Niles: Why theme parks should ditch the 3D on rides

As vaccination rates increase, allowing theme parks to take more steps back to normal, there is one thing that I wish parks would leave behind to history.

Can we ditch the 3D glasses on dark rides, please?

If parks need to conserve cash to make up for the many months they were closed due to COVID-19, ditching 3D on rides seems to me the easiest way to save a few bucks. Even before COVID, parks were paying to clean 3D glasses between each use, all so visitors could wear lenses that made scenes look darker, forcing parks also to spend money on brighter, energy-consuming projection and show lighting to overcome that.

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Universal Studios Hollywood opened Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey with 3D but soon dropped the gimmick. The ride is better without it. With so much visual content to take in on the ride, 3D did not just gild the lily. It obscured the detail in many scenes. On top of the issue with image darkness, some visitors find their focus narrowing when they watch 3D images, making environments feel less immersive and leaving some riders feeling more susceptible to nausea when watching from moving vehicles.

The glasses are a hassle for anyone who wears prescription glasses and must balance the 3D glasses atop their regular ones on a ride that twists and whips in multiple directions. Then there’s the issue of visitors with visual impairments that make seeing 3D imagery impossible.

Dump the 3D, and all of these issues go away. Parks end up with more accessible attractions that feel more immersive and are easier for many guests to enjoy. The only cost is the loss of some visual gimmickry that often cheapens rather than enhances well-designed dark ride adventures.

That’s why I was disappointed that the Walt Disney World Resort included 3D on the Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure dark ride that it just opened in Epcot’s expanded France pavilion. Disney made a point of promoting the lack of a height restriction on this ride as evidence of its accessibility. But projecting the show in 2D would make it even more accessible.

With the Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway ride that Walt Disney World opened last year — and that is coming to Disneyland in 2023 — Disney proved that it could create a media-driven dark ride adventure that feels fully three dimensional without using any 3D projection. Without clunky dark lenses over their eyes, riders better can enjoy the immersive visual feast that Walt Disney Imagineers created on Runaway Railway.

Remy’s has some great moments, too. But a fast-paced adventure starring one of Pixar’s most beloved characters does not need 3D gimmicks to connect with its audience. The attraction’s show would work just as well in less expensive, more accessible 2D.

As theme parks recover and prepare to take the next step into their future, here’s hoping that they leave rides with 3D glasses behind in their past.

 

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At first glance: Servite vs. Mater Dei matchup, Oct. 23

At first glance: Servite (8-0, 3-0) vs. Mater Dei (6-0, 3-0)

When: Saturday, Oct. 23, 8 p.m.

Where: Santa Ana Stadium

TV: Bally Sports West

MaxPreps national rankings: Mater Dei (1), Servite (8)

High School Football America national rankings: Mater Dei (1), Servite (20)

Calpreps state rankings: Mater Dei (1), Servite (2)

Tickets: Sold out in minutes Monday

Notable: Mater Dei has defeated Servite nine consecutive years in the rivalry. The Monarchs’ defense has been one of the keys, allowing no more than 22 points in any of the games. … Mater Dei leads the all-time series 41-17-2.  … The Monarchs are averaging 50.8 points, just ahead of the Friars at 49.8. Mater Dei is holding opponents to average of 9.5 points while Servite limits teams to 11.2. … In the spring, Mater Dei defeated Servite 24-17 in a penalty-married game at Santa Ana Stadium. The Monarchs were flagged 22 times for 201 yards, including several for pass interference against wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan (six catches for 107 yards). Mater Dei’s defense was led by David Bailey (four sacks) and cornerback Cam Sidney (interception return for TD). … Sophomore Elijah Brown of Mater Dei and senior Noah Fifita of Servite are two of the best QBs in the county.

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Ex-weatherman Fritz Coleman tries to help others whose families deal with mental illness

Mental health is no laughing matter. Especially when it comes to children’s well-being.

But if being funny on stage in front of a few hundred people will help raise money for an Orange County nonprofit whose goal is to improve children’s mental health and emotional well-being, then Fritz Coleman is all in. As a parent with a son who suffers from mental illness and substance abuse, the former weather forecaster knows personally how crucial that is.

A well-known Southern California figure, Coleman retired last year from his job as the chief weather reporter at KNBC-TV, ending a nearly 40-year career defined by a wise-cracking demeanor befitting someone who started out as a stand-up comic before a career change.

Coleman, 73, left the TV weather business to spend more time with his family and pursue a passion for raising money on behalf of charitable causes through speaking engagements and a comedy act he never really abandoned, doing shows at The Improv during his TV career.

Coleman’s name was mentioned to Extraordinary Lives Foundation founder Mara James awhile back as someone who might be a great headliner for the Comedy Night Gala taking place Wednesday, Oct. 20, to benefit her Orange County-based organization, which focuses on mental health.

