MousePlanet Mailbag

by Stephanie Wien, staff writer

Staff writer and Mouse Tales author David Koenig's article, "Dream Job" (October 21, 2010), paid tribute to a cast member Hank Filtz who recently passed away, prompting these readers to write in with their memories too.

Bob McD. writes:

I was a co-worker with Hank at the park for many years. I started on Oct. 2,1955 and Hank started in Aug.of 1955 So we were part of the early crew. We did not work many of the rides together because most of the times we were Foreman But I did work many of the rides that Hank did. I like Hank also left the switch open on Storyland. He was one great guy and I shall miss him.

Rachel Filtz writes:

Hank Filtz was my grandfather. Today we all had a chance to bid him farewell in a beautiful ceremony. The funeral was filled with many speakers but one that stood out the most had used several parts of your interview with my grandfather. I have never read this interview and felt it has helped so much with my grieving. It has brought back many memories for me and I am grateful you were able to document this.

Next, staff writer Chris Barry shares letters in response to his article on a special souvenir, "Wow… You Climbed Mt. Everest?" (October 29, 2010).

Louise B. writes:

My husband has this top. Yes, he gets asked all the time. The first time he thought that they knew it was the ride, so he said "of course" until the young lady nearly keeled over in awe. I had to point out that quite obviously she wasn't talking about the ride. He just mumbles "no" nowadays. I could be wrong, but I can't imagine a gift shop up at the top. They would probably have major staffing problems.

You'll be pleased to know they also have some very nice t-shirts that go with the jacket. My husband bought one this trip, so I guess he is looking to extend his fame and the adulation throughout the summer months too.

Thank goodness someone else is being asked the same questions as I am! I also bought the long sleeve t-shirt this past August. It's a nice collection of clothing. I actually haven't worn it out in public yet. Time will tell I suppose.

Sandy writes:

Thanks for the great articles! I always enjoy reading your thoughts. I also have the Everest jacket! It is one of my favorite Disney purchases. The moment I saw it, I knew I had to have it! It truly looks authentic, I love the patches. I'm always on the look out for more out-of-the-ordinary souvenirs, which are getting harder and harder to find these days. It seems like the gift shops all carry the same items. So when you find a gem like this jacket, it makes it easier to give up my hard earned cash for that Disney price tag.

Next, Steve Russo answers letters from other readers struggling with back injuries while trying to enjoy Disney theme parks. ("About A Weak Back," October 8, 2010)

Linda writes:

I've had two surgeries (including spinal fusion) and I agree with your list of rides. However, one that I found amazingly difficult was Autopia! Ingress and egress (so low to the ground) was hard, and since there are no "shock absorbers" it is very rough and "jerky." This is actually one of my favorites but I can no longer enjoy it because I will have issues for the rest of the day if I ride it.

Allie writes:

I enjoyed your article, but felt you neglected a type of ride. Like most families, we have someone who is hindered when it comes to rides. My mother suffers from motion sickness--and to some extent, I do too. Because of this, my mother and I do not do the 360 attractions in China and Canada. (My mother never did The Time Keeper in Tomorrowland either. I was still young enough for it not to affect me). She tried China once and ended up nearly crawling out. I love Impressions de France, which is a 180 (though they do extend the screen to 210). The last time I did the ride, my father had to nearly carry me out because I was struck with dizziness and slight nausea. Needless to say, that was my last time viewing that wonderful show.

Yes, you're right. I didn't include the films because, technically, they're not "rides" but you're correct in that several of them could induce motion sickness in those so inclined. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

Joel S. writes:

Great article about rides to avoid at Walt Disney World with certain conditions. I agree with your fundamental point - there are very few rides at Walt Disney World that are likely to cause most people problems. However, your discussion did miss what I feel is one of the roughest rides I've ever been on - Dinosaur in Animal Kingdom. The stops, starts, and swerves on this ride are extremely jarring, and the loud noises and bright lights are also rather intense for young ones. This is the only ride at Walt Disney World that my 12-year old son still will not go on without some serious coaxing (like you, we will not force our children onto a ride - we have, however, used bribery at times to get them to try something new!).

I also think a light warning about Animal Kingdom's Primeval Whirl may have been in order. The spinning is disorienting, and the abrupt changes in direction can be jarring. I personally don't think this one is that bad, but my wife is not a fan of it at all and avoids it because the spinning makes her feel nauseated by the end of the ride. The good part about Primeval Whirl is that it is very easy for a "newbie" to figure out whether they want to go on it - the spinning and sharp changes of direction are very easy to see while waiting for the ride.

