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Old 05-10-2011, 10:01 PM   #1
stopher1

Wall to wall creeps, and hot and cold running chills! Shh...listen
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Arrow DIS Dads - All About Disneyland

Hey guys! I figured I would start this one... since I am the one who constantly loves to bring the ORIGINAL Disney Destination back into the mix... since I grew up about 30 minutes from the park; spent about 3 years in service to the Mouse as both a front line and back of house Cast Member; have been an Annual Passholder for more than 19 years; and have personally visited the park more than 2,000 times (including the time I worked there)... I kind of figured I would be the one to get this particular thread going. Got questions about Walt's park... the only one he ever stepped foot in; ate in, slept in... fire away. I'll be more than happy to address them - and of course - post pictures from time to time.

As Walt Disney said on July 17, 1955 when dedicating his brand-new theme park, what's come to be known as the "granddaddy of them all"...

"To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past; and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts which have created America; with the hope that it will be a source of joy, and inspiration to all the world."
Walt Disney's dedication speech, inscribed on a plaque in Town Square, Main Street, USA

As Walt said, I say... WELCOME!





Both Walt Disney World and Disneyland have a number of things in common, including various attractions and experiences... but of course there are a great deal of differences between the two resorts as well. Many of those differences are quite obvious from first glance, while others are less obvious, even much more subtle. Since this board is very much Walt Disney World centric/focused, this entire thread is dedicated to the many differences and what truly makes DISNEYLAND stand out as a Disney destination that any true Disney-fan should get to visit at least once in his lifetime. A Disney "pilgrimmage" if you will. I hope that as you read through this thread and the various things that are presented, you'll get a better understanding of "the place that started it all" - and hopefully even start planning your own Disneyland getaway!





But what IS Disneyland? Some of the DIS Dads are of the generation that perhaps saw Disneyland's opening on television - from far across the country in some other state and only dreamed of being able to go there some day. Others were born after the park opened and Disneyland was already a part of the nation's consciousness. Still others were born after Disneyland's sister park, the Magic Kingdom in Florida opened in 1971. Some, like me, grew up on the western half of the country and visited Disneyland in their youth, while others have never set foot in the park, let alone the state of California...perhaps never even going west beyond the Mississippi River. To some of these Dads it might be a place that they remember fondly from the years of Sunday night television when Walt Disney would host "The Wonderful World of Disney" (or one of the other such iterations of that program) and shared segments from time to time about the park. To many others of these Dads, Disneyland just represents another Disney park, possibly on their bucket list, possibly not. Most are much more familiar with the magical place they know from frist-hand experience in the central part of Florida. But Disneyland is so much more. Disneyland is the "Happiest Place on Earth" (truly, it had that tag officially long before the sister park on the east coast started using that catchphrase), and it truly is "Where the Magic Began." If it weren't for Disneyland, there never would have been a Walt Disney World, nor any of the off-shore parks found in Japan, France, Hong Kong... and coming in 2013 or 14 - Shanghai.

Disneyland began as a dream - a dream of a DAD, wishing for a place that he could have fun WITH his daughters, instead of just sitting on a bench WATCHING them have fun on the merry-go-round. A family park, where parents and children could have fun together. So what IS Disneyland? I like this description, found inside the first few pages of a commemorative book sold back in 1985, DISNEYLAND: THE FIRST THIRTY YEARS ( copyright Walt Disney Productions, MCMLXXXV) - this next section are not my words, but the book's words - but I think they describe Disneyland perfectly... and have been so much a part of why I love Disneyland as much as I do since I first read them back in 1985 when I first bought the book. For me, it just encapsulates so well what I think and feel of that magical place in Anaheim, California... and remember that this was written 26 years ago, so the time and visitor counts mentioned are much, much higher in 2011 than they were in 1985...
"What is Disneyland? For almost a third of a century, more than 240 million guests from nearly every nation have visited Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom to find out for themselves. But Disneyland offers no definitive answer, because no two people leave the Magic Kingdom with exactly the same memories, experiences or impressions.

Disneyland is a kaleidoscope of unique entertainment forms. It represents the intangibles of the mind, yet exhibits a logical, physical world. Within its thematic realms are medieval castles and rocket ships, horse-drawn streetcars and streamlined monorail trains, jungle elephants and elephants that fly, a snow-capped mountain and a "space" mountain.

Disneyland's Main Street, U.S.A. brings to life the spirit of America at the turn of the 20th Century, while Tomorrowland looks ahead to the turn of the 21st. America's heritage is found in rugged Frontierland and Bear Country, and in the grace and charm of New Orleans Square. The sleeping dreams of childhood are awakened within the courtyard of Fantasyland's fairtytale castle. Within the dense tropical jungles of Adventureland, dreams of far-off, exotic places come to life.

Disneyland is the innocence of youth and the wisdom of age. A child examines the hitching posts that line an 1890 street and asks, "Mommy, what kind of parking meters are these?" An elderly gentleman on the same street smiles happily and tells a bystander what he likes best about Disneyland - "I can jaywalk here"! A young man aboard a "Mississippi" sternwheeler on a moonlit night seeks an introduction to a girl by asking, "Is this your first trip abroad?"

Disneyland is a place where people forget their everyday cares and immerse themselves in lands of fantasy and adventure, yesterday and tomorrow. You find the magic of Disneyland in the soft pastel lighting on Sleeping Beauty Castle as evening approaches, in the dancing eyes of a grandfather wearing an orange-billed Donald Duck hat, and in a child kissing Mickey Mouse while Dad fumbles with the camera.

Disneyland is the emotion that wells up within you when the Mark Twain sternwheeler churs 'round the bend, twinkling with pin lights from stern to stern, while nearby a Dixieland band blasts out "When the Saints Go Marching In". It is the pride you feel when the band renders the "Star Spangled Banner" at the Main Street Retreat Ceremony each evening, as a flock of white doves encircles Town Square.

But to describe the real meaning of Disneyland is to unfold its story from the very beginning - from the time when it was merely a twinkle in the eye of its creator, Walt Disney, "Showman of the World."... "



Disneyland was Walt's dream. It was the next logical step in quality storytelling for the creative genius that he was. It was an opportunity to create something that could be that "family park" where parents and children could have fun together - but do so in such a unique and artistic way that really could envelope those family members in the stories and environments that Walt felt the park should have. He turned to his own team of artists to help bring the magic to life. His filmmakers really are the ones who helped create the environments and atmospheres that you see in Disneyland (and later on at Walt Disney World and the other Disney theme parks around the globe). The entire design for Disneyland was simply a form of storytelling. The audience of a movie simply sat and enjoyed the picture in front of them - but at Disneyland, the audience became participants "in" the action playing out all around them.

From the very first steps inside the turnstiles, the guest is transported inside this living, 3D "film" playing out before them. The red concrete between the turnstiles and the Mickey floral planter in front of them, leading to the left or right and the tunnels going under the railroad tracks are the "lobby" of this theatre. The tunnels are the entrance portals into the story playing out within the "theatre" that is the park itself. Once inside, the enjoyment truly begins as the stories begin to unfold all around the guests. An earthen berm was built around the park, to shield it from the intrusions of the outside world. The original design of the park included five "scenes" or magical lands to explore and enjoy...
  • Scene One unfolds all around the guests through the wonders of turn-of the-century Americana known as MAIN STREET, U.S.A... American at a crossroads, where the gas lamp is being replaced by electric lamps, and the horseless carriages are overtaking the horse-drawn carriages.
  • Scene Two, based on the then-popular "True-Life Adventure" films of the 1940's and '50's took guests into an exoctic locale known as ADVENTURELAND, celebrating the remote jungles of Africa and Asia.
  • Scene Three recreated the pioneering days of Davy Crockett and the great American frontier - FRONTIERLAND. Walt was extremely proud of, and enamored by those men and women of vision and courage to move across the great central plains of America to help settle the west, he once wrote, "Here you can return to frontier America, from the Revolutionary War era to the final taming of the great Southwest; our adventures are designed to gie you the feeling of having lived, even for a short while, during our country's pioneer days." In the early days of Frontierland guests could ride in a stage coach, or take a ride on pack mules just as those early settlers might have done.
  • Scene Four brought Walt's beloved animated characters to life in a charming array of storybook based attractions in FANTASYLAND. Stepping across the drawbridge and in to Sleeping Beauty Castle and the castle's courtyard, guests are tranported into a charming world where elephants can fly, Peter Pan flys once again to Neverland, the Mad Hatter hosts a dizzying tea party and many other charming fairytales come to life.
  • Scene Five was an opportunity for guests to imagine what the future might hold as America was just beginning to experience the technical marvels of the "Space Age" in TOMORROWLAND. As Walt said, "Tomorrowland attractions have been designed to give you an opportunity to participate in adventures that are a living blueprint of our future." (That future, as imagined for opening day was then then-distant 1986... certainly a lot has come and gone since then!)
Each land was designed to fully immerse the guests within that particular theme. Movie-making tricks that had been around for decades were employed to set the scenes and get the story moving. Architecture and aesthetics were key. Attention to detail critical. All done to enhance the show, and give the guests an incredible experience like none they'd ever experienced before. As Walt Disney said, "I don't want the public to see the world they live in while they're in Disneyland. I want them to feel they're in another world."