  • Longtime KNBC Los Angeles weatherman, Fritz Coleman shown at the Wilcox Manor in Tustin on Monday, October 18, 2021. Fritz will be hosting a a comedy night fundraiser at the Wilcox Manor for Extraordinary Lives Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by Mara James dedicated to improving children’s mental health and wellness. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Mara James, founder of the Extraordinary Lives Foundation, is shown at the Wilcox Manor in Tustin on Monday, October 18, 2021. Longtime KNBC Los Angeles weatherman, Fritz Coleman, will be hosting a a comedy night fundraiser at the Wilcox Manor for Extraordinary Lives Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving children’s mental health and wellness. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Longtime KNBC Los Angeles weatherman, Fritz Coleman and Mara James, founder of the Extraordinary Lives Foundation, hold “Piggie Bear,” a character in James’ book, “The Power of Piggie Bear,” at at the Wilcox Manor in Tustin on Monday, October 18, 2021. Fritz will be hosting a a comedy night fundraiser at the Wilcox Manor for Extraordinary Lives Foundation, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving children’s mental health and wellness. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Longtime KNBC Los Angeles weatherman, Fritz Coleman and Mara James, founder of the Extraordinary Lives Foundation, are shown at the Wilcox Manor in Tustin on Monday, October 18, 2021. Fritz will be hosting a a comedy night fundraiser at the Wilcox Manor for Extraordinary Lives Foundation, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving children’s mental health and wellness. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Longtime KNBC Los Angeles weatherman, Fritz Coleman and Mara James, founder of the Extraordinary Lives Foundation, hold “Piggie Bear,” a character in James’ book, “The Power of Piggie Bear,” at at the Wilcox Manor in Tustin on Monday, October 18, 2021. Fritz will be hosting a a comedy night fundraiser at the Wilcox Manor for Extraordinary Lives Foundation, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving children’s mental health and wellness. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The book, “The Power of Piggie Bear,” by Mara James, founder of the Extraordinary Lives Foundation, teaches children how to deal with their emotions. Pictured at the Wilcox Manor in Tustin on Monday, October 18, 2021. Fritz Coleman will be hosting a a comedy night fundraiser at the Wilcox Manor for Extraordinary Lives Foundation, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving children’s mental health and wellness. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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It wasn’t until she talked to Coleman on the phone that James, mother to three young adults, realized how perfect Coleman would be. They share a desire to make life better for children dealing with mental, behavioral and emotional health issues.

Because they’ve lived through it. They know other parents are living through it, too.

“It’s just something that all families have issues with from one extent or another,” Coleman said.

Emotional pain

Coleman, like James, has three adult children – 34, 32 and 21. He lives with his wife, a nurse, in Toluca Lake, and also has two grandchildren.

His father and grandfather were both alcoholics. That made Coleman decide not to touch another drink after a last glass of wine in March 1984, because he wanted to have a better relationship with his children and give them “the gift of sobriety.” But his oldest son, whose name Coleman did not want disclosed in order to protect his privacy, has had a difficult life, complicated by depression and addiction.

His son began to fail as a student in late middle school and early high school. He was then diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. The Colemans moved him to a school for children with special education needs; he did better academically.

Coleman’s son had always been hypersensitive to any kind of emotional pain, but they attributed that to his artistic nature. What they didn’t realize was that he also suffered from depression. By his teens, he began self-medicating, starting with booze at 16, then pot, then opiates. Now a heroin addict, he’s been in rehab five times.

At one point, his son disappeared for about three months. Coleman hired a detective who found him living in a homeless encampment at the Tujunga Wash. He was talked into going to a rehab center in Denver, where Coleman said his son had remained sober for six months before the facility was shut down over insurance fraud – a pervasive problem with the drug treatment industry that the Southern California News Group’s “Rehab Riviera” series documents.

Now, the only way the Colemans know their son is alive is from random text messages he sends.

“We know he is still using,” Coleman said. “But we don’t think he’s using as much as he used to.”

Coleman said he has learned over the years not to beat himself up with guilt: “His depression is what made him self-medicate and self-medication led to the addiction. I understand that now.”

But he hopes to help other parents become more aware of the mental health problems children can face and to have the courage and resources to deal with them. That’s where he sees the value in supporting James and the Extraordinary Lives Foundation.

“What I’m really excited about is Mara’s passion and the passion of the people that work with this organization. I’m happy to help them.”

Emotional intelligence

James, 55, said the roots of her advocacy stem from a manic episode that led to her diagnosis of bipolar disorder seven years ago and the challenges her children have faced. One of her sons is on the autism spectrum and also has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; her daughter was diagnosed at a young age with the immune system disorder Grave’s Disease.

Medication helped with her bipolar disorder. But she said she also underwent a spiritual transformation that led to the development of a children’s book character, Piggie Bear, to help youngsters deal with their emotions. She founded the Extraordinary Lives Foundation in 2015.

Her focus on helping children grew out of confronting her own painful childhood in Long Island, N.Y: “Most or all of my healing was with my inner child.”

(All three of her children, 20, 22, and 26, are doing fine these days, she said.)

James initially self-published “The Power of Piggie Bear” in English and Spanish, with illustrations by Matthew Mew. The book is for children ages 3 to 7. Now Brown Books Publishing is handling “Piggie Bear” publication and plans call for a second book.

Here’s the thing about Piggie Bear: She has a pig’s face on a stuffed bear’s body. James wants kids to know there’s nothing wrong with that: “It doesn’t matter if Piggie Bear is a pig or a bear, it’s perfect the way it is. Just like kids are.”

In addition to messages of self-acceptance and self-love, Piggie Bear’s aim is to help children develop the emotional intelligence to identify what they are feeling and learn how to calm themselves, through such techniques as self hugs and the deep belly breathing James learned through yoga.

