I have a confession to make. I have not always been the perfect theme park traveler. I know it may seem that way but unfortunately I am not. Out of the many different mistakes I have made going to theme parks, the first was thinking I could handle more than I should. It was my first time at Knott’s Berry Farm–maybe when I was around 10 or so–and one of their main attractions was metal roller coaster called Boomerang (which is still there today). It is a short, fast, metal coaster that sends you barreling forwards and backwards at 47 mphs with two quick loops. I remember hearing about this attraction on commercials, and I was hyped to experience it. Even when I was in line, I believed I could handle it. Well, I was wrong.
Right after the ride ended, I was the first one to run off, crying, and not ever wanting to experience any roller coaster again. As a matter of fact, I was not able to go on any other roller coaster again for a few years. When I look back at this incident, I wish there was something that would have given me the ability to know what it was like to encounter this attraction beforehand. Even while standing in line, I did not truly understand what it would feel like to sit in one of those coast seats. This is why my advice to everyone–first timers or not–is to take advantage of ride through videos. It is the only way to truly know what you are going to get yourself into before stepping one foot into any theme park.
The Disneyland Resort crowds are greatly affected by the number of local tourists that visit the Parks every day of the year. Disneyland Resort offers a variety of annual pass options that many local residents choose to purchase. Weekends and nice weather days will always see a jump in attendance throughout the year as annual pass holders take advantage how easy it is to just drop by the resort. Fridays and Mondays are also more crowded than the rest of the weekdays as locals extend their weekends. Another factor that impacts the Disneyland Resort crowds is the number of people visiting the area for conventions. The Anaheim Convention Center is the largest facility on the west coast and hosts thousands of visitors each year. Although the attendees are usually occupied for several hours a day with business, these travelers often take this opportunity to bring their families with them to enjoy the Disneyland Resort while they work. Not to mention, the crowds are also greater when the Disneyland Resort is offering one of their special events such as Halloween Time or Happy Lunar New Year.
Disneyland or Walt Disney World? This has long been a debate among Disney theme park enthusiasts. I have been visiting both the California original and its flashy Florida cousin my entire life, and I love both destinations for different reasons. It is hard to pick a favorite, because both Disneyland and Disney World have unique and wonderful experiences to offer. Of course, you will find lots of opinions all over the internet about which resort is better. Disney fans are a loyal bunch, and we will defend the love of our favorite Disney destination with great passion. I recently wrote a book called “A Tale of Two Resorts” that attempts to answer this age-old question of whether Disneyland or Disney World is better by comparing both destinations in several areas. Please join me in this four part series where we will look at Disneyland and Disney World side-by-side to compare them. We’ll start with size and scope, atmosphere, and weather.
Resort Size and Scope
Disneyland Resort is approximately 500 acres (0.78 square miles) located in the city of Anaheim in the heart of southern California. The resort itself is a sanctuary surrounded on all sides by busy streets, hotels, shops and restaurants. To put that in perspective, imagine the feel of Central Park in New York City and you’ll have a little bit of a sense of what Disneyland Resort is like. The resort includes two theme parks, three Disney hotels, dozens of restaurants, and a shopping and entertainment district. The two theme parks, Disneyland and California Adventure, sit directly across from each on either side of the esplanade, requiring about a five minute walk from entrance to entrance.
My mother always told me to not believe everything you hear. This is definitely true when it comes to things you find on the internet. Searching for an answer to any of your questions on the web will take only seconds but is it the correct answer? Is that answer up to date? That is the thing about looking for information on the internet, once you find an answer to your question, you always have to double and triple check to make sure that it is the correct one. The same thing goes for looking for tips and tricks for Disneyland.
If you search up “Disneyland tips and tricks” on any search engine, you will discover hundreds of different lists and suggestions on the subject. Now, are all these tips and tricks you just discovered true, out of date, or just plain false? Well, I am here to help you weed through the five most popular outdated and false tips that I have seen around the web. These five tips come up frequently, and I wanted to set the record straight so that all of you know which tips are simply fools gold.
They live among us. They look just like you and me. They are….the Disney Curmudgeon.
Disney Curmudgeon (Dis·ney cur·mudg·eon):noun. 1. A person who possesses a strong dislike or disinterest of all things Disney.
I know my fair share of Disney Curmudgeons. In fact, I live with one. My husband, Michael, doesn’t share my obsession and love of everything Disney. He is a great sport (He dressed up as Smee and Mickey Mouse for me, so he must be!) and there are some aspects of Walt Disney World he really does enjoy. However, whenever I bring up a future Disney trip, his eyes say, “Really? again!?,” but his mouth smiles and says, “We can see about that honey.”
Although it may be in my nature to throw the book (and by book, I mean the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World) at him and spend hours explaining why Disney World is the best place ever, it would result in a negative outcome on both sides. Instead, working with him and catering a little more to his needs can reduce the stress and make our vacation much more enjoyable.
