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Disneyland on New Years? Go California Adventure Instead!

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Last year, my boyfriend and I wanted to go somewhere fun but romantic but local for our New Years Eve. We had just gotten back from a major trip to Belize, so we weren't in the mood for anything that would stretch our brains or require too much planning. Disneyland seemed like the best choice -- an easy drive (holiday traffic), mindless amusement, and maybe we'd get in a nice dinner at one of the park's restaurants. Excellent!

Little did we realize that Disneyland is packed, packed, packed on New Years Eve. We got to the park early enough, but the parking lots were already jammed, and the park itself was so full of people that it was difficult just to walk in a straight line. Trying to get on a ride was pointless, even with the Speed Pass system. We got a pass for what we thought was Space Mountain, but it ended up being for those dumb Rocket Launchers. The lines for food were impossible, and the press of so many people with so many baby strollers sent us into paroxysms of claustrophobia.

Luckily, we had bought the two-park pass. "Why don't we give California Adventure a try?" we said to each other. Smart move, my friends: California Adventure wasn't even half as busy, and we got to check out all the new roller coasters and rides, including the wonderful "Soaring Over California" attraction. There's Hollywood! There's Camarillo! San Fran! Ooohhh the wonderful feeling of artificially-induced vertigo!! Whee!!! The onl caveat, of course, is don't expect to get into any of the park's "fine-dining" restaurants. They've all been booked up for months, and if you ask to get on the reservation list, the hosts will basically be huge assholes. Very un-Disney. Luckily there are more than enough food stands to keep you sated -- you can even find funnel cake at California Adventure! w00t!!

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For those of you who want to brave the crowds, Disneyland is open until 2 a.m. on New Years Eve, and obviously they have a ton of events planned for this holiday week. California Adventure will be open until 1 a.m. The best time to get out of the park (to avoid the parking lot crunch) is right when the fireworks show begins -- while everybody else is oohing and aahing, you can jump in your car and scoot right out of there.

Oh, and another reason to go California Adventure instead of Disneyland? They serve alcohol -- apparently beer, wine, and margaritas are essential components of the California experience. Who would disagree with that? Have a magical New Years Eve!