MousePlanetWatch Disney News

by MouseStation Crew, staff writer

MouseStation 228 - MousePlanetWatch news

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Let us hear from you!

Send in your suggestions, comments or tips via our email feedback form or via voicemail on our toll-free feedback line (1-866-939-2278).

We've put together a new listener survey to help us learn more about you and what you like most about this podcast. This one is much more targeted than the old Podtrac survey. Please take a few minutes to fill it out and let us know what you think.

If you want to contribute a story for our Monday Magical Moment segment (and possible inclusion in the Cast Place column here on MousePlanet), you can either use our email Magical Moment story form or the toll-free feedback line. (We love it when you use the voice mail system, because then we can play your call on the show!)

Major podcast announcement

Before we got into the show, we had to make an announcement that we probably like as little as you do. Because of the combined pressures of making this show while trying to hold down our day jobs, have personal lives and get at least a couple of hours of sleep each night, we're going to have to cut back on the number of shows that we do. We had been hoping to wait for the complete results of our new listener feedback survey that we just set live on Friday, but a couple of developments this week made it necessary for us to cut back before the complete results are in. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't fill the survey out anyway, since we still want to make sure that our remaining shows will best address your needs.

Anyway, we'll continue with our four weekly shows this week, and then next week we're going to go to two shows a week, on Tuesday and Thursday. We're planning to do the Collected Short Subjects on Tuesday and the weekly feature on Thursday. Listener Feedback will appear in a shortened form at the end of each show, and may occasionally be an entire feature show. The MousePlanetWatch News, unfortunately, will be a casualty of this cutback. However, the Walt Disney Company News segment is the only real portion of this show that's not already available online in the text portion of MousePlanet. Both Park Updates are available on Mondays, and many of the stories that break after they're published often appear during the week in featured blog posts linked from the MousePlanet home page and are always covered in the following week's Updates. We'd like to know what kind of interest there is in Mark continuing to put together the Walt Disney Company News, but as an additional weekly column on the MousePlanet site. If there's sufficient interest to support readership of such a column, we'll see if we can set it up. If there aren't enough people that would read it, then Mark just gets a little more time to sleep each week. Send us your opinion either way by email or by calling the toll-free feedback line at 1-866-939-2278.

We know that you like the four shows each week. We like them, too. Unfortunately, we won't be able to continue to produce them, at least not for the immediate future. Please let us know what you think of this change by sending us email or by calling the toll-free feedback line at 1-866-939-2278.

