MousePlanet Mailbag for June 2, 2005
We receive considerable feedback regarding our site. Although we cannot
publish them all, the following may be of interest to our readers.
Today's Mailbag is full of comments and insights for Mark Goldhaber regarding
Disney's Magical Express complimentary shuttle service for Walt Disney
of it's Magical, some of it's Tragical from the May 23 WDW Park
Update), Disney President Robert Iger (Meet
the New Boss May 11), and the unofficial Gay Days event at WDW
Day/Gay Days 2005 to visit Walt Disney World this weekend from
May 31 WDW Park Update).
Debbie Johns writes:
We just returned from WDW and used the Magical Express from our home
airport and back home again at the end of our trip. It was flawless!
We arrived Friday afternoon, checked in at the hotel and went to Epcot.
When we returned that evening our bags were waiting in our room. When
leaving on Tuesday, we went out, got our boarding passes, they tagged
our luggage and five minutes later boarded our bus. No hassles getting
to the airport, lugging bags around, etc. One note thoughpeople
need to realize that whatever bags they put under the bus, they pick
up at their resort.
Michelle Gorman writes:
We just returned from a trip to WDW and used Magical Express. We had
two minor issues with the service. One was that we never received our
luggage tags in the mailnot a problem, since we were only using
carryon bags. The other issue we had was mentioned in your park
update this weekthe multiple calls to DME to confirm our return
trip. When we arrived at the airport, the representative at the checkin
desk confirmed our return flight. The next day, we received voicemail
from DME asking for our return flight information because they didn't
have it on file. I called and gave them the information. The next day,
we received the confirmation slip under our hotel room door, and the
return flight information was missing. However, the next morning when
we went to meet the bus, they were expecting us, so one of the calls/confirmations
must have gone through successfully. Other than that, the whole process
was very smooth.
Ryan Hama writes:
Just returned from a trip to WDW
though we left on our trip on
May 11 without the luggage tags, we were greeted in the terminal and
provided detailed instructions to either claim our bags or head straight
to the bus checkin and describe our luggage to the host. We opted
to claim our own luggage, after hearing of so many problems, and taking
them to the bus checkin.
After the 30 minutes to get our luggage and wheel them to the DME area,
we waited less than five minutes while the associate checked our reservation
and provided our bus transfers
waited then five minutes
in line, the boarded a bus and waited another 10 minutes to get the
clearance from Disney for our driver to depart.
took about 30 minutes to drive to the Pop Century hotel first, but the
driver had put on a timeconsuming video on the monitors. After
another stop (can't remember the next hotel) we were on our way to the
Animal Kingdom Lodge. Arrived at the hotel after another 15 minutes
all in all it took approx two and a half hours from stepping off the
plane to get to our hotel.
I do have to tell you that we stayed at two different hotels during
the stay (first to AKL then to Grand Floridian), so I was also concerned
that we would be stranded for our trip back.
Day before checkout, I called DME and had to provide our outbound flight
info (fifth time)
checkout day on May 19, we checked into our
flight on Delta Song. This was so great
no more luggage to worry
about the rest of the day.
Lastly, we found out that FedEx left two envelopes, the day after we
left, with our DME luggage tags. One set was for our AKL reservations
and another was for the GF reservations
what a waste to get them
afterwards, but also that we received two.
All in all, things could have been logistically better, but for free
I am not going to complain.
Peter Jesse writes:
Just wanted to drop a line about Disney's Magical Express. I am regular
visitor to MousePlanet and several other Disney boards and have heard
quite a few horror stories about this service, so I wanted to share
I just returned yesterday from a travel agent education program at
WDW. We all used the Magical Express service. My flight arrived at 11:45
a.m., I was on a bus by 12:15 p.m. and at the resort by 1:15 p.m. It
was all quite seamless. My luggage was in my room when I returned at
7:30 p.m. or so (couldn't say when it got there). When I checked out,
I was able to use the Resort Checkin Service, so said goodbye
to my bag at 8:00 a.m. and didn't see it again until 11 p.m. in Boston.
The bus arrived right on schedule for the return trip to the airport.
Couldn't have been any better.
Just to show that not everything goes smoothly, my roommate for the
week came in from a different part of the country. He got to the resort
smoothly, but as of 7:30 p.m., his bag was not in the room. He called
the front desk, who directed him to the Magical Express staff. He alerted
them to the situation and they began the search. The front desk manager
of the resort, when alerted to the situation, was certain the bag would
be located that night, but offered to let my roommate buy some clothes
in the resort shop for the next day just in case and he would remove
the charge from the room bill. The bag, it turns out, was located and
delivered to our room at 2:30 a.m. (at my roommate's request). Which
just goes to show that, even when problems do arise, Disney rises to
the occasion to try to make it right.
