Walt Disney World 373 Disneyland 1: Part II


This is the second installment regarding my first trip to Disneyland. I want to concentrate on my attraction experience.

Because of time constraints and a little something called the Disneyland Half Marathon, I had to make some choices and thus was able to experience only about two dozen of the almost 80 attractions waiting for guests at the Disneyland Resort.

For what it’s worth, here are some observations on what I experienced:

My favorite attraction was The Indiana Jones Adventure. Where do I begin? Well, let’s begin with the queue! It has become all too obvious that attraction queue areas are becoming more and more essential to the overall guest experience. This attraction’s queue really removes you from the present time and pulls you into the world of Dr. Jones. The queue area became more and more detailed as you approached the loading area. As we got closer I kept on thinking that this attraction would be similar to Animal Kingdom’s Dinosaur attraction. I was wrong in so many ways. First, the size.


The attraction is absolutely huge and the special effects are next to impossible to describe. If I were to say the difference in size to Dinosaur was tenfold…I’d be fairly close. I think that a huge difference between the two attractions is the storytelling itself…or I should say how it becomes all too apparent how visuals become so important as opposed to audio on a Disney attraction. I managed to ride it twice and immediately started to wonder how I could start a movement to bring the attraction to Florida. One more comment, although I always imagined that Dinosaur at WDW’s Animal Kingdom was a similar attraction to DL’s Indy attraction, I now understand that I could not be further from the truth.

I’m not a big roller coaster fan because, frankly, over the years it’s not the thrill rides that draw me as much as the imagineering that goes into these thrill rides. There’s little imagineering that goes into a roller coaster, although I must admit, Expedition Everest at Walt Disney World does have its moments. Having said that I must admit that DL’s Space Mountain was one of the more enjoyable and fun coaster rides I’ve ever had and it has spoiled me for WDW’s Space Mountain. The ride vehicle, music, and special effects, and the very smooth track, added to the thrill. When will roller coaster designers realize that less shaking and rattling and smoother and swifter tracks make for a faster and more fun coaster?

The Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland is a wonder to behold. I felt like I was visiting not the big brother to its Orlando counterpart but more like it’s Great Grandfather. The overall footprint of the attraction dwarfs that of Orlando. The scenes were on a much grander scale and even more importantly, it just seemed that there was a better balance of images on both sides of the boat. The images, balance, and ride length certainly convinced me that the West Coast pirates was much better than what can be found in Walt Disney World.

When you mention It’s a Small World, you usually get a yawn for a reaction. Walt Disney World should learn a lesson from Disneyland’s Small World. The attraction was real interesting because throughout the ride I noticed a very subtle classic Disney character overlay in each of the general areas.


For instance, depending upon the part of the world you were traveling in, you would see one of the dolls bear a striking resemblance to such characters as Cinderella, Woody, Simba, Pinocchio, Jasmin, Aladdin, and a few other recognizable characters from Disney classic animation. It was like searching for Hidden Mickeys. Now, why not do the same in Florida?

Not every attraction was getting the nod as being ahead of it’s Orlando counterpart. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is somewhat lacking in excitement as compared to Disney Hollywood Studio’s version.


It just seemed that the Orlando attraction has more pizzaz to it. The main differences between the two attractions is that the CA version does not have it’s guests ride through that blue fifth dimension room and that the loading and initial 10 seconds on the CA ride has it’s guests seeing themselves in a mirror. Advantage Orlando.

I managed to squeeze a ride on the Matterhorn Bobsleds. I’m sure being the first tubed thrill ride of it’s time made it quite the attraction. It was an interesting ride; a bit rough and I may have seen a Yeti in there. I’m still not sure if I like the idea of seeing the Matterhorn as I stand in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Sometimes the most enjoyable moments are those which are unexpected. Such is the case with the Tiki Room. I think the last time I had seen the original Tropical Serenade was perhaps in 1994 or 1997. It was so nice to see the original Tiki Room show again, with all the original characters, in it’s original show length. I think Orlando should bring back the original. It was not broken and should have never been fixed.

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
is certainly old school Disney theme park but there is nothing wrong with that. It was great to once again ride one of the classic Disney dark rides. Is there anyone out there who would be against the WDW Fantasyland expansion to include Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride? I didn’t think so.

Not only did I ride the monorail but I sat upfront with the operator, something I’m not sure guests will ever get to do again in WDW. It’s a shorter ride than you obviously experience in WDW and the cars are much smaller as there are fewer guests using this mode of transportation in Disneyland as compared to Walt Disney World.

By the way, did I mention that not only did I ride the Mark Twain Riverboat, but that I also guided it from on top?


It was kind of neat knowing that the boat I was steering that night would be used during Fantasmic!

I discovered a hidden treasure in Disneyland. I was not aware that you could walk up and through the castle. This path brought guests to a number of dioramas which told the story of Sleeping Beauty. There were some very ingenious techniques used to depict some of the scenes. It very much was something I would highly recommend to anyone visiting Disneyland for the first time.

Many years ago there were plans in place to remove Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln on Main Street, USA. The Disney purists, bless their hearts, made it clear to Disney management that Mr. Lincoln should stay. If there was any attraction in the Disneyland Resort that came close to putting me in the Disney Zone it was this very simple, yet touching attraction. For those who have never been to Disneyland, imagine bits and pieces of The Hall of Presidents and The American Adventure put together in a nice, neat package. I found myself quite moved towards the end of this attraction. I won’t spoil it for you by telling how the guest experience for this attraction ends but, quite honestly, when a certain moment came, the images and sounds made me grab my heart and I began to tear up. Now I completely understand why that that attraction will never leave that park.

