In the early 1950s, cartoonist Walt Disney conceived a theme park where his already hugely popular characters - Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and the rest - could come to life, to enchant children and make their Uncle Walt even richer. ANAHEIM was chosen as the location for Disneyland on the basis that these acres of orange groves, thirty miles southeast of downtown LA, would become Southern California's next major focus of population growth - which indeed they did. The whole area is now so completely overrun with shameless souvenir shops, chain hotels and fast-food restaurants that it's long since spun out of the control of the Disney grasp and makes for a surprisingly seedy environment (outside the park itself, of course). When Disney opened his next theme park, in Florida, he made sure he owned all the land, hotels and commercial properties, not making the same mistake he made here of only buying a few square miles. If you're not coming to visit Disneyland, or the similar spectacle of carnival rides and historical hokum, Knott's Berry Farm (8039 Beach Blvd; $40), you may as well give the town a miss: it hasn't an ounce of interest in itself.
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