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[FAQ/DL] D-I-G: The Disneyland Information Guide 6/7

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - Part5 - Part6 - Part7 )
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Archive-name: disney-faq/disneyland/part6
Last-modified: June 1, 1997
Posting-frequency: Monthly
Keywords: Disneyland, amusement-park, Disney, FAQ, California

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
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This document is copyright (c) 1997 by Al Lutz, alweho@aol.com  Please 
refer to the copyright paragraph in Part One for details.
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THE LITTLE THINGS THAT MEAN A LOT...


---------------------------
     20) MISCELLANEOUS 
---------------------------

EXIT & RE-ENTRY: Make sure to keep your ticket stub AND get your hand 
stamped if you want to exit and then return to the park same day. 
(Likewise if you want to wander around at the hotel.) If you want to leave 
the parking lot with your car and return, hold on to your parking stub and 
you won't have to pay again.


PICNIC AREA: Food tends towards the expensive at DL, so if you decide to 
pack your own meal you can enjoy it at the picnic area on the extreme 
left-hand side of the entrance gate (as you face it) the left of the main 
entrance, bordering the bus loading areas adjacent to the Indy ride 
building. It's basically ever-so-slightly shaded by a green transparent 
tarp. There are also some vending machines there for snacks, juices and 
sodas. It's generally very busy - with many kids darting under and about 
the tables. 

TIP: Avoid the picnic area by bringing your food in via knapsacks. They 
may ask to search them (which they do not for food, but for security's 
sake). Just tell them you need to have the food with you due to allergies 
and such for particular members of your party. If you are bringing lots of 
it in via several packs - spread your group across several entry 
turnstiles so it doesn't look like an invasion. Once in, no one will 
question you, they don't want to make your visit unpleasant. 

There are lockers in the park to keep it in on MAIN ST. or there are some 
next to the FANTASYLAND THEATER. When you do gather up to eat, head out to 
a back of the park eating area, so you don't flaunt the rules. An 
excellent place is the rear seating area of Critter Country's HUNGRY BEAR 
RESTAURANT - on the upper or lower levels towards the back next to the 
train tracks. You have a lovely view of the river (and usually no crowds) 
with trees (or the upper deck) shading you and no Disney CM's hovering 
around cleaning every few seconds while you eat. 

Another alternative is the DISNEYLAND HOTEL. There's a small non-gated 
area with a few tables outside on the edge of the Marina between 
STROMBOLI'S and the Coffee / Muffin shop. The purchase of a cup of coffee 
or a drink will make you feel as if you own the table, although no one 
will bother you about it. Shade is provided by umbrellas and / or the 
building.


LOCKERS: The lockers available on Main St. fill up pretty fast on busy 
days, but there are also two other locations available. One is located 
next to the group sales windows and bathrooms to the left of the ATM 
before you enter the park. Another is located inside the park at 
Videopolis, right between the bathrooms and the MEEKO'S refreshment stand. 
All lockers require tokens, which may be purchased at nearby machines. 
Keep in mind each visit to open the locker and retrieve or leave an item 
will cost you an additional token. Lockers in the park are small, the 
outside ones are suitcase size.


HEADACHE?: Wanna save the couple of dollars a tin of aspirin costs? Get a 
free pair of tablets by going to the FIRST AID station, (between the Plaza 
restaurant and the Baby Station at the hub end of Main St.) and asking the 
nurse. You'll sign your name, and will get a cup for water.


PETS may be boarded for the day at the kennel east of the main entrance, 
(for a $10 fee) but no overnight accommodations are available. Please note 
that DL CM's will not walk your pet for you, you will have to make a trip 
to do so during the day. 


A REGISTERED NURSE is available at the First Aid station next to the Plaza 
Inn at the hub end of Main St. at all times. 


The LOST CHILDREN CENTER is located next to the First Aid station. Next 
door is the Gerber Baby Care Center, which provides areas for preparing 
formulas, warming bottles, nursing, and changing diapers. Inquire here 
about availability of baby food and disposable diapers throughout the 
park. And yes, that's Walt's baby picture on the wall.


2 HOUR OR NEXT DAY PHOTO PROCESSING is available at DL, (also the DL Hotel 
and the DL Pacific), as well as camcorder rental, inquire at the Kodak 
Camera Corner on Main St.


