anaheim California Disney Disneyland Rich Grant West without a car

Visiting Anaheim and Disneyland Without a Car

Taking in a vacation spot on foot, with out a automotive, means attending to see things up shut and in methods you couldn’t recognize them via the windows of a whizzing automotive. Author Rich Grant takes us on one other pedestrian journey (see the hyperlinks to his article on L.A. Without a Car at the finish of this text) – this time to visit Anaheim and Disneyland.

California Adventure Park has introduced the illusion of the ocean to the center of an orange grove in Anaheim.


You Gained’t Want One to Benefit from the Most Fashionable Theme Park in the World – Or the Surrounding Area

“Do you like to walk?” the lady at the info desk asked me.

“I do,” I informed her, and she despatched me off on some of the delightful metropolis walks in California. It came as a complete shock. I hadn’t been to Anaheim in 30 years, so I did not have high expectations. I might keep in mind the long awful strip of neon indicators, motels and eating places that surrounded Disneyland. Walt Disney and firm had originally planned to purchase all this land and develop it in basic Disney type, as they did later in Orlando. However in Anaheim when the park opened in 1955, Disney ran out of cash and personal developers moved in, creating an urban mess.

So I was amazed to discover what’s now referred to as the Anaheim Resort – a 1,078-acre pedestrian-oriented city middle of manicured gardens, fountains, and sidewalks lined with tall palm timber, all linking motels, a convention middle, stadium, two theme parks, and two gigantic entertainment districts: Downtown Disney and GardenWalk.

Visiting Disneyland and Anaheim without a car means dramatic tree-lined paths.

Pretty walkways of Palm Timber connect points of interest in Anaheim.

Most superb of all, every part was simply walkable. In fact, not everyone was walking. This is California, in any case, and additionally they have a fantastic shuttle system to carry individuals anyplace they need to go in Anaheim. But for these of us who wish to walk, Anaheim has turn into a strolling vacation spot.

Literally a whole lot palm timber tower above beautiful flower beds and line extra-wide sidewalks resulting in Disneyland, Downtown Disney, California Adventure Park, and different places. There’s absolutely no want for a automotive in Anaheim, where Uber and shuttles make it cheap to go to different slightly farther away points of interest. akin to their booming craft beer scene with 16 breweries, the revitalized downtown of outlets and restaurants, and the up-and-coming $6 billion Platinum Triangle developments. It’s even straightforward to get to close by Newport Seashore and spend a day strolling past the historic cottages of Balboa Island on colourful walk of gardens and architecture.

Visiting Anaheim and Disneyland without a car shows off the flowers.

Downtown Disney and the walks around Anaheim Resort are an explosion of shade

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Some 726 million individuals have visited Disneyland – greater than some other theme park on the planet. What makes Disneyland so special is the idea Walt Disney talked about years earlier than he opened the park in 1955. Walt had complained that there were typically issues about one in every of his films that he didn’t like, however as soon as the picture was completed, he couldn’t repair them.

What he needed, he stated, was “Something that will never be finished, something I can keep developing, keep ‘plussing’ and adding to …. The park is that. Not only can I add things, but even the trees will keep growing. The thing will get more beautiful year after year.”

That’s definitely what happened at Disneyland. Not only is there a model new, 14-acre, $2 billion attraction referred to as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, but even the oldest elements of the park have now taken on an unimaginable great thing about their own. Walt spent a fortune in 1955 planting the most important timber he might find. These timber at the moment are 64 years older. So is the Mark Twain, the beautiful steamboat that circles round Tom Sawyer Island. It might by no means have been a real steamboat, however it definitely qualifies now as an historic ship that has carried much more passengers than any actual steamboat. So has the Disneyland Railroad. A walk around Frontierland makes you understand that immediately, the Previous West buildings right here actually do really feel like an historic city. Because it’s, having been there for six many years.

The Mark Twain boat in Disneyland gets you around without a car.

The Mark Twain has been carrying passengers round Disneyland since 1955.

In fact, there’s no overstating the marvel of the new points of interest, especially what’s referred to as Star Wars land, which opened in June 2019. I did not get to experience the rides, a number of of which have but to open, however the panorama can only be described as unimaginable. It creates the village of Black Spire Outpost on the frontier planet of Batuu, the kind of backwater place that draws rebels, smugglers and outlaws.

