Insider's Update: Hanging Around Waiting for... Something

October 2, 2014, 10:12 PM · It's been kind of an annoying night for theme park fans in Southern California. First, the local TV stations freaked out because some guests were stuck on Mickey's Fun Wheel at Disney California Adventure for more than an hour this afternoon. No one was hurt, everyone got off okay, and if past incidents provide any guide, Disney took care of anyone inconvenienced with free passes and other compensation. People get "trapped" on stuff all the time, from cars on the Interstate in a traffic jam to planes waiting on an airport taxiway to people waiting for the waiter to just hurry up and bring them their check, darnit. We've ranted about TV station freak-outs before, but at this point, we figure — hey, if it's an excuse to see video of a theme park instead of another car chase, what the heck?

Mickey's Fun Wheel

Oh, and we mentioned restaurants? The Orange County Health Care Agency closed Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant today, citing "cockroach infestation." Talk about Knott's Scary Farm. (Sorry. Couldn't resist.) The chicken restaurant not only predates the theme park, it provided the whole reason for the park. Walter Knott built Ghost Town to entertain people waiting to be served at the family chicken restaurant, then eventually expanded the park into a business of its own. Personally, given Knott's recent efforts to improve the park with the refurbished Log Ride and Mine Train, I'd love to see Cedar Fair tear down the whole California Marketplace outside the entrance and rebuild it, creating a more thematically appropriate shopping zone with a more visually attractive chicken restaurant, including cleaner, more modern and expanded kitchen facilities, as well.

On the topic of restaurants closing, the NASCAR Sports Grille at Universal Orlando's CityWalk is closing November 1. Speculation on a replacement seems to be divided between a NBC Sports-themed sports bar and grill to compete with Walt Disney World's ESPN SportsZone, or a WWE pro-wrestling-themed restaurant. Maybe the Cowfish restaurant will be done by the time the NASCAR Grille closes?

Keeping with Universal Orlando for a moment, One Direction is giving away trips to see the boy band perform at the resort next month. You can find out how to compete to win one of the trips at

In case you haven't heard it again, again, again, and again, Sunday's the final day for Maelstrom at Epcot before fans have to "let it go" and Disney converts the attraction into a Frozen ride. Expect a long line of Disney fans wailing and tearing their garments for the local TV crews. Then be sure to record those news reports so you can check to see how many of these same fans show up in Frozen cosplay for the opening of the new ride in 2016.

Back the west coast, the hot new rumor is that Luigi's Flying Tires is on its way to join Maelstrom as a future Werner Weiss post. I might have been the only person on Earth who actually enjoyed Disney's attempt to recreate its once-iconic flying saucer ride. But when even Tony Baxter trashes a Disney attraction, it ain't long for this world.

Finally, Disneyland Paris has uploaded a video with some Imagineers talking about the development of the new Ratatouille ride and mini-land at Walt Disney Studios Paris. (Our Ben Mills covered the opening of the ride and of the restaurant this summer.) The video's got some nice footage of several other Disneyland Paris Resort attractions, too.

Replies (8)

October 2, 2014 at 10:30 PM · That would be the best ride to get stuck on! No seat belt, outside, great view, etc.
October 2, 2014 at 10:43 PM · No one ever figures it out. You must become one with the tire! My son and I get shocked looks when we (on separate tires) maneuver through the crowd.
October 3, 2014 at 1:05 AM · No Mrs Knotts, no!!
I actually stayed at Knotts for my SoCal trip recently.
Those cockroaches made my turkey dinner delicious! ;-) hehehehehehe
October 3, 2014 at 6:36 AM · No mention of Pink's going away at the Knott's Marketplace? I agree the whole place needs to be demolished and rebuilt. They need to redirect the traffic away from the entrance. The stores are a joke, and the chicken restaurant is the only good thing if not for the roaches.

I will miss Pink's. I ate there several times. Great food, but I can't help wondering what went wrong.

October 3, 2014 at 9:23 AM · I don't know why they needed a Pinks there. The real one is only an hour away. It makes sense to have them in other Cedar Fair parks around the country to build the brand. However, to pay a premium price for a product that you can get from the original location an hour away just didn't make much sense.

People in California should go to the Hollywood location, and I highly recommend those who sample Pinks around the country to try the original out when they take a trip to L.A.

October 3, 2014 at 9:38 AM · I thought Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant was average. KFC and Popeye's is better.
October 3, 2014 at 10:39 AM · How is the Pink's in Knott's not the real one? It is the same hot dog served in both places. Funny how you say it an hour away while being 35 miles away. It is a wasted commute for only a hot dog as I am not "sampling" it, I am actually eating it. It is unlikely I will travel to the original location. Pink's is not a destination in itself. I will miss it. Goodbye.

BTW: Costco serves wonderfully large 1/4 lb hot dogs for $1.50 with drink. It is my new destination for hot dogs. An extra plus, there are many original locations. They all taste the same and all have the same barebones decor.

October 3, 2014 at 12:55 PM · The Knott's restaurant reopened late last night. The park said that the infestation was limited to a utility area.

And Knott's executives breathe a sigh of relief that Universal Studios Hollywood isn't running a Bill and Ted's show this year, because you'd better believe that they would have written a bit about this.

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