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Why This Disney World Regular Wants to Visit Disneyland

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Sleeping Beauty Castle
Sleeping Beauty Castle

Disney World is my favorite place on earth and I love to visit as much as I can. There’s plenty to do with four theme parks, two water parks, a shopping district, and a number of incredibly themed resorts; but this Disney World Regular has her eye set on another Disney Park for her next trip. Where? The Disneyland Resort! But why? After all, the Disneyland Resort is much smaller, as is its castle, and many of the rides found at Disney World are also at both Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. There’s also no water parks or as nearly many resorts. But wait! I have some good reasons, many of which Disneyland fans are sure to back me up on. In fact, many of my fellow Disney fans argue that the Disneyland Resort is better than Disney World on a number of points. So keep reading to find out why this Disney World Regular wants to visit Disneyland.

To Be A Park Newbie: My first trip to Disney World took place when I was nine months old. You see, both of my parents were Disney fanatics and couldn’t wait to introduce me to the Disney magic. Throughout my childhood, we took as many trips as we could. In fact, one of my earliest childhood memories is lying on my bed and studying the Disney World park maps from our most recent trip. I know that I was incredibly fortunate to have visited Disney World throughout my childhood, a tradition I’ve continued to this day; but I must admit that just once, I would like to see my favorite place on earth with new eyes, like a first-time guest who has no idea what’s around the next corner. But seeing how I can’t do that, I can go to the Disneyland Resort! I’ve always wanted to go. It’s Walt’s original vision and is the reason why there’s a Disney World in the first place. Not only would a visit be fulfilling as a Disney Fan, but I would love the chance to be a park newbie, to actually need those free parks at the entrance, and to sport one of those first-time visit buttons!

The Matterhorn

To Ride the Matterhorn Bobsleds: My mother visited Disneyland when she was a little girl and what she remembers most is flying through the Matterhorn caverns in her bobsled and splashing through the water at the bottom. It’s something she still talks about today. Naturally, I would love the chance to ride this classic attraction myself, especially since it’s a big part of Disney history. It was the first coaster of its kind and can only be found at Disneyland. I have a feeling it will be first on my to-do list when I pass through the gates.

To Dine at the Blue Bayou Restaurant: This New Orleans Square landmark is a Disneyland restaurant that I have always wanted to visit. The Blue Bayou dining room looks and feels like it’s nighttime in the bayou with twinkling fireflies and chirping crickets and, the best part, a view of the Pirates of the Caribbean boats floating by. Oh! I must mention the menu. The Blue Bayou, which is open for both lunch and dinner, features Southern, Cajun fare like Gumbo, Jambalaya, Surf and Turf, Monte Cristo Sandwiches, Mint Juleps, etc. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

World of Color
The breathtaking World of Color at Disney California Adventure

To See World of Color: This nighttime show, found at Disney’s California Adventure, is like no other as it is shown on Paradise Bay and has received raving reviews since its opening several years ago. The show is unique in that it’s a combination of projections on water screens, colorful water jets, dancing fountains, fire, fog, and more! I’ve seen a few videos of this show and was completely blown away. I especially appreciate how this show blends the past with the present as it was inspired by Walt Disney’s World of Color, a Disney television series during the 1960s. The show has even incorporated the series’ famous theme song. So yeah, the World of Color is most definitely one of the reasons why this Disney World Regular has a West Coast Disney Vacation on the brain.

To Ride the Original Monorail: Now I love the Monorails at Disney World. It’s my preferred mode of Disney transportation and I never get tired of quoting, “Please stand clear of the doors. Por favor mantenganse alejado de las puertas.” But have you seen the Disneyland Monorail? I adore the retro-futuristic design, and that it runs through the parks and offers some cool views of the attractions below. Now I know the same can be said of the Epcot Monorail, which takes a loop through Future World; but Disneyland’s Monorail goes through both the Disneyland Park and Disney’s California Adventure, offering some picturesque glimpses of the Matterhorn and the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.

Finding Nemo Subs
The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

To Ride the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage: I have fond, although fuzzy, memories of riding the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World when I was little; and to this day, I’m still bitter that it closed down. Even though I was too young to remember the whole ride experience, I still think of it when I walk through Fantasyland; and the little tributes to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea found around New Fantasyland’s Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid attraction are some of my favorite park details. Disneyland was the first park to have this submarine themed attraction; but instead of closing it down and removing it forever, Imagineers revamped it for a new generation with a Finding Nemo theme. How perfect! Even though I never had the chance to ride Florida’s version again, Disneyland’s Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage sounds incredible and just might become one of my favorite attractions.

