Located in Anaheim about 35 miles from the Los Angeles International Airport, "the happiest place on earth" can also be one of the most crowded. Mostly because it has something for everyone, since it's not only a theme park, but also a resort and shopping mecca. The area in and around the theme park also features Downtown Disney, and the Anaheim GardenWalk, where restaurants, malls, boutiques and bars can be found in abundance.
As crowded as Disneyland can be, accommodation is usually not a problem, since there are three large hotels on the resort property and hundreds more in the surrounding city.
Disneyland Theme Parks
There is now a bewildering array of themes and water parks at Disneyland Park, which started out small back in 1955. Each of the attractions comes with its own motif--from Animal Kingdom to Hollywood Studios to Blizzard Beach--and each is classified based on the target age, from toddlers to senior citizens.
All around Disneyland, visitors can mingle with their most-loved Disney characters, who make regular casual appearances and also perform in parades and other entertainment attractions. If you want to take home your very own miniature version, there are many shops offering collectibles and souvenirs.
If you're not the sort who enjoys rides, you can take in a performance by a live band or by the Disney characters. Visits during Halloween and Christmas are extra-special because there are many activities held at the park to mark these holidays.
Disneyland California Adventure
To get an even bigger dose of Disney characters, check out California Adventure, which is across Disneyland Park and "celebrates the stories and characters of Disney films with thrilling attractions and entertainment." It features rides for little kids, big kids and adults. The site also offers the Mission Tortilla Factory and the Wine Country Trattoria for sit-down dining. After dark, the recently installed World of Color delights audiences with a water-jet show that blends color, fire, light and Disney characters.
Popular Rides and Attractions
There are rides at Disneyland that regularly feature long lines, but they're worth the wait. Splash Mountain is about half a mile long and culminates in a final plunge of five stories. Indiana Jones Adventure does a great job of bringing the film to life with an adrenaline pumping dash in a Hummer on a quest to claim the Jewel of Power. Pirates of the Caribbean is an indoor boat ride that allows your imagination to roam as you float through realistic pirate scenes and settings. (If you'd rather not wait in line, be sure to pick up a Fastpass, so you can save your place in line while you grab a drink or check out other attractions.)
Amid all the noise and the fun, guests can still enjoy a little peace and quiet on the Disney Railroad, a charming old narrow-gauge railroad that first chugged to life in 1955. It circles the park and is an easy way to get from one place to another or just spend a little relaxing downtime.
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