Monday in the Parks
by, 12-09-2007 at 09:46 PM
Welcome to a new weekly update that will be filled with current news, rumors
and some tips for Disneyland and all the other parks in the Southern
California area, plus some related info, such as how to enter the 2008
Disney Dreams contest by mail, which you will find at the end of this article.
So where to start, well, with my well known handle, "Darkbeer," why not start with
Disneyland Liquor License
Yes, Disneyland Park is getting a Liquor License, and I know some folks
will be bothered by this, but all Disney is doing is streamlining a
process. Disney has sold alcoholic drinks to guests of private events
inside Disneyland for many years, but the current policy requires Disney
to get a one day Catering Liquor License every time a private event
wants to offer bars. (The private event must specifically make a request
for alcoholic drinks to be served). This way, one less step will be
needed, as the park will have a license that is good year round.
There are no plans in the foreseeable future for Disney to sell
alcoholic drinks to the general public inside of Disneyland Park (except
for Club 33).
But many folks don't know that in the late 50's, Walt Disney actually
sold beer on Disneyland property. Walt Disney built "Holidayland"
approximately where the Haunted Mansion and New Orleans Square is today.
It was basically a private event venue (It could handle 7,000 guests at
one time), but was available to the general public. It was basically a
picnic area with sports playing fields. It was "outside" the official
Disneyland Park gates, but there was direct access between the two areas
with Holidayland having its own set of turnstiles that allowed you into
Holidayland closed in 1961, but folks looking for an alcoholic drink had
no problem, as the Disneyland Monorail was expanded to two stops in 1961
to include the Disneyland Hotel. The hotel built the "Monorail Bar"
right across from the Monorail turnstiles to allow folks to easily leave
the park and enjoy a drink or two during the middle of the day.
So while the type of liquor license is changing, there is no change in
Fort Wilderness Redux
Next is an interesting change. Fort Wilderness is almost complete in
its make over (the only remaining part is the restroom area which was
built for the Pirates Lair makeover). They had to build a new restroom
(which is wheelchair friendly), located in one of the new turrets that
was built, before they could work on the restroom area. But the
interesting thing is what is missing.
The new version of Fort Wilderness only has three turrets. The new
design eliminated one, as the original version had four. FYI, there are
no plans to open the inside of the fort to park guests, it will be used
by CM's as a break area, and storage for Fantasmic!
A Christmas Laughing Stock
And for those looking for Christmas events inside Disneyland, one event
is not mentioned anywhere. The Laughing Stock Company performers in
Frontierland have special Christmas related shows this time of year.
They perform 5 days a week currently (dark on Monday and Thursday) but
should go to 7 days a week in the second half of December. A fun little
event. And don't forget, Billy Hill and the Hillbillies also add some
Christmas music into their act.
Knott's Merry Farm
And talking about Christmas, Disneyland isn't the only park that
celebrates the season. Knott's Merry Farm has a lot of events, shows and
even additional shopping just up the street.
Seasonal shows and events include a "Spirit of the Season" Parade at
4:30 PM every day for the rest of the year except for December 13th,
24th, 25th, and 31st, and this year they improved the sound system along
the route, and added a couple of additional items to the parade.
"Snoopy's Cool Christmas" ice skating show is offered daily except for
December 13th, 17th, 18th, 25th and 31st.
The Bird Cage Theater offers Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and
O'Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" multiple times daily.
Camp Snoopy Theater offers the Peanuts Winter Wonderland show for kids
of all ages.
The Calico Saloon Show celebrates Christmas with Calico Kate and Dakota
And one of my favorite shows, the Calico Tree Lighting at 5:30 PM, with
singing, dancing, the Peanuts Gang and lots of Christmas cheer.
The famous Timber Mountain Log Ride has a holiday overlay and is now
"Elf Mountain Christmas"
The Ghost Town area has the Crafts Village, which are a bunch of artisan
stands offering a nice variety of items that make perfect gifts and are
open daily through Christmas Eve. Plus you can visit Santa's Workshop to
get a photo taken with the Big Guy.
And of course, the California Marketplace outside the park proper has
plenty of shops and restaurants for the holiday season.
