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Questions, Comments, and Corrections

MousePlanet Mailbag for August 4, 2005

Compiled by Stephanie Wien, Mailbag Editor

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

In “Happy Birthday MousePlanet,” our July 19 article in honor of Disneyland's 50th anniversary and MousePlanet's 5th, MousePlanet staff members shared their Disney memories. Some of our readers have also written in with their memories and birthday wishes.

If you would like to share your Disney memories with us, send us the following information to our mailbag here:

  1. Impressions of Disney: What is your first recollection of Disney that you remember, or that made an impression for you?
  2. First Trip: What was special about your first trip to a Disney park? Does not have to be Disneyland, but if not, please specify. How old were you, and who did you go with?
  3. Most Memorable Visit: What is your singlemost memorable visit, time, or incident related to a Disney park visit?
  4. On MousePlanet: Please share with our readers your thoughts on MousePlanet and/or your involvement with it as we celebrate our Web site's 5th birthday!

Erica writes:

I really enjoyed reading all of your memories and stories about Disneyland and Disney World, that I wanted to take a moment and share mine. My impression of Disney as a whole is basically how it makes me feel inside. I know it sounds corny, but every time I hear a Disney song or see one of their commercials on TV or just recall a Disney memory, I get chills and tear up a little bit. Disney is really just happiness for me and I do enjoy all aspects of it.

My Disney memory is one that will forever be “tattooed” in my brain. I was 6 years old (and had already been to Disneyland a few times) and we drove from where we live here in Northern California down to Anaheim for the first time. It was also my first experience with L.A. traffic and to say the least, I was quite nervous with my Dad behind the wheel. He sped through that traffic like there was no tomorrow! To make a long story short, I ended up getting hives and had to get a shot in my “posterior.” I still had fun at Disneyland… once the welts went down!

I just recently became a diehard fan of MousePlanet. My aunt actually told me about your website because we are both fans of all things Disney. I love reading the Park Updates because it is so informative and current. My family and I are hoping to go to Disneyland in November (the week of Thanksgiving, but not the actual day of). Do any of you have any tips or ideas on a better time to go if that time isn't the best? The last time that I took a trip down to Disneyland was this past December and it was the more crowded than any other time I have gone, which has been in the summer months. I have never seen the park decorated for the holidays and it all was amazing! You all do a great job at informing your readers of what's going on. I have not gotten to take a look at all of the sections of the site, but believe me—I will!

Just on a side note, how do people become a part of MousePlanet? Do you have to reside close to Orlando or Anaheim? Thank you again for all that you do. Your dedication is clear when you see all that MousePlanet has to offer. Happy 5th Birthday—I hope that this site will be around for years to come.

Hi Dear Erica – Thank you for sharing your Disney memories with us. I'm glad you got over your hives! What a way to start a vacation. I hope you are able to make it to Disneyland in November with your family. You might also consider early December, after Thanksgiving. The crowds tend to be lower between the holiday periods.

As far as getting involved with MousePlanet, although many of our staff members do not live in Orlando or Anaheim, those who do have a distinct advantage. Although we do not have any openings for staff writers at this time, we always welcome submission ideas from our readers, whose articles we publish regularly. If you are interested in contributing an occasional article, you can send email to our Writer Inquiry page and we will be happy to send you the details.

Shannon Faraone writes:

I really enjoyed reading all the writers responses to the questions. It was great to hear so many people felt the way I do. Disney has not only been movies and TV memories growing up, but it has been a constant in my life when so many other things around me have changed. Only Walt could have such the genius to realize nothing is as comforting as tradition but also the genius to make subtle changes. I love California Screamin' as much for its wild ride as I do for the memories of Pirates. I will never forget going on that when I was 8 (it took that much convincing, my first trip I was 4 and stuck with Dumbo!). I could not understand how there was a restaurant floating in the middle of a river. How did you get to it? To this day, when my fiancˇ and I eat there, I look at the confusion of all the children's faces that pass by and remember how I felt snuggled in between my mom and dad. To top it all off, my fiancˇ Brian proposed in front of the castle there this Christmas and I celebrated (over and over all four days) my 21st birthday there with my family. I have gone through many milestones in Disneyland and I look forward to another fifty years of them!

