Hi Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever, and for me it really was amazing! I went to Disneyland!! If you can believe it, we only planned this trip a few days in advance! I did pop over to take a look at the Frozen Summer Fun – Live now that I’m home, but I’ll need a full day in the Disney’s Hollywood Studios to really do it justice. With that in mind, I’m excited to share my trip with you. We’ll be back to regularly scheduled Walt Disney World coverage next week. Let’s start somewhere delicious. This special cupcake was available for the 4th of July. The cake was apple flavored, and it tasted even better than it looks!
I wanted the first picture to look generic for the holiday, but now I have to show off Sleeping Beauty’s quaint castle. I love the lush trees all around. I remember when the Magic Kingdom had more trees, before hurricanes came through and took care of them. Did you know you there is a walking tour inside the castle? There are display windows that tell the story of Sleeping Beauty. I took too many photos to share them all. (It’s tough to whittle 1,000 photos down to about 30!) But you should look it up for your next trip.
If you read last week then you’ll remember that I toured through some Magic Kingdom attractions because we were short on news. My idea was that I’d show the Disneyland counterparts this week. While Country Bear Jamboree has been removed from Disneyland, a tribute to them remains in the The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Little did I know, it’s impossible to photograph without a flash! I would never take a flash photo on a ride, so you’ll just have to know it’s after you leave this room. Look on the wall behind you right as you’re leaving this scene.
This next shot is an exact scene that I used last week. Neat, huh? Overall you can tell they tried to keep the scenes almost identical. For anyone who doesn’t already know, Pirates of the Caribbean is infinitely better at Disneyland! It includes many scenes not in the Walt Disney World version and a drop almost as big as the one on Splash Mountain!
Next is the stretching room from The Haunted Mansion. Looking at the photo from last week, you can tell the two are almost identical in appearance. The biggest difference is that at Disneyland you’re actually in a big elevator, but at Disney World the ceiling raises to give the same appearance. (If you’ve ever been in the stretching room at Disney World when the ceiling comes back down, you know what a strange experience that is!)
And here’s the ballroom scene from Disneyland. (Hi Michelle!) You can tell ours is a little brighter at Disney World. You can’t really see it here, but there’s a hole in the glass in the Disneyland version. In 1974 a guest brought a handgun to the parks and shot at one of the dueling paintings. Since the huge piece of glass would be almost impossible to replace, they just covered it with a spider’s web.
Okay, the grave digger was not in my report last week, and that’s because I’ve been struggling to get him in focus for years! He’s my white whale of photography. However, the Disneyland version decided to play nice, so I had to share him with you! They look pretty different between the two coasts. Maybe that’s because the Disneyland version gets a three month break every year for Haunted Mansion Holiday.
“it’s a small world” is also very different at Disneyland. It includes Disney characters in the scenes. The boat also travels along a water filled track suspended between the show scenes. It’s very different from the Disney World version, which is similar to Pirates of the Caribbean. The first time I tried the Disneyland version, I hated it because the track looked so strange. However, riding their Holiday Version sold me on this ride. I wish we had more seasonal offerings at Disney World.
Moving on, I wanted to share some of the unique features of Fantasyland at Disneyland. Pinocchio’s Daring Journey is a ride not offered here in Florida. However, it’s nearly identical to the attraction in Disneyland Paris.
While Peter Pan’s Flight is offered in some version around the world, the Disney World Version is very different from Disneyland’s. From looking at the photo below, you can tell the rides are similar but just different enough to make it worth the trip.
Again, looking at the photo below you can tell all the same elements are there. They are just put together differently. One thing remains the same: for some reason this ride attracts one of the longest lines in the park. Some things are universal, I suppose!
Another ride we don’t have at all is Alice in Wonderland. It’s a shame because this is my favorite ride at Disneyland. The main reason we booked this trip was because it was just opening after a lengthy refurbishment and I was excited to see the changes. To see Guy’s full ride through video, click here. I was worried that the ride would lose the classic dark ride feeling with all the changes, but Imagineers combined everything beautifully. I love it even more now!
A ride that still exists at Disneyland is Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. I remember when this ride closed at Walt Disney World in 1998. I appreciate that this ride is a classic, but I’m happy that Winnie the Pooh replaced him here in Florida. The ride is a little morbid. If you’ve never ridden it you can see Guy’s video here. But don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Now also extinct at Disney World is Snow White’s Scary Adventures. This ride lives on at Disneyland, and I was very happy to see it! While I appreciate the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, I’ll take a classic dark ride over a roller coaster any day. I wonder with the 60th anniversary of Disneyland fast approaching if they will integrate any of the new technology into this old ride?
