Ten Reasons Why Every Walt Disney World Fan Should Visit Disneyland

I admit it!  I was a complete Walt Disney World snob for years.  I had no desire to fly all the way to California to see a smaller, inferior version of one of my favorite place on Earth.

Well, three years of living in California showed me the error of my ways!  Disneyland  is awesome.  Enough said.

Okay, maybe that’s not enough said. So here are the top 10 reasons to visit Disneyland.

1. One of my cousins tried to sell me on Disneyland after she returned from a trip.  She insisted it was better than Disney World! What?  Better?  Why?

Her answer – “It’s smaller and you can do and see everything easier.”

That’s like saying I don’t want 31 flavors of ice cream to choose from, I only want 10. That doesn’t make any sense!!

Or does it?  After I went to Disneyland, however, I realized she was kind of right. The thing is – if what you want is listed in those 10 flavors, it doesn’t matter how many more there are!

Disneyland has everything you want, and because it’s smaller, it really is easier to see everything!  The entrances to the two parks are directly across from each other and Downtown Disney is right next to them.  You can walk from one park to the other, or to Downtown Disney, in about 5 minutes.

2. From any of the three Disney hotels and from many of the nearby Good Neighbor Hotels you can walk from your hotel to both parks and Downtown Disney.  You heard that right!  There are  hotels in all price ranges right within walking distance of the parks.  No more waiting in line for buses, hoping it comes soon, when odds are that you just missed it.  No more trying to figure out how to get from your hotel to another one for your dining reservation that you’re running late for.  No more huge monorail lines at the end of the night (although Disneyland does have a great monorail).

Let me say that again, you can WALK to your hotel from anywhere in the Disneyland Resort!

3. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa is such an incredible resort it deserves its own number.  So, number 3 is the Grand Californian.  This hotel is truly stunning.  Designed in the Arts and Crafts style of the early 1900’s, you can’t help but be impressed by its beauty the second you step through those stained glass doors.  And the location is unrivaled.  One exit of  the hotel is a gate into California Adventure.  Another is an entrance into Downtown Disney.  The monorail actually travels through part of the hotel!

4. Some of your favorite rides at Disney World are even better at Disneyland.  That’s right!  They’re better!  Pirates of the Caribbean – longer and better.  Space Mountain – after a two year refurbishment it’s awesome.  Yes, I know Walt Disney World’s version was recently refurbished, but it’s not the same.  You will forever be disappointed by Disney World’s Space Mountain after riding it at Disneyland (OK, it will still be fun, but just not as fun as Disneyland’s).  Grizzly  River Run leaves Kali River Rapids in the dust.  it’s a small world is in its own beautiful standalone building.  Recently, it’s been very tastefully updated with some of your favorite Disney characters.  

5. Some of the best Disneyland rides aren’t even at Walt Disney World.  Indiana Jones Adventure is one of the best rides in any theme park anywhere, and it is only at Disneyland.  The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland accurately calls it “a Disney masterpiece.” California Screamin’ is one of the smoothest, most exciting roller coasters there is.  Matterhorn Bobsleds, the first tubular steel coaster in the world, can be seen from all over the Disneyland area and it doesn’t disappoint.  Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage brings back to life the classic submarines at Disneyland in a completely modern and engaging way.

6. There are some wonderful shows at Disneyland that also aren’t replicated at Walt Disney World.  Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular is world class.  It could sell out on Broadway tomorrow.  Billy Hill & The Hillbillies seem like a side attraction when you stop in The Golden Horseshoe for lunch.  Once the show starts, however, you’ll see they are anything but a side act.  In addition, Fantasmic! is better at Disneyland.  There’s no random Pocahontas sequence here.  Peter Pan and Captain Hook battle it out on the Sailing Ship Columbia as she sails by.  And there are no words to describe the awesomeness of the dragon at Disneyland’s Fantasmic!.  Now Disneyland also has World of Color.  If you’ve read any reviews of World of Color you know it’s not to be missed.

7. Disneyland has some amazing holiday overlays as well.  They take classic rides and decorate them with unparalleled detail.  I’m not a huge “Nightmare Before Christmas” fan, but even I love the Jack Skellington layover of The Haunted Mansion.  And how great is it to see Small World decked out for Christmas and hear “Feliz Navidad” thrown in with the classic song?  Oh yeah, and take a picture at Christmas with a Santa in surf garb.  Space  Mountain even has some
Halloween special effects that will blow your mind.  Was that a skeleton that just tried to grab us when we rode by?

