The Lucky Bugs have always been big Disney fans. We love the movies, the characters and of course the parks. Because we live much closer to Florida our first trip was to Walt Disney World, when Baby Bug was not quite 2. Many people commented that she was “too young” and that she wouldn’t remember, but in all honesty – it was me – I couldn’t wait to take her, and we had a fantastic time, so much so that we visited quite regularly over the years.
Eventually I got to thinking, what if we try Disneyland? I must admit, I wasn’t sure we should venture away from “our park.” What if we were disappointed, or what if we lost some of the “magic?” It’s kind of like when you go to your favourite restaurant and you always order the same thing (curious about other choices but afraid they won’t compare to your fave). But we gave Disneyland a try, and we were hooked. As Baby Bug has turned into “Teen Bug” we still feel the urge to visit regularly, but always find that when planning for a visit to “The Mouse” – Disneyland is our first choice. Obviously not everyone feels the same way, but we encourage you to try them both out if you have the chance, and make your own opinion.
Here are some of our reasons why:
- The Size – this has to be our top reason, instead of the 4 parks of Walt Disney World, Disneyland is made up of just 2 (Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure.) This makes getting around so much easier because there are actually more rides in Disneyland and California Adventure than in all of Disney World’s 4 parks together, in a much smaller space. Park hopping is a must and does not involve buses, boats or monorails. It’s actually quite easy (and quick) to hop back and forth between the two several times throughout the day.
- The Rides – there are a lot of different rides in Disneyland that are not in Disney World (like one of our all time favourites – Indiana Jones) and also Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Alice in Wonderland, Roger Rabbit, the Matterhorn and more. There are also some different versions of the rides as well, like Pirates of the Caribbean (Disneyland’s version literally blows Disney World’s version out of the water), It’s a Small World and Space Mountain.
- The Food – many Disney fans will say there is more of a selection at the World, however we prefer the counter service selections in the Land because it just seems easier (and faster). There is no dining plan, no making reservations 90 days out, etc. Here are a few of our “don’t wanna miss a food things”:the infamous corn dog (even shown on Modern Family) is a big fave – Mama Bug doesn’t even like hotdogs but can’t resist one of these. These delightful treats are found at this little red truck at the end of Main St., to the right before the castle – but beware – the line can be long!Churro Funnel Cake – WOW, is about all we can say! Churros are very popular in Disneyland and there are churro carts everywhere throughout the parks, however The Hungry Bear Cafe took it one step further and here you will find churros, caramel sauce and a dollop of mouse shaped whipped cream all wrapped into one.These edible pretzel cones come filled with chili and topped with shredded cheese and fritos (corn chips), or mac n cheese topped with bacon bits – these yummy snacks can be purchased in Carsland, mmm, and did I mention you can eat the cone?
- The Weather – we will take the California weather over Florida’s any day. Even in the middle of summer there is little to no humidity, making touring the parks so much more enjoyable. Another plus for California in the weather department is the fact that there is a lot less rain to deal with as well.
- Carsland – You don’t even have to be a fan of the movie to love being immersed in Carsland. The theming here is amazing, it’s like you’re right in the movie and don’t forget Radiator Springs Racers (the Bug’s favourite ride in DCA).
- Hotel Selection – even though we are big Disney fans, we like to sometimes have a bit of a break from it. Accommodations at Disneyland are nothing like Disney World. Disneyland has just 3 on property hotels – there’s the Disneyland Hotel, Paradise Pier and the Grand Californian. The “Good Neighbour” hotels offer a selection of pretty much every hotel chain (and more) directly across or just down the street from the park. Pros: 1. it’s easy to walk back to the hotel for a break and then go back later, 2. because there are so many to choose from you can usually get a fairly good, competitive rate, and 3. if you are a points collector you might even be able to get a free night or two (ex. there are 3 or 4 Marriotts within walking distance, so this could be a big bonus if you’re a Marriott Rewards member) Cons: 1. some people like to be “fully immersed in the Disney magic” and feel like they are missing that when they leave the park for an off-site hotel. We have stayed in a few different Good Neighbour hotels, and our top 3 are: Our favourite is the Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance – it’s right across the street from Disneyland, has this great water park and is almost brand new (just opened in 2015). Another perk of this hotel is the bunk bed rooms that sleep 6.The Fairfield Inn Anaheim Resort is also right across the street and is right next door to the Courtyard. Nothing fancy but a great location – no waterpark on this site, Pizza Hut Express is on the 3rd floor and also serves light snacks (Panera Bread is right in front and McDonalds is next door).Howard Johnson – this place is our 3rd favourite, it is right next (on the other side) to the Courtyard, so still very close. It could use some updating but is clean, in a great location and you can usually get it at a good rate. No onsite restaurant but a great Pirate ship waterpark/splash pad.
- The Shows – (World of Color, Frozen and Fantasmic)World of Colour – an outdoor musical extravaganza with coloured fountains and animation on the water. Great show but be sure to get a fast pass to get a good viewing spot! Found in DCA.Fantasmic – yes they also have this spectacular show at Disney Hollywood Studios in WDW, however we prefer the Disneyland version.The Bugs were a little disappointed to hear that our favourite Disneyland live show “Aladdin” was going to Broadway and was being replaced by Frozen, but the disappointment didn’t last long after attending the live version of Frozen – we absolutely loved it, here’s just a little taste of Elsa and “Let it Go”
- Surrounding Area – there are certainly lots of things to do in Florida besides Walt Disney World, however when visiting Disneyland there is an almost endless number of options. Huntington and Laguna Beaches are only a short 30 minute drive, and Seaworld and the San Diego Zoo are only about one hour and forty five minutes away. Even a quick visit to Hollywood is only a short drive (or Amtrak ride).
- And though both castles are gorgeous, Disney World’s Cinderella’s castle is the winner when compared to Disneyland’s much smaller Sleeping Beauty’s castle (but in all fairness you really should visit both to see for yourself 😉
- Walt’s Original Park – there’s just a feeling you get when walking around Disneyland that is different from Walt Disney World, perhaps it’s the size, perhaps it’s more of a “locals” park, or perhaps it’s just knowing that this is where it all began – this is where Walt’s dream came true, and unfortunately he never got to see the finished product of Walt Disney World (he passed away just months before completion.)did you know they leave a light on in Walt’s apartment?
“DON’T WANNA MISS A THINGS:”
- Downtown Disney – this shopping/entertainment area is right down the middle of the two parks, making it super easy to enjoy. Here you will find a huge World of Disney Store, a Disney bake shop, a Lego store, movie theatre, RainForest Cafe and much more! Be sure to also check out Ride Makerz – a great shop to “build” and customize your own remote controlled car (much like Build A Bear, but a car instead) – very cool!