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Favorite attractions at Disneyland, California Adventure and upcoming changes

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The granddaddy of American theme parks changes little from year to year but seems to get better with age.

Among my favorite Disneyland standbys: The Space Mountain indoor roller coaster, the Indiana Jones Adventure dark ride and the venerable Haunted Mansion.

The Anaheim theme park recently brought back the 1980s-era "Captain EO" 3-D movie as a tribute to Michael Jackson (which is hopelessly dated or wistfully nostalgic, depending on your point of view).

In 2011, Disneyland plans to reboot the Star Tours simulator ride with multiple story lines and unveil the music-themed Soundsational parade.

Across the way, Disney California Adventure has languished for nearly a decade with its on-the-cheap, off-the-shelf rides.

Disney is spending $1 billion to fix the problems (and maybe more if the solutions draw visitors). So far, the changes have paid dividends.

The shooting gallery-style Toy Story Mania! interactive dark ride, introduced in 2008, has been a big hit with fans, and the score-keeping video-game aspects of the attraction have driven repeat visits.

The much-hyped "World of Color" water show, a hybrid of the Bellagio's fountains in Las Vegas, and Disneyland's "Fantasmic" show delivered on their promise of spectacle by packing in the nightly crowds this year.

The big payoff comes in 2012 when California Adventure unveils the three-attraction Cars Land, which includes the highly anticipated $200-million Radiator Springs Racers dueling drag-race ride.

Among my all-time Adventure favorites: the Soarin' Over California hang-gliding simulator and the Broadway-caliber "Disney's Aladdin" stage show.

—Brady MacDonald

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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