James is a big believer in holistic healing as a complement to more traditional mental health treatment, and earlier this year she launched the virtual Hugs for Life Healing Center as a way to “bridge the gap” between Western medicine and holistic practices.

But Piggie Bear is her chief outreach to children. She does readings at schools and other places, including a homeless shelter in Los Angeles. So far, Extraordinary Lives Foundation has donated more than 3,000 Piggie Bear books and other child-friendly mental health tools that include a Piggie Bear plush manufactured by Build-A-Bear, a Piggie Bear coloring book and Piggie Bear power cards.

The comedy night fundraiser and gala, which also features comics Frances Dilorenzo and Karen Rontowski, will help James continue to make donations of the Piggie Bear educational tools to schools and other places that have included domestic violence shelters, children’s hospitals, and youth organizations such as Boys & Girls clubs.

James is excited about the upcoming evening.

“What better way to talk about mental health than comedy or laughter? We can either laugh or cry.”

Find out more

Information on the Comedy Night Gala and Extraordinary Lives Foundation is at elfempowers.org.

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Orange County scores and player stats for Monday, Oct. 18


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Scores and stats from Orange County games on Monday, Oct. 18


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MONDAY’S SCORES

BOYS WATER POLO

NONLEAGUE

Costa Mesa 13, Fountain Valley 6

Marina 14, Warren 4

 

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Colin Powell dies, trailblazing general stained by Iraq

By ROBERT BURNS, ERIC TUCKER and EILEEN PUTMAN

WASHINGTON (AP) — Colin Powell, the trailblazing soldier and diplomat whose sterling reputation of service to Republican and Democratic presidents was stained by his faulty claims to justify the 2003 U.S. war in Iraq, died Monday of COVID-19 complications. He was 84.

A veteran of the Vietnam War, Powell spent 35 years in the Army and rose to the rank of four-star general before becoming the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His oversight of the U.S. invasion of Kuwait to oust the Iraqi army in 1991 made him a household name, prompting speculation for nearly a decade that he might run for president, a course he ultimately decided against.

Powell instead joined George W. Bush’s administration in 2001 as secretary of state, the first Black person to represent the U.S. government on the world stage. His tenure, however, was marred by his 2003 address to the U.N. Security Council in which he cited faulty information to claim that Saddam Hussein had secretly stashed weapons of mass destruction. Such weapons never materialized, and though the Iraqi leader was removed, the war devolved into years of military and humanitarian losses.

In announcing Powell’s death, his family said he had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Peggy Cifrino, Powell’s longtime aide, said he had also been treated over the past few years for multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that impairs the body’s ability to fight infection. Studies have shown that those cancer patients don’t get as much protection from the COVID-19 vaccines as healthier people.

At the White House, President Joe Biden said Powell “embodied the highest ideals of both warrior and diplomat.”

Noting Powell’s rise from a childhood in a fraying New York City neighborhood, Biden said, “He believed in the promise of America because he lived it. And he devoted much of his life to making that promise a reality for so many others.”

Flags were ordered lowered at government buildings, including the White House, Pentagon and State Department.

Powell’s time as secretary of state was largely defined by the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. He was the first American official to publicly blame Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network. He made a lightning trip to Pakistan to demand that then-Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf cooperate with the United States in going after the Afghanistan-based group, which also had a presence in Pakistan, where bin Laden was later killed.

But as Washington’s push for war in Iraq deepened, Powell sometimes found himself at odds with other key figures in the Bush administration, including Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld also died this year.

Powell’s State Department was dubious of the military and intelligence communities’ conviction that Saddam possessed or was developing weapons of mass destruction. But he presented the administration’s case that Saddam posed a major regional and global threat in a strong speech to the U.N. Security Council in February 2003. The following month, Bush gave the go-ahead for the invasion.

The U.N. speech, replete with Powell’s display of a vial of what he said could have been a biological weapon, was seen as a low point in his career, although he had removed some elements from the remarks that he deemed to have been based on poor intelligence assessments.

The U.S. overthrow of Saddam ended the rule of a brutal dictator. But the power vacuum and lawlessness that followed unleashed years of sectarian fighting and chaos that killed countless Iraqi civilians, sparked a lengthy insurgency, and unintentionally tilted the balance of power in the Middle East toward a U.S. rival, Iran. No Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were ever found.

Still, Powell maintained in a 2012 interview with The Associated Press that on balance, the U.S. succeeded in Iraq.

“I think we had a lot of successes,” he said. “Iraq’s terrible dictator is gone.”

Saddam was captured by U.S. forces while hiding out in northern Iraq in December 2003 and later executed by the Iraqi government. But the war dragged on. President Barack Obama pulled U.S. troops out of Iraq in 2011, but he sent advisers back in 2014 after the Islamic State group swept into the country from Syria and captured large swaths of territory.

Bush said Monday that he and former first lady Laura Bush were “deeply saddened” by Powell’s death.

“He was a great public servant” and “widely respected at home and abroad,” Bush said. “And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend. Laura and I send Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man.”

Condoleezza Rice, Powell’s successor at State and the department’s first Black female secretary, praised him as “a trusted colleague and a dear friend through some very challenging times.”

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, a retired Army general and the first Black Pentagon chief, said the news of Powell’s death left “a hole in my heart.”