Disneyland was Walt's proving ground - proving to the world that he he DID know what he was doing and wasn't crazy as many in the months leading up to Disneyland's construction and grand opening thought he was... specifically for what he DID NOT want to include in his park's design... carnival games, roller coasters, ferris wheels, a tunnel of love and on and on. Rather Walt wanted a world filled with fantasy and wonder, a place that would transport its' guests to our nation's rustic past, or blast them into the future... a place built very much like a movie set that would immerse the guests right into the action of the story playing out all around them. As many of the bankers said in those days, dreams don't sell. But that July of 1955 certainly proved his scoffers wrong... so very wrong, that by the end of that very first September more than a million people had flocked to see "Walt's Folly." Disneyland had instantly become a smashing success. And it was only about 10 short years later that Walt was dreaming up a way to build on the success of his initial Magic Kingdom.

















Walt saw very early on with Disneyland that when the time came to do anything else, he would need to acquire more land. Walt and his brother Roy had been only been able to purchase about 300 acres in then-rural Anaheim, which was the projected heart of growth for a burgeoning Southern California metroplex. He'd wished he'd been able to purchase more, but he wasn't able to do it. As a result, very soon after the park opened many entreprenuers popped up all around the perimeter of the park... motels, restaurants and other ventures which all created a kind of an atmosphere that Walt didn't want. His park was about escaping the rigors of the real world, and yet it was all encroaching around him and his magical little park. When it came time to purchase the land for the Florida project he was sure to cobble together as many acres as he could - more than 27,000 - about 47 square miles - twice the size of Manhattan, or about the size of the city of San Francisco.

The vast expanse of land in Florida provides for long greenbelts, vast forest land hiding away various elements that visitors don't need to see. But of course that vast expanse of land also translates into long bus rides in between parks, resorts and other entertainment offerings. No so at Disneyland. Disneyland is compact - everything is closer together - and if a guest chooses to stay "on-property" in a Disneyland Resort hotel... there is no need to ever step on a bus to get between park and resort. Everything is in close proximity to each other, and just a few short moment's walk until arrival at the next destination.

What began as a single park in 1955, DISNEYLAND, expanded into a resort destination unto itself in 2001 with the opening of the second theme park, DISNEY'S CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE (renamed in 2010 to Disney California Adventure), as well as the DOWNTOWN DISNEY DISTRICT and the addition of the GRAND CALIFORNIAN HOTEL & SPA - thereby creating THE DISNEYLAND RESORT (DLR), which already included the DISNEYLAND HOTEL and DISNEY'S PARADISE PIER HOTEL.

One of the things that many, many Disneyland vets say time and time again (myself included)... is that Disneyland truly is Walt's Park. Disneyland was dreamt up, imagined and shepherded by the amazing genius of the creative force behind so many of the great films and cinematic achievements of the 20th century. Even today, 56 years after it first opened, there is such a sense of Walt found throughout the park. Little details, concepts and feelings aroused because you know that Walt himself had a hand in the creation of this magical place - and could very often be found mingling with guests to experience it, just as they were. His apartment above the Fire Station on Main Street is a constant reminder that he slept in the park many nights, and just loved being there. It was a place that he designed with (by that time) his grandchildren in mind.

Walt Disney World is a wonderful place, and I adore being there - but the vibe between the two resorts is just so very different. Disneyland was shepherded by Walt himself, but by the time the plans and blueprints for the Magic Kingdom were being created, Walt was already long gone having died in December 1966. The Magic Kingdom was designed by committee, not having that single creative guru as the final say-so on design, theming and the like and very often it can be felt. There are certainly improvements to guest traffic and flow that help on crowded days, but the real element that is missing in Florda is the Walt element. Disneyland really does just seep Walt all over, strange as that might sound.




Just as Walt said many years ago, "Disneyland will never be completed so long as there is imagination left in the world", I plan on plussing this thread with a lot of information, photos, tidbits and the like... but it will take me a few days to get it all organized and up. Until then - think of my little "reserved" spots as construction walls that read, "Pardon our Dust as we Imagineer the Future"...
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Christopher DW DS (18) DS (15) DD (10) BICOASTAL SOLO Adventure: Nov/Dec'10 / Daddy-Daughter Adventure: AKV Sep'10
SOLO Adventures: WDW Jun '10 / Triple Whammy WDW Family Trip-Jan'10 / SOLO Adventures: DL Nov/Dec'09 / Father/Sons Adventure May'09
My 13,000th Post My 12,000th Post My 10,000th Post

DISNEYLAND: Way too many to possibly count! I grew up 30 mins. from DL. Former CM. AP holder for 20 yrs. Premier Pass AP. All 3 DL Resorts and numerous off-site hotels.
WDW: 58 trips on & off-site, including DVC, Deluxe, Moderate & Value - in 18 different WDW resorts & numerous off-site resorts. AP holder for 5 yrs. Premier Pass AP holder.
AULANI: 1 so far. More to come though, & definitely looking forward to returning!

Last edited by stopher1; 05-24-2011 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:02 PM   #2
stopher1

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The DISNEYLAND RESORT

As you will see from this image below, the Disneyland Resort is compact. There's no getting around that simple fact. It's small - the entire resort is +/- 600 acres, and could easily fit inside Animal Kingdom and its' parking lot. Prior to 1954 the park's land was covered with orange groves as Anaheim was nothing more than a sleepy farming community.


this image is copyright Disney

This map shows in general terms the location of the parks, hotels and Downtown Disney District. You'll notice the esplanade in between both parks, which is the entrance plaza. Each park's entrance is just about 100 yards +/- apart from the other. Disneyland's entrance is on the north side of the esplanade, and you proceed northbound into the park. Disney California Adventure's entrance is on the south side of the esplanade, and you proceed southbound into the park.


DISNEYLAND - opened July 17, 1955 - dedicated by Walt Disney
The park is comprised of eight lands. The attractions listed with NO date behind them in italics are original to the park's opening year. All other attractions WITH a date are listed in the order they were added to that land, or updated/rethemed:

Main Street, U.S.A. - original to opening day
Disneyland Railroad, Main Street vehicles... Horseless Carriage, Omnibus, Horse Drawn Trolly, Main Street Cinema, Fire Truck (1956) Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln (1966), The Disney Gallery (2009)

Adventureland - original to opening day
Jungle Cruise, The Enchanted Tiki Room (1963), Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye (1995), Tarzan's Treehouse (1999... originally added in 1961 as Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, but rethemed in 1999)

Fantasyland - original to opening day
Sleeping Beauty Castle Walk-Thru (1957), Casey Jr. Circus Train, Dumbo the Flying Elephants, King Arthur's Carrousel, Peter Pan's Flight, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Storybookland Canal Boats, Snow White Scary Adventures, Mad Tea Party, Disneyland Railroad, Alice in Wonderland (1958), Matterhorn Bobsleds (1959), It's a Small World (1966), Pinocchio's Daring Journey (1983), Princess Fantasy Faire (2005), Pixie Hollow (2009), Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (2010),

Frontierland - original to opening day
Mark Twain Riverboat, The Golden Horseshoe Stage, Pirates' Lair at Tom Saywer Island (1956 as the original Tom Sawyer Island, then rethemed in 2007 as Pirates' Lair), Sailing Ship Columbia (1958), Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (1979), Big Thunder Ranch (1984), Fantasmic! (1992)

Tomorrowland - original to opening day
AstroOrbiter (originally known as the Rocket Jets, then moved two different times and renamed in 1997), Autopia, Disneyland Railroad, Disneyland Monorail (1959), Space Mountain (1977), Starcade (1977), Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (2004), Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage (the original Submarine Voyage was added in 1959, then rethemed in 2007), Innoventions, Captain Eo (1986 and then added back in in 2010), Star Tours (1987 and of course about to reopen in 2011)

New Orleans Square - dedicated by Walt Disney July 24, 1966
Pirates of the Caribbean (1967), The Haunted Mansion (1969), Disneyland Railroad, Fantasmic! (1992)

Critter Country - originally opened as Bear Country March 4, 1972 - rededicated as Critter Country in Fall 1988 prior to the arrival of Splash Mountain in January 1989
Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes (1956), Splash Mountain (1989), The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (2004)

Mickey's Toontown - dedicated by Michael Eisner January 24, 1993
all added in 1993
Mickey's House Meet & Greet, Minnie's House, Goofy's Bounce House, Donald's Boat, Chip & Dales Treehouse, Gadget's Go Coaster, Roger Rabbit's Cartoon Spin


Here is a map from January 2011 of Disneyland. While smaller and difficult to read the small print, it gives a good idea of what the park looks like, and where the various lands/attractions are. Disneyland is a smaller park in total acreage than her counterpart in Florida, the Magic Kingdom, but as a single park, Disneyland has quite a few more attractions packed in to the available acreage




DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE - opened February 8, 2001 - dedicated by Michael Eisner
The park is comprised of four lands:

Sunshine Plaza - original to opening day, though soon to be Buena Vista Street in 2012
Previously no attractions... the new BV Street will include the Red Car Trolley

