Los Angeles Theme Parks

Los Angeles Theme Parks

Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Universal Studios Hollywood, Knotts Berry Farm, Knott’s Berry Farm’s Soak City and Six Flags Magic Mountain set the bar worldwide for innovation and family entertainment value.

Universal Studios Hollywood
DESCRIPTION: This theme park seems to get better each year; we recommend that you begin with a the Hollywood Backlot Tour that has been updated with HD monitors and a tour guide who gives a solid explanation of some of the most famous sets in Hollywood history – War of the Worlds set includes whats left of a real jet; occasionally, famous actors are seen on the back lot tour, including Norman Bates, and King Kong 360 3D is an capstone experience for the tour; the newest adventure is Transformers: The Ride 3D, a state-of-the-art thrill ride with surprising scenes and visceral twists well beyond what you experience at the cinema — its entry line is packed with repeat riders; The Simpsons Ride is a virtual-reality roller coaster as inventive as it is stunning, and justifies the long wait to board; other main attractions are Shrek 4D, The Mummy and Jurassic Park are some of the best crafted theme park attractions seen anywhere; the House of Horrors attraction packs a real fright, so it is only suitable for age 13+; if you need to keep the kids occupied for 1+ hours, visit Curious George where they can continuously drench themselves on a warm day, then safely shoot air-filled puffballs until they get weary or hungry; Universal Pictures characters parade the grounds to happily take pictures with guests and there are plenty of curio kiosks and gift shops to catch your eye; themed restaurants and foot vibrators for the walk-weary are strategically placed through out the park; coupled with the adjacent CityWalk, this theme park represents a fantastic multi-day family destination; summers at USH are hot, so dress accordingly
ADMISSION: 2-Day, Front of Line, VIP and Annual Passes available
DAYS & HOURS: primary hours daily 9a-7p; but hours vary during seasons and weekends so check website; arrive early to experience the most rides
ADDRESS: 100 Universal City Plaza, Los Angeles, CA MAP
PARKING: $15
RAPID TRANSIT: Universal City Metro Station
PHONE: 800-UNIVERSAL
WEBSITE: http://www.universalstudioshollywood.com

Disneyland
DESCRIPTION: An American icon since 17 July 1955, “The Happiest Place on Earth” still looks the same; resist the urge to immediately stroll down Main Street USA, instead ride the steam locomotive just above the entrance to get a first impression of the park; upon return to the entrance, you’ll better appreciate MAIN STREET USA’s glimpse of late 1800s-early 1900s Americana filled with popcorn, ice cream, fudge, chocolate and novelty gift shops on each sidet; visit the Opera House for stirring animatronic performance by President Lincoln; if your timing is right on Main Street, catch the Parade of Stars marching towards the roundabout in front of Disneyland Castle — the home of Sleeping Beauty and sometime Pixie fairies; at that juncture, choose the order to visit to Mickey’s ToonTown, Tomorrowland, Adventureland, New Orleans Square, Frontierland, Critter Country and Fantasyland; note that it takes three 12-hour days to experience every attraction at a relaxing pace; NEW ORLEANS SQUARE features old Crescent City courtyards, walkways, and cafes mingle with Dixieland jazz, the Haunted Mansion and marauding buccaneers at Pirates of the Caribbean; the square presents the best views of Believe Fireworks and Fantasmic spectaculars — weather permitting; ADVENTURELAND is a collage of the world’s uncharted regions to discover such as Polynesia (Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room), the wilds of Africa (Tarzan’s Treehouse), exotic rivers of the world (Jungle Cruise) and the steamy jungles of India (Indiana Jones Adventure); CRITTER COUNTRY
, nestled in a lazy corner of the backwoods offers Guests thrilling rides on Splash Mountain, the Hundred Acre Wood  of Winnie the Pooh; FRONTIERLAND is a robust panorama of America’s pioneer past, from the bustling riverfronts of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers of the late 1700s (Columbia Sailing Ship, Mark Twain Riverboat, Tom Sawyer Island) to the dusty southwest deserts of the 1880s (Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Golden Horseshoe Stage); TOMORROWLAND
 offers discovery and wonder from a 1950-80s perpective of whirling spaceships (Astro Orbiter), zooming rocket vehicles (Star Tours, Space Mountain), racing roadsters (Autopia), visions of the future (Innoventions Dream House), Michael Jackson’s Captain EO from 1986 (still a great 4D experience), amazing inventions (Honey, I Shrunk the Audience) and the highly recommended submarine voyage (Finding Nemo Voyage); guests often forget to catch the Disney Monorail next to Finding Nemo Voyage – it circles both parks and Disneyland Resort; FANTASYLAND features enchanted tales from classic Disney animated films adapted so guests can fly over NeverLand (Peter Pan’s Flight), see an elephant fly (Dumbo the Flying Elephant), navigate an out-of-control motorcar (Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride) or attend a mad tea party (Alice in Wonderland) and the ever-popular, its a small world!; at the end of the day, remember that 20,000 Cast Members made your visit enjoyable
MEALS & DEALS: budget $8-$13 for adults and $5-$6 for kids at various restaurants, cafes and kiosks around the park; stroller rentals are $7 per day
ADMISSION: Adult for a single day/single park up to $119 for a 5-Day Park Hopper Pass which allows visits to both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Thu 9a-8p, Fri 9a-10p, Sat 8a-12a, Sun 8a-11p; extended operating hours during holiday periods and summer
ADDRESS: garage at 1313 South Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, CA MAP
PARKING: $15, garage shuttle transports you to entrance
PHONE: 714-781-4565
WEBSITE: http://www.disneyland.com

