Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Anaheim & Disneyland

2/6/2010(Wed) Los Angeles - Arrive at LAX airport

We arrived at California. Los Angeles Airport, it was late night that we need to wait for daughter's arrival tomorrow. A night at airport to save the hotel expenses, and to ensure we meet her at the airport. The good thing of LAX airport, is there is multi languages in their sign boards and announcements. Really an international airport for a tourist destination, a tourist friendly airport.

3/6/2010(Thurs) Los Angles LAX Airport to Anaheim

Disneyland, Anaheim is within OC or Orange County. Orange County is a county in Southern California. A patchwork of 34 independent municipalities, Orange County's population is one of the most culturally diverse in the world. Orange County's terrific and irrefutable reputation as a tourist destination recently got it its own TV series, The O.C. The county's main tourist draws are its beaches and of course its two theme parks, Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm.

There are many cities large and small in Orange County – here are a few of the major ones.

* Anaheim - Home of Disneyland, the Anaheim Ducks (National Hockey League) and Los Angeles Angels (Major League Baseball), second most populous
* Buena Park - The city known as the home of Knott's Berry Farm, lots of used car lots, gateway to Los Angeles.
* Fullerton- Home to Cal State Fullerton
* Huntington Beach - "Surf City". Huntington Beach has a long surfing tradition and famous beaches.
* Irvine - One of youngest and the largest city in terms of land size. A somewhat gentrified community with a significant Asian-American heritage.
* Laguna Niguel - one of the larger and more wealthy/exclusive communities in south Orange County, the city has most parks per square mile in the county and home to the Chet Holifield Federal Building.
* Newport Beach - one of the richest communities in the nation, and the setting of The O.C.
* Santa Ana - one of the oldest and largest cities in Orange County, with a tremendous Mexican-American population and cultural influences.
* Seal Beach - A small beach town with a host of cute shops, awesome local restaurants, and a handful of Irish pubs mostly situated on Main Street.

Comprised of 34 incorporated cities and various unincorporated regions, Orange County has a total population of more than 3 million, and is the fifth largest county in the United States. The population of these cities range from merely 6,200 (Villa Park) to over 300,000 (Santa Ana and Anaheim). Bordering Los Angeles on the north, San Diego in the south, and both Riverside County and San Bernardino County to the east, Orange County is bounded on the west by the Pacific Ocean and the east by the Santa Ana Mountains. The area enjoys beautiful beaches and warm weather year round. Orange County has a reputation for being more conservative than the rest of California, with fiscal conservative attitudes dominating in well-off cities and some social-conservative attitudes being prevalent in some of Orange County's thriving ethnic subcommunities.


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Anaheim's largest and most important industry is tourism. Its Anaheim Convention Center is home to many national conferences, and The Walt Disney Company is by far the city's largest employer. Many hotels, especially in the city's Resort district, serve theme park tourists and convention goers.

Anaheim, home to the literal ancestor of all modern theme parks, Disneyland. Anaheim is a city in Orange County, California. As of January 1, 2010, the city population was about 353,643, making it the 10th most-populated city in California and ranked 54th in the United States. The city anticipates that the population will surpass 400,000 by 2014 due to rapid development in its Platinum Triangle area as well as in Anaheim Hills. Anaheim is the second most populous city in Orange County (after Santa Ana) and second largest in terms of land area (after Irvine), and is known for its theme parks, sports teams and convention center.

Founded by fifty German families in 1857 and incorporated on February 10, 1870, Anaheim developed into an industrial center, producing electronics, aircraft parts and canned fruit. It is the site of the Disneyland Resort, a world-famous grouping of theme parks and hotels which opened in 1955, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Honda Center and Anaheim Convention Center, the largest convention center on the West Coast. Its name is a blend of "Ana", after the nearby Santa Ana River, and "heim", a common German place name compound originally meaning "home".


Disneyland Park is an amusement park located in Anaheim, California, owned and operated by the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts division of The Walt Disney Company. Originally called simply Disneyland, it was dedicated with a televised press preview on July 17, 1955, and opened to the general public on July 18, 1955. Disneyland holds the distinction of being the only theme park to be designed and built under the direct supervision of Walt Disney himself. In 1998, the theme park was re-branded "Disneyland Park" to distinguish it from the larger Disneyland Resort complex.

After succeeding with the multi-park, multi-hotel business model at Walt Disney World in Florida, Disney set its sights on applying the same business model at Disneyland and began acquiring large parcels of land adjacent to its Anaheim property. This included purchasing the Disneyland Hotel from the Wrather company as well as the Pan Pacific Hotel from its Japanese owners; Disney re-branded the latter as the Disneyland Pacific Hotel. After its first publicly known proposal for a second theme park in Anaheim was scrapped, construction began in 1998 on a theme park called Disney's California Adventure; a hotel called Disney's Grand Californian Hotel, a renovation, renaming, and re-theming of the Disneyland Pacific Hotel; and an admission-free shopping and dining area called Downtown Disney. During the expansion, the name Disneyland Resort was coined to refer to the entire Disney complex, while Disneyland Park was coined to refer to the original theme park.

