Disneyland castle
Legendary Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland, pictured October 23, 2016. (Shutterstock)

First, the disclaimer. While I am the chairperson of the Community Health and Senior Services Commission (CHSSC), I write this article on my own behalf.

Second, hopefully, my colleagues on CHSSC and the Los Gatos Town Council will not decide to oust me or demote me after reading this article (although sometimes I wonder whether my significant other would like this ouster or demotion to occur).

Now, on to the heart of the matter.

Next week, I will embark on a trip to Disneyland with my daughter and son-in-law and my two grandsons, ages four and two. Please take me seriously when I state this, I view the trip as a working volunteer endeavor that is intended to explore how best to incorporate the “Happiest Place on Earth” mindset into design plans for the remodel of the facility occupied by LGS Recreation.

Thanks to a recently approved Los Gatos Town Council vote, $866,000 in American Recovery Plan Act funds, along with other possible funds (with the goal of spending about $1 million altogether) are to be used to improve and reconfigure the LGS facility. One goal being considered is to give space in the building for nonprofit organizations to operate services for seniors, and make the space feel more comfortable, hospitable and pleasing.

What better place to focus on these goals of making the LGS Rec facility more attractive to residents than by considering the Disneyland model? So, here I go.

Ever the planner, I’ve done my preparation for this field trip to Disneyland. I’ve decided to focus on the following areas:

Thematic cohesion: Can we make the remodeled LGS Rec facility have different thematic zones catering to different interests? Disneyland has its futuristic Tomorrow Land and its adventurous Frontierland, for example.

Immersive Storytelling: What are the captivating narratives the updated LGS Rec facility can provide? Should the facility include interactive exhibits, educational programs and environments that entertain, educate and inspire?

Cutting-Edge Technology: Disneyland is known for its ability to incorporate state-of-the-art technology into the visitor’s experience. Our reconfigured and newly improved LGS Rec facility can include interactive displays, augmented reality experiences and virtual reality attractions, to enhance the facility’s appeal.

Exceptional Guest Services: To attain a high level of customer service, the LGS Rec project should invest in intensive staff training to ensure that visitors are more likely to return to the facility. Maybe a churros booth would work, too. I’m taking under advisement whether staff members need to wear Mickey Mouse ears or dress up like Goofy and Daffy Duck, however.

Entertainment and Events: We love Disneyland’s shows, parades and events, such as its Pirates of the Caribbean ride/show and its nightly fireworks displays. The LGS Rec plan should consider creating a calendar of entertainment and events featuring local talent, cultural celebrations and seasonal festivities to foster community cohesiveness. To get the ball rolling, I might consider, if asked, to reprise and expand upon my brief channeling of Bruce Springsteen, first revealed at the Rotary Roast and Toast event honoring our outgoing President, Mike Norcia, although I’d probably do better at singing an Elvis song.

Inclusive Design: The LGS Rec facility should be designed so that everyone can use the facility safely and comfortably, incorporating accessible pathways, sensory friendly areas and accommodating facilities.

Sustainable Practices: The revised facility should be designed with eco-consciousness in mind by incorporating green spaces, renewable energy sources and efficient waste management systems.

Conclusion: The plan to improve the LGS Rec facility is an ambitious one. It offers an opportunity for our town to create a magical place for our residents to visit, such as what Disneyland offers to its visitors. I hope that my Disneyland trip will enhance my knowledge base so that I may offer concrete ideas for the LGS Rec project. If all goes well, perhaps I will be asked to sing at the new facility’s opening. I’ve already selected the song I’d sing. Yup, you guessed it: “It’s a small world.” If my Disneyland remodel game plan approach to this LGS Rec project doesn’t get me in trouble, I’m pretty sure the suggestion of singing that song will. 

Jeffrey P. Blum is a family law mediator who lives in Los Gatos. He can be reached at [email protected].

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