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High Speed Thrills Both On and Off the L.A. Freeways
By Jane Cassie

Hovering over its sprawled-out four hundred-or-so square mile metropolis, I was able to get a bird's eye view from my comfy window seat location. Hemmed in by mountain peaks and coastal beaches, lay our desert basin destination, the city of Los Angeles. And getting there on Alaska Airlines had certainly been a breeze - literally! From the efficiency of electronically booking our tickets, to the exceptional pre-boarding and in-flight service, there hadn't been a single hitch. Yes, we had certainly started our vacation off on the right foot…or should I say on the right flight.

We looked forward to checking out this 'entertainment capital of the world,' where holidays are celebrated and adventures are plentiful. Far below, I could see a myriad of interlacing freeways that criss-crossed and overlapped in an effort to lead travelers to a variety of vacation fun spots. The crazy California motorway madness was one adventure I wasn't particularly looking forward to. And if it's speed you're looking for, there are certainly better places to find it in L.A. than on their freeways! Here are just a few new attractions that we discovered.

This long-time amusement park favourite that started out in the 1920's as a berry farm, now offers a lot more than just their famous jams and jellies. In addition to live entertainment, Knott's Berry Farm is also the home of a new thrill-seeking scream machine. Perilous Plunge, the recent breath-taking addition to Knott's, promises an almost straight vertical drop, and is claimed to be the world's tallest, steepest and wettest thrill-provider. Plummeting to your heart's delight (or at least for one hundred and fifteen feet) you'll create a splash that is taller than a four-story building as a grand finale!

If you are truly into exhilaration and the thrill of a lifetime, keep driving sixty miles north of Anaheim to the popular Six Flags Magic Mountain. In addition to their one hundred other rides and attractions their newest addition, Goliath, will test your adrenaline levels and pacemaker functioning. (actually, I wouldn't recommend trying it out if you have the latter!) From this giant roller coaster's first sixty-one degree vertical drop, you'll be shrouded in total darkness when soaring through its one hundred and twenty foot-long underground tunnel. A series of high speed banked turns and spiral curves are also in store during the ride on this big one!

And if you think Universal Studios is only about 'Lights, Camera, and Action,' take a second look…and be prepared. From the mind of James Cameron, this more recent addition to Universal, Terminator 2:3D, will send your pulse soaring. In the midst of explosions and laser fire, you'll fight your way out of this very realistic cyber war. But just a warning - book the entire day for Universal. After battling the frenzied freeway to get there and back (about forty miles north of Anaheim) you'll need the remainder of the day to check out the rest of the fabulous attractions here. And yes, it's worth the adventurous drive!

In celebration of the people, places and experiences that make California a truly magical state, the Disneyland Resort, adjacent Disneyland, also features an exciting newer theme park. Fifty-five acres are devoted to 'Disney's California Adventure' where the Golden State is commemorated within a variety of attractions. The Grizzly Peak Recreation area, for example, features a sensational river ride and a large children's play area is themed like a scout camp within its mock wilderness setting. 'Soarin' Over California' hosts giant aircraft hangars where guests view an air show, or sit suspended in theatres that float above an Imax screen for a five-minute hang-gliding simulation experience. Paradise Pier attracts the ride seekers, with thrillers like California Screamin', a looping steel roller coaster, and The Orange Stinger, a swing ride inside an enormous orange peel. From San Francisco settings to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, a visit to Disney's new theme park provides adventure, excitement, and some basic California reality…especially with the offering of 'The Mulholland Madness,' a roller coaster themed like a typical and crazy commute of a Southern California Freeway!

How To Get There:
Alaska Airlines Vacations are the leading seller of Disneyland vacation packages domestically and one of the top three worldwide. They will provide one stop shopping and coordinate your vacation for you.
Reservations: within US and Canada: 1-800-252-7522
Web site:

Jane and Brent Cassie are a travel writer/photographer team. Follow their other adventures on their website -