DL HOTEL & DL PACIFIC RESERVATIONS may be made free of charge from the 
phones in CITY HALL and at LOST & FOUND on Main St. 


POSTAGE STAMPS are available from U.S. Postal Service machines (at face 
value!) which are located in the exit lobbies for MR. LINCOLN on Main St. 
and CIRCLEVISION in Tomorrowland. 


HANDICAPPED GUESTS: Despite recent press reports, DL remains one of the 
most friendly and accessible attractions for special needs guests in the
S. Cal. area. Handicapped guests should request the special DL green 
GUIDEBOOK FOR GUESTS WITH DISABILITIES detailing park and attraction 
special boarding instructions at City Hall as they enter. A guide will 
also be sent in advance free-of-charge of a visit by calling the live 
operators at the number listed in the PHONE NUMBERS page. 

A limited number of wheelchairs (manual and powered) are available for 
rental at the stroller booth, located to the RIGHT of the floral Mickey 
Mouse before entering Main St. There is an 18 year old age limit on 
powered vehicle rental. All wheelchairs and powered vehicles may not be 
wider than 26 inches in order to use the monorail between the park and the 
DL Hotel. If a DL Hotel wheelchair guest would like to attend a Magic 
Morning event (when the Monorail is not operating) they may request either 
a lift equipped courtesy van or tram to the DL main entrance. 

Service Animals are welcome in select locations throughout DL, they must 
remain on a leash or in a harness at all times. Due to the nature of some 
attractions, they may have to wait in a designated area while the guest 
rides. 

All parade routes and shows have areas designated for wheelchair guests, 
inquire at each location and take into account that these areas may fill 
up quickly. 

CM's will always be happy to assist disabled guests with food orders, or 
with reaching merchandise and reading price tags. 

TDD - Telecommunications Device for the Deaf are available for guest use 
at the Main St. Lockers / Lost & Found and in City Hall. 

All telephones at DL can be amplified by pushing the "#" sign or by using 
a separate volume button found on the phone. 

VirgCA@aol.com was kind enough to contribute the following: "A SPECIAL 
ASSISTANCE PASS is available at either City Hall or First Aid (located 
beside the Baby Center off the hub between Main St. and the Plaza Inn) for 
individuals who do not need a wheelchair (or won't use one-like my 
father!) yet have difficulty standing for long periods of time. While he 
can handle the rides, he couldn't handle the stairs (Splash Mtn., Indy), 
or the long standing. With this pass, he and his party (of no more than 6) 
were allowed to enter thru the disabled entrances. One thing that is nice 
and protects against misuse, is some type of proof is required... for my 
father it was the card he carries in his wallet stating his knees are made 
of titanium - mostly for use in airport security areas, since he sets the 
bells off! He is "on file" for one year and only needs to go to the First 
Aid or City Hall at each visit to pick up his pass." 


WANT TO GET MARRIED IN DL? doobie101@aol.com updated this information 
recently: 

Disneyland now has weddings and receptions. For a small wedding (up to 30 
people including bride and groom). There are 2 packages available. The 
$3000 package includes the minister, picture frame, bows and a runner and 
hosts for privacy. The $5000 package includes all of the above as well as 
2 characters, a cake, a toast, marquis photo and bows. Both packages 
include 5 passports. Beyond that, additional passports must be purchased 
for the guests. Locations include New Orleans Square Grand Courtyard, the 
Wishing Well, Castle Garden and the Mark Twain ($500 extra). Inquire about 
other locations. 

For a large wedding, there are 2 options: 20-150 guests is $4000. 151-500 
guests is $6000. Neither package includes admission for guests. Prices 
include hosts, guest book, gift table, sound system and seating. Location 
is Town Square Plaza. Prices go down to $2000 and $3000 if you have a 
reception in the park. 

Receptions include a buffet, cake and a toast. Locations are Town Square 
Plaza or the Golden Horseshoe. Lunch for 30-200 people is $100 per person 
+ park admission. Dinner for 30-200 people is $120 per person + park 
admission. 

You can call DISNEY'S FAIRY TALE WEDDINGS directly at (714) 956-6527 to 
inquire about this service - they also now arrange for proposals too.