8. Disney California Adventure.  California Adventure has a lot of haters.  I am not and have never been in that category.  Our kids (while in grade school) spent hours playing in Redwood  Creek Challenge Trail while we relaxed in the cool shade.  California Adventure brought us the original Soarin’ Over California, California Screamin’, and now World of Color.  With Ariel’s Undersea Adventure already open, once Cars Land is complete, it will be a destination unto itself.

9. The weather.  Southern California edges out Florida in the weather category.  Most days, even in the summer are very comfortable.  Humidity feels almost non existent compared to that oppressive Florida heat.  The fall and spring have too many gorgeous days to count.  There are also less rainy days to deal with at Disneyland. 

10.  The food!  Disneyland has some dining experiences that are unlike any you find at Disney World.  Who hasn’t heard of the Monte Cristo in the beautifully themed Blue Bayou restaurant?  Napa Rose is an award winning restaurant in the Grand Californian.  Downtown Disney is loaded with delicious choices, and remember, they are all a short walk away from the parks!  The corn dogs from Corn Dog Castle are the size of your lower arm.  And there are free snacks!  At The Bakery Tour they give you fresh sourdough bread as soon as you walk in!  Where at Disney World do you get free food?

Okay, I fully realize there are some things at Disney World that can neither be replaced nor forgotten.  I’m certainly not saying you should give up Disney World forever, I wouldn’t!  I’m just saying – every so often, take a trip to Walt’s playground on the West Coast.  It’s worth it!

Over the next several weeks I’ll be going into more detail about some of these joys of Disneyland.  So check back frequently, and definitely let us all know what you think!

Tammy Whiting

Tammy has been a lover of all things Disney for most of her life. There’s nowhere on this Earth she’d rather be than on a Disney cruise with her family. She’s an Air Force wife and proud mom of two wonderful children and one beautiful daughter-in-law . She fulfilled a lifelong dream in 2008 and became a travel agent specializing in Disney vacations. She now owns her own travel agency - Storybook Destinations. You can reach Tammy at Tammy@StorybookDestinations.com.

76 thoughts on “Ten Reasons Why Every Walt Disney World Fan Should Visit Disneyland

  • August 12, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Wow! Guess I will have to make my way over to Ca! Great blog!

    • August 12, 2011 at 7:35 pm

      Give it a shot, Serenity!

  • August 12, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    I was a Disneyland “snob” for years. I had visited Disney World once and was not impressed by how far away everything was. To me it didn’t have the same magical feel I always felt at Disneyland. Then two years ago, my sister and I decided to use our free airline tickets and take our two oldest girls. We had the best time…we did so much more than before, watched the Hoop-Dee-Doo show, which we all loved. Now I want to go back with my husband and youngest daughter, just so he can see how much fun it is, despite the differences. I agree though Pirates and It’s A Small World are hands down much better at Disneyland!! But there are lots of great things to love about Disney World too!

    • August 12, 2011 at 7:36 pm

      I totally agree! Disney World and Disneyland both have things to love. I could never give up either one.

  • August 12, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    My husband’s last active duty tour took us back to California for the 4th time in Nov of 2001. But this time the kids were old enough for everyone to ride everything at Disneyland, so off we went. We were stationed up in Monterey, so we headed to Anaheim for a long weekend. After the devistation of 9/11, my husband’s 4 day ticket was free and the 4 family members were 50% off. We stayed at a Red Roof Inn less than a mile away because they took dogs (so the WHOLE family got to go to Disneyland). It was a nice walk each morning, afternoon (for a dip in the pool) and evening. After experienceing Disneyland, California Adventure and Downtown Disney, we headed to guest services to upgrade our tickets to an annual pass. In the one year we lived in Cali, we made that 4 hour trip to visit the mouse at least 6 times for a total of approximately 32 days.
    We now live in Florida and are frequent visitors to WDW. However, my heart will always be at Disneyland.

