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The main reason to arrive in Los Angeles during a trip is a visit to the many large and successful amusement parks in the area.
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The most popular amusement parks are:
This Walt Disney’s first amusement park established in the year 1955. It’s location is in Anaheim, about 40 minutes’ drive south of the Los Angeles Airport. The park has more than 60 attractions, 50 shops and 30 restaurants and it is divided into countries, similar to the “Dream Kingdom” in Disneyworld. A family visiting both Orlando and Los Angeles will make a prudent decision to skip Disneyland in California and visit only Disneyworld.
Disneyland has two amusement parks; “Disneyland Park” and Disney’s California Adventure Park”, but it does not have the other amazing parks, Epcot Center, MGM Studios, Animal Kingdom, and water parks. However, if your family visits only the West Coast – don’t miss the visit to Disneyland.
Disneyland Park is almost identical to Magic Kingdom in Disneyworld, but has a few additional attractions (some identical to attractions in other Disneyworld parks in Orlando).
The most popular attraction is “Indiana Jones Adventure” located in “Adventure-Land”. The ride includes a wild ride in a Jeep and includes adventures in fire, smoke and boiling lava. Recommended for the daring, not fit for young children.
Remember! During the busy seasons of vacations and holidays the time staying in line for the attractive rides may take between an hour and three hours for each ride!!! The use of “Fastpass” is extremely important for those cases!
A splendid show, “Fantasmic” loaded with effects, with more than 50 actors takes place in the park. The show includes movies projected on water screens, lasers, optical fibers and a huge fire spitting dragon. The famous Disney Parade was upgraded and if you watched it in the past, you will be amazed with the innovations and effects. The current name of the parade is “Walt Disney Parade of Dreams” and it incorporates music, lights, designed wagons and scenery, and of course, all the famous loved Disney movies characters. It is advisable to inquire ahead of time the opening hours and dates of the parades so you can plan accordingly.
Disney’s California Adventure
The park was inaugurated in the year 2001 and is located adjacent to the senior Disneyland Park. All attractions in the park revolve around sites and events in California, from the far past until today, starting with the Gold Rush period, the Golden Era of Hollywood, and a ride thru the enchanting views such as a glider ride above the Golden Gate Bridge.
The park includes a number of rides intended for the daring, such as: “Maliboomer” in which you will fly in extremely high accelerations to a height of about 60 meters within 4 seconds, and then, in a free-fall back to the ground, “California Screamin'” a thrilling roller-coaster; “Grizzly River Run”, A thrilling whitewater raft adventure that takes you roaring down a California river in the Sierra Nevada mountain, you get really wet! “Soaring Over California”, in this ride you will “hover” above famous enchanting landscape using advanced visual technological means, “The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror”; a free fall in a mysterious elevator from a height of 13 floors.
The park has also a number of relaxed family attractions as well as impressive movies, some taken from the parks in Orlando, such as the enchanting “Four Dimensions”; it is hard to be an insect “Toy Story Mania” and the movie “Muppet Vision 3D”. The little ones are also not deprived; in the “California Adventure Park” you will find a dozen rides and attractions especially intended for them. A popular attraction is “Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!” an amusing cab ride in the kingdom of the lovely monsters.
The children most loved attraction is “The Magic Brother Bear” in which the children are invited to climb, slide, take small omegas and roll between treetops, tunnels, caves, streams and cliffs.
On hot days, the children are invited to refresh and have fun in the “Princess Dot Puddle Park”, between dancing fountains and water streams appearing from surprising locations.
In this park you will also meet the famous Disney characters, hugs them, take photos with them and certainly collect autographs. Additionally, several impressive shows are performed, such as: a nice musical based on the movie Aladdin, Turtle Tal with Crush, a lovely interactive animation movie.
A new area in the park is “Car Land” based on the successful Disney – Pixar movie, Cars. The most popular attraction in this area is Radiator Springs Racers, which in fact is the third generation of Test Track, the old attraction at the Epcot Center. The ride starts with a calm drive in a desert landscape among impressive cliffs in a car for 6 passengers, but soon becomes a fast competitive ride that includes winding, steep inclines and a variety of other surprises.
Two other attractions in “Car Land” are:
“Luigi’s Flying Tires”
which as a matter of fact is an innovative bumping cars ride in which you sit in a huge tire instead of a car.
“Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree”
A ride in a wagon hitched to a tractor to the sounds of songs from the movie Cars, and the tractors happily dance in accordance with the rhythm of the music.
The park holds a parade (different from the one in nearby Disneyland) named Pixar Play Parade. Here characters from the famous Pixar movies, Cars, Monsters, A Toy of a Story, Finding Nemo, the Incredibles, A Bug’s Life and others.
In the evening, in the area named “Paradise Bay” is a spectacular show, “World of Colors”. This is a show combining fountains and lights, lasers beams, music and fire.
Those visiting the Disney amusement parks are advised to spend the night in Anaheim in the vicinity of the park, to avoid traveling in the disgraceful Los Angeles traffic-jams.
