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Questions, Comments, and Corrections

MousePlanet Mailbag for September 15, 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.

Feedback for Mark Goldhaber

Staff writer and Walt Disney World Park Update editor Mark Goldhaber answers some Walt Disney World questions. First, Peggy Wolny writes:

Mark, my husband and I are planning our first trip to Disney World. We have been to Disneyland several times, but wanted to experience Disney World also. We are looking at going February or March of 2006. Can you give me advice on when the best time would be to visit. We had been to Disneyland several times in early March and the crowds were very manageable. This year we hit Disneyland during spring break and what a zoo. I am not familiar with when the east coast schools have spring break and want to try to avoid that time if possible. Any advise you can give us would be appreciated. I love MousePlanet, I make a point to read it every day. It has been very helpful in our trips to California in the past. I look forward to reading more about Disney World this year also.

Hi Peggy – Thanks for your kind words about MousePlanet. During February and March, crowds are generally low. Easter won't be until April next year, so that won't figure into the calculations. Crowd levels are always up during Presidents' Week, so you'll want to avoid that. Otherwise, the parks should be fairly quiet. Of course, that also means that the hours will be shorter. How long are you planning to stay? Where will you be traveling from? What are your priorities for your trip? All of these questions play into the best choice of date. I'm assuming that you're locked into the February/March time frame due to outside influences, so I won't try to talk you into April.

You may also want to consider joining our MousePad discussion forums. We have many forum members with different points of view, which may help you in your quest to find well-reasoned answers to your questions. Thanks for writing!

Oops, I almost forgot to mention that if you're locked into those months, you may want to consider the first half of February for financial reasons. Hotel rates jump from Value Season to Peak Season midweek right before Presidents' Week. Peak Season will start on February 16 next year. If you arrive on or before February 15, you will be able to get a rate of $79 per night at a Value Resort, for example, as opposed to $115 per night if you arrive on or after February 16. Rates for Moderate, Deluxe and Home Away From Home resorts will have similar price jumps.


Cindy writes:

Do you know who I could write to at Disney regarding how lame Pleasure Island has become? It seems that each time we go the level of entertainment gets lower and lower. When we first went there were dancers, bands playing at outside stages, a scantily dressed girl pouring test-tube shooters down a channel in a block of ice, Jell-O shots sold in the street—it was a blast! Eventually, over the years, each time we've seen less and less of these type of things. We go down a couple of times a year, and on our last trip the place was open to everyone including kids, the clubs had outdoor bars to entice the browsers, and that was it. Oh, and I almost forgot the entirely unexciting 5-minute video "celebration" at midnight. It's not even worth going anymore.

I understand that Disney is trying to cut back on expenses, but is it good business to cut back so much that people don't see much reason to go and spend their money there? They probably figure they're selling drinks to people who don't want to pay admission and who come by to see what's going on, but trust me, those people won't be back. They might get by on this current strategy for a year or two, but when people come back to vacation there again they won't waste their money on Pleasure Island. I know we won't. They need to put me in charge of the place. Where's the party?

Hi Cindy – I'm kind of disappointed at some of the changes at Pleasure Island, as well. In trying to compete with Universal CityWalk, they've lost a good part of the unique atmosphere that they originally created. You can contact Walt Disney World Guest Communications with your concerns at:

Walt Disney World Guest Communications
PO Box 10040
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-0040
or via email at wdw.guest.communications@disneyworld.com


Matt Muller writes:

Mark, let me first of all say that I love your site. On my past few trips to Disney World I have seen the "Wishes" fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom. It is by far the best fireworks show I have ever seen, and it literally brought tears to my eyes after it brought back so many memories I have had in the parks with my family over the years.

My question is, What is the song that they play during the "Wishes" fireworks show? Is there an album I can buy with this song and where can I get it? It is the song that has the "star light, star bright" poem. I figure if anyone could help me with this question, it would be you. If you have any advice or if you already know the answer, Please email me and let me know. I appreciate your time, and once again, great job on the web site. Thanks a bunch.