Hollywood Pictures Backlot - original to opening day though soon to be renamed Hollywoodland in 2012
Muppet Vision 3D, Animation Academy, Character Close-Up, Sorcerer's Workshop, The Hollywood Backlot Stage, Aladdin-A Musical Spectacular (2003), The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (2003), Turtle Talk with Crush (2004), Monsters Inc-Mike & Sully to the Rescue (2007), Disney Jr Live on Stage (original location to the park but opened as a themed restaurant, rethemed to Playhouse Disney Live on Stage in 2006, rethemed again in 2011)

Golden State featuring Condor Flats - original to opening day
Soaring Over California, Grizzly River Run, Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, Mission Tortilla Factory, The Bakery Tour, Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar (2008)

Paradise Pier - original to opening day
California Screamin', Jumpin' Jellyfish, King Triton's Carousel, Golden Zephyr, Games of the Boardwalk, Toy Story Midway Mania (2008), Mickey's Fun Wheel (original to the park's opening but rethemed from Sun Wheel to Mickey's Fun Wheel in 2009), Silly Symphony Swings (2001 original attraction was Orange Stinger, but torn down and rebuilt as Silly Symphony Swings 2010), World of Color (2010), The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventures (opening June 2011), Goofy's Sky School (opening July 2011)

a bug's land featuring Flik's Fun Fair - dedicated in 2004
It's Tough to Be a Bug, Flik's Flyers (2004), Francis' Ladybug Boogie (2004), Heimlich's Chew Chew (2004), Princess Dot Puddle Park (2004), Tuck and Roll's Drive 'Em Buggies (2004)

Carsland - currently under construction - coming in 2012
to feature... Radiator Springs Racers, Luigi's Flying Tires, Mater's Junkyard Jamboree

Some Carsland concept art with Radiator Springs Racers and the Cadillac Range dominating the southern end / skyline of Carsland




Here is a map of Disney California Adventure from January 2011... lots of changes are coming in 2011 and 2012 - so it will change quite a bit over the coming months. DCA was built on the original parking lot for Disneyland, and has been added to and expanded since opening day. The newest addition, Carsland, is anticipated to bring a lot of fun and excitement to the southeast part of the park.

__________________
Christopher DW DS (18) DS (15) DD (10) BICOASTAL SOLO Adventure: Nov/Dec'10 / Daddy-Daughter Adventure: AKV Sep'10
SOLO Adventures: WDW Jun '10 / Triple Whammy WDW Family Trip-Jan'10 / SOLO Adventures: DL Nov/Dec'09 / Father/Sons Adventure May'09
My 13,000th Post My 12,000th Post My 10,000th Post

DISNEYLAND: Way too many to possibly count! I grew up 30 mins. from DL. Former CM. AP holder for 20 yrs. Premier Pass AP. All 3 DL Resorts and numerous off-site hotels.
WDW: 58 trips on & off-site, including DVC, Deluxe, Moderate & Value - in 18 different WDW resorts & numerous off-site resorts. AP holder for 5 yrs. Premier Pass AP holder.
AULANI: 1 so far. More to come though, & definitely looking forward to returning!

Last edited by stopher1; 05-19-2011 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:03 PM   #3
stopher1

Wall to wall creeps, and hot and cold running chills! Shh...listen
I have plenty of hill left to climb thank you very much
 
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Downtown Disney District / Disneyland Resort Hotels / Good Neighbor Hotels

DOWNTOWN DISNEY DISTRICT

This map shows the three hotels of the Disneyland Resort and their relationship with the Downtown Disney District, which runs between the parks and the hotels.


this image copyright Disney




DOWNTOWN DISNEY DISTRICT
Like at Walt Disney World, the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort is an open-air shopping and dining oasis. There is no charge for admission to this area, so it is a fun afternoon or nighttime destination for locals as well as tourists staying at or near the Disneyland Resort. DTD boasts a number of world-class restaurants, shops and entertainment venues including:

House of Blues
ESPN Zone
Rainforest Cafe
Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen
Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria
Napolini
Tortilla Jo's
Taqueria at Tortilla Jo's
Catal
La Brea Bakery
Haagen-Daas
Wetzel's Pretzels
Jamba Juice
Marceline's Confectionary

World of Disney
Lego Imagination Center
Build-a-Bear Workshop
Fossil
RideMakerz
D Street
Vault 28
Island Charters
Sephora
Studio Disney 365
and many others



THE HOTELS OF THE DISNEYLAND RESORT

Disneyland Hotel



The Disneyland Hotel is the first hotel ever offered at a Disney theme park. It was built in 1955 and opened a few months after the park. However, the Disneyland Hotel was NOT built by the Disney Company, nor was it even owned by The Walt Disney Company until 1988. Walt Disney saw the potential for offering his guests a place to stay overnight before or after their day at the park...but did not have the funds to do so, nor the know-how on operating a hotel. He turned to his good friend Jack Wrather and offered him the opportunity to build and operate a hotel using the Disney name. Jack was able to acquire property directly across the street from the new park and built a low-level motor lodge. The success of the park also brought a good deal of success to the hotel, allowing the Wrather Corp. to expand the hotel and in the mid-1960's three towers and a number of bungalows were built. The towers were all named in honor of Jack's daughters. The monorail was also extended from the park, crossing a city street, and added an exclusive station at the hotel for guests to be able to enter Disneyland right there at the hotel station.

In the 1980's the two corporations entered into talks or the hotel to finally come in to the Disney portfolio - following on the success of Walt Disney World which opened in 1971. Numerous hotels had been opened by then in the east, and the company had the knowledge and skills to operate a hotel. It made more sense for the company to own the iconic hotel than an outside vendor. Finally in 1988 TWDC was able to purchase the hotel. Convention facilities were added, and the hotel was able to continue to expand it's business and reach into the community.

In the 1990's plans to expand Disneyland into a multi-park destination were underway. Expansion finally began in 1998, and the first changes saw the demolition of the long-time private bungalows. Downtown Disney District soon came to be, and the Hotel's Monorail station soon became DTD's Monorail station as DTD was built all the way up to the towers of the Hotel. At that time each of the three towers was renamed to Dreams, Magic and Wonder.

By 2007, the decision was finally made to completely remake the iconic hotel - and all three towers are currently under major renovations, being completely gutted and rebuilt for the 21st century. Each tower is being renamed and rethemed to the appropriate land of the park across the street: Fantasy, Adventure and Frontier. The entire pool complex is being reworked, with a new Monorail themed slide going in. Shops and restaurants are being completely redone, with many elements being introduced later in the the spring and summer of 2011, and is expected to be completely finished by 2012. Of the three Disneyland Resort Hotels, this hotel is the mid-range hotel as far as price is concerned.

As of December 2011, the major renovations are now complete, with assorted lesser renovations ongoing into 2012. Major additions to the resort include the all-new Tangaroa Terrace, a quick service eatery found in the central courtyard area between the towers. It, along with the attached Trader Sam's, is a major homage to Adventureland and the world famous Jungle Cruise attraction found across the street. Also in the central courtyard area is the new Monorail Pool, and the rethemed E-Ticket Pool - both paying homage to Tomorrowland attractions. Here's a glimpse of the new Monorail themed slides at the Monorail Pool.




Restaurants/Bars include: Steakhouse 55 (fine dining), Goofy's Kitchen (casual table service, with characters at breakfast, lunch and dinner), Tangaroa Terrace (quick/counter service) and Trader Sam's (bar).

Recreation / Pools: Neverland Pool, Cove Pool (new pool complex with Monorail themed slides is currently under construction), Fitness Center, Arcade.

Other amenities/benefits include: Convention Facilities / multiple Ballrooms, Wedding Pavilion, use of Private Entrance into Disney California Adventure, Merchandise Delivery from the Theme Parks, Charing Privileges to the room, "Magic Morning" early entry admission in to Disneyland an hour before the park opens to the public on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursady and Saturday.

The theme is classically Disney, and even more special Disney touches are being added with the 2010/2011 renovation.

Rooms Accomodate up to 5 guests, and there are suites for larger groups.


Paradise Pier Hotel



Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel began it's "life" in 1984 when it first opened as the Emerald of Anaheim after being constructed by Tokyu Group of Japan. It was renamed the Pan Pacific Hotel in 1989 when those two former hotel brands were consolidated into one. In 1995 Disney purchased the hotel for $36M, and renamed it the Disneyland Pacific Hotel, and then renamed it to the current Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel in another rebranding effort thanks to the expansion taking place at Disneyland and the new theme park popping up across the street from the hotel. This 15-story hotel directly overlooks the Paradise Pier section of Disney California Adventure, and is a very short walk to each of the other Disneyland Resort hotels, and the theme parks. At one time there was an exclusive entrance for this hotel only directly into the Paradise Pier section of the park, but that was closed prior to the expansion of the Grand Californian Hotel. There is a multi-level parking garage located directly behind the hotel, and the hotel's pool can be found on the roof of the 3rd floor, above the hotel's Convention Center/Ballrooms. Of the three Disneyland Resort Hotels - this hotel is the least expensive.

