New Years in the fog at Disneyland, Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom to be open for 24 hours, and cracking the case of Disney's Shanghai park are just a few of the interesting topics you will find in today's MiceChat Round-Up. Jaws also get hooked into the discussions as the last boats at Universal Orlando took their ill-fated voyages; making way for something bigger and better (we hope). We have all of this plus details on the upcoming MiceChat 7 year anniversary celebration, Al's final New Year's wish for the Disney Company and so much more. ~ CakvalaSC
Oscar Martinez & The Carnation Cafe
Disneyland celebrated a Cast Member's 55th Anniversary working for Disneyland! Happy Anniversary, Oscar! Find out more about Oscar, here.
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In last week's MiceChat Round-Up, I started my list of five New Year's wishes for the Walt Disney Company. As I was struggling to write that final wish, I got an e-mail from a reader perfectly describing my concerns. Herewith I present to you my final wish, which the letter below so well articulates. Let's hope that someday not only will it be answered, but it will never needed to be written again.
Hello Ms. Crofton,
My name is Kurt Schneider, a high school teacher from just outside Boston, MA. As a longtime visitor to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, I've had many great vacations leading up to my purchase a few years ago of membership in the Disney Vacation Club. My wife and I enjoy our annual tradition of spending Spring or Summer in California, and the Christmas holiday in Florida.
We've just returned from a week long visit, and had an experience so disheartening, I felt compelled to write you personally and bring it to your attention.
We decided to spend 2 days at 2 parks this year, and chose the Animal Kingdom park, and for the first time in several years, the Magic Kingdom park. What we saw at the Magic Kingdom made us wish we had never set foot in the gate. We visited the day after Christmas, and as expected were prepared for a large crowd of holiday visitors. What we did not expect to encounter were attractions in disrepair, cast members showing little to no enthusiasm or respect for their positions, and crowd control so poor we left after spending only a few hours in the park.
We are frequent Disneyland visitors. We own DVC points at the Grand Californian, and are always impressed by the cleanliness of the park and the friendliness of the cast members. The management team in charge of that park know how to keep it looking as clean and inviting as it did the first time I visited as a kid in 1969. No matter how many times I go back, I always feel as though I am returning "home" and the fact that everything looks great each and every visit makes me want to come back again and again. The attractions are treated like precious jewels, always working properly, and looking like they just opened to the public for the first time.
We couldn't believe the contrast between the two parks as we walked (or were told to walk) through the small area we covered at the Magic Kingdom park. Our first stop was the Country Bear Jamboree. Something we hadn't seen since its closure in California. What a surprise to see at least 3 of the "performers" broken, and looking as if they hadn't been maintained in years, specifically, one poor fellow with an unmoving eyebrow that covered his eye completely as it drooped, another that had an arm intended to look as though he were playing an instrument but instead swung his arm as though suffering a seizure somewhere in space to his side.
A character postcard given out at Disneyland
After exiting, we were forced into following a line made of 1/2" masking tape stuck on the ground, down a long path - in front of the loading area for the paddleboat (which at the time had several wheelchair guests trying to board - right in the middle of people being directed who knows where!) we were finally dumped out at the entrance to Fantasyland, where huge puddles of water were being coned off and squeegeed by custodial staff. (I later learned this was from firework launching - but what a mess!)
We then looped back and got in line for the Haunted Mansion. We were glad to see the hostess invite us in to "the master's home" and thought we were ready to enjoy the attraction we've both loved since we were kids. Sorry to say that as soon as the "stretching room" doors opened, we were greeted by people standing shoulder to shoulder - packed in like sardines, waiting to get into the ride vehicles. As I looked over to the right, I saw a cast member only door open with the young lady who welcomed us and another cast member (supervisor?) chatting away. Of course we could clearly see what looked like lockers lining the wall behind them, with various sweatshirts and "street clothes" scattered about.
Not the best way to present a show to your paying audience. The ride itself was great, and appeared to have had some TLC recently applied as the audio sounded great, and the animatronics looked and performed as they were intended to.
I'm sad to say it ended on a low note as the young lady at the exit ramp was more interested in reading her text messages than walking the ramp helping guests exit. We couldn't help but feel no one "cared" about the place. Pirates of the Caribbean, same story. Although the ride was working properly, it's the little things that no longer work that make you feel like the park management is more interested in the bottom line, than the experience they provide guests. The lanterns along the exit speed ramp in POTC used to sway as you heard cannon fire in the distance. Guess what? They don't anymore. The Big Thunder train ride was missing the boulders that used to appear to fall - and instead I saw black cloth covering up holes. I overhead another guest telling his friend that Splash Mountain "looked like crap" because many figures weren't moving AT ALL.
