If you think that making Thanksgiving dinner is a major undertaking, consider the task at Knott's Berry Farm.
"The Farm" expects to serve 10,000 turkey dinners Thursday, as well as a few hundred of its famous chicken dinners. That means instead of having to worry about one turkey in the oven like at most homes, Knott's has to fret over more than 500.
After Mother's Day, Thanksgiving is the second most popular "eating" day of the year at Knott's. It's also a great chance for Knott's to show off its theme park.
About half of the diners in the Buena Park landmark's three restaurants will also purchase admission to the theme park. Many will simply stroll the Christmas crafts village in Ghost Town before or after dinner, said Knott's spokesman Bob Ochsner.
Reservations are required at Knott's for dinner, and while some will be seated without reservations, there won't be many.
Hotel Dinner: Hotels are picking up some of the Thanksgiving slack. The Pan Pacific Hotel, near Disneyland, is offering turkey dinners--or a choice of several other entrees--on Thanksgiving. As one might expect, its Japanese restaurant is closed Thursday.
Disneyland Festivities: Thanksgiving also marks the start of another Christmas season at Disneyland, where the park plans to stage both its "Very Merry Christmas Parade" and "The Lion King" parade that proved so popular over the summer. The Christmas parade will march through twice a day while "The Lion King" will make a single pass. At the Disneyland Hotel, bakers and decorators were putting the finishing touches on a seven-foot gingerbread house covered in cookies, candies and frosting. The gardens around the 60-acre resort hotel will be festooned with lights, garland and Christmas trees. Even the Disney characters will don Thanksgiving garb for the hotel's holiday buffet.
Charitable Red Lion: In the spirit of holiday giving, the Red Lion Hotel in Costa Mesa has created a social club dedicated to raising money for Orange County charities. The Orange Garde, as the club is known, will hand out membership benefits such as preferred seating in Maxi's Grille at the hotel, free valet parking while dining, corporate room rates and a 20% discount on gift shop purchases. Members will also be invited to golf tournaments, wine tasting parties and other special events. The one-time initiation fee of $50 includes an engraved silver goblet. Ten percent of the food and beverage purchases from Maxi's Grille will be donated to charity, with a goal of raising $15,000 to $20,000 over the next year. "It's a unique approach to supporting community organizations," General Manager Emmett Steed said.
Going to Market: An Orange County-based business consultant offers some advice to hotel industry executives: Put marketing first and know your market. "You have to do some research. There are no quick fixes," said Y.N. Chang of Orange, author of "Revitalizing America's Business: A Brilliant Six-Action Style to Manage and Succeed." Chang said that every manager needs to evaluate how their properties stack up to industry leaders. For quality, look to Disneyland. "When you walk into Disneyland, there are so many things to attract your attention," he said. For customer service, look to Nordstrom. Hotels should not just build on new rooms. They should renovate, become the best in their category and then build additional lodging, according to Chang.