Visiting the Disney parks, Walt Disney World and Disneyland, is a quintessentially American experience. Even though the parks have expanded beyond the United States and attract guests from around the world, they are still, to quote a popular attraction, “a tribute to all nations, but mostly America.”
When Walt Disney first dreamed of Disneyland, he knew the spirit of America had to be represented. “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 the world.” Even after 59 years, this quote is still true.
Walt at Disneyland’s opening day Flag Retreat. photo courtesy of Susan Emslie via Facebook
In this spirit, Disneyland and Walt Disney World have a daily Flag Retreat Ceremony. It generally takes place at dusk (5pm in WDW) at the flag in the center of Town Square. Honorary veterans are chosen to participate from each day’s visiting guests. It is a very moving ceremony that has quite a large group of followers. The Disneyland Flag retreat even has its own Facebook page, which honors the ceremony, the veterans, and the resident guard in charge of lowering the flag.
My Flag Retreat Experience
This year I traveled to Walt Disney World fell over the Memorial Day holiday. My husband and I decorated our resort room’s window that morning with red, white, and blue and then headed over to Magic Kingdom dressed in our patriotic T-shirts. Our goal for the day was to thank as many veterans as we could identify.
As it was nearing 4pm, we made our way towards the train station to have a bird’s eye view of the Flag Retreat below in Town Square. Just before we reached the end of Main Street, a group was gathered watching the Dapper Dans. We stopped to listen a few minutes and noticed a veteran in a scooter near where we were standing. As the crowd started to break, we walked over and thanked him for his service and all that he had done for our country, and then proceeded to the train station for those coveted seats.
Yay! It’s here! Big Hero 6 arrives in theaters today! (And you can bet I’ll be seeing it tonight.) I’ve heard such great things about this movie, so you can bet that the next time I’m down in Walt Disney World, I’ll want to give Baymax a huge hug. (Look how squishy he looks!)
The good news is that I won’t have to wait long to meet both Baymax and Hiro Hamada and neither will you! You see, beginning today, guests will have the opportunity to meet the pair at Walt Disney World.
To meet the two, you’ll need to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where inside The Magic of Disney Animation, you’ll be able to tour the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology’s lab. Guests will meet the two in Hiro’s garage workshop. (The two are located where the former Wreck-It Ralph meet and greet was.)
At Disneyland, guests should also begin to be able to meet Hiro and Baymax by simply heading to to Tomorrowland’s Starcade, where you’ll be able to visit Hiro’s robotics workshop. In addition, The Magic Eye Theater will be showing an extended sneak peek of the Big Hero 6. (Where Captain EO was previously shown.)
Who else will be lining up like me to meet these two?
As many of you probably know, I recently made my first trip to the Disneyland Resort in California as part of TouringPlans #Everywhere. A few months back, I wrote a post here about what I expected to find when I traveled to Disneyland. Well, now I’m back and will attempt to address all of my previous impressions, which were almost all made from a position of ignorance (as most of my impressions are). If you are planning a trip out west and do not want to be spoiled (like I didn’t) please read no further.
I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say, so let’s just get right into it:
Recently Disney rolled out “Glow With The Show” ears; they appeared at Walt Disney World last year and were introduced at Disneyland a year prior. Well, it seems that the concept is being re-branded, and it will now be known as “Made With Magic.”
In addition to being re-branded, new merchandise items have been created for guests to purchase and enjoy. These items include a Sorcerer Mickey wand (which will offer an additional function of changing the light patterns of other “Made with Magic” products), a Mickey Mouse glove, and a Minnie Mouse headband. The previously offered “Glow With The Show” ear hats will still be available, as well.
The first item to arrive will be the Minnie Mouse headband, which will be available in late October/early November. The Mickey Mouse glove and Sorcerer Mickey wand can be purchased beginning in late November/early December. The ear hats are available now. Each item will cost $25 and be available at select locations throughout Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
With the new products being offered, are you more likely to purchase a “Made with Magic” interactive item?
Unfortunately, this means that we will no longer be able to head to Sugar Rush; we’ll be losing the meet and greet for Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope. Their meet and greet officially closes on October 24. (Guests looking to at least see Ralph or Vanellope will still be able to find them in the “Mickey’s Boo-To-You Parade” and the “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade” this year.)
In Disneyland, guests should make their way to Tomorrowland’s Starcade, where you’ll be able to visit Hiro’s robotics workshop and see both Hiro and Baymax. Guests will also be able to see an extended sneak peek of the upcoming film Big Hero 6 in the Magic Eye Theater. (Where Captain EO could previously be found.)
The only detail we now need to wait for is the opening date, as it hasn’t been announced for either Walt Disney World or Disneyland. The only information we have is mid-November. Big Hero 6 rolls into theaters on November 7.