Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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The Disney Queen: Tammy Sofonia

Erin Cowell - March 8th, 2010
The Disney Queen: Tammy Sofonia has been Mickey’s guest 53 times
By Erin Crowell
Tammy Sofonia knows a lot about Disney theme parks. Well, that might be an understatement, considering the Traverse City Passageways Travel agent has been to Disney World, in Orlando, 53 times. Factor in the international trips to Euro Disney and Tokyo Disney, and you’ve got an expert park hopper.
The Express talked with Sofonia—who is a graduate of the Masters College of Disney Knowledge— and got the inside scoop on what’s so alluring about a mouse with lots of real estate.

Northern Express: So how did you get started on this whole Disney kick?
Tammy Sofonia: I worked for American airlines for 13 years before coming to Passageways, so I always had the opportunity to fly; and in 1978, my grandpa took our family by motor home and we stayed in Disney World. I was hooked ever since. I’ve been to every Disney park except in Hong Kong.

NE: Are you planning a trip there soon?
Sofonia: Well, we went to Hong Kong on our honeymoon and it wasn’t built yet, so we’ll have to get back there soon. I don’t have any future plans, but I hope to one of these days.

NE: Does your husband go with you?
Sofonia: He does. He’s ventured to Florida and California… not the ones out of the country; but he has gone to Disneyland and Disneyworld. I probably overextended him lately (laughs).

NE: What do you do when you take these trips?
Sofonia: We stay there usually five to seven days, depending on what we’re doing. Being there so many times we don’t feel like we have to rush, rush rush, and get to the parks early and stay there all day. We have the opportunity to do the extra stuff like the Disney dining plan where you experience different restaurants. People that have never been there before, they don’t want to take the time to do stuff like golfing, taking a boat ride… things you wouldn’t normally think about because you’re concentrating so much on the parks.

NE: Which park is your favorite?
Sofonia: Disneyworld, definitely; because there are the four theme parks there. It’s bigger. There’s more to do. My favorite right now happens to be Hollywood Studios right in Orlando. They’ve really updated and added a lot more attractions. And, of course, there’s Magic Kingdom. That’s right up there. You have to go see the castle while you’re down there.

NE: How long have you been doing this?
Sofonia: From 1978 to the present. But I haven’t been to EuroDisney in awhile, so I want to go back and see that. And Tokyo has built a park called Tokyo Seas and China’s on the list to build the next one. Maybe I can hit Hong Kong and China in the same trip.

NE: What is it about Disney parks that draws you so much?
Sofonia: You know, you can go there with your family or go there alone. I feel safe there. I like the different hotels. I feel there’s enough to do even by yourself. You can people-watch even if you don’t go on rides. You’ve got the parades, the fireworks… you can do it all or just do a little. Of course there’s also the Disney cruise line.

NE: Have you been on that?
Sofonia: Oh yeah, of course. I’ve been on both cruises a couple times. They’ve got their next ship coming out called Disney Dream, which will just be phenomenal. Disney does it right. They’ve got all the top-line stuff.

NE: Have you seen a change in the crowds over the last couple decades?
Sofonia: The crowd level has gone down because everyone is dispersed throughout the parks. Then there’s Fast Pass which lets you get a reservation time to pretty much come back and go to the front of the line. Let’s say you see a sign at the entrance to a ride that says come back at one or two o’clock, you get a ticket, go get some dinner, then come back. Disney wants you in there spending your money on food and souvenirs. They don’t want you waiting in line.

NE: And it obviously it makes the mood a lot better.
Sofonia: For sure, but you still have the 3 o’clock crying hour when everyone’s tired…

NE: Would you call yourself a kid when you go there?
Sofonia: (Laughing) Yes. I’ve only taken a child down twice. My niece is six and so I’ve experienced it as an adult more than with children. But I’ve enjoyed reliving it through her eyes.

NE: Do you have any insider tips for first-timers?
Sofonia: Well that’s what I do here. I always bring back park maps so I can go through and show the different rides. I can say “go to this restaurant, don’t worry about this ride in the beginning…” those tips that I get, I can bring back with me. Everyone here thinks I’m totally crazy. But I just got done with a training session in January and there were 39 other girls that were way crazier than I was. Those people know everything. We train and learn and bring it back so we can say what’s new and tell you where to go, to stay, what to do.

NE: Does that make you an expert in Disney history?
Sofonia: No, not in that aspect. But I know all there is to know about the parks. I can tell you where every bathroom is (laughs). My brother is the one who can beat me on the trivia of Disney. It’s amazing at how much knowledge I do remember, when you love something so much, how much you just want to share it with other people. You probably can’t stump me on Disney theme park information.


 
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