A few years ago, I was a Disneyland Rookie. I grew up going to Walt Disney World and knew all the tricks and shortcuts from an early age; but when I finally made the pilgrimage to the Disneyland Resort, all of my Walt Disney World prowess went out the window. I was a total Disneyland Rookie as I explored the Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure, and loved every minute, but it’s taken a trip or two since that initial visit to avoid those beginner mistakes and experience the park like a pro. To give all of you fellow Disneyland Rookies a step up, here’s are What Disneyland Rookies Should Know Before They Go.
Disneyland Hotel by Brian McNichols
There Is No Wi-Fi
The struggle is real. Yes, there is currently no Wi-Fi at the Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure. Fortunately, free WiFi is offered at the Disneyland Hotel, even if you’re not a resort guest! So head over to the hotel when in need of a break, kick back in a teacup chair, and upload those pics to social media, check your email, or just check-in with the outside world for a bit. I also discovered that there are empty outlets in the lounge areas of the themed Disneyland Hotel towers if you need to charge up.
Different Layout Than Magic Kingdom
If you’re as familiar with Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom as I was during my first to the Disneyland Park, don’t make the mistake of thinking you don’t need a park map or that Pirates of the Caribbean is in Adventureland. Contrary to what many may believe, the Disneyland Park and the Magic Kingdom have very different layouts. Attractions you’re familiar with at one park may not be the same place, or the same experience, at another. Also, the Disneyland Park offers its own unique lands! In addition to Fantasyland, Frontierland, Adventureland, and Tomorrowland, the Disneyland Park also offers Mickey’s Toontown, Critter Country, and New Orleans Square. What Disneyland Rookies should know before they go is the Disneyland Resort offers its own unique offerings to experience!
Disneyland Resort offers a host of new experiences for the Disney World veteran, such as World of Color at Disney California Adventure.
Attractions Close for Weather and Nightly Entertainment
Southern California is known for its gorgeous weather, but that doesn’t mean it’s immune to rainy days. As many Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure attractions are outdoors, not all can continue to operate when sunny California fails to live up to its name. The Disneyland Park attractions which may close for inclement weather are Fantasyland’s Alice in Wonderland, Mad Tea Party, and Dumbo the Flying Elephant, as well as Frontierland’s Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island (currently closed) and Toontown’s Gadget’s Go Coaster. Weather can also delay or even cancel the Disneyland Park’s parades and fireworks. High winds are also a cause for cancelled fireworks; but if the fireworks continue as scheduled, a number of attractions close down for the display, including the Disneyland Monorail.
Over at Disney California Adventure, attractions that close for weather include some Cars Land attractions and the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. Also, just like at the Disneyland Park, a number of attractions close for the park’s nightly World of Color performance, particularly those on Paradise Pier like California Screamin’, Mickey’s Fun Wheel, the Golden Zephyr and Silly Symphony Swings, and even games on the Boardwalk, Jumpin’ Jellyfish, and the King Triton’s Carousel.
As I’ve said before in this Disneyland vs. Disney World series, Disney never does the same thing twice! It’s a common misconception that Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and the Disneyland Park are basically the same experience but on different coasts. That is absolutely not true! Even though Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom was inspired after the original Disneyland Park, it was never intended to be a carbon copy. Both parks offer their own exclusive attractions, restaurants, character interactions, style, and overall experience. Of course, that gives rise to the question of which park is truly the best? That’s the question I intend to answer in perhaps the most ambitious installment of Disneyland vs. Disney World: The Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park Part I.
Due to the scope of this topic, the first part of this article will compare the two parks on categories such as characters, attractions, and dining. The second installment will compare the different themed lands represented at both parks and determine which one is the best!
Sleeping Beauty Castle
So you know I have to talk about the castles. As we all have our loyalties, comparing the two is always controversial. Still, the castles are not just the parks’ icons, but also their centerpieces, and each offers something unique to park guests. Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle has the distinction of being Disney’s original castle standing at 77 feet tall. It features the charming Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough, a personal favorite of mine, with scenes and effects that tell the Sleeping Beauty story.
The design of the Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella Castle is very different than Disneyland’s and is a whopping 189 feet tall! While it doesn’t offer an attraction, Cinderella Castle does house Cinderella’s Royal Table and the exclusive Cinderella Castle Suite. Now I love Sleeping Beauty Castle for its history, its intimacy, and sense of accessibility. However, the grandeur of Cinderella Castle, the ability to dine with princesses inside its halls overlooking Fantasyland, and that view down Main Street, U.S.A. makes it the winner of this category.
