Los Angeles Theme Parks
Ever since Walt Disney opened the doors to Disneyland on 17th July 1955 and bought the mega-park into existence, no holiday to Los Angeles is complete without a visit to one of its many amusement parks. The city boasts some of the world’s most famous and well attended parks with some of tallest and fastest roller coasters available.
But don’t leave your theme park adventures to the last minute; you’ll need a couple of days at each park to be able to soak up all the fun and to deal with the queues (especially during holidays and on weekends). If Los Angeles is not your scene then keep a look out for our feature on San Diego coming shortly.
Located in Anaheim and billed as the happiest place on earth, Disneyland has been delighting people of all ages since 1955 and is the second most visited park in the world behind its bigger brother Disneyworld in Florida. The public areas of the park are contained on an 85 acre site, divided into 8 themed areas with more than 90 rides and attractions built around such themes as Tomorrowland, Critter Country, Mickey’s Toontown and Main Street, USA.
During the summer the park also hosts nightly fireworks shows that are synchronised with Disney songs, as well as daily parades and Fantasmic!, a multimedia extravaganza with images being projected onto mist screens. A word of warning – keep away from the “It’s a Small World” boat ride – the incessant chirpy singing will lodge itself into your brain and as yet scientists have not come up with a way to remove it safely.
View the Disneyland website here.
Disney California Adventure
Across the plaza from Disneyland and opened on the 8th of February 2001, Disney California Adventure is currently undergoing a major $1.1 billion dollar reconstruction. The opening of a new district ‘Cars Land’ based on the Disney-Pixar Cars films. The main attraction in this new district will be Radiator Springs Racers, which at a cost of approximately $200 million dollars in one of the most expensive rides ever designed.
A number of the other districts, such as Paradise Pier, Golden State and Buena Vista Street are also being expanded. California Adventure also hosts a nightly show entitled ‘A World of Color’. A additional event called the Mad T Party, based on the Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland is scheduled to begin June.
Visit the California Adventure website here
Knott’s Berry Farm
Opening as a replica ghost town in 1940 after starting as a working berry farm where Walter Knott and his family sold jams and preserves from a roadside stall, this park is one of the oldest in California. While Disneyland has Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, visitors to Knott’s Berry Farm are more likely to run into Charlie Brown and Snoopy from the Charles M. Schultz cartoons.
The park also has more than 40 rides including 9 rollercoasters and is famous for its month long celebration in October where the park is transformed into ”160 acres of horror”, via a series of over 1,000 monsters, 13 mazes and a collection of ‘scare zones’ as part of Knotts’ Halloween Haunt. Located across Beach Boulevard is Knott’s Soak City, an affiliated seasonal water park.
Take a peek at the website here
Universal Studios Hollywood
The theme park is still a fully functioning movie studio and Universal Studios used tours of the lot to start to draw crowds in the early 1960′s. The narrarated tours still operate but it is the stunt demonstrations and rides that are now the major attractions.
The park is split into two areas the Upper and Lower lots with rides based on Universal Studio movies such as King Kong, Transformers, Shrek and The Simpsons. There are also a number of live action shows featuring stunt actors. Characters from Shrek and The Simpsons as well as Spongebob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer, Beetlejuice and Woody Woodpecker roam the park posing for photos with kids.
See the website here
Six Flags Magic Mountain
While the previously mentioned parks are great for a family day out, adrenaline junkies and thrill seekers are going to want to make their way up to Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia. This park hold the current record for the most rollercoasters with 17 currently in operation. Another addition will be named ‘Full Throttle’ – featuring a record breaking vertical loop in excess of 44m high to open in 2013.
Characters from DC Comics and Looney Tunes patrol the park entertaining those too short to met the height requirements on the rollercoasters. Magic Mountain’s Youtube channel features a number of ‘virtual rides’ on some of their most famous costers. A waterpark called Hurricane Harbor is built next door.
Check out the website here.