“The world lost one of the greatest leaders that we have ever witnessed,” Austin said while traveling in Europe.

Vice President Kamala Harris, the highest ranking Black woman in U.S. history, also noted Powell’s racial firsts.

“Every step of the way, when he filled those roles, he was by everything that he did and the way he did it, inspiring so many people,” she said. “Young servicemembers and others not only within the military, but in our nation and around the globe, took notice of what his accomplishments meant as a reflection of who we are as a nation.”

No child of privilege, Powell often framed his biography as an American success story.

“Mine is the story of a black kid of no early promise from an immigrant family of limited means who was raised in the South Bronx,” he wrote in his 1995 autobiography “My American Journey.”

It’s an experience he was fond of recalling later in his life. When he appeared at the United Nations, even during his Iraq speech, he often reminisced on his childhood in New York City, where he grew up the child of Jamaican immigrants and got one of his first jobs at the Pepsi-Cola bottling plant directly across the East River from the U.N. headquarters.

Powell’s path toward the military began at City College, where discovered the ROTC. When he put on his first uniform, he wrote, “I liked what I saw.”

He joined the Army and in 1962 he was one of more than 16,000 military advisers sent to South Vietnam by President John F. Kennedy. A series of promotions led to the Pentagon and assignment as a military assistant to Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, who became his unofficial sponsor. He later became commander of the Army’s 5th Corps in Germany and later was national security assistant to President Ronald Reagan.

During his term as Joint Chiefs chairman, his approach to war became known as the Powell Doctrine, which held that the United States should only commit forces in a conflict if it has clear and achievable objectives with public support, sufficient firepower and a strategy for ending the war.

Though he gained national prominence under Republican presidents, Powell ultimately moved away from the party.

He endorsed Democrats in the past four presidential elections, starting with Obama. He emerged as a vocal Donald Trump critic in recent years, describing Trump as “a national disgrace” who should have been removed from office through impeachment.

___

AP Writer Steve Peoples and AP Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard contributed to this report.

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‘Nightmare’ scenario unfolds as Disneyland restaurant reservations snapped up months in advance

The “nightmare” scenario that Disneyland fans feared is coming true as dining reservations are nearly completely booked months in advance with tables snapped up within minutes of becoming available at popular spots like Blue Bayou, Carthay Circle and Oga’s Cantina.

The widespread lack of restaurant reservations at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure has left die-hard Mouseheads searching at all hours of the day and night for last-minute cancellations or the latest batch of bookings as soon as they are released online.

Disneyland and Disney California Adventure table service restaurants are seeing a lot of interest, according to Disneyland officials. Guests are encouraged to plan ahead and reserve as early as possible if they have their heart set on a certain restaurant, according to Disneyland officials.

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SEE ALSO: Disneyland passholder reservations booked on weekends through the end of the year

Select Disneyland and Disney California Adventure restaurants offer reservations up to 60 days in advance via the Disneyland website and app. Restaurant reservations are highly recommended due to limited availability, according to the Disneyland website.

The Disneyland Dining online calendar is dynamic and constantly changing — which means unavailable reservations can become available again at any time.

Disneyland has long offered advance reservations at select table-service restaurants — but demand has increased with the addition of reservation requirements with the new Magic Key annual passes launched in late August. In addition, Disneyland and DCA have required advance reservations for daily ticket holders since the parks reopened in late April after a yearlong coronavirus closure.

SEE ALSO: Disneyland takes next step toward bringing back live shows and nighttime spectaculars

It’s now common for anxious fans looking for restaurant reservations 60 days out to find virtually none available at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.

Disneyland accepts restaurant reservations for Blue Bayou, Oga’s Cantina, Plaza Inn, Cafe Orleans, Carnation Cafe and River Belle Terrace. Over at DCA, reservations are available for Carthay Circle, Lamplight Lounge, Magic Key Terrace and Wine Country Trattoria.

But if you don’t move fast, you’ll only be able to find reservations at one restaurant in the two theme parks — River Belle Terrace.

At the time of publication, October still had reservations available at River Belle Terrace on about half the dates remaining in the month. There were no lunch or dinner reservations available at any other restaurants at either park in October.

November and December were a little better with lunch and dinner reservations available most days for River Belle Terrace — typically the only restaurant at either park with availability.

Eagle-eyed fans who regularly monitor the Disneyland Dining website can occasionally snag a single reservation when a cancellation occurs in November or December at Cafe Orleans, Lamplight Lounge, Magic Key Terrace or Wine Country Trattoria. But that’s rare and they get snapped up quickly.

Reservations for Carnation Cafe and Plaza Inn are even rarer to come by and tables at Oga’s Cantina, Blue Bayou and Carthay Circle are like gold if you can find one.

SEE ALSO: When will Disneyland parking lot trams return?

Desperate Disneylanders hungry for any table-service restaurant during their upcoming visits are turning to Downtown Disney or the resort hotels — but even those out-of-park alternatives are becoming harder to book. Some Downtown Disney eateries also take bookings via OpenTable and other online restaurant reservation companies — an option not available inside the parks.

Many in-park restaurants have daily walk-up lists available through the Disneyland mobile app — but those spots also fill up quickly, according to MiceChat.

