by Jeanne Brei
Just stepping into Anaheim’s fresh air—not hot, not cold, not humid—you are immediately struck by all the possibilities of fun and adventure. Everywhere you look, there’s a “district” (like the Packing District or Downtown Disney), a “campus” (like the ACC Campus) or a GardenWalk (an open-air, multistory mall that is a short walk from the ACC), beckoning you to just enjoy being outdoors. Downtown Disney will frequently have swing bands and dancers playing on an outdoor stage where the only thing you have to pay for is parking. The GardenWalk also has live music venues, a bowling area (Bowlmor Lanes [pictured right] has glow-in-the-dark lanes, with VIP-style food and drink service along with pool tables, a video game arcade, and a sports bar), movie theaters, stores and eateries (and the first hour of parking is free). May I recommend the outdoor patio and fire pits at Fire + Ice Grill + Bar? Or if you’re traveling with hyper children, head to Billy Beez (pictured left), which features an indoor play space with slides, trampolines and plenty of runaround room. There’s even an on-site babysitting service, so the kids can play with adult supervision while the parents dine.
Perhaps you’ve planned a few days at Disneyland to be transported to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (pictured above) or perhaps you’re planning to drive to the beach or to take a day trip to Catalina. Anaheim also has local favorites like Angel Stadium or the Honda Center. And now there’s a reinvigorated downtown shopping and dining area, making Anaheim an outstanding destination for everyone from families to foodies. So, whether you are a die-hard sports fan, a live music aficionado, an adrenaline junkie, artisan shopper, food lover or brew connoisseur, Anaheim offers something for everyone.
When looking for things you can’t do back home, there’s the thrill of Flightdeck, where you can experience what it’s like to have control of a Boeing 737 commercial airplane or a F-16 fighter jet. First, you get dressed in the same gear a high-flying pilot would wear (all gear provided). Then you step into a Boeing 737 or F-16 cockpit for pilot “training programs” that last from 30 minutes to three hours—you can climb, bank, and even (safely) crash. All “flights” are in simulators that seem so real that your adrenaline doesn’t know that it’s not. You can experience the thrill of competing in air-to-air combat while flying at 600 knots as you try to blow the other jets out of the sky or you can “fly” a Boeing 737 commercial plane through the friendly skies. They even offer private events for up to 80 people for teambuilding or birthdays.
If you like your flying a little closer to the ground, you can head to Sky Zone Trampoline Park and play volleyball, dodgeball or basketball on the trampoline courts. If you’d like to do some free-falling, drop into the Foam Zone for an amazing sense of weightlessness.
There’s one thing for sure: Anaheim brings out the kid in nearly everyone—no matter how old they are.