I’m Going to Disney…land?!

Walt Disney's Original Magic Kingdom

If you watched television this week, you probably saw a commercial with Eli Manning making an exclamation similar to this title, with the notable exception that he was excited about going to (Walt) Disney World. However, when I read the recent leaked rumor that Disney California Adventure will be concluding the end of its massive overhaul with grand reopening events on June 14th and 15th, 2012, I found myself jumping out of my computer chair and screaming, “I’M GOING TO DISNEYLAND!” Despite a few weird looks from my dog for this spontaneous outburst, I’m really am this excited about touring Disneyland this summer!

Although there is also some exciting expansion taking place in Walt Disney World‘s Magic Kingdom, this year is definitely the year of Disneyland Resort. We know of many people planning their first trips out to Disneyland this summer, and I’m personally ecstatic about that. I think every Walt Disney World fan should take at least one trip out to Disneyland. (A “one time” visit will invariably turn into regular visits, as Disneyland is that impressive–that’s what happened to my wife and me!)

If you follow my various rambling around the internet, you know I’ve made it my personal crusade to convince people to visit Disneyland Resort in 2012. Disneyland is actually such a fun place that I consider this a public service. (So far I’ve performed hundreds of hours of community service this year thanks to this crusade!) Why should you visit in 2012? Here is my pitch from the perspective of Disneyland Resort’s new offerings:

Cars Land – This is the big draw. The single most expensive addition to Disney California Adventure is also rumored to be the most expensive addition to any existing Disney theme park ever. Whether that’s true is unknown, but given John Lasseter’s penchant for perfection and the epic scale and scope of this land, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if this land alone put the billion-dollar plus Disney California Adventure makeover project well over budget. Highlights include Radiator Springs Racers (an attraction that shares bloodlines with Test Track, but looks to be significantly more richly-themed), Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree (a modern-day spinning attraction in the spirit of the Mad Tea Party), and Luigi’s Flying Tires (a ‛floating’ attraction reminiscent of Disneyland’s classic Flying Saucers). In addition to these three attractions, there will be shops and restaurants, and some incredible theming and landscaping. I can’t wait to let my camera loose (figuratively, of course) in this highly photogenic new land!

Ticket To Ride

Buena Vista Street – Although the only attraction on Buena Vista Street, Disney California Adventure’s version of Main Street, is the Red Car Trolley, this new land is exciting because it transforms an ostentatious and lackluster park entrance into something resembling Los Angeles when Walt Disney arrived there in the 1920s. Expect wonderful new shops and restaurants, and most importantly, an aesthetic that puts a smile on guests’ faces much like Main Street, USA in the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland! Although it might seem somewhat mundane, Buena Vista Street is actually the most exciting addition for me; I think it’s the make-or-break addition, as success here creates a great “opening scene” for Disney California Adventure, which will set the tone for the rest of the park. Plus, it will feature a beautiful statue of Walt and Mickey called “Storytellers,” which will be a companion statue to “Partners,” a statue in the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland (among other locations world-wide).

Mad T PartyMad T Party is the newest nighttime street party to come to Disney California Adventure. For Disneyland regulars, this one is bittersweet. elecTRONica has been a blast, but it’s definitely a bit long in the tooth. Mad T Party seems intriguing, and time will tell whether it faithfully carries on the legacy of Glowfest and elecTRONica. I’m actually dreading this addition a bit, as it means I get dragged to yet another dance party by my wife. Me dancing is pretty much a train-wreck set to music.

The World Is A Carousel Of Color, Wonderful, Wonderful Color

Other 2012 Changes at Disneyland ResortSome other additions coming this year also include: the Matterhorn reopening in plussed form this summer, Fantasy Faire being added to the Carnation Plaza Gardens, and Carnation Café’s expansion. Other new attractions and experiences have recently opened: Jolly Holiday Bakery, The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta, Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, Soundsational Parade, and new tags for World of Color, just to name a few things. These additions, of course, compliment the already stellar attraction lineup and wonderful dining options at Disneyland Resort!

Disney's World of Motion - Paradise Pier

Some of you are probably reading this, thinking that it all sounds great, but a trip to Disneyland is not in the cards because it’s too costly. This can be true, but is not necessarily true. There is little reason to stay in an on-site hotel at Disneyland (off-site hotels are much cheaper and often closer to the parks!), so the added costs in airfare can usually be recouped in hotel savings. There’s also little need to rent a car, as a cheap airport shuttle can take you from the airport to your hotel, and you can walk everywhere at Disneyland Resort due to its small footprint. It still may be more expensive for your family to visit Disneyland, but don’t dismiss it out of hand. It may actually be cheaper than you think! But I’m getting ahead of myself with all of this…

For now, if I’ve piqued your interest in Disneyland, that’s great! We’ll try to help you make your Disneyland trip as excellent as possible with a series of Disneyland trip planning blog posts in the coming weeks, and we also have an exciting Disneyland announcement coming very soon, so stay tuned!

