Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by Frozen2014, Sep 4, 2017.
Thank you both. Nice to hear you followed along and enjoyed.
Disneyland or Disney World Fan?
Now that we’ve been to both parks once, I can compare them. First, I’ll say that I love both of them. There really is something magical about Disney parks. It’s not even something I can describe in words but it’s a feeling…and I think that anyone that has gone, knows what I mean.
So let’s talk Disney World first. It has 4 large parks (plus 2 parks). For us, we didn’t bother with park hopping since the parks were so spread out. We selected a park and stayed there for the day (only exception was the night of our Halloween party). But there was so much to see and do at each park, that we weren’t even able to repeat much. It’s definitely more immersive there. You go to the park and you are Disney for the week (or some go for longer). We stayed onsite at Art of Animation, which had the cutest theming. There are also many more onsite hotel choices for all different budgets. We rented a car to get from our hotel to the parks, but they also have the included transportation onsite.
WDW also has better restaurants and more choices. At Disneyland, there was only 1 option for a character meal for dinner (and likewise at lunch). And overall, the food is better at WDW.
Aside from WOC (which is my favorite show), I also found there to be more and better shows at WDW. We went in October compared with ‘low season’ at Disneyland so that may have accounted for the difference in shows. If we had come to Disneyland Mon-Thurs instead of Tues – Fri, then we wouldn’t even have seen fireworks or Fantasmic (not to mention that we got an actual seat for Fantasmic at WDW). At WDW, both Epcot and Magic Kingdom has fireworks nightly plus there are parades and other shows by the castle (on the stage).
FastPass / Maxpass I’ll comment on separately but it is interesting with the different ways of offering a way to skip the lines.
Photopass is also much better at WDW as there are many more photographers around and I think a few more rides include them. You could also add borders and stuff to your pictures before downloading them. At WDW we also had a movie of us riding 7DMT. Then again, at Disneyland we had the surprise 'movie' video which was cute, but made up.
As for the rides….my son said that Splash is better at WDW. I found Pirates and Soarin better at Disneyland. Big Thunder, Toy Story, Little Mermaid, Winnie, Turtle Talk were similar and my son said Star Tours is too. My daughter and I love Haunted Mansion at WDW and unfortunately weren’t able to try it at Disneyland (I bet the Halloween version is very cool!). Test Track at WDW is a really cool ride and concept with you getting to build your car and then see how it performs when you go on the ride. So clever! And at Disneyland, Radiator Springs is so much fun, cute theming and beautiful, and both have similar ending with the car race/going fast. And Disneyland has a lot of the dark classic rides at Fantasyland…Alice, Pinocchio, Mr Toad, Snow White, etc. I love the themed rides where you are taken in a car (or similar) and there are just lots of things to look at. Then WDW has 7DMT and the Monsters Inc show. Disneyland has the Frozen show. Disneyland also has Indiana Jones (which is apparently like Dinosaur at WDW but we skipped Animal Kingdom so can't comment). So...overall they both have their better attractions and so much at both!
So from the above it may seem like I prefer WDW, but I have to say that I really really loved Disneyland. My family prefers WDW a bit better but I think I’m leaning a touch towards Disneyland side. What I love about it is the proximity of both parks. We park hopped every day and even back again. This meant we could go on our favorites every day and select from the ‘whole list’ of rides each day. It's funny since when we returned, I went back on the Disney World site, viewed the rides at say 'Epcot' park and then it was like "That's it? It only has 4 rides that are interesting to us". Didn't have that issue at Disneyland. (Of course there are other things to see and do, but just to show you what I mean).
At Disneyland, our hotel, although not Disney themed and very basic, was right across the street form Disneyland so it made it very easy to arrive at the parks....and to get back to our hotel quickly after a day at the park. At WDW, it meant taking the monorail or walking to our car and then driving. Maxpass also worked really well for us which pretty much eliminated line ups. And for Cars Land alone…that deserves a call out. The theming is just so cute and I love how it’s not just a ride but you are in Radiator Springs city itself.
But again, I love love both parks and would be more than happy to return to either. If (no ‘when’) we do go to a Disney park again some day…in a few years…then it’s more likely to be Disney World, just because it’s closer to us (we just have to figure out when is best due to crowds and weather...as we are limited to school holiday times). You can’t go wrong with either. I'm a complete fan of both! Kids totally love it too. DH isn't quite as much of a Disney fan as the rest of us, but he does appreciate it and is ok going as long as it's not 200% Disney. So...we'll get there again someday.
