MousePlanet Mailbag

by Stephanie Wien, staff writer

It's almost Labor Day weekend, the last hurrah of summer. I'll be at Disneyland running the half marathon. Anyone else have Disney travel plans this weekend? In this week's mailbag, staff writer Chris Barry shares letters from some of his recent articles. First this week, a reader shares information on her Disney stuff.

Sally D. writes:

Here's an idea I'll share with you. For years, I've travelled extensively around the world, and used to send some of the most incredible postcards cards to friends, who would then toss them out. Some of those places are ones I'll never get back to, didn't get photos of, and/or are even now torn down. So now, I only send postcards to myself, with one or two going to my young nephews. I jot a note about the day's unique activity, anything I might want to remember about that location, our meal, etc, and off they go. It's a nice surprise and reminder for me in my mailbox when I get back, plus I get to keep them, complete with the unusual stamps and postmarks. It ends up being a postcard journal.

I do the same thing when I go to Disneyland and Disneyworld. I'm an annual passholder and we are there quite often. Even so, I notice how quickly the postcards change, as do the style and cost of stamps - so all parts of the postcard become a memory, including what was interesting enough for me to make note of. And when some of the attractions get retired, it makes it even more fun to have a picture postcard of an extinct ride, like the Flying Saucers or the Mule Ride. Remember when there was a real Indian Village at Disneyland? My dad bought me my own handcrafted beaded moccasins. Oh now I'm really showing my age!

I enjoyed your website. Hope my postcard tip works for you, and adds to your enjoyment and memories.

Very cool idea. I'm always looking for a surprise when I return home from a trip to keep the feeling going.

I actually do not remember the Indian Village at Disneyland because I still have never been to Disneyland. I know, it's amazing. I'm working on it. It's an east coast thing. Florida is much easier. I wrote an article on that as well, "Top 5 Things I Need to See at Disneyland." I hope you get a chance to read it.

Next, a reader responds to Chris' article on Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (July 23, 2010).

Tricia P. writes:

Thank you for your article! I love Oswald and am glad to see him get some props. I also hope he will gain some popularity from Epic Mickey and would be thrilled to see more Oswald merchandise. I didn't see the plush when it was available but I did purchase the Christmas ornament. Upon Oswald's return to Disney, my MouseAdventure team was renamed "Oswald Returns," and we are always looking for a permanent mascot.

I knew there were Oswald fans out there. Let's see what Epic Mickey brings.

Finally, readers respond to Chris' article on his Top 5 Character Experiences at Walt Disney World (August 6, 2010), including a very special letter from a former cast member.

Julie writes:

That's me as Mary Poppins in your "Top 5 Character Experiences at Walt Disney World." A friend of mine recognized me in the article and sent it to me. I am so pleased that after all of this time, you still remember the character experience. As a performer, that's why we did what we did - to give magical memories to all of the guests. And I'm thrilled that even now, it's still a good memory. Tell Samantha that Mary said "Hello and have a Supercalifragelisticexpialidocious day!"

First of all…you were Mary Poppins and your name is Julie? What are the odds?

Secondly…thank you so much for responding. I read this email and was so thrilled. I called my wife immediately and I can't wait to show Samantha later. What an amazing thing to actually hear from you, especially all these years later.

But most importantly, thank you for everything that you did that day. When I sat down to brainstorm this article, I sat with my wife and kids and started remembering all of the different moments we've had over the years. That day with "Mary" instantly came to mind. As I wrote in the article, it really is one of our fondest memories from our many trips. We'll never forget it and thanks to pictures and video and now this email from you, Samantha will certainly never forget it either. To be able to thank you for that moment all these years later is really a pleasure. On behalf of my wife Diane, myself, and, of course, on behalf of Samantha, thank you so much for such a truly magical moment.

Larisa writes:

Hi Chris, great article this week! I do have to disagree about not liking to seeing other people's photos of fun times. I love it! One of my favorite things to do is read other people's trip reports and see their pictures.

Does my top 5 count if some are dreams, I think...

  1. Mr. Toad
  2. Figment
  3. The Brer's (Fox, Bear, and especially Rabbit)
  4. Pollyanna (or Hayley Mills)(does a live person count?)
  5. The 3 good fairies from "Sleeping Beauty"

I suppose people do like to read about other people's trips after all.

Live people can count I suppose. Jack Sparrow at Magic Kingdom or Disneyland would certainly count, although I suppose most people would rather it be Johnny Depp than a cast member.

Brer Rabbit has eluded me for some time now and I've certainly never seen a Mr. Toad walking around. I would like that very much.

Lauren C. writes:

I enjoyed your Top 5 article about favorite Character Experiences, and it reminded me of one of mine. My nephew is now ten, but when he was about six months old, he took his first trip to Disney World. We were in Epcot, and my mother, myself, and my brother-in-law holding my nephew ran into Peter Pan. As Peter Pan moved to greet my nephew, he asked what my nephew's name was, just as my brother-in-law was saying, "This is Peter Pan!" Right away, Peter said, "Oh, your name is Peter Pan, too?!" For some reason, this just struck my mother and me so funny, and 10 years later, we still crack up when we think of it! Thanks for reminding me of this; I'm going to go call my mom!

