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Eat, Drink, Sleep and Shop - Lots of News and Photos from the SoCal area

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
by , 03-27-2009 at 04:56 AM
Running Late, photos are being added currently... SORRY!


Mimi's Cafe on Harbor (across the street from Howard Johnson's Anaheim Plaza Hotel) is giving away $3,000 in FREE Gift Cards on Tuesday, March 31st. The cards (which will vary in amount, they will hand out 75 of them, must be 18 or older to qualify), of course, the line will form prior to 9 AM, but if you are in the area, this is a great deal.

The reason Mimi's on Harbor is handing out the free Gift Cards is they just remodeled, and now features a full bar with speciality drinks, along with the great food.

And if you can't make it on Tuesday, there is always the free food offer if you sign up for Mimi's e-mail group...

Time for the links.

Mimi's Cafe

Welcome MiceChat Members

Good Friday Morning, while this column focuses on Theme Parks, and we have a lot of that this week, we also look at the "malls" and hotels near the parks.... And there is lots of news, some good, and some bad.... Plus plenty of photos....

Why not a "Bolt", that could promote the movie, and the San Diego Chargers!

Quick Plug, I will be at Disneyland this afternoon, and plan to watch/take photos of the new "Street Party", check Darkbeer.Smugmug.Com Saturday for lots of photos of the new parade.

And once again, a parking warning. For the next few weeks, Spring/Easter Break and things like Cheer/Dance competitions are filling up the parking lots. And while Disney is trying to address the situation by paving over the Strawberry Field, there are still major losses in other locations, including the Timon Lot. As the saying goes, First Come, First Served, so get to the parks early in the day!

Anaheim GardenWalk Update

Big news here, the two Disney 'Managed" hotels will start being built around May, as the Financing has been finalized. Prospera Hotels will be the owners, but the two hotels will be "Disney" properties, as they will feature Disney Names, and use Disney employees. A 4-Star/Upscale Hotel will be at the corner of Disney Way and Clementine, and a more "Family" hotel will be on the south lot, next to the Cheesecake Factory.

Three new food options have opened at AGW. Mrs. Fields opened on Wednesday, and Tacone Flavor Grill and Palama Hawaiian Fusion BBQ started serving in the last couple of weeks.

Plus Fire + Ice Grill is opening in late May/early June...

FiRE + iCE Improvisational Grill

In this day and age of "being smart" with your money, AGW is the place to go for Happy Hours, Cheesecake Factory has some amazing offers, as does Bar Louie and McCormick and Schmicks Grille.

And of course, the Food Court is a great place any time of the day, with places like Johnny Rockets and many other choices.

Eateries at Anaheim GardenWalk

While Disney raise prices and closes locations (more on this later), it makes AGW look better every day. Heck, Low cost Sushi... San Sei... High End Sushi... Roy's.

And now Disney is sending folks to AGW to park, bringing in more guests to the complex.

Also, AGW is hosting a special American Cancer Society's Survivor event on Saturday, April 4th.

So congrats to all those who have beaten Cancer!

Also, we mentioned it here last week, but a reminder than the Taste of Anaheim will be at AGW for the first time on May 14th.

14th Annual Taste of Anaheim | May 14th, 2009

More Charity Stuff

I am a fan in general of the Amazing Race, and really impressed with what the host is planning to do...

Keoghan To Embark on a 40 Day, Coast-to-Coast Bike Ride Across America, Averaging 100 Miles Per Day, Covering Over 3,500 Miles Total with
Pit Stops in Over 30 Cities

Phil Keoghan, host of CBS's THE AMAZING RACE, will embark on his boldest adventure yet — cycling from Los Angeles to New York — a ride that will average 100 miles per day for a total of over 3,500 miles, spanning 40 days with pit stops in over 30 different cities.

"I fly over 400,000 miles a year and I figured it was time to stretch my legs. I love to ride so I thought I'd see what this great country looks like up close instead of taking a bird's eye view at 30,000 feet," said Keoghan. "In this economic climate, bike riding makes a lot of sense — it's good for your waistline and easy on your wallet."

Phil Keoghan's "Ride Across America Presented by GNC" will kickoff on March 28 in Los Angeles and end on May 9 (the day before the finale of THE AMAZING RACE 14) in New York. Along the way, he'll attend meet and greets with supporters at local GNC stores, visit CBS affiliates, attend open-casting calls for the next installment of THE AMAZING RACE, sign copies of his best-selling book No Opportunity Wasted, and ride alongside ex-Racers and fans of THE AMAZING RACE. He will also be participating in rallies hosted by the National MS Society to build awareness for Bike MS and the MS movement.

"All of us at GNC are extremely impressed with Phil's commitment and dedication to living a healthy lifestyle," stated Tom Dowd, Executive Vice President, Stores, Operations & Development for GNC. "Having been fans of the 'The Amazing Race' and Phil from the first season, we recognized what a great opportunity this was to partner with him."