    • August 12, 2011 at 7:40 pm

      We had a similar experience, Dawn. When my husband received an assignment in California, we bought annual passes because we thought we’d go a few times. We ended up going every chance we got.

  • August 12, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    I love, love this post.

    First, I love WDW in Orlando. Love it. Now that I have that out of the way, I can wholeheartedly agree. Disneyland is greatness.

    For those who have only been to Orlando, the first thing you will notice is the area that surrounds Disneyland. Lots of “tag-along” businesses and attractions, but remember, you are in the middle of Los Angeles. When you get onto the resort property, however, it feels like home. Yes, you might think “Wow, the castle is small…”, but that is okay – the intimate feel of the park makes up for it. My family loved it.

    In addition, New Orleans Square is fantastic and Tammy was dead on…Indiana Jones is fantastic (great queue, too) and Pirates of the Caribbean is 10 times better in California (in my opinion, at least). Don’t forget the outdoor Mad Tea Party and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride either…both unique California attractions. We can’t wait to go back.

    Anyway, she said enough, but I couldn’t help myself. Go to Disneyland!

    • August 12, 2011 at 5:29 pm

      Actually, Disneyland isn’t located in Los Angeles. It is in Anaheim. And the great thing is, once you’re inside the parks, you can’t really see the outside world.

      I think the castle, while smaller, is actually prettier than the one at Disneyworld in Florida.

      • August 12, 2011 at 10:55 pm

        I actually typed Anaheim first. I changed it to LA since I figured there were some people who initially associate DLR with being there. Maybe it’s my Texas upbringing and the fact that many Texans still use “Dallas” to describe Arlington, Irving, Plano, etc (as in: “Where did you grow up? Dallas. Where in Dallas? Plano.), but Anaheim is the correct locale. Good catch, Amy!

        And, your castle observation is a good one. They are so completely different (and both look great at Christmas!). Have a great weekend!

        • August 12, 2011 at 11:54 pm

          I know what you mean I used to live outside Dallas but would just say “dallas” and then they’d be all where in dallas and have no idea where the city I was from was lol

        • August 13, 2011 at 10:03 am

          Well in CA they say Orange County and then ask where, as in “I’m from Orange County. Where in OC? Aliso Viejo.” (Newport Beach, Fullerton, Irvine, San Clemente, Costa Mesa, etc.)

          • August 13, 2011 at 10:05 am

            And also, people in LA think Orange County is out of town. And for many many people in OC, San Diego is actually closer than LA.

          • August 14, 2011 at 2:54 pm

            I lived in Orange for many years. And I have tons of friends and family in the area. When asked, no one really says they live in “Orange County.” They just say the city they live in – Orange, Anaheim, Garbage Grove, Newport, etc.

    • August 12, 2011 at 7:42 pm

      The queues! Yes, the queues are awesome. Excellent point, Corey!

  • August 12, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    I also love Disney World, but Disneyland is truly special. The best analogy I can think of would be the way computer programs were designed years ago as compared with today. When programmers knew that they had limited memory space, their programs were more elegant. Walt had limited space to work with when Disneyland was built and Disneyland is elegantly designed.

    And I agree with the other reasons given by all of the above comments. The only one that I know who would disagree is my 6 year old granddaughter who has only been to Disney World. When she saw video of Disneyland, she said that the characters at Disneyland must be fake since Mickey (and the others) couldn’t be at two places at the same time.

    • August 12, 2011 at 7:43 pm

      That is such a great analogy, Lou. I love it!

  • August 12, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    I love, love, love Disneyland! My ‘home’ parking growing up was Walt Disney World (where my parents took us as kids.) But now, I consider Disneyland my ‘home’ park. My first visit here was in 2004 and I’ve loved it ever since.

    That said, I still love WDW too. We basically alternate Disney trips between Florida and California.

    I think Fantasyland at Disneyland is a million times better. I love the facades for the buildings. And I love Alice in Wonderland, Casey Jr. Train, Storybook Canal Boats. I really miss those attractions (and the ones you listed) when I’m at WDW.