-----------------------------------------------------
     21) SCANNING THE LAND
-----------------------------------------------------

M. Scott Garner contributed the following about monitoring some of the 
behind-the-scenes electronic chatter at the park:

Ever wonder what that janitor is listening to as he sweeps up popcorn on 
Main St.? Carry a Police Band radio scanner with you to the park and you 
too can know where the latest Code V (also known as a salad spill) has 
occurred. You can also learn when celebrities and video crews are in the 
park, what those pesky last minute changes to event schedules and 
operating hours are, who's getting married in the park, and when the all-
important ride closures and restarts occur. DL management appears to be 
quite tolerant of scanner enthusiasts as long as they keep the volumes 
down and don't make a nuisance of themselves. A belt clip and comfortable 
ear-piece are essential in being discrete. 

DL uses a standard 10-frequency (30+ channels) Motorola SMR trunked system 
in the 938Mhz range for the majority of their radio communications, 
including security and general operations. Two of those frequencies are 
designated as control frequencies (they change daily), and must be locked 
out. Despite the problems associated with scanning a trunked system, DL 
traffic is relatively light, making conversations easy to follow. If your 
scanner has a delay feature, turn it off for these frequencies. In 
addition, some of the older simplex 464Mhz frequencies are still used for 
events and entertainment. 

Users of Bearcat scanners will wince when I note that the image from a 
nearby police organization's use of a trunked system shows up on several 
of the park frequencies. Normally, this is not a great problem, but on at 
least one occasion, the image was the trunked system's control frequency, 
which made listening to park traffic impossible. If this happens to you, 
mail me and let me know what radio model you are using. 

(Note that most of the simplex designations are really not valid anymore 
and are included here just for ease of reference.) 

The trunked frequencies are:
938.3875 / 938.400 / 938.4125 / 938.425 / 938.4375 / 938.450 / 938.4625 / 
938.475 / 938.4875 / 938.500 

The simplex frequencies are:
464.5375 - Brown - Maintenance / 464.4875 - Green - Op/Railroad / 464.4125 
- Orange - Maintenance / 464.575 - Purple - Buses / 464.0375 - Silver - 
Concessions / 464.6375 - Red - Op/Rides - used for "special" problems
464.7625 - White - Trains - monorails / 464.5125 - Yellow - Special Events 
464.4625 - Slate - Indy - parade control 

154.570 - SP1 - Ride Security / 154.600 - SP2 - Submarines / 154.625 - 
Paging - an especially annoying freq / 146.940 - Ham / 151.745 - Hotel 
Security 

Some of the radio codes are:
101 - Attraction is down.
102 - Ride is broken down and send an ambulance immediately.
103 - Ride is broken down due to death. Send an ambulance yesterday.
104 - Attraction is up.
105 - Attraction is now running at reduced capacity.
106 - Attraction is now running at full capacity.
CFA - Central First Aid
Code 1 - Problem resolved.
Code V - Yes, the 'V' stands for vomit. 

(Al wishes to thank John Collin for his contributions to this list)

Some of the current call groups are:
Admin / Arcade / Auto / Beverage / Character / Churro / Climb / Control 
Custodial / Electrical (Echo) / Entertainment / Excursion / Facilities
Festival / Guest Relations / Holiday / Hot Dog / Hunchback / Indy 
Information / Landscape / Lemonade / Main Gate / Main Street / Motor 
Operations / Parade / Parade Crossing / Parking / Peddle cart / Plumbing
Popcorn / Pushcart / Raft / River / Serving / Sheet Metal / Show / Shuttle 
Sound / Tech / Utilities / Vending / Wedding 



-----------------------------------------------------
     22) OTHER DISNEY LANDMARKS IN THE L.A. AREA
-----------------------------------------------------

The EL CAPITAN THEATER - 6838 Hollywood Blvd. is located between La Brea 
and Highland Sts. across from the MANN'S CHINESE THEATER in Hollywood. 
(213) 467-7674 for recorded information, (213) 467-9545 for a human being. 
This wonderful Hollywood theater is a flagship THX / Dolby Digital movie 
house run by the Disney Co. under a contract with Pacific Theaters. It 
hosts all of the latest Disney features, with elaborate pre-shows and 
exhibits for the major Summer animated and Christmas releases. (Even a 
regular non-animated film opening is sometimes accompanied by a creative 
press event that is usually open to the public - dog sled races, on real 
snow right on Hollywood Blvd. for "Iron Will" for example.) 

