Sites Worth Citing
Visits on the Internet that make your surfing magical
Friday, November 5, 2004
by Mike Scopa, MousePlanet staff writer
I thought I'd point out some of the Disney related sites I think are
informative and helpful. First we will look at a relatively young Disney
internet community, followed by a site that some of you may find useful
for a special visit to Walt Disney World, and finally a site that will
both educate and amuse you.
Last year at Mousefest I met some very interesting people. One such person
was Nathan Rose, founder of Magical Mountain (link).
I was the first to admit that I knew very little about this site but always
being interested in seeing what's out there I sat down with Nathan to
get a better idea as to the origins of his site and what he sees as its
future. I thought I'd share with you what he shared with me.
About nine years ago, Nathan began working in the Web-development industry.
As he honed his skills, he soon discovered a need to use those skills
in an area he really loved. However, he could never seem to find that
right area or time to do it right.
Then one day he thought about Walt Disney World and said, During
my early years I always enjoyed Walt Disney World, and would often go
to the parks at least once a year. That changed once I met my wife Linda
(in the fall of 1999). Throughout the first few months of dating we visited
Walt Disney World several times and eventually got engaged there. We then
proceeded to have our honeymoon on the Disney Cruise Line. It was then
I decided upon what shape my Web site would take; A Walt Disney World
It was at this point, being a full-blown Disney enthusiast, Nathan decided
to start selling Disney items online, and work in a field that held so
much meaning for him.
In the fall of 2002, Nathan found that online e-commerce sites did not
fully meet the needs of selling Disneyana. It was at this point in time
that Nathan designed and launched Magical Mountain, an e-commerce Web
site for Disneyana.
Nathan was satisfied with Magical Mountain, but always thought it could
be something special.
He went on to describe how his site changed over its first few years
in existence. Nathan explains, Magical Mountain has gone through
many renditions since its inception. In the beginning it was strictly
an e-commerce site selling Disneyana. I decided the site needed to constantly
grow. We slowly added the Magical Countdown Clock, the pictures, the toolbar,
and finally the news stories.
In January 2004 Magical Mountain became a limited liability corporation
and this day continues to grow in size and information daily. Aside from
selling Disneyana products Magical Mountain also offers its visitors a
wealth of information on both Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
The site also helps its visitors with travel information and offers a
Magical Countdown Clock, Walt Disney World photos, guest columns from
experts on Walt Disney World, and much more.
Beyond the e-commerce aspect of the site there is also a community forum
area in which guests can discuss all things Disney.
I asked Nathan to assume I was surfing the Web in search of a Disney
Fan site or two to add to my Favorites list and gave him a chance to tell
me about the strengths of his site. He beamed as he described his site
and said, I would have to say our Magical Countdown Clock, our Magical
Mountain toolbar, our high resolutions photos of Walt Disney World, and
our daily news.
Rose also pointed out that there is more to come. Everyday Magical
Mountain is evolving (some of it is behind the scenes). I am constantly
reviewing which pages are most popular, and trying to add more functionality
to those areas first. If there doesn't appear to be anything further to
do in a particular area I brainstorm until I find something to do.
As to what lies ahead Rose says, In the future I envision Magical
Mountain to be a hub that guests can visit for all their Disney World
needs. I have also currently expanded to become an independent travel
agent for The Magic For Less travel, and the early stages of a new Web
site MouseTravel.net are currently live.
Nathan Rose currently lives in South Florida with his wife, Linda, has
a stepdaughter, Lauren, and granddaughter, Victoria. His family vacations
in Walt Disney World over 12 times a year, and he is member of the Disney
Vacation Club and various Disney enthusiast societies.
Gift of a Lifetime
I'd say about four or five times a year I'll get a phone call or an e-mail
asking me who to call in Walt Disney World to help make for a very special
trip. This usually involves something in the romance department like an
Or someone will say, Hey Mike, got any special ideas on how to
celebrate a special birthday at Walt Disney World? I even get questions
on how to put together a family reunion at Walt Disney World.
Sure there are several things to do to celebrate these occasions. It
does take some time and careful planning to get everything just right.
Over the years however there has been an enterprising group of individuals
(or pixies) who recognized this special need for many WDW guests and offers
this service. These pixies can be found at Gifts of a Lifetime (link).
Here are some of the services they provide:
- They call their events Pixie Dust Occasions and they include
such things as scavenger hunts within the theme parks.
- Birthdays can be celebrated with secret parties with in the park,
especially in a favorite attraction.
- The I Love You events are designed for engagements or
- Wedding proposals
- The Catching the Magic event involves the pixies discreetly following
you around in the park and snapping photos to be later presented as
a gift. This would work great for an engagement, honeymoon, or even
a family reunion.
So tuck this site away in your favorites because you never know when
you may find yourself either planning or helping someone plan a special
Please Leave Your Brain at the Gate
That phrase is the subtitle of the Web site Stupidguesttricks.com
(link) and that's exactly what it's all about: things that guests do that make
you go Hmm?"
In August, a cast member friend of mine mentioned this Web site. Upon
my first visit I found the content to be amusing, fascinating, and even
The site is basically a forum for mostly cast members who describe some
of the things they see in the course of their jobs. I think you will be
amazed as to what some guests do when visiting one of the WDW theme parks.
For instance, attractions like Splash Mountain and The Twilight Zone
Tower of Terror have points in the ride where photos are taken. If you've
ever gone to look for your photo and never found it there's a good reason
for its absence. If a guest did something un-Disneylike then
that photo was probably discarded. Use your imagination.
I'm sure you've all been in an attraction where flash photography is
not allowed, yet someone always ends up snapping away. This forum talks
about how some of the cast member deal with these flashers
and gives a greater appreciation for what they do in their job.
Imagine you are a cast member and a guest comes up to you and asks where
the Star Trek ride is or in which direction they will find the Limo Ride.
Yes, cast member hear many names for attractions and hopefully they know
what the guest is looking for when they hear the name of the attraction.
The name game doesn't stop with attractions. This forum also recaps some
guests who really have no knowledge of some characters. Some do not know
the difference between Pluto and Goofy. Then there's the problem when
Chip and Dale are mistaken for Alvin and the Chipmunks.
Of course there are the not so funny episodes where guests do things
to endanger themselves, other guests, cast members, and even the theme
parks. Would you believe guests who smoke on the Walt Disney World Express,
stand up while riding the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, or stuff tissue
paper into their childrenŐs shoes in full view of cast members so that
their children will meet height requirements.
Finally there are those neither so pleasant nor funny moments when a
guest angrily confronts a cast member. Such stories will give you a higher
appreciation for what WDW cast members go through.
I think that everyone who is planning a trip to Walt Disney World should
visit the Web site (link)
and become educated in the area of theme park etiquette.
These three sites have a little bit for everyone and my hope is that
someone out there reading these words will benefit from this information.
It's that time of year when Walt Disney World gets ready for the holidays.
We'll discuss what's in store for guests this upcoming holiday season
as they visit Mickey and the gang.
Right here is where I'd say, Class dismissed. That has gotten
old and it just doesn't ring right so from now on we we'll part with the
words from a parade that use to grace Main Street U.S.A.:
Remember the Magic!
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Mike here.