Part of me hopes they don’t make any changes because the ride is such a perfect tribute the old dark rides. Check out the below scene! They don’t make them like that anymore. Of course, if they can do anything like they did with Alice in Wonderland, then I’ll likely eat my words.
One last and unexpected dark ride is on the Disneyland Railroad. When leaving the Tomorrowland station you pass through the Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World. These huge scenes depict daily life in the Grand Canyon and then time travels back to the time of dinosaurs. I’ll never forget the first time I saw these! I was blown away.
In the category of “similar but different,” in Disneyland the Mad Tea Party isn’t covered by a roof. It’s so pretty to go spinning under the stars! Of course, on the odd day that it rains, many more rides close down due to having no protection from the weather.
I was sure to visit The Royal Theatre during my trip. Here they tell classic Disney stories with enough humor to keep both kids and adults entertained. I wish we had this here at Walt Disney World! I thought it was much more fun than Enchanted Tales with Belle.
Here’s a little more unique entertainment from Disneyland. This band was able to just walk out in front of the train station and perform for 30 minutes. I can’t imagine that ever happening at Disney World. They group was so talented! It’s a shame we can’t have things like this! Here is their tribute to Michael Jackson, so turn your speakers up!
Now let’s hop over to Disney California Adventure. That’s easy on the west coast: it just means a quick walk next door since the parks are side by side. It’s incredibly nice for park hopping! The first time we walked down Buena Vista Street, I was greeted by the Red Car Trolley. Boy does Disney’s Hollywood Studios need a makeover like this in the worst way!
You can’t visit Disney California Adventure without taking a photo of the Mickey’s Fun Wheel on Paradise Pier. Or, as some people call it, Mickey’s Wheel of Death. This is because some the car swing along the track. I think it’s fun, but my hubby definitely thinks it’s a death wheel. What does your family think?
Our first night we watched the fireworks right from Buena Vista Street. It was nice even though the music wasn’t pumped in. As you can see here, the next night we watched from Disneyland but were in quite a crowd.
I also managed to meet Mickey and Pluto together with just a short wait! If this were in Disney World, it would only be at a special hard ticket event. Even then I don’t think I’ve seen Mickey greeting with Pluto! At Disneyland it’s much easier to meet characters. (Of course, Anna and Elsa are en exception. They still rack up a wait well over an hour.)
Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! is a cute ride that we don’t have in Disney World. Even better, it almost never has a wait over 5 minutes. I don’t understand that at all! If the ride were here, it would easily have an hour long wait.
Now let’s visit Cars Land! I’m not a fan of copying attractions between parks, but I wish they would bring this here in the worst way. Cars Land is so well done! I could spend days hanging out there.
Flo’s V8 Cafe isn’t just pretty to look at, the food is great! (Well, great for quick service food in a theme park, anyway.) There are big picture windows that look out over Radiator Springs Racers from the dining room. Overall, it’s a can’t miss.
Speaking of Radiator Springs Racers, that is the ride to see all your favorite characters from Cars. The ride is incredible and easily better than Test Track here on the east coast. Of course, it has the crazy queue to go with it. To ride, get there at least 30 minutes before park opening and stay all the way to the right hand side of the walkway in the park. The line eventually ends up merging to the right, so if you’re already there, you’re ahead of the game.
Make sure you wait until after your first ride to get a FASTPASS. If you try to get a FASTPASS first, the line will easily be over 40 minutes before you get there. If you aren’t worried about getting on Radiator Springs Racers, then you can pretty much have the rest of the park to yourself.
We’re nearing the end of my Disneyland reporting, but here are a few last things to leave you with. Of course, the lovely castle! (I tried to make it look at big as I could!)
And a clip from the Magical fireworks. This show is only offered in Disneyland. I’ve heard many people say it isn’t their favorite, but I absolutely loved it. The show really focuses on characters. I thought it was great!
And lastly, some things are universal. Like the mad rush to get out of the park at the end of the night!
If you’re heading to Disney World next week, here’s a look at what you can expect:
Crowd Calendar: After the holiday weekend this week will seem tame. With crowd levels not creeping over an 8, it shouldn’t be any worse than other summer dates.
Weather: Continuing the theme of better things, the weather it just breaking into the 90′s, with afternoon showers. It really isn’t all that bad considering the time of year.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is still hosting the new Frozen Themed event! You can read all about it here, and you can count on me to share all the fun with you next week! (I really mean it this week!!)
Remember: Candlelight Processional is now bookable. Be sure to call if you’re interested in booking!
Here’s my top tip for this week: If you’re heading to Disneyland, consider the Park Vue Inn. We had an amazing stay there. Keep an eye out for a blog coming about it soon!
Do you have any news I missed or any requests for coverage next week? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, and thanks so much for reading! I’m wishing all of you the Best Week Ever, until next time!