This theater has just completed an extensive renovation, with expanded 
stage facilities and installation of a giant pipe organ, which allows the 
theater to be used later to present other Disney events besides movies. 
(The Disney Co. also runs the Crest Theater in Westwood as a showcase, but 
this facility does not allow for the types of events that are staged in 
Hollywood.) 

Starting Jun. 25th and running through Aug. 17th the HERCULES SUMMER 
SPECTACULAR will begin a showcase run here. Included with your entry is a 
downstairs "Art of Hercules" exhibit. After the movie you'll be herded on 
out of and behind the theater as a group into "The Hercules Forum of Fun" 
so that overall attending this event has a total time of three and a half 
hours combined. In other words you get the movie and, for lack of a better 
word here, "funhouse." The "Forum of Fun" replaces the live stage show 
Disney had previously presented with the major animated or holiday event 
movies. 

This funhouse, even down to the corporate sponsor, sounds suspiciously 
similar to the traveling "Hercules Mall Show" that had crossed the country 
this past Spring hyping the movie. To quote Disney PR it is "a tented 
attraction full of fun, fantasy, games, live entertainment and characters 
from the film." In other words they are duplicating pretty much what they 
did in the Toy Story Funhouse.

Showtimes are 9:30, 11:50 AM, 2:10, 4:35, 7 & 9:20 PM

Tickets may be ordered in advance at the theater or by calling 1-800-
DISNEY-6 (3-4-7-6-3-9-6) (phone orders have service charges added to them) 
and include both regular and deluxe VIP reserved seating. 

The VIP tickets include leisurely no-wait-in-line admission, a popcorn and 
soda in souvenir garb brought to your seat, and a keepsake movie credits 
program along with a center orchestra or front area balcony seat location. 
If you don't buy VIP seats, you will have to sit to the sides of the 
theater or up in the back side balcony area since they have increased the 
size of the VIP area from five rows to the entire center section of the 
theater.

(For groups of 20 or more call (818) 845-3110 for more info. and 
reservations.) 

Prices run: 
Adults - $20
Children (3 - 11) & Senior Citizens (60+) - $15
VIP Seats - $30

And yes, they have raised prices yet again five dollars this year from 
what was done for 101 Dalmatians. [Note that there is no service charge if 
you purchase your tickets at the El Capitan box office.]

TIP: This area of Hollywood can be a little frightening in the later 
evening hours. Make sure to be extra cautious when in this area after 
dark. If you have a few extra moments during your visit it's well worth 
the walk across the street to view the many famous movie-star cement 
imprints in the courtyard of the world famous Mann's Chinese Theater.


THE DISNEY STUDIOS can be seen from outside the property at 500 S. Buena 
Vista in Burbank, but other than the clever architecture of the main 
building, which is the worldwide Team Disney executive offices (the 7 
dwarfs holding up the roof - facing south) and the stunning new animation 
building (Mickey's Sorcerer Cap is home to one of Roy Disney's offices and 
used for press interviews, it counter-points the swooping '50 retro coffee 
shop design) there isn't any regular way to take a tour or visit the 
facilities. Tim Allen's HOME IMPROVEMENT among other television shows tape 
there - if you do get tickets for a taping you may be able to visit the 
site in a limited manner.


DISNEY STORE: OK, so you have one in your mall at home. BUT there is a 
unique Disney Store nearby to DL that may be worth a visit if you want to 
see something a little different. 

The very first WALT DISNEY GALLERY store is adjacent to a Disney Store in 
the MAIN PLACE MALL just down the freeway from DL. This unique prototype 
store - almost hand-built by Imagineering, showcases lots of ultra rare 
(and ultra expensive) Disney collectibles. Well worth a visit for the 
decor alone, the white gloved Mickey Mouse hands holding up the ceiling 
are a particularly nice touch. A shuttle is available from the DL and DL 
Pacific hotels for a small fee. If you drive yourself - head down South 
the I-5 Fwy from DL and take the 22 Garden Grove Fwy. heading East. Exit 
Main St. then turn right on Town & Country to MAIN PLACE MALL. 


