It’s no secret that Brian and I love going to Disney World. We live about 10 minutes from the resort, have annual passes, and usually visit at least once per month — usually more. When Celebration Anaheim was announced, I knew we’d have to stay in town an extra day so I could visit Disneyland for the first time in forever. Yes, you heard that right. My Disney-loving self had never set foot in Disneyland; in fact, prior to Celebration I had never even set foot in California!
I was eager to see all the differences between the Land and the World, and did a lot of research so I could make the most out of my one-day visit. I learned which rides were different, which rides were the same, and what food to eat. I went in with the intention to compare and contrast the parks, but deep down I knew Land wouldn’t truly be able to compare to my beloved Disney World. I’m very, very biased, and I know it. Plus, Land’s castle is way too tiny.
That said, I truly enjoyed my time at Land and am so glad I had the chance to visit after Celebration Anaheim. It was a blast running into fellow con goers, and I have to give a big shout out to Amy Ratcliffe for returning the favor from when she visited Food and Wine Festival and being our tour guide and helping make the most of my trip. It’s always fun to do Disney with people who understand the magic.
The differences between Land and World were evident from the beginning, as we could walk to the resort from our hotel. Anyone who’s been to the World knows how huge it is, and that you have to drive or take a bus or monorail everywhere, unless you’re lucky enough to stay at certain hotels. Then we walked through Downtown Disney in order to get to the parks, which were directly across from one another. I felt like I was at Universal Orlando Resort, where you have to walk through Citywalk from the parking garage. Only Universal is much bigger that the Land. I was expecting it going in, but I couldn’t get over how tiny Land is.
We started out by going to California Adventure to get Fast Passes for Radiator Springs Racers, which I’d heard usually had one of the longest lines at the parks. Yes, Land still has paper Fast Passes, and paper tickets, and turnstiles, and handstamps. It felt quaint when compared to the changes that have been going on at World over the past several years. I know many people prefer the more laid back nature of Land, and there was something to be said for not having to plan Fast Passes weeks in advance and being able to wing a day trip.
We met up with Amy inside DCA and then made the trek over to DL. It was so, so weird walking inside the turnstiles and seeing the train station, Town Square, and Main Street. It was all so similar to the Magic Kingdom, but at the same time extremely different. Because of that, I kept getting this unnerving uncanny valley type feeling. I kept looking for certain snack stands and bathrooms, only to find myself lost.
I picked up my “first visit” button at guests services, and then it was time to see the castle. Let’s just get this out of the way right now. Sleeping Beauty castle is soooooo tiny. It was so weird not being able to see it from other places inside and outside the park, like you can with Cinderella castle. But Sleeping Beauty castle is very pretty, and there’s something to be said for walking in Walt’s footsteps. No matter how big it gets, the World will never be able to have that.
I mainly wanted to go on rides that we don’t have at World, or rides that were somehow different at the two resorts. At DL we went on Pirates of the Caribbean (longer at Land), Haunted Mansion (shorter at Land but with a nicer queue), Winnie the Pooh (different version), Jungle Cruise (different script), Star Tours, It’s a Small World (different loading area and includes Disney characters), and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (no longer at World).
You might notice one major omission: Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. We don’t have it in the World and it was the ride I was looking most forward to. Of course that meant it was closed. Boo! The Matterhorn, another ride we don’t have in the World, was also closed.
(I should point out that I hadn’t planned on riding Star Tours, since it’s the same in both Land and World, but Celebration withdrawal left me no other option.)
Later in the day we walked over to DCA. We didn’t do many rides there, but the ones we did are ones we don’t have at all in the World: Monster’s Inc., California Screamin’, and Radiator Springs Racers. (Although RSR is basically a re-theme of Test Track.)
Speaking of RSR, I’ve never seen the Cars movies, but Carsland was super impressive just from the quick walkthrough we did. Disney is excellent at theming and I can’t wait to see what they’re going to do with a full-on Star Wars Land (because we all know it’s going to happen).
We went back to Disneyland for dinner, then ended the day by taking the monorail from Tomorrowland over to Downtown Disney, which was extremely odd, but fun. We spent some time in the Jazz Kitchen and lamented the fact that we had to fly home the next day.
I tweeted all about my time at Disneyland, as any good blogger would, and made a Storify for your amusement. You can also find my picture gallery from Flickr below.