to their Central Reservations) and simply
informed the operator that I wanted to confirm my reservation for arrival
on xxx. When the operator confirmed the reservation I responded and
that was for a nonsmoking room, correct? The operator started
to inform me that requests cannot be guaranteed, at which point I explained
my daughter's allergies. She promptly said Oh, thank you for letting
us know. We will make sure you have a nonsmoking room. They
have always been helpful when I call. Dave
Hi Dave I'm not sure when you were last at Disney, but the policy
hasn't been in effect all that long. I'm not sure if your strategy would
still be effective or not, since the word has been passed to the resorts
not to take requests outside of the system. However, I can tell you that
if you need a nonsmoking room for medical reasons, Disney will do
their best to accommodate you. Also, you can make that note when you make
your reservation. Whenever I make a reservation, I specify that we need
nonsmoking for asthma and allergy reasons. When I get my confirmation
paperwork, it says Nonsmoking room requested for medical reasons.
Never had a problem, and I've never faxed or called a resort.
I'm thinking that they may have just made a note on your reservation
similar to theones that I received, so that it was treated as a reservation
modification instead of a special request to be handled outside the system.
You probably would have gotten the same response and responsiveness if
you were to make the same note to the Reservations Center.
Just my two cents. Thanks for writing!
David Rafaidus writes:
I have been told on several occassions that Walt Disney World was originally
planned to be constructed in Palm Beach County, Florida. Is this true?
Do you have any information about Disney and Palm Beach County? Thanks!
Your History of the World articles are fantastic and impressive.
Hi David That information is absolutely correct. When Walt first
started thinking about an East Coast Disneyland back in 1962,
it was planned as a partnership with RCA, much as Disneyland was built
in partnership with ABC. RCA brought an eccentric billionaire named John
D. MacArthur into the venture. MacArthur would contribute 12,000 acres
in North Palm Beach as his contribution to the partnership, Disney would
design, build and operate the park, and RCA would provide the financing.
Well, RCA started running into some business difficulties and had to
back out of the project. Disney backed out as well. First of all, Disney
wasn't really thrilled with MacArthur's eccentricities, and he also didn't
want to have to compete with the beaches for his guests. He also didn't
want people tempted to come into the park wearing bathing suits. It wasn't
until November of 1963 that Orlando was chosen as the site.
Melanee Berman writes:
I just had a quick question. We just recently moved to Alabama and
are thrilled to be 8 hours from Walt Disney World. So we were planning
a trip during the Happiest Celebration on Earth when we find out we
are pregnant. We are due in August and will probably wait until a few
months afterward to go to Walt Disney World. Will we miss out on the celebration?
I hate to email you when you probably get tons already from your
website, but I checked all over and none specify the actual dates the
Celebration is lasting. Thanks, I appreciate your time.
Hi Melanee Congratulations on your bundle of joy on the way! That's
even more thrilling than Disney!
Don't worry about missing the celebration. It's scheduled to run for
18 months, and as far as I know the only things that will be going away
after the celebration are the Cinderellabration show in front of the castle
and the golden castledecorations. (I'm not counting Lucky, since he's
only going to be there for a couple of months, anyway.)
Don't worry about emailing me. While it sometimes take a while to respond
to the mail that I get when real life intrudes, I enjoy reading them all.
Enjoy that little one when he or she arrives!
Hello, I'm tourism student and I'm doing a work for university about
the history of Disney Orlando. Can you give me some information about
it in Spanish, or can you tell me some good webs when I can search the
Hi Sara Unfortunately, I really don't know of any sites in Spanish
that have information on Walt Disney World's history. Your best bet may
be to find the sites about Disney history that are in English and use
a translation web site (like babelfish.altavista.com) to read them in
Spanish. I'm sorry that I can't help you more.
In a previous Mailbag, reader Stephen asked about Phantom Manor, the
Haunted Mansion of Disneyland Paris. Mark has obtained some information
from David LoydHearn and Martin Smith.
David LoydHearn writes:
Stephen's question about Phantom Manor is an interesting one. I have
had the pleasure of experiencing both the Vincent Price and modern Phantom
Manor. Musically, there is no difference.