I realize that the Florida park is much larger than the one in California, but I can't understand why the quality of the park is so much lower. Trash lined the Haunted Mansion queue line, there were several used Poland Spring water bottles floating by in the Jungle Cruise water, and with the exception of Skipper Dave, no one seemed to care about their job. This is a DISNEY park, not Six Flags or some other low budget theme park.
Back to that masking tape for a moment. I can't believe that each time a parade occurs, miles of tape are stuck on the ground, with arrows instructing guests to follow. In California (sorry , I have to go there again) the cast members take an active role in moving people from one area to another using flashlights with those "landing an airplane" sticks on the end. They are firm but courteous to the guests and stationed along the given path every ten feet or so.
In Florida, no one cared where we were going, nor made any attempt to keep things moving smoothly. Several cast members were laughing and joking about us as we passed. I don't know about other people, but when I'm tossed into a large crowd, the LAST place I'm looking is down at the ground! Most people look ahead at where they are going, or being led than what's by their feet. You might consider adopting the Disneyland way of moving crowds. It works better and would lead to less condescending remarks from cast members about the people who pay their wages.
I don't mean to sound like a grumpy old guy complaining about the way things used to be "back in my day" - but if you don't take steps to keep the park looking great, and making people want to return again and again, eventually they will notice that the Disney quality they've come to expect, know and respect isn't there anymore. They'll stop spending their hard earned vacation money, and just visit that Six Flags nearby because they'll get the same experience as at Disney World. And I certainly hope that never happens.
No matter how much you spend gussying up Fantasyland, two sets of Dumbos isn't going to make up for what's lacking everywhere else. if you keep running attractions into the ground, people are going to notice and spend their money elsewhere.
As for my wife Lori and I, we will continue to visit the Animal Kingdom the next time we vacation in Florida. Unless things change for the better, we will no longer visit the other parks. Epcot seems to be heading down the same path as the Magic Kingdom, as everything that made it unique is disappearing too. Rides are shuttered or stripped down, and every gift shop sells the same items, no matter where you go. I remember when each shop in Epcot sold some items unique to that location. Not any more. I wish we could say we feel the same way when we vacation with Disney in Florida as we do in California, but as it stands that's just not the case.
I hope you are able to initiate changes that will make people want to come back again and again. And I hope you'll consider the points I've made the next time you visit the park. Once you see the things I've mentioned firsthand, I have a feeling you'll be a little disappointed too. I'm hopeful you'll feel the same way I do, and work to make visits to Disney World as "magical" as they can and should be!
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January 27th through 29th
A magical MiceChat 7 Year Anniversary celebration
The first scheduling announcement!
It all begins on Friday January 27, 2012. Join us on a very special one day Adventures By Disney "Hollywood Magic" trip that starts at the Walt Disney Studios and then takes you to other famous Hollywood locations with your MiceChat pals. We'll tour the Walt Disney Studios, see the famous Disney Archives, dine in the commissary and shop in the studio store.
Then it's off to Hollywood where you'll tour the El Capitan and the Kodak Theaters (the latter the home of the Academy Awards) as well as other famous tinseltown and Sunset Strip sights and landmarks. The day wraps up with a cocktail reception on Malibu Beach at sunset. What better way to kick off the MiceChat anniversary weekend!
The fun continues on Saturday January 28th, with the MiceChat Celebrity Breakfast at ESPN Zone. A wonderful buffet breakfast/meet and greet with Disney celebrities including Susan Egan (Broadway's Belle and the voice of Meg from Hercules), Disney author Sam Gennawey, Margaret Kerry (the original reference model and actress for Tinker bell), and other invited guests. The event will take place from 9am-11am, Saturday, January 28th at the fabulous ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney. And YES, the world famous, ESPN Zone Maple Bacon will be served!
Following the breakfast we will spend the day in Disney California Adventure.
The grand finale is on Sunday January 29th which is our traditional Disneyland day with breakfast along the Rivers of America, a grand circle tour of the happiest place on earth and the classic noon meet at the right hand of Walt Disney himself. We hope you'll be able to join us. More details about the meets, events and special opportunities will be posted soon.
Happy 2012! The New Year started off foggy but festive! We have the photos along with the countdown to 2012. Then we have a rumor that Disneyland may have a new vibe when you go through the entrance tunnels on to Main Street USA. ~ Aladdin
Foggy New Year!!!
Ron W has photos of all the decorations and set ups for the New Years Eve Celebration in Disneyland and DCA, and he even includes a video of the Countdown to 2012 from in front of the castle, with the fogged over fireworks!
Holiday Report of Photos and Fun
BoygunaSurf and his family travel to Disneyland for Thankgiving to celebrate the holidays. Here's his report!