Hi Shannon – I too am fascinated by the magic of the Blue Bayou, where it's always a clear and pleasant night, no matter what the weather is outside. Best wishes on your upcoming nuptials.

Ken Smith writes:

I was born in (East) LA in 1966. My mother assures me that I went to DL for the very first time in the spring of 1967. Disneyland holds the distinction of being two of my oldest memories. I remember one of the mermaids floating in the water during the submarine ride and the pirate skull at the very beginning of Pirates of the Caribbean. In my memory book, my mom had placed 4 photos from a trip in 1969 of it's a small world, the carousel, the Snow White grotto statues and of Mickey holding my hand on Main Street. (I've got a VERY perplexed look on my face in this picture.)

In January 1994, I returned on my own as an adult as part of a cartoonist's convention. We arrived the day after the Northridge Quake, those of us still on East Coast time were up in the hotel bar at 4am racing water glasses across table tops during the aftershocks. Several of us carpooled up to DL just before the convention actually got started. We parked in the 'Bambi' row I believe, almost directly in front of the gates and about where the big 'C' is now. The park was very uncrowded and it was one of the best days I've ever had at any park. We rode the sky buckets, submarines and people mover before they were removed and we also got treated to the soft opening of Roger Rabbit's Toon Car Spin. I also got an updated photo with Mickey in Toontown…surprisingly, he's gotten a lot shorter over the years since my '69 photo.

Arnold van Beverhoudt Jr. writes:

Happy Birthday to MousePlanet!

I was inspired by the thoughts and memories of the MousePlanet staff on the occasion of your 5th birthday to put together my own recollections based on Alex Stroup's outline. I hope you can include this in an upcoming Mailbag or as a guest article.

Impressions of Disney – My earliest recollection of exposure to Walt Disney's creative talent was, at the age of 4 or 5 (1954-55), having my mother read to me the Golden Books version of Dumbo. I have a very vague recollection of the scene where Dumbo and his mother were separated and put on the train to go to the next circus stop. My mother sometimes still asks me if I remember when she read that story to me and I cried because I was sad that Dumbo and his mother had been separated.

I also remember watching the Mickey Mouse Club and Davy Crockett on our black and white TV set. Davy Crockett was a favorite of mine, and one Christmas I received a Davy Crockett costume, which I frequently wore. For a long time after, I would seldom be seen without my Davy Crockett raccoon tail hat. In later years, the various variations of the Wonderful World of Disney TV show always kept me connected to Walt Disney and his imaginative creations.

First Trip – Surprisingly, my first trip to a Disney theme park didn't come until I was 22 years old (1972) and already graduated from college. I invited my younger brother, Steven, to go with me on a 2-week vacation to Florida. We stayed with family friends in Miami and, among the other excursions, we went on a 2-day Grey Lines tour of the Kennedy Space Center and Walt Disney World. At the time, Disney World consisted of only the Magic Kingdom, but we enjoyed the park's many attractions and rides. Favorites were the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea submarine ride and the Jungle Cruise.

Most Memorable Visit – It would be 10 years before I again visited a Disney theme park. By that time, my wife, Helena, and I had been married 8 years and we had a 5-year old daughter, Selene. I don't think I can pick out one specific visit that was “most memorable,” but instead have a sense that our infrequent trips to Disney World and Disneyland represented or coincided with milestones in our lives. That first (1982) visit to Disney World with Helena and Selene was our first family vacation together off our home island of St. Thomas. Selene was at an age when she had just completed her first year of school (pre-kindergarten) and could appreciate the magic of the rides and other attractions at the park. That was followed, 3 years later (1985) by our first and, so far, only visit to Disneyland. On this trip, we had the opportunity to stay in the park into the night and enjoyed the spectacle of the Main Street Electrical Parade for the first time.

The summer of 1989 marked personal highs and lows for us. This trip to Disney World marked our first time staying on-property and added greatly to our enjoyment of the parks. But only a few months after we returned home, Hurricane Hugo struck St. Thomas, causing major damage to our home. That was a very traumatic event for Helena, Selene, and I.