    • August 12, 2011 at 7:52 pm

      There are definitely some attractions I miss at WDW. It’s also quite easy to get them confused when you’ve spent a lot of time at both parks. I find myself heading somewhere at WDW just to remember that it’s only at DL! And vice versa! I accidentally got my teenage son on it’s a small world at WDW by telling him it was redone with the characters and awesome! Oops…

  • August 12, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I can’t imagine any Disney fan not wanting to visit ALL of the parks! I went to Disneyland for the first time the last year & went back 2 months later. It was wonderful – like discovering the Disney magic all over again. Plus, with more attractions (58 vs. 46 in Magic Kingdom) in a smaller footprint, you can get so much more done in a day.

    While DCA was under construction both visits, it was a nice compliment to the Disneyland park. Not sure that I’d buy a single day ticket for DCA, but park hopping is great since the gates are just steps away. I was sad when I returned to WDW and had to drive everywhere.

    • August 12, 2011 at 7:53 pm

      That is definitely the downside of WDW once you get used to DL, the driving and transportation issues. It’s just not as fun as walking everywhere! I feel like I’m wasting so much time!

    • August 13, 2011 at 12:00 am

      yeah I think it would be cool to visit Disneyland in Paris! Anyone been there?

      • August 13, 2011 at 5:55 am

        yes, but way back in 2000. they had a very cool “Mulan” show then. indiana jones went backwards. at the time, it was a very small park. but we enjoyed ourselves anyway, since after all it is Disney. we stayed at the “Davy Crockett Ranch” in one of the cabins. also, you can catch a train straight into Paris outside the park.

  • August 12, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    I <3 Disneyland!!!!! I live right in the middle of the country….and when I get a 3 day weekend I tack on a Monday or Friday and head to California. You can see and do the parks in 3 days…TRY that in Orlando…can't be done… I love how you stressed how close everything is….you can walk or RUN to the parks, you can drag yourself back to your hotel for a nap and hurry back for dinner or fireworks…and it's where the magic started and STILL IS…

    • August 12, 2011 at 7:53 pm

      Nope, can’t be done. You’re right.

    • August 12, 2011 at 11:59 pm

      I agree in 2006 we wanted to do a Disney trip and at the time we were living in Texas which is like you “smack dab in the middle of the country” it was the same drive to DL or WDW and we were SOOO overwhelmed with all that WDW had to offer the 4 parks…the water parks…to hop or not to hop…so many choices…and with DL it had only 2 PARKS…and when we were pricing the vacation packages it was actually cheaper to go to DL…now we have moved to Florida and will be tackling WDW for the first time in 20 years! GL to us! lol

  • August 12, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Great blog Tammy! You definitely hit the nail on the head with this one. The fact that you can walk to either park or Downtown Disney from any of the on property hotels sold me when I went for the first time. I also love their downtown Disney and how it’s set up. Indiana Jones, California Screamin, The Haunted Mansion, Pirates…. all favorites. I wish Disney would incorporate a California Screamin in WDW, how awesome would that be!
    Whether you have been to Walt Disney World or not and whether you are a diehard Disney fan or not you truly have not felt that special Disney magic unless you visit the park where it all started.
    Great job Tammy!!!

    • August 12, 2011 at 7:45 pm

      Florida Screamin? That would be awesome!

  • August 12, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Outstanding blog Tammy! I’ve never been to DL, I’ve been that WDW snob all these years….now you have me chompin’ at the bit to get there!!

    • August 12, 2011 at 7:45 pm

      Thanks, Heather! You should definitely go!

  • August 12, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Absolutely wonderful article, Tammy (and welcome to the blog!). Until last year, I was a Walt Disney World snob. What a mistake. Visiting Disneyland once taught me the error of my ways. We returned earlier this year, and have another trip planned for Christmas! Walt Disney World will always hold a special place in my heart for nostalgic reasons, but none of the WDW parks hold a candle to the original Magic Kingdom. Plus, with California Adventure progressing nicely, California has quite the excellent 1-2 punch!

    • August 12, 2011 at 7:47 pm

      Thanks, Tom! I agree. The original Magic Kingdom is the best. I’m so glad you’re going back! You’ll have to try the Grand Californian this time!

  • August 12, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    I’m an East Coaster but my first Disney park was DL in 2001. I’ve been back 3 times since and plan to go back this Christmas.

    DL is much more intimate than WDW. As has already been mentioned, it has most of the WDW E-tickets (and then some!). They are also better at DL (Pirates, Space Mt, Small World). It’s great that everything (DL, DCA, and DTD) are all in the same area and that you can walk to cheap hotels.

