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This is part 2 of a 3 part series discussing some of California’s best attractions, including National Parks, Theme Parks, and beaches. Check out part one about California National Parks.

California was recently voted WalletHub’s most fun state of 2018, proving the state has a lot to offer, varying from soaring mountain peaks, to sandy warm beaches, all the way to thrill-seeking roller coasters.

Avery Jones | The Feather Online

Freshmen pose at Great America, a theme park attraction in Santa Clara, for Sadies Hawkins, Oct. 2019.

California is home to many different amusement parks, some of which are dedicated to a theme, location, or company, they all have a variety of attractions. The Golden State is home to around 45 different theme parks. All of which range in size, price, popularity, and attractions.

The top five rated parks according to many travel blogs tend to highlight, Disneyland, Disney’s California Adventure, Universal Studios, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and California’s Great America.

Disneyland

The popular park that opened in 1955. The park was designed and completed under the close watch of Walt Disney. The park offers 8 different themed lands including; Main Street, Adventureland, Frontier Land, New Orleans Square, Critter Country, Fantasy Land, Mickey’s Toontown, and Tomorrowland. A new Star Wars themed land will be opening this summer and will be called, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Each land hosts rides, food courts, and gift shops to match the theme. “The happiest place on earth” attracts over 16 million tourists and Disney fanatics each year.

Megan Raynes, ‘19, appreciates the feeling she gets when she enters the park, and the jungle-like theme near some of her favorite spots in the park.

“The most unique part of the park for me is the entrance,” Raynes said. “Every time I enter the park it’s like I am a little kid again and everything seems exciting and magical. I don’t get that feeling anywhere else. My favorite part of the park is the area near the Jungle Cruise and the Indiana Jones ride. It’s the perfect place to cool off after walking in the hot sun.”

Max Munoz, ‘20, loves going on Splash Mountain and looking at the funny pictures after the rides. He looks forward to going back with the choir this year.

“My favorite part is probably going on Splash Mountain with friends and seeing our funny pictures taken during the ride, or the Matterhorn is always a great experience,” Munoz said. “I would like to go back, and I will be going with the campus choir to Disneyland on April 5th.”

Disneyland offers three different priced days titled as “value,” “regular,” and “peak” days. For a value day ticket prices are $104, regular tickets are priced at $129, and peak tickets cost $149.

*Prices listed are for tickets for the ages of 10 and up.

In the following tweet, Disneyland Resort, releases more details about their newest and that will be opening this summer.

Disney’s California Adventure

Julia Fikse | The Feather Online

California is home to many theme parks. Several are found in the Los Angeles area.

The younger of the two Disney parks is themed to honor the history and culture of its host state, California. The park’s rides and attractions are dedicated not just to California, but also Pixar films and stories. Pixar Pier, the newest area opened to the public in June 2018. Honoring its title the pier celebrated Pixar films. Besides Pixar Pier, you can stroll through six other areas. These areas are called, Buena Vista Street, Paradise Gardens Park, Grizzly Peak, Pacific Wharf, Hollywood Land, and Cars Land. Disney’s California Adventure brings in over seven million people a year.

Ezekiel Fuller, ‘20, has not been to California in a long time but looks forward to going back soon.

“I have not been in a long time, so a lot has changed, but California Adventure is really fun and unique because it has so many thrilling rides,” Fuller said. “I am going back because I have not been in so long.”

California Adventure offers the same three different priced days as Disneyland titled as “value,” “regular,” and “peak” days. A value day ticket costs $104, regular tickets prices are $129, and peak tickets charge for $149.

*Prices listed are for tickets for the ages of 10 and up.

You can purchase a one day Disneyland and California Adventure park hopper ticket for $179. This grants access to both parks for the day.

Universal Studios

Both a film studio and theme park, Universal Studios has a lot to offer. It offers studio tours of the infamous filming hub. You get to see set where lots of the filming for real movies and shows take place. Many different attractions and movie-themed rides are offered to visitors. One of the most popular parts of the park is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The themed area, based on the beloved book and films, offers the chance to purchase food and themed items from the stories. Universal Studios attracts over 8 million people yearly.

Andrew Moore, ‘21, thinks the park is unique because it offers almost two completely different experiences.

“I think the most unique part of Universal Studios is that there are almost two separate parts,” Moore said. “One is more tours, history of the park and some Hollywood stuff, and a couple of rides. The second part is basically all rides. I find that super cool and unique.”

Moore’s favorite ride is the Revenge of the Mummy.

“My favorite attraction has to be the mummy ride,” Moore continues. “It’s awesome! First, you fly forwards really fast and then the ride stops and  takes you backward.”

Skylar Higginbotham enjoys the uniqueness of the park and the difference it provides compared to Disneyland.

Julia Fikse | The Feather Online

Campus students travel to various theme parks for events, such as Sadies Hawkins or campus choir’s trips to the Heritage Festival.

“It is so fun,” Higginbotham said. “Just because of how different everything is and how there are so many different events at times, and there is a variety of live-action events, which makes it fun. I would want to go so many more times, it is completely different than Disneyland, and you don’t get bored and the whole experience is unique.”

General admission at Universal Studios cost between $109-129.

California’s Great America

The park boasts nine different themed areas, all filled with a variety of rides and entertainment. Boomerang Bay offers water-themed rides, while County Fair and All American Corners, offer thrilling roller coasters, but there are also many family-friendly, easygoing rides throughout the park.

Maxwell Hinton, ‘22, enjoys visiting Great America with his friends and family.

“I would say that the most unique thing about Great America is the people,” Hinton said. “I think the part that makes it fun is getting to spend time with your friends and family, and also the rides are pretty fun too. My favorite attraction there is the rail-ride because it is unlike any other rollercoaster I have been on.”

Faith Monroy, ‘21, enjoys the roller coasters despite them not being her favorite.

“I really enjoyed the rollercoasters, I used to not like them but ever since I went to Great America I really enjoy them,” Monroy said. “I really like the Gold Striker and I would definitely go back, I think the price is really good and the rides aren’t too extreme.”

General admission to Great America costs about $39.

In the following podcast, Monroy shares more about her favorite rides in the park.


Six Flags Magic Mountain

Six Flags offers 11 different areas ranging in themes from DC Universe to Samurai Summit all the way down to Bugs Bunny World. The park offers 19 roller coasters along with many other thrill rides, for the adventurous visitors. The amusement park attracts over 4 million visitors a year. Six Flags offers an event that begins in Sept. and runs all the way through Oct. called “Fright Fest.” The event is wildly successful and popular, rides are open as well as multiple themed haunted houses, and the park is crawling with “creatures” and “monsters,” as well as performances and entertainment.

Darrin Williams, ‘19, has visited the park two times and likes the ride, Goliath.

“ I have been there two times,” Williams said. “My favorite part is the rides, they have a lot of good ones. I like Goliath, that is my favorite one.”

You can purchase a day pass for $60.

There are many opportunities throughout California to get that adrenaline rush at one of the many amusement parks the state has to offer.

*Prices listed are subject to change.*

*Results were collected from 8 different travel recommendation sites.*

For the last album in this series, read California Bests: National Parks.

Toryn Triplitt can be reached via email.

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