Archive for the ‘Big Bad Business’ Category

3rd Disneyland Resort Themepark A Go!

In an official press release, Disney execs announced that the fabled third Disneyland Resort theme park is a go! It’s been long known that Disney has been holding on to a piece of property off Harbor across from the Convention Center/Hilton main entrance. (They’ve disguised it as a parking lot for years, but it’s never actually open.)
The idea pitched? “DisneySea America”

For those not in the know, DisneySea is an amazing theme park in Japan. However, since we here in America don’t have the Tokyo Land Management Company funding 90% of Disney projects like they do in Japan, the idea is going to be a little different. They’re going with the water park idea we’ve long heard about. After all, we need more water parks right?…….. The budget has been rumored to be less than the original budget of Calif. Adv., which off the top of my head I remember to be about $500-800 million. That’s a relief! I mean, look at the quality that came from that park!!

Some of the themed rides they announced were a little surprising too. Alladin (oh yeah, the desert themed movie in a water park), Princess Cove (at least that might include Ariel), Mickey’s Water Clubhouse (original), Reef Landing (???) and Goofy’s Beach Party (apparently its a big beach on the wave pool where they host daily “Luaus”). Well…good thing they’re not doing FINDING NEMO!!! Frickin’ idiots.

The good news is they want to extend the monorail there too. They said they hope to work out a deal with the city of Anaheim to have the monorail stop at the local big-chain hotels too like it does in Florida. Between this, DCA being revamped and Jon’s other surprise, Disney doesn’t seem to be hurting for cash! Unless that’s why they keep firing my friends……bastards….
PS Thanks to Jon for letting me break this news. Usually he beats me to it.

APRIL FOOLS!!! :-D

Trouble in the OTHER Orange County

Newsday reports that major layoffs are under way at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. No word on how things are progressing on the left coast so far… We all have friends and family members who are employed by the west coast counterpart. Have they told you how it’s shaking down in our neck of the woods?

Blast From the Past

Knott’s Berry Farm’s The Haunted Shack. Looks like fun, huh?

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A lovely souvenir shot of the iconic former attraction inside Knott’s Ghost Town. Destroyed in 2000, it was one of the last hold-outs from the roadside-attraction/country-fair era. All good things must come to an end I suppose. It was a pleasant diversion from the bigger attractions and because it was live it was always amusing. KBF always has (and currently still does) beat the local competition when it comes to live entertainment.

Orange County Condos On The Cheap

Click for multification

Click for multification

Stadium Lofts is located on the corner of State College and Katella in Anaheim. Those of you paying attention know that the other little thing located at State College and Katella (roughly) is Anaheim Stadium. Get the name? Good. I remember when they started tearing EVERYTHING down in the area several years ago (my old DJ company being one of them). The plan was to build hundreds of new condos to revitalize the community. They would then sell said condos from prices starting at approximately $400,000. I don’t think I have to remind you what happened next.
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OCTA Cuts Bus Services

Commuting in Orange County has taken a turn for the worse. Again. Due to a $17 million cut in the budget from our state, bus services will face major cuts in the coming months. While the figures aren’t out yet, the county is estimating approximately 130,000 hours will have been cut from December last year to June this year. The changes are said to be minor, and will alter 26 of the 80 routes in Orange County.

I have taken the bus twice since I moved to Orange County 8 years ago. Both times I felt there was far too long of a wait between buses. Now, if I’m on the wrong route, I could be waiting longer. Thanks budget crisis thing!!!

Our very own fejsez takes the bus regularly. Jeff? Any thoughts???

Disney AP-Not Quite Monthly Payment Option

I thought I would continue with the Disney theme of the day. Today I went and renewed my Disneyland Resort Annual Passport. With the new Monthly Payment Option for Southern California Residents, my wife and I concluded that it is within our budget at this time. I did the research, and read the Monthly Payment FAQ so when I arrived I expected to be on a payment plan of $30.75 a month for a total of $369. Since it had been over a year since I had my pass, it turned out that I didn’t qualify for the renewal price, and had to pay the new pass price of $389 with a $69 one time payment, but it was only $26.67 a month. Not bad I thought. A lower monthly price. So I give my credit card, and they swipe it. As I am getting ready to sign the payment contract, the cast member informs me that the first payment would be taken from my account in the next couple days!?! What? Didn’t I just make a one time payment? Then I am informed that the payments will be auto-withdrawn approximately every 25 days. Not the same day each month. Some months one might make two payments. Is it false advertising? It is definitely misleading. I actually voided the first transaction and called my wife to check our budget since she was out of town and I didn’t want the unexpected charges to cause other financial woes.
In addition to that, I was informed by the Parking Toll Attendant that I only had to bring my parking receipt to the ticket booth and I could be refunded the twelve bucks since I was getting a pass that included parking. As I parked my car, I tore the receipt half of the ticket off (the pat that showed I payed with a debit card) and left the other half in the car. Then at the ticket booth I was informed I needed the other half of the ticket also to get a reimbursement. Arrgghh! Luckily I can take both halves back next time I go and get reimbursed, because I was not about to wait in that tram line again.
Did the way the morning started make me grumpy, Yes. Did I let it ruin my day? No. I do want to give props to the cast members (Lynette, Nance, Elena, and Niki) who put up with my grumpiness this morning. Working in customer service I understand what it is like on the other side of the glass and I appreciate the professional way you all handled it, cause although I knew it wasn’t your fault, you may have gotten a little attitude from me.