Are you planning on taking a trip to Disneyland in 2012? If so, will it be your first trip or a return trip? What do you think about these additions to Disneyland? Want to see some come to Walt Disney World? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Tom Bricker

Tom is an amateur Walt Disney World photographer. He recently married his princess, Sarah, to whom he became engaged at WDW on the beach of the Polynesian Resort in 2007. Tom and Sarah have a miniature dachshund named Walter E. Dogsney and a yellow cat named Yossarian the Cat. Together, Sarah and Tom run the website http://DisneyTouristBlog.com. Tom's photography can be found on his Flickr page (www.flickr.com/tombricker) and he can be contacted via Twitter (@wdwfigment) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/wdwfigment).

32 thoughts on “I’m Going to Disney…land?!

  • February 10, 2012 at 10:14 am

    I also agree that while Walt Disney World is great, Disneyland is a real treasure. First park I visited and still probably my favorite. Glad to see other people encouraging folks to visit.

    I do wish, though, that Disney would make a move to offer a DL equivalent to the WDW moderate resorts. I understand that there are hotel options in that price range nearby and any moves by Disney into that market would complicate relations with their neighbors. But having stayed in several non-Disney hotels in the area, none of them compare to the experience at a Disney resort. I’m simply priced out of the official resorts at DL and unfortuantely my CM relative at WDW can’t help with discounted accomodations at DL unless she is with me.

    • February 10, 2012 at 10:48 am

      I agree with you on this. Different price tiers of Disney hotels would be great in California. I’m a little surprised Disney hasn’t bought-up more of Harbor Boulevard. It would seem to me that property is worth a lot more to Disney than it is to those random third parties!

      • February 10, 2012 at 12:05 pm

        Disney has actually tried for years to buy up property in the area. DCA took forever to build because they couldn’t get the family that owned the strawberry fields across the street to sell. I was actually kind of sad when they finally did sell, because it was one of the last strawberry fields in the area. But the family made millions of dollars on land that was pretty much undeveloped. Think how much it would cost to buy up land that is already developed – that is, if anyone is even willing to sell it.

        • February 10, 2012 at 12:12 pm

          Right. What’s shocking to me, though, is that so many landowners have been so hesitant to sell. That, or Disney has been offering too low of offering prices. Something doesn’t quite add up, because all of that property is clearly “most valuable” in Disney’s hands.

          It’ll be interesting to see how the Anaheim GardenWalk situation plays out…

  • February 10, 2012 at 10:25 am

    I really want to go to Disneyland. Have been to WDW several times and Disneyland Paris lots and lots of times but I do really want to go to the original. Trouble is I know I could go to WDW for what it would cost me from UK so don’t know when it will happen!

    Incidentally – the partners statue at Disneyland Paris is not in the Magic Kingdom style park (Disneyland Park) but in the 2nd theme park – Walt Disney Studios.

    • February 10, 2012 at 10:47 am

      Dangit! I forgot about Partners being in WDS at DLRP. Looks like I need to go back and fix that. Thanks!

  • February 10, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Yes, we’re going in July! It’s our first family trip to California and I haven’t been to Disneyland since my 13th birthday. 🙂 I haven’t told the kids yet, but we have our rooms booked already. We go to WDW often, so I’m already laying the groundwork teaching the kids about the differences between the two. I’m excited!

    • February 10, 2012 at 10:49 am

      They’re in for a treat! I’m guessing a lot has changed out in Disneyland since when you were thirteen! 🙂

  • February 10, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Just to be pedantic, Eli (and all the previous MVPs) actually shot two commercials, one saying he was going to WDW, the other to DL. I happened to see both this year, as ESPN for some reason played the DL one and NBC played the WDW one.

    • February 10, 2012 at 10:46 am

      I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I didn’t realize this. Living in the Midwest, I guess we always just receive the WDW version of the commercial? Have they always recorded two versions?

      In any case, thanks for the correction–even if it does mess up my opening! 😉

      • February 13, 2012 at 1:36 pm

        I wonder, does the winner always go to Disney World? Maybe if the Super Bowl is in California or Arizona, they would have a parade at Disneyland and if it’s on the East Coast they go to Disney World based on proximity to the place the game is played.

  • February 10, 2012 at 10:30 am

    We have a HUGE trip planned to Disneyland this summer. It will be a first for my kids ages 15 & 9. We simply cannot wait. We are DVCers and using 2 years of points for a GC Villa. We are scheduled there from July 13 to 24 and hope beyond all hope that Carsland is open and running all the new rides. Great Article… No need to convince me!

    • February 10, 2012 at 10:50 am

      You’re going to love the Grand Californian. We tried to book a couple nights there (also on points) in November, but our waitlist never came through.

      If you don’t have a theme park view room, make SURE you visit the observation deck (for DVC members only). Gorgeous views of DCA from up there!

  • February 10, 2012 at 10:45 am

    I visited DL in 2009 and I loved it. We also liked DCA. I would love to go back and see Buena Vista Street and World of Color.

    We stayed at the Annabella, it was fine, the price was right. The bed was really comfortable and the bathroom was huge. Short walk to get to the park.

    I like the openness of MK vs. DL. Disneyland is ruled by those quadruple wide molded plastic strollers. When I was a kid, my mom and dad waited until we could use our own legs, sometimes they would carry us :).