Obviously many folks have had problems which were not resolved so quickly
or agreeably, but I'm sure they are in the increasingly large minority.
Just thought you would appreciate some recent feedback.
I just got back from my WDW vacation (May 2228) and had no problems
with the Magical Express service. We waiting about five minutes for
our bus and maybe 10 to 15 minutes after boarding the bus for more guests.
We arrived at our hotel around 10 a.m. and didn't go back to it until
1 a.m. We were a party of five adults and had two rooms so at first
we thought our luggage didn't arrive because our three bags were not
in our room but it was all in our party's adjoining room.
Getting back to the airport was a little different than I expected.
We received our two departure notices and one had three of us on it
with our flight info and departure pickup time, the other had
two guests on it but no info. I called the number on the sheet was directly
connected and told the operator the two guests info, he gave me a conformation
number and said it was all set. Since we were flying out Southwest and
they were not signed on for Disney's service we could not check in at
the hotel but at the airport and our bags were to go back to the airport
with us on our bus. A Disney Cruise line bus picked us up at the hotel
with our bags and took us to the airport. All of our luggage did arrive
back in Philadelphia with us. There may have been some small issues
getting back but not a major problem or inconvenience for any of us.
Regarding Robert Iger, Frank Wierenga writes (and begins a very
long email exchange with Mark):
It's not really a big thing but you mentioned that Iger is CEOelect
in your article today. If you check out the official filing with the
SEC, Disney states that Iger and Eisner are CoCEOs. This seems
to me to be a fairly significant slap at Eisner and equal significant
endorsement of Iger. But no one seems to have caught on to this as Iger
is repeatedly referred to as the CEO elect, or CEO designate or some
Like I said, really its not all that big a deal but it isn't accurate.
Hi Frank According the form 8K filed back in March, On
March 12, 2005, the Board of Directors of the Registrant unanimously selected
Robert A. Iger, currently President and Chief Operating Officer of the
Registrant, to become Chief Executive Officer of the Registrant, effective
October 1, 2005. Michael D. Eisner, the current Chief Executive Officer
and a Director of the Registrant, will step down as Chief Executive Officer
effective September 30, 2005. During the transition period, Messrs. Iger
and Eisner will share Chief Executive Officer duties.
This says that, while they're sharing duties, Iger won't become CEO until
October 1, hence he is the CEOelect. If there was a subsequent filing
that changed this status, I didn't see it. Could you point it out to me,
please? I've got a feature about Iger to be published on Wednesday, and
I'd like to make sure that I didn't miss any facts. I've already got to
make changes based on the lawsuit filed by Stan and Roy today, so as long
as I have the story open, I can make other changes, as well.
As far as I know there are no other filings. I guess the matter is
subject to interpretation. I read sharing CEO duties as a slap at Eisner
and an endorsement for Iger. The way I read the filing, Iger assumes
sole CEO duties at the end of September. But that's just one persona
How about Roy Disney's lawsuit?
I look forward to reading your article.
PS: One last thought about the CEO issue. Iger eliminated the Corporate
Strategic planning group. This was seen as being a group near and dear
to Eisner's heart. Perhaps Eisner allowed Iger to eliminate this group,
perhaps Iger had the power to do so on his own. If the later is the
case, then it would argue that he has equal standing with Eisner. Who
knows for sure though?
Frank I definitely believe that Iger is getting a chance to start
running the show. I'm thinking (though I didn't put it in the article)
that the reason that Eisner is being allowed to stay through September
30 is to bring it to an even year before the end of his contract and,
perhaps more importantly, to allow him to preside over the opening of
Hong Kong Disneyland. The Corporate Strategic Planning Division (or Business
Prevention Department ) is definitely a sign of Iger making changes.
The division (and its head, Peter Murphy) were favorites of Eisner and
his chief enforcers. I'll leave it for the article to go into more detail.
As to Roy & Stan's lawsuit, I kind of agree with Jim Hill, that it's too
little, too late. Kind of a waaah, you outsmarted us! kind
of thing. I think that it's highly unlikely that it will go anywhere.
