“To all who come to this happy place: welcome.” These are Walt Disney’s famous words spoken in 1955 on Disneyland’s opening day. Located in California, Disneyland was Walt’s original dream. Since the day it opened, Disneyland has been creating magical memories for countless families.
Disneyland is located in Anaheim, CA and offers two parks–Disneyland and California Adventure. In the same area is Downtown Disney which offers shops and restaurants. There are also three Disney hotels you can choose from. Everything is located close by and can easily be navigated by families.
After more than a year of being closed, Disneyland was able to open its doors recently on April 30, 2021. We knew the opening was on the horizon as Downtown Disney opened first, then the stores and eateries on Main Street, but now the whole property is officially open once more. While it is currently only open to California residents, we are hopeful that very soon we all can visit again.
Being from the mid-west, when someone speaks of visiting Disney, the assumption is Walt Disney World (WDW) in Florida. The same thing happens for those that live on the West coast with Disneyland. I remember my first visit to Disneyland and loved every moment. Everything I had only seen in pictures, videos, and hearing other’s stories came to life.
We had just two and a half days to see everything and we were definitely able to do that. We had park hopper tickets which is super convenient since the parks are right next to each other. We easily went back and forth based on what we wanted to do next.
We first walked into Disneyland and saw Princess Aurora’s (Sleeping Beauty) castle right in front of us. Just off in the distance was the Matterhorn mountain as well. So many similarities and yet so many differences to WDW. Walking down Main Street, seeing Walt’s apartment window, and thinking of him walking down this street was magical.
The parks at Disneyland are a little smaller than that of Disney World. This is a huge plus because you can see so much in a day. There are many attractions that are similar to WDW yet different. One of our favorite memories was riding the Mad Hatter Tea Party. We climbed into our tea cup and turned around to see Alice and the Mad Hatter himself climbing into their own tea cup. What an amazing character experience to have them right behind us for the whole ride!
You can see Batuu and ride Rise of the Resistance, experience it’s a small world and leave singing the song, challenge your seatmate on Toy Story Mania, fly with Peter Pan, find Captain Jack Sparrow on Pirates of the Caribbean, and even ride Space Mountain along with many others you can find in both Orlando and Anaheim, but there are many more exclusive to California. Once you have been to both Disney locations, it\’s hard not to not make comparisons, but here is my list of Disneyland/California Adventure Top Ten must dos:
10. Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage – This was one of the original rides at Disneyland. It has changed themes to incorporate Finding Nemo, but was fun to be on one of Walt’s original visions. This was our first ride at Disneyland and was a great place to start. You climb into a submarine that seals and travels \”under the water\” where Finding Nemo characters come to life.
9. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – Big Thunder is always a fan favorite. It’s fast and fun. One bonus is being able to look down upon Batuu while riding.
8. Fantasmic! Water and Fireworks Show – Amazing! It gets me every time to see all of the characters dancing and singing off the side of the the Columbia ship. A huge pirate ship and a dragon make their appearance challenging Mickey to save the day! We had the perfect spot where we stood to watch Fantasmic!, and then literally turned around to watch the night-time park fireworks.
7. The Haunted Mansion – This is another fan favorite, but it’s made even better during the holidays. In the fall, the ride briefly closes to transform into the Nightmare before Christmas Haunted Mansion.
6. Space Mountain – This is, of course, the quintessential indoor dark roller coaster. Flying through space with all the feels!
5. Indiana Jones Adventure – Take a trip with Indy and feel like you are part of the movies. Watch out for that huge rolling boulder!
4. Paint the Night Parade – See your favorite Disney characters light up in this colorful parade. The park lights dim, and all the cast members, characters, and vehicles are adorned with lights of every color. This was only open for a short time, but hopefully it will come back again.
3. Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout – If you are a fan of Tower of Terror or the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, then you will LOVE this ride. With more drops than I could count, this ride is not for the faint of heart. It was amazing!
2. Radiator Springs Racers – Hop in your car and feel like you have climbed in the movie Cars and drive through Radiator Springs. Nestled into Cars Land, which in itself is worth the visit, you can drive through the hills and mountains.
1.The Incredicoaster – With a zero to 55 mph start over the water and straight up a hill, this coaster gets you from the first moment. It\’s worth the wait and one to ride over and over.
One last item to mention is the newest area to be opening at Disneyland this summer. The new Avengers campus will be opening on June 4, 2021, and will be absolutely amazing. My family cannot wait to go visit.
If all of this has you, like me, itching to visit Disneyland as soon as it is open to the general public, then reach out to your Wishdrawals Travel vacation planner and begin making your plans. It is worth the visit and one you must do! Enjoy!
Special thanks to guest blogger Kiersten with Wishdrawals Travel. Kiersten is a travel planner who loves vacationing at Disney World and Disneyland and wants to help you plan your next Disney vacation! Contact Kiersten by going to https://www.wishdrawals.com/get-a-quote.html and requesting a quote!