“Table service reservations are scarce,” according to MiceChat. “If you weren’t tenacious enough to score a reservation 60 days in advance in the middle of the night (and at unpredictable times), you may not be completely out of luck.”

Restaurant reservations are released on a rolling basis up to 60 days in advance and guests are encouraged to continue to check back for availability as cancellations can be made up to 24 hours before the reservation window, according to Disneyland officials. Quick service restaurants in Disneyland and DCA don’t require reservations.

SEE ALSO: How Disneyland uses big data to power the new high-tech Genie app

SFGate offered tips on how to snag a table at the Hungriest Place on Earth under the headline “Getting Disneyland dining reservations is a nightmare right now. Here’s how we did it.”

Disneyland dining reservations really aren’t available 60 days in advance, according to SFGate.

“If you search exactly 60 days before your desired dining date, you won’t find available reservations,” according to SFGate. “That’s not because they don’t exist. Disney is just releasing them much later than they used to. On average, reservations are being released about 40 to 50 days ahead of time.”

Disneyland and DCA restaurant reservations are added to the dining calendar throughout the 60-day window, according to SFGate.

“Keep checking and you’ll see reservations slowly trickle into the system as you get closer to your trip,” according to SFGate. “You might just have to set yourself a calendar reminder to check the site every morning for a few weeks until you get lucky.”

Disneyland and Disney California Adventure table service restaurants continually assess their ability to serve as many guests as possible, according to Disneyland officials.

SEE ALSO: Disneyland Monorail returns after 19-month hiatus

Disneyland doesn’t offer a dining alert option, but the MouseDining third-party website will send you an email when reservations pop up. But you have to move quickly — they don’t last long.

Dedicated Disneylanders rise well before dawn to look for theme park dining reservations as soon as they become available — often to no avail.

“Why is it impossible to get a reservation at Blue Bayou? I’m at day 60 and tried every hour since 3 a.m,” Kass Flores wrote on Twitter. “It never showed up. I’m so disappointed.”

“Really bummed that I got up at 3 a.m. to try and get a reservation for Lamplight only to find that no DCA restaurants were open for reservations,” Tricia Mieko wrote on Twitter.

“Been trying to make dining reservations for 2 days straight — it’s 58 and 59 days until my park reservation,” Candace Matzi wrote on Twitter. “Every single restaurant shows ‘no schedule available.’”

But persistence can pay off — especially if you have a Disney foodie itch that must be scratched.

“​​The Blue Bayou restaurant in Disneyland has a 60-day wait list to get a reservation,” Tom Wuttke, a software engineer from Palo Alto, wrote on Twitter. “Was able to get a seat next to the river as a walk-in guest.”

SEE ALSO: Disneyland announces 22 rides where you can pay to skip the lines — here’s how

Fans have found that individual Disneyland and DCA restaurants add reservation availability in batches — often without rhyme, rhythm or reason. The most tried-and-tested strategy: Check daily, grab whatever you can get and cancel if something better shows up.

Disneyland and DCA remain in the midst of a months-long phased reopening with the parks not expected to reach full staffing until the end of the year. In the interim, Disney’s theme park restaurants face the same hiring challenges that out-of-park eateries are experiencing. That can make it hard to estimate scheduling and capacity levels two weeks from now — never mind two months from now.

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OCVarsity Student Section Report: Week 8 winner (Sunny Hills Lancer Nation) and Manny’s Challenge for this week


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OCVarsity has Manny Alvarez of the Student Section Report covering the Orange County student sections throughout the football season. Each Monday morning the Student Section of the Week will be announced and we’ll have the Manny Challenge for the new week.


OCVarsity Student Section of Week 8: Lancer Nation (Sunny Hills)

When you’re battling for the Shield, you have to take it up a notch, and that’s what the Sunny Hills Lancer Nation did.

Sunny Hills was playing Troy in an important Freeway League matchup for second place in league. It was also the Battle of the Nations for the Shield, and Sunny Hills packed the stands for its battle with the Troy War Zone.

It wasn’t even close. Lancer Nation rocked the black and yellow and helped Sunny Hills hold on for a 22-20 victory.

There were six finalists, and half of the OCVarsity writers agreed that Lancer Nation was awesome.

The Sunny Hills Lancer Nation is the OCVarsity Student Section Champion for Week 8.

“We are so excited to be the OC Student Section of the week,” Lancer Nation said in a statement. “Especially with it being our Homecoming game plus our first ever Battle of the Nations game against our rivals Troy High School. Our Lancer Nation was fired up all night long and we took the W and that shield with a 22-20 score! Lancer Nation is the BEST NATION! Go Lancers!”

Other Week 8 finalists

La Habra Pit: The PIt is back as they were electric Friday in the Highlanders’ 48-27 victory over Sonora.

Highlanders take a 20-0 lead with 3:16 left in the 1st. @LHHighlanders @OCSportsZone @SoCalVarsity @ocvarsity @luna_ink_photo @ocvarsityguy @StudentSectRep @fjuhsd @fjuhsd pic.twitter.com/SYUZgFGiJg

— La Habra High School🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 (@LaHabraHS) October 16, 2021

Mission Viejo Diablo Inferno: Diablo Inferno crashed the party for Tesoro’s Homecoming game and took over the school as road warriors in the Diablos’ 45-3 victory on Friday.