KELLY STEWART has an excellent web page if you are looking for Disney 
Stores either in the L. A. area, or anywhere else. Visit this excellent 
and very informational site at: http://www.ida.net/users/kelly1/ 


CLUB DISNEY is a new concept from the Disney Company, basically going 
after the local playcenter market pioneered in the past by Chuck E. 
Cheese. Their first location is up in Thousand Oaks, 90 to 120 minutes 
away via freeway north of Anaheim. It is a giant supervised play area, 
complete with food court and adjacent Disney Store. Admission runs about 
the same as a movie here in L.A.

Initial reports are [besides the impossible parking situation on weekends] 
that they've not been too successful in pulling this concept off yet - but 
as with anything Disney, I'm sure they are working on improving it as we 
speak. 

Kindly three folks have allowed me to quote their posted write-ups of 
their recent visits, the just added third report reports a much better 
experience than the first two.


WEBHEAD posted this first report to alt.disney.disneyland and he allowed 
me to quote him here: My wife and I took my three-year old son to Club 
Disney in Thousand Oaks a week after they opened, driving 75 miles from 
Orange County. This is an account of our experience there.

Entrance was $8.00 per person, adult and child alike, regardless of size 
(even infants were charged $8.00). After a strict procedure of tagging 
each child with matching wristbands to their parents (good practice these 
days) and handing over their shoes for storage, we walked through the 
entrance. A fire alarm then sounded and the staff began clearing out the 
building and we were escorted directly towards the exit. We were very 
disappointed since we had driven so far. Luckily, a staffer verified that 
it was a false alarm and we went back in. My wife and I got the feeling 
that things at Club Disney were not quite ready for primetime, and noticed 
a few nervous-looking "suits" milling about and in some serious discussion 
huddles around the facility.

My first reaction upon seeing the interior was "COOL!" - but I kept my 
expectations in check knowing that this was only a experiment and they had 
only been open for a week. We knew that this was Disney's take on the 
regional family recreational restaurant/activity center and the true test 
of success would be my child's reactions and his attention spans, so I 
kept an eye on him. Unfortunately, my observations are not as positive as 
I'd like to report.

The activities offered just did not seem that engaging, with the 
centerpiece attraction, the activity/play center, being the most 
disappointing area. Stairs led up to three horizontal carpeted platforms 
separated by about four feet with holes cut into them so the kids from go 
up or down a level. My son had problems traversing the levels though these 
holes as he could not reach the next level with his feet when hanging down 
and felt uncomfortable simply dropping down to the next level, which had 
very little padding. Each level was very dark and had sponge-like 
apparatus that were shaped like horses hanging in the middle, but no kids 
were jumping on them. 

The main slide, which started at about thirty feet from the top level all 
the way to the main floor was closed for unknown reasons which I thought 
was odd, since slides are usually the climax of a child's experience in an 
activity center. There was a second slide which my son did slide through 
(assisted by a staffer), and was quickly caught at the end by another 
staffer. My guess is they were there to catch the kids because it looked 
like my son came out of the bottom of the tube slide at too fast a 
velocity (Splash Mountain Syndrome?). He didn't want to go back up anymore 
after he slid, so I think that was a bad sign. Needless to say, there was 
not much kid action going on there at all.

There was a computer room consisting of readily available retail Disney 
software (Toy Story Activity Center, 101 Dalmatians) on about 20 IBM 
systems. There was also restricted access to the Internet to several 
selected family-style web sites via Netscape. The room was dark, very hot, 
crowded, and humid due to the large 21" monitors and CPU's, and the air 
conditioning did not appear to be working very well. This room basically 
felt like the focus was to let the kids demo the software (which is 
available at your local computer store), but since my child already had 
some of the software there at home, he didn't find it very interesting. So 
we left after about five minutes and a near heat stroke.

There was a science area upstairs which had a few pushbutton activities 
similar to what you would find at a municipal science museum, however, 
they were geared for older children. There was a large 7 foot tall 
prop/activity in the middle of the room that had small plastic colored 
balls floating around in large clear wind tunnel tubes and the child could 
force the balls into other chambers by pushing a large, heavy plunger. 
Really neat looking, but really no purpose than taking up about a 6 foot 
diameter space on the floor. 