Walt Disney World News

  • Disney's Hollywood Studios attraction host Justin Hasegawa, 20, was arrested last Wednesday evening for making a bomb threat. While in a cast member break room, talking on the phone with his girlfriend about his problems with unpaid traffic tickets and a suspended driver's license, Hasegawa vented that he was going to get C-4 explosives and blow up the office of the Clerk of Courts at the Orange County Courthouse. A fellow cast member heard the threat and reported him to a supervisor. The supervisor confronted Hasegawa, who admitted making the threat. At that point, authorities were called, including the FBI and the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
  • Passholder rates are available for late summer and early fall. It appears that both room-only and Disney Dining Plan packages are available. Rates are valid for stays with a check-in date between August 3 and September 27, and can be booked from now through the date of arrival. The booking code for phone reservations is FKJ. Sample rates include:
    • Fort Wilderness campsites: $42 per night
    • Value resorts: $64 per night
    • Moderate resorts: $99 per night
    • Fort Wilderness cabins: $174 per night
    • Deluxe Villa resorts (studio): $169 per night
  • The United States team final for the prestigious Bocuse d'Or culinary challenge will take place during the opening weekend of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. The international competition, founded in 1987 by French chef Paul Bocuse, will pit teams from 24 countries against each other during the International Hotel, Catering and Food Trade Exhibition, January 24 to 28, 2009 at Lyon – EUREXPO in France. This is the first time that the U.S. qualifier for the biennial competition has taken place away from the National Restaurant Association's convention in Chicago. The competition will take place on September 26 and 27, with the winner being named on the second day.
  • Edwin Sotomayor isn't getting his job back at this time. His request for a temporary injunction against Walt Disney World to get his job back and to be given the right to carry his handgun to work in his car's trunk was turned down by Florida Circuit Court Judge Thomas W. Turner.
  • In another gun-related story update, no charges will be filed against Giovanny Munoz Perez, the 33-year-old man who accidentally shot himself in the leg at Downtown Disney the evening of July 12, as the shooting was ruled accidental.
  • This week's listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week includes permits related to this year's installation of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, more emitters for the audio description project, and steel replacement at Primeval Whirl. There are more permits that were filed, and you can see them in Monday's Park Update.
  • Quick Takes:
    • The 180-day advance reservations period will be returning. Disney is getting a brand new reservations program that will streamline bookings for dining, recreation, tours, and children's activities. The upgrade will happen in October, which is the reason for the temporary hold on dining reservations. The booking window will return to 180 days after the system is up and running. We are hearing that the new system will eventually allow guests to make online reservations, but that has not been confirmed yet.
    • The latest dates being bandied about for the Illuminations Earth Globe refurbishment have the barge disappearing from the show on August 13. Of course, as the date has been pushed back many times before, it's quite possible that they'll change again. In the meantime, if the globe does take a vacation, the show will still go on, with pyrotechnics filling in that segment of the show, and some segments of the show disappearing completely.
    • Despite the fact that Finding Nemo takes place along the Great Barrier Reef and Australia, somehow somebody thought that it made a good match with Caribbean theming. The Caribbean Beach Resort is undergoing a makeover in most "villages" of the resort to include Finding Nemo-themed decor in the rooms.
    • Last week, it was announced that Shannon McAleavey, senior vice president of public affairs for Walt Disney World Resort, has named Orlando Sentinel veteran Mike Griffin as vice president of communications. Griffin will lead the media relations and internal communications teams and report to McAleavey. Jacquee Polak, who had ably filled the position on an interim basis since February, returns to her post as media relations director.
    • Smart City Telecom, which provides phone and data service to Walt Disney World and other nearby locations, announced last week that it has agreed to sell most of its Central Florida operations to Hargray Communications Group of Hilton Head, South Carolina. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year. There is no word yet on what, if any, effect this will have on Walt Disney World services.
    • Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party has had its October 3 date canceled. If you've purchased tickets for that night, you can contact Disney for details on how to get a refund or exchange your tickets for another night.
    • Registration for the Expedition Everest Challenge is now 75% full. The Walt Disney World Marathon is also now 75% full.
    • Just in time for the new movie, the High School Musical show at Disney's Hollywood Studios will change over to a High School Musical 3 theme. The current High School Musical 2: School's Out! show will end after the September 13 performances, and the new, as-yet-unnamed High School Musical 3 caravan show will be running in time for the movie's debut on October 24.
    • Effective November 1, all prices for driving experiences at the Richard Petty Driving Experience will be increasing by $50; Rookie Experience will go from $399 to $449, Kings Experience from $799 to $849 and Experience of a Lifetime from $1,249 to $1,299. Ride-alongs will continue at $109.
    • Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo has been named the 2008 inductee into the Travel Industry Hall of Leaders. The Hall honors individuals for "sustained, noteworthy contributions that have positively impacted the travel industry, stimulated greater achievement, and raised industry-wide standards." Rasulo will be the 78th inductee since the creation of the Hall in 1969. The induction ceremony will be held October 28 during a dinner at the annual Marketing Outlook Forum of the Travel Industry Association.
    • The ESPN-owned Under Armour All-America high school all-star football game will be moving from Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex to the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando effective with the next game, which is set for January 4, 2009.

This and other news can be found in this week's Walt Disney World Park Update.

