It’s my first time at Disneyland! Check out these Disneyland Tips for the Disney World Lover, when you’ve been to Disney World all of your life but never experienced the Disneyland magic! Post sponsored by Disney. All magical opinions are my own
Disneyland Tips for the Disney World Lover | Top 7 Must Sees
Don’t get me wrong. Attending the D23 Expo was definitely a highlight of my latest trip to Anaheim, California. But for this Disney World lover, one of my Disney bucket list dreams finally came true. Yes, this First Timer at age 30-something, was living large with a star struck face and gaping fish mouth.
Putting away my BIG time mom guilt of going to Disneyland for the first time without my children (guilt, guilt, guilt), I’ve put together my Disneyland Tips for the Disney World Lover. In case like me you’ve been to Disney World so many times that you can give tours in your dreams, but never saw the original place where the magic began – you now live vicariously through me. So insert a giddy school girl face and hop/skip in my step. We’re making memories.
Could timing be any more perfect to visit Disneyland? It just so happened to be the Disneyland Diamond Celebration. As if Disneyland knew I was coming and needed to decorate with tons of diamonds. How did they know I love them so much? Celebrating 60 years of magical memories this year (and my 2 minutes of magical memories), Disneyland surely knows how to party. So how did we party? As any Disney World lover would, of course. Rides! Lots of rides! (and maybe a Dole Whip)
Photo courtesy of Disneyland – I was too busy screaming
Indiana Jones Adventures
I can’t even begin to describe the awesomeness that is Indiana Jones. As soon as you arrive, race to grab fast passes for this ride so your party can experience together. Even into the evening hours, I was shocked that we were still able to grab Fast Passes for the day.
To describe the ride itself, it’s Dinosaur Jeep Adventure meets the Indiana Jones show at Disney World. The biggest varying difference is how much the ride actually weaved into itself (probably due to valuable Disneyland property space), with your ability to see multiple vehicles possibly above and below you. Go ahead and belt out the Indiana Jones soundtrack.
Radiator Springs Racers
I think one of the BIGGEST Disneyland wow factors was Cars Land at California Adventure. I probably could have spent all day checking out the amazing detail that went into the creation of this area of the park. (Insert more mom guilt that my son the Pixar Cars lover couldn’t be here.) And tucked in the back of this piece of Pixar movie history is the crowning jewel ride, Radiator Springs Racers. The cars may look familiar. They’re the same ones from Test Track. But don’t be fooled by the transportation, the ride is incomparable. Put directly into a scene out of the movie, you wind, you race, you see so much! A definite must see.
BONUS – if you have extra time, definitely enjoy a laugh on the Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree ride. I laughed so hard from the whiplash on this ride! Seriously a fun addition if you have a few extra minutes in Cars Land.
In the middle of the park is a very oddly shaped mountain. I looked at it a few times during my passing of the castle, each time more flabbergasted at the sight. It’s weird looking. But the ride? Super amazing.
Take the old Space Mountain roller coaster seats and input into a Goofy Barnstormers/Expedition Everest kind of ride. Gentler than a full on roller coaster, but still full of thrills as you coast along side the snowy mountain. Lots of weaving in and out again (California land ain’t cheap!) but I was able to leave all smiles and no nausea. Win Win!
It’s a Small World – The Original
You seriously cannot beat the original Small World ride. Transported directly from the World’s Fair, this ride sits all sparkly and smiling from the back of the park. It’s longer and it’s better…but the tune is still the same.
My favorite part was picking out the exclusive Disney characters Disneyland planted into the ride. Jasmine and Aladdin flying on a magic carpet. Ariel swimming under the sea. Woody and Jessie and the Three Amigos. I even got a glimpse of Kanga and Roo hiding out at the end of the ride.
Casey Jr. Circus Train
You sit in an animal cage train car and get an incredible view of the park. Enough said. Enjoy a blast from the past as the familiar Dumbo tune plays wile you happily chug along the track. From your jail rails you can see plenty of great Disneyland sights, and it was a great ride to end my Disneyland visit. (because how else do you end a trip to Disneyland…in a cage , of course!)
Biggest sad face ever for the ride being closed. Disneyland and a thrilling wooden roller coaster, a perfect combo. But alas, while the ride was closed, the views of this coaster and the giant Mickey Ferris wheel were awesome. Maybe next time, coaster. You will be conquered.
