MousePlanet Mailbag

by Stephanie Wien, staff writer

Good luck to all our readers playing MouseAdventure World Explorers II at Animal Kingdom this weekend! It's going to be more fun than a barrel of monkeys! Our first letter to the mailbag this week is a question regarding an upcoming trip to the Disneyland Resort, answered by MousePlanet staff.

Christy B. writes:

Wow. Your site has such great information. We live in Arizona and have been to Disneyland several times with our daughters. We always try to go when the crowds are low and have had some great luck in September, early November and early December. This time we decided to try October. I'm starting to get nervous after reading on your site about the Utah school district being out when we will be there. We will be there Tues - Fri, October 12 - 16th, and will be doing the Trick or Treat event on Friday. Should I be worried? Also, do you know why the park is closing early on Thursday, October 15th? Thanks for all the great information.

Since your trip is a mid-week trip you're going to miss most of the crowding. Friday will probably be the busiest day of your trip. Since you have tickets to the Halloween Party you won't have to deal with the crowds of folks who aren't in the party, and are instead going to be trying to find something to do in DCA or Downtown Disney that night.

We've been told the early closure on Thursday, October 15 is due to a private party in Disneyland. This would be a good night to catch a movie at the Downtown Disney AMC theater, go wander the Garden Walk shopping center, or enjoy a nice sit-down dinner. It would also be a good night to catch World of Color at Disney's California Adventure, but if you decide to do that expect it to be very crowded. You should be sure to read our Guide to World of Color, and make advance Picnic or Dining Plan reservations if that's your strategy for seeing the show. With only one performance scheduled that night, it's going to be pretty crowded.

And since you're attending the Halloween Party on October 15th, be sure to stop by and say "hello" to the MousePlanet staffers and Community Leaders who will be at the MousePlanet Meet that night! There's more information about the gathering on MousePad at this link.

Next, staff writer Steve Russo answers letters, including some in response to his article, "Every Picture Tells a Story" (July 2, 2010).

Susan L. writes:

We have a question about Disney Vacation Club membership benefits that we have not been able to find an answer to: When we check in to our room, what kind of "freebies" might be waiting for us (i.e water bottles, discount cards, name tag holder)? We just enrolled with Saratoga Springs ownership, and we would enjoy knowing what kind of fun perks might be waiting in our room. In your years of staying at Disney destinations what kinds of things have you found in your room upon arrival?

This may be disappointing to you but, in my experience, there are no freebies waiting for you in your room after check-in. What you will get is a Member Perks pamphlet - the latest version I've seen is pocket-sized so you can take it with you to the parks. Inside is the list of dining and shopping discounts available to you as a DVC member. They do change but typically run in the 10% - 20% range at various restaurants and shopping facilities. You can also get a glimpse of the current list at (link) where you'll also learn about the Annual Pass discount. In my opinion, that the biggest perk for members.

On several occasions, I have received a "freebie" at home from DVC: a Boardwalk lithograph, a DVC giclee, a patriotic Mickey pin… but these aren't to be expected.

Like most members, we often say it was the best decision we ever made so enjoy your DVC membership and… Welcome Home!

 Debbie B. writes:

Thanks for the wonderful trip down memory lane. I too have so many pictures, pins, etc. all over the house - each and every one of them brings a smile to my face when I re-live where and why I got them.

I noticed the postcard of the Norman Rockwell pose of Mickey's self-portrait. I have that same one in a large frame with a 6 cent Walt stamp, along with the statue of the same pose and also the pin to go with it. Those are my favorites!

The other one that I really love is the first pin collection Disney put out back in the 1990's in shadow boxes. I still remember standing in line at the Disney store each Saturday when they came out. I'm still missing eleven of the set, so I carry pictures of what I need with me in case I run into them. Thanks for a warm Magical Moment this morning!

You're welcome and I'm glad you enjoyed it. I also have a shadow box, with pins but… we got ours at Downtown Disney somewhere around 2005-2007. It came with the pins intact (Pluto, Tink, Mickey…) so it's probably not the same one.