Buena Park
Buena Park is a city in Orange County in Southern California. It is widely known best for being the home of Knott's Berry Farm. A major attraction of the area is Knott's Berry Farm, America's oldest theme park with the first ride attraction, the Ghost Town & Calico Railroad opening in 1952. The park was established on the site of a Berry Farm. The claim is that crowds were originally drawn by the chicken dinners being sold there, and then rides and attractions added to entertain the crowds. Today the theme park is large, and the chicken dinners are still on sale.


Many of the travel literature and travel review mentioned that a car is a must to travel in Los Angeles. We have discovered that there is alternative to the view. We have talk with two foreign travelers, one family from Norway(daughter and father)and a Swiss couple. They use rented car to travel around California, but both informed that they met accidents in their journey. They covered most of the places, but still used public transport when they arrived in LA and San Diego cities. San Francisco was considered a unfriendly car route.

In addition to interstates and US highways, California has one of the most extensive state highway systems in the United States. As with all trips in the United States, a car is usually the best way to get around and see all destinations. However the trip from the top of California to the bottom can take well over ten hours. Intercity travel may be best by car, as the road system in California is good. But if you are travelers, you may be tired and not familiar with the places, it will take some time to familiar, and reach the destination. Unless you have a local guide or friends, or familiar with the routes or need to stop at small town or attraction where public transport is not available, or have ample time for the trip; the public transport for the intercity is still the better alternative. The other compromise is to rent a car for a day within the city travel, but the parking is expensive too. However travel by car has the flexibility, it may be the best choice if you have few drivers, especially those who are familiar with the routes. Winter traveling is difficult for drivers from tropical countries.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need a car to visit Los Angeles. Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner and Metrolink's Orange County Line link various communities in Orange County with Los Angeles Union Station. The trip to Union Station usually lasts less than one hour depending on where you are departing from. From Union Station, the LA subway system takes you all through downtown Los Angeles, with trains and buses going up to 50 miles away in 4 directions. The downside of the train system is that it caters more to the commuter crowd and does not run all night.

We have two choices for accommodation, either Hollywood or Anaheim. We selected Anaheim because it is near to Disneyland, and we enjoyed the stay there. The staff of the hotel however was not that traveler friendly, they are not able to provide basic traveler information required when asked. One of the hotel counter staff even booked an airport shutter wrongly, resulted in additional cost to book a taxi. May be they expected us to check in the internet.

4/6/2010(Friday) Anaheim(Disneyland) - Full day

Personally I am not interested to visit Disneyland, as I have been to Disneyland Hong Kong. Moreover it is not cheap after the exchange rate. I have no childhood experience of Disneyland characters, except later on in life when exposed to cartoon of Disneyland characters. Nothing really attract me except some laughing. During my childhood, there is no TVs, only Disneyland comic book was available. But the comic books are imported and expensive, not within our financial capability. Toys of Disneyland characters are limited, and imported, that was for the children of the white elite and the local rich family. Our toys are all simple improvised type, but we did enjoy our childhood within the natural environment. Until now Disneyland never able to attract me. But wife and children are really excited to visit Disneyland, my children went there three times, fully utilized the pass, and they really enjoy it. May be that is the generation gap. We do not have popular culture and over advertised environment then, we have our own ethnic culture, not commercialized; but pass from generation to generation, deep in the language and daily life. It is real and original, you can feel it and it is within your daily life, not like popular culture where it is with imagination and commercialized. I have my comic books of characters from Chinese classic, the monkey god, the 108 heroes, the three kingdoms etc. I wonder when these characters can be popular and commercialized in the theme parks. But I think I will still not interested in that theme park....I prefer to let the characters to wonder in my mind and retained in my memory of my childhood. But not denying that, Disneyland have bring many happiness to the children and adults all over the world. The theme park's selling point, is joy with the family, no parent will deny their children their happiness moment with them. So I followed my family for full day at Disneyland.

"To all who come to this happy place: -Welcome- Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past ... and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America ... with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world."

—Walter E. Disney, July 17, 1955 4:43pm

At first the plan was to be only one day at Disneyland(full day), but in the end the kids have two full days(3rd & 4th)and one evenings and nights (after coming back from Las Vegas) at Disneyland. The one evening and night were their bonus, and they capitalized on the pass and really have a nice time in the park. As the hotel Red Lion Hotel, located at South Harbor Blvd, is walking distance from the Disneyland. They come back only when the Disneyland has closed, and after the fireworks was over. I did not follow them, we have our time around the hotel area.

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