Travel Guide to California

2015 Travel Guide to California

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2 0 1 5 T R A V E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A 57 Universal Studios Hollywood This film-themed park got its formal start in the 1960s when walk-throughs of Universal Studios soundstages and sets were expanded to include peeks at actual production. Over the years, the studio added a tram to shuttle visitors through the back lot; today, this tram remains the best way to experience stunt demonstrations and staged events (such as an encounter with the shark from Jaws). The rest of the park is divided into two areas connected by escalator: the Upper and Lower lots. Transformers: The Ride 3-D is a fan-favorite on the Lower Lot. On the Upper Lot, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, a 3-D simulator ride, and Super Silly Fun Land, an outdoor family-friendly playground, both opened in April 2014. Disneyland If the lovable (and life-sized) Mickey Mouse and friends don't pique your interest and attention at California's most famous theme park, surely the rides will. The park, which opened in 1955, features rides for all ages, including some of the most ballyhooed roller coasters anywhere in the state (one favorite is Space Mountain, which speeds along almost entirely in the dark). Overall, Disneyland is divided into eight themed areas, or "lands." Some of these areas focus on actual history: Frontierland recre- ates the setting of the American frontier, while Main Street U.S.A. is patterned after a small Midwestern town (many believe Walt Disney got his inspiration from his own boy- hood town of Marceline, Missouri). The park opened with one hotel, but since the 1990s, it has grown exponentially, adding a new theme park (Disney's California Adven- ture), a shopping district (Downtown Disney) and two additional hotels. One of the newest attractions, Cars Land, was inspired by the Cars movies, and opened in June 2012. The famous Alice in Wonderland ride was revamped in early 2014. SWIRLING TEACUPS in Disneyland, above; Six Flags Magic Mountain in Los Angeles, right; Stuart Minion from Despicable Me 2, below, and Krustyland at Universal Studios Hollywood, opposite; Children's Fairyland, boXom.

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