As I’m sure you’ll know by now, I was in LA for two weeks in March. I stayed for the majority of the time in Beverly Hills, but I took three nights out to go to Disneyland in Anaheim. I’m a total Disney addict and I love Walt Disney World in Florida so much; so I was really excited to see the original park that Walt Disney created.
There are two parks at Disneyland in Calfornia – Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. Both parks are quite a bit smaller than the parks at Walt Disney World, but they are still sizeable. I’d say that you could comfortably do Disney California Adventure in one day and the Disneyland park in two days. You also have Downtown Disney, but this is nothing like it is in Florida and I was quite disappointed by it as there was no atmosphere and not much to see. UPDATE – I have been back at Christmas and it was SO much better!
I wanted to put this post together so that I could share some of my thoughts on the parks and also to share some tips about doing them efficiently. There are no real daytime parades like you get at other Disney resorts and the castle fireworks display is only on a Friday and Saturday night. You also hardly get any cast members wearing lanyards for pin trading, which is disappointing. Everything at Disneyland California is a lot smaller, simpler and without as much ‘effort’. I enjoyed seeing it and experiencing Walt Disney’s original vision and I would go back if I was out this way; but I wouldn’t book a holiday just to come.
The two main tips that I have for the Disneyland park itself is that you head up Main Street and into Frontierland first in the morning. You’ll find hardly any queues for all of the major rides in Frontierland, New Orleans Square and Adventureland – Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion and Thunder Mountain. These rides have crazy queue times later on in the day, but you’ll whizz through them all if you head here first. Most people do the park in the other direction – heading first through Tomorrowland, and then round to Fantasyland. Pirates of the Caribbean really feels like you are in a movie. Note – there are lots of Disney movie locations you can visit across the world without going near a Disney park!
Another tip is for the night-time Main Street Electrical Parade. As this is the only parade in the park, it’s very busy; especially at the 8PM parade (there’s also one at 10PM). If you want to see the 8PM parade right from the front without saving a seat on the pavement for two hours beforehand, head up to the very start of the parade route – at It’s a Small World in Fantasyland. It’s the most quiet place to watch and you’ll only need to grab your pavement-side seat around 40 minutes in advance.
I wasn’t that keen on the Disney California Adventure park as I didn’t feel that it really felt like a Disney park. It wasn’t themed enough for me. The fanatastic Soarin’ ride is here however, so it’s a must-do. However, I was so annoyed to see that they have replaced one of my favourite Disney rides – The Tower of Terror, with a new under-construction Guardians of the Galaxy ride. Another must-do attraction in this park is Frozen Live. It’s a brilliant one hour live show in a traditional theatre setting and is definitely worth the lengthy wait.
Have you been to Disneyland in California? What did you like best?
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