A Walt Disney World Lovers thoughts on Disneyland

Since I was a teenager I have loved Walt Disney World! Every time I walk into Magic Kingdom I feel like a kid again. Walt Disney World is huge and exciting and familiar and I can almost walk through the parks with my eyes closed. Disneyland is such a different experience for this Walt Disney World lovin girl!

Planning a trip to Disneyland excited me, I was thrilled to visit the parks with my family and anxious to learn more to better help families enjoy their Disneyland vacations. Our family took a spring break trip to Disneyland and I was lucky enough to go back recently for a Wishes Family Travel agency meeting. Living in the Midwest makes Florida a more convenient travel destination, but for any Disney lover California and Disneyland should definitely be on your bucket list.

Walking in to the “Park that Walt built” was a huge thrill for me! Walking through the beautiful Sleeping Beauty Castle, knowing that Walt walked the same path, was exhilarating! Riding original Disney rides and eating in original Disney restaurants gave me a very nostalgic feeling. We were even able to ride Mrs. Disney’s favorite horse on the carousel. Disneyland Park is smaller than Magic Kingdom, I found it to feel more intimate and it didn’t take long to get my bearings and feel comfortable.

There are many rides that are common between Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park, but there are differences in each of those rides. On Space Mountain, riders sit two in a seat and fly through the very dark ride with fun music playing. Splash Mountain gives riders more opportunities to get wet, VERY wet (I should know), as you ride over a few more hills than Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom. It’s a Small World at Disneyland is the original ride that Walt took to the 1964 World’s Fair and incorporates into the countries where they live. For example, Jasmine and Aladdin are flying above Morocco, Pinocchio is in Italy and Lilo and Stitch are in the South Pacific. It is fun to look among the dolls and spot the characters.

Disneyland has more lands than Magic Kingdom including New Orleans Square, Critter Country and Toontown. Star Wars Land is being added to Disneyland Park, construction will begin in early 2016. New Orleans Square, which offers a genuine feel of the New Orleans French Quarter, is home to Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion. Both The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean look different on the outside but are very similar rides to their Florida counterparts. Pirates of the Caribbean takes you on a leisurely ride through the Bayou before you arrive in the pirate infested Caribbean. Critter Country has The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride, Splash Mountain and Davey Crockett’s Explorer Canoes.

After spending time at Disneyland Park, California Adventure is a short walk away for more fun. California Adventure has a similar look to Hollywood Studios as you stroll down Buena Vista Street, which made me feel at home. California Adventure features seven lands: Pacific Wharf, Paradise Pier, Hollywood Land, “a bug’s land”, Grizzly Peak and Cars Land.

Walking through Pacific Wharf is like walking through the Wharf are in San Francisco. I enjoyed a Bakery Tour hosted by Boudin Bakery and eating a fresh sourdough bread bowl filled with homemade soup. Boudin Bakery also sells the fresh sourdough loaves, they even have a selection of Mickey shaped loaves. If you’re hungry Pacific Wharf is the place to be with selections from Chinese and Mexican to Italian with wine tasting.

Paradise Pier feels like being whisked back in time to an early 1900’s beach town. California Screamin is my new favorite roller coaster, I love the speed, the hills, and the loop de loop! Mickey’s Fun Wheel is the most unique ferris wheel I’ve ever been on, some of the cars swing forward and back as the wheel turns or you can choose a car that does not swing. One of my favorite Hollywood Studios ride, Toy Story Mania is on Paradise Pier, as well as many other rides, shops and places to eat. I also had a lot of fun riding the Silly Symphony Swings, Jumpin Jellyfish, Golden Zephyr and Goofy’s Sky School. After all the riding I needed a snack and discovered Corn Dog Castle and had the best corn dog! There was quite a line, but it was worth the wait.

After Paradise Pier I walked over to Cars Land and was honestly blown away, I felt like I stepped into the movie! I jumped on Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and spun around like a little girl, grabbed some lunch at Flo’s V8 Café then a little treat at the Cozy Cone Motel. The absolute best part of Cars Land was riding Radiator Springs Racers! It starts off with a lazy drive through Radiator Springs on the way to the Big Race with a little tractor tipping along the way. After either a new paint job, or some new tires, you’re off to the race, racing against another car speeding through the turns of Route 66. I had so much fun that I had to ride it again, and again!

While I wasn’t at either of the parks, I was spending time at Downtown Disney which neighbors Disneyland Park and California Adventure. In the morning I walked down from my room at the Grand Californian to grab a cup of Starbucks coffee and some beignets at Ralph’s Jazz Kitchen. I also found myself wandering through the World of Disney store, because apparently I didn’t shop enough inside the parks! For kiddos who would like to be magically transformed into a Princess or snowman, a stop at Anna & Elsa’s is a must. There are great restaurants to be found at Downtown Disney and nightly entertainment. When I was ready to go back over to Disneyland, I just hopped on the monorail at the Downtown Disney station and took a ride to Tomorrowland.

The parks, Downtown Disney, and the resorts are all within walking distance of each other and I really liked the convenience of walking everywhere. The close proximity made it easy to park hop, pool hop, or hop back to the resort for a rest. If you love Walt Disney World but have not yet visited Disneyland contact me, julir@wishesfamilytravel.com to learn more about how amazing a Disneyland vacation would be! There are also tons of pictures on my Wishes Facebook Page of the parks, the food, and the Grand Californian for you to enjoy. Once you visit Disneyland you will be hooked like me and want to go back many times!

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Originally published at juliruss.com on February 22, 2016.

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