And here is the best deal, this upcoming Saturday and Sunday, December
15th and 16th, you can get into Knott's Merry Farm for just a donation
to Toys for Tots. You need to bring an new unwrapped toy that is $10 or
more to the main gate, and the US Marines will be happy to trade you a
admission ticket into Knott's Merry Farm for that day for the donation.
Knott's has been doing this for years, and brings in truckloads of toys
for the famous toy drive (and kudos to UPS for donating the Trucks).
Police, Fire and County Welfare, Human and Public Social
Services Employees get in free with proper ID through December 21st.
Check out www.knotts.com for the full details and rules.
Adventure City and Hobby City Saved (for now)
And while we are in the Buena Park area, we need to mention great news
down south in Stanton. Adventure City and Hobby City have been given a
reprieve, and will remain open for the foreseeable future. Due to the
softening real estate market, the original deal to sell the property to
Brandywine Homes to build a condo development has been at least
postponed, and might be cancelled.
Anaheim Zoning War
And talking about the housing market, a lot of happened in the news in
regards to the Anaheim Resort Area and the zoning battles.
Here is a recap of what has happened in the last few weeks.
October 1st, 2007, the SunCal company, who originally proposed building
around 1,500 housing units on Mobile Home Park land owned by the Frank
Family Partnership, was supposed to make a payment of $500,000 to
extend the closing date on a purchase and sale agreement that was in
escrow. The SunCal folks failed to make that payment, and the Frank
Family filed a termination notice on October 4th.
This has created two lawsuits, one from the Frank Family asking for
$151,000 in agreed fees if SunCal failed to buy the property.
SunCal has sued the Frank Family for over $60 million for failure to
extend the closing date and filing the termination notice.
SunCal also informed the Anaheim City Council on October 30th that they
would no longer fund the legal battle in regards to a lawsuit the Walt
Disney Company filed against the council in regards to the actions taken
regarding the way the council approved the zoning change in the resort
area to allow the housing development.
In response to the letter sent to the city council, one council member,
Ms. Lucille Kring decided to revisit the issue, and at the
November 27th council meeting, by a 3-2 vote, the council repealed the
zoning change, and returned the zoning back to resort use only (with the
grandfathered use to allow mobile homes on the property).
Most folks thought the issue was settled, but that has been hardly the
First off, there were two issues that the Disney backed SOAR (Save Our
Anaheim Resort) group submitted to the council by petitions. The first
was a referendum on the specific zoning change to the Frank Family land,
that was moot and cancelled by the November 27th actions by the city
council, since the council did reverse the decision.
A second measure, an initiative that deals with the entire Anaheim
Resort Area, and basically would require a vote by the registered voters
of Anaheim (and other steps) if any property in the resort area would no
longer be zoned for resort uses. That is still on the June 8th, 2008
The SOAR counter group, CDPA (Committee to Defend and Protect Anaheim)
filed paperwork to start a petition for an initiative on November 27th
that basically would require voter approval of any change of use
(currently Parking and Farming) for the Strawberry Field land owned by
Disney and is where the expected third park would be built. It is
unknown how far this measure will go, as most folks expect that SunCal
will no longer fund CDPA. Once the wording of the petition is approved,
then CDPA would have 6 months to gather the required signatures to have
the measure placed on a future ballot.
And these last few days have been busy, first off, another land owner
that wants a zoning change in the resort area has filed paperwork for a
plan to build a combination of housing and a hotel on the south end of
the resort area on Harbor Blvd. (For those who know the area, it is the
closed Toys "R" Us location next to the Bank of America). The plan is
tentatively scheduled for a January 7th, 2008 planning commission
hearing. The project developer, West Millennium Homes wants to get
approval prior to June 3rd, when the possibility of the SOAR initiative
being approved would make it much harder for the project to get
And this last Friday, December 7th, SunCal filed a notice to ask for a
reconsider the November 27th reversal of the zoning change. SunCal is
claiming the change violated federal and state housing laws by removing
affordable housing that was approved back in April. The city council has
set the matter to the December 18th city council meeting to see if they
want to take further action. Anaheim's City Attorney, Jack White has
stated that he feels there is no merit to the points SunCal made in its
notice. You can read more about this latest action at the Orange County
and the Los Angeles Times
Folks, I tried to keep it as basic as I could, but there is still a lot
going on in regards to the Anaheim Resort Zoning news, and it doesn't
look like it will stop until at least June of 2008. I will keep you
informed in future updates.
