By Nick DeJohn
There are a several things a die-hard Disney fan has to do and visiting Disneyland is tops on the list.Â Opening in 1955, Disneyland was and continues to be one of the crown jewels of theme park entertainment.Â With Walt at the helm from day one, the park and hotel complex achieved enormous success and, as of 2009, is the second most visited theme park in the world (Take a wild guess what number one is).Â Any Walt Disney World habitual has to go.
However, there are several reasons why some Walt Disney World regulars might not want to set out for the Happiest Place on Earth.Â East Coasters might not want to bear the long and exhausting cross-country trip (the fastest way to get there is a 5 hour plane ride).Â Others may not have the financial ability to do so.Â And a few just simply donâ€™t want to go!Â Whatever the case, most of these people might have a fear of feeling out of place and confused/lost in the new territory that is Californian amusement.
But fear not!Â Disneyland and Walt Disney World have very close connections to make regulars feel right at home.
Disneyland and Magic Kingdom are almost mirror reflections of each other.Â It gets so similar in certain areas that some guests might not which park theyâ€™re in!Â Both parks consist of at least seven themed lands (although these lands are not the same), both are relatively small, and the most popular park in their respective resort.Â Yet there are a few differences between them.
Each park has guests starting their journey walking under the Main Street train station and enjoying the sights and sounds of Waltâ€™s favorite land, Main Street U.S.A.Â The designs of Main Street for both parks are exactly the same, but the restaurants and shops will vary.Â The famed hub and spoke layout is present at the end of street, leading the park goers into the lands.Â What stands at the end of Main Street for both parks are not exactly alike.
Sleeping Beauty Castle beckons the guests into the park in Disneyland.Â The castle, which has a pink, gold, and light blue color scheme, is only 77 feet tall.Â Compared to the majestic, white Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom (which rises an imposing 189 feet), it is fairly miniature in structure.Â However, both serve useful backdrops for the excellent firework shows the two parks offer.
Disneyland and Magic Kingdom have six equivalent lands (Main Street U.S.A., Frontierland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Adventureland, and Toontown) and lands that are unique to each respective park.Â Disneyland features New Orleans Square; a French Quarter-inspired land which hosts two of the parks more popular attractions, the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean.Â Critter Country is also a land located in the back of the park.Â This small part of Disneyland is themed to the forests of the Pacific Northwest and features the famous Splash Mountain (which, by the way, averages at least a forty-five minute wait).Â Magic Kingdom only has one exclusive land not found in Disneyland, and that is Liberty Square.Â Themed as Colonial America in the 1700s, it contains only three attractions, the admired Haunted Mansion among the select few.
Both coasts have no problem enjoying the frightening sights and sounds of the Haunted Mansion.Â The popular dark ride is beloved by many ages, and although they are mostly similar, some differences are present.
The biggest difference is the appearance of the Mansions.Â Disneylandâ€™s Haunted Mansion resembles an antebellum Southern plantation while Magic Kingdomâ€™s Haunted Mansion is based on Dutch Gothic-designed manors located throughout the Hudson River Valley.Â The immense changes in appearance for the mansions are heavily influenced by the lands they are in.Â The Haunted Mansion in Disneyland rests on the edge of New Orleans square while the Haunted Mansion in Magic Kingdom stalks the tip of Liberty Square.Â Modifications in exterior were necessary to fit the setting the Mansions were in, or else one or the other would look extremely silly.
Size constraints on Disneyland forced Imagineers to think outside the box.Â They needed to find a way to transport all the guests underneath the existing Disneyland Railroad train tracks and into the show building where the ride was housed.Â They cleverly invented a haunted stretching room which served as an elevator to move the park goers into the desired location.Â After leaving the stretching room (which is identical to the Magic Kingdom version), guests must walk down a portrait corridor with haunted paintings and strange busts to reach their Doombuggies.Â Magic Kingdom, which had the â€œblessing of sizeâ€, didnâ€™t need an elevator or tunnel to take visitors to the show building, but the stretching room proved to be so popular they kept it.Â After a re-spooking of the Haunted Mansion in 2007, the Walt Disney World patrons travel down this corridor not on foot, but by Doombuggy.
Floridian guests get to experience an extra scene in the Haunted Mansion.Â After you leave the loading station, you will visit a haunted library and music room, where some grim grinning ghosts are causing a little mischief.Â The 2007 re-haunting also added haunted Escher-stairs with ghostly footprints where the giant spiders used to be.Â Your Doombuggy in both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom will take you to the endless hallway, where both rides become exactly the same.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN
Walt Disney World guests know the story of Pirateâ€™s late inclusion to the Magic Kingdom attraction line-up in 1973.Â Disneylandâ€™s version of the popular Pirates of the Caribbean opened in 1967 in New Orleans Square.Â While most of the latter portion of the ride is the same, the beginning of Pirates and the appearance of the exterior differ quite a bit from each park.
To fit with its New Orleans theme, Disneylandâ€™s Pirates of the Caribbean features an antebellum theme much like its New Orleans Square counterpart, the Haunted Mansion.Â Its faÃ§ade evokes 1850s New Orleans (with a 31-star flag to boot) and features a â€œLafitte Landingâ€ theme, with a overhead sign at the boat docks paying tribute to real pirate Jean Lafitte who fought alongside the U.S. Army in the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812.Â Walt Disney Worldâ€™s Pirates, on the other hand, must match its Adventureland setting.Â It features a distinction blend of Spanish architecture (the faÃ§ade was inspired by Castillo de San Felipe del Morro in San Juan) and jungle foliage to blend in with Adventureland.
Unlike the Haunted Mansion, both rides needed their distinctive drops to carry the guests under the railroad and into the main show-building housing the ride, however the drop height is different (Disneyland plunges guests down two drops while Walt Disney Worldâ€™s single drop is shorter).