You are feeling like you have got actually walked into a Star Wars movie – not a film set, however an precise place. Along the horizon, there are large, 140-foot-high rock outcroppings. You enter the walled city via towering gates, extra like something from Recreation of Thrones, and stroll down alleys and passageways dripping with the environment of the bazaars of Istanbul or Morocco – except, in fact, for the posters round city recruiting storm troopers for the First Order. There are unimaginable strange beasts you may see, on the market in stores or roasting over an open spit by cafes. In one plaza there’s a full-size Millennium Falcon. In the background, you hear snatches of an hour-long soundtrack written just for the park. In outlets, you’ll be able to construct your personal droid robot or mild saber. And then there’s Oga’s Cantina – the first place in Disneyland history to serve beer, alongside of Fried Endorian Tip-Yip (crispy hen, roasted vegetable potato mash and herb gravy) and Braised Shaak Roast (beef pot roast, Cavatelli pasta, wilted kale and mushrooms). Disney has come a great distance from scorching canine and soda.

Anaheim and Disneyland without a car include a stop at the new Star Wars area.

The brand new Star Wars bar, Oga’s Cantina, will serve beer for the primary time in the 65 yr historical past of Disneyland.

Disneyland without a car lets you see the new Star Wars attraction.

The unimaginable new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland takes you to a new world.

So sure, Star Wars land is implausible and value a journey. However chances are you’ll depart the park remembering the older elements simply as fondly. There’s a quaintness and historic feeling to Disneyland that’s lacking in its greater brothers in Orlando and all over the world.

ANAHEIM AND DISNEYLAND WITHOUT A CAR: California Journey Park & Downtown Disney

Lengthy earlier than Disneyland was even proposed, Walt Disney remarked to a pal, “You know, it’s a shame people come to Hollywood and find there’s nothing to see. They expect to see glamour and movie stars, and they go away disappointed….Wouldn’t it be nice if people could come to Hollywood and see something?”

Disneyland without a car includes walking down a fake street in Hollywood.

Part of the odd illusions within the California Adventure Park is strolling down the previous streets of Hollywood.

It was in that spirit (and to maintain individuals an extra day and little question maintain them from going to Universal Studios) that in 2001 the Disney firm opened a second, adjoining theme park celebrating all issues California. Walt was lengthy passed by this time, having died in 1966 at age 65. Nevertheless, the park continues his concepts and reminiscences with a long road that re-creates the Hollywood glamour of the 1920s, the interval when Walt first arrived. Right here too is the honky-tonk environment of California seaside resorts (which Walt truly detested) and a street trip down a romanticized neon strip of Route 66 and early Anaheim. Walt by no means truly needed to construct his theme park on the ocean, the place he felt the ocean would limit 50 % of the entry to the park. So as an alternative, future imaginers introduced the ocean to the center of an previous orange grove, creating a excellent phantasm of a California seaside amusement park proper within the middle of Anaheim.

Hooked up to both parks is Downtown Disney, a lodge, buying and entertainment complicated. Individuals both like, or hate, issues like Downtown Disney (and one other comparable nearby walkable entertainment complicated, GardenWalk). Put me within the “like” class. Sure, there are a lot of brand name stores which are obtainable all over the place. However for each well-known brand, there is something cool and totally different. The Ballast Brewery (new for a Disney product) has a second flooring viewpoint over gardens and fountains. No one will ever fault Disney for skimping on landscaping. The gardens here equal those discovered at any Disney product – and they’re free, though you do should go through an annoying, airport-like, security screening line to get into Downtown Disney. The secret is to only have a pint or two of Ballast Sculptin IPA, watch the fountains and loosen up.

When you're in Anaheim without a car, have a beer or two at Ballast Brewery.

The Ballast Brewery in Downtown Disney provides views and a probability to loosen up with what many assume is their greatest brew, a Sculptin IPA.

You possibly can enter both parks from Downtown Disney – or perhaps better, escape from them for a temporary visit here to full bars they offer earlier than diving back into the insanity of the theme parks. Additionally in Downtown Disney is the Grand Californian, a 1,000-room lodge that mimics the fashion of great national park lodges like Yosemite with a gigantic hearth and a towering wooden and stone lobby. It’s not the place for cynics, who will grumble “why build fake things when the real items are all here in California.”  But take heed to the background music and you’ll typically hear the Disney track from Frozen,  singing “Let it Go!”  That’s the perfect advice. Let it go and let the illusions take you over.