Phil Keoghan's "Ride Across America" includes visits to such cities as: Las Vegas; Denver; Lincoln, Neb.; Des Moines, Iowa; Chicago; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Columbus, Ohio; Pittsburgh; Washington D.C.; Baltimore; Philadelphia and New York. Phil's exact route will be released soon.

"We're also very excited to have the opportunity to be the sole retailer of Phil's new nutritional product, NOW OSM 'One Square Meal,' a total meal replacement that is guaranteed to be a top seller at our GNC stores," added Dowd.

THE AMAZING RACE 14 airs Sundays (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
If you can, please think about donating to causes like MS and the ACS, they really do a lot of good for a lot of folks.

Heck, riding a bike across the country... WOW!

Downtown Disney stuff

Yes, we can pick on the Monorails, as they have been having major issues, and did not run much of the day on Thursday. (Mark VII Orange is being tested, but Mark VII Red wants to stay in the barn!)

The big news is that the former Club Libby Lu location will reopen in May as "Studio Disney 365", featuring themed makeovers for both boys and girls. Opening Team Casting is being held today for the new store. This will be the second "makeover" location in the Resort, as the new Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique will open soon in Fantasyland.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

A new Sign has been added at DtD, the former Quiksilver is now Quicksilver/Roxy store. The sign was installed Thursday.

Yes, notice what is in BOLD!

Disneyland Resort Food news

Folks, you are very lucky you were not in my house last night when I found out this news... (Unless you like to hear LOTS of swear words)

39 Disney employees told restaurant will close - Around Disney -

Disney officials announced Thursday afternoon that Yamabuki restaurant, inside the Paradise Pier Hotel will close down April 11.
If you go to the link, they talk about the restaurant opening in 1996, but that is when Disney took it over. Many of the employees worked for the prior owner, the Pan Pacific. Some of the Sushi Chefs have been there since the 80's.

I will be there on April 11th for the "last" meal, and I will truly miss the place. A couple of years ago, Disney tried to convert the place from upscale to "fine dine" (and of course the higher prices) and sometimes you need to accept higher volume and a slightly smaller average check than trying to empty folks wallets completely.

Fans of Hook's Pointe should also be worried, as it is rumored to be next on the list. (Currently only operating limited hours).

And since we are talking about Price Increases, Disney has once again brought back Seasonal Pricing to selected locations. The easiest to change is the Fixed-Price Character dining locations, and Disney raised its prices on March 20th. The "seasonal" price increase will end on April 26th, but will return for Summer and Christmas.

Lots of news in the local newspapers.

While we truly appreciate you checking in at MiceAge every day, we also need to mention newspapers, and that you should break out a few quarters and buy them!

Lots of good stuff was written this week from both the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Times. Here are the highlights.

Disney begins laying off back-office employees - Around Disney -

Disneyland expert and Web writer Al Lutz has said that employees in the sales-and-entertainment division were soon slated for termination.

“The biggest layoffs will be in merchandise,” he said. “(Disneyland and California Adventure are) still pulling in the crowds — they’re pulling people in, but instead of $50 sweatshirts, they’re buying $10 T-shirts.”

And can we finally just call the attraction "Toy Story Mania!" as we have the new Wii version....

The current Mickey and Friends Parking Structure Tram Loading area signs

Disney announces Toy Story Mania Wii game - Around Disney -

Does Disney want out-of-town guests? Heck, yes, this Summer, Pay for three nights, get an extra 2 nights free. (aka 2 extra nights at your hotel, and a 5 day ParkHopper, instead of 3).. And this is not just for the three Disney owned hotels, but also the Good Neighbor hotels.)

Disneyland summer deal: Stay 3 nights, get 2 nights free — plus park entrance too with a hopper ticket - Travel -

The new "Street Party" starts today....

Disneyland’s new ‘Celebrate!’: A sneak peek at ’street show’ debuting Friday - Travel -

The parade — and I can’t help calling it that — features 99 performers, including 48 dancers, 12 stilt-walkers, 12 chariot drivers, three DJs and 24 costumed Disney characters. To my surprise, even Clarabelle Cow and Clarice the Chipmunk — two of Disney’s lesser-known characters — join the cast.
100 performers in new Disney street parade; starts Friday - Around Disney -

The parade stops at the mall in front of the its a small world ride, the central plaza near Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and then along Main Street – cast members perform the dance numbers for about 12 minutes at each location, McClintock said.

The show, starting Friday, will run at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. daily through April 19.
Then, the parade will run only at 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
I have not seen the event yet, but based on what I have heard, it is another "Block Party Bash", which means it is not my cup of tea. Here is hoping for a more "Traditional" parade for the 55th!

