MousePlanet Mailbag

by Stephanie Wien, staff writer

In this week's mailbag, readers share their favorite "little things" with MousePlanet staff writer Steve Russo, in response to his article. "It's the Little Things" (August 28, 2009).

Deanna writes:

I loved your article entitled, "It's the Little Things." It is absolutely true that you can see the Tower of Terror from Epcot. If you walk from the World Showcase Promenade towards Mexico, stop on the bridge and look towards Morocco. You can see the Tower of Terror over and behind the Morocco pavilion. If you weren't looking for it, you'd never notice, because it really does blend right in -- it just looks farther away. I can even show you a picture, if you're interested! This is one of my favourite "little things" at the World.

Thanks so much. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Yes, I did verify that one during the last trip but, unfortunately, I didn't take a photo. Next time for sure. Thanks for writing.

Andrew Eric S. writes:

I took the Keys To the Kingdom Tour in late April. I asked the guide the same question about the wedding ring embedded in the ground at the Haunted Mansion. I was told that it was a pipe and had been removed. Many years ago when my 30-year old was about eleven years old (1990), he took the Disney Institute's tour/program about the art behind the design of the parks. He was then told that it was in fact the wedding ring. They seemed to have changed their story.

I had a very similar experience- first with the Keys to the Kingdom tour and then with a few different Haunted Mansion cast members. Some had no idea what I was referring to. I think there are a lot of items like this in Disney folklore that often take on a life of their own. Maybe we'll never learn the absolute truth but I guess that's OK.

Debbie S. writes:

We have the answer to the gangster/cowboy hijacker. As you go into the theater, you go right or left, that is there are two sides to the queue. Notice when you go into the actual boarding are you go through two sets of doors. If you go on the right side you go in the front car. If you go in the left side you will go in the back car. This determines which hijacker you get, the gangser or the cowboy. (I don't quite remember which is which.) We stumbled onto this in August when we rode Great Movie Ride and were curious ourselves as to which side you get, the gangster or the cowboy. We went twice, the first time we got the gangster, the second time we got the cowboy. The first time I believe we were up front, and the second time I am pretty sure we were in back.) I hope this helps.

Thanks for the information. I actually learned most of this some time ago but decided not to include it in the article - mainly for space reasons.

I've heard the two sides referred to as 'A' and 'B'. 'A' being the cowboy, or front side - the car to your right as you board. The left, rear or 'B' side would get you the gangster. What confuses things even more is that, sometimes during the lighter attendance periods, they may run only one side.

My comments in the article were true. We first rode the Great Movie Ride in 1990 and saw the cowboy. Over the next 10-15 trips, we probably rode 20 times and saw only the cowboy. I think it was somewhere in 2001 or 2002 when we had our first gangster hijacking and then saw only the gangster for the next 8 or 10 rides. I guess it's just random chance but it still seems a bit weird.

Bud L. writes:

Do the World Showcase Players still do Romeo and Edna at/around Italy? we've seen this skit almost as many times as the 'Holy Grail' skit.

To the best of my knowledge, Romeo and Edna is still being performed in Italy... although I haven't seen it myself in a couple of trips. I just checked the Epcot Times Guide from a recent trip (January 2009) and they are listed so I'd say they're still there.

Rhonda writes:

Okay this may be what he was talking about [in the Tower of Terror]. Last year we were there and we rode Tower. I looked up at the sides of the shaft as the elevator was dropping and could see what faintly looked like a person standing there watching you. It was really creepy and when I asked about it I got the standard Disney answer,"You never know who is in the Tower."

Well each time we rode it I looked and the ghostly shape was there. I am betting on an illusion to make it look like one of the missing guests is there watching you on your ride. The one in Disneyland does not do this. So that is my guess.

Now you have me intrigued. I'll need to check this on my next "elevator ride." Thanks for sharing that.

Kelly writes:

Some of the "Little Things" I have noticed and loved through my many trips to Disney, the first when I was 2 a few years after the park opened:

  1. When we stay at the Wilderness Lodge and are coming in thru security they always say "Welcome Home!"
  2. Also how the cast members, in the resorts, also end practically every conversation with "Have a Magical Day!"
  3. The Electrical Pagent also for me.
  4. The beautiful tile mosiac on the wall in Cinderellas Castle.
  5. The Duckie race for kids in the pool at the Wilderness Lodge
  6. The checker game that never ends in the line for Pirates.
  7. The elevators that talk in the Contemporary.
  8. Just laying out by the pool and relaxing while the kids swim! My favorite!

I left out the "Welcome Home." That always gets me as well. Thanks for sharing your list of "little things."

Peter writes:

Thanks once again for a splendid article. I absolutely agree that the little things at Walt Disney World make a big difference. I also find many of the items you mentioned -- the Electrical Water Pageant, the key under the mat, and so many of the others- -on my own list. Other details also occur to me:

-the Dapper Dans
-the geyser at Wilderness lodge
-bear paw prints in the floor at Grizzly Hall
-the fountains in Epcot, particuliarly the leapfrog ones

One could certainly go on pretty darn close to forever in a list like this. There are, however, two things that are truly the differentiators between Walt Disney World and other theme park resorts, ay least for myself. The first are the spontaneous interactions that occur with the characters and cast members in the park. Sometimes they happpen when you wait for an autograph with a child, sometimes at a character meal. But sometimes you just get lucky and they come right out of the blue. A few years ago I was on vacation with my mother and sister in the Fall. One morning we were visiting the Magic Kingdom, and my mom needed to find a restroom in Frontierland. My sister and I found a seat close to the border between Frontierland and Liberty Square, and waited patiently, chatting. Suddenly we noticed people opposite us pointing towards us and whispering to one another. Perplexed, we turned to find Brer Fox sneaking up on us. As we reacted, he waved and run off, drawing laughter from those who were watching. It remains a great memory for us both.
The other is the most important -- the cheerful, diligent service of the cast members. They are always polite and friendly, and eager to help. I know people occasionally have bad experiences, but overall I cannot think of a place where I've had such consistent positive experiences.

Thanks for reading my lengthy epistle, but your article inspired my passionate response, so take that as the praise your work deserves, and a thank you.

Thank you for those kind words... and for sharing your "epistle". I agree wholeheartedly - especially regarding the cast members. Thanks for writing.

Brenda N. writes:

I enjoyed your article on Little Things! I can't wait to go to beach at the Polynesian to see Wishes and the electric parade! What a great tip! I haven't seen the electric parade since I was a kid.

One of my favorite 'Little things' that I love, as well as my kids, is the cave at Tom Saywer Island. It's so authentic and fun. It's like a little escape from the heat and crowds. You really feel like you're out in the woods somewhere watching things from a distance.

Another 'little thing' that I personally love are the topiaries. I've been going to Walt Disney World since it opened when I was two years old, and those topiary trees that you see coming into the Magic Kingdom from the monorail system are my fondest memories. I knew we were there when I saw those trees. It's amazing what children remember. Most of the time, it's the 'little things' that mean so much!

I'm glad you enjoyed the article and thanks for reminding me of the topiaries. They had completely slipped my mind as one of the "little things". Thanks for writing.