A Walt Disney World Fan's First Visit of Disneyland

A Walt Disney World Fan’s First Visit to Disneyland

Disclosure: This post is sponsored.

Disneyland in California has been on our bucket list for quite some time! When we started planning our trip across America we were beyond excited to add Disneyland to our “must do” list of attractions. We are all huge fans of Walt Disney World in Florida so it was a dream to get to Disneyland some day. We finally made our wish come true!

Sleeping Beauty Castle Disneyland California

Time of Visit

We were lucky enough to get to visit Disneyland at the beginning of November, when they were taking down Halloween and putting up Christmas. This meant we got to ride the Haunted Mansion while it was decorated as the Night Before Christmas Movie and a lot of the Christmas decorations were up around the park. Sadly it also meant we just missed the opening of It’s a Small World all decorated for Christmas because they were still working on the ride.

Haunted Mansion Christmas Disneyland California

Favourite Rides in the Disneyland Park

The three rides we LOVED the most at Disneyland were:

  • Pirate’s of the Caribbean
  • Space Mountain
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

We all thought that these three rides were done way better  at Disneyland than they were at Walt Disney World. There was so much more detail in the scenery around the ride and each ride seemed to be longer. Pirate’s had three water drops! It was worth it to visit Disneyland just to do those three rides! Take a peek at my ride-along video for Big Thunder Mountain!

My husband, Trevor, and I had gone to Disney’s California Adventure Park in 2001 when we got married and drove across America on our honeymoon. (We already knew that we loved taking road trips together!) We only visited Disney’s California Adventure Park on that trip so Disneyland was new to all of us. I have to say after visiting Walt Disney World so many times and even eating inside Cinderella’s Castle I was a bit disappointed in the size of the castle at Disneyland. But I can understand that they really couldn’t change it without upsetting all the millions of Disneyland fans.

At Disney’s California Adventure Park we watched the night time spectacular Magical World of Colour. It’s a water show on the lake in the middle of the park where they play music and project movie images, lights and colours onto water spouts that shoot 50 feet or more in the air. The show was really incredible and highly worth the wait and standing room! Get your fast pass for it early in the day when you first get to the park (separate from normal fast passes) and then arrive about an hour early for a really good view. Watch my video below to see a glimpse of it at the end.

Favourite Rides at Disney’s California Adventure Park

Our three favourite rides at Disney’s California Adventure Park:

  • Radiator Springs Racers – truly fantastic! Worth the wait if there is one. The line goes fast.
  • California Screamin’ – the kids didn’t to this one but my hubby and I LOVE it and I’m not a huge roller coaster fan. (It’s the roller coaster in the picture below.)
  • Soarin’ – It’s been a family favourite for years at Epcot and didn’t disappoint again here!

Disneyland in California Ferris Wheel

Where we Stayed

We stayed off site during our visit at the Anaheim RV Park, since we were towing our Airstream Trailer on our four month long Cross America Road Trip. It was really close to Disneyland and you could even see there fireworks from your trailer at night. You could either drive to Disneyland in about 10 minutes or take an ART bus from right in front of the resort in about 15-20 minutes. The resort had a lovely pool and hot tub, was clean and offered free muffins and coffee every morning but didn’t feel as magical as staying on site would.

I found the crowds to be significantly bigger at Disneyland than they are at the Magic Kingdom in Florida. While I did expect this due to the fact that Los Angeles is so big and Disneyland is so popular, it did slightly shock me and make me a big sad. I love being in the parks when they’re not busy and finding days when it’s quiet is always on my vacation planning to do list. I don’t want to dissuade you from visiting though, because in all honestly, it’s worth it no matter the crowd size! Just make sure you do your research before hand, book your fast passes well in advance and plan to stay longer than the two days we did. That way you can work around the crowds. We really didn’t do Disneyland justice trying to fit it in around everything else on our trip.


We bought our tickets through Get Away Today, a travel agency in California. They’re Disneyland experts and it was a breeze. I used their layaway plan and piece of mind plan which allows you to change your package at any time with no penalties. We actually did have to do this since our plans changed and we decided to camp instead of stay at a hotel. It was really easy and their customer service is excellent. Plus they have amazing deals on all the time like this one!

Extra Day Free at Disneyland

If we do visit again some day I’ll be booking a behind the scenes tour, which we didn’t have time to do. I really didn’t feel all that connected to Walt and with the size of the resort what it is, I really didn’t feel all that much magic the way I do when I visit Walt Disney World. I really think an inside tour and staying at the Disneyland Hotel would make anyone’s visit so much more magical!

What’s next for us? We have added the other Disney Parks to our bucket list! Disney Paris is first on the list! Have you been there before? Have any tips?

Disclosure: As a media guest I was given tickets to Disneyland in order to write this post and I am an affiliate for Get Away Today. If you click on a link for Get Away Today in this post and purchase a vacation I will earn an affiliate fee, however all opinions in this post are my own. I truly support these companies!


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A Walt Disney World Fan's First Visit to Disneyland in California with Tips

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