I'm not certain that the board actually had any requirements to say anything
publicly, and if Roy & Stan (actually, more to the point, I think that
it's really Stan & RoyI'm pretty certain that Stan is the one behind
this scorchedearth policy) are making this effort, it's pretty certain
that they think that they have no other options to attempt to remain relevant
in the company. (Though they may have been wrong, depending on Iger's
outlook.) I also think that it's interesting that the suit doesn't name
Matschullat, Langhammer, Wilson orespeciallyBryson. We'll
just have to wait and see what happens. Thanks for writing, Mark
I agree that the suit is illtimed. Disney of course is trying
to portray the suit as an attack on performance, which it isn't of course.
It is strange that the suit did not some Board members, particularly
Wilson, who as a long timer would seem to be a likely target. I'll have
to search some of the legal sites and see if I can't find a copy of
the suit. I'll bet there is a heck of a story there some where.
I can't help but think that Iger may have reached out to Roy Disney,
or perhaps other members of the Disney family, at some point in the
future. After his reaching out to Jobs/Pixar and Lucas, it isn't a stretch
to think that he may have made an attempt to reach out to the Disney's.
Now of course, no way will Iger make any such attempt.
Then again, that may be why the suit has come about. Perhaps Stan and
Roy thought that maybe Iger would make an effort towards then and were
rebuffed. Who knows.
One last point, I think you may be right that the suit is Stan's doing
more so than Roy. Wish I'd been a fly on the wall during those conversations.
Frank I'm less surprised about Wilson than I am about Bryson.
Think about it. He was the chair of the nominating committee that told
Roy that he wasn't being renominated. He was considered an independent
director even though his wife made $1.35 million working for Lifetime
(which is partowned by Disney), while Gold was deemed nonindependent
because his daughter (who wasn't even living at home) made $85,000 working
for Disney Consumer Products. Not to mention the whole Edison International
Field issue that NOBODY has mentioned. According to Jim Hill, Iger had
already reached out to Roy to invite him to participate in the July 17
festivities at Disneyland. Roy turned him down. Boy, that sounds even
more petty, now. Of course, acting hurt and keeping his distance
may have just been a convenient excuse for not being there when he really
want to race in his final TransPac yacht race, which ends in Hawaii on
July 17. We'll have to wait and see how this turns out. Let me know if
you find anything on those legal sites.
Considering just how screwed up everything is with Disney these days,
it's hard to know who is angry with whom. I'ts even harder to try and
figure out what is motivating people. Time will tell I guess.
If I find something in a Web site, I'll let you know.
Frank I just finished going through the documents. First off,
I think that it's a very tenuous case to try to prove liability, and an
even tougher case to try to get the remedies that they're looking for.
Secondly, I had some interesting thoughts about this paragraph of the
complaint: 29. When directors of a Delaware corporation communicate
publicly or directly with stockholders about corporate matters, the sine
qua non of directors' fiduciary duties is honesty, and they are obligated
to disclose all material information to stockholders. So, when Eisner
went on Larry King and said that things were hunkydory with Ovitz,
while the board knew that they were trying to get rid of him, what was
that? And who complained? And who looked for what remedy?
I have a feeling that we'll be hearing case dismissed not
too far in the future. Thanks for passing the docs along. Hope you enjoyed
You are right about the case. Executives say many things just to protect
ongoing business interests. Still, at some point there is a line that
could be crossed into outright depict. Proving that, well, I think Roy
and Stan have their work cut out for them.
Liked your article a lot. I share your thoughts that Iger may still
prove to be his own man once Eisner is out of the picture. Time will
Kevin Page writes:
Great article. I obviously know nothing about Iger except what you
read and hear over the internet.
But my gut impression of Iger is a man who is a survivor.
While all the other people with any brains were run out of the company
by Eisner's ego, Iger seemed to know how to get by without ruffling
feathers and doing his job.
Now that he has the job he wanted, he can be his own man. Sort
of like appeasing the dictator, even though you believed in democracy,
knowing that if you go along with the bad stuff for the time being,
in the long run you can do more good than fighting with the emperor
and getting run out of town.
Like you, I watch with a cautious eye, but the things he has done,
so far so good. I don't think any of use felt we could say that we would
feel this way one year ago.
I also agree, while it would be nice to have a creative guy at the
top with Iger, as long as Iger knows and trusts the people who creative
the magic, that's all that is needed. He seems to be the type of person
who doesn't need to be in on every decision and run roughshod all over
A CEO has to be businessman, and as long as a businessman let's the
people who know how to do their jobs, actually do their job, everything
will fall into place.
