I am a Disney girl through and through, but at the age of 39 the only experience I had was at Walt Disney World. When I had the chance to finally see Disneyland, there was no way I could say no. I have always thought that Disney World was the best and how could you even compare it to Disneyland: four parks, tons of hotels on and off property, restaurants, shop, shows. Could Disneyland even compare? The answer is yes and in some cases it could even be better! Find out my experience at Disneyland and why I LOVED it.
Who says good things don’t come in small packages? Two parks, three Disney hotels and many more good neighborhood hotels all within walking distance of each other. My mind was blown. I really couldn’t believe how close everything was. When I go to Disney World, I feel like if I forget something in the hotel, l’m going to have to do without. Who is going to deal with the bus system for a forgotten item or walk a mile to your car to drive back and get it? Staying at one of the Disneyland onsite hotels or a close good neighbor hotel is an easy walk back. That forgotten jacket, change of clothing, or most importantly your Disney ears don’t get left behind. I was able to get from the Disneyland hotel to my Radiator Springs racer fast pass in less than 30 minutes.
150 steps: another example of how close the two parks are. That’s right, 150 steps from Disneyland entrance to the entrance at Disney’s California Adventure. They are so close that I was able to watch the Paint the Night parade at Disney’s California Adventure and when it was done, I walked out and across to Disneyland to catch the end of “Together forever- A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular”. Can you imagine trying to walk from Magic Kingdom to Epcot? I don’t think so!
With the park and hotel locations being so close together, a dip in the pool doesn’t sound like a bad idea. A pool day can easily be worked in the schedule. This is coming from a girl that does not, I repeat, does not do pool day at Disney World. If you have nappers or the family that likes down time during the day, this is the location for you. You don’t waste half your day waiting for buses to go back and forth. A quick 20 minute walk will get you from the park entrance to your on-property hotel.
Would you have guessed that Disneyland would have more attractions than Disney World and only one less roller coaster, but let’s not talk about what they don’t have let’s talk about what they do! Helllllo, can we say Radiator Springs Racers? In my opinion, it is hands down better than test track. This ride is tucked back in Cars Land. On this outdoor drive you go through the mountains, past a waterfall, before preparing for the big race that takes the car to 40 mph. Make sure you hold onto your hats and glasses because it’s a fast and fun ride.
When you’re done with that, you can walk over to Guardians of the Galaxy-Mission Breakout. Again, this ride is hands down better than Tower Of Terror. They updated the ride with movie clips and music. If you’re a fan of the soundtrack, you will be happy because as you’re dropping down, you can get down as the mixtape is playing as you’re making sure the Guardians can save the day. This is a change that would go over well at Disney World. I would be happy to dust off the cobwebs and let the raccoon move on into the hotel.
Abominable Snowman: that’s right Disney World has a Yeti and Disneyland has the Abominable Snowman on the Matterhorn Bobsleds. This coastser is a fun, fast roller coaster that has you zipping away from the Abominable Snowman down a mountain slide. This ride has some bumps and shakes that come along with an older coaster but that only adds to the excitement as you twist and turn, waiting to see if anything jumps out at you as you make it to the bottom of the mountain.
If speed isn’t your thing, the more simpler rides like Mr Toad’s Wild Ride, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, and, my favorite, Alice in Wonderland will impress. Ride through the story in a special car designed to fit your adventure. These rides are perfect for the whole family to enjoy especially for families with little kids. No height requirements, so everyone is welcomed.
One of the big differences between a Disney World and Disneyland is relaxation. Going to Disney World can be tiring before you even get there. Between the dining reservations, fast passes, and schedules, you are more stressed (unless you use a travel planner) just thinking of everything that needs to be done. The relaxing enjoyable vacation is over. With Disneyland, you still make dining reservations in advance but at only 60 days. (This also makes Disneyland a great fit for a last minute vacation) No need to stress about it 180 before. This gives you more time to think about what you want to do. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know what I want to eat six months before. In true Disney fashion the dining does not disappoint from fancy meal to character meal; there is something for everyone. The game changer for me was the corn dogs. I can not believe how amazing they are. Before I went to Disneyland, I have had eaten zero corn dogs in my life. I tripled that number in just a four day visit!
Fastpasses are also different at Disneyland. They are done the day you’re going to the park. This means you get to work your vacation around your schedule and not the fast pass schedule made 60 days before. This gives you a little more flexibility. If you decide to sleep in or if the kids wake up and want to go for a swim, you can schedule your fast passes for when you want to go to the park. Imagine scheduling your vacation around your wants and not the fastpass system. In Disneyland you get one fastpass at a time. After you pick your first one the app will tell you when you can select another one. If you are planning a pool day, you can start grabbing fast passes for the afternoon and have 3 or 4 lined up for when your ready to go. In order to make the fast passes on your phone you need to do the max pass, but it’s totally worth it. You get the fast passes and the photo pass all in one. It’s a no brainer add on.
My favorite thing about Disneyland is the nostalgia. As I stood on Main Street looking at Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in front of me and Walt’s apartment to the left of me, I couldn’t help to think of his quote: “If you can dream it, you can do it”. Well, he dreamed it, he did it, and I was standing in the middle of it. Something powerful takes over. It’s a different feeling to know he could have sat where I sat and he walked where I was walking. This was his baby and I am getting to see his baby all grown up. It’s a feeling that you just don’t get at Disney Word. I might have even teared up a little when I was there and thinking of all of that. It was also a very powerful feeling that I can make my dreams come true as well. First, think. Second, believe. Third, dream. And finally dare. Walt said it best with those four steps, and I took those with me as I left Disneyland.
If you would like me to help you plan your magical vacation to Disneyland just fill out the form and I’ll be in touch. I would love to share all my tips, tricks and excitement with you and your family all at no additional cost to you.
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By Dawn Davis