Anaheim, Buena Park and North Orange County

Things began humming for Orange County in 1955, when Walt Disney, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Donald Duck created the Magic Kingdom among the orange groves. Disneyland has made Orange County the happiest place on earth. In Anaheim, Disneyland Park features 60 adventure rides and live entertainment in eight lands of enchantment.

Knott's Berry Farm, in Buena Park, is the nation's oldest themed amusement park, dating back to the 1920s. The 150-acre theme park includes 165 rides and six distinctive areas such as Ghost Town and Mystery Lodge. Step into Hollywood history at the famed Movieland Wax Museum in Buena Park. Stargaze among the 300 featured celebrities from 70 years of movie history. At the nearby Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, you'll chuckle at the bizarre collections from all over the world. And, you'll wonder at tiny versions of early American life and mercantile at the Mott Miniature Museum.

Buena Park also is the site of two theater-style dining experiences. The Medieval Times Dinner Tournament serves up jousting with dining: Gallant knights compete in tournaments. At Wild Bill's Wild West Dinner Extravaganza, you'll relive the Old West with food, music, and costumed entertainers.

In Anaheim, Hobby City is home to 20 hobby shops and more than 3,000 antique dolls and toys. Adventure City, in Stanton, a theme park for children ages 2 to 12, resembles a colorful illustration of a city tucked into a children's book.

In 1961, Gene Autry moved into Anaheim with his feisty California Angels baseball team. Sports buffs can book a behind-the-scenes tour of the Anaheim Stadium, home of the Angels. Or, watch the National Hockey League's Mighty Ducks of Anaheim skate at Arrowhead Pond (October through April). Year-round indoor soccer and horse racing at Los Alamitos Race Course also are options.

Another round of attractions begins in Yorba Linda, east of Anaheim. Start with the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace for an in-depth look at presidential history. To the south, Garden Grove's Crystal Cathedral is a towering 12-story architectural wonder.