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Beyond Mickey Mouse

Recommended for : Party Food & Drink Family

If you are visiting LA with children or remain a kid at heart, you will want to spend at least a day at Disneyland, arriving early and staying late, but the whole city is a magic kingdom. Channel Harry Potter and book into the Magic City Hotel, which isn't all that enchanted itself but is next door to an elite magicians' club and in the middle of the tinsel town called Hollywood. Staying at the hotel gives you more than location, location, location. You'll have access to the magic shows at the exclusive Magic City/Academy of Magical Arts. Other perks include a complimentary continental breakfast and free snacks and soft drinks.


Take advantage of your hotel's location with a morning stroll around Hollywood and Vine, seeing landmarks like Grauman's Chinese Theater and playing your own cultural literacy game by identifying the names on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


If it's the weekend, return to the hotel and go to the Magic Castle for brunch and the kiddies' magic show. It's for Academy of Magical Arts members only, but hotel guests are welcomed. If a weekday, catch one of the evening shows, which begin at 5 pm.


Spend the afternoon at Universal Studios only three miles away. Tickets to the theme park include a studio tour, which takes you behind the scenes of movie making. The theme park is on two levels and has age-appropriate attractions, the newest addition being the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Closing hours vary from 7 pm to 11 pm according to the day. After-dark studio tours are offered some evenings. Eat, drink and enjoy live entertainment at the park's City Walk.


At day's end or at any point when energy flags, relax in the hotel's heated pool, open 24 hours a day and serving free popsicles on hot days.