FastPass+ vs Legacy FastPass vs MaxPass
The best FastPass system is a big debate on here and there will be many different opinions. I’m a planner so I quite liked FastPass+ at WDW. Even before we got on the plane, we had 3 FastPasses booked. I love too how you can select your time (within availability). Of course there are the downsides with the big one being that headliners are super hard to get. When we went in 2014, 7DMT and Anna & Elsa meet and greet were the impossible ones to get and you had to try for the last day of your trip if coming for multiple days. Otherwise, forget it! I remember I did manage to grab an Anna & Elsa Fastpass but it was at 8pm so obviously selecting a 4th FastPass that day was not an option. (Come to think of it, I think there was only one time we tried for a 4th FastPass and there were only non-busy options left anyways). Then there is the tiered system. I quite dislike how you can select Soarin or Test Track but not both. Tough choice. Having said all that, even with the negatives of FastPass+, and a lot complain, I quite liked it. It made the planning fun too with researching and then exciting when you could actually book them. It was a step closer to the trip.
At Disneyland, we used Legacy FastPass on our first day. The upside is that you can select at the time what you want to book and base it on current wait times. The downside is that you have to walk to the machines (if you can find them as they are not always right at the ride), then once you grab one, you have to go off and return later. I gave the example of Toy Story where this didn’t work well for us due to it being end of day and the ride was way out of the way of anything else. So we didn't have time to run to it to grab the FastPass.
Then we tried MaxPass. It cost us an extra $120 in total, but it was so worth it. We could book on the spot based on what we felt like riding, current wait times, and current FastPass return times, but yet we didn’t have to run to the ride only to return. It really saved us time and was the most efficient and flexible. And speaking of being efficient, the max time you had to wait between being able to book FastPasses is 90 minutes compared with 120 minutes with Legacy FastPass (plus photopass comes with it as a bonus).
So my vote is:
3rd place = Legacy FastPass
2nd place = FastPass+
1st place = MaxPass!
Did We See Everything in 4 Days?
A common question on here is ‘how many days do you need’? Similar to the FastPass debate, the responses differ. We decided on 4 days. First there is only so much Disney that DH can take so more days might have been hard. And since the parks are close together, we decided this would be enough. A lot will say 3 days due to proximity but we wanted the extra time without feeling rushed and in case we wanted breaks from the parks (which in the end, we never actually took). We have a few friends that have been to Disneyland before and I think they thought that was too long, but we decided on it for the reasons just mentioned.
So was it enough? Too long? Well as mentioned, it was enough for DH. The heat as well didn’t help my case. But from our kids and my side, we could have stayed another day. During those 4 days, we mostly hit our favourite rides (over and over…lol) which was awesome but missed a lot. Aside from the fact that fireworks weren’t every night and a night time parade was missing (Electrical Parade ended a week or so before we came), the shortened hours didn’t bother us. It meant we didn’t have to get up stupid early to make rope drop and we only stayed late on our last night (but we were still exhausted from the full days and all the walking...ha ha).
Below is a list of things that were on my ‘To Do’ list but we never made it.
Mickey’s Soundsational Parade (no parade at DCA as Pixar was gone)
Mickey and Magical map (show was on the Friday)
Enchanted Tiki Room
Ride on the Railroad around DL
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
Boat on Rivers of America
Storybook Land Canal Boats
Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
Haunted Mansion (oh yeah…it wasn’t open…BOOH!)
Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
Animation Academy – one of the drawing sessions
But having said that, if someone were to ask me on the number of days to visit, I would recommend 4 as we did get a ton done.
What to say but I love love love Disneyland! To be honest, having been with Disney World, I love it more than I thought I would. Am so happy that we ended up selecting Disneyland for our trip (thanks to Orlando summer weather compared to Anaheim summer weather). Sadly, not sure we’ll get there again since Florida is much closer to us than California (plus DH doesn’t like the LA area…so “if” we ever came again, we’d have to tack on San Diego or San Francisco instead, which is a nice option too).
People say not to compare the World to the Land, but there are a lot of similarities in the rides and it’s fun to go on the same ride twice but different experiences. I have to say that the first time coming or experiencing a ride is the best as you don’t know what to expect and it’s all a surprise. So now we’ve had our “firsts” at both places.
Who knows…maybe we’ll get there again some day, but even if not, I’m glad we had the opportunity to come and we have wonderful memories of it. I’m now off to work on a photobook of our trip. My next "post trip blues" project...
