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Several Arrests at Disneyland Labor Protest

15 Aug


Cinderella, Snow White, Tinkerbell and other fictional fixtures of modern-day childhood were handcuffed, frisked and loaded into police vans Thursday at the culmination of a labor protest that brought a touch of reality to the Happiest Place on Earth.

The arrest of the 32 protesters, many of whom wore costumes representing famous Disney characters, came at the end of an hour-long march to Disneyland’s gates from one of three Disney-owned hotels at the center of a labor dispute.

The Local 681 web site has more information on the workers’ concerns, which focus primarily on health care. Disneyland frequent Guests, especially Annual or Seasonal Passholders might want to check out the Disney Negotiations Update page for more detailed information (scroll down past the media links), and consider writing a letter to Disney. Or, if you’re going to be at Disneyland, you could also stop by City Hall to leave a comment/compliment/complaint card on the topic. I for one enjoy my vacations more when I believe the people who make the magic are being treated well.

Muscle Car Show at Disneyland Resort

9 Jun

How cool is this? CarDomain has pictures from a muscle car show last weekend at Downtown Disney in Anaheim.

Monorail Service for Anaheim Tourist District?

31 Jan

The Disney Blog has a story this week about a proposed new monorail for Anaheim. Not just for Disneyland Resort mind you . . . for the whole tourism area.

Stop the presses. Did someone just propose a monorail transportation system in Southern California? Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle (doesn’t that name just make you crave junk food) just proposed building a monorail that would connect Anaheim’s growing transportation hub with its established tourist zone.

I haven’t stayed far enough away to need an Anaheim monorail in recent memory; the furthest I’ve stayed is the HoJo’s, about an 8 minute walk from the main gates. But I’d consider staying much farther afield if I could rely on monorail transit to the parks, and if the fees were lower than the ART shuttle buses. Despite having not yet ridden the ART shuttle buses, I’m skeptical and don’t want to pay the fees. (I can’t even blame my medications for this, unlike the sudden desire to purchase Annette Sings Anka that arose earlier this week.)

Disney Vacation Club Coming to Anaheim

18 Sep

The LA Times was one of many sources reporting today that Disney will expand the Grand Californian hotel at Disneyland, including 50 timeshare units available through Disney Vacation Club.

But what caught my eye? Well, MouseGuest Weekly listeners might remember that just last week Lisa was frustrated that nobody would ever give her a straight answer about how much it costs to buy into DVC. So, hey Lisa! Here’s a snippet from the LA Times article that helps to answer your question:

The cost of joining Disney Vacation Club starts with a minimum $16,700 one-time purchase price, plus annual maintenance fees of at least $600. Members then buy points and use them to determine where, when and for how long they stay. The average purchase price is $26,000, which buys a two-bedroom unit for one week each year.

The Daily Show: Disney vs. Anaheim Housing Dispute

22 Jun

Not recommended for Disney purists or the easily offended, it’ll just get yer hackles up. (Though I’m guessing none of those folks read this blog anyway, now do they?)

And hey, don’t watch this one with the kids either, unless you feel like explaining what fellatio is.

Fight Continues for Affordable Housing in Anaheim

25 Apr

From the Associated Press, by way of San Jose Mercury News: Anaheim vote could put low-income housing near Disneyland.

Disneyland was not The Happiest Place on Earth after local officials paved the way to place low-income housing at its gates.The City Council voted 3-2 late Tuesday night for a zoning change that would permit construction of condominiums inside a 2.2-square-mile area that was set aside more than a dozen years ago as a resort district.

The housing proposal includes a 26-acre parcel just a few blocks from Disneyland and across the street from Disney-owned land that could someday be the site of another theme park.

The vote came despite a Disneyland lawsuit and a possible election fight. Supporters said affordable housing was desperately needed for workers in the city’s massive tourism industry who share cramped quarters or commute hours because they cannot afford Orange County housing prices.