What happened was that the opening version of the Mansion had Vincent
Price as the Ghost Host in the Foyer, Portrait Gallery and Doombuggy
loading, along with his laugh as the Phantom in the graveyard/ghost
There were a number of complaints made by the French that the attraction
was in English. Therefore, two weeks after opening (about 26th April
1992), they got rid of the Vincent Price Ghost Host, replaced by a French
Thankfully Vincent's laughter can still be heard in the Graveyard though
and that wonderful orchestral score still is there for all to hear!!!
Making Phantom Manor my favorite incarnation thus far.
Martin Smith writes:
Hi, Mark I hope this is the right address to write you with this information!
Regarding the question from Stephen Fox in MousePlanet's Mailbag about
Phantom Manor's (DLP) score The Vincent Price narration was scrapped
soon after park opening since it was all in English. Management realised
the visuals in PM were so good the story was told without a narration
(almost true... but with a mixture of the cancelledbeforeopening
Gracey storyline still in place it may not be totally apparent to a
first time guest.) To this day, only a few words of Vincents remain
in the ride, in the finale scene of the Wild West town in hell (the
scene that replaced the traditional graveyard scene.) The spiel in the
stretch room is in French, Madamme Leota still has the French and English
spiel from 1992. Thankfully, the majority of the Vincent Price musical
score is still in use todayand it is certainly the best Grim Grinning
Ghosts / Haunted Mansion rendition anywhere. Phantom Manor dosn't use
any of the Walt Disney World/Disneyland California Haunted Mansion
score. Some parts are similar, but its all new material recorded for
Steve Seifert writes:
Mark, I read on an earlier mailbag a message from a Patricia Spendley
asking about the Polynesian. I was very surprised and honored that you
linked my web page about the Polynesian. I read the MousePlanet every
day at work during lunch and there is always something interesting to
read. I would be happy to help Patricia with any questions or direct
her so she can find some reviews including my own experience from last
summer. I also get many reports emailed to me so I can give her a good
idea of what the majority thinks of the resort. Thanks for the great
work you all do there at MousePlanet. Aloha Steve (aka Tikiman)
Aloha, Steve! I'm pleased to hear that you read MousePlanet. We always
try to give people the best advice that we can. If we know about a definitive
source elsewhere on the Internet, we're not shy about sending people there.
Your site would be one of those sites. Thanks for doing such a great job
I'm not sure when this month Patricia's trip is, but I'll pass along
your note just in case she hasn't left yet and has more questions.
Thanks for checking in!
Rob Fisher writes:
I've almost done it and it was a most enjoyable day! All four parks
with two major rides in each park along with a few minor rides thrown
in. Instead of the two minor parks I included a walking tour of Fort
Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge. I want to talk to someone who has done
six major parks in a day, four in Florida and two in California. If
I can't find anyone who has done it I guess I will just have to give
it a go.
Hi Rob Wow, that sounds like a heck of a challenge! I know of
a couple of people who have done Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort in the same day, but not
all six parks.
If you decide to give it a try, don't forget to send us your trip report
for the site! I'm sure that it would be a great read.
Lisa Cherrie writes:
In reference to Jeffrey Contompasis comment about the one day Park
Hopper Pass (...it now appears possible to buy a 1Day Park
Hopper Plus Pass and visit all 4 major theme parks and 2 minor attractions.
I challenge someone to actually do this most insane thing.) It
can be done! (If you skip the water parks.) I've done it a couple
of times as an Annual Passholder. It works best by taking your own car,
and hitting only the major attractions at each park. The four park marathon
day begins at Disney's Animal Kingdom as it opens (Kilamajaro Safaris,
Dinosaur, Festival of the Lion King). Immediately drive to DisneyMGM
Studios (Tower of Terror, RockNRoller Coaster). Then, drive
to and park the car at Epcot (Spaceship Earth, Mission Space, Test Track),
then monorail to Magic Kingdom (Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Thunder
Mountain Railroad, Haunted Mansion, Mickey's Philharmagic). You won't
have time for fireworks, shows, or parades, but you will get
every penny of thrill squeezed from that one day ticket! One caveat:
you must do this on a day when MK is open until at least 11 p.m., midnight
is even better. No whining about sore feet, and be sure to eat on the
run! (Eating not recommended near your trips on Mission Space,
Tower of Terror, or Rock N Roller Coaster.) So, next time you're ready
for my version of the Disney Marathon, let me know!
