It’s still the happiest—though starting to feel like the most expensive—place on Earth. Say what you will about the House of Mouse; its wondrous, immersive lands still provide a joyous escape for everyone from budding princesses to nostalgia buffs. Venture into the Temple of the Forbidden Eye with Indiana Jones, soar over London’s twinkling lights en route to Neverland, and speed through the galaxy aboard Space Mountain’s interstellar coaster.
Once famed for its namesake citrus, Orange County today offers contemporary delights that are just as juicy. Nestled between San Diego and Los Angeles, Orange County spans from San Clemente in the south to Seal Beach in the north. Anaheim, Irvine, and Santa Ana are the county's largest cities, but the pristine beach towns of Laguna, Newport, and Huntington often draw a huge draw.
Disneyland looms large, literally, with its snow-capped Matterhorn poking above the sprawling seaside suburbia. Prominent shopping centers, which serve as popular gathering places, take cues from the theme park with elaborate, compelling designs—frequently set outdoors to enjoy a blissfully sunny climate. An increasingly diverse population means more enticing and sophisticated dining options. And then there are the dreamy, tropical-like beaches, arguably the most alluring in Southern California. Peek behind the Orange Curtain, and you’ll discover numerous noteworthy destinations—mouse ears optional.