Earlier than Disney came, Anaheim had a inhabitants of 15,000. At present there are 351,000 residents. Greater than 24 million individuals visited Anaheim final yr, the place there’s now rather more for visitors than Disney. Head to the Anaheim Packing District, centered round a renovated 1919 former Sunkist citrus packing home – the one one left in this one-time Mecca of orange groves. Constructed within the Spanish Colonial Revival fashion, the packing home is next to two different historic buildings, which were reworked into a big food hall with greater than 30 culinary stations and 20 outlets that you simply gained’t find elsewhere.

The Anaheim Packing House is a place to see when in Anaheim without a car.

The Anaheim Packing House was a former 1919 structure built by Sunkist and at this time is a large food hall with stay music and 30 culinary stations.

Start on the Anaheim Brewing Company, which options German fashion beers and a beautiful beer garden overlooking Farmer’s Park, website of a weekly farmer’s market on Fridays. Then head into the spacious packing home where dining decisions vary from the Black Sheep grilled cheese bar to Mangal with its Syrian treats to the Crepe Coop for Japanese crepes. There’s one other brewery, Unsung Hero, with more to return on this city that has gone beer crazy with 15 breweries, nine of them alongside the La Palma Beer Trail.  Together, they serve greater than 75 totally different beers. Don’t inform Mickey!    There’s quite a bit to see, sip and style in what is known as Middle City Anaheim. And it’s straightforward to succeed in from Disneyland (about 3 miles away) on the Anaheim Resort Transportation (ART) or quicker and about the same worth for a group with Uber.

Even without a car, you can visit the Anaheim Brewing Company.

The Anaheim Brewing Firm has a German theme with a fantastic outside beer garden and is one in every of 15 breweries in town.


Simply 20 miles from Anaheim (and a affordable Uber experience away) is the enjoyable and very walkable Balboa Island. It’s one of the cutest towns in California, full of small wood houses painted a rainbow of colors and adorned with sensible gardens – type of like a California model of Nantucket with palm timber.

You arrive to the island from Newport Seashore by a tiny three-car ferry and then head off on foot towards Marine Ave., a long and very nice business strip lined with espresso outlets, boutiques, clothes shops and two frozen banana stands (yes, Balboa Island is the setting for the Bluth household’s frozen banana stand in the cult basic “Arrested Development.”)  Duck into the free Balboa Island Museum to study more about frozen bananas and the various other celebrities who have lived here, corresponding to John Wayne and Shirley Temple. Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall typically docked their boat right here, and Errol Flynn was recognized to visit the bars.

See the Original Frozen Banana shop.

Balboa Island has two actual frozen banana stands and is the situation of the fictional one operated by the Bluth famiy on Arrested Improvement.

The one-time mud flat was shaped into an island in 1905 when the bay was dredged to make the harbor of Newport Seashore. In the 1920s, lots of of small tons, 30 x 85 ft, have been bought for as little as $25. At present, a scraped lot might sell for $2 million. In summer time, 10,000 individuals reside on the .2 square-mile island, making Balboa Island one of the crucial densely populated places within the nation —  more densely populated than San Francisco. But that’s a good factor. Because the tons are so small, all the gorgeously designed and painted wood houses are close together, which means you’ll cross dozens and dozens of them as you stroll across the island. Admire a backyard here, a wooden shingle Cape Cod cottage there, a passing boat, and all the time overhead, squawking seagulls. The Village Inn is a nice tavern where everybody gathers for meals and drinks.

Balboa island cottages can be seen near Anaheim without a car.

One lovely cottage after one other on Balboa Island.

The ferry leaves to and from the island each jiffy from an area of Newport Seashore referred to as the “Fun Zone.” It’s a dreadful penny arcade area, the type of place that Walt Disney despised. But a brief walk in the different path takes you to the Newport Seashore pier, the ocean, and costlier houses. There are additionally cruises around Newport Seashore leaving from here to sail past the houses of millionaires and celebrities, or you’ll be able to lease jet skis or miniature ferry boats and be your personal captain touring the bay.  It’s just another car-free experience close to what has been referred to as, with good cause, “the happiest place on earth.”

— Story and photographs by Wealthy Grant

In case you go:

For info on the brand new Anaheim:

For information on the La Palma Beer Trail:

For info on Disneyland:

For information on California Adventure Park:

For Balboa Island:

Hungry for more? Rich also took us for a great walk round Los Angeles. See what you possibly can see in L.A. without a automotive, right here. Then head north to comply with the Barbary Coast in San Francisco, another pedestrian-friendly destination.

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