Restaurants/Bars include: Disney's PCH Grill, including the "Surf's Up! Breakfast with Mickey & Friends" character breakfast, and the Surfside Lounge.

Recreation / Pools: Rooftop Pool with waterslide, Fitness Center, Arcade.

Other amenities/benefits include: Convention Facilities / multiple Ballrooms, use of Private Entrance into Disney California Adventure, Merchandise Delivery from the Theme Parks, Charing Privileges to the room, "Magic Morning" early entry admission in to Disneyland an hour before the park opens to the public on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursady and Saturday.

The theme is Beachfront Boardwalk, with seashore thematic elements throughout.

Rooms Accomodate up to 5 guests, and there are some suites for 6 guests.


Grand Californian Hotel & Spa - includes the Villas at the Grand Californian



The Grand Californian Hotel & Spa was first opened in 2001 with Disney's California Adventure park, as part of the major expansion turning Disneyland into The Disneyland Resort. It is the first Disney-owned hotel at the resort to be designed and built by Disney. Noted architect Peter Dominck, who also designed the Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge for Disney celebrated the Craftsman styles of the Arts & Crafts movement popular throughout California in the early 1900's throughout the design of this hotel. The lobby is like other noted Disney hotels, being 6 stories tall, with a large central atrium-like core. The hotel opened with 750 rooms, many of which directly overlooked both California Adventure theme park on one side, and the Downtown Disney District on the other. Convention space was incorporated into the design from the very beginning. The hotel is notable within the Disney pantheon as it is the ONLY Disney hotel to ever include it's own private entrance directly INTO a Disney theme park. By using this entrance, you are just steps away from the attraction queues for both Soaring Over California and Grizzly River Run. Originally this private entrance was for guests of the Grand Californian only, but that changed in 2009 and it is now accesible to guests of any of the 3 Disneyland Resort hotels. The hotel also features an entrance directly in to Downtown Disney.

In 2007 groundbreaking began on an expansion to the hotel, which opened in September 2009. This 2.5 acre expansion brought the additon of 200 more hotel rooms, plus 50 Disney Vacation Club villas - the first of their kind on the west coast marking DVC's westward expansion (which will soon see the addition of Aulani on the island of Oahu in Hawaii) - and consequently the SMALLEST DVC resort of them all when looking at room count, though some of the largest room sizes of them all in terms of square footage, only second to Old Key West. An expanded pool complex was created through this exansion with the addition of another pool and another hot tub. An expanded arcade and children's facility was also added, along with underground valet parking. Of the 50 DVC villas, 2 of them are 2-story Grand Villas accomodating 12 guests, with sweeping 2-story windows in the living room. Many of these rooms have balconies directly overlooking the Paradise Pier section of Disney California Adventure park. Of the three Disneyland Resort Hotels, this is the most expensive hotel, and honestly has a number of rooms and categories that are more expensive than Walt Disney World hotels.

Restaurants/Bars include: Napa Rose (fine dining), Storyteller's Cafe (casual table service, including "Chip & Dale's Breakfast" character breakfast), White Water Snacks (quick/counter service) and the Heartstone Lounge.

Recreation / Pools: Fountain Pool, Redwood Pool with waterslide, Mariposa Pool with private cabanas available, Fitness Center, Arcade, Mandara Spa, Pinocchio's Workshop Child Activity Center.

Other amenities/benefits include: Convention Facilities / multiple Ballrooms, use of Private Entrance into Disney California Adventure, Merchandise Delivery from the Theme Parks, Charing Privileges to the room, "Magic Morning" early entry admission in to Disneyland an hour before the park opens to the public on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursady and Saturday.

The theme is California Craftsman, with impressive woodwork and rockwork throughout.

Regular Hotel Rooms accomodate up to 5 guests, with suites for larger groups.
Disney Vacaton Club Villas accomodate the following: Deluxe Studio Villas up to 4 guests; 1 Bedroom Villas up to 5 guests; 2 Bedroom Villas up to 9 guests; or 3 Bedroom Grand Villas up to 12 guests.



For more specific information about the Grand Californian check out either of these threads:

The Villas at Disney's Grand Californian Owners & Lovers Group 2.0
Grand Californian Hotel & Spa (non-DVC) Superthread - lots of info, photos and more about the hotel portion of the resort

I have personally stayed at all 3 of the Disneyland Resort Hotels, and as you can see from my signature below, have an affinity for the GCH since I do have DVC points at the Villas at the Grand Californian. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about all three of the Disneyland Resort Hotels.



GOOD NEIGHBOR HOTELS

There are a number of nearby hotels that have been certified by Disneyland as Good Neighbor Hotels. Each of these good neighbors is within walking distance or a short ride from the parks and the bountiful shopping, dining, and entertainment offerings of the Downtown Disney District. They are classified as either Economy, Moderate, Superior or Suites. As of this writing in May 2011, there are 42 Good Neighbor Hotels. Many of these hotels provide a link to the Anaheim Resort Transit (or ART) transportation network.

While staying in an "on-site" hotel at Walt Disney World has numerous benefits and is a "must" for many WDW visitors / veterans, it is honestly not quite as critical at Disneyland. Many of Good Neighbor Hotels are just like the Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier Hotel, right across the street from the parks, and there are a number of them that have a shorter walking distance to the main entrance of both theme parks than two of the DLR Hotels. The cost savings can certainly outweigh the advertised benefits of staying in an official Disneyland Resort Hotel. Disneyland Resort Hotels don't go "on sale" very often, whereas Good Neighbor Hotels can and do often to continue to draw those visitors. I have personally stayed at about 6 Good Neighbor Hotels, and only had a problem with one of them, and would gladly make recommendations to anyone who asked.

You can find out more about these Good Neighbor Hotels here or view them on this MAP
__________________
Christopher DW DS (18) DS (15) DD (10) BICOASTAL SOLO Adventure: Nov/Dec'10 / Daddy-Daughter Adventure: AKV Sep'10
SOLO Adventures: WDW Jun '10 / Triple Whammy WDW Family Trip-Jan'10 / SOLO Adventures: DL Nov/Dec'09 / Father/Sons Adventure May'09
My 13,000th Post My 12,000th Post My 10,000th Post

DISNEYLAND: Way too many to possibly count! I grew up 30 mins. from DL. Former CM. AP holder for 20 yrs. Premier Pass AP. All 3 DL Resorts and numerous off-site hotels.
WDW: 58 trips on & off-site, including DVC, Deluxe, Moderate & Value - in 18 different WDW resorts & numerous off-site resorts. AP holder for 5 yrs. Premier Pass AP holder.
AULANI: 1 so far. More to come though, & definitely looking forward to returning!

Last edited by stopher1; 12-15-2011 at 08:29 AM.
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:04 PM   #4
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Dining at the Disneyland Resort

For those vets of Walt Disney World, please be aware that dining at the Disneyland Resort is different in many ways. Of course how you eat the food is the same, I mean really, stick the food with a fork, open your mouth, put it in... but I digress... let's just say there are a lot of differences between the two different Disney Destinations. Walt Disney World vets all have favorite restaurants - I mean who wouldn't with hundreds of places to choose from, many, many of those being coveted table service locations. So here is where the real differences begin, and I'll just go from there.

Throughout the Disneyland Resort, there are a number of very nice table service restaurants, as well as quite a number of buffeterias, counter service restaurants and a wide variety of specialty carts and stalls selling one or two select items. There are special and unique dining opportunities, signature dining and yes, there are character meals. Culinary flavors from around the world can be found throughout the resort - in both theme parks, the hotels and Downtown Disney.

The Disneyland Resort does not have an Advanced Dining Reservation or ADR system in place as WDW does. Dining reservations, known as Priority Seating at DLR are available up to 60 days in advance and can be made by calling Disney Dining at (714) 781-DINE or (714) 781-3463. With the exception of a few key restaurants during the peak season, most restaurants allow guests to walk-up and secure a table on the day of their visit. Some restaurants in Downtown Disney do not take reservations while others do.

Character meals can be found at the following restaurants only:
  • Plaza Inn (DL) - breakfast only - Minnie, Mickey & Friends
  • Ariel's Grotto (DCA) - breakfast and lunch only - Princesses
  • Goofy's Kitchen (DLH) - all three meals - Goofy, Donald & Pals
  • Disney's PCH Grill (PPH) - breakfast only - Lilo & Stitch & Pals
  • Storyteller's Cafe (GCH) - breakfast only - Chip & Dale & Friends
Is there a Dining Plan similar to WDW's? The answer to this question is both yes and no. There is a DP, but it is not very similar to WDW's. First, the DP is only available to those guests who book their stay through The Walt Disney Travel Co. There are 4 different levels of the plan (Donald, Goofy, Minnie & Mickey) and (2 days, 3 days, 4 days or 5 days in duration. Each level includes a Character Meal, a meal voucher and a snack voucher, but the two upper levels include more of each. The DP allows guests to purchase their meals with vouchers instead of cash - very dissimilar to the credits found at WDW attached to the room reservation. The DLR DP vouchers are vouchers that are issued in specific dollar denominations (i.e. $10, $15) and if a meal is more than the voucher amount, the guest will have to make up the difference either with additional vouchers or in cash.... and they are not redeemable for cash, so if a meal costs less than the voucher amount, the guest does not get change back. So using the vouchers can be tricky - and downright frustrating for those guests who use them. Cash, Credit Card, or Traveler's Checks really are the best method of payment for food purchases at the Disneyland Resort.


