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,
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.