    I guess the best thing about DL (it’s size) is also a big drawback for me. To fly all the way out there from DC for 3 days is expensive and time consuming. It’s so much easier, and cheaper, to fly to WDW. Even still, I try to make it out there at least once a year to take in the magic of the original!

    • August 13, 2011 at 7:52 am

      I feel your pain, John. We just moved to the East Coast and that will definitely make it more difficult to get to California. Not impossible! Just more difficult.

  • August 12, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Well I’ve been to WDW once when I was 6 and then I’ve been to DL twice when I was 10 and 20. We have just moved to Florida and plan on getting AP in the near future. But I think you just have to remember they aren’t the same. They are 2 different parks. It’s like trying to compare 2 different 6 flags.

    I’m excited to experience the differences of WDW since it’s been FOREVER since we’ve gone.

    • August 13, 2011 at 7:54 am

      Since you were 6? Wow, that will be great. Have so much fun!

      • August 13, 2011 at 2:10 pm

        Yeah we went the last summer my younger sister was free (she was 2) with the plans on going back…but they kept growing and getting expensive and we never went back 🙁

        • August 15, 2011 at 12:41 pm

          Well you are now! 🙂

  • August 13, 2011 at 8:49 am

    As soon as Cars Land is ready, I’m there!!!

    • August 13, 2011 at 8:32 pm

      I can’t wait for Cars Land!

  • August 13, 2011 at 10:21 am

    What I love best about Disneyland is the feeling of history that you feel when you’re there. THIS is the only park Walt oversaw the building of, and THIS is the park we all watched every week on TV and dreamed of going to.

    WDW is great, but NOTHING beats Disneyland!

    • August 14, 2011 at 4:16 pm

      The history of the park is definitely unrivaled!

  • August 14, 2011 at 11:04 am

    We have gone to WDW more often recently as we are a DVC owner and fewer points are needed to stay at resorts there. Grand Cali uses lot of points but probably wouldn’t stay as many nights so it would even put. I love both places! You do have to remember where you are though. One time my daughter and I spent a whole morning trying to find the Indie ride in WDW 8:-/

    • August 14, 2011 at 4:05 pm

      That is so funny! Isn’t it amazing how easy it is to forget where you are?

  • August 14, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Living on the east coast, inevitably we go to WDW more often, and get used to that resort being “the way it is”. But earlier this summer we went to DLR for the first time in over a decade (and first time for our kids) and absolutely loved it. Your great blog really nailed a lot of the points we were feeling as well. Sure, it looks different, and everything isn’t located where “it should be”, and there’s that ugly sprawl right outside the resort. But it is so charming, and filled with history, and it’s so EASY!

    I don’t necessarily agree that the dining is a high point (other than Napa Rose and the waterfront seats at Blue Bayou), because we’re too spoiled by the wealth of choices at WDW. But what is definitely different is how simple it is to get ADRs, and that’s worth mentioning. I called two weeks ahead of our trip, thinking I was ludicrously late, and we had our choice of days for nearly every restaurant!

    Overall, as the person who plans the WDW trips for our family, I loved being able to relax for our DLR trip and not worry about all the details ahead of time. Dining is easy, transportation to the parks and back is easy, park hopping is easy. Oh, and the new monorail pool is awesome and renovated rooms at DLH are magical. Oh, and Trader Sams at DLH is nearly a west coast version of the Adventurer’s Club. Oh, and… Yah, I’m hooked! 🙂

    • August 14, 2011 at 4:14 pm

      One of the reasons dining is a high point for me is because it’s different than WDW. It’s not the same restaurants redone. Your point about the ADR’s is s great one too. You don’t have to decide where to eat 6 months before your vacation. Sometimes 6 days or even 6 hours will suffice!

  • August 14, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Great article! But you left out the Sleeping Beauty walking attraction. Nothing like it in WDW.

    • August 14, 2011 at 4:16 pm

      You are absolutely right. That’s a great attraction.

