I just don’t get it! I have friends out in California who tell me how much better Disneyland is than Disney World. Walt Disney himself walked through his creation, Disneyland, after all. It is classic! However, I’ve heard many devotees of Disney World say that the California counterpart pales in comparison. I wholeheartedly stand up and say…not true, people, just not true! I am in neither camp. Disneyland and Walt Disney World are both very special places.
Walt Disney World is actually Disneyland’s counterpart when you think about it. Yes, Walt’s dream was to do things better the second time, to have the luxury of size and to carry out some of his ultimate dreams, such as EPCOT (or is that EPCOT Center…or modern day Epcot….with the hand and the wand?). My favorite theme park in Florida is Epcot and, of course, California doesn’t have an Epcot. Disneyland has a MAGIC unto itself. There’s something awe inspiring about knowing that this is the place my parents dreamed about coming to when they were kids. They watched Walt Disney, marketing master, promote Disneyland on TV and knew that one day they would just have to ride those tea cups!
This is where it all began!! Without Disneyland, Walt Disney World wouldn’t exist. If you’ve already been to Walt Disney World, I believe you will find it fascinating to compare and contrast the common attractions. Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland is much more elaborate. Heck, there’s even a great restaurant that your ride vehicle floats through, peacefully. Now if they would only serve you appetizers on the way through, eh?
Disneyland Resort (including Disneyland, California Adventure, Downtown Disney and the resort hotels) is fantastic because it is all within walking distance. I’ve stayed at the Grand Californian and it is the ultimate to get up, and be in a theme park moments after a leisurely breakfast at La Brea on your short stroll over there! The Grand Californian makes it easy with a guest entrance to California Adventure. But if you’d rather hit Disneyland park first, that is almost as easy! I’ve been known to crisscross the two parks (and Downtown Disney for lunch) all day long. Want to go on Soarin’ Over California first thing in the morning to avoid the lines? Jump off the ride and you can be at Disneyland park faster than you can say biddity bobbity boo!
Disneyland and California Adventure do have many attractions that you just can’t find at Walt Disney World. Indiana Jones Adventure, Pinnochio’s Daring Journey, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin, Alice in Wonderland are a few that I think are not to be missed at Disneyland park. At California Adventure, I wouldn’t miss Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular, Disney Animation, California Screamin’ and Disney’s Electrical Parade!
The other thing I just LOVE about Disneyland is that it can be covered in a shorter period of time, thus allowing you to enjoy the amazing state of California. One of my all time favorite trips began in San Francisco followed by a short drive to Napa Valley for a balloon ride over the vineyards. Then, we hit the road and headed to Disneyland. The stretch of highway offers some breathtaking views. We stopped off in quaint little towns. Even the rest stops were pretty. Hollywood, SeaWorld, Universal Studios, Knott’s Berry Farm and Legoland are all in the vicinity of Disneyland. You won’t be wondering what to do next.
This is a great time to visit Disneyland as it is celebrating it’s 50th Anniversary! So if you’re considering a Disney trip, don’t rule out Disneyland. I wouldn’t call her the Evil Stepmother. In fact, she has more of a Fairy Godmother feel to me!