Disney California Adventure
DESCRIPTION: to those returning to the park, opened in 2001, you may be puzzled by change from the Golden Gate Bridge-California mosaic entrance to an Art Deco Los Angeles entrance — there’s a method to the madness; once SUNSHINE PLAZA completes its transformation to BUENA VISTA STREET, it will recall 1920s Los Angeles as encountered by the newly arrived Walt Disney — buzzing with energy and optimism with a Red Car Trolley to Carthay Circle Theatre; from there, major sections of the park unfold as A Bug’s Land, Paradise Pier, Hollywood Pictures Backlot, and Golden State; A BUG’S LAND lets you go underground and see what the buzz is all about in a 3D experience; at Flik’s Fun Fair, see how bugs have created a place of their own, then Hop on the hilarious Heimlich Chew Chew Train with your toddler or climb aboard Flik’s Flyers and take a whirl through the air in the ingenious ant’s latest invention; GOLDEN STATE has a ride that lets your feet dangle in the winds while discovering the breathtaking landscape in Soarin’ Over California; climb into a white water raft and crash over the rapids on the Grizzly River Run, set an achieve personal fun goals at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail; PARADISE PIER features a blazing fast California Screamin’ thrill ride that will leave you breathless; join Woody and Buzz Lightyear on Toy Story Mania!, a 4D family fun ride inspired by the Disney·Pixar films; swing on the Silly Symphony, Googy’s Sky School and The Zephyr aerial rides as Mickey’s band plays up a storm; if you are not afraid of heights, sail around the face of Mickey Mouse on the spin-sational Mickey’s Fun Wheel; when you come down, breeze over to the the prize game attractions along Paradise Pier Boardwalk; World of Color is the latest night-time spectacular in Paradise Pier featuring enormous screens of mist that come to life with timeless Disney tales such as The Lion King, Pocahontas, Finding Nemo, Princess & The Frog, The Little Mermaid, Alladin and plenty of pirates in an unforgettable light, sound, mists and flames extravaganza; nearby Pacific Wharf lets you grab a bite to eat and drink beverages; HOLLYWOOD PICTURES BACKLOT is home to the magical Aladdin Musical (get tickets early) and a haunted hotel and enter its cursed elevator for the ride of your life at The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror; for something a little tamer, take a scare-raising ride through Monstropolis on Monsters, Inc. with Mike & Sulley to the Rescue; if your child has an interest in drawing, learn how to draw a Disney character at the Animation Academy; Discover eye-popping technology spawned from Henson mayhem at Muppet*Vision 3D; last but not least enjoy ElecTRONica nightly dancing inspired by the movie TRON Legacy
MEALS & DEALS: Budget $8-$13 for adults/teens  and $5-6 for kids; limited stroller rentals are available for $7 per day
ADMISSION: range from Adult $47 for a single day/single park to $119 for a 5-Day Park Hopper Pass which allows visits to both parks
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Thu 10a-7p, Fri 10a-8p, Sat & Sun 10a-9p
ADDRESS: garage at 1313 South Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, CA MAP
PARKING: $15 on premises, garage shuttle transports you to park entrance
PHONE: 714-781-4565
WEBSITE: http://www.disneyland.com