  • August 14, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    I think it’s great that there are two parks with enough overlap that they are similar, but also unique differences that make it worthwhile to visit both. WDW has EPCOT and the waterparks, DLR has California Screamin and the Matterhorn etc. We were at DLR a few years ago and really liked walking to the park and back, but now we’re looking forward to our first family trip to WDW and staying in a Disney Property. Frankly, any kind of “which park is better” is really pointless, both are worth visiting, and both have their strengths.

    • August 15, 2011 at 6:14 am

      Definitely. Both are different and worth visiting. Over and over again!

  • August 14, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    You’re writing for tp now, Tammy? Is there anything you can’t do. 🙂

    Great article. You know that I am a DL local and I couldn’t agree with your points more. The thing I love most is the details in the park. I could spend a month at DL and not see every intricate, beautiful detail that makes the park so unique.

    • August 15, 2011 at 6:15 am

      Um. No? Haha! Thank you, Mukta! I know you love Disneyland!

  • August 14, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    THANK YOU for writing this. So many people know tell me Disneyland SUCKS, and that Disney World is better because it has ‘more parks.’ I’m like…psht…Indiana Jones alone makes Land totally better than World. And the Fantasyland rides just LOOK better. Instead of circus tents, the architecture is beaaaautiful. I definitely agree with Fantasmic – hands down better in Land. The rides are longer. And New Orleans Square kicks Liberty Square’s butt any day of the week! Your points are all points that I make on my Facebook page (The Disneyland Help Page), and I appreciate this blog!

    • August 15, 2011 at 6:16 am

      You’re welcome! I’ll have to check out that page!

  • August 14, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    Thank you so much for the article. As a Disney Travel Agent I hear all the time how WDW is better because it’s bigger. Well, bigger isn’t always better. If you sit down and count the rides at both resorts (as I have) you will find that Dland has more rides than WDW(40 vs 48). Also 23 of those rides are at both resorts. Plus if you really think about it Walt Disney himself has only been to one, and that alone makes it second to none.

    • August 15, 2011 at 1:23 am

      wow thats crazy so it sounds like WDW has a lot of WASTED space…and from what I’ve looked at it looks like that’s what is a lot of Animal Kingdom. Wow I never realized that only 23 of them are at both parks. I would have thought more of them were doubled. Just goes to show you that the two parks are two different parks 🙂

    • August 15, 2011 at 12:43 pm

      Bigger is not necessarily better, you’re right. I love both WDW and DL.

    • August 16, 2011 at 10:29 am

      This is another point I have made to people. While the entire WDW complex has more stuff, of the MK parks, the DL version has more rides. As pointed out a couple key attractions are better at the DL version and I like the layout better as well.

  • August 15, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Ha. Interesting…. when I went to WDW in 1976 I was blown away by Space Mountain. I guess at 18 I had not been on that many roller coasters in my lifetime. When I went to DL in 1978, I thought that it (Space Mountain)was as boring as anything. So, needless to say…I am I WDW snob and proud of it! LOL!! I have no idea if I will ever get back to DL, but I am extremely happy with what I feel for my “favorite home away from home”……..

    • August 15, 2011 at 12:44 pm

      DL Space Mountain was redone and it is awesome! Maybe one day you’ll get to try it again. 🙂

  • August 15, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Love love love this article! I could not have said it better myself. I grew up in Texas going to WDW every 3-4 years. Then I moved to Irvine, CA for grad school. Living 15 minutes away from Disneyland, I couldn’t resist the AP (even if it meant I had to eat Ramen for months!) DLR then became my home park for 5 years. I would go at least once a month. Sunday mornings were the best! I recently made the trip back to Orlando as an adult with my husband (who hadn’t been to WDW in 25 years!). While I do love WDW, we couldn’t help but compare and contrast DLR to WDW. Space Mountain-DLR better, Tower of Terror-WDW, definitely! Now that I live in Northern California, we don’t make it to DLR monthly, but it still feels like home to us, while WDW is definitely a vacation destination!

    • August 15, 2011 at 12:46 pm

      Thank you, Laura! Your experience was like mine. We got AP’s right away. Later, when we lived farther North we didn’t get there as often but we made it when we can. We all still love WDW, we’re headed there in two weeks (!), but even my 16 year old said recently that DL feels like home.

  • August 16, 2011 at 8:32 am

    I had a similar impression of Disneyland when I went in February. There is just some different magic at both places. It’s good to be able to appreciate both resorts.

