Here is an excerpt from the Lonely Planet - USA chapter ‘Los Angeles’:
The mother of all theme parks, Disneyland lures you into a parallel world that’s as enchanting as it is freaky and frenzied. Bigger and less crowded, Disney’s California Adventure celebrates the natural and cultural glories of the Golden State but lacks the density of attractions and depth of imagination.
The nearby Downtown Disney is essentially a 21st-century version of Disneyland’s Main Street with plenty of opportunities to drop even more cash in its stores, restaurants and entertainment venues.
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
How could we not take first-time visitors to the US to Disneyland? We hadn’t been for years, and years. Our first visit was with Anil’s parents in 1976 and then we returned almost a dozen years later with two youngsters in tow. We didn’t have time to do both theme parks, and besides, the California Adventure wasn’t even built when we were last there, the site was just a very, very large parking lot.
Our schedule had us in Disneyland on the Monday after Mother’s Day. It was a very warm day, but luckily for us there were virtually no lineups for any of the rides. When we headed over to Fantasyland to see ‘Small World’, we encountered the stroller brigade, but they were mostly going on the kiddie rides, ones bound to make all the toddlers motion-sick.
We saw all the best rides in quick succession, but one of my family’s favourite ride, ‘The Big Thunder Mountain Railway’ was sadly closed for a major track overhaul. We hadn’t missed it by a few days or even weeks; it was scheduled to be closed until the fall. Boohoo!
I had booked a table for us to have lunch in the Blue Bayou Restaurant in order to get us out of the blazing sunshine, and it was a delightful break right before we took Ajay and Neeta to see the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’. While we were eating, I pointed out the ride’s boats floating in the dark, past the waterside tables.
After six hours in the heat, we were totally done in, so we hopped on the shuttle bus back to our hotel and had a rest in the air-conditioning. Everyone was game to return to the park after a couple of hours. I wanted them to see how lovely it was all lit up, and with fewer wailing babies and dog-tired parents. We felt fit enough to walk back to our hotel when we were done, and discovered Downtown Disney along the way. I had no idea how the Disneyland of so many years ago had been transformed into what is now called ‘Disneyland Resort’, encompassing the original theme park, the California Adventure and the mega glitzy shopping district outside the park gates.
It had been a great day, and we discussed plans for what was to come next. I explained that we had a couple of options – Universal Studios or the Getty Centre, and to my surprise and delight, our guests opted for high art instead of another theme park. We might have considered doing them both if we had more time.