DISNEYLAND DINING
  • Unless specifically noted with "Breakfast" - the restaurants open prior to lunch and serve throughout the day... *NOTE* that some counter service locations may close earlier than the park does, so be sure to check a Times Guide when in the park to verify operating hours
  • Buffeteria restaurants are self-serve, where you get a tray, make your selections and head for the cashier.

Main Street, U.S.A
Blue Ribbon Bakery: Counter Service - breakfast, baked goods, sandwiches, specialty drinks
Carnation Cafe: Table Service - breakfast, sandwiches, gourmet coffees, salads, ice cream
Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor
Main Street Cone Shop (HERE'S A TIP ---> the Cone Shop is located at the east end of Center Street, away from the hustle and bustle of Main Street - and almost always has a far shorter line for ice cream than the Gibson Girl out on Main Street does!!)
Plaza Inn: Buffeteria - Character Breakfast - "Minnie & Friends Breakfast in the Park", lunch and dinner featuring home-style favorites, specialty desserts
Refreshment Corner: Counter Service - hot dogs, chili
Little Red Wagon: Counter Service - corn dogs, chips


Adventureland
Bengal Barbeque: Counter Service - BBQ kabobs and specialty coffees
Tiki Juice Bar: Dole Whips & Floats!!!, Pineapple spears


Frontierland
The Golden Horseshoe: Counter Service - chicken, fish, mozzarella sticks, chili, ice cream
Stage Door Cafe: Counter Service - chicken, fish, mozzarella sticks
Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante: Buffeteria - Mexican favorites and Costena Grill specialties
River Belle Terrace: Buffeteria - Entree salalds, carved-to-order sandwiches
Big Thunder Ranch: Buffeteria - All-you-can-eat BBQ


New Orleans Square
Blue Bayou: Table Service - seafood, chicken, beef, plus the Monte Cristo Sandwich at lunchtime
French Market: Buffeteria - Jambalaya, fried chicken, cajun specialties, specialty desserts
Cafe Orleans: Table Service - breakfast, soups, saleas, gourmet sandwiches, crepes
Royal Street Veranda: Counter Service - chowder and gumbo in bread bowls, New Orleans-style fritters, specialty coffees
Mint Julep Bar: Counter Service - non-alcholic mint juleps, fritters, coffees


Critter Country
Harbour Galley: Counter Service - sandwiches, salads
Hungry Bear Restaurant: Counter Service - burgers, chicken, salads


Fantasyland
Village Haus: Counter Service - burgers, pizza, sandwiches, salads


Mickey's Toontown
Daisy's Diner: Counter Service - pizza, salads, desserts
Pluto's Dog House: Counter Service - hot dogs, chips
Clarabelle's Frozen Yogurt


Tomorrowland
Redd Rocket's Pizza Port: Buffeteria - pizza, pasta, salads
Tomorrowland Terrace: Counter Service - breakfast sandwiches, burgers, salads, desserts




DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE DINING

Sunshine Plaza
Baker's Field Bakery: Counter Service - baked goods, specialty coffees
Bur-r-r Bank Ice Cream


Hollywood Pictures Backlot
Award Wieners: Counter Service - hot dogs, gourmet sausages
Schmoozies: Counter Service - fruit smoothies
Studio Catering Co.: Counter Service - Nachos


Golden State
Taste Pilots' Grill: Counter Service - burgers, ribs, chicken, sandwiches
Pacific Wharf Cafe: Counter Service - breakfasts, entree salads, soups
Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill: Counter Service - tacos, burritos, salads
Lucky Fortune Cookery: Counter Service - Asian rice bowls, stir-fry
Pacific Wharf Distribution Co: Counter Service - various beers
The Vineyard Room at the Golden Vine Winery: Table Service - fine cuisine inspired by California's Wine Country
Wine Country Trattoria at the Golden Vine Winery: Table Service - Italian favorites
Mendocino Terrace at the Golden Vine Winery: Counter Service - Wine-by-the-glass, snacks
Sonoma Terrace at the Golden Vine Winery: Counter Service - WORLD OF COLOR picnics, beer and wine-by-the-glass


Paradise Pier
Ariel's Grotto: Table Service - Character Dining breakfast & lunch only, not for dinner - "Ariel's Disney Princess Celebration" - featuring American favorites
Corn Dog Castle: Counter Service - corn dogs, chips
Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta: Counter Service - pizza, pasta, entree salads (opening July 1, 2011)
Garden Grill: Counter Service (opening July 1, 2011)
Beer Hut: Counter Service - beer (opening July 1, 2011)

When it opens, Carsland in 2012 will have at least two dining options as well


WORLD OF COLOR Picnics with Reserved Viewing

Reserved viewing for the extremely popular WORLD OF COLOR nighttime spectacular is available when you purchase a Picnic Meal. You can pre-purchase a meal online and receive a special viewing ticket for either the first or second show in the preferred viewing location in Paradise Park, right in front of Paradise Bay. The ticket saves you a spot, but like so many other things, reserved viewing is first come, first served - so plan on arriving early!

There are currently 4 different meals to choose from for adults:
  • All-American; European Antipasto; Taste of Asia; or Mediterranean Vegetarian
There are currently 2 different meals for children to choose from - both come with a souvenir WORLD OF COLOR light-up bracelet:
  • Junior All-American; Lunchbox Classic
Each picnic meal includes a dessert, choice of beverage and one (1) resuableWORLD OF COLOR commemorative tote bag for every 4 meals ordered. Advance pre-purchase is available from one (1) to 30 days before the show date. Same-day pre-orders are not currently accepted.

Meals can be picked up at the Sonoma Terrace at the Golden Vine Winery between 11:30 am and one hour prior to the show. A limited number of same-day orders are taken by walk-up purchase, a higher price for same-day orders may apply.



DOWNTOWN DISNEY DISTRICT DINING
  • House of Blues... American, Cajun-Creole, Steak, Gospel Brunch featured on Sundays
  • ESPN Zone... American, Healthy cuisine, Vegetarian, filled with sports related fun!
  • Rainforest Cafe...American, Healthy cuisine, Steak - just like any other RFC in the country; with an outdoor patio on the upper level
  • Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen... Cajun-Creole, Steak, with a party atmosphere
  • Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria... Italian, Healthy cuisine, Vegetarian
  • Napolini... American, Italian Healthy cuisine, Vegetarian
  • Tortilla Jo's... Mexican, Healthy cuisine, Vegetarian, features live mariachs
  • Taqueria at Tortilla Jo's... Mexican, Healthy cuisine, Vegetarian - outdoor dining
  • Catal... Mediterranean, Healthy cuisine, Steak, Vegetarian; both indoor and outdoor dining
  • La Brea Bakery...American, Californian, featuring gourmet sandwiches, pastries, and other baked goods.
  • Uva Bar... Mediterranean, open-air circular bar inspired by the 1920's Jazz Age through its' metro-station architecture, with daily happy hours
  • Haagen-Daas... Desserts
  • Wetzel's Pretzels... American
  • Jamba Juice... American, Healthy snacks; gourmet breads, smoothies and breakfast items.


DISNEYLAND RESORT HOTEL DINING

Disneyland Hotel
  • Goofy's Kitchen... American cuisine, all-you-care-to-eat character buffet
  • Tangaroa Terrace - Casual Island Dining... American, Vegetarian, Healthy cuisine, table service inspired by Adventureland! Opening June 2011
  • Trader Sam's-Enchanted Tiki Bar... a unique, interactive lounge with tropical coctails, juices and an exotic bar menu. Opening June 2011
  • Steakhouse 55... American cuisine, Steak, Vegetarian, table service
  • The Coffee House... quick-service breakfast items & lots of coffee!

Paradise Pier Hotel
  • Disney's PCH Grill... American, Healthy cuisine, Vegetarian, "Surf's Up" all-you-care-to-eat character breakfast, with casual table service fare for dinner.

Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
  • White Water Snacks... American, Vegetarian, quick-service including deli sandwiches, salads, breakfast and limited grocery items
  • Storyteller's Cafe... American, Healthy cuising, Vegetarian, table service dining for lunch and dinner, and an all-you-care-to-eat character breakfast featuring Chip & Dale!
  • Hearthstone Lounge... a lodge-inspired lounge with a continental breakfast in the morning, standard cocktail bar in the evening.
  • Napa Rose... American, Californian, Healthy cuisine, Vegetarian - Fine Dining with an exquisite wine cellar (Named the Most Popular Restaurant in the 2008 Zagat Survey for Orange County)


NEARBY DINING (across the street on the east side of the DLR - all within walking distance of the theme parks)
  • McDonald's
  • Mimi's Cafe
  • Coldstone Creamery
  • Mille's
  • Acapulco
  • and others that I am still remembering...and will post when I do remember
__________________
Christopher DW DS (18) DS (15) DD (10) BICOASTAL SOLO Adventure: Nov/Dec'10 / Daddy-Daughter Adventure: AKV Sep'10
SOLO Adventures: WDW Jun '10 / Triple Whammy WDW Family Trip-Jan'10 / SOLO Adventures: DL Nov/Dec'09 / Father/Sons Adventure May'09
My 13,000th Post My 12,000th Post My 10,000th Post

DISNEYLAND: Way too many to possibly count! I grew up 30 mins. from DL. Former CM. AP holder for 20 yrs. Premier Pass AP. All 3 DL Resorts and numerous off-site hotels.
WDW: 58 trips on & off-site, including DVC, Deluxe, Moderate & Value - in 18 different WDW resorts & numerous off-site resorts. AP holder for 5 yrs. Premier Pass AP holder.
AULANI: 1 so far. More to come though, & definitely looking forward to returning!