Cute story. Does he still like being called Peter Pan? It's great that a small moment like that from 10 years ago still resonates with you and your family. That's the whole point isn't it?

Laurie writes:

As always...great article! We have three children, and a lot of our time on our Walt Disney World trips include finding the characters! Our youngest is four and a month ago we were at Walt Disney World feeding her obsession of finding characters! Taking a four year old to Walt Disney World is the best experience! Everything is so magical to them and they come up with some of the greatest things to say!

This past time we had great interaction with Mary Poppins. We met her in Epcot at the United Kingdom. She was true to form. She gave my children clear and concise instructions on how to correctly pose for a picture. Spit...Spot! We also had great interaction with the pixies! There is a little magic before you go in to meet them. It is more of an attraction than just a meet and greet line! Tell your wife not to worry, you actually shrink to their size.

In 2004, we met Esmerelda in France. She just came out with a tambourine and started dancing and singing with us. I am not sure if anyone else knew who she was until she sat down with us at one of those bistro tables and starting talking with us. We haven't see her since.

We have had some great memories made with many characters over the years: Ariel, Mary Poppins, Alice, and Belle. It is amazing how the ones who don't even speak can create magical moments too. Some of the best for us: Chip and Dale, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, King Louie, Buzz and Woody, and of course, Mickey and Minnie. Thanks again, for a great article. I am going to get out my Walt Disney World scrapbooks right now, and relive some of those special character moments!

Reliving your magical memories is what we're all about here at MousePlanet. I'm glad that the article inspired you to break out the albums. My daughter and I have said time and time again, that we want to compile a special photo album of just character pictures. There's so many from Disney, Sesame Place, Six Flags, etc. It could be a great project.

I'll tell Diane what you said about the pixies. Maybe on our next trip in 2 weeks!

Mary Poppins always seems to give her all, so does Alice. They must be fun characters to play.

Esmerelda seems to have permanently disappeared. Lucky for you guys.

Rebecca writes:

As always, your columns are so much fun to read. You are right on with the characters. Once you have children and see them run up to and hug a favorite character it is worth waiting in line to get the coveted autograph and photo. In 2008 we took our daughters, then two and four for their first trip to Disney World. We are Chase Disney credit card holders and took advantage of the private meet and greet at Epcot. The photo snapped by the Disney photographer of our then two-year-old's face the moment she walked in and saw Mickey and Minnie was precious. The photo we took of her hugging her absolute favorite character, Minnie, is just as adorable.

We were fortunate to get priority seating at Cinderella's Royal Table for breakfast on that trip. Our then four-year-old was so thrilled to meet her absolute favorite, Sleeping Beauty, and boy what a picture that is....what a smile on her face! We are going back this December and they can't wait to meet more characters. I have made it known how excited! I am for this trip. We are eating with Pooh and the gang one day and I fully intend to have my picture taken with my absolute favorite silly old bear! Thanks for your columns...keep up the good work!

We are Disney Visa holders as well and took advantage of that photo op at Epcot. It was great to get time with 3 characters at once. We had Mickey, Minnie and Goofy. The kids loved it and so did the big kids.

We love having breakfast at the Crystal Palace. We usually bookend our trips with a breakfast with Pooh. It was our first really good Disney tip from a friend. He said to book the breakfast as late as possible - 10:30-10:45. That way you get more time with the characters and there's no feeling that you have to rush.

Enjoy December. It's a fantastic time to be there. Be was 40 degrees on several mornings on a trip in December a year or so ago. I had to buy a fleece jacket and a Mickey thermal shirt.

Debbie B. writes:

Loved the article, especially the reference to the Rite of Passage for young children. I took my grand-daughters, ages almost three, four and five, and we looked everywhere for characters to sign their books. When we finally located Chip and Dale, the three-year-old was asleep! Chip and Dale took the time to also sign her book, even writing her name when they autographed it. Their attention to this detail brought tears to my eyes! I still don't know if it was her name pin we had on her or they noticed her name in the book, but it was so special.

Looking for characters also is not just a young child's Rite of Passage. On my last trip with hubby we searched everywhere for Donald. He had always been the one taking the pics when his kids where young, so he never got to share in seeing his idol! We finally found Donald on our last day and we were the last ones in line! I will never forget the ear-to-ear grin watching him and Donald play around - especially since he was wearing his Donald t-shirt. Donald took so much time with all kinds of poses - it was awesome. Suddenly my hubby became a little boy again and had his Rite of Passage!

Love the Top 5 articles - keep them coming!

We're all just a bunch of big kids when we're there aren't we? I certainly waited in a long enough line just to have my picture taken with Sorcerer Mickey at the Studios.

Thanks for the sweet story and for your kind words.



  1. By StarTourist

    Esmeralda was in Disneyland Paris back in March when we visited. Nearabouts where the Old Mill ferris wheel-type attraction is. She was great, and even 'switched' from speaking French to speaking English for my daughter! 'Oh! English.' She was very nice to boot. We may even have a pic of the encounter somewhere.

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