Paint the Night Parade
I’m usually not one to stop for parades at Disney. We are normally rushing to the next Disney World ride. But having the opportunity to see a Disneyland parade I have never experienced, in a special VIP viewing area….how could I pass it up? With the old school essence of the Main Street Electrical Parade but with high tech Disney lighting, the Paint the Night Parade was a magical nighttime display to see. I loved every second. There may or may not have been a few teary eyed moments.
While not enough to make the top 7, these classic Disney rides are certainly worth the wait for the hardcore Disney World rider.
Haunted Mansion – small variances in this ride definitely make this mansion intriguing. I’ve heard it’s a definite Disney World goer MUST see around Halloween, when extra décor is brought in. It would be fun to come back during that time! Though I must say the house doesn’t look very creepy or haunted from the outside.
Pirates of the Caribbean – another ride that has some big differences including the length of the ride. Not sure how one goes into a building in New Orleans and ends up in the Caribbean, but that’s for another discussion. The extra bayou scenery and underneath the wooden bridge wreckage are worthy of mentioning, and definitely a few double takes that made me wonder if the Black Pearl was really supposed to be red?
Other Important Disneyland Tips for the Disney World Goer:
- Relax. Unlike Disney World, it won’t take you an hour to walk from one side of the park to the other. Everything is more compact, closer together and has easier accessibility. Even the lines are notably shorter in length – without room after room of roped off mazes.
- Enjoy a different crowd. It’s weird to describe, but you could honestly feel the different vibe of the crowd of Disneyland goers. Less tension, more low key, more locals, and everything wasn’t rushed or hurried. It was nice. Enjoy this slower pace and really take in your surroundings.
- Fast Pass Machines still exist. Thought your magic band would get a workout this trip? Nope, put that bad boy away. Paper slips are BACK and you’ll need to have your ticket very handy to get one.
- Don’t underestimate the POWER of the single rider line. It’s something very rare at Disney World (only to be found at Test Track and Expedition Everest). But at Disneyland, using the single rider line will help move you along faster, especially when Fast Passes are no longer available. Here’s the current Disneyland single rider lines:
- California Screamin’
- Radiator Springs Racers
- Indiana Jones Adventure
- Soarin’ Over California
- Splash Mountain
- Goofy’s Sky School
- Grizzly River Run
- Go in the castle. While I didn’t have time this trip, I did discover that you can actually take a walking tour of the castle. Considering that the Disney World Castle is mostly off-limits these days, I definitely wished I had time to step inside this Disneyland icon.
By the way, the Dole Whips are just as delicious at Disneyland 🙂 If you’re heading out west, be sure to stop by the Disneyland Diamond Celebration going on right now at Disneyland and use hashtag #Disneyland60 to follow the fun. So many magical memories were made in the few short hours I got to play. Every one of them priceless! I’m sure that there are so many more Disneyland tips that I missed. I need a few more hours (like 50 million) to get more tips for you.
Have you been following my D23 Expo journey? Check out what we’ve experienced so far:
- Pixar & Disney Animation Movie Updates
- Walt Disney Animation Short Films Exclusive Interview
- Disney Parks & Resorts Updates
- Marvel, Star Wars & Disney Live Action Movie Updates
- Live Disney Playmation Demo
What Disneyland tips do you have for the Disney World Goer?
Stephanie c. says
I have not been since I was little, and now that I have three littles of my own, I definitely cant wait take them. This was a great read to brush up on everything I’ll need to know!
I would love the opportunity to go to either Disneyland or Disneyworld one day!! Bucket List for sure!!
wow! Thank you for sharing this.
Someday Im going to visit here, such a wonderful place!
Sue M. says
I went to Disneyland once back in the 1980s and loved it! I’d definitely like to go there again, especially now that I’ve moved from Minnesota to San Diego, California so it’s a lot closer, but haven’t had the chance to go, but am hoping to find the time to visit again!
rosemary palmer says
Love the photos. I have a niece going in December so will pass these along to her.
I’ve never been to Disneyland, but I have been to Universal Studios & Island of adventure at least three times and one time we went for a helicopter ride and we flew over Disneyland and I saw a lake the shape of Mickey’s Head. It was really cool. Some day I would like to go there. My youngest daughter goes there all the time with her hubby & son.
I would love to go back to Disney. It’s been since I was a little girl and I have such great memories there with my parents and grandparents.