Even though we had such a fabulous of Disneyland park, Downtown Disney, and DCA from our top floor room of the Disneyland Hotel – and even better in the E-Ticket Club 2 doors down, I couldn’t help but compare that view to the amazing view we saw at our Disney friends’ Bay Lake Towers room overlooking Bay Lake at Disney World – just 5 weeks earlier! But then we’re water people.
But I do wonder how much a Disney World fan can really enjoy Disneyland – is it even worth the time, money, energy to make the trip? Can I even recommend that they come out and see Disneyland? Not without some hesitation. So, I’ll list what I think is the best of Disneyland and what’s less than best at Disneyland.
Less than Best of Disneyland:
Transportation – flying into LAX is a much bigger effort than the Orlando airport. And renting a car and/or taking some kind of airport shuttle is not riding the Magical Express bus to Disney World. And the approach to the Disneyland resort is much more ordinary with motels, strip malls, aging housing, billboards, etc.
Length of Stay – Disneyland isn’t big enough to spend a week there – 3 or 4 days max unless you’re using this as your home base to see other sights.
Accommodations – Unless you’re staying at the Grand Californian, which is really superb with the feel of Walt Disney World, you might be a bit disappointed with the Disneyland Hotel and certainly with Paradise Pier.
Parks – DCA is a bit chopped up right now while Cars Land is being constructed. But, even then, it’s still not that big of a park. And that leaves Disneyland, which is the same as the Magic Kingdom, with some important differences. And that’s where I’ll spend some time discussing the best of Disneyland.
Best of Disneyland:
Proximity – Once we rode down the elevator from our bird’s eye view and strolled the streets of Downtown Disney, the best of Disneyland Resort hit us – the intimacy, the vibe, and the proximity of Disneyland Park, DCA, and Downtown Disney – this is spectacular and you can get hooked on the convenience.
Intimacy – the Annual Passport picture and greeting by name, the community feel, the interactions with the CMs all seem more intimate than Walt Disney World and this is where the smallness becomes a feature – not a bug. 🙂
Grand Californian – our favorite hotel of all of Disney with the best restaurant (Napa Rose and the Napa Rose Lounge and outdoor firepit). You also get hooked on that special entrance to DCA. Best pool service with food and drink delivery and best lobby bar with Hearthstone Lounge.
Disneyland Park – much better atmosphere and attractions, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, the original Tiki Birds (get your Dole Whip inside the attraction waiting area for speedier service), New Orleans Square, ToonTown, Holiday Haunted Mansion (the best HM ever!), It’s A Small World at Holiday and year-round, Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland, Nemo inside the Subs, Monorail inside the park (drops you off at the subs), train ride with Grand Canyon diorama, updated cars at Autopia, Mr. Toad, the MATTERHORN, INDIANA JONES, and individual shops on Main Street.
DCA – By far, Soarin’ over California was created for this park so the access/theming of this land is far better than Soarin’ retrofitted inside Epcot, Grizzly Peak rapids (Rushin River Outfitters), Golden Vine Winery and tasting room, the Trattoria, and Radiator Springs in Cars Land is going to be awesome.
Downtown Disney – great vibe for strolling, shopping, eating, drinking, with a variety of eclectic music – guitar, south american, violin, jazz, etc. We especially enjoy Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen.
All of this off the top of my head – I may be forgetting something or you may have your own favorites at Disneyland that I have not mentioned.
But is it worth a cross-country trip? Only you can decide.
Now back to the report.