To Walk in Walt’s Footsteps: Walt Disney is one of my heroes and while some of Walt’s touches and ideas are present at Disney World, I want to actually walk where Walt walked and see his original vision for myself. Walt used to stroll through the park back in Disneyland’s early days and have breakfast, hand out autographs to kids, and just enjoy his vision come to life. I’ve also heard that Walt had a private apartment above the Main Street Fire Station; and today, a lantern is kept burning in the window the Fire Station in honor of Walt. That’s definitely something I want to see, and just one of the many reasons why I want to go to Disneyland.

At Disneyland Resort, riding headliner attractions still means a special trip to pick up a FASTPASS for later.
At Disneyland Resort, riding headliner attractions still means a special trip to pick up a FASTPASS for later.

To Experience Cars Land: This new addition to Disney’s California Adventure is very popular and so well done! From the photos and promos I’ve seen, Cars Land appears to be the closest thing to actually being in a Disney Pixar movie as you can get. Flo’s V8 Cafe, a popular Cars Land restaurant, gets rave reviews for its theming: but the real highlight of this immersive area is the Radiator Springs Racers attraction. From what I understand it sounds like Epcot’s Test Track, but with a Cars theme and a lot better. Guests roll past some realistic scenes and characters from the film, and then race another car to the finish! Cars Land appears to be some of the best work Disney Imagineering has produced in recent years, and I need to see it for myself ASAP! Note: Luigi’s Flying Tires attraction in Cars Land closed this month and will reopen as a brand new experience next year. Read all about here.

To Ride the Mad Tea Party Tea Cups During the Fireworks: I have to be honest, I’m not a big fan of the Mad Tea Party at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. It reminds me of a ride at my local county fair and seems totally removed from the charming atmosphere of Fantasyland. It’s also a little dark under its multicolored roof which I think is supposed to be a tent? Anyway, from what I understand, the Mad Tea Party at Disneyland is so much better. For one, there is no ugly roof and the spinning cups are open to the sunshine with the signature, whimsical Japanese lanterns strung overhead. I have also heard that you can see the nightly fireworks when riding at night. What a fun way to enjoy the show! It sounds like something you would see on a Disney commercial.

Carthay Circle Restaurant
Carthay Circle (photo courtesy DisneyTouristBlog.com)

To Dine at the Carthay Circle Restaurant: Another reason why this Disney World Regular wants to visit Disneyland is for the opportunity to enjoy a meal at Carthay Circle Restaurant. The restaurant, found at Disney’s California Adventure, is a designed after the real Carthay Circle Theater where Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs film first premiered back in 1937. The restaurant’s exterior and interior feature Old Hollywood elegance that I can’t wait to enjoy, and both the lunch menu and dinner menu sounds so classy and refined. What particularly sounds delicious to me? Carthay Circle’s Valrhona Milk Chocolate Creme Brulee Tart. Yum!

So those are just a few reasons why I want to visit the Disneyland Resort. I know that I will always love Disney World, but I think there’s room in my heart for two favorite Disney destinations, don’t you? Why do you want to visit the Disneyland Resort; or if you’re a Disneyland Regular, what would you suggest for other Disneyland Rookies?

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Savannah Sanders

Savannah has been visiting Disney World since she was a year old and has gone back almost every year since. In the real world, she teaches high school history and government and enjoys writing about all things Disney. Savannah can be reached on Twitter @DisneyParkSavvy.

17 thoughts on “Why This Disney World Regular Wants to Visit Disneyland

  • We went for the first time in September and loved it! All I can think about now is when can we go back, even more so since they announced the 60th anniversary stuf.
    We went during Halloweentime so we got to see Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. For any WDW regular, I’d recommend going the end of the year if you can so you can see some of the holiday overlays we don’t get in Orlando.
    I don’t even remeber how many times we rode Pirates, loved it!
    Cars Land totally lives up to the hype, I could wander around there all day. New Orleans square is another one of my favorite areas. And Indiana Jones is just plain awesome.
    The food was another big difference, definitely better than Florida, and more variety. We didn’t have any burgers, chicken finger or fries (ok except the Pomme Frites at Café Orleans which I still dream of daily) the entire week we were there.
    It may be smaller in size, but dont underestimate how much there was to explore and experience. We did 5 days in the parks and that was just enough to do what we wanted.
    Oh and hotels walking distance from the gates? Not having to think about transportation, priceless.