Disneyland News

  • David Koenig shared the news in June, and now Disney has confirmed that Imagineers are working to reopen the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough. MousePlanet's Shoshana Lewin was invited to attend a presentation at Disneyland last week and got a sneak peek at the plans for the restored attraction, and wrote about the plans, initially in her MousePlanet blog. We also have live audio of the announcement in yesterday's feature show.
  • Members of Local 681 staged another informational pickets last week, the morning of Disneyland's 53rd anniversary celebration, to try to raise awareness of their ongoing labor dispute with the Disneyland Resort. Union members carried picket signs and marched between the Paradise Pier and Grand Californian hotels Thursday morning, and there was one report that guests staying at the Grand Californian could hear the musicians who joined the picket line.
  • Several dozen MousePlanet readers turned out for our eighth birthday celebration on July 17 to try their skills at our Mini MouseAdventure game. If you'd like to see how well you did, here are the answers we expected:
    • 1. Answer: A – Edison's birthday
    • 2. Answer: B – 4
    • 3. Answer: D – Tigger
    • 4. Answer: C – The toy plays music
    • 5. Answer: D – $28.00
    • 6. Answer: C – $40.96
    • 7. Answer: A – Cookies
    • 8. Answer: A – Cheshire Cat
    • 9. Answer: C – R
    • 10. Answer: C – 5
    • Answer to final question: C – 12
  • This n That:
    • We announced last week that Team MousePlanet will participate in the 2008 CHOC/Disneyland Resort Walk in the Park on Sunday, October 19. We've since learned that CHOC has lowered the registration fee from $75 to $50 per person. Registration opens Friday, August 1, and we'll post additional information as it becomes available. If you would like to walk with Team MousePlanet or would like to sponsor our team, please contact team captain Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

This and other news can be found in this week's Disneyland Park Update.

The Walt Disney Company News

  • Following the arrest of singer/guitarist Steven Page on cocaine possession charges, the group Barenaked Ladies has backed out of their planned appearance at the Disney Music Block Party scheduled for August 22-24 in Uniondale, New York, in order to avoid putting Disney in an awkward position while the charges against Page are still pending.
  • Disney's At the Movies television program, which originally starred Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, will be changing hosts and format next month. Richard Roeper, who stepped in after Siskel died from a brain tumor in 1999, and Ebert, who has not appeared on the show since his own bout with cancer left him unable to speak in July 2006, will take their leave of the program that Roeper has hosted with rotating guests for the last two years. Movie critics Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz of E! Entertainment and Turner Classic Movies, respectively, will co-host the next generation of the series when its new season begins the weekend of September 6.
  • ESPN begins beta testing its new Sports Search functionality on its web site, offering the functionality to its "ESPN Insider" account holders.
  • Disney animator and director Eric Goldberg, who worked on Aladdin, Pocahontas, Fantasia/2000 and Hercules, among others, is coming with a new book, Character Animation Crash Course, which will officially be released in September. If you want it sooner, he'll be signing the book tomorrow and Saturday at the International Comic Convention in San Diego. Goldberg, currently working on The Princess and The Frog, will be at the Stuart Ng Books exhibit booth, number 5012, from 2-4 pm tomorrow and 11am-noon on Saturday. The 240-page book is also available for pre-purchase at
  • If you're going to be in the Sacramento area next weekend, you might want to check out the ninth annual Disney Daze event, sponsored by the Yosemite-Oakhurst-Sierra 49ears chapter of the NFFC, scheduled for August 1-3.
  • Following a week of heavy rumors regarding will-she-or-won't-she star in an R-rated movie (she finally stated publicly that she won't), Miley Cyrus' new album "Breakout" was released on Tuesday.
  • Disney is dropping back in the box office race, falling to sixth place among the six major studios. Disney's WALL-E, in sixth place this week with $10 million, is in fifth place for the year with $182.7 million.

Administrative stuff

You can send us feedback via email or by calling our toll-free feedback line at 1-866-939-2278. Don't forget that we love voicemails because then we can put your voice on the show!

Wrapping up

We've put together a new listener survey to help us learn more about you and what you like most about this podcast. This one is much more targeted than the old Podtrac survey. Please take a few minutes to fill it out and let us know what you think.


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