There was a one way mirror that a child looked at with a scary head on the 
other side, which would illuminate when the child pressed the button. 
There was also a large box that the child would crawl into from the 
bottom, stick his head out from a hole in the top that was surrounded by 
fruits and vegetables, and speak into a hidden microphone, while someone 
outside the box pulled a lever to change his or her voice.

A game room on the first level had several custom-built games with themes 
from several of the more recent Disney movies such as Aladdin, Toy Story, 
etc. Most of these games were well constructed and were visually 
appealing, but when it got down to playing with them, the object of the 
games were overly simplistic, but still required the physical body of at 
least a 10-13 year old to interact with them. One game was a large movable 
tray with holes in it that you had to traverse a ball past without 
dropping into the holes. One person each handled a side of the platform, 
and this game required a lot of coordination, even more than my wife and I 
could handle. 

Another game consisted of the parent (of at least 5.5!) taking a soccer-
sized ball, placing it in a cup attached to a lever about 7 feet in the 
air, then the child stepping on a button on the base to make the lever 
flip the cup over, dumping the ball into a basket. Repeat Ad Nauseum. 
Attached to a column in that area were two IBM Thinkpads, which allowed 
parents access to two specific sports web sites with Netscape. After about 
5 minutes of excitement there, we got hungry so we decided to grab a bite 
to eat at the separate cafe.

The cafe served the usual Disney fast food fare, and it cost the $18.50 
for drinks, two chicken nugget lunches with fries, a jumbo hot dog, and a 
garden salad, that was accidentally packaged with the dressing for the 
CuosCous (sp?)salad. The chicken lunches, the hot dog, and the fries all 
came in really cool wire holders that were shaped like Mickey -- but when 
it got to clearing your table, it was a pain, because you had to 
individually take each item sitting in the wire holder and throw it away, 
instead of just dumping the whole tray in the trash. A staffer stayed at 
the trash bin making sure the wire holders were not trashed, or just 
cleared the tray and table for the customer. 

The quality of the food was average to poor, and I wonder why it took ten 
minutes to get my hot dog. We did not sample the pizza slices, because it 
appeared to be similar looking to frozen pizzas, and several people had 
left them uneaten on their tables. As we exited the cafe, a staffer kindly 
asked that I do not bring my drink out to the carpeted activity areas. 
Other areas included a Mickey Mouse art room where they presented a 30 
minute program which allowed kids to create their own art (Mickeys) with 
construction paper (closed to us due to full capacity of about 30 people). 
There was an animation room where kids could use Macintosh computers and 
wood cutouts of Disney characters to create animated sequences (all of the 
software had crashed and was not rebooted).

There was also a dress-up area and program where kids can try dressing up 
in different costumes and act out plays (didn't stay for that which was 
another 30 minute wait to get in). Also there was a small mirror maze 
(fair), a Winnie the Pooh themed area geared towards smaller children and 
babies which had tables with colored wooden shapes, a kitchen for role-
playing, along with fun house mirrors, etc. A small train that kids could 
play on and in and a musical attraction which allowed kids to sound out 
different tones by jumping on multi-colored, multi-leveled pads (coolest 
thing in the whole place).

Initially, my son seemed fascinated in discovering the different areas as 
the facility is quite large, but even though the props and overall quality 
of the visual design was the usual high Disney quality, something was 
lacking in the execution of the center and the activities it housed. It 
was apparent that he quickly became bored after about 45 minutes, so we 
went to the exit were we had our wristbands cut off and he got his shoes 
back. 

Our visit was not complete without entering the obligatory gift shop next 
to the entrance, with Club Disney kids t-shirts available at $12.00 each. 
After spending nearly $42 in 45 minutes, we passed on it and went back to 
the car, without a peep from my son. This was interesting to note because 
if he would have absolutely loved the place and felt he had not discovered 
all there was to discover in the short time we were there, he would have 
probably would have kicked and screamed to stay. Every parent knows this. 
Instead, he seemed just fine in leaving the Club Disney.