  • We had an awesome first trip to DLR this past summer. Can you imagine waiting in a half hour line at 2pm on 4th of July weekend to ride TSMM? Can you imagine walking on to Journey of the Little Mermaid? Getting Fast Passes to Soarin’ at 5pm? Heaven.
    CarsLand and RSR was AWESOME!
    Nevermind the fact that we ate outside Big Thunder Ranch BBQ – totally under rated yet completely awesome all you care to enjoy plus a singing cowboy. I will not go to WDW in the summer but DLR is lovely. We loved DLR. I hope we can go back in 2016. Heading back to WDW for Spring Break.

  • And no Fastpass+, you still get the Legacy Fastpass system!

  • I grew up in the South going to WDW and then moved to California as an adult. As someone who has now been to Disneyland MANY times, I couldn’t agree more! There is so much different to appreciate and enjoy at DL and you’ve named quite a few of my favorites. Hope you get here soon! (And I now hope I can take my experienced DL kiddos to WDW for the first time soon).

  • Disney world : MILES of fun.
    Disneyland. Acres of fun.

    Honestly, it’s just magic kingdom. The only must-see is the alladin show. Best ever.

    • I defer, it’s not just MK, it’s the best of Epcot (soarin), the best of Hollywood Studios (T of Terror, Toy Story) and Animal Kingdom (River rapids), all together in the same place. No complications. And then, Cars Land.

  • Savannah–I am in the same boat! Well sort of….I didn’t grow up going to WDW all the time, but we did take the kids on 4 trips in 6 years. And now we’re going to DL for the first time in June. I am super excited! I think a big part of it is just like you said, I can’t wait to be in a whole new landscape that is unfamiliar and see things and ride rides that we’ve never experienced. I am a huge planner (that is half the fun, right?) so it has been really exciting to start fresh with new parks to plan for. I’d love to see more DL posts. I was sad that Brian, who went to DL as part of Touring Plans Everywhere, never posted more than one post-trip report. {Did he get on Len’s bad side or something? :)}

  • Great reasons to go! As a Disneyland regular who loves WDW as well, I always wonder why people think the parks are interchangeable! Some things you should also try at Disneyland: Indiana Jones Adventure, Pirates (additional scenes and better!), park-hopping (just a couple of minutes across the plaza), Mr. Toad- who continues to drive erratically, Fantasmic with it’s amazing dragon,and Storybook Land Canal boats. There is an intimate feel to Disneyland that you’ll notice too. Oh, and arrive early!

    • Thanks, Sherrie! I appreciate the tips!

  • If you are a Pirates of the Carribean fan, then you will love the Disneyland version much better! It is almost twice as long as the Florida version and the battle scene is in big building, and you get to ride by all the people eating in the Blue Bayou!

    • Chris, I am a huge Pirates of the Caribbean fan and now I’m even more excited to head to Disneyland! Thank you!

  • I am doing the opposite of what you are doing in November – I used to live in Southern California and probably have been to Disneyland 200 times but will be going to Walt Disney World for the first time. Blue Bayou is amazing. I love the gumbo and jambalaya there – and it is fun watching everyone queue up for Pirates. The Matterhorn is fun, but can be a bit rough. I haven’t been to Cars Land and look forward to doing that when we go back next year or the year after. California Screamin’ is probably the most enjoyable roller coaster I have been on (and I’ve been to Cedar Point and other roller coaster havens). Have fun!

  • You only mentioned one ride of the wonderfully themed (at least I think so!) Alice in Wonderland area. You’ve got to ride the other ride as well!

  • I love Disneyland, and I would say, yes, in overall I prefer it over WDW. But I want to make a warning to your comment: “Disneyland’s Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage sounds incredible and just might become one of my favorite attractions.” If you are susceptible to small spaces, this will not be your ride. The submarines are cramped and claustrophobic. You literally squeeze shoulder to shoulder and there’s only one way in and out. I rode it once and never again. I prefer the WDW version by far.

    • Mariana, that’s so good to know! I’m not so sure if I would like being squeezed in like that, and I bet other readers would feel the same. Thanks for your warning!

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