Winner: Magic Kingdom
Let’s start with WiFi, shall we? The Magic Kingdom offers free WiFi. In fact, there’s free WiFi throughout most of the Walt Disney World Parks. But at Disneyland… Yeah. No such luck. Walt Disney World also offers MagicBands. It’s a soft plastic band that contains a guest’s ticket, credit card, dining reservations, PhotoPass info, and their FastPass+ reservations which can be made in advance online or on the MyDisneyExperience App. This new amenity was met with criticism at the start, but I love the luxury of having all I need on my wrist and getting into the park is so much faster!
The Magic Kingdom offers three free modes of transportation in the form of bus, monorail, and boat. But then again, this is necessary as the park sits on the Seven Seas Lagoon and can’t be reached by personal car. Now the Disneyland Park does not sit on the shore of a lake but across a spacious esplanade from Disney California Adventure, which is so convenient for Annual Passholders and those with Park Hoppers. Still, Disneyland guests have to park at a parking garage and either walk or take a tram to reach the esplanade.
Finally, both parks offer early entry into the parks. Disneyland offers Magic Mornings on select days for Disneyland Resort Guests with a valid 3+ day ticket while Walt Disney World offers Extra Magic Hours on certain days which could be early entry or extended nighttime park hours. Another difference is Extra Magic Hours are only for guests staying at Disney World Resorts. Tip: Magic Kingdom usually offers Extra Magic Hours Wednesdays and Fridays.
Winner: Magic Kingdom
Festival of Fantasy Parade
Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom offers two main parades each day. The three o’clock afternoon parade, Festival of Fantasy, debuted in 2014 with fantastically detailed floats celebrating characters represented in Fantasyland. The star of the parade is a steampunk Maleficent dragon that actually breathes fire!
The Main Street Electrical Parade is the Magic Kingdom’s nighttime parade and is a classic in that it originally debuted at Disneyland in 1972! The Magic Kingdom obtained its own version in 1977, which ran off and on in the park through the years. But in 2010, it was reintroduced again and has been offered ever since. Disneyland’s current nighttime parade, Paint the Night, debuted only last year for Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary to rave reviews and offers incredible new lighting effects! It also pays tribute to the Main Street Electrical Parade through its soundtrack, which includes the classic parade’s famous theme song, “Baroque Hoedown.”
Paint the Night Parade
The Disneyland Park also offers Mickey’s Soundsational Parade in the afternoon. Each float is themed after a particular musical instrument or style with the lead float featuring Mickey Mouse playing the drums. I mean, he really plays the drums. It’s fantastic! Like Festival of Fantasy, this parade also showcases some amazingly themed floats so detailed and imaginative that one viewing is never enough.
So this category was a difficult one for me. I LOVE Festival of Fantasy at the Magic Kingdom, but Mickey’s Soundsational Parade coupled with Paint the Night gives Disneyland the edge in this comparison.
I am not ashamed to admit it. I am really looking forward to Finding Dory. Finding Nemo was always a favorite of mine, so I’m excited to head back into the Big Blue World with Dory, Marlin, Nemo, Crush, Squirt, alongside brand new characters.
To celebrate the upcoming film, Guests will be able to participate in “Speak Like a Whale Day” on June 11 at both Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resorts. Here’s how:
Guests at Disneyland Resort and the Walt Disney World Resort will receive a complimentary button to celebrate the day.
At the Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort and Disney Springs at Walt Disney World, families can take part in unique themed activities, jam out to a live DJ, and participate in games and giveaways. Young guests can also attend “Whale Speak University” and give speaking the language that Dory seemed to master a try.
At The Seas with Nemo & Friends in Epcot, guests can learn about the real-life versions of the characters from the film and see them in their aquarium home. In addition, experts from Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment Team will be on hand throughout the day to help guests find Dory and her friends, as well as give them a closer look at their world.
In addition, for those who didn’t know, you can now find Dory and some of her new friends from the upcoming film at the Turtle Talk with Crush attraction in Epcot’s The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion and at Disney California Adventure park.
Finding Dory swims into theaters on June 17, 2016.
Let me confess. Though I’m a Walt Disney World Annual Passholder, my first love was Disneyland. Like many of us, my first introduction to Disney Parks was at Disneyland as a young child with my family. Through the course of my childhood and teen years, my family visited Disneyland three times (which was a lot on our limited finances!). Disneyland was also the destination of my first adult vacation, visiting there after I graduated college, in fact, that was my last trip to Disneyland, back in 2004. In 2008, I made my first trip to visit Walt Disney World, and have made it priority to go back as often as my pocketbook will allow!
