by Doctor Disney Devo
As a long time veteran of Disney World, having gone over 30 times and living on the East Coast, I’ve always considered it home. With its massive size, featuring four theme parks, two waterparks, and countless resorts, I knew there was nothing that could ever compare. I’ve always thought Disneyland would just be a sort of miniature Disney World. After all, the park was smaller, the rides were smaller, and therefore the experience would not be as impressive, right? But when I actually visited Disneyland and experienced it firsthand, my perspective would be completely changed.
If I could summarize my visit, I would say in simply one word that I was IMPRESSED. Disneyland did not let me down in any way. Although I did not have enough time to see every attraction in both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, I did see enough to know that it was extraordinary. Therefore, I am going to highlight the Top Ten ways that Disneyland impressed this avid Disney World fan:
1) They Keep Things Up-to-Date
Disneyland is constantly changing to keep their attractions up-to-date or adding new attractions to keep their guests coming back. They have added attractions such as Cars Land and updated attractions such as morphing Space Mountain into “Hyperspace Mountain” to theme with Star Wars. It seems like Disneyland has done a great job reinventing and constantly coming up with new and improved ideas to incorporate into the two parks.
2) They Keep the Classics
Disneyland has no shortage of the classic rides like Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Mad Tea Party, and Peter Pan’s Flight, but it also has classic rides that Disney World does not. Some examples would be Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (a fan favorite…and mine too!), Storybook Book Canal Boats, and the Matterhorn Bobsleds. Disneyland offers a nostalgic experience that you can’t find anywhere else.
3) The Parades are Better
Disney World parades are great, don’t get me wrong! But when you get a glimpse of the new Paint the Night parade in Disneyland, it will make the the Main Street Electrical Parade look like the Christmas lights on your house in comparison.
4) World Of Color!!
It’s an attraction that you have to see to believe. If there is any show that truly captures the magic of Disney, it is this one. Amazing for both adults and children of all ages, this show captivates and stuns everyone that sees it. The best part is that they are always updating it, which keeps you coming back again and again. For an in depth review of World of Color check out Character Diva’s article on it here.
5) The It’s a Small World Attraction is Better
The facade around the It’s a Small World in Disneyland is ten times better then its counterpart in Florida. It is located in the corner of the park before you enter Toon Town and next to Tommorowland, so you feel like that area of the park is devoted entirely to just Small World. You enter to boats from outside and then travel inside so you really get that “going on an adventure” feeling when you travel through the worlds. Overall it just feels larger and longer in duration, and the sets are more substantial, too. At night, guests are treated to a Magical light show with dazzling lights and music when the outer facade comes to life.
6) Mickey’s Toon Town
Now that Toon Town is gone in Disney World, the only place to see Mickey’s House, Minnie’s house, and Goofy’s Playhouse is in Disneyland. This was by far my little 2-year-old daughter’s favorite part of the whole trip. When we told her that we were going to see Mickey’s house and Minnie’s house, all of her dreams from watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse came to life. The look on her face was priceless as we went through the houses leading up to the meet and greets with Mickey and Minnie.
7) Some rides at Disneyland are better/longer than in Disney World
Rides like Pirates of the Caribbean in Disneyland are simply just a better overall experience. There is more time spent at the beginning and end of the ride that sets the theme and story. Some of the scenes in both rides are the same, but hands down, Disneyland’s version is the better of the two.
Disney World has Swiss Family Robinson’s Tree House, whereas Disneyland has Tarzan’s Tree House. Both are walk-though attractions where you climb up and down staircases to look at different scenes, however Tarzan’s treehouse just has an overall better story and experience (and is more up-to-date).
Space Mountain in Disneyland is much more fun than its Disney World counterpart. The ride vehicles sit two to a car, side-by-side, as opposed to Disney World which sits front-to-front. Therefore, in Disneyland you can enjoy the experience with someone else sitting next to you. The ride vehicles also have an on-board speaker with a soundtrack playing while you ride, which further enhances the experience.
8) It is Actually Very Big (Not as Small as You Think!)
When you stand at the hub in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, you can see each of the five entrances to the five themed lands. Your first reaction is that the park must be pretty small. Once you set foot in each land, however, things get a lot bigger! It will actually take you a long time to get from one end of the park to the other (especially when you are trying to run to grab fast passes for your favorite attractions).
9) Walt Disney’s Inspiration
When you walk down Main Street or even when you first enter the gates of Disneyland, one of the first things that comes to mind is Walt Disney. Disneyland has a very nostalgic feel, knowing that you walked in the same footsteps that Walt Disney did. With Main Street being inspired by Walt’s hometown and designed to resemble a turn-of-the-century town (i.e. 1910), you can see many of these elements as you walk around. From the fire station and his apartment above it to the penny arcade and theater, each element has a nostalgic feel. They even keep a light on in the apartment where Walt used to reside to remind visitors that he is still watching over the park.
10) Sleeping Beauty’s Castle
Even though Cinderella’s Castle is by far much larger and elaborate, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle also has a more nostalgic feel to it. Also, it has a very nice walk-through attraction telling the tale of Sleeping Beauty that is very enjoyable, as opposed to Cinderella’s Castle, which doesn’t have as much to offer.
When people ask me which one I like better, without a doubt nothing can compare to the sheer size and amount of land in Disney World, which makes it the superior park. Disney World has the advantage of being able to utilize all their available space to continually add more resorts or expand its parks. But much to my surprise, because of its nostalgic feeling, unique attractions, and amazing shows that you can’t find in Disney World…Disneyland will always continue to impress and delight me.