San Clemente Loud Crowd: The Loud Crowd went wild at home again, this time in a “pink out” in the Tritons’ 16-10 victory over San Juan Hills.

San Clemente loud crowd is ready to go 30 minutes before game time. It’s a party in South OC. @ocvarsity @MAlvarez02 @StudentSectRep #ocvfans @SCHSTritons @Tritonfootball pic.twitter.com/074l52kQFE

— Michael Huntley (@mikehuntley63) October 16, 2021

Servite Asylum: The Asylum made the best of another Thursday game by showing up and getting loud in the Friars’ 53-0 victory over JSerra.

Villa Park Black Pack: The Black Pack covered the visitor’s stands in pink as the Spartans held on for a 31-28 victory over El Modena. Maybe it was the photo of yours truly in the stands that did the trick?

PUT YOUR HANDS UP!!! Looks like we did it AGAIN …Manny hung out with us, Cheer Appreciation Night, our Black Pack showed out… and VP Football WON! @MAlvarez02 @StudentSectRep @VPasb @VPSpartan #ocvfans @ocvarsity @CIFSS @OrangeUnifiedCA @vphs_football @VPHSathletics @vphsspirit pic.twitter.com/p2Lk0YTXvj

— Villa Park Cheerleading (@vphs_cheer) October 16, 2021

My favorite thing about Week 8: Normally I write about what I liked last week, but I’m here to talk about something that needs to be stopped.

I have noticed on two occasions recently incidents where students have gone into the student section for an opposing team and caused a scene, seemingly trying to make that student section look bad. We’ve seen students sabotage other student sections, perhaps to hurt their ranking — we assume that is the case. This has to stop. Focus on keeping your student section rowdy. It hurts your student section more than it hurts the opponent.

Let’s be loud and proud, but let’s also be fair.

Manny’s Challenge for Week 9: Corona del Mar Kings Krew and Newport Harbor Tarpit

This week is the Battle of the Bay between Corona del Mar and Newport Harbor. This is also a battle for third place in the Sunset League! This has the makings of a great matchup, but what about the student sections?

The Tarpit has shown up here and there, but there was a Friday night where they barely showed up. This student section is normally insane, but something is a bit different. This goes for the Kings Krew as well. You don’t see them that often on social media. Perhaps that changes Friday night at Newport Harbor High. Right now, both student section are on the bottom part of the Top 40 OCVarsity Student Section Rankings and this game can help both Student Sections move up. It’s go time, guys!

Also Challenged this week:

JSerra Lion Nation

El Dorado Hawks Nest

Foothill Dungeon

Trabuco Hills Stampede

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Colin Powell dies, exemplary general stained by Iraq claims

By ROBERT BURNS, ERIC TUCKER and EILEEN PUTMAN

WASHIINGTON (AP) — Colin Powell, who served Democratic and Republican presidents in war and peace but whose sterling reputation was forever stained by his faulty claims to justify the U.S. war in Iraq, died Monday of COVID-19 complications. He was 84.

A veteran of the Vietnam War, Powell rose to the rank of four-star general and in 1989 became the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In that role he oversaw the U.S. invasion of Panama and later the U.S. invasion of Kuwait to oust the Iraqi army in 1991.

But his legacy was marred when, in 2003, he went before the U.N. Security Council as secretary of state and made the case for U.S. war against Iraq at a moment of great international skepticism. He cited faulty information claiming Saddam Hussein had secretly stashed weapons of mass destruction. Iraq’s claims that it had no such weapons represented “a web of lies,” he told the world body.

In announcing his death on social media, Powell’s family said he had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father and grandfather and a great American,” the family said. Powell had been treated at Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Peggy Cifrino, Powell’s longtime aide, said he had been treated over the past few years for multiple myeloma, a blood cancer. The Powell family’s social media post did not address whether Powell had any underlying illnesses.

Multiple myeloma impairs the body’s ability to fight infection, and studies have shown that those cancer patients don’t get as much protection from the COVID-19 vaccines as healthier people.

Powell was the first American official to publicly lay the blame for the 9/11 terrorist attacks on Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network and made a lightning trip to Pakistan in October, 2001 to demand that then-Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf cooperate with the United States in going after the Afghanistan-based group, which also had a presence in Pakistan, where bin Laden was later killed.

As President George W. Bush’s first secretary of state, Powell led a State Department that was dubious of the military and intelligence communities’ conviction that Saddam Hussein possessed or was developing weapons of mass destruction. And yet, despite his reservations, he presented the administration’s case that Saddam indeed posed a major regional and global threat in a speech to the UN Security Council in the run-up to the war.

That speech, replete with his display of a vial of what he said could have been a biological weapon, was later derided as a low-point in Powell’s career, although he had removed some elements that he deemed to have been based on poor intelligence assessments.

Bush said Monday that he and former first lady Laura Bush were “deeply saddened” by Powell’s death.

“He was a great public servant” and “widely respected at home and abroad,” Bush said. “And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend. Laura and I send Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man.”

Powell rose to national prominence under Republican presidents and considered a presidential bid of his own, but ultimately moved away from the party. He endorsed Democrats in the last four presidential elections, starting with former President Barack Obama. He emerged as a vocal Donald Trump critic in recent years, describing Trump as “a national disgrace” who should have been removed from office through impeachment. Following the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol, Powell said he no longer considers himself a Republican.