Knott's Berry Farm News

Yes, Snoopy's Spring Safari is returning for Easter Break. April 4th through the 19th will allow kids to collect free adventure gear.

Also, last Saturday was the 10th Winter Coaster Solace, including a chance to go "behind the scenes" on a few attractions.

Knott's does a great job hosting the event, and yes, this column will be "heavy" on photos, but for good reason.

Should this be renamed the "Stupid Guest Tricks" button?

Yep, this is the "Code V" stuff

Gee, is it Cheer/Dance season?

Selected photos from Darkbeer.Smugmug.Com, including Goats, Chickens and a Turtle.

OK, this is Elvis, aka Chuck, as some folks think it is half breed between a Chicken and a Duck....

OK, one Baby Ducks photo from the week

And as always, there are a LOT more photos at

Once again, thanks for checking MiceAge out, hope you have a great weekend, and for those San Diego State Fans, yes, we made the Final Four (OK, the NIT), but still GO AZTECS!

See you tomorrow for a special Celebrate - A Street Party edition of In the Parks.

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Updated 03-27-2009 at 07:52 AM by In the Parks



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  1. Fantasmic4's Avatar
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    Wow great Update!!!
  2. cositaluvsmickey's Avatar
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    as always, great update...
  3. Wendygirl's Avatar
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    Oh my, Elvis/Chuck is one interesting bird

    Regarding the Survivor event at Garden Walk, for those in the Long Beach/Lakewood area there will be one at the Lakewood Center Mall on April 3 at 6:30 PM which I am planning to attend. Relay for Life is starting to gear up at many locations.
  4. MousEarz's Avatar
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    While we truly appreciate you checking in at MiceAge every day, we also need to mention newspapers, and that you should break out a few quarters and buy them!
    Thanks so much for plugging newspapers. I work in the newspaper industry and it's taken a really hard hit over the past few years, even before the economy really started to nosedive.

    It may not seem like it sometimes, but publications really do appreciate everyone's business, now more than ever.
  5. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Nice update!
  6. PAL's Avatar
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    Go State!
  7. Zoe Necrosis's Avatar
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    I suppose it's a shame about Yamabuki, particularly for those who have worked there for decades, but to me and my girlfriend the restaurant was already dead.

    We loved going there back before the remodeling, back when it was traditional, elegant, quiet, and the waitresses even wore obis. After the remodel the menu was less appealing, the atmosphere was no longer tranquil, the lighting was atrocious, and the overall ambiance was alienating.

    I can't help but feel they would have done alright had they stayed traditional. Oh well.
  8. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Thank you David. Wonderful and informative. I'm so sorry to hear about Yamabuki. That is one of my favorite restaurants at the resort and the only place to get Japanese food at the resort. They also have some of the best employees.
  9. william's Avatar
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    Great update Darkbeer!
  10. almandot's Avatar
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    It looked like they surrounded the partners statue with a picket fence for a second.
  11. llama5492's Avatar
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    Great update!
  12. MickeyMousePal's Avatar
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    First thing I do on a Friday morning is read David's column.
    Good stuff.
  13. disneymademoiselle's Avatar
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    It's safe to say that I just about had a heart attack when I read that there is going to be a Toy Story Mania game for Wii!!! Here's hoping they make controllers that match the guns on the ride, too!!!
  14. vfire's Avatar
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    Necrosis got it right, Yamabuki was much better before the remodel. Disney really doesn't know sometimes when to let well enough alone.
  15. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Good update. Just a question, what's that special cage vehicle for the coaster at Knott's for? Testing? Maintenance?
  16. CaseyJr's Avatar
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    Yamabuki was THE BEST. This is heartbreaking news. THE BEST sushi we had ever had and such a wonderful atmosphere. I am very sad... :o(
  17. JesterMn's Avatar
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    That's too bad about Yamabuki closing, but I felt it was too expensive for what you got. Although the service and atmosphere was a nice change of pace. I was also bummed when I found out that Cafe Tu Tu Tango closed at CityWalk!

    Interestingly, I was also at that "Sharp" competition as an advisor, bringing my team later that night. I knew the Solace was going on, but wasn't able to do both events on the same day.
  18. MarkTwain's Avatar
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    That's good to hear that AGW is doing better and the hotels will be built! I wonder if they will be themed, as Disney is known for.
  19. TifaOnACloud's Avatar
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    I'm crushed to hear about Yamabuki. Even after the remodel, it was still one of my favorite places and a must during any visit. It was even the place that started me on sushi, and where I finally got the hang of chopsticks.

    I ate there earlier this month and did discuss the hours with our waitress. She said they were being observed and a decision on whether to change them would be made soon. I guess they just didn't pull in the numbers.

    Sad to have to say farewell to the best sushi out there.
  20. SouthHrbrBlvd's Avatar
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    great update!

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