Ask Chris: The Fate of the Coins Tossed Into Disneyland Fountains

Email any of your burning questions about Los Angeles to [email protected]

What does Disneyland do with all the coins tossed into its fountains? 

The bottoms of Disneyland’s many pools are covered in loose change that’s periodically scooped out and sent to charities. (The Florida resorts collect up to $30,000 a year.) These days, the coins are primarily used to grant wishes with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Most recipients ask for park outings, studio tours, and visits with animators. Kids also love to meet stars—John Cena is the most-requested celebrity wish-granter, having spent time with more than 650 children. Walt himself brought the idea to Disneyland in 1961 by creating the Snow White Wishing Well on behalf of Variety, a charity created as an orphans’ fund by theater owners in the Steamboat Willie era.

Q: Does the Hollywood Sign ever permit access to the public? 

A: We’re lucky they light the thing up every 20 years. (They did it for the 1978 rebuilding, the 1999 millennium, and the 2022 BET Awards.) But official excursions to the cloistered landmark are next to none. Concerns over flora, fauna, fire, and unhappy neighbors keep it locked up tight. To capture a panoramic view of the city, the Hollywood Sign Trust recommends hiking to the back of the sign from the Griffith Observatory trailhead—Mount Hollywood Drive to Dirt Mulholland to Mount Lee Drive. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes for the three-mile round-trip trek. Oh, and stay hydrated!

Q: What’s going to happen with that Farmer John pig mural? 

A: The Clougherty family ran a slaughterhouse from 1931 to 2004 and wanted to gussy up its 30,000-square-foot plant at 37th and Soto streets with a depiction of frolicking pigs, first created in 1957 by movie scene painter Leslie Grimes and featured in the horror flick Carrie. The nearly century-old meat-processing facility will be shuttered this coming February by Hong Kong-based WH Group, whose Smithfield Foods acquired the ten-acre parcel in 2017. “I’m encouraging the development of data centers and cold storage,” says Vernon city administrator Carlos Fandino, “and less warehouses that bring heavy trucking.” My guess is that any new development is not going to be adorned with an epic panorama of a greased-pig contest

Costume Dramas
For the past 25 years, Gary Baseman has been haunting flea markets, searching for Halloween photos taken in the mid-twentieth century. He was hooked after finding an image of a little girl in a 1930s Mickey Mouse mask made of starched linen. The artist, who grew up in L.A., has recontextualized the snaps of juvenile ghosts, witches, and black cats in a new book, Nightmares of Halloween Past. The book’s found photographs were captured by parents before kids ran off trick-or-treating in costumes cobbled together from cardboard and bedsheets. “They’re just normal snapshots, but they’re not normal,” says Baseman. “They’re haunting, they’re dark, they’re playful, and they’re silly.” Available at

This story is featured in the October 2022 issue of Los Angeles