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SATURDAY SIX: 6 Attractions You Can ONLY Experience at DISNEYLAND

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This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at 6 Attractions You Can ONLY Experience at DISNEYLAND! As Walt Disney World annual passholders, we here at the SATURDAY SIX headquarters often find ourselves a little jealous of our Disneyland counterparts. While Guy Selga and his ilk enjoy multiple nighttime parades while eating various flavors of churros, we in Orlando have a park that is going to operate with a total of 3 rides. So today we are going to head back into The Park That Walt Built and check out 6 attractions that you can only experience there, and let’s start off with…

# 6 – Alice in Wonderland

While not an opening day attraction at Disneyland, Alice in Wonderland came along only several years later and contains a wonderful mix of old school Disney Imagineering tricks along with some modern day bells and whistles. Guests ride distinctive caterpillar cars and experience the Alice in Wonderland story; complete with three dimensional sets, classic audio animatronics, and some nifty projection effects. Like Happily Ever After in WDW, the ride uses hand-drawn animation to help bring the story to life while adding oodles of charm. Alice is also the only two-story Disney dark ride with an outdoor section, adding to the fun factor.

Alice in Wonderland guests enjoying the outdoor portion of the ride. (photo by Brian Pinsky)
Alice ride vehicles modeled after the current day theme park blogger and their mentality of “this BETTER be good.” (photo by Brian Pinsky)
The famous Cheshire Cat. (photo by Brian Pinsky)

# 5 – Storybook Land Canal Boats

One of our favorite types of attractions in any park are those that feature Cast Members in spieling roles. Unfortunately many of those rides have gone straight to the Disney Dump or have been converted into an automated spiel like Living With The Land. Disneyland still has that great CM/guest interaction with the Storybook Land Canal Boats. An opening day attraction, Storybook Land has guide-operated boats winding along canals with guests looking at miniaturized locations from classic Disney animated films such as The Three Little Pigs and The Wind in the Willows along with more modern fare such as Aladdin and Frozen. In a recent SAT SIX we mention how much we adored the miniaturized cityscapes in Legoland Florida, and Storybook Land is a lot like that except using some of our all time favorite Disney films.

Storybook Land. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Cast Member spieling for guests. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Storybook Land. (photo by Brian Pinsky)
The dwarfs cottage in Storybook Land. (photo by Brian Pinsky)
The sultan’s palace. (photo by Brian Pinsky)
Arendelle from Disney’s Frozen. (photo by Guy Selga)
French village and castle from Cinderella. (photo by Guy Selga)

# 4 – Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

On episode #92 of the Disney Dish podcast, Len Testa and Jim Hill covered the “Save Mr. Toad Protests.” 20/20 hindsight shows us this protest was Patient Zero in the current epidemic of guests overreacting to rides closing. However, while we in Florida mourn the passing of the Mr. Toad ride, guests out in Disneyland still get to enjoy this “classic.” While several other Disneyland opening day attractions show how far ahead of the curve the park was compared its competition (including Jungle Cruise and Peter Pan’s Flight,) Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride looks and feels every bit of it’s 60 years of age. There are some positives though; the Mr. Toad ride vehicles let young drivers feel as if they are the ones driving through this nonsensical story, and it’s one of only Disney moments where guests get to visit a literal version of Hell (unlike the figurative version we in Orlando get when trying to book an ADR for Be Our Guest restaurant or a FP+ for Flight of Passage.)

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. (photo by Brian Pinsky)
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. (photo by Brian Pinsky)
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.(photo by Brian Pinsky)
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Ride vehicle for Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. (photo by Brian Pinsky)
Mr. Toad. (photo by Brian Pinsky)
Mr. Toad’s artwork which shows “story” of ride, including a trip to H-E- Double Hockey Sticks. (photo by Brian Pinsky)

# 3 – Matterhorn Bobsleds

Like the Animal Kingdom’s Tree of Life and the Hollywood Tower of Terror at DHS, the Matterhorn at Disneyland is one of the most iconic theme park landmarks ever built. This unique roller coaster also offers something that WDW doesn’t have: a Yeti that actually works. The Matterhorn contains all the thrills of a typical Disney coaster, but none of the big drops as instead the guests find themselves speeding around the mountain. Various enhancements to the ride over the last decade make the bumps and bruises you’ll get from the experience worth it.

Matterhorn bobsleds. (photo by Brian Pinsky)
The Matterhorn. (photo by Brian Pinsky)
Matterhorn bobsleds. (photo by Brian Pinsky)
Matterhorn trail. (photo by Brian Pinsky)
Matterhorn bobsleds. (photo by Brian Pinsky)
A monorail passes by the Matterhorn.(photo by Brian Pinsky)
Matterhorn climbers. (photo by Tim Grassey)
The Matterhorn macaroon from the Jolly Holly bakery.(photo by Brandon Glover)

# 2 – Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

Disney submarine rides may be the slowest-loading, least practical attractions ever made for the parks, but there’s one thing you can’t deny: they are incredibly cool, especially for young kids. While WDW sank their 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction in the ’90s, Disneyland found a way to reinvent the ride using the Finding Nemo brand. There’s just something special about boarding an actual* submarine and going underwater to see some of our favorite characters through the use of practical effects and screen based technology.

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. (photo by Brian Pinsky)
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. (photo by Brian Pinsky)
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. (photo by Brandon Glover)

*not an actual submarine, but it feels real!