Hi Matt – The song is called, of course, "Wishes." It is available on the Wishes soundtrack CD. You can get it via Walt Disney World Mail Order (wdw.mail.order@disneyworld.com or 407-363-6200). The SKU, in case they ask for it, is 050086109272. Enjoy!

[Editor: The song is also available on the Disney Wishes! CD as performed by Peabo Bryson and Kimberley Locke. It is available wherever Disney music is sold, including online outlets such as Amazon.com. Read the MousePlanet review of the Disney Wishes! CD here.]


Sharon writes:

Greetings from the land Down Under. I usually travel from Sydney, Australia every Halloween to spend time at either Disneyland, Walt Disney World or Tokyo Disneyland (usually it is all 3 parks, sometimes only 2 parks). I love the Haunted Mansion/Nightmare overlay that Disneyland in CA and Tokyo do for Halloween and Christmas, and I've heard rumours that Walt Disney World's Mansion will be getting it this year. The reason I ask is that due to money and time I was originally going to have to miss Walt Disney World (& visit Tokyo & Disneyland in CA only), but if there is to be an overlay I will move heaven and earth to get to Florida. Have you heard anything? Many, many thanks.

Hi Sharon – I haven't heard anything about a Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay this year. I did just receive a note from a source stating that the Mansion will go down for a refurbishment shortly, but he had no details beyond that. It could very well just be a little TLC, or maybe the addition of the "floating Leota ball" effect that was recently added in California. I'm not sure when more details will be available, either. Sorry that I can't be of more help.


Joyce writes:

We are planning a trip to Walt Disney World December 4 to 9, 2005 and I noticed on your website that the Pop Warner Superbowl is scheduled at the same time. Do you know how that affects the crowds in the parks? We were looking for a quiet "two of us trip" this year since it is the first time the hubby and I are going with out the kids. Thanks for any info you can give us.

Hi Joyce – The "Pop Warner Effect" is felt more at the Wide World of Sports and the All-Star Resorts (mostly All-Star Sports) than anywhere else on property. The Studios might be affected by a cheer competition, but I'm not certain. The kids will be in the parks more and more as the week goes on (as teams are eliminated). Sounds like you'll be arriving just as MouseFest ends. Sorry we won't overlap. Have a great trip!


Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Mark here.

Feedback for Kevin Krock

Home Theater and Entertainment editor Kevin Krock answers a letter regarding the next series of Walt Disney Treasures DVDs. Jeff Medeiros writes:

Any word on this years crop of releases? I read an article where it was rumored that 'Ben & Me' would be showing up on DVD. Seeing as this was originally attached to the True-Life Adventures it seems natural to speculate we might be seeing the whole set.

Hi Jeff – Based on what I have gathered, here's what is due for Wave 5 of the Walt Disney Treasures:

  • The Chronological Donald, Volume 2
  • Disney Rarities (one-shot cartoons and some of Walt's silent Alice comedies from the 1920s)
  • Legendary Heroes: Elfego Baca and the Swamp Fox
  • Spin and Marty (the entire "The Adventures of Spin and Marty" serial from the first season of "The Mickey Mouse Club")

This was all recently confirmed on Leonard Maltin's Web site (link). Thanks for taking the time to write!


Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Kevin here.

Feedback for Alex Stroup

MousePlanet publisher Alex Stroup response to a query regarding the balance of coverage for Disneyland versus Walt Disney World. Anthony writes:

Just my perception but it seems like the California parks get ripped a bit more when things go sour. Florida seems to have multiple incidents this year as well yet , not as much news and updates as the crash. Is there a majority of column writers in California or primarily in Florida?

Also, Petals was actually replaced by Club Libby Lu, and Mainspring, the old sunglass store is being replaced by Anne Geddes and ICON.

Hi Anthony – While it is the case that our staff is centered more around Disneyland than Walt Disney World, we do have several writers who would do their best to cover any major incidents at Walt Disney World, even if we wouldn't be able to put anybody quickly on site as we can with Disneyland.

