Re: Disneyland for the WDW Veteran
Just went to DL for the first time. Here are my observations...
Astro Orbitor - Better in WDW. Same ride, but in DL its on ground level.
Autopia - Same as WDW Speedway
Buzz Lightyear - Basically the same but a little better in DL because the guns are attached with chords not bolted onto the car
Monorail - This is treated more like a ride and transportation instead of just transportation which is weird. The windows also open which is interesting. Takes you outside Disney property which is also unusual for WDW fans. Worth checking out for the views of the park
Disneyland Railroad - Sadly this was closed for the duration of my stay but I hear it is basically the same but with some different dioramas. Has stops in Tomorrowland, New Orleans Square, Toon Town, and Main Street
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage - Not as good as 20,000 Leagues used to be but good. My only objection is that it is technically in tomorrowland and the themeing doesn't work. Then again, Tomorrowland in DL is an absolute MESS theming wise.
Honey I Shrunk the Audience - Didn't ride this because it is the same exact show as Epcot and to tell you the truth, I am bored to death of this attraction.
Innoventions - Not my favorate Epcot attraction either but I wished I had time to check this out. It sounds better than the Florida version but we skipped it to save time.
Space Mountain - This had the Ghost Galaxy Halloween overlay which was amazing and took nothing away from the ride. The ride is every bit as great as Magic Kingdom and the Halloween special effects are actually really scary and make this a must see Halloween attraction
Starcade - Just the same kind of arcade as Magic Kingdom. I usually don't waste my time on Arcades in Florida so I didn't in Cali either.
Star Tours - Same exact ride as Hollywood Studios. Que is a little different so its worth checking out.
Alice In Wonderland - Excellent dark ride in the Fantasyland style we are used to, except it has a portion of the track that travels outside of the building. I can't seem to figure out why it does this, other than, it needs to for space, because it doesn't really add much to the ride. Takes nothing away either.
Casey Jr Circus Train - Closed for my entire trip
Dumbo the Flying Elephany - Same as Magic Kingdom if not a little more elaboratly designed
it's a small world - The exterior building in DL is amazing, the ride itself is a little better than MK but I detest that they added little disney characters to the DL version and as much as I didn't want to, I found myself searching for them the entire time i was on the ride. Instead of loosing myself in the message of world peace through the eyes of children I was playing spot the character. DL definatly looses points for that.
King Arthur Carrousel - A little less elaborate than the Carrousell in MK
Mad Tea Party - Same ride as MK but no tent covering it. A little different on the visual, but same ride.
Matterhorn Bobsleds - Great ride but a little jerky. It is pretty old so it is understandable. Think of this like a mini version of Expedition Everest, or a rough draft of it. The only thing I don't like about it, is that it is in Fantasyland and the theming seems off on this attraction as well. I am not sure if there would be a better land to put it but it just doesn't seem Fantasy enough even though there are a couple of Yeti sightings in the ride. You can also see this attraction from Tomorrowland and that is a horrible visual. Totally sticks out as completely non-futuristic and is almost an eye sore while in Tomorrowland. It is also weird to me that this attraction is taller than the castle. That is a visual that doesn't quite gel with what I am used too.
Mr Toads Wild Ride - This version is not quite as good as the MK version used to be, but that is only because it has one track. I was so glad to ride this attraction again though, that it didn't really matter. The que was excellent for this ride as well.
Peter Pan's Flight - Basically the same as MK with a few little differences. Again the que for this is better than MK. But that is pretty much standard for DL over MK. There Fantasyland is a little more visually appealing in California.
Pinocchio's Daring Journey - Great dark ride. Loved this one a lot and I really wish we had one in Florida.
Snow White's Scary Adventure - This version pales in comparrison to the florida version. This is really the only instance where I could say the differences were so notable it was almost a completely different ride. This version is shorter and a little confusing. Worth checking out for comparison but Florida has this one locked.
Storybookland Canal Boats - Closed for the duration of my stay
Sleeping Beauty Walk Through - Loved this. Perfect, simple, and loaded with special disney details.
Big Thunder Mountain - There is more themeing along the track in DL but the Florida version is a better ride. You also load this version outside unlike florida. The bats in this one are laughable compared to Florida as well.
Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island - A little better than the MK version but not because of the Pirate theming. That actually looks forced and out of place here. It is just a little bigger and has a little more area to explore.
Shooting Explosion - Same as MK except a few of the guns at DL were broken and wouldn't hit any of the targers. Technical problem, I know, but it still broke the magic a little.
Mark Twain Riverboat - Same as the river boat in MK. A nice ride though.
Sailing Ship Columbia - Closed for the duration of my stay
Big Thunder Ranch - This was kind of nice. A petting zoo and pumpkin carvings. There was also a little ranch house with Halloween decorations. I am not sure what it looks like without the holiday decorations but it was a nice little spot with some cool details to check out
Golden Horseshoe Stage - Didn't seen any show at all here but the ice cream was great.
Fantasmic - Didn't play once while I was there
Enchanted Tiki Room - Much better than the MK version. Not nearly as obnoxious since Iago is no where to be seen. I loved seeing this without a boring, tired, disney character anoying me throughout the performance. A classic and I was so glad to see this attraction the way a remember the old one in Florida
Indiana Jones Adventure - Stellar. The ride vehicles work like Dinosaur at AK but this ride is so much better than Dinosaur you can't even compare the two. It is a dark ride and thrill ride and done perfectly.
Jungle Cruise - Basically the same as MK
Tarzan's Treehouse - Same principle as Swiss Family Robinson in MK, and infact, it used to be Swiss Family in DL as well. I usually HATE when they do these things to classic attractions but I have to say that I really loved this. It was done really well and even I have to admit SFR seems a little tired at this point.
Haunted Mansion - I would have loved to see the original version but the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay was up. Since the Florida and Cali versions are similar I guess I am lucky that I got to see the Holiday version. The outside of this atttraction is much different as well and less creepy than Florida. I preffer the exterior of Florida but I suppose I couldnt say conclusivly that one is better than the other. The interior is set up a little different and the que doesn't work quite as well in DL. the holiday overlay is done very well though and I did really like it.
Pirates of the Caribbean - The DL version is much much better. Longer, more details etc. My only complaint is I am not sure even though i know this is the original ride, that I like the port of origination being New Orleans. In MK it is themed after a fort in Old San Juan and that seems a little more Pirate like to me. I prefer the que in Florida but the over all ride is a little better in Cali
Splash Mountain - The Florida version is hands down better. Longer, more comfortable, nicer over all look. This version is still fun though.
Davy Crockey Explorer Canoes - These were not running while I was there but I think I would have skipped them anyway. Not a big fan of rowing and I am sure I wouldn't feel like doing that much work when I am already spending 12 hours wandering a theme park.
Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh - Much better look in MK. The frontierland look to the exterior of this ride doesn't really fit. Fantasyland is a much better fit for this ride, not Critter Country. It was fine, but it looks like a quickly thrown together approximation of the Florida version.
Toon Town Houses - Mickey's Minnie's Goofy's and Donald's Boat. All pretty good. Houses are similar to MK but Toon Town in DL is SOOOOOOOOOOOO much better than Florida version. Much more to explore and it has a better look to it in general.
Gadget's Go Coaster - Closed while I was there
Chip and Dales Treehouse - Closed while I was there
Roger Rabbit's car Toon Spin - Great ride. Not sure I think Roger Rabbit deserves a ride especially in such a child friendly park. I think that movie is a little too adult for Toon Town but I did enjoy it, regardless of the characters. Don't get me wrong...I love the movie either way.
As far as dining goes I would skip the Blue Bayou completly. It is an enjoyable setting since it is right inside POTC but they rush you to finish to turn tables over, the food is horrible since they pre cook most of it to get you out faster. No appetizers at all, and the vegetarian option was boring and unimaginative. Not nearly worth the price you pay. The server was excellent but I was so unimpressed buy this place I was glad I didn't schedule any other table service meals while I was there. I am sure there are good restaurants but it left me a little sour on Disneyland Dining. Honestly, even though it is counter service, the food was better for the price at the French Market. cost about a third of what we paid at Blue Bayou and the food was just as good if not better. Most of the counter service places were really good in DL. A little more variety than in MK but a little more expensive.