 You're absolutely right about both Dinosaur and Primeval Whirl. Even with a bad back, Dinosaur hasn't been much of a problem for me but I agree it can be very jarring.

Finally, readers write Steve with their own ideas about the best foods at Walt Disney World in response to his article, "The Top 10 Things to Eat at Disney World" (November 5, 2010).

Karen W. writes:

Surprisingly, the only items on my list that were also on your list were the Dole Whip and a Hot Fudge Sundae at Ghirardelli, but I have chocolate ice cream, instead of vanilla in mine. If you're going to splurge, there's no sense having anything vanilla in a Hot Fudge Sundae, it MUST be ALL chocolate, except for the whipped cream and cherry, of course!

The number one item on my Walt Disney World Must Eat Food list that I will go out of my way for and still think about when I'm not there is the Tonga Toast at the Kona Cafe at the Polynesian. My husband and I enjoy this breakfast treat every time we go to Walt Disney World, without fail. We have something similar here at the Disneyland Resort, at Storyteller's Cafe, that's called Banana-Stuffed French Toast, which is basically the definition of Tonga Toast, but for some reason, it seems different at the Polynesian. Maybe it's the atmosphere.

The other thing on our list of Walt Disney World Must Eat Food is making sure we get a reservation for a nice, relaxing dinner at Victoria & Albert's, usually on the night before we come home. It's the only restaurant my hubby is willing to pack a suit and only wear it for dinner there on our trip. For several years now, we've been trying to get a reservation for the Chef's Table, but so far, we haven't been able to. We're curious about the new dining adventure, held in the same room we always have our "normal" V&A dinner in, that started shortly after our most recent trip to Walt Disney World in December 2009, but it'll be a while before we experience it. We like to wait for a sufficient number of new things to be added to Walt Disney World before we make our next trip.

Thanks for the fun article, but I wish you would've defined all of the items on your list that weren't obvious. I hadn't heard of some of them, even though we've been numerous times to Walt Disney World. If you'd told us, they might become something to try when we're there the next time.

Thanks so much. First, on Ghirardelli's sundae… the description that includes two vanilla scoops came from their menu. If you look closely at the photo you'll see that you and I share a preference for chocolate ice cream in our sundaes.

The Tonga Toast is something I've often heard about but haven't tried. To be honest, it's always sounded a bit too sweet for my breakfast tastes. Perhaps I'll give it a go on the next trip.

John writes:

My family also employs the "Ice Cream for Dinner" rule, and Ghirardelli is the usual spot. If you're a fan of caramel, I suggest you try the caramel sundae. It's awesome and the "icing on the cake" (is another food metaphor ok to use?) is that they top it with a caramel-filled Ghirardelli chocolate square- quite possibly the world's greatest candy.

As for your muffins vs. cakes, comments: Please rest assured that it's been scientifically proven that that any batter baked into a muffin pan contains far fewer calories than if it was baked into a full cake and sliced. The same goes for whipped cream when topping a coffee drink. Hope this helps you.

Yes, I think that rule should be universal. I also like your findings on muffin calories. Thanks for writing.

Michelle B. writes:

I love articles that require me to reflect. We leave for the World today so this is good timing for me to think about what I'm looking forward to. So in no particular order:

  • Chocolate Lava Cake from Ireland during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival
  • Carrot ginger soup from Boma
  • Veggie Burger at Beaches and Cream
  • Chocolate Shake at Sci Fi Drive-In (I totally agree with you there)
  • Cheddar Beer soup from Le Cellier
  • Chocolate-covered pretzels from selected gift shops
  • Fruit punch concoction from Boma
  • Black Currant tea from Garden View lounge in the Grand Floridian
  • Butternut Squash ravioli from Flying Fish
  • Beignets at Port Orleans food court

Thanks for contributing and enjoy this trip!

Scott T. writes:

I have been reading your articles for some time now and look forward to them. I just wanted to poke some fun at you; the photo caption with your number one choice of favorite foods read: Ghirardelli's Hot Fudge Sundae - six minutes later. Along with the caption and noticing the photos I figure you downed that sundae in less than 6 minutes as the chocolate running over the side in picture one had not reached the surface of the table by picture two. Keep up the great work and writing, I love seeing your point of view with everything Disney!

You win the detective award - I did down that sundae quickly (although I didn't time it exactly); six minutes is close.