|At Disneyland--Magic Kingdom|
|At California Adventure|
Once people hear we went to Disneyland in July, we get asked questions, such as “Is it smaller?” and/or “It only has one park, right?”
I know that they are mostly just being polite, trying to engage me in a conversation that I’m passionate and knowledgeable about. Some are truly curious, wanting to add to their general Disney knowledge.
Yes, Disneyland is smaller than Walt Disney World. Please know that when I think about Walt Disney World, I’m thinking about the 47 square miles that houses 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, a shopping and entertainment district, 22 resort hotels, and golf courses. Given that Disneyland is 510 acres or about 1 square mile and hosts 2 theme parks, a shopping and entertainment district, and 3 resort hotels, it is definitely smaller.
We were not put off by the size or perception of lack thereof. Rather the husband referred to Disneyland as “Walt Disney World light.” The size made getting from our resort to the parks easy—just a stroll. Because of this, we took afternoon breaks and toured the parks with a more relaxed pace—except AM extra morning hours where we took advantage of every moment.
What we did miss were amenities and offerings. We missed the water parks. We missed the complimentary 24 hour transportation to and from our resort to the airport complete with luggage handling. We missed the dining plan, magic bands, and speaker phones in our resort room. I know this sounds minute, but allowing everyone in the room to hear the character making the wake-up call just by pushing the speaker button to answer the phone is something our family has grown to enjoy. And how do you know your child has been to Walt Disney World many times, when they look at you at Disneyland and say, “Don’t we have any snack credits?” That’s when I had to explain that there wasn’t a dining plan at Disneyland. He was bummed. I still smile when I think about his question.
|Anna and Elsa can only be found at California Adventure and only with a Fastpass. We heard people coming into Magic Kingdom looking to meet them. Yes, I corrected them and they said they were okay with meeting any Disney Princesses.|
|Want to meet Thor? He can only be found at Disneyland--Magic Kingdom.|
Each park has unique offerings in terms of attractions, parades, entertainment, and nighttime spectaculars. The Magic Kingdom is designed around themed lands—Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland, New Orleans Square, Toontown, and Critter Country. California Adventure also has themed areas—Hollywood Land, a bug’s land, Cars Land, Grizzly Peak, Paradise Pier, and Pacific Wharf—all representing various parts of the state of California.
The proximity of the parks to each other makes Park Hopping a breeze--as the gates are just across from each other. We did not have park hopping tickets so we did not take advantage of this perk of proximity.
|Disney Princesses can be found in Disneyland--Magic Kingdom at the Royal Hall. There is Princess character dining at California Adventure.|
It took me a half a day in each park to get my bearings. I had studied the maps. And, while both Magic Kingdoms use the spoke and hub design, after that there are differences in terms of “cut throughs” from one land to another. I also had to learn which direction to approach attractions. For example, on our first day, I went to the right to get to the Matterhorn Bobsleds and later learned that the attraction entrance is easier to find if a guest goes to the left. It didn’t take us long before we were navigating Disneyland like pros.
|Lightning McQueen and his friends can only be found at California Adventure in Cars Land.|
A third question pops up depending on how long I take to answer the other questions: “Will you go back?” The answer, maybe. We’re not going to rule it out and actually the husband said he would like to return in 5 years or so. Also when checking with our travel agent about Aulani, we discussed how a stop in L.A. (Disneyland) might help break up the long flights.