Last edited by stopher1; 05-23-2011 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:05 PM   #5
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Differences between DISNEYLAND and WALT DISNEY WORLD

There are clearly a lot of differences between DLR and WDW! Many are obvious such as DLR has 2 theme parks, and 3 hotels whereas WDW has 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, 4 golf courses, and 22 hotels. Others are not quite as obvious... at first glance.


Visitor/Guest Base
Disneyland was built in a centrally located "growth area" that has certainly done just that, but also far exceeded the expectations of civic leaders and planners of the 1950's. Anaheim, being located in Orange County, is just one of dozens of cities and five counties that make up the Los Angeles metropolitan area - of the Southern California basin. California as a state has nearly 37 million residents - more than 20 million of those live in Southern California, and the majority of those 20 million are just a relatively short drive from the park... anywhere from moments to about 3 to 3 1/2 hours away.

Walt Disney World on the other hand was built in a centrally located part of Florida for its' climate and the ability to operate year-round as Disneyland is able to thanks to the wonderful Southern California weather. The Orlando area "grew up" thanks to the addition of Walt Disney World, but Orlando was never meant to be a "growth area". Florida in the 1960's and 1970's was still very much a sleepy-community state, primarly enjoyed by "snow-birds" looking to get away for a while from the winter weather. Florida then had a smaller population, but even today in 2011, Florida as a state has about 19 million residents, of which only about 250,000 call Orlando home.

Disneyland has an Annual Passholder population of more than 1 million people... and the majority of which live within Southern California - which estimates to about 5% of Southern California, or nearly 3% of the entire state of California hold an Annual Passport (AP). Many of these passholders. Many of these passholders make frequent day trips to DLR, and as such have a significant impact on the daily visitor counts. This certainly has implications to the traveling plans of visitors coming from other states in that weekends and holiday periods are notoriously crowded, and do add to the crowds for regular (non-AP) or out-of-state visitors. Additionally there are four different levels of AP with varying degrees of "blockout" periods whereby the holder cannot enter the parks. The four levels include:
  • So Cal Select Pass ... currently $184 will get the holder 160 days of entry during the year
  • So Cal Pass... currently $239 will get the holder 215 days of entry during the year
  • Deluxe Pass... currently $329 will get the holder 315 days of entry during the year
  • Premium Pass... currently $459 will get the holder 365 days of entry during the year, plus it includes parking
All of which tend to make the parks even more crowded as more levels are not blocked out. Disneyland, despite being a vacation destination for folks throughout the country, but primarily those west of the Rockies - is very much a playground for the "locals". Many will show up after work for dinner, shopping, or to ride an attraction or two. Many others will do the same on the weekends - and if the crowds get too crazy, just leave and come back another time. (I can attest to this, since when we lived just 10 minutes away from the park, we were there time and time again each week, sometimes just for lunch or dinner... it was a great place to go and spend some father-son time or for my DW to spend some mother-son time too when our eldest was a little guy). As a tip for out-of-state folks considering a visit to DLR... try to time your days at the parks during the week, and hit other Southern California destinations on the weekend!

For comparision purposes, Walt Disney World's annual visitation/guest counts come primarily from vacationers going in and staying for 5-8 days and then returning home until the next time, possibly the following year. WDW has an AP population of about 300,000 people... the majority of which live outside the state of Florida, and is mostly comprised of DVC members and other die-hard fans who will return time and again, often multiple times within the same calendar year to maximize their AP cost. Sure there are lots of locals in and around Central Florida who visit the WDW parks, but the WDW resort just isn't viewed as a day-trip as much as DLR is by its' local population.

Despite DLR's higher AP base, the Magic Kingdom does still hold the title of most highly attended theme park, and not surprisingly so. But DLR is a relatively close second behind the MK. In 2009, according to TEA/ERA Theme Park Attendance Report, the MK drew 17.2 million visitors, while DL drew 15.9 million. An 7.5% difference yes, but considering how much of a percentage of TWDC's total marketing dollars get spent on marketing WDW as the vacation destination of choice, DLR certainly holds its' own. (2010 results should be published very soon). There's still definitely a reason why people flock to Disneyland.


Transportation - To, From & Within
Because of the mega-metropolitan area that Southern California is, there are multiple airports to fly in and out of, all within a short hour's ride or less to the park:
  • Los Angeles International
  • Orange County - John Wayne
  • Bob Hope - Burbank
  • Ontario International
  • Long Beach

From both Los Angeles and John Wayne, you can get a Disneyland shuttle bus connection to and from your resort (sorry, there's no Magical Express service in Southern California). Super Shuttle, Limosines, taxis and rental cars are also available at all of the airports.

Anaheim is a station stop for the Amtrak trains, and you can take the train to San Diego if you choose to extend your stay. San Diego has another great airport to fly in and out of.

Disneyland is physically located right next to the 5 freeway, (which if you were to drive it all the way would take you from the border of Mexico up to the border of Canada) and is in close proximity to numerous other freeways that will connect you with so much fun to be had throughout Southern California.

Once you arrive at Disneyland and step off the bus - or get out of your taxi, limo, van or rental car - your two feet will be your sole source of transportation while staying at the Disneyland Resort (unless you choose to ride the Monorail from Downtown Disney into Disneyland... but honestly, your feet just might get you there more quickly). Because the resort is so very compact - EVERYTHING is just a short few minute walk away.


Park Hopping
As mentioned previously, because the resort is so very compact - park hopping is a breeze! Both theme park entrances literally face each other - separated across the esplanade by about 50-75 yards +/-. You could very easily be in Tomorrowland in Disneyland after rope drop and get FP's for Star Tours, and then be out of the park, across the way and into Disney California Adventure to get in line for Soaring Over California 10 minutes or less. Just think about that for a moment... try that at Walt Disney World and that it would take you well over an hour due to supersized parks, wait time for the buses, boats or monorails (depending on your choice of attractions or parks to hop between) and the repeat walk back in to the next supersized park.

Another example, is if you stay at at Disneyland Resort Hotel, and use the private entrance in to Disney California Adventure - you would literally be a minute's walk from the FP machines at Soaring Over California, and then you could very quickly hop into Disneyland to get in line for Splash Mountain. It truly is an amazing feeling to be able to do that so very, very quickly when you are used to how long and arduous a hopping experience CAN be at WDW.


Architectural Stylings
There are some obvious architectural differences found throughout the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World. First are the hotels. Both the Paradise Pier and Disneyland Hotel are pretty plain, utilitarian towers, lacking the rich exterior theming and stylings of the many wonderful resorts found throughout WDW. The Grand Californian rectified that glaring difference, with it's take on the Craftsman stylings of early 20th Century Californina.

Within Disneyland itself differences abound. The first and quite noticeable difference comes in Town Square and on Main Street, U.S.A in that at Disneyland the style is more midwestern - coming from Chicago where Walt was born and the town of Marceline, Missouri where Walt was a boy (after living in the midwest for more than 9 years now, and touring many historic communities as I travel for my employer - I can definitely see bits and pieces of the architectural inspiration those first imagineers had! It truly is uncanny to see buildings that clearly could have been placed inside Disneyland out in the midwest for real - I love it). whereas WDW is more Victorian in its' stylings and architectural flair, with more gingerbread and curlicues.

Adventureland at Disneyland is more dense jungle with a bit more of an African, Indian, Asian flair to it and WDW is a bit more of a tropical, West Indies Caribbean, South Seas flair to it.

Of course there are entire land differences with the requisite architectural styles, in that when the Magic Kingdom was being designed, the imagineers opted not to include New Orleans Square, but rather build on a concept from the late '50s that Walt wanted to include at Disneyland but didn't... Liberty Square. And what a great inclusion it is. At Disneyland New Orleans Square builds on the river theme and westward expansion with the great riverboats of the 19th century plying their trade, taking their wares to the great seaport of the south - New Orleans - the Gay Paree of the 1800's. It's a natural extension of the riverbank from Frontierland on around the Rivers of America. At WDW, Liberty Square serves as the hub of the east, with the great Rivers of America moving westward through Frontierland. You notice the changes in architectural stylings as you progress westward through the two lands, all the way around to the great southwest with Big Thunder Mountain at the terminus.