Powell rose from a childhood in a fraying New York neighborhood to become the nation’s chief diplomat. “Mine is the story of a black kid of no early promise from an immigrant family of limited means who was raised in the South Bronx,” he wrote in his 1995 autobiography “My American Journey.”

At City College, Powell discovered the ROTC. When he put on his first uniform, “I liked what I saw,” he wrote.

He joined the Army and in 1962 he was one of more than 16,000 military advisers sent to South Vietnam by President John F. Kennedy. A series of promotions led to the Pentagon and assignment as a military assistant to Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, who became his unofficial sponsor. He later became commander of the Army’s 5th Corps in Germany and later was national security assistant to President Ronald Reagan.

During his term as Joint Chiefs chairman, his approach to war became known as the Powell Doctrine, which held that the United States should only commit forces in a conflict if it has clear and achievable objectives with public support, sufficient firepower and a strategy for ending the war.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, a retired Army general, said the news of Powell’s death left “a hole in my heart.”

“The world lost one of the greatest leaders that we have ever witnessed,” Austin said while traveling in Europe. “Alma lost a great husband and the family lost a tremendous father and I lost a tremendous personal friend and mentor.

Powell’s appearances at the United Nations as secretary of state, including his Iraq speech, were often accompanied by fond reminiscing of his childhood in the city, where he grew up the child of Jamaican immigrants who got one of his first jobs at the Pepsi-Cola bottling plant directly across the East River from the UN headquarters.

Powell maintained, in a 2012 interview with The Associated Press, that on balance, U.S. succeeded in Iraq.

“I think we had a lot of successes,” Powell said. “Iraq’s terrible dictator is gone.” Saddam was captured by U.S. forces while hiding out in northern Iraq in December 2003 and later executed by the Iraqi government. But the insurgency grew, and the war dragged on far longer than had been foreseen. Obama pulled U.S. troops out of Iraq in 2011, but he sent advisers back in 2014 after the Islamic State group swept into the country from Syria and captured large swaths of Iraqi territory.

AP writer Steve Peoples and AP medical writer Lauran Neergaard contributed to this report.

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Colin Powell, exemplary general stained by Iraq claims, dies

By ROBERT BURNS

WASHIINGTON (AP) — Colin Powell, who served Democratic and Republican presidents in war and peace but whose sterling reputation was forever stained when he went before the U.N. and made faulty claims to justify the U.S. war in Iraq, has died of COVID-19 complications. He was 84.

A veteran of the Vietnam War, Powell rose to the rank of four-star general and in 1989 became the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In that role he oversaw the U.S. invasion of Panama and later the U.S. invasion of Kuwait to oust the Iraqi army in 1991.

But his legacy was marred when, in 2003, he went before the U.N. Security Council as secretary of state and made the case for U.S. war against Iraq at a moment of great international skepticism. He cited faulty information claiming Saddam Hussein had secretly stashed away weapons of mass destruction. Iraq’s claims that it had no such weapons represented “a web of lies,” he told the world body.

In announcing his death on social media, Powell’s family said he had been fully vaccinated.

“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father and grandfather and a great American,” the family said. Powell had been treated at Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Powell was the first American official to publicly lay the blame for the 9/11 terrorist attacks on Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network and made a lightning trip to Pakistan in October, 2001 to demand that then-Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf cooperate with the United States in going after the Afghanistan-based group, which also had a presence in Pakistan, where bin Laden was later killed.

As President George W. Bush’s first secretary of state, Powell led a State Department that was dubious of the military and intelligence communities’ conviction that Saddam Hussein possessed or was developing weapons of mass destruction. And yet, despite his reservations, he presented the administration’s case that Saddam indeed posed a major regional and global threat in a speech to the UN Security Council in the run-up to the war.

That speech, replete with his display of a vial of what he said could have been a biological weapon, was later derided as a low-point in Powell’s career, although he had removed some elements that he deemed to have been based on poor intelligence assessments.

Bush said Monday that he and former first lady Laura Bush were “deeply saddened” by Powell’s death.

“He was a great public servant” and “widely respected at home and abroad,” Bush said. “And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend. Laura and I send Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man.”

Powell rose from a childhood in a fraying New York neighborhood to become the nation’s chief diplomat. “Mine is the story of a black kid of no early promise from an immigrant family of limited means who was raised in the South Bronx,” he wrote in his 1995 autobiography “My American Journey.”

At City College, Powell discovered the ROTC. When he put on his first uniform, “I liked what I saw,” he wrote.

He joined the Army and in 1962 he was one of more than 16,000 “advisers” sent to South Vietnam by President John F. Kennedy. A series of promotions led to the Pentagon and assignment as a military assistant to Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, who became his unofficial sponsor. He later became commander of the Army’s 5h Corps in Germany and later was national security assistant to President Ronald Reagan.

During his term as Joint Chiefs chairman, his approach to war became known as the Powell Doctrine, which held that the United States should only commit forces in a conflict if it has clear and achievable objectives with public support, sufficient firepower and a strategy for ending the war.

Powell’s appearances at the United Nations as secretary of state, including his Iraq speech, were often accompanied by fond reminiscing of his childhood in the city, where he grew up the child of Jamaican immigrants who got one of his first jobs at the Pepsi-Cola bottling plant directly across the East River from the UN headquarters.