I usually have defended Disney in most of their strategies in the past, 
and feel bad to be so critical and give such a scathing review, but this 
new center seemed under-developed and not thought out very well. 
Overall, it was a big disappointment, even despite the fact that we came 
75 miles to see Disney's latest experiment. Knowing this was intended as a 
regional center, I truthfully don't think we would ever visit it again 
even if we lived only a block away. Of course, this is only my view and 
opinion. 


DARRYL CLARK dclark@accutek.com posted this follow up on 
alt.disney.disneyland a few weeks later: Club Disney is a theme playland 
located in 1000 Oaks, CA. Should it be successful, expect these to be all 
over the country in a few years. This one, the prototype, has been open 
for about a month.

Admission is $8. It is in a nice new shopping center. You are also told 
that you can leave and return to the premises only once, with a time limit 
of only 20 minutes! This is to insure that you will rent their lockers and 
eat their Disneyland priced cuisine, rather than go outside for better, 
cheaper fare.

The first exhibit you see is a little Pooh play area. It looked nice, but 
like other areas, advertised features weren't all there. Like the 
character jump belts. Also, the cast member who is supposed to read 
stories, merely sat bored at table. 

The game area looked great, but was also lame. The play levels (with one 
open tube) were both crowded and cramped. The science area had some neat 
things, like a room where you make a shadow. However, they never tell you 
how all these things are done.

The Aplaudeville Theater was kind of crappy. The dance show was good, but 
the costume dress up wasn't. They pick out 20 kids prior to the show and 
you get to see them walk out in costume. Whoopee. I wanted my own kids to 
be there. Also, they don't list a schedule of shows.

The animation center is small. You get to turn a reel of Fantasia, and 
make a short stop animation movie. The computer interactive center is a 
joke. After you enter, the "educational" programs you get to pick and play 
are standard Disney CD ROMs (Pocohantas, Winnie the Pooh, Hunchback, etc.) 
all available for sale at the gift shop for $39.99.

The art room was good. We got a quick art lesson and got to make and color 
a clay mickey. They have a lot of upstairs classrooms reserved for school 
field trips. You won't ever get a chance to be in one of these, unless you 
get a weekend birthday party. For $250, you a room for 2 hours, a cake a 
Merlin will stop by and do some tricks.

SUMMARY - It looks like Disney is trying to make a play at the school 
field trip market. In my opinion, it fails. They have handouts showing the 
educational merits of their attractions, but they are really stretching 
the truth (BTW, I have been a teacher for ten years).

The gift shop does have lots of cool, exclusive Fantasia stuff. If you 
have toddlers, you have to walk them through everything. I find Chuck E. 
Cheese a better deal because, a) It is cheaper, and b) The kids don't need 
you every frick'in second. I get to eat in peace. I might go back in a few 
years, but your results may be different.


DAVID RACKER DavidRac@aol.com was kind enough to fill me in on a more 
positive experience he had within the same time frame as the above write-
ups: I would just like to take a minute to give you a "different 
viewpoint" regarding Club Disney in Thousand Oaks. I believe I was there 
about the same time as your first critique was (one week after opening -- 
I even got in on the same fire evacuation, or maybe there were multiple!). 
I have to say that my 3 and 7 year old girls LOVED the place, from Pooh 
Corner to the slides, to the hands-on science exhibits. (Reason given for 
the slide closure -- the smaller of two slides opens early in the day for 
toddlers; the larger, longer one later for the big kids). They even spent 
a lot of time at the computers, although we have most of the programs at 
home. But they stayed five hours and are continually requesting a return 
visit.

Yes, there were a few broken things (although not as many as detailed in 
the second post), and things that didn't make sense; You're right about 
the "baffling" policy of not even viewing the place for those without 
kids. I understand their desire to maintain security and avoid those who 
might be there for the wrong reason, but I can't believe it hurts to let 
people "have a look", or something of the like. Also, when I went there 
were no brochures available, a drawback I think.

I don't mean to sound like a cheerleader for Disney -- certainly there are 
problems in a number of areas -- [this is] just a somewhat different 
viewpoint from those who hated it! We're looking forward to revisiting 
despite any problems with it.

  ---- END [FAQ/DL] D-I-G: The Disneyland Information Guide 6/7 ----

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