The Big Picture

by Josh Olive

Adventure Land: 

  • The Jungle Cruise - Phenomenal skippers on 2 out of 3 cruises, and their queue is well worth examining – especially the upstairs!
  • The Enchanted Tiki Room – The seating on this attraction was comfortable with plenty of legroom, and it was wonderful to see the original show in all its restored and meticulously cared for glory.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye – This is one of the most incredible attractions I’ve ever ridden in my life.  It hurts the knees just as much as DAK’s Dinosaur, but the ride and the story are infinitely better.  So worth the scrapes and bruises!

New Orleans Square: 

  • Pirates of the Caribbean – Seating on this vehicle is identical to that at WDW, but the attraction is twice as long and, really, that’s just twice as much awesomeness.  Fantastic.  Highly recommended.
  • The Haunted Mansion – More or less the same as WDW’s version; seating is the same.  One peculiar difference is that Little Leota is placed after you exit the ride vehicle and are walking on the way out.  That means you can stop and look around at that final scene as much as you want, which is great.  The outdoor theming of being in the deep south, as opposed to New England, doesn’t really carry over to the interior of the attraction.

Critter Country: 

  • Winnie the Pooh – This started a trend that I noticed on several of the dark rides; show scenes were in peculiar order.  Other than that, this version of the attraction doesn’t differ over much from WDWs; that ride vehicles look very different, but the seating is about the same as what we’re used to at WDW.
  • Splash Mountain - Single file seating on this attraction was a little tight, but much more comfortable for me than our side-by-side seating at WDW.  Wonderful attraction!

Frontier Land: 

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – Seating was the same – I think the ride vehicles are identical – but the ride itself was very different.  The landscape is different, the feel is different.  It was a lot of fun.
  • The Columbia Sailing Ship – The closest corollary we have to this attraction is the Liberty Belle, but since we don’t have a ship like this at WDW, this was a must for me.  A nice slow break from the hectic park – great attraction!
  • Pirate Lair at Tom Sawyer’s Island – With the pirate layover, this island has a very different feel from the one at WDW, with lots more caves and tunnels than WDW’s, but definitely made for the smaller set – I think most adults would have trouble with a lot of these.
  • The Happiest Ranch on Earth - Home of the Disneyland petting zoo and Granny Kincaid’s Cabin, this was a wonderful mid-day distraction, and we got to meet Woody and Jessie there in a relaxed, uncrowded atmosphere unlike anyplace I can think of WDW>
  • Fantasmic – I hate to say it, but DL’s version of this puts WDW’s to shame.  The staged fight between Captain Hook and Peter Pan onboard the Columbia-Sailing-Ship-Turned-Pirate-Frigate was just incredible, and their dragon makes ours look like papier-mache.

Tomorrow Land: 

  • Captain EO – Just like WDW’s, though I think the theatre is a bit smaller.
  • The Monorail - DL’s monorail travels from Tomorrow Land to Downtown Disney, and it looks way cooler than WDWs and has more and better seating!
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage – Oh, how this made me long for the days of the 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, when the Nautilus could be seen in the lagoon at WDW.  I confess that I was pleasantly surprised to find that I fit comfortably in this vehicle.  The portholes were a little low for me and required me to bend down to look out from them, but what a wonderful attraction!

Toon Town: 

  • Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin – What a phenomenal dark ride!  This was a fantastic ride, and I wish to goodness we had this at WDW!

Fantasy Land:

  • Peter Pan’s Flight – The WDW version of this ride is longer and generally improved in every way except one – Disneyland’s version has a star field near the beginning, much like the one you go through on WDW’s Tower of Terror, and that was excellent.
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride – Like the Finding Nemo Submarines, this really tickled my sense of nostalgia.  I miss Mr. Toad, and I would LOVE to have him back at WDW.
  • Snow White’s Scary Adventures – On several of the Disneyland dark rides, including this one, the scenes are put together in a peculiar order.  At Disneyland, the first scene you come upon is the party at the Seven Dwarfs’ house.  Just struck me as odd.
  • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey – We don’t have anything like this at WDW, and it’s a shame; it’s a well done little dark ride.
  • It’s a Small World – SO different from what we’re used to at WDW, even before we get to the fact that they’ve gone in and added Disney characters all over the place.  It was interesting.  I like WDW’s version better in every way except for the exterior – if we could pop their exterior on our attraction, it would be perfect.
  • Casey Jr. Circus Train – There are several seating options on this attraction, including inside the monkey cage for the smaller set, so just about anyone of any body type should be able to find a comfortable seat on this charming little ride.
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats – This was like the Jr. Jungle Boats (including bad jokes); it’s a cute little ride, but it’s a little unnerving when, as you go to exit the attraction, they ask everyone to stand up at the same time so the boat doesn’t rock and no one gets pitched into the water.
  • Alice in Wonderland – This was a peculiar ride and one of the more snug-fitting ride vehicles (lack of leg room), but it was definitely worth trying out.
  • Sleeping Beauty’s Castle – Disneyland’s castle houses a walk-through attraction, the story of Sleeping Beauty told through little vignettes, and I thought it was extremely well done.  The darkened hallways are reminiscent of the caves/tunnels on Tom Sawyer Island, but INSIDE the iconic castle.  That was an unexpectedly fun diversion.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Guest Columnist Joshua Olive, 37, is 6' 6" and hovers around the 400-lb. mark. He's been a BIG fan of Walt Disney World since his first visit in 1979 and he just keeps on coming back. A proposal writer for a government contractor by day, Josh is a musician, an actor, a photographer, and a comic book store owner the rest of the time. He served as a peer reviewer for PassPorter's Open Mouse, a Disney guidebook for people with any type of special needs, written by AllEars.Net's Deb Wills and Debra Martin Koma.