I have been to the Disneyland Resort about 5 times now and it still hasn't gotten old for me. Usually as I enter the park I am in tears because I wish all my friends and family that enjoy Walt Disney World and Disneyland could be walking in with me. For me it starts the minute they swipe my ticket. The turnstile makes a sound that to me sounds like I just got a little bit of magic!
Ok, before it sounds like I have lost my mind, let's talk a little bit about the differences between Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Disneyland is in the middle of the city of Anaheim, California, where in Florida, Walt Disney World has plenty of room to spread out. There are advantages to both. Nothing beats being able to walk from your Disneyland Resort hotel to the parks. The one morning on my walk I heard "Whistle While you Work," it's all the little touches and details that only Disney does.
Disneyland and Disney California Adventure do not have the new FastPass+ system that Walt Disney World does. Since Disneyland is more of a locals' park, I don't think they need the 180 day advance planning that WDW requires. They still have the "Legacy FastPass system, but I found for most attractions I didn't need a FastPass. The same could be said for dining. To reserve at Disneyland is a different process than Walt Disney World but the part that I like best is that for most restaurants they have availability for walk ups. I wasn't turned away at any of the restaurants I tried. I also got to check a few of them off my "bucket" list.
Yes, there are a number of similar attractions between the East and West Coast parks. But as I mentioned in another blog, you need to judge for yourself which park does it better. Haunted Mansion, it's a small world, and Pirates of the Caribbean are 3 that come to mind that differ. Is one better than the other? No, not really. It's like you can see how they first did the ride in the original park and then how they tried to make it different or larger.
You really should go to Disneyland to experience the rides that Walt Disney World doesn't also have. I was a giddy little kid when I got to see the reinvention of Disney California Adventure. I wanted to see what they did that took it from a sleepy, mostly empty park to a crowded park on most days.
For me I was most excited to see Radiator Springs. I had watched the movie Cars numerous times and was excited to see if Disney and Pixar had captured the details. It was amazing!! I felt like I really was in Radiator Springs and I am not the only one that feels that way. You should have seen the lines heading back to this area at park opening. This is one place you should take advantage of the Extra Magic Hour. If you don't care if you ride with the family you can take advantage of the single rider line. I got to ride quite often even when the regular line was long.
In my opinion, I think that Cars Land works in California, but I am not sure theming-wise it would work in Walt Disney World. I realize you suspend reality when you enter a theme park, but mountains in Florida just don't seem believable to me. I hope we get something like that here in Florida but this attraction has it all over Test Track at WDW.
I found a charm in Disneyland. It feels more intimate to me, but that doesn't mean it's small. I enjoy the history, the details, etc. that make up Disneyland and California Adventure. I don't feel you need to spend a week at Disneyland, you can easily experience the parks in 4-5 days, and then you can take some time to visit the Southern California area.
Just looking at my pictures makes me want to go back to Disneyland. I am trying to figure out when I can visit these 2 parks again this year. If you get the chance, go during Disneyland's 60th Anniversary. You won't be disappointed.
Walt Disney said it best! "To all that come to this happy place: welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America... with hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world."
'Til next time, See you in the parks!