Fantasyland at Disneyland was originally built in the same styling that the imagineers gave to WDW... circus tent facades with the castle walls behind. But in 1983 a whole New Fantasyland was opened up at Disneyland - celebrating the diverse architecture of the classic fairy tales that Walt and his animation team so lovingly brought to life. At Disneyland you'll find bits of London all around Peter Pan's Flight and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, and the stylings of Bavaria near Snow White's Scary Adventures, and and Italian flair surrounding Pincocchio's Daring Journey and the Village Haus restaurant. Circus fun can be found around Dumbo the Flying Elephants and the Casey Jr Circus Train ride. Whimsy and fun can be found throughout the land with the oriental lanterns hanging overhead above the Mad Tea Party, the giant whale Monstro about to swallow the boats at Storybookland and of course the golden spired turrets and landmarks creating the facade of It's a Small World (yes, the queue is outdoors, and that is real gold on those spires). Of course the land is dominated by the lovely (yet diminuitive) Sleeping Beauty Castle at the entrance, and the alpine giant to the northeast of the castle - the Matterhorn Bobsleds - a near perfect 1/10th scale recreating of the famous Swiss mountain. (The New Fantasyland at WDW will certainly bring some of the individual character and whimsy to each new location that they build there).


Differences between Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom (Disneyland) and Magic Kingdom Park
Besides the obvious (size) - there are a number of differences between Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom Park. First there are the attractions that are not found at the Magic Kingdom:
  • Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
  • Indiana Jones & the Temple of the Forbidden Eye
  • Tarzan's Treehouse
  • Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes
  • Sailing Ship Columbia
  • Sleeping Beauty Castle Walk-Through
  • Pinocchio's Daring Journey
  • Casey Jr. Circus Train
  • Storybookland Canal Boats
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (of course this used to be at the Magic Kingdom, but was replaced with Winnie the Pooh)
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • Pixie Hollow
  • Roger Rabbit's Cartoon Spin
  • Gadget's Go Coaster
  • Chip & Dale's Treehouse
  • Goofy's Bounce House
  • Donald's Boat (this used to be at the Magic Kingdom, but with the entire Toontown Fair area being torn down and changed, it went away)
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
  • Disneyland Monorail (primarily an attraction, not really transporation as at WDW, though it can be used to get to and from Downtown Disney and the hotels, but that is not the sole purpose of the Monorail at Disneyland as it is at Walt Disney World)
  • Star Tours (of course this is at DHS at Walt Disney World)
  • Innoventions (of course this is at Epcot at Walt Disney World)
  • The Grand Canyon Diorama (along the Tomorrowland to Main Street leg of the Disneyland Railroad)

Conversely there are the attractions currently found at the Magic Kingdom not found at Disneyland (though the ^*^ ones used to be at Disneyland too but were removed/replaced for one reason or another, or packed up and sent east to Walt Disney World):
  • Monsters Inc: Laugh Floor
  • Carousel of Progress ^*^ (sent to Walt Disney World, replaced with America Sings, then replaced with Innoventions)
  • Stitch's Great Escape
  • Peoplemover / TTA ^*^ originally opened at Disneyland in 1967, but sadly closed / replaced with Rocket Rods in 1998, which quickly closed shortly thereafter
  • Flying Carpets of Aladdin
  • Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse ^*^ (remodeled and themed as Tarzan's Treehouse)
  • Hall of Presidents (originally conceived for Disneyland's never built Liberty Street, but it was not created until the design of WDW's Magic Kingdom and Liberty Square)
  • Mickey's Philharmagic
  • Country Bear Jamboree ^*^ (opened at Disneyland in 1972 after the successful launch at Walt Disney World, but closed in 1997 and ultimately replaced by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in 2004)



Next there is another obvious difference in the size of the castles... DL's castle is only about 75 feet tall, whereas WDW's soars to about 180 or so feet. Walt wanted his castle, like the rest of Disneyland, to be more intimate and charming; but when building the Magic Kingdom, the imagineers definitely wanted people to be able to see the castle from the Transportation and Ticket Center - about a mile away from the theme park entrance - and intimate and charming wouldn't cut it with that desire in mind.



There also is no permanent stage in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle as there is in front of Cinderella Castle. From time to time the park might set up a temporary stage for a very specific purpose (tv film shoot or some other special event), but it comes down just as quickly as it goes up after that event or purpose is completed. Guests are able to walk across the drawbridge and through the castle arch all day, every day except for a period of time leading up to and shortly following the fireworks each evening since the current fireworks shows include segments / rounds that are shot off directly from atop the castle and surrounding structures.

Another obvious difference is in the size and space of the walkways, public areas and the overall park itself. Disneyland is compact, there is no doubt about it. There are eight lands with more adventures packed into that single park than any one of the parks at WDW. But it wasn't always so. In the early days, and throughout the 1960's, DL was spacious and somewhat spreadout between attractions. Walt just kept "plussing" the park and adding new adventures. The first major expansion came in 1959 adding several new adventures at once, including the Matterhorn, the Submarines and the Monorail. An entirely new land was added in 1966, and then again in 1972, and again in 1993... but the park didn't add any extra real estate to what they already had... that was not possible. Things just kept getting added in where they could be and the edges kept getting shoved outward a bit more here and there. In 1966 (It's a Small World), 1967 (Pirates) and again in 1969 (Haunted Mansion), 1989 (Splash Moutain) and 1995 (Indiana Jones) individual attractions were added that guests entered the queue or ride vehicles inside the berm, but them unknown to them they travelled OUTSIDE the berm into giant show buildings that had to be built beyond the edges of the park. Critter Country, as a land is partly inside and partly outside the berm, and Mickey's Toontown is ENTIRELY outside the berm. WDW's Magic Kingdom didn't need to do that except for one massive attraction - Space Mountain (when you go down the ramp, and then quickly start going back up again, you are going under the train track and then OUTSIDE the berm into the SM structure).

Disneyland was designed in the 1950's. Americans were, in pretty much thinner as a whole than they are today, and there was not as much thought given to dis-abilities and the request transportation aids that we see more prevalently today. Walkways were built smaller and narrower. But the imagineers saw a need to change that with the construction of the Magic Kingdom. Disneyland also does not have the same high water table situation that Florida has, so the park was built at ground level, vs. the Magic Kingdom actually being built up on top of the large "basement" of utilidors. Disneyland does not have utilidors - there are only a few basements in the entire park, and they certainly are NOT connected. The fact that you will see Frontier dressed CM's, or Pirates, ghostly Butlers or Maids walking through Main Street or Tomorrowland to get backstage to the Costume Warehouse and the locker rooms - or bakery CM's walking racks of baked goods from backstage to replenish a restaurant in New Orleans Square or elsewhere bothered Walt and the imagineers - the utilidor complex was able to change all of that.

Disneyland's castle does not have a restaurant inside of it. In fact, it was originally built as an empty shell, and the Walk-Through diorama was not added until 1957, basically shoe-horned in to the existing structure. The Walk-Thru was closed for several years following 9/11, and reopened in 2009, however given the various ADA requirements of a new attraction (and based on being closed that many years it was considered a "new" attraction once more), an alternate experience needed to be offered. The Castle Heraldry Shoppe that used to sit just inside the castle's drawbridge entry way was moved inside space in the castle courtyard, and the former shop space was converted for an accessible, alternate version, whereby guests can watch the experience on a wall-mounted HD screen.

Attractions found inside Disneyland that are found in OTHER parks at Walt Disney World include:

Star Tours
Innoventions
Captain EO
Fantasmic!


Shared Attraction Differences between Disneyland and Walt Disney World
Shared attractions in the two Magic Kingdom parks are not necessarily in the same locations... as an example, the Haunted Mansion is found in different lands in each park - in New Orleans Square at Disneyland, and in Liberty Square at WDW - geographically on different parts of the Rivers of America as well. Splash Mountain is another example - in Critter Country at Disneyland and in Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom.

Individual attractions have their own unique differences as well. This is in part to the a) the high water table in Florida, b) operational need or lack of operational need, c) desires of the imagineers to keep the experiences similar but different. As mentioned previously - each of the following shared attractions move the guests between being inside the berm and outside the berm. All of these were done for operational need as there simply was not enough room inside the berm to build the attractions as desired:
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • The Haunted Mansion
  • Splash Mountain
  • It's a Small World
The only one of the above named attractions that is kind of obvious about the transition between inside and outside the berm is It's a Small World. The queue is located inside the berm, and the boats, once entered, then circle around and enter the show building under the exterior facade. From time to time the Disneyland Railroad will show up, and pass through in front of the exterior facade.


When Pirates of the Caribbean was originally being considered and designed in the early '60s, it was planned to be a walk-thru attraction, housed in the basement of the structures being designed for New Orleans Square... but then Walt and his team learned quite a few lessons about the movement of guests, and increasing capacity for attractions thanks to what they designed for the 1964-65 World's Fair in New York (where It's a Small World first premiered). By using the same boat technology designed for IASW, they could have a much higher capacity attraction and really add to the "thrills" of the pirate environment. But the basement that had already been dug/built was too small for the revised adventure being planned... so they decided to bust out through the berm and send those guests out underneath the railroad track into a massive show building to be built beyond the berm - and that was only the beginning. Disneyland's POTC attraction is physically located inside a graceful manor facade of New Orleans Square, and has a restaurant - the Blue Bayou - inside just beyond the boarding dock. Upon departure, guests silently pass by the lovely plantation house where diners are enjoying their meal, relaxing under the evening sky as fireflies flit around. The batueax rounds a couple of bends, and then the attraction has two drops, and an extended sequence of caverns and grottos, and as a result - is nearly double the length of what was eventually built at WDW (limited of course by the high water table). As the bateaux meander their way through the ransacked city, and slowly enter the dungeon area, they are once again slipping back through the tunnel and back inside the berm under the railroad tracks. At Disneyland the boat continues up an upramp, and then back around to the landing.




