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Robert Niles

What are the Best Places for Kids to Play in a Theme Park?

Published: August 31, 2015 at 1:53 PM

Among many who are not fans, theme parks have a reputation of being aimed primarily at kids.

We know that parks offer plenty for adults to enjoy, too, and we even know that theme parks can sometimes frustrate small children. Most attractions involve sitting quietly and looking at something — which isn't exactly the top thing that little kids want to do on vacation. Then there's the waiting. Let's face it — a visit to a popular theme park requires a fair amount of patience, which is something else that excited children don't always have to spare.

So how can parents help make a theme park visit with young children a get-away that the kids will love as much as their parents do? It's easy. When the little ones' patience runs low, smart parents head for the attractions where their young children can burn off that excess energy... and run around until they drop.

Tom Sawyer Island
The best place to play at Disneyland

In my Orange County Register column this week, I list 10 such attractions in Southern California — my old go-to places where I took my children back in the days when they needed a mid-day nap. Even for kids beyond napping age, these attractions provide much-welcomed active alternatives to rides and shows where you just sit and watch.

Take a look.

What are your favorite theme park attractions — not just in Southern California but around the world — that allow more active playtime?

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Robert Niles

Universal Orlando Expands the Cabana Bay

Published: August 31, 2015 at 8:30 AM

Universal Orlando Resort today confirmed that it will expand its popular Cabana Bay Beach Resort adding 400 rooms in two new buildings on the south end of the hotel.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort

The Googie-inspired resort now offers 1,800 rooms, divided equally between family suites and standard hotel rooms. The Cabana Bay is the lowest-priced of the four Universal Orlando hotels. The tradeoff is that the Cabana Bay is the only on-site hotel not connected to the resort's parks via water taxi and that does not offer free Universal Express passes to its guests. But with prices that rival Disney's Value resorts with accommodations more in line with Disney's Moderates, the Cabana Bay has won fans.

Universal and its hotel partner, Loews, are building a fifth hotel, the Caribbean-themed Sapphire Falls Resort, which will open next year. Positioned between the Cabana Bay and the Royal Pacific both literally and in price, the Sapphire Falls will have 1,000 guest rooms and substantial convention facilities.

The Cabana Bay expansion will open in 2017 and overlook the new Volcano Bay water park, which will open the same year.

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Rob McCullough

Eight First Impressions from Tokyo Disney and Universal Studios Japan

Published: August 28, 2015 at 7:47 PM

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Published: August 27, 2015 at 10:58 AM

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Knott's Berry Farm Announces its 2015 Halloween Haunt Lineup

Published: August 27, 2015 at 9:50 AM

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Robert Niles

What's Next in Orlando? Here are 16 New Reasons for Fans to Visit in the Next Five Years

Published: August 26, 2015 at 10:11 AM

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Universal Bringing Fast & Furious to Orlando

Published: August 25, 2015 at 2:15 PM

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