Family vacations don't have to be grueling nine-hour treks that zap energy and wallets. As Southern California's tourist destinations proudly roll out their newest attractions for summer, competitive promotions can save local families the equivalent cost of parking at LAX for a week. Three of the attractions even have food covered, offering kosher options for observant families.
House of Mouse
This summer, Disneyland is celebrating its golden anniversary with the "Happiest Homecoming on Earth." While the entire park looks bright and shiny, Tomorrowland gets the new (and renewed) attractions: Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, which lets guests rack up points in an interactive battle of good vs. evil, and the relaunch of Space Mountain on July 15 -- complete with a new paint job, track and music.
Disneyland also features a new fireworks show, "Remember ... Dreams Come True," nightly at 9:25 p.m.; the twice-daily "Parade of Dreams"; an exhibit titled, "50 Magical Years," which features a new movie with former Disneyland cast member Steve Martin and Donald Duck; more than a dozen golden ride vehicles, and 50 "hidden 50s" around the park.
Experience the magic of kashrut with meals like steak, chicken and linguini, which can by purchased for $11.39 (excluding tax and tip) at the Plaza Inn on Main Street and at The Blue Bayou in New Orleans Square.
A special one-day Park Hopper ticket for both Disneyland and California Adventure is available for local residents for $58-$68. For more information, visit www.disneyland.com. For information about kosher meals, call (714) 781-3463.
Come Sail Away
For those with the means and the time, Disneyland's 50th anniversary means the West Coast arrival of the Disney Cruise Line, with an itinerary that includes Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. Onboard fun includes the pirate-themed Oceanears Club or science-themed Oceanears Lab for kids, The Stack club for teens and the new musical, "Twice Charmed," a twist on the Cinderella story that asks: "What would happen if the second glass slipper broke?" The ship sails from San Pedro back to the East Coast through the Panama Canal in August.
There is no extra charge for glatt kosher meals, which are provided by Webberman's Traditional Foods. For booking information, visit www.disneycruiseline.com.
When it comes to summer camp, it's difficult to beat the fun of Camp Snoopy at Knott's Berry Farm. However, the park's newest attraction is certain to resonate with preteens and older guests with strong stomachs. The Silver Bullet coaster sports six loops and a 109-foot opening drop.
No kosher food is sold in the park, but guests are welcome to bring food to the adjacent picnic area.
Ralphs offers discounted tickets ($14.95-$27.95) until Sept. 6.; and specially marked cans of Pepsi reduce adult tickets ($27.95) until Sept. 6. For more information, visit www.knotts.com.
Don't Fear the Gefilte Smoothie
While not as lavish as last year's Revenge of the Mummy, guests at Universal Studios Hollywood can get equally creeped out several times a day at the new "Fear Factor Live."
Six adults are cast for each show, two of which are eliminated in the first round. Hang 'Em High enlists the aid of kids, who try to distract contestants with a stink cannon as the adults cling to a small bar 30 feet in the air. Two more exit after Recipe for Disaster, which features a dizzying challenge with a gefilte fish and sour milk smoothie. The final two contestants compete in Shock and Roll, an electrifying experience that leaves the stunned loser taking the "walk of shame."
For those who enjoy their entertainment from a distance, the classic tram ride includes a visit to the "War of the Worlds" set and "Desperate Housewive's" Wisteria Lane (when the show isn't filming).
Universal offers all-you-can-eat passes at both Mel's Diner and Jurassic Cove Cafe for $11.95-$19.95. Jurassic Cove Cafe also has kosher cuisine that you can order in advance. Fresh fruit is also available. Kosher fare can also be found at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf at CityWalk.
From now until July 31, Universal offers its buy a day get a year free promotion, as well as discounts on its Web site. For more information, visit themeparks.universalstudios.com and click on Hollywood.
Batman on the Mountain
More movie magic can be found this summer at Magic Mountain with the "Batman Begins" stunt show. The 25-minute explosion-filled action fest features the all-new Batmobile in recreated scenes from the new Warner Bros. movie. The thrills continue with the "X-Treme" parks 16 coasters -- including the floorless Scream.
With the Screamin' Deal, buy a ticket ($47.99 for adults), and get a ticket free with any can of Coke through Oct. 31. For more information, visit www.sixflags.com/parks/magicmountain.
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