From a fellow Canadian Great report! We haven't been to DL since 2012 and spent 1 day at magic kingdom on our Disney cruise in 2013 do this gets me very excited!
So nice to hear the report is helping with the excitement with your upcoming trip. Have an awesome time! Disneyland is so much fun!
Thanks for the trip! As a fellow Canadian and first timer to DL (who has been to WDW) your report is really making me look forward to our trip. Like your family, we have DD (almost 8) who is a picky eater, and I am a non meat eater mostly and DH is a carnivore. He also won't be riding roller coasters or guardians but I'll go on everything! Thank you - such a great and comprehensive review (and you also solidified my idea that we'll get MaxPass!)
And thanks for reading. Ha ha...very similar with a picky eater (our older one is the picky one...out 8 year old is an 'ok' eater), you not eating meat (me too) and DH a carnivore (yep). Disneyland is so much fun and nice to have everything in walking distance. I highly recommend MaxPass if its in the budget. How many days are you visiting? Although people say not to compare, it's only natural, and fun to compare them both. Have an amazing trip!
We have 5 day hoppers and are staying at PPH in a premium view room! My dd also complains about walking so glad to hear everything is close by.
Have an amazing trip. The logistics are different than WDW.
Thank you for sharing your trip report. As a fellow Canadian considering visiting DL for the first time, it was very helpful. I'm curious about your Uber cost back to LAX - how much was the cost?
Hello. DL is so fun. Hopefully you'll decide to check it out. Glad my report helped.
Not sure how accurate our uber was but I pulled up our bill to find our our cost from Anaheim Desert Inn & Suites to LAX. First, I should note that we selected uberXL as we weren't sure if standard uber would hold our luggage (2 large suitcases plus 2 carry ons). Also, there happened to be some traffic issue that morning so the guy took a longer route to avoid the issues. Our uberXL cost came to $105 USD, and took 1hr and 23 minutes (starting at 9am on a Saturday...if that makes a difference). There are uber estimator sites that will give you an idea too if yo think you can try just plan uber.
P.S. (post report)
We were at a local park this past weekend in our own city and I so miss Disneyland! The park was super busy as it was a beautiful day and it is closing end of the month. Even food vendors had super long line ups...and only some things were open due to it being end of the park season. No wait time app (well, we learned later they might have had one but we didn't know that) and although they have the idea of a FastPass, we didn't purchase it as it's quite expensive. I think we got on about 5 rides that day. They do have some good rollercoasters and such for our kids, but there was definitely no feeling of the Disney magic. So miss that!
Nice review! From a fellow Canadian, hopefully we can make it to DL in 2018!
Thanks for the compliment. Fingers crossed you're able to make a trip next year.
Great trip report. We live in Florida and have been to WDW hundreds of times. We are doing our first Disneyland trip next summer. Just got our plane tickets last night. We are doing Fri-Mon in Hollywood area and then Mon-Fri at Disney. Return Sat morning. How do you think it would work out doing Santa Monica pier after we arrive Friday morning. (plane arrives 9:30, get luggage, get car, get lunch as we will be on Fl time) Arrive to pier around noon. I doubt any of us would get in the water as it would be way to cold for us Floridians and we live 15 minutes from the beach. Any other advice?
Hi. Thanks for your comment. You are on very similar schedule to us. As for your question, what airport are you arriving at? The reason I ask is that it took us close to 1hr to get from LAX to our hotel at Hollywood & Highland (and that was around 1ish on a Thursday afternoon - so past standard rush hour). LA traffic is quite bad. Then I would say similar timing...maybe 45 min....to get from our hotel to Santa Monica Pier. It's a great spot to visit and we quite enjoyed out time there, but you may find it's a lot of travel, depending on where you end up staying (or if you the hotel is closer to the airport from which you arriving you may be ok). That is the one thing we found in LA...that traffic is awful and it's always busy. We also had the time change and probably a similar flight length from Ontario. You can always play it by year and just see what time you arrive at your hotel and if you feel like heading back out to the Pier. Enjoy your trip!
We are flying into LAX. Was thinking of just going straight to SM pier before heading to hotel. Think that would save time or traffic? Time differences are a pain!
Right...think you said you'd be renting a car so you can just keep your luggage there. I don't know LA myself (aside from our trip) but did a check and looks like LAX isn't far from Santa Monica Pier so your plan may work. It certainly is a nice way to start your vacation! It's so lovely to walk around there. Our kids even did some rides and they went knee deep to the water (but we don't live near the ocean like you). And you can just play it by year how tired you all are, and head to the hotel when you are ready.
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