Knott’s Berry Farm
DESCRIPTION: Nation’s oldest and first theme park, which no doubt influenced Walt Disney; in the 1920s, the Knott Family had a berry farmed on 20 acres of land and eventually started Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant for passers by; Mrs. Knott’s food became so popular and her husband built a Ghost Town venue to entertain waiting customers; one thing led to another as the family expanded Knott’s Berry Farm to 165 attractions and restaurants and now; though its includes California’s Spanish and Indian heritage theme areas, the main treats are roller-coasters, vertical drops, water parks, thrill rides, western shoot outs, stagecoaches and a steam powered train for the kiddies; the list of original rides goes on and on; Halloween Haunt is a not to be missed event for spook fans
ADMISSION: $52 Adults; $23 Seniors and Ages 3 to 11; tickets half-price after 4p
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Fri 10a-6p, Sat 10a-10p, Sun 10a-7p; open later in Summer
ADDRESS: 8039 Beach Boulevard, Buena Vista, CA MAP
PARKING: on premises
PHONE: 714-220-5220
WEBSITE: http://www.knotts.com

Knott’s Berry Farm’s Soak City
DESCRIPTION: Pacific Spin, Harborworks, Tidal Wave and more will have you and the kids mesmerized. Other rides, particularly the Lazy River, are just the right speed for an afternoon of high quality family fun; admission ticket includes unlimited use of all water rides and attractions. General admission tickets are not valid for special ticket events; there’s plenty of lockers and cabanas available
ADMISSION: $30 adults; $20 Seniors and Ages 3-11
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Fri 10a-7p
ADDRESS: 8039 Beach Boulevard, Buena Vista, CA MAP
PARKING: on premises
TRANSIT: none
http://www.knotts.com/soakcity/oc

Six Flags Magic Mountain
DESCRIPTION: X-Generation thrill seekers, this park delivers Xtreme nirvana.  With several huge expansions in the last few years, this park includes many tame family rides and live acrobatic performances, but boasts of 8 theme rides that will shock and amaze you: Colossus – one of the longest and the world’s tallest wooden roller coaster that travels at 65 mph; Déjà Vu – a boomerang roller coaster the plummets 196 feet at 65 mph from a giant vertical boomerang turn; Dive Devil – let’s bungee jumpers hoist off a 150-foot tower; Flashback – the world’s only hairpin drop roller coaster with 6 spiral dives; Gold Rusher – imagine yourself as a gold miner on a runaway train; Revolution – one of the world’s first a 360-degree vertical loop rides; Tidal Wave – ride a boat down a 5-story waterfall; X – let’s you race in vehicles that spin 360 degrees forward and backward, race at a hair raising 76 mph and fall safely from 300 feet, face down!
ADMISSION: Adults $60, buy online for huge savings, Under 48″ height $30, Age 2 and under FREE
DAYS & HOURS: 10:30a-7p
ADDRESS: 26101 Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia, CA MAP
PARKING: $15 on premises, private shuttle transports you to park entrance
RAPID TRANSIT: forget about it
PHONE: 661-255-4527 or 818-367-5965
WEBSITE: http://www.sixflags.com

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor
DESCRIPTION: Adjacent to Six Flags Magic Mountain, its theme might well be “Get wet a dozen ways in floatables for all sizes”; some of the best rides are Sea Wave Pool, which delivers wide swaths of two-foot waves to the delightful cheers of kids; Lost Temple Rapids rafting adventure down an island’s ancient aqueduct; Tiki Falls splashdown is so high its either thrilling or will make you dizzy; River Cruise sprawls a 1,300-foot-long lazy river which takes guests on a scenic journey perhaps the crème de la crème for family attractions is Lizard Lagoon, a 3.2 acre activity lagoon featuring many adult and teen activities in a 7,000-square-foot, three-and-a-half foot deep pool; try you hand at a basketball win-a-prize game; Arrowhead Splashdown features three twisting tube slides; although it uses same tcket booths as Magic Mountain, it is a separate park
ADMISSION: Adults $30 or buy online to save, under 48″ height $21, 2 & Under FREE
DAYS & HOURS: 10:30a-6p
ADDRESS: 26101 Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia, CA MAP
PARKING: $15 on premises, private shuttle transports you to park entrance
TRANSIT: forget about it
PHONE: 661-255-4527 or 818-367-5965
WEBSITE: http://www.sixflags.com

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