If there is a bias, I think it is more towards mechanical failure over bodily failure. Walt Disney World has had several high-profile deaths this year, and we have reported on them. However, each occurred in the absence of any indication that a Disney attraction failed or policy ignored. When you have tens of thousands of people gathered in one place, you're going to occasionally have one of them die. This is not to say that none can be laid at the feet of Disney, but that barring any additional information, it isn't huge news, and we cover it as we think appropriate. This is true when such things happen at Disneyland as well.

What is more newsworthy, is when Disney attractions or policies obviously fail, injuring park guests, and unfortunately Disneyland has had several of those over the past few years.

Thanks for the correction on Petals versus Mainspring. I knew that, but somehow got it confused anyway.


Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Alex here.

Feedback for David Koenig

Mouse Tales columnist David Koenig answers a reader's question about Fort Wilderness at Disneyland. Ken Stevens writes:

Is Disney planning to rebuild/refurbish Fort Wilderness on Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland ? If so, do you know when? It has been closed for at least 2 years now.

Hi Ken – Although there was serious consideration given to tearing down and never replacing Fort Wilderness, the current plan is to rebuild the fort on Tom Sawyer Island, thanks to comments from guests. However, no date has been set on when work will start. From sources close to the project, it is very likely that it would occur after Disneyland's 50th, around the time the Submarine Voyage reopens.


Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact David here.

Feedback for Lani Teshima

Trip Planner writer Lani Teshima responds to some e-mail about her article "Souvenirs on a Shoestring." (link), and other Disneyland questions.

Sarah writes:

I cannot believe that you left Autotopia Driver's Licenses off of your inexpensive souvenirs list! They are the coolest.

Other favorite inexpensive souvenirs at Disneyland are the leather key chains sold outside of Pioneer Mercantile for $5 with free personalization.

Hi Sarah – I don't know how I forgot to add the driver's license on the list! Thanks for the reminders.


Marissa writes:

I have read your page on souvenirs and I would like to get some beads when I go for myself and friends. Can you tell me what characters they represent (e.g. Tinker bell, Snow White, etc.) and can you tell me the prices (e.g. 75 cents or 3 for $1.50), that type of thing?

Hi Marissa – There are over 100 styles of beads at Disneyland, ranging in price from 50 cents to $3 each, and Disneyland does not publish a complete list of available styles.

Your best bet is to bring with you a list of characters you and your friends like, so you can make your selections at the location. The best selection is available at the World of Disney Store in Downtown Disney.

Happy shopping!


Joseph Chang writes:

Hi! Just wanted to drop a note that Mickey's Halloween Treat (that you mentioned will happen this year) is not a new thing. Mickey's Halloween Treat started back in the late '90s and then was axed by Paul Pressler after two years, even though it was fairly popular. Matt is just trying to bring a popular event back that Guests pretty much has been asking for since it was last done.

It will be similar to the Cast Member only event, “Little Monsters on Main Street” except that it's to the general public (hard ticket) and attractions will be open. Also, it's at Disney's California Adventure instead of Disneyland.

Hi Joseph – Thanks for taking the time to write. Yes, I remember when Disneyland had its Halloween event; I actually flew from Hawaii so I could attend it!

It's “new” in that after it was deemed popular in Disneyland, it was imported to Walt Disney World, with all remnants of it erased at Disneyland. Little Monsters is restricted to Cast Members and the general public for the most part didn't even know it existed.

While in one view it's “bringing back” the event, I suspect the impetus is Ouimet wanting to import the popular event from Walt Disney World, and in that way, it's new—especially if they decide to go with the Walt Disney World event name instead of the old one that they used at Disneyland.

But thanks for the clarification and reminder. I just love trick or treating, don't you?

[Editor's Note: As noted in Monday's Disneyland Update (link), tickets for Mickey's Halloween Treat go on sale to non-passholders today! Call (714) 781-4400 or purchase tickets at the Disneyland Resort ticket booths. They are expected to go quickly, so don't wait if you want to attend.]


Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Lani here. For general questions to MousePlanet, or if you don't know who at MousePlanet to contact specifically, you can write to our Mailbag here.

GENERAL QUESTIONS

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.

VOICE YOUR OPINION

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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