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That pain you feel at the pump? Not as bad as last Memorial Day

If you’re wincing at the cost of gasoline as get ready for your Memorial Day driving trip, take heart: You're not paying as much as you did last year.

Gas prices have shot up like a rocket in the last month. Californians are paying an average $3.79 a gallon for regular gas, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

In the Los Angeles/Long Beach area, we’re paying about 18 cents a gallon more than the state average, which puts us at the top of the charts. Even usually expensive San Francisco is paying less than we are, at $3.80 a gallon.

But gas prices are particularly painful now because holiday weekend travel (50 miles or more constitutes a trip, AAA says) is mostly by car: Of the 37.2 million people expected to get out of town, 33 million are expected to be driving, AAA says.

Here's the good (OK, maybe not so bad) news: You’ll pay less for a gallon of regular gas than last year, when it was $4.14 statewide and 3 cents more than that for L.A./Long Beach residents.

The chart above shows...

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Here's a stunningly low winter airfare to London from LAX

Willing to brave a little wet, chilly weather for an airfare to London that’s about 40% of what you’ll pay this summer?

Norwegian Air Shuttle, the European low-cost carrier that’s offering service that gets you to Britain and the Continent without breaking the bank, is offering a $543 round-trip, nonstop fare, including all taxes and fees, from LAX to London’s Gatwick Airport.

The catch: Travel is valid Jan. 17-March 10 on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. This one will go fast so be aware that this is subject to availability.

Note that a call to Norwegian will incur an international phone charge. Info: Norwegian Air Shuttle, 011-47-21-49-00-15.

Source: Airfarewatchdog

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Is Disneyland's fast-moving 'Forever' fireworks show too complex?

It will take some time to get used to the new “Disneyland Forever” fireworks show, which pulls your attention in several directions at once to the detriment of the pyrotechnics spectacular unfolding above.

There’s just so much happening on Sleeping Beauty Castle, the Main Street USA building facades and even Matterhorn mountain that you forget to watch the fireworks exploding high in the sky.

I'm sure after a few more viewings of the all-encompassing fireworks show I’ll figure out where to look and when, but the new 60th anniversary nighttime spectacular could prove vexing for the average tourist on a day trip to Disneyland.

It may be symptomatic of our constantly distracted age that Disneyland felt the audience needed to be stimulated in more ways than one to keep their attention.

Disneyland's 60th Anniversary: Overview | Parade | Fireworks | Water Show | Ride Updates

Disneyland dreamed up the multiple-point-of-view show as a way to disperse the large crowds expected for the diamond jubilee...

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Disney's new World of Color water show delivers amazement on a massive stage

The new World of Color at Disney California Adventure dials back the spectacle a few notches in favor of storytelling with a water show that still delivers plenty of wonder and amazement on a massive stage.

Dubbed “Celebrate,” the new hydrotechnic show debuting May 22 on the man-made lake of Paradise Pier tells the history of Walt Disney and his first theme park.

Disneyland's 60th Anniversary: Overview | Parade | Fireworks | Water Show | Ride Updates

I watched a media preview on Wednesday night and found that I remained stunned by the scope and scale of World of Color and impressed by the audacity of the original water show concept.

World of Color debuted in 2010 with the promise of future updates. Since then, Disney has made small additions and deletions, but “Celebrate” marks the first complete overhaul of the show.

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“Celebrate” is hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, whose talents for the most part are sadly wasted....

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Four things to do over Memorial Day weekend -- for free

Record numbers of us -- 37.2 million, according to the AAA -- are going somewhere over the Memorial Day weekend. Here are four events that will take you off the freeway and into communities for music, reflection and art.

Pt. Reyes National Seashore: A Friday morning ceremony will mark what's called the "sacrifice of the surfmen" who were part of the 19th century U.S. Lifesaving Service. These men at the Northern California outpost risked their lives to rescue people from shipwrecks off the rocky coast and bring them safely to shore.

At 9 a.m., members of the National Park Service, the U.S. Coast Guard and the public will hear a brief history of the service and a biography of the individuals buried at the Lifesaving Service Cemetery that's now part of the parkland. A benediction follows at 9:35 a.m. Info: Pt. Reyes National Seashore, (415) 464-5100

Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site: The city of Long Beach acquired Rancho Los Cerritos in 1955 and opened it to the public as a museum. The...

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Savvy Traveler items alleviate the space crunch in your carry-on bag

Attention, Transportation Security Administration: There is only so much you can cram into that 1-quart liquids bag you’ve mandated for users of carry-on bags. I suppose that’s the point, but, really, have you tried to get 3.4-ounce-or-less containers of makeup base, mouthwash, hair gel, hairspray, antiperspirant, cologne, hand sanitizer, facial cleanser, moisturizer and other stuff into one blasted 1-quart piece of plastic?

I thought not.

So I’m grateful for some new products from Savvy Traveler that come in 3-inch-square packets that contain a disposable one-use wipe of some of life’s necessities.

You can clean your hands and the germy surfaces of the plane (and after this recent column about the grossness one encounters on an airplane, these have great appeal), apply antiperspirant, wash your face and freshen up your mouth (sort of like a toothbrush/mouthwash combo without bristles that leaves your mouth minty fresh, which is what you want after a long — or any — flight).

The wipes...

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