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Pinocchio's Workshop at the Grand Californian Hotel

Tucked away in a corner of the Grand Californian Hotel, Pinocchio's Workshop provides child care in a group setting seven days a week from 5 p.m. to midnight. The center accepts children ages 5 to 12 and the hours of this special babysitting service are also 5:00pm to 12:00 Midnight.

Pinocchio's Workshop adheres to California State Social Services requirements for child care centers. The maximum capacity for the center is 12 children; and the center maintains a minimum staff- to- child ratio of 1 to 12… although according to Mr. Cohen, an additional cast member is available when needed. Per California state standards the staff is certified in CPR and must submit to fingerprint screening to check for past and current criminal activity.

Grand Californian guests may make reservations for Pinocchio's Workshop by calling (714)-956-6755. Paradise Pier and Disneyland Hotel guests should plan to consult with their hotel concierge desks to check for availability and make same-day reservations.

When children arrive at Pinocchio's Workshop, they enter through a swing gate that is otherwise kept locked. As each family arrives a cast member takes a photo of the children and their parents or legal guardians. Since only parents or legal guardians can register a child at the center the cast members use these photos as a security measure to ensure that children only leave with those adults authorized to take them. Parents are given a pager before leaving for the evening so that the Pinocchio's Workshop staff can contact them for emergencies.

The environment of Pinocchio's Workshop is reminiscent of a classical European carpenter's workshop and the carpeting is actually patterned to look like a hardwood floor! In this main area children can participate in arts and crafts projects such as painting, coloring, and beading. Nearby bookshelves house board games, play dough, puzzles, books, and toys. cast members also engage children in storytelling.

The next room features three different electronic alternatives (above). First are three computers on which children can play age-appropriate software from Disney… and includes such children's titles as "Typing with Timon and Pumbaa," "Monopoly," "My Disney Kitchen," and "Tonka Space Station." Two TVs come equipped with Sony Playstations with games such as "Little Mermaid II," "Mary Kate and Ashley Magical Mystery Mall," "Wheel of Fortune," "Nascar," "Emperor's New Groove," and of course, "Who Wants to be a Millionaire."

A "theater" with a giant screen TV completes this area where children can choose from several G-rated Disney DVD favorites such as A Goofy Movie, Robin Hood, Beauty and the Beast, Tarzan, and Three Caballeros, as well as the PG-rated Flubber.

The kitchen area allows the Pinocchio's Workshop staff to prepare a snack of fresh fruit and yogurt for children. Parents of children staying over four hours are strongly encouraged to purchase an evening meal for an additional $5. Balanced meals are prepared to meet with social services guidelines. Children choose from five entrees: hot dog, hamburger, grilled cheese, chicken nuggets, or peanut butter and jelly. All are served with milk and vegetable sticks, usually carrots or celery.

Pinocchio's Workshop keeps late operating hours and some children may get sleepy. Cots are set up in quiet area behind the cubbies for children who want to nap. The cubbies are low so cast members can easily monitor this area while little ones rest.

Pinocchio's Workshop charges $13 per hour per child with no minimum stay and up to the full seven hours the center is open at night. A two hour minimum fee will be charged for guests who fail to show up or cancel their reservations with less than 24 hours' notice.

All Disneyland Hotels offer baby- sitting services through an outside contractor for guests who prefer to have a private baby sitter in their room, or whose children are under 5.

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