If anyone else is looking at the “Monthly” payment option, learn from my experience.

Welcome Back Mr. Lincoln!

Looks like Gina was right. The Annual Pass center will be moving, the Disney Gallery will be moving into the Bank of Main Street and Great Moments with Mr Lincoln will be returning to the Disneyland Opera House soon. Hooray! Just in time for his 200th birthday!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X8smCXWBNU[/youtube]

R.I.P. Hof’s Hut

Restaurants are being hit hard these days and casual dining has been hit the hardest as customers flock to fast food, drive thru, quick service and value menus. You have the economy to thank for that. Still, in these tough times some casual dining establishments are flourishing or at the very least, managing to survive.

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Outwardly, the sales at Hof’s in Orange appear to be brisk. In other words, the restaurant looks like it is making money. It seems though, that it’s not making enough money to satisfy its owner, Craig Hoffman. He owns two brands: Hof’s Hut and Lucille’s Barbeque. In 2003 he detailed the story behind converting two of his Hof’s Hut locations (Brea and the Belmont Shore) into Lucille’s Barbeque locations. He also took the time to reassure his large base of faithful and loyal Hof’s customers that he would not be converting any other locations. He lied right through his veneers.

Since that time Hof’s has seen the closures of five additional locations, leaving only Orange and Buena Park to tow the line in our neck of the woods. Scratch that! Orange is closing too – a Lucille’s Quick Service location will take its place.

Located across the street from the Crystal Cathedral, Hof’s has been a busy neighborhood institution for over thirty years – serving as a gathering place for employees of regional businesses, locals and families. To its many customers, Hof’s is more than just your average casual dining establishment. The food, always made from scratch, has a reputation that precedes it. The service at the Orange location is mostly outstanding and the staff is friendly and warm. It’s a valuable part of our neighborhood and serves an area that is starkly devoid of pleasant places to gather. One thing’s for sure, this area needs another quick service eatery about as much as Knott’s Berry Farm needs a new roller coaster.

The wait staff reports they have not been told when the restaurant will close and do not expect a severance package. They have also not been offered an opportunity for employment at the new Lucille’s location when it opens in late Summer/Fall. An elusive (and unverified) email is alleged to have been sent to the Lucille’s teams urging them not to hire former Hof’s employees. Nice. If such an email exists, I would love to get my hands on that. Calls to Hof’s corporate offices, enquiring about the fate of those employed at the Orange location, were not immediately returned.

Only one thing is certain and it’s this: It takes real brass balls to shit-can dozens of employees (from a still profitable business) during the worst economic disaster since the great depression. All in the name of making more money. But at what expense? At the expense of a neighborhood? Of people’s livelihoods? Way to go Craig, thanks for the sucker-punch to all your patrons and employees. You seem like a real peach.

Lush is the Poor Man’s Basin

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So I took Tracy’s advice and stopped by Lush at the Anaheim GardenWalk. My reaction? Meh. It’s a nice enough environment but it’s nothing you can’t find in Basin over at Downtown Disney.

Oh and Basin is cheaper too. A little price comparison: Lush’s Big Blue Bath Bomb = $5.80 whereas Basin’s comparable Pacific Ocean Bath Bomb comes in at just $3.99. The ingredients aren’t identical but neither is tested on animals and both are vegetarian.

Also of note, some of Lush’s soaps seem to be a bit heavy on the Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Propylene Glycol. Nothing like a little airplane de-icer to make you feel tingly all over!

For my money (and a discount for Cast Members as well), I’ll stick with Basin thankyouverymuch. Anyone know of a different (or even better) place in OC to pick some all natural handmade bath items? If so share with the rest of the class.

Orange County Fairgrounds Equestrian Center Possible Closure

Since 1984, there have been seventeen stable closures in Orange County (source). Orange County is in danger of losing another equestrian center. The Orange County Fair Board, some of the same board members who gave themselves $376,000 in free concert tickets, has approved an environmental study at the cost of $66,000 to see what the effect would be if they leveled the equestrian center and laid asphalt for what Fair CEO Steve Beazley calls a “flat, flexible space.” (I read that statement to be a parking lot, as they have already moved the fence that gave the equestrian center more parking to give the fairgrounds more parking.)

Carnies

If it sounds as if I am biased against them doing the study, as well as them removing the equestrian center, I am. My wife works with one of the non-profit organization that stable their horses at the center. I have witnessed first hand the positive impact the center provides to those that use it and the community at large. Stable owners provide free basic horsemanship classes to underprivileged kids in the community. The equestrian center is home to the following stables; Shefmire Sport Horses, Elvenstar,Golden Hill Riding Academy, Equi Sports International,and Sabo Equestrian, all which provide lessons and a horse to take them on for a fee. Being only one of two public equestrian centers in Orange County (Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center is the other), losing the equestrian center would also mean losing one of the few places that anyone can watch horses and riders train any day in a public arena.

Artist and subject

The Equine Coalition of Orange County (ECOC) is looking for support in opposing the Fair Boards decision to use taxpayers money to funds the environmental study and help in finding a way that the Fairground and the Equestrian Center can work together to benefit each other. Check out their site for more information.

Edit: to correct information from ECOC

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