Hi Kevin Thanks for your note. It's going to be interesting to
watch over the next few months, especially when then Save Disney lawsuit
goes poof later this year. I don't see how they can possibly
succeed. And even if they did, what would they get? Eisner spending more
time as CEO! And no more guarantee of his stepping down off of the
board when his term is up! (If they void the whole form 8K with
Iger's election, his promise in writing is voided, too.) I think that
Stan has gotten into a similar phalluswaving contest with Eisner
as already has happened with Eisner and Steve Jobs. And now, it's at the
same scorchedearth* state. If he doesn't get his ego in check, it's
just going to blow up in his face even worse.
Can't wait to see what happens next. Thanks for writing.
[*Scorchedearth policy: The policy of devastating
all land and buildings in the course of advancing or retreating troops
so as to leave nothing salvageable to the enemy.]
I was hoping that the SaveDisney thing was mainly to get rid of the
directors, I didn't see them mentioning replacing Iger, but what the
heck do I really know :)
Keep up the good work.
Their actual request is:
WHEREFORE, Shamrock, Disney and Gold respectfully request that this
Court enter an Order:
(i) Voiding the 2005 election of directors;
(ii) Compelling the Company to hold another election for directors
after full and fair disclosure of all material facts about the CEO selection
(iii) Enjoining Defendants from changing either Eisner's or Iger's
compensation or employment contracts;
(iv) Awarding costs and expenses incurred by Plaintiffs in connection
with this action; and
(v) Granting such further and other relief as this Court shall deem
Tim Landry writes:
Like your review of Iger, I see some glimmers of hope. When they closed
down their visual effects [VFX] division (at which time I lost my job),
it was a sad and final signal that Disney was no longer in the business
of magic. Imagineering was stripped to nothing. Research & Development
went away along with all the other massive layoffs. Disney under Eisner
alienated nearly the entire creative community, many never to return.
Even up to today in the Disneyland 50th film, Donald Duck was outsourced.
And you still can't get them to green light anything cool to save their
But there are occasional glimmers of hope. Just saw the new parade
stuff and fireworks and spiffy paint job at Disneyland last night. Hints
of nifty things on the drawing board at WDI [Walt Disney Imagineering].
If they rebuild a VFX (visual effects) division it will be the
signal that Disney management finally gets it.
I'm not holding my breath.
Hi Tim It is kind of sad. Kind of like the way that they forced
WDI to bid on the construction of the Stitch's Great Escape attraction
if they wanted to build it themselves. Suddenly, they found themselves
trying to build a $25 million attraction on a $10 million budget. No wonder
it sucks. (Though rumor was that they were counting on an infusion of
funds a la Alien Encounter v 1.0 and Journey Into Your Imagination v 2.0
if it sucked bad enough. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like they got
the whole additional $5 million that they were promised yet.) Even the
animation work on Stitch had to be contracted out, because they had just
shut down the Florida animation studio and fired all of the animators!
I'm hopeful that things will come back under Iger. We won't really have
a solid indication for several months yet, though I'm taking the changes
so far as a positive sign. Of course, I am definitely looking forward
to heading west to see all of the new stuff at Disneyland in August. Should
be a fun trip.
By the way, kudos on your body of work. I've probably only seen a fraction
of the films that you've worked on, but I've enjoyed the ones that I have.
Just read about the new CEO. Oh boy, here we go again? I hope he is
not another Michael. However we should give the guy a chance. Running
Disney isn't a ride in the park. Like you said, this Disney company
isn't just the park and movies. If Uncle Walt were alive today he would
be 104 years old, and I think he would have trouble running the company.
It isn't easy trying to please a public that has grown up in a world
that has Internet, cell phones and electric cars. I wish the new CEO
my best wishes and to remind him that this isn't his play toy and that
Disney doesn't belong to him alone, but to us all.
A cast member writes:
Thank you, Mark! Your piece on Bob Iger was certainly a breath of fresh
air. I have only dealt with him personally once, briefly, and under
unusual circumstances, but he seemed like a very competent, professional
person. There is far too much negativity, in my view, among the Internet
communities of Disney fans. It seems to me (just from observing the
last year) that not only your articles, but MousePlanet as a whole is
moving towards the type of professional, reasoned reporting of factual
information that one usually attributes to accredited journalists. That
is something that has been sorely lacking in the realm of unofficial
Disney fan sites. Thanks for respecting the intelligence of your readers.