GardenWalk's Not So Secret Hotels
In a related item, Prospera Hotels has submitted to the Anaheim City
Council plans to build two hotels on the east end of the Anaheim
GardenWalk project. These are the hotels that Al Lutz discussed in one
of his recent updates. The Orange County Register has Charles Terry,
Prospera's vice president of architectural design stating they have a confidential agreement with another company to run the hotels after they are built. I wonder who that might be....
Rob Doughty, a Disneyland Resort
spokesperson has an interesting reply, which you can read at this link.
There aren't too many photos in this update, but I have plenty for you to view at my photo website,
They include a lot of construction update photos, plus a tour of the Christmas decorations at the three Disney owned Hotels from Saturday, December 8th.
Win One of a Million Dreams (Without visiting the parks)
And now, as promised, the last and final item, how you could win a
"Dream" without visiting either the Disneyland or Walt Disney World
OK, first off, while Disney wants to call the promotion "Year of a
Million Dreams", in reality, it is two different sweepstakes, which when
combined, I call the "27 months of over 2.25 million prizes". The
original "Disney Dreams Giveaway" is still currently running, and when
it expires on December 31st, 2007, it will be the end of the "15 months
of 1.25 million prizes" (aka Version 1). Back in September of 2006, I posted step by step instruction on how to enter by mail.
These instructions are still valid, and you can enter once a day per person through December 31st, 2007.
Now, back in October of 2007, Disney made the announcement of the Year of a Million MORE Dreams, which is officially called the "2008 Disney Dreams Giveaway", and actually has slightly more than 1 million prizes, some of which are different than Version 1, for a contest that starts January 1st, 2008 and runs through December 31st, 2008.
I will list the complete instructions in just a bit, but first I want to talk about the basic differences between the first contest and the second contest.
First off, the mail-in portion of Version 2 starts December 19th, 2007, and those received in late December will be placed in the January 1st, 2008 entries for potential winners.
There is a new and different post
office box number for Version 2 than Version 1, this way Disney can keep
the two contests separate. (So for those "mail-in regulars", between December 19th and December 31st, you can actually mail in 2 postcards per day, one to each of the 2 different PO Boxes per person).
Second, they have liberalized the way you can submit your entry, to allow any legal sized postcard or even envelopes as acceptable ways to send in your entry. Now if you are smart, and want to watch your
wallet, you will use a postcard, as it is cheaper to mail, but now, no
longer does it have to be 3.5 inches by 5 inches, which happens to be
the minimum size that the United State Postal Service will accept. It
can be any where from 3.5 inches to 4.25 inches high and between 5 and 6 inches in width. (You can use larger sizes, but then you have to pay
So the two easiest options are the standard USPS postcard that already has postage on it (3.5 by 5.5 inches), which costs 2 cents extra a piece (28 cents of the card, as compared to 26 cents for just a stamp) or just get 4 by 6 inches index cards and buy the 26 cent stamp. The costs are about the same.
Third, more people can enter, as folks who live in Japan and Australia
can now enter the Version 2 contest and win.
And then they have changed the prize list, but for mail-in entries, you
are still looking at the Dream Ears or Dream Lanyard as the only 2 low
level prizes you can win (all the other prizes require you to be in the
park, so Disney will substitute). Of course, you still have a chance to
win the Mid Level Prizes (A Gift package for mail-in entries that is worth at least the value of the in-park prize) and the High Level Prizes, which mail-in entries are fully eligible for. But over 99.9% of the prizes available are the "low" level prizes, so the vast majority of folks will win the Dream Ears or the Pin Lanyard. But a few folks have reported winning a larger prize using the mail-in entry method in Version 1.
And a friendly reminder, you MUST hand-write your name and address, you cannot use printed labels for YOUR info.
OK, here we go, the actual step-by-step instructions.
Starting Wednesday, December 19th, 2007, Disney is opening up the
alternative means of entry for the Year of a Million Dreams Version 2
contest (Which really is the 12 months of just over 1 Million Prizes), This post will walk you through the way to win prizes from the comfort of your own home.
