Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dropping Someone Off at Disneyland

I am going to note again that this disclaimer applies to things written on this blog.

Once upon a time, Disneyland (Anaheim, California) had this big, flat parking lot in front of the theme park entrance. If you were spending the day there, this is where you would park (presuming you drove there). If you were dealing with a disability, you were able to park right there in front of the entrance of the park. If you were just coming in to buy tickets or something at the outside souvenir counter, you could come it and use the 15 (10?) minute parking without paying. Same thing applied if you were dropping someone off or picking them up.
It was very convenient.

But in order to expand Disneyand from a park/hotel into a... ***RESORT*** ...the parking lot had to go. It was repelaced with Disney's California Adventure, a theme park themed around California, which is now Disney California Adventure, a theme park themed around... Disney... stuff. Also, there's the (Disney's or Disney... not sure anymore) Grand Californian Hotel/Resort/Spa/Whatever and Downtown Disney, which has shops and restaurants and live performers... like the theme parks do... but it doesn't have rides or the admission prices.
A large parking structure and several outlying parking lots have replaced the Giant All Inclusive Parking Lot (where many Disney cast members parked, too).
Now, if you're just dropping someone off or picking them up, you are presumably supposed to use the 15 Minute Parking Lot located along Harbor Boulevard, near where the entrance of the Giant All Inclusive Parking Lot used to be.
But there's a problem.

At least as half of the instances I have tried to use that lot, it has been closed off with orange cones. It wasn't closed for the day... as evidenced by the vehicles already parked there. But it was closed at the moment in time I was able to pass by in the thick Harbor Boulevard mix of vehicle and pedestrian traffic. This means I (and anyone in the vehicle with me) wasted time, gas, added to our carbon footprints, and added to Anaheim Resort area traffic... needlessly.

My guess is that the lot is temporarily closed so as to note which cars are still there fifteen minutes after it was closed, so those vehicles can be issued tickets.
I can't be sure, though, because apparently nobody is responsbile for the parking lot. I had long presumed Disney owned it. But Anaheim officers (police?) will be standing in there during the closures. When I've asked them, they have said it is Disney's responsibility... even though they are standing there... in unform. When I've asked Disneyland Guest Relations, I have been told it is the City of Anaheim's.

I guess that means nobody owns the lot. Which would make it a great place for Disney enthusiasts to set up tents and squat, or maybe build a house. Or protest something or other, or advertise for a nearby gentleman's club. Bet you'd find out who owns the lot if you did any of those things!

This brings me to my ultimate point: Pretend that the lot doesn't exist.

If you are dropping someone off at the Resort, or picking someone up, I recommend clogging up the entrances to any of Disney's three hotels, the closest (and most expensive) being the Grand Californian. When you are approached by a friendly, helpful cast member (they are still Disney cast members, right? Or has that been outsourced), just let them know you are dropping someone off or picking them up. If they ask if you're checking in, say, "Not right now." It is the truth. If they notice you doing this on a regular basis, and ask you about it (has yet to happen to me), and they recommend the 15 Minute Lot, nod, don't argue. They don't make the rules, after all. Nod, and keep doing the same thing over and over again. Because if Disney really wanted people to use the 15 Minute Lot, they'd keep it open. They don't need to close it to do enforcement of the parking. I can think of three different ways to enforce the 15-minute limit off of the top of my head that have to be no more expensive than using a uniformed Anaheim officer.

You can also use Downtown Disney parking for dropping people off or picking people up, clogging those lots up and taking up cast member time, but the Grand Californian is closer, and a nicer atmosphere.

I'm not bothering to write directly to Disneyland about this. I know from past experience that if I rant about something online, enough people in power there will read it. Maybe Disneyland Resort Transportation and Parking is actually responsible for the 15 Minute Parking Lot, and maybe they will change tactics. Or give me a real explanation. I wouldn't be bothered as much about this whole thing if Disneyland was typically a poorly run operation. But it is usually a very well designed and operated place, and I like the Anaheim Resort upgrade in general. That's one reason why this matter irks me so much. It is an annoying, ugly blemish on an otherwise beautiful masterpiece. It shouldn't be an ordeal to drop someone off there, or pick someone up.