    • August 16, 2011 at 9:29 am

      It is nice to apprciate both. 🙂

  • August 16, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Forgot an important one: Disneyland is the original and the one Walt personally built. There is a better use of space in the DL Magic Kingdom than at the WDW version. There are more special touches IMO as well. That said, I completely agree with your assessment. I grew up in Irvine, but moved to the east coast when I was in high school(in 1984). I am heading for my 7th trip to Disney World this weekend for a family reunion. My Mom, who passed away 5 years ago was a HUGE Walt Disney fan and a Disneyland snob. She never wanted to go to Disney World and even passed on it when she was in Orlando (she would only go to the gift shop in DD) with my Dad. I think she was wrong too and if she was still here she would have joined us all at DW and loved it. While there are things the Disney corporation has done that I don’t think Walt would have done, I am very impressed at how they have kept the spirit of Disney alive in the parks so many years after his passing. Anyway, the original, Disneyland is definitely a must see for any Disney fan.

    • August 16, 2011 at 11:21 am

      Very true. For a lot of people, the fact that it’s “Walt’s Park” goes without saying. Not everyone knows that though, so it is definitely worth repeating.

  • August 16, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Great write-up. Since I live in California and have been going to both Disneyland and Disney World since the early 80s I have often written up complete comparisons of the two giving what I see being better at one location over the other. While I find that my Disney World Vacations are a more complete vacation with much more to do, I still find that Disneyland has much to offer as you pointed out. Disneyland will have great memories for me being it was the first Disney park I would go along with special memories like being at the Indiana Jones ride when it opened, The first (and best) show of Fantazmic and visiting Club 33. I was never a big fan of Space Mountain until it was redone and now it is amazing. While Dinosaur uses the same ride vehicle as Indiana Jones the Indi ride is so much better. The only duplicate rides I find at Disney World that I see as much better are Splash Mountain and the Jungle Cruise, mostly because they are so much longer over on the East Coast. I also find that Disneyland is a great 3 day trip while I would never suggest anyone travel to WDW without planning on staying a minimum of a week. That makes Disneyland much more affordable and sometimes a place we can do more often.

    My 6 year old has grown up in both parks also with his first visit to Disneyland being at 5 months and his first visit to WDW being at 22 months. He loves both and I don’t think he realizes which one he is at all the time until he looks at me and asks why the castle is so small.

    The great thing is for me there are things that I rate “The best” at both locations and they will have me coming back for more.

  • August 16, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    You’re right! They both have something to keep you coming back.

  • August 18, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Almost as a fluke, my wife and I have a trip to Disneyland planned for next month. We’ve always been WDW people and had a trip to Orlando all-but-booked when the entire value and moderate resort categories unexpectedly sold out for the week that we have vacation from work. We immediately went back to the drawing board and found a great deal on a Disneyland package. Now we’re anxiously planning our trip and learning all we can about DLR before we go. We’ve been amazed to learn all the unique experiences there are to look forward to at Disneyland and are getting so excited!

    • August 18, 2011 at 12:49 pm

      You will have a great time with everything being a new experience. Make sure to get reservations for Blue Bayou. Its a fun way to enjoy a meal and its a nice way to relax.

    • August 18, 2011 at 1:58 pm

      Have so much fun! The first trip is so exciting!

  • August 28, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    You are sooooo right. I love Cali! The weather is so much better, the grand california is where it’s at, love love that I never have to break down my stroller to get on a bus, easy breezy to take daytime naps with the kids and barely miss much touring time! I love the “quaint” feel of the original. The treehouse rocks much more, and fantasyland is so much bigger and better and so is Toontown.
    However Universal is a thousand times better in FL!!!!! I was not impressed at all by the original (minus the tram tour) compared to FL’s.

    • September 2, 2011 at 9:10 pm

      I totally agree about Universal! Although Universal in California is fun for a day trip, it doesn’t even compare to Florida’s version.

  • September 6, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    especially because Universal in FL has the Harry Potter section which is awesome!

    • September 6, 2011 at 3:08 pm

      Oh yes. The Wizarding World is amazing.

  • January 12, 2012 at 12:45 am

    I found your blog on google…I must say i have enjoyed it and look forward to coming back soon.

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