Recommended Hotels in Anaheim:
Not far from Anaheim is another quality amusement park, although less famous:
Knott’s Bery Farm
An enchanting Luna Park the style of the Wild West located at Buena Park, a suburb adjacent to the north of Anaheim (Disneyland).
The park has six main areas: “Ghost Town”, a reconstruction of a miners’ town from the year 1880 with cowboys, gunfights, gold seekers wagons, Indian Trails, a reconstruction of an Indian village, Fiesta Village and the Boardwalk, a reconstruction of an amusement park on the beach dating back to 1920, Wild Water Wilderness, Camp Snoopy designed for the little ones in the group. If in your family there are children under the age of 8 years, start out with Camp Snoopy.
The park has many rides for both the daring and roller coaster lovers as well as for those looking for a relaxed ride. Among the most attractive rides for the action lovers; 5 roller coasters including the GhostRider considered one of the best wooden roller coasters in the world, and Xcelerator – accelerating to a speed of 80 km/h within 2.3 seconds only. Another popular ride is Supreme Scream – in which you drop extremely fast from the height, and a number of rides in which you get wet.
The latest attractions in the park (from the year 2013) are the Coaster Ride roller coaster with many horrific turns and curves and the Surfside Gliders – a two persons glider in which you wild glide above the Park’s promenade and see an impressive view of the park.
The park also has many shows and various activities and certainly shops and restaurants. The Park is open continuously from May until September as well as during the holiday season and some weekends during the year. Operating hours vary in accordance with the season.
Near the Park’s entrance is the California Market Place that has shops and restaurants including the popular family restaurant T.G.I Friday’s.
In Northern Los Angeles are located two recommended and popular amusement parks, almost as popular as the Disney parks; Universal Studios and Six Flags:
Universal Studios, Hollywood
One of the musts for the Los Angeles visitors! A state of the art modern movies park with dozens of attractions and special effects and advanced technologies. Those are the original studios in which most of Hollywood’s most popular and famous movies were filmed. Those who are not sure whether to visit the studios in Orlando or Los Angeles should consider preferring the original, namely, Los Angeles. The main reason is the Studio Tour Tram with a train behind the scenes and among the original sceneries of many famous movies. During the tour the visitors can expect many surprises, a face to face meeting with King Kong -360 3-D (The larges three dimensional experience in the world), an earthquake, flood and more. The tour also includes a visit to the original filming site of Steven Spielberg’s last movie “War of the Worlds”. The tour lasts for 45 minutes and it is the best part of the visit to the park. Additional attractions include a cruise among the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park, at the end of which is a fall of almost 90 degrees from the height, a very wet experience! House of Horrors in which you will go along a scary labyrinth among frightening figures such as Frankenstein and Wolf Man.
Other attractions; Shrek 4-D (an enchanting movie with many effects), Revenge of the Mummy (a roller coaster ride in the dark) and the Simpsons Ride.
Each year new attractions are added at Universal Studios; even those who visited the park in the past will find many new exciting possibilities.
A late addition in the park is Transformers: a 3-D Ride.
The park has studios in which special effects are presented, fire and explosions (impressive and splendid). Additionally, Universal Studios offers a variety of shows; “Animal Actor Stage” (Very cute!) Water World – a water action show (recommended!) The Blues Brothers Show and more. Do not forget to take the shows schedule at the Park entrance. The park also offers amusement devices for children; The Adventure of the Curious George in which the children can take out whatever energy that still remained, some of the amusements will leave them wet.
The best is to start with the main tour, later visit the attractive rides, and once you get tired, rest during the various shows. Many restaurants and snack bars are also available. The park is divided into two areas, the Upper Lot (where most of the shows take place and some of the attractions) and the Lower Lot connected by a series of escalators. Here are the effects and fire studios as well as some other rides. This highly recommended park fits the entire family.
Adjacent to the studios is a large entertainment center; City Walk, which includes shops, movie theaters, restaurants and live shows.
“Six Flags Magic Mountain”
This huge amusement park has some of the most advanced amusement rides in the world; it belongs to a chain of amusement parks by the name of “Six Flags Theme Parks”, spread all over the U.S. This is a paradise for fans of all types of roller coasters. Here you will find roller coasters of all types and heights including those that perform a free-fall. The most attractive rides (fit mainly for youth and those with a strong heart) are the Déjà vu – a state of the art and impressive roller coaster that includes a 90 degrees fall, a butterfly type turn and a loop.
Many attractions require minimal height of 107, 122, or 137 cm, but have no fear, the cowards and the little ones will find the rides that fit them. The park has an entire area designed for the youngest children.
The park includes more than 100 rides, shows and attractions.
Some of the shows take place only during the summer months. Many Looney Tunes characters roam the park for the enjoyment of the little ones who love to hug them and take photos with them.
You can buy The Flash Card, which substantially shortens the waiting in line for the popular attractions in the Park.
The park is located about 15 minutes’ drive north of Hollywood on highway I-5 in the suburb of Valencia.