They might not hand out Mickey Mouse ears at the front door, but there’s a touch of the Magic Kingdom in the Bel Air Bar & Grill. After all, the upscale restaurant is owned by Susan Disney Lord, the daughter of Roy E. Disney and great-niece of Walt.

This month, Disney Lord threw open the doors to the thoroughly remodeled restaurant, which features multiple dining areas, a lounge and a 22-foot-tall glass wall with flower images. She has been hosting parties for family and friends, and last week opened the restaurant to the public for lunch and dinner.

Disney Lord, 54, said she was never pressured to go into the family business, but that doesn’t mean she has left it behind completely. When asked if there are any Disney-inspired touches in the restaurant’s posh design, she played coy.

“If you looked around you might find some, but none that I will tell you about,” she said, laughing. “It’s more fun that way.”

Gift Card Spark

Though his company runs dating websites such as JDate.com and ChristianMingle.com, Greg Liberman met his wife, Jessica, the old-fashioned way – at a party. And it almost didn’t happen.

“I think there were many opportunities for neither of us to show up,” said Liberman, 40, chief executive of Spark Networks Inc. in Beverly Hills.

He’d been sick and thought about not going, and she’d been invited by a friend of a friend and almost turned back before entering.

“She was looking into the window before she went in,” he said.

But she did, and the two of them came together during the party’s gift exchange. During the event, partygoers could “steal” gifts from one another, but a single gift could only be stolen a few times before getting a permanent owner.

“At some point, my now wife and I were sitting near each other, and we created an alliance so she could get the gift she wanted,” Liberman said. “It was a gift card. I think it was from Crate & Barrel. We formed an alliance, and it’s still going 10 years later.”

Staff reporters Richard Clough and James Rufus Koren contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by Editor Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at ccrumpley@labusinessjournal.com.

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