|Disney California Adventure Park|
Known as the sister park to Disneyland California, Disney California Adventure Park is the second installation created at the Anaheim location and is sure to be as remembered as its predecessor. There are so many areas in this park, it’s easy to get as lost as your imagination. Opened in 2001, the park features a variety of new rides, shows, and attractions, whether it is the studio-like Buena Vista Street or the lush wilderness at Grizzly Peak.
|Buena Vista Street|
Also known as Sunshine Plaza, Buena Vista Street is a themed area of California Adventure Park that replicates Los Angeles in the 1920s. This time and place was particularly special because it’s essentially when Walt Disney first arrived to California to start his career. There is a small-scale replica of the famous Hyperion Bridge, which is great for architectural buffs or admirers of classic California. In addition to the fun attractions, there is also a red car trolley, which travels throughout the plaza, offering guests a classic ride that echoes the feeling of Mainstreet USA.
Modeled after Victorian boardwalks along California’s coast, Paradise Pier is a fun and exciting part of the California Adventure Park, especially for thrill-seekers. The entire park is beside the water, offering several rides, including California Screamin’, which is so daring that it sprawls across the water. That isn’t to say, however, that there aren’t any family-friendly adventures to be had. This section is also home to Toy Story Midway Mania, a new 4D ride that allows passengers to wear 3D glasses and participate in classic carnival games. Paradise Pier also offers a stunning view of the entire park by way of Mickey’s Fun Wheel, a Ferris wheel that is as calming as it is iconic.
Grizzly Peak is a rugged area that’s meant to look like a National Park setting, which can be easily be connected if you’ve ever been to a real-life California National Park. Known for replicating the 1950s aesthetic, Grizzly Peak is also a blast from the past, offering old school cabins that make for a strange, yet homey adventure. The most popular attractions are the Grizzly River Run, which is a raft trip that will get you as excited as riding down real-life rapids. There is also a simulated ride film called Soarin’ Over California, which creates a massive illusion that you’re actually going on a simulated hang glider tour across the beautiful state.
Disneyland California is the first of two parks located at the massive Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. Known for opening in the mid-1950s, Disneyland Park is an iconic American attraction, especially since it originally opened as the only Disney Park, not only in Anaheim, but the entire world. Since its original doors opened, the park has constantly upgraded, expanding with major renovations and new ideas, including New Orleans Square, Critter Country, and Mickey’s Toontown.
|New Orleans Square|
Based on the 19th-century French architecture of New Orleans, the 1966 addition to the park has been extremely popular since it originally opened. With some of Disneyland’s most popular attractions, including Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion, nighttime entertainment at New Orleans Square is a must-see, especially when the Fantasmic! Show begins. If you’re more interested in some private adult time, New Orleans Square is also home to the extremely exclusive Club 33, the only place where you can get alcohol in the entire park.
Originally opened as Bear Country, this area used to show the indigenous culture of Native Americans, but has since been renamed and rebranded as Critter Country. Home to epic rides, like Splash Mountain and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Critter Country is filled with an exciting perspective of the American South as well as our own animal kingdom. Splash Mountain offers a journey on a log and is an indoor ride and is mostly calm, which is exactly why guests are always so shocked when the climactic 50-foot drop happens at the end. For a more family-friendly adventure, check out The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh for an intimate indoor look into one of America’s most iconic wildlife families.
Opened in the mid-1990s, Mickey’s Toontown was inspired by the fictional Los Angeles suburb of Toontown, which was featured in the big Disney hit, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? With the aesthetic of Disney’s most popular characters, including Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy, the fun city is also home to each of the character’s fictitious homes, not to mention countless rides. Some of these rides include Donald Duck’s boat, Disneyland Railroad, and Gadget’s Go Coaster, but if you’re more in the mood to grab a bite to eat, there are also plenty of restaurants. For a taste of some classic Americana, visit Pluto’s Dog House or Daisy’s Diner – you can also get a nice snack at Toon Up Treats or Clarabelle’s Frozen Yogurt.
|SeaWorld San Diego|
SeaWorld San Diego is an animal theme park, aquarium, and an oceanarium that offers a look into the vastness of our planet’s marine wildlife, not to mention a look at California’s particular ecosystem. Whether you want to be entertained by an exhilarating marine animal show, hop on a fun ride, or simply want to observe rare species of animals, SeaWorld San Diego is the pinnacle of saltwater amusement.
|Killer Whales: Up Close|
Known for being one of the most popular shows not only at SeaWorld, but in America, Killer Whales: Up Close offers everyday people a chance to see a creature they’d normally miss out on for their entire lives. The show is offered to guests year-round and is an educational presentation that offers the guests amazing facts about killer whales as well as the tricks and tasks the whales can be trained on.
