Friday, October 21, 2011

Service Celebration at Disney California Adventure

This morning my roommate asks if I had seen a certain website making a statement about the event that was held last night at Disney California Adventure.

"Thursday night TDA hosted a humiliating party for Anaheim Cast Members celebrating their 10th, 15th, or 20th anniversary of Disneyland employment. A thousand party guests were left in long lines in the Pumbaa parking lot waiting over 30 minutes to board a rented city bus to take them half-way to the party over at Paradise Pier. Once they'd made it to the boardwalkt on a foggy night they were met with more lines for a cheap buffet and canned music, and another long walk back to wait in line for the bus again. Gone are the days when Walt and his predecessors hosted dinner dances in the Disneyland Hotel ballroom and gave these hardworking, long-term CMs the respect and gala evening they deserve. - Al Lutz"

I was kindly invited to the attend the event and so I just want to give another perspective of the event and how it was.  Because I wasn't sure how this event would take place, I didn't feel like lugging my camera around. 

So last night, Disney California Adventure hosted a private event for Cast Members who were celebrating a service anniversary.  They ranged from Cast Members who had been with the company for 10, 15, 20, and a few who had been there for 30 years. The event took place in the Pacific Wharf and Paradise Pier section of Disney California Adventure.

Those attending were told to park in the Pumbaa lot and shuttles will bus the honorees and their guests to the Disneyland Resort shuttle pick-up/drop-off area. For those who were celebrating their 10 year / 15 year, the party didn't start until 7:30pm.  Arriving at the Pumba parking lot a little after 7:30pm, we could see a long line to get on the shuttle.  

We park and the honoree was to go to the registration tent to pick up their items while their guest could just wait in the shuttle queue. Because of the long line, I was thinking why they couldn't just let us choose if we wanted to walk or take a shuttle. The Pumba parking lot is relatively close to the Resort and it wouldn't take long.  But while standing in line, we were talking and I mentioned one reason to the possibility of us not getting to walk is that maybe with Disney California Adventure closing at 7:00pm, Disneyland closing at 9:00pm, and Guests of the Resort leaving, Disney didn't want their Event Guests to impact the Disney Day Guests leaving as they walk back to their hotel.  they didn't want a majority of people walking along Harbor Blvd.

We finally get on the shuttle (Toy Story Parking Lot buses and Anaheim Resort shuttle buses were being used) and after some time we get to Disney California Adventure around 8:20pm. That whole process of parking, waiting in line for a shuttle, and having us arrive at Disney California Adventure took about 35-40min.  We are guided through Condor Flats, up the parade route to Paradise Pier.

Near the winery, Mickey, Minnie, Belle, and Tiana  were standing next to a red carpet that the honorees and their guests got to walk on.  Several Cast Members were on either side clapping and congratulating on those who were celebrating.

"Once they'd made it to the boardwalk on a foggy night they were met with more lines for a cheap buffet and canned music... 

I just want to say that it was not foggy at all.  The night was actually quite nice because I didn't need a jacket (I get cold easily).

We make it to the Paradise Pier section and there was a decent size crowd in the area. Music can be heard throughout the Pier and the World of Color fountain can be seen on the bay. It was a party atmosphere.

As we made our way along the parade route, there were a lot of people hanging out in front of the Little Mermaid attraction building.  A martini bar (I think that's what it was a martini bar.  I don't drink alcohol so I am clueless when it comes to that kind of stuff being served) was set up and so people were stopping their first before heading down.  Further down the parade route, around the Golden Zephyr and Seaside Souvenirs there were tables set up with food on them. Further down the parade route, next to Jumping Jellyfish and next to the new Paradise Pier  restaurant dining area were another set of tables with food on them.  And because these were pretty much the first set of tables the Guests of the event came across, these were the ones with the long lines.   But if you were to have traveled further up the parade route, the lines got shorter and shorter for food. 

Speaking of food, here is sample of what was offered to the honorees and their guests of the event.

- Starters -
Poaches Shrimp
Sweet Chili Cocktail Sauce
Sliced Citrus

Autumn Mix
Romaine, Arugula, Watercress
Currant Tomatoes, Pearlinni mozzarella
Rocaccia Croutons, Basil Vinaigrette

- Main Course -

Petite Filet of Beef
Olive oil paches cipollini, Forest mushroom
Pinot Noir reduction

Chimichurri Marinated Halibut
Yukon gold potato hash
Cilantro beurre blanc

Free Range Breast of Chicken
Pineapple stir fried rice, Sea salt dusted edamame
Ginger plum sauce

- Sides - 
Roasted fall vegetables
Artisan & Whole grain rolls, Sweet butter

- Desserts - 
Calvados & Spice Marinated Apple Crostada
Re-invented Strawberry Shortcakes
Earl Grey Chocolate Mousse Dome
Rocky Road Brownie Skewers
Tiramisu Espresso Brownie Bites
Sweet Potato & Guava Cake
Chipotle Chocolate Tarts

And scattered among the food stations, there were stations for Coffee, Teas, Beer and Soda

Areas of interests include:

The Wharf
Disney sketch artists and timeless tunes of Tin Pan Alley courtesy of a live band

The Grotto
Take a break from the action an take in a panoramic view of Paradise Bay

The Midway
On the Boarwalk, eclectic variety acts (tight rope walking and jugglers) and classic Disney characters can be seen while a band provided lively music

The Bandstand
Duo of dueling pianists face off in a good-natured musical "fight to the finish" at the Paradise Garden Bandstand

The Park (World of Color viewing area)
Chic and sophisticated discotheque in Paradise Park features "all things that glow"

Celebration on the Bay
Paradise Bay's fountains, music and lighting come together to create magic for tonight's honorees at 9:30pm

I just have to say that I thought the Celebration on the Bay was pretty pathetic.  The fountains just danced to the song "Celebrate You" and that was it. Why those chose that song over everything else, I have no idea. Not much of an applause from those viewing it.  I guess because after the song was over, people were still waiting for something more to happen. But after some time of nothing else happening, everyone went back to the festivities. Shortly after that we were pretty much done and we headed back out the same way we came in. 

The shuttles to take us back at the Pumbaa lot were picking us up in the Red section of the Shuttle area.  When we get there, the line didn't seem too long.  We wait and wait for a shuttle. After some time, people just decided to walk back.  Neither of us are tired and since there wasn't a shuttle coming, we decided to walk back as well.  As we cross Harbor Blvd, we see four Toy Story buses in the left turn lane, presumably to pick up the Event Guests leaving.  The walk back took about 10 minutes and I we made it back faster than the shuttles if we would have waited.

"..Gone are the days when Walt and his predecessors hosted dinner dances in the Disneyland Hotel ballroom and gave these hardworking, long-term CMs the respect and gala evening they really deserve..."

With so many Disney Cast Members celebrating, I don't think a venue at the Disneyland Hotel could accommodate.  If the Resort was just Disneyland, then yes. But with the addition of Disney California Adventure, Paradise Pier Hotel and the Grand California Hotel 10 years ago, there are just so many more Cast Members celebrating an anniversary. 

Overall we both had fun and enjoyed it. And neither of us thought it was tacky or "humiliating".

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