just back, quick thoughts

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by StrawberryChan, Dec 17, 2017.

  1. StrawberryChan


    May 21, 2017
    i just got back from my first ever trip to disneyland--i'm a WDW veteran, so it's my first time to the west coast. we stayed in the disneyland hotel for 4 days, but with 3 day tickets. i just wanted to jot my thoughts down since a lot of it was fascinating to me!

    - the first thing that struck me was how it's set up incredibly similarly to universal orlando. you have the nighttime entertainment district you can reach from the hotels (citywalk and downtown disney), which then leads to an esplanade with two parks right across from each other (USF and IoA, DLP and DCA). i think disney springs and both citywalks, orlando and hollywood, are better for actual nighttime entertainment but downtown disney is respectable and i bought a nice piece from the wonderground gallery!
    - next, i noticed how the upkeep is generally a lot better in DLR than it is at WDW overall. not that WDW is bad at all, but DLR in general feels much more preened and procured. (also, there's that weird gross sewer smell in epcot's starbucks for some reason. nothing like that here, at least)
    - the disneyland hotel was really stellar--having stayed at the three "monorail" hotels in the past (contemporary, grand floridian, and polynesian) the service was comparable, if not on the same level. the rooms were also very spacious and comfy, and i loved the "kiss goodnight"!! i also ate at steakhouse 55, which was amazing. i'd kill for another slice of that 24 layer chocolate cake. the history behind was also super amazing, since the current theme is disneyland itself! all those nods and artifacts were incredible to see. overall, an amazing stay!
    - maxpass is WAY more convenient than fastpass+; since we were on florida time we got up early in the morning and hit all the e-tickets we wanted to. that's all i really have to say. definitely worth the price!
    - with that out of the way i suppose i'll start with DLR, even though we went to DCA first, since it's easier to compare. it really took some getting used to at first, since it's basically an "alternate universe" version of the magic kingdom. that's what i thought at first, anyway; it soon became apparent how much different it is. it's a lot easier to get around with how much smaller it is, there's a ton of little nooks and crannies that just ooze history, not to mention the bigger differences (the smaller castle overshadowed by the matterhorn, critter country, new orleans square, toontown, the grander IaSW and railroad experiences)
    - in terms of specific rides... first we did space mountain, which absolutely blows MK's out of the water. it's so smooth and fun... and the music is amazing! the finding nemo submarine voyage was a great experience, since i never got to see the 20,000 leagues under the sea over here. it kind of reminded me of the seas with nemo and friends, but it's definitely implemented better. indiana jones adventure is amazing, too--i see where all the praise comes from. by comparison, i wasn't big on the matterhorn... the effects are cool but it's also even more jarring than MK space mountain. pirates of the caribbean felt really unique, with the two drops and the different queue. it really felt like an adventure! haunted mansion holiday was also a super unique experience, but... i couldn't help but feel like the soundtrack was weaker. you can't beat grim grinning ghosts. it was great seeing the hatbox ghost after all this time though!! also, this isn't quite a "ride" but the disneyland marching band really put on a show, i loved it. i think that's about it...
    - next is DCA, which is a lot more unique, and i feel like it's really a beautiful gem. buena vista street reminded me of hollywood studios a lot, in a good way, and i loved all the nods to classic disney characters. i dined at the carthay circle, and it's definitely on par with the higher class WDW restaurants i've been to, like jiko and les chefs de france. GoTG was really fun, and a completely different experience than the tower of terror despite its roots. (i'm glad we still have ours, though!) paradise pier was simply beautiful, and california screamin was a great long coaster. i can see why it needs to be updated, but i'll definitely miss it. uhh, mickey's fun wheel terrified me, though. i didn't know what to expect from cars land, but i feel like it's truly real competition with the wizarding world (especially california's, which feels a lot weaker and less immersive in comparison to the original). radiator springs racers is awesome, and much better than test track. i appreciate the cross-references, though! the other areas like grizzly peak and the pacific wharf were also gorgeous, which i wasn't expecting... this was the park everyone was talking down fifteen years ago? what a beautiful evolution!
    - we dined at the wine country another night with the world of color package, but sadly world of color was cancelled every day that our tickets lasted... i saw the fireworks at DLP on our first day from the hotel room, but that was it. something to look forward to next time, maybe...? that was the only disappointment

    as i alluded to, i also went to universal hollywood. it was really only worth it for the studio tour, but the rides were at least similar to orlando's. (their version of RotM was underhwhelming... i missed brendan fraser). this isn't a universal trip report though. moving on!

    overall, disneyland was a wonderful experience and i can't wait to come back. i was expecting to rank one over the other when i first arrived, but ultimately i feel like you just can't compare the two--they're different resorts with different histories, and both are wonderful. in the meantime... i'll be listening to the disneyland legacy collection! ehehe

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