Well, by far LA was the most exciting stop of our trip. There are SO many more theme parks there than I realized! And other things to do there besides. So we actually did this destination in two parts – 3 days in Anaheim, 1 day in transit and our last 2 days in Hollywood.
In Anaheim it was all the theme parks. So day one was Disney Land, day two – Knotts Berry Park and Day three – California Land. Every one of the parks really was big enough that we needed a whole day for each. My favourite for rides… Was Knotts Berry. Their lines were really reasonable, the park was really well laid out so that it wasn’t too hard to get around.. Although it was still huge! And the rollercoasters were just generally cool. Even if they did throw you around and rattle a LOT more than what I now realise are the extremely well engineered ones on the Gold Coast… We went on one in particular which was really different – it was a western/cowboy theme, where you sat on a model of a horse instead of in a seat.. your legs were locked in of course to the horses sides and then.. you just go flying. I think that one was my favourite. Also there was a MASSIVE one called the Ghost Rider which was too big to even fit inside the park itself. So while you ride it, you exit the park and fly across the street and around the car park.. and its brilliantly set out so that as you reach the first peak.. you can see the rest of the length of the rollercoaster laid out for a couple of miles in front of you. And this means.. that the whole time.. your unsure how much longer you’ve got to be strapped in for.. and that one really did throw you around in the carriage too! Mum reckons she even earnt some bruises.
California land was the coolest in terms of design and atmosphere. The different “lands” (eg: Cars Land, Bugs Life Land etc) were all perfect replicas of the movies that they came from.
And there was also a really big, beautiful ferris wheel that looked over the “pier” there.. which was just generally stunning to see in the background of everything that was going on.
We went on the Ferris wheel too! And it was very interesting as we boarded to become aware of mums usually unnoticeable fear of heights.. which I may have been aware of in the back of my mind.. but, I guess I’ve just never heard her make a great fuss about it.. and regardless she handled our whole double circle really well.. But the weird thing I guess was that I hadn’t realized up untill that point.. how fearless and strong I generally think of my mum as being.. somehow, I have always thought of her as .. Well, quite indestructible. And actually.. I still do.
We caught a parade at California land too! And the parades both there and at Disneyland were both really excellent (California Land is actually run by, and right next door to Disney. But it focuses on the Disney-Pixar side of the enterprise as opposed to mickey and Minnie..). The floats were all beautifully designed and the characters that ran alongside were all brilliant performers. My brother’s favourite was Belle – from Beauty and the Beast. I think my favourites were the completely random but very rose cheeked snowmen. But I really did love it all. And for us both I think the parade was the most magical part of Disneyland. Especially considering the long lines, huge crowds and general design of the place – which was SO much directed at little children.
And of course I know that Disneyland was made for children.. but I kind of still expected some interesting rollercoasters and some general amusement for the whole family – or for the slightly older siblings at least. And Disneyland lacked that…
BUT I’ve course that’s not to say that it wasn’t worth it! – I had actually been told pretty much exactly that fact by a friend in Canada before we arrived.. and Disneyland is just one of those things.. that you have to see for yourself. Because no matter how many people tell you that you are too old for it. You’ll always be curious if you don’t just go and have a look..
And we got to meet Mickey Mouse too!
And actually… Although it isn’t at all a significant part of Disney.. the Lego store.. had some really cool stuff going on! The things that had been built there to adorn the store… were crazy good! .. And we had to add our own little pretzel hating chef to the mix.
Ultimately though, after having experienced all of the parks.. My opinion is that California Land and Knotts Berry Park were both better than Disneyland. Or at least that was the case for our family.
And after 3 days of amusement parks I was more than ready to move on and get back to some regular, more stable tourist activities. So the morning we we’re due to leave for Hollywood was welcome.. If only the transition had gone as smoothly as it had been planned to be.