Formerly known as ‘Rocky Point Preserve,’ Dolphin Point is the exciting dolphin exhibit. Located in a multi-pool complex that houses several bottlenose dolphins, the attraction offers free access to not only see the dolphins, but pet them as well. There are also scheduled presentations led by the trainers as well as fun educational experiences, which include The Dolphin Encounter and Dolphin Interaction Program.
If you’re tired of simply seeing things, feel free to go on an exhilarating adventure on SeaWorld’s Shipwreck Rapids, a river rapids ride that follows the theme of a shipwreck on a deserted island. The ride offers a variety of experiences, from the recreation of the island that transports you to another world to the exciting water that splashes into your raft (be prepared to get wet). The ride also offers glimpses into other sections of the park that aren’t normally visible, including an exclusive perspective of the sea turtle exhibit as well as a great view of the bayside.
|Universal Studios Hollywood|
For a touch of glitz & glamour as well as a thrilling experience that can’t happen anywhere else, Universal Studios Hollywood is the perfect place to check out. Located in Universal City, California, the theme park is home to some of the most original live-action rides and inspiring live shows that are sure to touch the souls of every person, no matter the age.
|The Walking Dead|
Considered to be one of the most terrifying interactive walkthrough mazes, The Walking Dead ride forces those who are brave enough to step through the initial doors and venture through several iconic sets, each one more nightmarish than the last. Be sure to bring a buddy to hold onto because this attraction is a doozy!
|Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular|
Based on the 1995 hit film, Waterworld, A Live Sea War Spectacular is a critically acclaimed stunt show that introduces guests to a world that takes place after the movie’s plotline. The story follows a woman hearing news of a ‘dryland.’ Though rival ‘smokers’ attack her on jet skis and boats until a rugged Mariner shows up to combat them. If you love exciting shows, be prepared for several live stunts, which include jet-skiers, boats, fights, and even crashing planes with real fire!
|The Wizarding World of Harry Potter|
Just opened in April of 2016, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios is a great way to explore your inner child, not to mention the recreations of various iconic scenes and locations mentioned throughout the book and movie series. Whether it be the Flight of the Hippogriff, an exciting roller coaster that dives around the legendary pumpkin patch or one of the several scheduled performances, including Frog Choir, an outdoor live show that features Hogwarts students singing with their frogs as well as the Triwizard Spirit Rally, a martial arts performance that involves plenty of magic!
|Knott’s Berry Farm|
Located in the heart of Buena Park, Knott’s Berry Farm is an amusement park known for its large crowds, thrilling rides, and fun use of Peanuts characters throughout their attractions. With over 40 different rides, a world-famous Ghost Town, and a rich history that spans almost a century, one can easily spend an entire day at Knott’s Berry Farm without having seen everything, making it perfect for not only a day, but a second trip.
Whether you’re interested in the old days or simply want to experience the intimacy of a small stage production, Ghost Town offers a variety of amusements, which include live displays and spooky shows. Based on a real-life town in Arizona, Ghost Town is a true blast from the past, displaying colonial-style actors who demonstrate the art of blacksmiths, woodcarvers, and glassblowers. That doesn’t mean, however, that Ghost Town is simply a dusty antique. With fun seasonal shows, which include ‘The Gift of the Magi’ during Christmas and a Halloween Haunt Thrill Show, Ghost Town is also a blast year-round.
With a beautiful pop-culture Mexican theme that also matches the surrounding state’s Spanish architecture, Fiesta Village is a fun part of Knott’s Berry Farm. Filled with fun stores and restaurants, as well as exciting games & rides, there’s something at Fiesta Village for just about anyone. Whether you’re interested in eating some authentic Mexican cuisine at Pancho’s Tacos, this particular section has also become especially scenic with the newly installed fiesta lights, especially if you see it from the top of Montezooma’s Revenge!
Peanuts comic strips are a pillar of American culture, making it a huge deal when Camp Snoopy sprung up in 1983. Snoopy has since been the mascot of Knott’s Berry Farm, attracting children and families alike to the massive theme park. Whether it be one of the 14 mini roller coasters or an unforgettable ride along Lucy’s Tugboat, Camp Snoopy is designed to allow families to experience the magic of yesteryear and introduce their kids to the future of wonderment.