HARK! in the Park 3.0
bubblesung and friends return with another colorful trip report. This one a little more tacky, but just as enjoyable as her other reports!
New Main Street Music Loop to Debut January 9th
Bassbone brings us this rumor that Main Street may be going through another change this coming week. As the Christmas decorations come done, and the Christmas songs on Main Street go into hibernation, not all of Main Street USA will return to normal, as the old familiar Main Street Soundtrack that has welcomed guests for the past 20 years, will be replaced. Are some of your favorite Main Street Songs being replaced? Keep checking here for the latest updates.
VOTE IN THE 2011 MICECHAT
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA THEME PARK AWARDS!
2011 is all but over . . . Vote here for the MiceChat Southern California Theme Park Awards for 2011. We invite all to take part in the poll and let us know what your favorites were from this past year. Winners will be announced in next week's IN THE PARKS.
CLICK HERE TO BEGIN VOTING
The A/V Room
Sarah will return next week!
LISTENERS, CALL US!
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NEW MUSIC MONDAY
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Welcome to the new year! Hopefully 2012 will be good to all of you and will see some new and exciting things at the Disney Parks, aside from the One More Disney Day stuff. This week we have some ride simulations, Tron in EPCOT, Storybook Circus costume pics, and lots more! Let's take a look! ~yoyoflamingo
Tron coming to Test Track
The latest rumor running the (ahem) track is Test Track is going down for a major refurbishment and refresh of its theme, adding Tron like elements to it. How much and what does it mean? Find out here!
Has anyone ever done the fireworks party in TL?
toneloc asks about the Wishes Dessert Party: Anyone have any tips or reviews? Share them here!
New Circusland Costumes
Want to see a sneak peak at the new costumes for Storybook Circus? Take a look in this thread, then voice your opinion!
Ride simulators for WDW rides
Have some free time? Think you can manage the efficiency of classic Walt Disney World attractions better than the trained CMs? Well, here's your chance to prove it! Try your hand at one of these simulators for some of the most popular rides.
New Years Eve makes new promotion OFFICIAL
Did you miss the new offer Disney is giving for the new year? Get caught up to speed here, and think about the value this offer supposedly offers.
Cracking the Case of SDL
RandySavage has been following the development of Shanghai Disneyland and has put together some clues for an interesting report.
Hong Kong 2011-2012 - Happy New Year!
SirEdge has some pictures from the Toy Story Land Christmas display at the Star Ferry terminal in Hong Kong.
Armchair Imagineering: HKDL Expansion Phase 2 Ideas
Right Ear has some ideas about expanding Hong Kong Disneyland and is looking for feedback.
Attraction Refurbishment Schedule and Trip Planning
If you were planning a trip to Tokyo Disneyland as Timchat2 is, you'd want to be sure certain star attractions are operating, right?
Stitch Dressed as Disney Characters (Disney Store Japan)
Danimated has some pictures of little plushies of Stitch dressed up as various Disney characters, available at the Disney Store in Japan.
World of Disney
DisneylandParis teases us with a picture of the World of Disney store expected to open next July in Disneyland Paris' Disney Village.
Future Marvel Attraction Coming To WDS....Or A Whole New Land For 3rd Park In 2020
Will the Marvel Characters be coming to the Disneyland Paris Resort by 2020? Ride Warrior wonders what the truth is to this rumor.
A look back at Jaws
To start off Jaws information, KingEric brings us a photo gallery from Universal Studio's Jaws ride.
Final ride on JAWS... thoughts
And then after going through the gallery, KingEric takes a final ride and shares his thoughts about Jaws at Universal Studios Florida.
Amity - A Photo Tribute
And geomorph brings us an excellent photo tribute to Amity at Universal Studios Florida.
USH Transformers Grand Opening Date. Plus, Soft Opening Info.
On to west coast, Ride Warrior brings us information about the opening of Universal Hollywood's Transformers ride. Mark your calendars Micechatters and be ready for Memorial Day weekend 2012.
Nice article on Matt Ouimet
Matt Ouimet is beginning his position as CEO of Cedar Fair and is planning changes that look beyond big thrills. With his experience at the Walt Disney Company, what do you think he has in store for Knott's Berry Farm and the Cedar Fair family?
Atlanta Braves fight Disney over use of 'BRAVE' for new Pixar Film
Should we call this a clash of the titans? Disney has come face to face with another competitor straight from the football field because Disney wants to trademark the name of their latest film. Who will win?
Bob Iger and Disney's Support of National September 11 Memorial in New York
It's nice to see Bob Iger showing compassion and support for the victims of 9/11. It is nice that Disney has a prominent presence in paying respect to the victims of these attacks by supporting this Memorial in NYC.