There were other attractions I experienced but the only other one that I was so thrilled to see and wanted to mention was Aladdin at the Hyperion Theater. This is a must see show. The talent that I saw onstage was far and above whatever I had ever seen in Walt Disney World. The show was entertaining, thrilling, funny, and so enjoyable that it was as if I winked an eye and the show was over.

Unfortunately one attraction I really was looking forward to seeing, the Haunted Mansion, was being invaded by Jack Skelington and crew so it was closed. Maybe next time.

So with the limited time I had to really experience Disneyland’s offering of attractions, I came away with the impression that the quality of attractions at Disneyland edges that which we find at Walt Disney World.

Still one more bit of work to report on from my adventure…coming soon.

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7 Replies to “Walt Disney World 373 Disneyland 1: Part II”

  1. I completely agree with everything! Indiana Jones is a million times better than Dinosaur…it makes you want to run to the front and jump on again and again:) I love, love, love the DL of Space Mountain…doesn’t leave you with the urge to visit a chiropractor when you’re done;) I’m hoping somewhere down the road WDW will adapt the holiday overlays for HM and IASW…I haven’t seen them in person but the photos look amazing! Tower of Terror is for sure superior at WDW (my absolute favorite Disney attraction). And yes…the castle…no comparison to its WDW counterpart. But having said all that, I agree with you in that I’m glad the parks are not the same. DL will always be the park that Walt built and just has a wee bit more magic in my eyes. Its a great vacation if you just have a few days…WDW is equally spectacular for everything it offers and its our longer stay vacation of choice these days. Both are for me ‘The Happiest Place on Earth’:) So glad you had the chance to experience another piece of the Magic, and congrats on the half marathon!!

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    Good points all around Michelle! Thank you for the note!

  2. I have been to both and DO love Disneyland Park. I feel it is MUCH better (attraction-wise) than MK in FL. But the FL resort offers more parks and attractions, plus Discovery Cove at Sea World; which is not 90min away as in CA.
    I was going to go to Disneyland, CA for my birthday celebration in 2012, but there is so much we (niece, nephew and I) want to do in the FL resort. My niece wants to surf at Typhoon Lagoon, (water parks), Lunch with an Imagineer (DHS) and of course EPCOT; which is my nephew’s fave park. This is a gift to them as well for graduations. And as I mentioned, Discovery Cove. I know it is not a Disney Park, but we really enjoyed it years ago.

    However, I do feel that Disneyland offers better character interation and different characters. Plus Goofy’s Kitchen is the BEST character dining experience ever. I went solo on an agent learning trip, then brought my niece & nephew during the 50th celebration and we all agreed it was the best. Plaza Restaurant (DL’s version of Crystal Palace) and Paradise Pier Hotel, which has a breakfast similar to Ohana but so much better.
    It was a very difficult choice to go to FL. And after reading this, I am kind of questioning my choice. hahaha.

    We can hopefully go back to Disneyland for the 60th.

    Thank you for letting me go on and on.

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    I’m glad that DL and WDW are different, because each resort should have its own personality and have us love certain components in each.


  3. Mike,
    Thanks for both posts comparing WDW and DL. I’m taking my first trip to DL in December and have wondered a lot about the “adjustment” to the smaller scale of DL. I absolutely cannot wait to see the things in DL that don’t exist at WDW and the rides that you have highlighted as being better at DL. If I remember correctly there was quite a fuss about adding Disney characters to iasw at DL, but I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it. I’m also looking forward to a smooth Space Mountain, as the one at WDW is so bumpy I almost cannot ride it. Cannot wait to see bigger and better Pirates, Mr. Lincoln and all the holiday overlays–especially the Haunted Mansion!

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    Oh Heather….Indy will probably make you swear never to ride Dinosaur again…and you will have a hard time riding WDW’s Pirates…especially after you ride DLR’s version.

    Please let me know what you think when you return.


  4. Mike,
    Great blog!
    Bring back Mr. Toad’s Wild ride at WDW has my vote!
    I am glad you had such a wonderful time at Disneyland. I think everyone should go at least once to experience the land that Walt built. The Indiana Jones Adventure, the Aladdin show and the Pirates of the Caribbean are my favorites from DL (and of course MTWR).
    Even my coaster-shy 7 yr old nephew rode The Indiana Jones Adventure 10 times in the week we were there in 2007.
    Although WDW is a much bigger park, Disneyland is much more intimate , which I like, and it’s guests are extremely loyal and love their park very much.

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    Hi Penny,

    I did sense that the DLR guests was a bit different than the WDW guest.

    I agree…everyone should go at least once.


  5. Mike,

    Great report! Agree with many observations. Too bad you had to miss the Haunted Mansion with the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay, it was FANTASTIC! Saw it for the first time today.

    Definitely plan another trip.

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    With all the construction going on at California Adventure you can be sure that my curiosity will have a say in my return to CA.

  6. Mike: I so agree re Indiana Jones RIDE. I have been wondering for years since I was at Disneyland why they don’t transport this ride to WDW. I thought Dinosaurs would compare, but what a huge disappointment. Get rid of Dinosaurs and put in Indy. OK, technically it should be at Studios and not AK, but I’ll take it wherever they can put it. Or get rid of Indiana SHOW(which I find long and boring) and put the RIDE there.

    I haven’t been to Disneyland in years, so thanks for bringing me up to date. Perhaps a CA trip should be in the future instead of an FL one.

    * * * *


    I gotta think that sooner or later Indy will come to FL…or I will be making more trips to the West Coast.


  7. Hi Mike!

    I’m so glad you enjoyed our “little” park out here on the west coast 🙂 loved your comparisons and especially loved your “maybe next time” remark!! Welcome back anytime 😉 Cheers!!

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    Hi Barb,

    Now if I could only take the best of both DL and WDW…..