As a longtime Walt Disney World lover, I am no stranger to going to the same destination for a vacation after vacation. I traveled to Walt Disney World over a dozen times before considering a trip to Disneyland, but once I got it in my head, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
By the time we got back from our first trip there, my family had agreed that it would not be a one-and-done trip. Let’s see if we can convince you with these 8 reasons you should be planning your trip to Disneyland!
There are Lots to See in a Small Footprint
Disneyland Resort is made up of 2 parks: Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. It also features a small Downtown Disney area. The parks are more intimate and less spread out than their Florida cousins; in fact, you can easily walk in and out of the two theme parks (with a Park Hopper ticket) across a central esplanade in just minutes.
Despite being smaller, you may be surprised to know that there are actually more attractions at Disneyland and California Adventure than all four Walt Disney World Parks combined. Because there’s less walking involved, it’s also an easier Park for parents with young children to tackle.
You Can Compare Your Favorite Attractions
Many rides exist at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland, but don’t think that means you should skip them! Several of them are not the same in both parks. Pirates of the Caribbean, for instance, existed in Disneyland first. Visitors to Walt Disney World arrived at the Florida Park hoping to experience it, and it was requested so frequently that they added the attraction.
However, space was limited in Adventureland, so the Orlando version of Pirates of the Caribbean is shorter and laid out differently. In Disneyland, you’ll enjoy more extensive scenes in the early part of the ride, as well as two drops. On the other hand, Space Mountain existed first at Walt Disney World and was later added to Disneyland. In this case, the original isn’t necessarily better; the Disneyland version is much smoother and has great in-ride audio.
Other attractions you might enjoy comparing are Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which has effects that Walt Disney World’s version doesn’t have. “it’s a small world”, which has a much more elaborate facade in Disneyland and Disney’s characters represented in the ride itself. Disneyland also has a superior version of Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, where you can actually lift the blasters up to use them. Fancy a Dole Whip that you can actually bring into the Enchanted Tiki Room?
If so, definitely check out the Disneyland version. You’ll also find versions of the Mad Tea Party, Haunted Mansion, Dumbo, Toy Story Midway Mania, Soarin’, and Splash Mountain, among others.
And Experience Others You’ve Never Seen Before
Disneyland has some attractions that you can’t enjoy at Walt Disney World, making it all the more appealing. A few attractions have similar counterparts at Walt Disney World but are vastly different in theme and worth separate consideration. For instance, Disneyland has Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout (vs. Tower of Terror) and Indiana Jones Adventure (same physical ride as Dinosaur in Animal Kingdom, but an entirely different experience).
As far as unique experiences go, Disneyland has the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage (formerly 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea), as well as the Park’s iconic Matterhorn Bobsleds. And don’t miss these more charming-than-thrilling throwbacks: Storybook Land Canal Boats and Casey Jr. Circus Train. Disneyland has several special dark rides as well that you just can’t see at Walt Disney World: Alice in Wonderland, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and Snow White’s Enchanted Wish.
Visit Entirely Different Lands
There’s nothing wrong with Fantasyland or Adventureland, but being able to explore new lands is so much fun! Marvel Avengers Campus is the newest addition to Disney’s California Adventure, and it’s a great place to see some favorite Avengers characters and learn to sling webs like Spiderman.
You’ve also never seen anything like Carsland, which will make you feel like you’ve stepped into the animated world of the Cars movie franchise. Whether you want to get your speed on riding Radiator Springs Racers (a more story-driven version of Test Track) or eat dinner at Flo’s, I doubt you’ll be disappointed. Let’s not forget the classic and truly charming New Orleans Square, where you can enjoy Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, and some winding streets and a mint julep!
Try out Genie+ AND Avoid the WDW 50th Crowds.
If you’re among the Disney fanatics who are actually excited to check out Genie+, it’s coming to Disneyland, too. Why not check it out in a Park that’s not mobbed for its 50th anniversary?
There’s no doubt that Walt Disney World will have lots of special touches for the 50th Anniversary (beginning October 1, 2021), but they’re also expecting huge crowds. Now might be the perfect time to visit the West Coast, instead.
Soak up the Great Weather
Humidity is just not a thing in southern California like it is in Florida. The weather at Disneyland is notoriously lovely. Rain is rarely a factor. When we traveled there a few years ago, one weather issue that we did not expect did put a slight damper on our plans: California wildfires.
If there are any wildfire issues when you travel, you’ll likely miss out on fireworks because they are risky when conditions are primed for fires. Even the slightest wind can cancel evening entertainment (including Fantasmic!) if there are wildfire conditions.
Enjoy Lots of Great Dining & Snacking Options
Whether you’re into fine dining or theme Park snacking, you’ll find lots to love (and devour) in Disneyland. Depending on what you have an appetite for, you can’t go wrong with a delicious meal at Carthay Circle, a beverage at Oga’s Cantina, a Dole Whip at Tropical Hideaway, or a corn dog from Corn Dog Castle.
In the mood for some southern fare? You can enjoy a Monte Cristo, pommes frites, and a beignet at Cafe Orleans, or dive into some Jambalaya at the Blue Bayou and watch the ride boats for Pirates of the Caribbean glide by.
Disneyland is Walt’s Park
If you make the trip to Disneyland for no other reason than to walk in Walt Disney’s footsteps, I won’t blame you! There’s something special about knowing you’re in Walt’s original Park. Though he dreamed of having more space for his “Florida Project,” he never was able to see Walt Disney World through to completion.
Knowing that my feet touch the same ground as Mr. Disney’s when I’m in Disneyland gives me a real sense of connection to the love that went into Disneyland’s creation. If you’d really like to maximize your Walt vibes, be sure to look for the lead horse on the carousel. Her name is Jingles, and you’ll spot her on the outside row of horses wearing golden bells. Walt himself was known to ride Jingles frequently when he visited the Park.
There you have it– 8 reasons you have to plan your own Disneyland trip ASAP. We’d love to hear from other Disney fanatics who have ventured to Disneyland. Did you love it as much as Walt Disney World?