    • February 10, 2012 at 10:51 am

      Strollers seem more prevalent to me at WDW rather than DLR. You’re right about WDW being more open, but it seems to me like more strollers there pretty much make space a wash between the two parks.

  • February 10, 2012 at 11:10 am

    My husband really wants to try Land instead if World for our next trip. At first I wasn’t so sure, but after reading the UG for Land, I can’t wait to visit! I am trying to get the fall lined up. I hope it works out. It also helps that the kids and I play the kinect DL Adventures game. I feel like I know the layout already!

    • February 10, 2012 at 12:37 pm

      We got that game for Christmas this year too. It is so dead on accurate and it’s so fun to see all the rides again through that view point.

  • February 10, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I’m going to DL in late April BEFORE everything reopens. It will be nice to see all that, but I want to experience DL before all those crowds show up. Then I’ll head back in Dec for xmas once everything has settled down a bit.

    • February 10, 2012 at 11:21 am

      I expect this summer to be VERY busy, but I wouldn’t expect things to be settled down at Christmas. It sounds like a lot of people who are planning first DLR trips are doing them during the Christmas season to kill two birds with one stone!

  • February 10, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    As a DL passholder, I’m slightly reluctant to encourage more people to visit my home park. However, knowing how crazy and crowded it’s going to be this summer anyway, maybe it’s better to encourage people to come now, so that come next Fall I’ll have less people to contend with for the new rides. 😉

    Actually, two of the new things I’m most excited about are food-related, and they’re things that WDW already has. After visiting WDW recently I realized I much prefer DL. But there are some things I wish DL had that WDW already has. And now two of those are coming here! I can’t wait for Ghirardelli and Earl of Sandwich to open. Lol.

  • February 10, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    I grew up in Utah so Disney Land has always been my park of choice and have been dozens of times. However in 2009 my daughter and I came to Disney World as a graduation present for her. We liked it so much that we brought the boys back in 2010 for Spring break and ended up moving to Orlando that same year. We love it and hit a park 4-5 times a month but I admit we are all dying to make a trip back to Disney Land. On our last trip the submarines were still being worked on so we missed that and Cars Land looks so wonderful. You make it all sound so fun that maybe this year is the year we go!

  • February 10, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    So I hear optimized DLR touring plans in our future? Fingers crossed!

    • February 11, 2012 at 6:47 pm

      That is a GREAT idea! Maybe before we go NEXT summer?

  • February 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    We actually are making a trip to Disneyland this year, our first since ’04 or ’05…can’t even remember. Unfortunately to do work schedules, we will be there in March – before all the hoopla. We’ve been regular visitors to WDW and frankly didn’t do Disneyland because, being from Colorado, it was around the same price to go to WDW for 7 days as it will cost us to go to Disneyland for 5…airline prices are too baffling sometimes. Anyway, we’re excited to be doing both costs in the space of 3 months (we just made a trip to WDW in December). This is a first for us, we usually have to wait a couple of years (or more) between trips.

  • February 10, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Going late may. Hoping to hit cars land for the soft opening. Worked out last year for little mermaid and star tours. Can’t wait

  • February 10, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    We are going to Disneyland May 30th & 31st. I noticed that some people say NOT to go on grad nights, but when I viewed the crowd calendar it says it is only going to be a 2 & 4 on those days. I don’t understand? Anyway, the last time we went to Disneyland my daughter was only 3, now she is 8, and I have 2 little boys, ages 2 & 4, and we are going with my brother, his wife & their 3 kids, so I CAN’T WAIT!!!! :)))

    • February 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm

      DL closes early on Grad Nights. During the day it should be pretty tame, because DL purposely picks dates for Grad Night that have low attendance. However, the park usually closes around 6pm, which means you won’t get to experience any of the night time attractions.

      BUT, Grad Night is usually only held 2-3 times per week and I’ve heard they’re moving it to DCA this year, so if you’re able to stay more than a couple days (or they’re not on Grad Night dates) you should be fine. Haha, sorry. I just realized that last sentence revealed my current lack of enthusiasm for DCA at night.

  • February 10, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    I’m super excited to be making my first ever trip to Disneyland this fall for the Disneyland Half Marathon! I’ve been to WDW too many times to count and to DLRP, but I think it’s going to be a real treat to go to DL!

  • February 10, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Tom: Did I miss an announcement? The grand opening is June 14th-15th? I was suspecting July 17th as an anniversary event, but this is great. We’re thinking of a grand road trip to the Grand Canyon and various stops in CA, including DCA to see Carsland (since it is a road trip!). Now we can make more specific plans. Thanks!

  • February 10, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    My husband and I are going to DL in June for our 25th anniversary. We have never been before, I’ve never been to CA at all. We are super excited to see all the new and old. We are concerned about how crowded it will be. Will new touring plans be out to include the new attractions? That would be super helpful for us newbies.

  • February 23, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Has the touring guide accounted for the Cars grand opening in their Crowd Calendar? I see it is only predicted to be a 5,5,6,5,6 on the Mon.-Fri. after opening. Also, do you know if they will be having a ‘soft’ opening before the grand opening? Thanks!

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