# 1 – The Disneyland Story featuring Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln

A certified Must Do for any Disney fan, The Disneyland Story featuring Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is one part museum, one part rousing attraction. With a lobby area featuring rare Disney memorabilia and some fantastic videos, Disney fans young and old will find themselves captivated by history. The main attraction though is in the large theater, where Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln brings guests up close with true Disney magic. Created in 1964 for the World’s Fair, longtime Disney fans have heard the stories of guests at the time swearing that the Lincoln audio animatronic was a real person. Despite over 50 years of technological advancement since then, the Lincoln animatronic is as impressive as ever, and his life’s story even more so.

The Disneyland Story featuring Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. (photo by Brian Pinsky)
The Disneyland Story featuring Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. (photo by Brian Pinsky)
The Disneyland Story featuring Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. (photo by Brian Pinsky)
The Disneyland Story featuring Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. (photo by Brian Pinsky)
The Disneyland Story featuring Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. (photo by Brian Pinsky)
The Disneyland Story featuring Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. (photo by Brian Pinsky)
The Disneyland Story featuring Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. (photo by Brian Pinsky)
The Disneyland Story featuring Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. (photo by Brian Pinsky)

So there you have it: Six Attractions You Can ONLY Experience in Disneyland! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).

If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following:

6 Reasons This WDW Annual Passholder Loves Disneyland


6 Disneyland Snacks You Gotta Try

Special Thanks to our spirit animal Brandon Glover, Dateline Disneyland‘s own Brian Pinsky, Mr. ‘Ohana Tim Grassey, the SAT SIX fun squad of Parkscope Joe and Nick, and blogger to the stars Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Be sure to also check out Brandon on The Park Blogger podcast with goofballs co-hosts Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde , while fellow Potterheads may enjoy Meg’s work on the Central Florida Slug Club.

FINAL PLUG! Did you know The 2018 Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando has a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX in it? Finally, someone came up with an actual reason to read a book. ORDER this baby now!

Touringplans’ Disneyland Guy Selga has us contractually obligated to post this picture of Captain EO from Disneyland.

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13 thoughts on “SATURDAY SIX: 6 Attractions You Can ONLY Experience at DISNEYLAND

  • May I just say what a comfort to find somebody who actually knows what they’re talking about over the internet. You actually realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people have to read this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you are not more popular because you most certainly have the gift.

  • Casey Jr. Circus Train?

  • You forgot Pirates of the Carribean!! It’s one of the slowish riding rides but it’s an incredible ride. My favorite piece is the drop! Can you do a Disney California Adventure one as well??

    • Surely Pirates of Caribbean can’t be on the list as that attraction is at other Disney parks and this blog is entitled Six Attractions You Can ONLY Experience in Disneyland!

  • I love this list! Thanks for compiling it.

    Technically, the Submarine Voyage vehicles are not really submarines. They never submerge underwater, even though they give the illusion of being on a submarine voyage. I think they are closer to glass-bottom boats like you would see at Catalina Island.

  • Indiana Jones definitely deserves a mention. Also, while not rides, Pirate Island (formerly Tom Sawyer Island) and Tarzan’s Treehouse (formerly Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse) are not at WDW. And what about Toontown and the Roger Rabbit ride?

    I am guessing that you are leaving the DCA unique rides for another article? Because RSR, Monsters Inc, GRR, Screamin’ and the GoG ride all deserve a mention. There’s also the soon-to-be-demolished Bug’s Land (which, while dull for adults, is great fun for toddlers) and Goofy’s Sky School, the Zephyr, the Jellyfish ride, etc.

  • Yay the Matterhorn!! My favorite ride! Is it bad that it’s my dream to have the ride break down while I’m on it so I get to see more of the inside? Also, I know the Abominable Snowman is usually known as “Harold,” but my family has always called him “Fred.” (Which makes the Everest yeti “Ted.”) If you’re ever on a toboggan full of people yelling “Hi, Fred!” inside the mountain, that would be us.
    I haven’t gotten to see the updated Fred yet, but I love that the old one made his way to DCA. <3

  • Isn’t there a “Storybook Land” Ride in Disneyland Paris?

    • This was a heated debate in the SAT SIX HQ. There is a Storybook Land” boat ride in Paris, but it was determined to be a different enough experience as to count. This would be in comparison to Indiana Jones, which has a different name for the attraction but for all intents and purposes is the same thing. Having a Cast Member guide you in the ride and having classic moments like entering the mouth of Monstro make Disneyland’s version unique (at least to us.)

  • I’ve read that Walt actually did some gardening work on Storybook Land Canal Boats. Can you verify if that’s true? It certainly gives that ride an extra thrill of nostalgia.

  • Thanks for the list! I rode the Storybook boats this April for the first time in years and it is so well done! It is definitely a slow loader but worth the wait at least once. You did leave off the Indiana Jones ride — one of my favorites at Disneyland. Even though “Dinosaur” is a similar vehicle, I think the Indy ride at Disneyland is SO impressive, including the amazing queue.

    • I would count the Indiana Jones ride and our Dinosaur attraction to be two completely different things, however Tokyo Disney Sea has basically the exact same Indiana Jones ride just under a different name. Tokyo also has the Beaver Brothers Explorer Canoes, making another Disneyland attraction ineligible.

    • Dinosaur isn’t just a “similar vehicle” to Indiana Jones, it’s the EXACT same ride building and track layout, just with different sights & sounds along the way. But as Derek mentioned, the Indy ride is also in Tokyo.


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