The beginnings of each ride are different as well, and in a reversal of roles compared to the Haunted Mansion, Disneylandâ€™s Pirates has additional scenes.Â Since the construction and planning of Pirates in California was not rushed to meet a demand from displeased guests, the designers (including Walt, which Disneylandâ€™s Pirates would be the last attraction he personally worked on) put much more effort into the ride by including lengthy opening scenes.Â Disneylandâ€™s version opens with a quiet, serene Blue Bayou scene with peaceful banjo music, dark lighting, and a view of guests enjoying their meals at the Blue Bayou Restaurant.Â The California version also includes a Grotto of Lost Souls, a nicely decorated scene of a treasure room full of unfortunate pirates guarding their loot for all eternity.Â Walt Disney Worldâ€™s Pirates, unfortunately, doesnâ€™t give guests these unique experiences due to time and space restraints.Â But at least we get to travel down the portrait corridor on Doombuggy.
BUT THEREâ€™S MORE!
Disneyland boasts more overall attractions than Walt Disney World.Â This is clearly evident in Fantasyland, where dark rides like Pinocchioâ€™s Daring Adventure, Alice in Wonderland, and (yes, they still have it) Mr. Toadâ€™s Wild Ride are prominent.Â Another high-flying attraction that surely cannot be missed is the majestic Matterhorn Bobsleds, a thundering and rumbling roller coaster that takes guests twirling through the majestic Matterhorn mountain.Â Of course, they have to avoid the dreaded Yeti along the way (yes, doesnâ€™t this attraction sound familiar?).Â Fantasyland also offers quiet and peaceful rides like Storybook Land Canal Boats and Casey Jr. Circus Train along with Magic Kingdom mainstayâ€™s Peter Panâ€™s Flight, Snow Whiteâ€™s Scary Adventures, and of course, itâ€™s a small world.
Another Magic Kingdom Fantasyland attraction will be found in Disneyland, but in a different section of the park.Â The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh occupies one of the top corners of the park in Critter Country, a small land dedicated to the animals and creatures.Â Critter Country features Davy Crockettâ€™s Explorer Canoes, another ride that was formerly operated at Walt Disney World.Â The attraction is a free-floating canoe ride along the Rivers of America, and is the only guest controlled ride in Disneyland.
Tomorrowland features attractions that wonâ€™t be found in the Magic Kingdom, although may be found in other places in Walt Disney World.Â Innoventions, the fun and creative look into the future of home living, is found in the corner of Tomorrowland.Â Walt Disney World guests can find Innoventions in Epcot.Â Star Tours is also included in Tomorrowland.Â The same show can be found at Disneyâ€™s Hollywood Studios.Â Caption EO, the 3-D show starring the late Michael Jackson made a return to Disneyland where it replaced Honey, I Shrunk the Audience (which can still be found in Future World at Epcot in Walt Disney World), but as a limited engagement.Â An exclusive attraction that once sailed in the Magic Kingdom is a highlight to Disneyland, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.Â Replacing the original Submarine Voyage (or as Walt Disney World old-timers might remember as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage), the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage takes guests on a trip under the sea in search of Nemo and through obstacles like hungry sharks and pesky fish.Â Sound familiar as well?Â The plot is very similar to The Seas with Nemo and Friends ride at Epcot where guests board â€œclamobilesâ€ and embark on a journey to find the popular clown fish.Â Another feature Disneylandâ€™s Tomorrowland includes is a station for Disneylandâ€™s Monorail, which can take guests inside and outside the park whenever they want.Â While monorails cannot bring guests into the park at Walt Disney World, the Walt Disney World Monorail does travel through the heart of Epcot.
WHAT WE CAN BRAG ABOUT
While we know Epcot, Disneyâ€™s Hollywood Studios, and Disneyâ€™s Animal Kingdom contain a boatload more original attractions than Disneyland and its sister park California Adventure can claim, the Magic Kingdom boasts original rides of its own compared to its California counterpart.Â Among the attractions we can brag about are the Magic Carpets of Aladdin and the Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management) in Adventure.Â The Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management) features an enhanced script of the innovative Enchanted Tiki Room located in Disneyland, with humorous characters like Zazu and Iago stealing the show.
Walt Disney Worldâ€™s Tomorrowland includes exclusive rides Monsterâ€™s Inc. Laugh Floor and Stitchâ€™s Great Escape, along with the popular Tomorrowland Transit Authority.Â The Magic Kingdom also holds a timeless classic that Disneyland doesnâ€™t, Walt Disneyâ€™s Carousel of Progress.Â Actually, Disneyland used to show Carousel of Progress before it shut down in 1973 and was moved to Florida in 1975, where the Audio-Animatronics adventure has been going strong since.
Another attraction that used to be shown at Disneyland was the Country Bear Jamboree.Â Original housed in Critter Country, the Country Bear Jamboree shut down in 2001 to make room for the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.Â Fortunately, the Country Bear Jamboree has been entertaining Walt Disney World guests in Frontierland since opening day of the Magic Kingdom in 1971.Â Although Disneyland guests enjoyed Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and all of his Abey goodness, Walt Disney World guests experienced something betterâ€¦ all 44 presidents!Â Magic Kingdomâ€™s Liberty Square is home to Hall of Presidents, a hidden treasure since opening day.Â And when the new Fantasyland expansion is finally finished, it will add a smorgasbord of attractions, including a Little Mermaid dark ride.
So all in all, Disneyland and Walt Disney World are quite similar both in structure and in atmosphere.Â Guests on the East Coast should never feel homesick when touring the original Happiest Place on Earth.
Share YOUR comments below about the two parks, their similarities and differences, and which is your favorite and why