Hi Lisa Sounds like fun! I haven't done more than three parks
in a day, but then I haven't felt the need to take the challenge. Next
time you do it, please consider writing and submitting a trip report to
the site. I'm sure that it would be a fun read!
Robin Wilkerson writes regarding Danny Dillion:
My family always made it a ritual trip when we went to MGMStudios
to see Danny and sing along. It was always a high point of our trip. Is
there a website or other way to express condolences to his family?
Hi Robin I haven't heard anything about a memorial at this time.
If you're planning a trip to Walt Disney World in the near future, you
could stop by the Rose & Crown to see his wife Pam perform and talk to
her there. If you won't be in the area for a while, you could try sending
a note to Pam c/o Walt Disney World Guest Communications, PO Box 10040,
Lake Buena Vista, FL 328300040
If I hear of any other way to contact his family, I'll let you know.
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Mark here.
Feedback for MousePlanet
Hello, My name is Jennifer and I really enjoy this site. I am writing
mainly because I am extremely upset with The Disney Company.
I was informed recently that Disneyland prices again rose.
The price is $53.00 dollars for a single park ticket! How can Disney
expect the average family to enjoy Disneyland. An average family of
4 with children over 10 are paying over $200 dollars just to enter the
park, not to mention the price of food which also rose.
How can they raise the price of a park where most of the rides were
closed? From January to March there was really no reason to go to the
park. I am only 21 years old and cannot believe that I am saying that
Disneyland is not what I remember. How can a theme park go from magic
and joy 10 years ago and turn into an empty park where parents have
to tell their children we cannot afford to go to Disneyland. Every
child has the right to go to Disneyland. I wish there was someway to
stop the greedy stock holders from wanting innocent Disney money. How
do they expect people to enjoy a park... a park that when they were
little they were allowed to enjoy.
I wish that they could remember what it was like to go to Disneyland
when it was magical. Disneyland wasn't just a theme park... it was a
whole different world. It was a place where a little girl really could
become a princess (not because her parents bought her a $50 princess
outfit, but because it felt magical).
I just wanted to to express my disapointment in Disney and this was
the only place that I thought someone would care. I would write a letter
to Eisner... but honestly he wouldn't care... l he cares about is millions
of dollars in his own pocket. I hope he knows that that money is the
money of hundreds of thousands of little wishes that has crushed with
Misty Fenn writes:
For many years I have watched Disneyland fall into evil hands. It's
been very painful to watch this. Disneyland has captured my heart, and
millions of others as well. The problem lies with the nonemotional
attachment with the people who run everything. To them it's just away
to make large sums of money. But for those of us who believe in the
magic of pixie dust and burried pirate treasure the magic only exist
in video clips of Walt Disney. He knew the true definition of good clean
family fun. With so many video clips it's easy to see just what he stood
Disneyland is much more then a theme park it's an American tradition
for many families. Walt knew the recipe for success and you should follow
his example. He may be gone but his legacy lives on. And in honor of
the man who started it all his dream needs to be respected. He is the
best example of thee American dream that the world has ever seen. His
spirt lives in thee imagination of all of us who dare to dream. Walk
ing down the streets of mainstreet you can almost see him pondering
his next adventure for all of us to see. I wonder how it is that I never
knowing Walt personaly could respect him so, because his dreams became
our dreams since he was so willing to share them.
As far as the Anniversary I believe Walt would of wanted more attractions
to thrill his guest. After all he knew how to think larger then life.
I think he would have also added on to fantasyland so more attractions
could coinside with the animated features. After all fantasy is an important
part of dreaming of thee impossible. I feel the magic needs to be put
back into Disneyland, it's our connection to our nations architural
hual history as well. For me Walt was a wonderful man he took great
pride in doing things the right way. As Walt steps into the history
books as agreat man let his endevers live on in greatness. In some ways
Walt was just like you and me, and that's what makes him unforgetable.
He laughed like we do,and he wanted to share that happiness with all
of us. And that is a beautiful setiment. So bring on the pixie dust
it's time for a change in the wind, says I.
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