Some other things to note. MK has it all over DL when it comes to sperating theming between lands. I know this has to do with DL being much smaller in size but it was a little weird to see Splash Mountain right next to the Haunted Mansion when the theming is so different. Critter Country looks exactly like Frontierland and these two lands are on either end of New Orlean Square making it seem like NOS was forced in the middle of Frontierland. I really found that visually unappealing. In my opinion they should have changed Critter Country's theming completely when they put Splash Mountain in. Splash Mountain could easily have has a Port Orleans River Side exterior which would have worked so close to NOS. I was dissapointed to see two lands so similar in theme.
On to California Adventure
Soarin' Over California - Same as in Epcot. Great ride though
Grizzly River Run - Would have like some more theming. It was just a river rapid ride with no real disney magic. Basically the same as the Kali River Rapids in AK
Red Wood Creek Challenge Trail - Skipable if you are looking to save time but this could be great fun for the little guys. I had to rush through it due to time so I may have missed some details.
It's Tough to be a Bug - Same as AK
Blue Sky Cellar - Great models and imagineering plans for the future of Cali Adventure. Similar to the model attraction that is in Hollywood Studios, but future plans, instead of a historical look.
California Screamin' - Great roller coaster. sort of like Rockin Rollercoaster but outside.
Maliboomer - A lot of fun but really short. Just a straight shoot up and a free fall down.
Mulholland Madness - Didn't get to ride this one but from what I understand it is just a quick little roller coaster with a lot of turns.
Mickey's Fun Wheel - This is a must ride. It is basically a ferris wheel but the cars are on internal tracks as well which makes them swing and rock and move even while you are standing still. Due to the track design on the inner circles while the wheel is taking your car up, you are sliding down the internal track which makes you feel like you are falling down and flying up at the same time.
King Triton's Carrousel - Just a carrousel but very nice looking. underwater animals etc instead of horses.
Jumpin' Jellyfish - Basically the Maliboomer for kids
Games of the Boardwalk - I didn't play any but I have to say I think these look awfully tacky.
Toy Story Midway Mania - I havn't been to WDW since this opened so I can't compare the two but I loved this ride. Even though i think the midway games look tacky outside, I think this ride is wonderful. This is the type of midway game I think Walt would have liked since it gave something that already existed a complete disney make over.
Mike and Sully to the Rescue - This is a pretty cool ride. Monster's Inc movie that you basically just ride through. Sort of like a Fantasyland Dark ride but a little more modern looking.
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror - The Florida version is MUCH better but the Cali version has one scene that adds to the experience. It is a scene that makes it look as though you have disapeared with the people on the elevator and it is a great effect.
Muppet Vision 3D - Same as Florida
I really liked cali adventure although i can see why it is so unappealing to california residents. It has mock ups of real world Los Angeles attractions that are just thirty miles away. It would be like Florida having fake versions of St Augustine or something. I think being from out of state made this park more enjoyable for me.
Also the one thing I can't get over is that once you exit the parks the disney magic stops. You leave disney propery and you can see cast members walking home and being picked up and they loose the cast member demeaner. When you leave the parks in Florida you are still on Disney property so the magic is still there. The cast members in Florida are much better as well. Much more pleasant. I also saw many cast members in lands that were not the same as their dress code. Like cast members obviously in Tomorrowland attire walking up mainstreet, or in fantasyland attire, in frontierland. I suppose this is because of the smaller size of the park and lack of backstage areas.
I definatly feel more immersed in Florida but California is a wonderful place as well. Definatly worth checking out if you have never been and I will definatly go back. I prefer WDW but DL is a very very very close second.
August 1983 Contemporary (Just one year old!)
August 1986 Contemporary
August 1987 Contemporary
August 1988 Contemporary
August 1989 Polynesian
August 1990 Contemporary
August 1991 Contemporary
August 1992 Polynesian
August 1993 Polynesian
August 1995 All Star Sports/Polynesian
August 1996 All Star Music/Polynesian
January 1998 Polynesian
March 2000 All Star Music (Senior class trip)
July/August 2003 Off Property
September 2006 All Star Music
January 2007 Pop Century
October 2009 Disneyland-Alpine Inn (off property)
November 2010 Pop Century
June 2012 Disneyland - Grand Californian
November 2014 - Wilderness Lodge