Travel: Oh Walt a Magic Kingdom; THE CALIFORNIA ORIGINAL IS STILL THE BEST!

The People (London, England), December 28, 2003 | Go to article overview

Travel: Oh Walt a Magic Kingdom; THE CALIFORNIA ORIGINAL IS STILL THE BEST!


Byline: ALAN EDWARDS

ONCE upon a time in a Disneyland far away there was a theme park without any Brits.

Not a Man United shirt in sight. No chorus of Cockney accents as you wait in line for the next ride. No travelling halfway round the world only to bump into the family from up the street.

This isn't the new British colony of Orlando, where millions of us go for a fortnight of fun each year.

This isn't Paris, where we invading English moan about the French - who think queuing is a waste of time if they have perfectly good elbows.

This is the original Disneyland in California, old Walt's vacation vision which opened almost 50 years ago.

There have been plenty of updates and additions since then but it's still American through and through...and a British accent is rare enough to be remarked upon every time you open your mouth.

In many ways it really is still the best. Much smaller and more laid back than Florida and less, well, French than the one near Paris.

You really feel you've stepped back into a Hollywood screenplay of the wholesome US dream.

The park is now actually two parks squeezed into the busy housing district of Anaheim in Los Angeles. The original Disneyland has all the regular attractions like the castle and Main Street, Splash Mountain, Snow White, Winnie the Pooh, Small World and dozens of other Disney favourites.

The new California Adventure park is right next door and has more of an American funfair feel - plus wilder rides for the older kids.

It comes with its own hotel too.

The Grand Californian, where I stayed with wife Anne and teenage son Sam, has a private entrance to the park, perfect for nipping back for a swim in the pool or a change of clothes when you get off the log flume soaked to the skin. There are three Disney hotels on site but this one is definitely the Lion King of the lot.

From our room we had smashing views across the two swimming pools into the park and the California Screamin' roller coaster...lit up every night with a huge Mickey head.

The doors to lots of the rooms open out on to a huge six-storey lobby.

From there you can look down from your balcony and watch the log fire while a musician plays the grand piano. This is luxury, Disney-style. We were even welcomed to our room with a basket of fruit and some goodnight milk and cookies (a Jack Daniel's would have been nice, but...)

Unlike Orlando, this isn't a place to go for the whole two weeks.

Great as it is, if you're flying for 11 hours to get to L.A. there are plenty of other things you should be getting up to as well....like Hollywood, the beaches and the fantastic coast road. …

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