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Seminal Theme Parks
The cornerstone of Disney's vast international empire, located about 25 miles down Interstate 5 from downtown L.A., has expanded well beyond the confines of the original 1955 amusement park, with three major resort hotels, the Downtown Disney shopping and entertainment district, and the relatively new California Adventure Park nearby. Although it's possible to stay elsewhere in the Los Angeles area and make a day trip to Anaheim, you'll get more bang for your buck if you spend at least one night at or near the Disney Resort and immerse yourself more fully in Mickey's world. See www.disneyland.com for park and lodging information.

L.A.'s other big theme park, Universal Studios Hollywood (www.universalstudios.com), offers a mix of astonishing high-tech thrill rides and tram tours through Universal's working film and television studio complex. Universal CityWalk (www.citywalkhollywood.com), a free-admission complex of shops, restaurants and music clubs, also is worth a visit.

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