This might be bad news for Disneyland management, but given the wages of most Disneyland Cast Members, it’s good news for them.

Curbed LA: “Disneyland to Expand Borders of Overpriced Churros?”

22 Mar

The Curbed LA website chimed in today about the rumors we’ve all been hearing about Disneyland expansion. Some of the comments may be surprising to those of us who spend plenty of time in the Disney media and hype bubble.

There is nothing…nothing in this world like a 100 degree day with someone else’s annoying children at Disneyland and looking in your wallet to discover that the 300 bucks you pulled from the ATM has dwindled down to 40 and you can only recall drinking diet cokes for the past 10 hours. That…is a day at Disneyland. 260 dollars worth of diet coke and swearing that your best friend is the crappiest mother on earth.

Um, I really really like Diet Coke.

But thinking here of Disney consumerism and the need to buy buy buy whenever we’re on Disney campus . . . have you ever noticed that thrift stores seem to be disproportionately filled with Disney clothing and toys? It would seem everybody thinks an Eeyore Christmas sweatshirt is a great idea when they’re browsing in the Main Street Emporium on December 16, but somehow the thrill has gone when they unpack. All of which is fine by me. I love the practically-new Mickey and Minnie pajamas I picked up today for five bucks.

Anaheim Hospitality Workers Struggle With Housing

4 Mar

From the L.A. Times, “Disney ‘fairy tale’ isn’t for everyone:”

The job description is simple: Make the customers believe that Disneyland is “a magic kingdom where life is a fairy tale and dreams really do come true.”

But at the end of the workday, many of the people who work at the “Happiest Place on Earth” sleep on air mattresses, in by-the-week motel rooms and in apartments shared with other families.

“I’ve been at this motel since 1997,” said Derrick, a Disney security guard who pays $209 a week rent. He spoke to me Thursday night while standing in the doorway of the room he shares with two elderly aunts at Arena Inn and Suites in Anaheim, about a mile from his job.

The article interviews other Disneyland CMs and others in Anaheim tourism jobs, talking about their outrageous commutes and living situations, based on the low wages and high cost of housing in Anaheim.

I’m too big of a Disney fan to ever stop going to the parks. But I sure would enjoy the parks more if I felt the CMs were paid well-enough to live in decent housing, and if Disney would support affordable housing in the area.

Controversy over Hong Kong Disneyland Fireworks

31 Jan

DIS News has reposted an article from Science Daily, “Engineer Says Disney Fireworks May Harm Neighbors:”

Hong Kong’s Environmental Committee is looking at the pollution generated by the nightly fireworks and its possible effect on residents of nearby Discovery Bay and Ping Chau Island. However, the study may be a mere formality because Disney has already passed the environmental assessment and has been granted permission to use the conventional fireworks.

As the article points out, similar questions have been raised in Anaheim for years.

Ed Grier Speaks of Possible Third Park in Anaheim

27 Jan

DIS news today reposts a story from the Orange County Business Journal, in which new Disneyland President Ed Grier (formerly of Tokyo Disneyland) mentions the possibility of a third gate in Anaheim:

Grier also is involved in planning for a possible third Anaheim park.

First talked about in 2000, Disney wants a “third gate” on a 75-acre parcel near Harbor Boulevard and Katella Avenue. The land has been used for little more than employee parking since the 2001 tourism downturn.

Now that things are humming again—if not booming—the company is thinking about expansion.

“What’s important for us is to focus on what’s (going to be there) for the next 50 years,” he said.

Coming from Tokyo, where Grier was part of the masterplanning team, he has a grip on how the process works.

There’s no firm plan for the Anaheim land yet, he said, despite rumors of a Wide World of Sports-type complex.

“We probably have more ideas than we have room for,” Grier said.

Grier also talks about the importance of understanding the Cast Member point of view, having apparently spent a little time recently with third-shift workers — hooray for that! But of course he’s maintaining Disney’s stand against affordable housing in the area, which very well might benefit those same CMs that he needs to listen to.

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