A fan of calypso music, Powell was the subject of criticism from, among others, singing legend Harry Belafonte, who likened Powell to a “house slave” for going along with the decision to invade Iraq. Powell declined to get into a public spat with Belafonte, but made it known that he was not a fan and much preferred the Trinidadian calypso star the “Mighty Sparrow.”

Powell maintained, in a 2012 interview with The Associated Press, that on balance, U.S. succeeded in Iraq.

“I think we had a lot of successes,” Powell said. “Iraq’s terrible dictator is gone.” Saddam was captured by U.S. forces while hiding out in northern Iraq in December 2003 and later executed by the Iraqi government. But the insurgency grew, and the war dragged on far longer than had been foreseen. President Barack Obama pulled U.S. troops out of Iraq in 2011, but he sent advisers back in 2014 after the Islamic State group swept into the country from Syria and captured large swaths of Iraqi territory.

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Alexander: Dodgers finding not all 0-2 NLCS deficits are alike

If there was a moment Sunday night that reminded us that this isn’t last year, it was the renewal of the Will Smith vs. Will Smith rivalry in the ninth inning in suburban Atlanta.

Will The Elder gave up a memorable home run to Will The Younger during the 2020 Dodgers-Braves National League Championship Series. When they faced each other Sunday night, Will the Younger struck out swinging on a slider for the second out of the ninth inning.

One vignette, true. But maybe here’s another: Julio Urías, the Dodgers’ accidental but oh, so successful closer of 2020, came into the game to start the eighth inning Sunday night with a 4-2 lead – and gave up three hits and the tying runs, only escaping further damage by striking out Joc Pederson and pinch-hitter Ehire Adrianza to strand the go-ahead run on second base.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters after the game that he considered Urías his best option at that point, even after Blake Treinen needed just nine pitches to get through the seventh.

“We talked about it before the series, and he was available (Saturday) night if it came to the situation, but it didn’t,” Roberts said. “He hadn’t thrown a bullpen and he was the best option at that point in time. He was prepared for it.”

Not only did Urías struggle, but those 14 pitches might have compromised him for his scheduled start on Wednesday in Game 4. Max Scherzer, with two days of rest after his 13-pitch save of Game 5 on Thursday night in San Francisco, made it through 79 pitches and, somewhat uncharacteristically but absolutely candidly, acknowledged to Roberts that he was spent.

Somehow, the idea of “five and dive, and be ready to throw a high-stress inning out of the bullpen in a couple of days” might not be a sustainable strategy. Atlanta’s Brian Snitker hasn’t seen the need to use any of his starters in relief yet, but he used every one of his relievers last night and has used Tyler Matzek, Luke Jackson and Smith (The Elder) each of the first two games. And, unlike last year, there are days off in this series.

One more reminder that it’s different? Joctober still exists, only now it’s dreaded instead of welcomed in the Dodgers’ dugout. Joc Pederson wiped out the Dodgers’ first lead with a two-run home run in the fourth – specifically, a booming, 454-foot drive off Scherzer. As this series goes on, Pederson – no longer just a platoon player – has to be reckoned with.

There is this thought, which could be comforting if you still hold onto memories of 2020: The Braves were up 2-0 in last year’s series. They’re up 2-0 in this series after Eddie Rosario’s shot up the middle and under Corey Seager’s glove drove in the winning run, on Kenley Jansen’s first and only pitch of the game in the ninth inning, for a 5-4 Atlanta victory.

But do you really want to have to run the elimination game gamut again? No matter how battle-tested you might be, when you roll those dice too often you’ll lose at some point.

And here’s the biggest difference, so far, between this year and last year: Those Dodgers were noted for scoring runs with two outs: 59 through 19 postseason games. That’s the sign of a team capable of cashing in opportunities and adjusting as necessary to get it done.

These Dodgers are hitting under .200 with runners in scoring position through eight games this postseason: 13 for 68, or .191. They were 1 for 10 Sunday night. The one was Chris Taylor’s two-run double in the seventh, a sinking liner that center fielder Guillermo Heredia – who had entered the game that inning – couldn’t get to and then overran, seemingly unsure whether to try to dive or to short-hop it.

Otherwise? They left 10 men on base. They had men on first and second with one out in the third, but Gavin Lux popped up and Taylor struck out. They had first and second with two outs in the fifth, after Mookie Betts walked and stole second and Smith (the Younger) was intentionally walked with two outs, and Lux flied to left.

They got Taylor to third with one out in the sixth, and AJ Pollock and pinch-hitter Albert Pujols struck out. They re-loaded the bases after Taylor’s hit in the seventh, and Pollock struck out. And Trea Turner hit the first pitch from Smith (The Elder) to the wall in left field, but Rosario ran it down.

It’s a problem we’ve seen all season, and now it’s recurring at the worst possible time. And yes, the approach has been an issue.

“It’s an approach thing,” Roberts said. “I think that certain times in scoring position, we’re expanding (the strike zone) too much.”

But here’s the biggest difference from 2020 (besides, of course, the fact that the core of this group now knows what it’s like to win a championship): They’re going to be playing the middle games at home, where they were 58-23 during the regular season and are 2-1 so far in the postseason.

And if ever they needed the extra push from a spirited home crowd, it’s now.

jalexander@scng.com

@Jim_Alexander on Twitter

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