M. Bell writes:
I have known Bob Iger off and on since 1978 when I first was employed
at ABC as a videotape editor. All I can tell you is on a personal level
he is the same person now as he was thenbright, thoughtful, funny
and the right person with the right experience to be running this rather
large company. There is not anyone at Disney or outside of Disney who
comes close to his experience. When you talk to him you know he gets
it. He even mentioned to me recently about an experience he had
recently finding out by himself on the streets of China the ease he
had buying bootlegged Disney videos. So he is a handson guy. Granted,
I may be slightly influenced in my feelings as I work for ABC and have
known Bob somewhat. But let me tell you from a workforce employee. He
is the right person for the job. My money is on him hands down.
Regarding Mark's plans to write an article about Gay Day(s), Mark
Regarding your in favor or against the posting of Gay Days
at Disneyworld, I find it ludicrous that you would even post a 'vote'
on this site. Are you catering to the conservative crowd already? Are
you stuck in the 20th century? Come onthis type of questioning
smacks of segregation, which isn't the Disney I care to know. I will
think twice about reading an article written by you in the future.
Janet Smith writes:
I do not think that a lot of time should be spent going over plans
for Gay Days. Although WDW does recognize the event I do not believe
it is an event that is planned or sanctioned by Disney. To me Disney
is a family place. Whatever your opinion is on the issue, unless it
is an official Disney or MousePlanet event I don't think you should
spend a lot of space on it.
Janet writes again:
I emailed you earlier regarding your upcoming article on Gay Day. In
the past you have mentioned the week and it is on your planning section
as well as Disney's Web site for planning purposes. I do appreciate
this since when I am planning our trips I do not want it to coincide
with these days. On the other hand I also try to plan my trip around
any major event that is happening at Disney so the crowds are down.
What I do no appreciate is an article that is glorifying the gay lifestyle
or an article that is a debate about whether being gay is morally wrong.
I have my opinion on the issue as well as most people in America. The
chance of either of us changing each others mind is slim. I have had
many gay friends but they know I do not approve of such a lifestyle
choice. When I read MousePlanet daily, I come for a dose of the mouse
which is a happy feeling not to discuss a hot button issue of the day.
There a many Web sites on the web that I can go to that does that better.
Please go back to what you do best which is talk about Disney.
Jose B. writes:
I've been reading your Web site since way back. I'm a bit disturb about
these Gay Days that is being promoted. I have nothing against gay people
but having this such event where kids go and have fun, I'm sorry to
say is wrong... I don't like the idea and don't like the idea of you
writing an article of this event. I wish Disney would take a stand on
this but you know how the publicity would be. Is there a way to ban
Gay Days at Disney world and Disneyland? Thank you
David B. writes:
I don't think that it's appropriate for you to solicit comments about
whether readers are for or against Gay Days at Walt Disney World. By
doing so you're either showing your own bias against gay people and
their right to be treated equally, or you're showing complicity for
the prejudice and hate that you're encouraging from others.
It's like asking the readers to tell you if they like the idea of black
people or Jews being at the theme parks. By asking for comments on Gay
Days, all you're doing is providing an occasion for the bigots to heap
a little more scorn upon gay people again. You already know that you'll
be getting those kind of comments. Why encourage them, unless you think
there's nothing wrong with them?
There are a lot of young readers who read your articles. Some of them
are either gay or are questioning their sexual identities. Imagine how
hurtful the hostile language you're encouraging must be for them. You're
giving them a big helping of the You don't belong around decent
people message they must deal with in a hundred other venues.
Why turn your feelgood Web site into another source for such an
Surely you would never ask readers if they like the idea of the Night
of Joy events, or raise issues about whether Christians have a right
to hold such events at a park that represents good will toward all.
You wouldn't do that because you don't wish to stir up a lot of ill
feelings between Christians and those whom they have identified as their
enemies. It's odd that you don't see your encouragement for people to
weigh in on how they feel about gay people as the same sort of tacit
endorsement of prejudice and hate.
Thoughts, questions, or comments for Mark specifically?
Contact him here.
You can also contact the Mailbag editor 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.
Did you read something interesting (good or bad) on MousePlanet, or here in the Mailbag? We'd love to hear from you! Send your comments to the Mailbag here.
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.
January: 6, 13, 20, 27
February: 3, 10, 17
March: 10, 17, 31
April: 14, 21, 28
June: 2, 9, 30
July: 7, 28
August: 4, 11, 18, 25
September: 4, 15, 22, 29
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,
October: 14, 21, 28
November: 4, 18
December: 2, 9
September: 4, 18
August: 21, 28
July: 10, 17, 24, 31
May: 22, 29
April: 10, 24
March: 6, 13, 27
February: 13, 20
January: 9, 16, 30
December: 5, 12,
Help us continue to bring you fresh daily news about Disney
and its theme parks.