Jennifer writes:

My parents have a family picture of us with the "Gangs of New York" look. We also have the one they used to do with the pirate statue amidst his treasure. Those were great memories. Sometimes I wish they still did these so I could get pictures with my husband. Thanks for sharing. I forget about that picture sometimes even though it's on the wall at my parent's house.

I don't remember the pirate photo but it sounds great. I agree… it would be great to continue these photo opportunities.

Brett C. writes:

Steve, great article as usual. I still have not forgiven my girlfriend for breaking my cereal bowl. Thankfully we are going back in November so I can secure a new one. It is amazing how photos and Disney collectibles can trigger memories of past trips.

Ralph Y. writes:

Another great column. It reminded me of the many pictures we have around the house and how much they mean to us. In particular, we have a large picture of Boardwalk Villas in the family room, the drawing of Cinderella's castle by Thomas Kinkade in the upstairs hallway, and several unmounted drawings such as Mickey thanking a fireman against a background of 9/11 rubble and Walt telling you that if you dream it, you can do it. All great stuff.

When we were in the "film era," my wife would make scrapbooks with the best pictures from the trip. That seems to have gone by the board in the present digital era, and that's a shame. Maybe I'll get ambitious and resurrect that tradition.

We're headed down to Orlando - Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Walt Disney World and Seaworld. My wife and I are driving (not my first choice) and daughter and niece are flying into Tampa a few days later.

Thanks for writing and have a great trip!

Lora T. writes:

I just read your article and it is nice to know that I am not the only one who decorates in Disney World. We first visited in 1999 and every year since. We always walk away with the Photo Pass pictures, and then there are some that are so good I need to put them in a Disney-themed frame. I bring lots of those back too. I can live with my problem, as my family likes to call it, because I have a day care and Mickey is such a kids thing. But, i enjoy looking back when my two teens have left for the night and seeing how little they were when we rode Test Track or were posing in front of the castle in matching t-shirts. Thanks for sharing your treasures.

You're definitely not alone. Thanks for writing.

Finally, here are a couple of letters written in to our mailbag about general topics of interest.

Anthony L. writes:

I've been reading a lot lately about bedbug infestation in hotels. I was wondering if you are aware of any procedures that Walt Disney World follows to protect their guest/rooms from bedbugs.

I have not seen any reports on specific procedures that Walt Disney World follows regarding bed bugs. I'm sure they have some in place given the sensitivity of guests to the subject. The best thing to do is to protect yourself upon arrival. Inspect the room. Avoid putting luggage on beds or the floor; use the racks provided. Here's a link to a Good Housekeeping page(link) that might help you.

Jim M. writes:

I am planning a five day trip this fall to the Disneyland Resort with my wife and two small children. On our way South from Northern California we are picking up my dad (he is 90 years old) so that he can attend a wedding near the resort. The next day he is flying out in the afternoon and wanted to spend the morning in the park with my family. I looked on the Disneyland web site trying to find the price of a senior ticket for one day. Since I could not find one, I contacted Disney and asked if there were discounts for seniors. They replied and stated that they give a $2.00 discount for a person in their nineties. I could not believe this. Two dollars off for someone that will only spend money on his two grandchildren. He would not go on any rides, only enjoy the company of my family.

I sent an email back, stating the prevous facts about my father. I also asked why does the Disneyland Resort admit children under the age of 3 to enter the park free? My thought was that if parents had to pay $70 for their baby, they would choose to go else where. I believe the same for older adults. We have choosen to not attend the park on that day since I am not going to spend $70 so that my dad can enter the park for a few hours. I know that there are other people that feel the same way. Adults older than 80 will not ride many attractions, but they will spend money. Other theme parks offer up to 50 percent off for adults over 65. My wife and I ski a lot and most resorts allow people over the age of 70 to ski for free. The reason for this is that they will not ski that much, but will spend money at the resort. I would think that Disney would have better buisness sense than to discourage people from attending the park.