Disneyland, dressed to the nines for the 60th!
Like any Disney aficionado, I keep up with blogs, websites, vlogs, and books written about all things Disney. I’ve been keeping abreast of the changes to Disneyland and California Adventure. When the opportunity came up for a work-trip which took me out to California (and only 14 miles from Disneyland!) I had to work in a trip to visit this magical place. Now, I knew my Disney World experience would only have a limited application to visit this west coast sister park. So, I made sure to pick up a copy of the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland to help fill in the gaps where my Disney World knowledge feel short.
It is the end of an era. If you’re looking for that Disney unique gift that is Disney Dollars, time is running out! With the proliferation of our cashless society, Disney has decided to end the sale of Disney Dollars. This change goes into effect May 14. Guests may still purchase Disney Dollars through May 14, while supplies last at select Walt Disney World and Disneyland locations.
Disney Dollars do not expire and they will continue to be accepted at select locations at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, as well as U.S. Disney Stores. Disney Dollars were modeled to look like cash and could be purchased in $1, $5, and $10 denominations.
Guests will continue to be able to exchange Disney Dollars for cash equivalents after May 14 at Guest Relations, resort concierge, and hotel front desks.
After May 15, Guests will be able to only purchase Disney gift cards as a gift option, however gift cards are not available in amounts less than $15.
In need of a Disney fix? Homesick for the Disney Parks? Looking to learn more about the Walt Disney World Resort? My remedy, along with Disney Movie Marathons and sites such as TouringPlans, is YouTube! To be more specific, Disney YouTube Channels.
There are quite a few out there these days; and while I try to visit the Walt Disney World Resort as often as I can, a number of YouTubers have helped to expand my knowledge of the parks and resorts, granted me a glimpse or two of special park events, and just allowed me to come along for the ride with those who know Walt Disney World best! Again, there are A LOT of YouTubers out there spreading the pixie dust; but for today, I’m listing a few that you may or may not have seen but who I think are well worth your time. So get ready because here’s my list of Disney YouTube Channels You Should Be Watching!
This YouTube Channel is one of my favorites because it’s so unique! David Erickson, the creator and host of Fresh Baked Disney, visits the Disneyland Resort every single weekend and then uploads a video of his weekly visit each day. That’s why the channel is called Fresh Baked Disney, because you’re getting a little bit of Disney baked fresh daily!
David, along with co-hosts Sara and Mike, are the main cast but other friends and even fans of the show join them during their visits to Disneyland. In fact, the different relationships, personalities, and antics are part of what makes the show so fun and entertaining and you feel like you’re right there with them! When watching the show, you will notice that they are often stopped by their fans, known as Fresh Baked Muffins, for a photo and a chat. They are getting pretty well known by Disneyland Fans so be sure to keep an eye out for them if you’re out and about the resort on the weekends.
In addition to their trip reports to the Disneyland Resort, Fresh Baked Disney also produces other videos for their viewers, such as Disneyland Secrets and History, Top Tens, Mailing and Unboxings, David’s “I’ve Got Something to Say,” and even a new series called The Knothole Gang where, each week, he gives Star Wars Land construction updates from various locations throughout Disneyland.
So yeah, you should definitely be watching Fresh Baked Disney if you aren’t already. Even as a Disney World Regular, I love Fresh Baked Disney because it gives me an insider glimpse into Disneyland from someone who has visited each week for years and brings me along on a Disneyland adventures with friends.
Welcome back to the AtMousePhere series, where we take a look at some of the great background music of the Disney Parks! After thoroughly exhausting the background music of Walt Disney World, we’re hopping across the country to the Disneyland Resort.
It is well known that Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom are very similar in nature. In the background music, there are similarities and differences. We’re going to do a land-by-land roundup of the background music today. I’ll include a handy-dandy link to our Magic Kingdom AtMousePhere posts, just in case you missed it a few years back. So put on your favorite piece of Disneyland music, and let’s take a tour around Walt’s park!
The Esplanade that divides Disneyland and Disney California Adventure offers a nice variety of movie and park tunes that put guests squarely in the Disneyland mood. They are really great arrangements and orchestrations, too! Some are repeats of the entrance to the Magic Kindgom, but not all of them.
“You Got a Friend in Me” (from Toy Story)
“Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee” (from Pinocchio)
“Under the Sea” (from The Little Mermaid)
“California Girls” (the Beach Boys version, instrumental)
“Hooray for Hollywood”
“Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me)”
“Smile, Darn Ya, Smile” (A Merrie Melodies tune from 1931 that was used in Who Framed Roger Rabbit)