How many buttons are there?
Drac has posted a question on what unique items they should be collecting for Buttons / Pins. Anyone have suggestions on sites that list this type of item?
Vintage Mickey mouse hat/mask?
Jennowned has posted pictures of a unique Disney hat that she is looking for assistance with.
Never Too Old For Trains!
If there's anything I love it's incredible Model train displays! Check out the pics Barbaraann is sharing with us of her son's collection!
World of Color Multi Angle HD Video
Check out this incredible multi-angle video of World of Color that was created by our very own fantasmiceddie24!
'Frozen' cools theatres 11/27/2013
Disney has 4 of the 18 Animated Features submitted for 2011 Oscar race
1/3: Get into the Groove
Kevin discusses the new “kim impossible” like game which is called Sorcerers in the Magic Kingdom, being unveiled sometime in 2012.
1/3: The Top Attractions Of 2011 Listed
The results are in! MiceChatters from around the world have spoken and announced their favorite central Florida attractions from 2011! While the usual suspects are here, like Harry Potter, Epcot, and Magic Kingdom, there are a few interesting surprises. Care to know how the Studio Backlot tour figures into all of this? Read the article for the results. Aside from the awards we also have an update from Universal Orlando and we take a final ride on Jaws before he swims away to that big ocean in the sky on the last day of operation. All of this, plus a mini update from SeaWorld Orlando, a new baby giraffe at Busch Gardens and a new Hidden Parkhopper!
1/2: Ringing in 2012 with One More Disney Day
Heavy fog blocked out the view of Disneyland's New Year's Eve fireworks, but that didn't stop big crowds from celebrating in both parks until the early hours of the New Year morning. As crowds packed the park to count down to 2012, Disney announced plans for a 24-hour Leap Day party this February 29 at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Nearby, the finishing touches are going up at the new Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe at the end of Main Street, U.S.A. as it gets ready to open this Thursday. Meanwhile, significant construction progress is being made throughout Disney California Adventure, with new facades going up along the park's new Buena Vista Streetmain entrance plaza and more trees and neon signage being installed throughout the heavily-themed Cars Landarea. Outside the parks, the Island Charters shop has closed in Downtown Disney and more details continue to emerge at the Disneyland Hotel. Join us as we celebrate the start of 2012 with our first Dateline Disneyland update of the new year!
1/1: Tune in to the MiceTube!
Disney news and fun delivered up fresh. It's the MiceTube, MiceChat's own channel on YouTube. Join Sarah and the MiceChat crew for weekly updates about all things Disney. But that's not all, Kevin Yee stops by to bring you the latest from Walt Disney World. Plus all sorts of video clips from Disney parks and beyond! Check out the MiceTube today.
12/31: 2011 review, Disneyland Paris, More…
It's a wild and whacky Weekend Update as we recount the amazing fun of 2011. Follow Denice Preskit through the first part of her 2011 year in review that includes a trip on the Disney Dream, meeting famed retro-artist Shag and a royal wedding. Join Alain Littaye for a photo update from Disneyland Paris. Then see the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom and enjoy more charming retro-postcards. See you later, 2011. Hello 2012!
12/30: New Years at the Disneyland Resort, Tell us your favorites from 2011, and more
2011 turned out to be a pretty amazing year. Nearly all of the major Southern California parks gained new rides, shows, or eateries. The Little Mermaid, Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, The Green Lantern, Superman: Escape From Krypton, Roadrunner Express, Legoland's Star Wars Miniland, San Diego Zoo's expanded Panda Trek exhibit, SeaWorld's Turtle Reef and Riptide Rescue, there was more than enough to see. In the Parks focuses on these new additions with the MiceChat Southern California Theme Park Award survey. Let us know what your favorites from the year were. We also give you the perfect survival guide to New Years at Disneyland and the Southern California theme parks.
12/29: Werner Weiss – Goofy’s Barnstormer
Today Werner Weiss takes us back to a time when Goofy stormed barns on Wiseacre Farms at the Magic Kingdom. This surprisingly zippy themed coaster was a lot of silly fun.
12/28: Mouth Of The Mouse – A Character’s Best Friend
From The Mouth Of The Mouse is our weekly celebration of Disney cast members. Today, we talk to Scott, who "helped" some of the characters we all know and love at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. At the same time, he was juggling law school, and a job as a clerk in the DA's office. Talk about a busy schedule! He has some great stories to share.
12/22: Pressing Matters
Sue Kruse has a list of cool things and fun events for you, including:
Here are the latest subjects: Congrats Oscar! • Walt and the Promise of Progress City • Noon Year’s Eve X 2 • Walt’s Sierra Adventures • Touring The El Capitan • A Tribute To Richard Sherman • Hunger & Music