The following is based on the Official Rules, which can be found at this
A couple of things to note, the limit of entering is one per Person per
day (that the post office is open), it is not limited to one per household, so you can sign up for each member of the family (including kids of any age). But folks, if you win a High Level Prize, you will need to show ID and proof of being a person, so please don't enter your pets or use fake names.
First off, are you eligible? Folks that work for Disney and their immediate family are not eligible, along with folks associated with the contest. If you are not sure, check the exact info in the official rules link above (Paragraph 1).
Where do you live?.... This contest is open to folks of many countries.
If you live in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, United
Kingdom, Australia and Japan, you are eligible unless prohibited by
state or local law. This step-by-step list is good for those who live in
the US, if you live elsewhere, verify the info in the official rules,
for example, those living in the U.K. have a different address to send
their postcards in. And of course, the postage and postcard rules are different for non-US countries.
OK, you are eligible and ready to enter, first thing we need are the
You are looking at about 310 "postal days" between 12/19/07 and 12/31/08 (no entries on Sundays or Postal Holidays), so you will need about 310 of each of the following for each person in the household you plan to enter.
First off, the postcards, the best and cheapest option is to buy
postcards from the Post Office that already had the postage placed on
them. In the US, the current postal rate is 26 cents (as of May 2007)
for a postcard. USPS charges 28 cents for the pre-stamped postcard, to take into consideration the cost of the actual cardboard.
Buy some self-sticking printer labels from the local office supply
And of course, a pen.
Go to your word processing program and set up a page to print a full
sheet of labels based on the size you got.
You will want the following to print on each label.
Go ahead and place these stickers on the front of the postcard, underneath the postage, in about the middle of the card.
2008 Disney Dreams Giveaway
PO Box 8650
Elmhurst, IL 60126-8650
Then, turn it over, and rotate the card, so that you have the card at 5
to 6 inches long (top to bottom). You want to write your info in the
opposite direction of the front of the card, as sometimes the post
office (and their automated machines) will read the back of the card if it is written with the card between 3 and 4.25 inches tall. This will prevent you from having the card mailed back to you, instead of being
sent to Elmhurst.
On the back of the card, fill in the following IN HANDWRITING (Block
Printing is the best), this is a common rule in contests, and the Disney Dreams rules say "writing", do NOT use a printed label. (of course, use your full name, complete mailing address including postal code, daytime phone number and date of birth).
Then separate the cards in groups so you have one postcard for each
John M. Smith
1234 Main Street
Anaheim, CA 92802-2309
member of the family in a stack. Make sure and mail them at the same
time every day, as you need to get a postmark for each postal day.
So, what to expect if you decided to spend the $90 or so...
Well, the odds of winning any prize are about 1 in 65 to 70 based on the ERA estimated park attendance, so you should win about 4 prizes. No guarantees, but statistically most folks should get at least 3 prizes during the 12 month period.
What will you win? Well, most prizes (over 99.9%) will be Dream Mouse Ears worth about $16.75 or the Pin and Lanyard set worth about $24.
We know you won't get a Dream FASTPASS, the after hour pass, the night at Cinderella Castle at WDW, the Disneyland Dream Suite night or other prizes that need to be used in park that day. The rules
clearly state they will substitute prizes if the winner needs to be
present at the park to use the prize. So many of the lower level prizes
(such as the Dream FASTPASS) will be substituted with Dream Mouse Ears and the Pin and Lanyard set. For things like the Hotel Rooms and other mid-level prizes, you will
get a Merchandise Gift Basket, (that might contain a Disney Gift Card)
that is worth at least the value of the prize that was actually won if you were in the park.
Of course, for the big prizes like the DVC points, or the 2 week
vacation to every Disney Park, you will get that prize (basically any
prize that includes the airfare).
So you are basically gambling, but the odds are much better than playing the lottery, as you will more than likely get around $80 in prizes for your $90 investment.
But the benefit, you will get an occasional unexpected gift in the mail.
This MiceChat thread does contain a breakdown of the prizes available in
Version 2, broken into the three prize levels, and by location (Anaheim
That should do it for this week, of course, I will be happy to answer
your questions at MiceChat.com, and you can always e-mail me at
Hoping everyone is having a great Holiday season.
David "Darkbeer" Michael