By the time of our next (1992) visit to Disney World, Selene was a 15-year old teenager and beginning to develop a sense of her future career goals in an artistic field. So, we signed her up for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Disney Animation Studios at Disney-MGM Studios. This was also the first of our now-traditional Christmas-time visits to Disney World, and this added a whole new dimension to our enjoyment of the parks and their attractions.

Our 1997 visit coincided with another milestone in Selene's life, as she was then a college student studying for a degree in graphic design. Helena and I flew up to Orlando from St. Thomas, and Selene met us at the airport after her shorter flight from Ft. Lauderdale. To date, this has been our last visit to a Disney theme park with Selene, as she's now married and starting a family of her own.

However, Helena and I have continued to visit Disney World, enjoying Christmas-time at the parks in 2003 and 2004 as an “empty nest” couple. I'm planning to retire in April 2006, and Helena and I are considering a post-retirement trip to Disneyland in May 2006 to try to get in on the tail end of that park's 50th Anniversary celebration. Also, as I'm writing this in July 2005, Selene is (any day now) expecting our first grandchild, which opens up “a whole new world” of possibilities for Helena and I to visit and enjoy the Disney theme parks in our new role as retired grandparents.

On MousePlanet – It's been about 3 years now since I first found the MousePlanet Web site, and it has become an important part of my daily routine. During my workday lunch breaks, I catch up on the daily articles and trip reports as I eat my “brown bag” lunch and unwind from the stresses of the work day. Although I've never met and rarely corresponded with the MousePlanet staff of writers, they've grown to be long-distance friends who help me to—as Mike Scopa so aptly puts it—get into the “Disney Zone.” On weekends, with no new MousePlanet articles to read, I often put on a Disney park or soundtrack music CD to keep me in the “Zone.” Mike's contribution to your 5th anniversary article captured exactly why I've grown to be almost fanatically interested in the goings on at the Disney theme parks. As he put it, “…I knew that I had found the one place on Earth I could depend on to release me from the cares of everyday life.” While at Walt Disney World or Disneyland, you can forget about work, personal problems, health issues, and all the other cares of the everyday world. Like Mike, during the 10-day visit to Disney World that Helena and I enjoyed in December 2003, we completely lost track of what day of the week it was. All we were aware of was that we were having a wonderful time—we were in the “Disney Zone.”

The availability of MousePlanet has since helped me to make that realization. So, “Thanks!” to the MousePlanet staff, and congratulations on your 5th Birthday! Here's to many more years spreading the Disney Magic and bringing new people into the “Disney Zone!”

Hi Arnold – Thank you for the wonderful letter and sharing your memories with us. Best wishes on your retirement. I hope you will share your experiences with your new grandchild with us when the time comes.

Feedback for Kevin Krock

Our Home Theater & Entertainment editor Kevin Krock responds to a question about a DVD release for Disneyland's 50th Anniversary:

Russell Nagata writes:

Do you know what happened to the Disneyland—The Secrets, Stories and Magic of the Happiest Place on Earth DVD? It was to be released on July 12, 2005. I ordered it from and they put the release date as Jan. 1, 2010. It seems odd to advertise a DVD 5 years in advance. The DVD is a Disneyland 50th Anniversary edition. By that 1/1/2010 it will be past Disneyland's 54th Birthday.

Hi Hi Russell – Yes, July 12th came and went without any Disney home video recognition of Disneyland's 50th anniversary, even though Disney had announced the title you mentioned. Interestingly enough, it was quietly pulled from the electronic press release, and there is no reference to it on Disney's DVD release schedule or press kit site. I asked one of my contacts, and his reply was that it could have been pulled for any number of reasons, such as technical flaws, legal hang ups, etc. It could also be that they wanted to include some of the 50th anniversary footage shot during the ceremony on the 17th, but that is just one of my hopes…

From what I can tell from other sources, the DVD will be released some time later this year, but there is no release date at this time. So, until then, we'll all have to wait patiently.

Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Kevin Krock 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.



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