If, like me, you’re a lifelong Walt Disney World Resort guest maybe you’ve never thought of visiting Disneyland Resort. To be honest, I never gave it a second thought until my sister suggested we visit in November 2005. Boy I am glad she did! We ended up falling in love with the Disneyland Park and I returned again in 2008, 2010, and 2014.
If you compare the Magic Kingdom to Disneyland Park, there are many familiar attractions: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Peter Pan’s Flight, Space Mountain, “it’s a small world” and Pirates of the Caribbean just to name a few. Why should you forego your annual trip to Walt Disney World Resort in favor of visiting Anaheim?
Disneyland Park offers a variety of attractions that will appeal to even the most seasoned Walt Disney World guest. Here are my must see attractions for WDW regulars:
Haunted Mansion Holiday The mansion is transformed from top to bottom and features a unique soundtrack based on Danny Elfman’s Nightmare Before Christmas songs. Familiar elements of the classic attraction are dramatically changed to mirror the storyline. The changes begin upon entering the hall and continue into the gallery. Here, the portraits are replaced with stained glass images depicting the “Nightmare Before Christmas.” Other notable changes are found in the séance room. In the seance room, Madame Leota recites a warped version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” while tarot cards float in place of the usual items. In the attic, the bride is replaced by piles of creepy presents and a giant snake. There’s so much to see, guests will want to enjoy this attraction more than once.
DIStracted Tip – Be sure to visit from September-December to see what happens when two holidays collide!
Fantasyland I count myself among the many Walt Disney World fans still mourning the closure Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Thankfully, fans can still enjoy this merry ride to “nowhere in particular” on the West Coast. While most of the Magic Kingdom’s dark rides are closed, Disneyland Park still offers several including Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Peter Pan’s Flight and Alice in Wonderland.
DIStracted Tip – Most of the attractions feature frightening imagery – preview on YouTube before you visit!
Indiana Jones Adventure After winding through a lengthy interactive queue, guests view a short film narrated by Indiana Jones’ sidekick, Sallah. During the film, guests learn about the history of the temple and receive a brief safety orientation.
Once aboard the vehicle, guests embark on a thrilling, fast-paced adventure through the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. Guests hurtle through lava-filled caves, narrowly dodge booby traps and bounce through snake-filled chambers. Just when guests think they’ve escaped certain doom, they come face to face with the iconic boulder! If you love being tossed around on Animal Kingdom’s DINOSAUR, you’ll enjoy this attraction.
DIStracted Tip – Obtain a FASTPASS for this attraction or ride it early in the day. This ride frequently breaks down so be prepared to make multiple attempts to enjoy this attraction.
Matterhorn Bobsleds If Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is the “wildest ride in the wilderness” then the Matterhorn is the wildest ride in the Alps. After selecting between two tracks, guests board a bobsled and embark on a bone-chilling trek through a snowcapped mountain range. Hold on tight and brace for a wrenching ride through icy caves, past waterfalls and around hairpin curves. Be sure to watch for the Abominable Snowman!
With a ride vehicle similar to the Magic Kingdom’s Space Mountain, the speed, twists and turns of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the animated cousin of Expedition Everest’s Yeti, the Matterhorn Bobsleds integrate some of the best elements of Walt Disney World’s mighty mountain ranges.
DIStracted Tip – Depending on when you visit, both tracks may not be up and running. Since FASTPASS is not available, the single rider line may be a good option.
Pirates of the Caribbean It’s hard to top this original Disneyland attraction. Nestled in New Orleans Square, the majority of queue for this classic attraction is outside. What the queue lacks in atmosphere, the attraction makes up for in spades. After boarding, guests float past the Blue Bayou Restaurant and then plummet down the first hill into a vast network of eerie caves. Once through the caves, guests encounter a “skeleton crew” and their captain as they celebrate their newly acquired treasures. From that point on, Walt Disney World guests will be familiar with the storyline up until the final scene.
DIStracted Tip – If you want to eat at the Blue Bayou Restaurant, be sure to make reservations up to 60 days in advance.
These are just of the few of the reasons I return to Disneyland every few years. What are you waiting for? Pack your bags and try it for yourself!