We have just returned from Disneyland, “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Prior to going, we were told by several people that Disneyland was just a smaller, dirty, less friendly version of the Magic Kingdom. We decided to give it a try anyway and are we glad we did! The rumors could not have been further from the truth. We found the parks to be as clean and the cast as friendly as at WDW. We were no more or less likely to be ran over by a stroller, either. Disneyland is smaller in size than Magic Kingdom, but the attractions are more closely packed. There is a different feel to the Disneyland resorts than WDW, but I believe that this is more due to the layout and number of “locals” that came at the end of the day and weekends.
There is a lot more to do at Walt Disney World, most of which are at Epcot and Animal Kingdom, but there is enough difference to keep it fresh and feel new, such as Cars Land and Mr. Toad. We loved the layout with Disneyland, California Adventure, and Downtown Disney connecting at a quad and being an easy walking distance, less than 1/2 mile, from all of the Disney hotels. It all feels connected, and I never once missed riding the park busses. Park hopping and returning to the room for a siesta were much easier. Downtown Disney felt like a part of the parks.
WDW could take some tips from Disneyland to make it even better. Here are some things that we noticed. There is foliage everywhere. Trees, flowers, and shrubs are all over the parks. It softens the feel and definitely adds beauty. Park benches and other places to sit are readily available. Finding a comfortable place to sit is not a problem. Villains walk the streets and pose for photos, which sounds bad, but when they are Captain Hook, Cruella DeVille, and the Evil Queen (from Snow White), it is a good thing. Street entertainers, like the Dapper Dans riding on the horse drawn trolley and singing to the riders, are more present and accessible.
We love Walt Disney World, and it still “home.” But, We now love Disneyland, too, and can’t wait to return.
More about Disneyland coming in the following days.