Fun Fact: Located directly above the entrance to Pirates is a suite that was designed to be an apartment for the Disney family - where Walt and Roy could entertain VIPs, dignitaries and the like. Walt died before it could ever be fully finished, and plans for that apartment were pretty much scuttled in the months that followed. In 1987 that apartment was opened up and guests were invited in to the all-new Disney Gallery - an impressive art gallery of Disneyland art, inside an impressive suite of rooms with a fantastic view overlooking New Orleans Square and the Rivers of America. There is a lovely balcony to the right of the entrance (as you face it) with WD and RD intertwined in the lacy wrought iron symbolizing the company founders. Those letters, are dipped in gold and shimmer like crazy in the afternoon sun. In 2008 the Gallery moved out making way for the suite to become the Disney Dream Suite for the continuation of the "Year of a Million Dreams" promotion... so like the guests who got to stay in the Cinderella Suite high atop Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom, lucky guests were treated to a very luxurious stay inside Disneyland itself.

Here are two images from inside the Dream Suite... one is the parlor or living room, the other the balcony, looking out over the Rivers of America:





The Haunted Mansion also takes guests beyond the berm. At Disneyland guests enter the southern antebellum mansion facade and pass through the foyer into one of two identical elevators (the Stretching Room), and then proceed to go underground and into the Portrait Corridor (tunnel) taking them underneath the neighboring railroad track and the berm. (At WDW - there was no need to do that since the attraction is located well inside the berm near the border of Liberty Square and Fantasyland - and with the high water table - the elevator was nixed and the Stretching Room floor remains stationary and the ceiling rises giving a similar illusion). The guests then board their Doombuggies and proceed through the various scenes of the Mansion and return back underneath the railroad tracks when passing the three mirrors where ghosts ride along with them, followed by a quick trip back up to the ground level by speed ramp. The Haunted Mansion was being designed on and off again throughout the 1960's, and finally was underway for a summertime opening in 1969. By that time plans for the Magic Kingdom were well underway, and the decision was made to include this new experience at the Magic Kingdom, albeit with a different placement and exterior theme (Liberty Square and a Hudson River Dutch themed facade). Since both attractions were going to be needed, the team decided to just build a duplicate set of props and scenery for the Florida version at the same time and simply store them on-site in Florida until they were needed. By doing so, the Haunted Mansion was the easiest, fastest install, and was the first attraction ready to operate at the new Magic Kingdom in Florida.





Fun Fact: The Disneyland Haunted Mansion uses the exact organ that Captain Nemo played in Disney's film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It was simply recast for the Haunted Mansion and fitted out with a bat-shaped music rack and then placed in the ballroom scene. An exact duplicate mold was cast and then the duplicate built for Florida, and later for Tokyo.



Splash Mountain is another attraction taking guests beyond the berm. Originally conceived for and built at Disneyland, it was such a hit that WDW and Tokyo both wanted one. This original attraction is good, but some improvements were definitely made for the sister park versions. At Disneyland, the logs are single-file seating. The caverns are darker and the soundtrack a bit more muted. It's an awesome attraction. It was the first log-flume style ride in any Disney park, and included the (at that time) highest, steepest and longest plunge of any log-flume ride around. Disneyland's Splash Mountain logs drop down into the briar patch and then circle out into the Rivers of America before reentering the mountain shaped show building.





Fun Fact: The attraction is populated by dozens of animatronic critters, that once lived in the "America Sings" attraction in Tomorrowland (1974-1988) and were recast for their new roles in Splash Mountain in 1989. Two of the geese from America Sings were taken and used first however, to be redressed as droids in the pre-show sequence at Disneyland's Star Tours in 1987. As a result of both of these very successful transitions - new animatronic figures in their same shapes, styles and dressing were needed for Florida and Tokyo.



It's a Small World at Disneyland is the actual attraction that was constructed for the 1964-65 World's Fair. Upon completion of the Fair, it was dismantled and sent to Anaheim. The facade is different and vastly improved over what was on display at the Fair. The Disneyland facade is original to the 1966 opening, and was designed by Mary Blair, who was responsible for much of the interior of the attraction, and other wonderful tidbits around both resorts (including the wonderful mural inside the Grand Canyon Concourse of the Contemporary Resort). At Disneyland the attraction was added later on (1966), and placed up at the northern end of the land, physically relocating the existing train station a bit to the west. The promenade created a wonderful parade route, and Disneyland's parade's step off, or begin, at It's a Small World, and proceed southbound until it reaches the hub, and then turns slightly to continue on down Main Street U.S.A. where it wraps around Town Square and then heads back stage. (On days or nights when the same parade runs twice - the 2nd showing will step off at Town Square and work it's way back up Main Street, and then back north to IASW and head backstage to the Parade Warehouse). Given the wonderful Southern California weather, the attraction's queue, like so many others at Disneyland is outdoors, and not covered... a very different situation from Florida where the entire attraction and queue area are found inside the massive show building built along the western corridor of Fantasyland. Disneyland's IASW facade is so recognizable and fun, it was recreated in Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong, and finally WDW's interior backdrop facade was converted to "match" (as best as possible) the Disneyland original in 2008.





Fun fact: the tips and spires of IASW, like Sleeping Beauty Castle - are covered in real gold.




Weather

... more is coming soon..


Magic Mornings (Early Entry) vs. Extra Magic Hours

... more is coming soon..



Fantasmic!
Fantasmic! first premiered at Disneyland in 1992 on the Rivers of America in Frontierland. It was a smashing success, and within just a few short years, a second version of the show debuted at what was then called Disney-MGM Studios. Since then it has also debuted at Tokyo Disneyland. But for the WDW vets, there are some key differences to be aware of...

1. During the summer months, holidays and other peak periods, Fantasmic! is shown multiple times each night. Be sure to check the Times Guide for when it will be. For pre-planning purposes, you can also check Disneyland's website on their Calendar page and it will show how many nightly performances and the times of those performances. During other times of the year, it will be shown once nightly, but not necessarily every night of the week. This is a BIG change from WDW the past few years since they reduced their showings to just a few nights per week.

2. Seating for Fantasmic! is on the ground - there is no amphitheatre seating at Disneyland. The walkways of Frontierland and New Orleans square along the Rivers of America are transformed each night into seating areas, as guests will lay claim to their chosen spots sometimes an hour or more before the first showing. Except for the very back areas, guests are required to sit so that others behind will be able to see as well. But there should be no worries about crowd movement before, during or after the show... the CM's have crowd control measures down to a science having done this for nearly 20 years now. Once the show ends the crowds are dispersed, and the next set of guests will lay claim to a spot. (TIP: When there is a second nightly showing... it's usually less crowded!)

3. Because it is performed along the Rivers of America, the stage area is Tom Sawyer Island, and the Rivers themselves. There are some different sequences/scenes not found elsewhere, most notably the Peter Pan sequence using the Sailing Ship Columbia as Captain Hook's ship instead of the Pocahontas sequence at DHS. At Disneyland, the Mark Twain ends the show filled with characters, vs. the um, very much less-impressive "ship" built for DHS, that is supposed to be the ship from "Steamboat Willie". Other lesser changes are the giant snake at WDW is Jafar from Aladdin and at Disneyland it is Kaa from The Jungle Book, which incorporates a sequence with the monkeys/apes from that film. But one of the most impressive differences is the dragon. You just have to see it to understand.


Here is the Sailing Ship Columbia as Captain Hook's Ship...


4. The show at Disneyland is technically and visually superior to other versions. This is not just my opinion, but that of the majority of guests who have experienced multiple versions.

5. Dinner packages. There are no Fantasmic! dinner packages available at Disneyland. There is a very limited Fantasmic! Dessert Package, which provides reserved seating (on chairs) and dessert, but it costs about $60+ per person and sells out very, very quickly. You can only reserve these special packages 30 days prior to the showing, and if you want it, you've got to be on the phone as soon as possible that morning. To make a reservation you would call (714) 781-3463 or (714) 781-DINE.


Park Tickets
... more is coming soon..


Fastpasses
... more is coming soon..


Seasonal Events & Transformations
Walt Disney World fills the calendar each year with lots of great seasonal and limited special events and transformations such as Epcot's International Flower & Garden Show, Star Wars Weekends at DHS, and of course the very popular hard-ticketed Halloween and Christmas events at the Magic Kingdom among many other things. Disneyland is similar in offering seasonal events and park-wide transformations. The decorating and atmosphere at Disneyland is unrivaled and truly makes for additional magic for the guests. There aren't as many seasonal "events" such as the Flower and Garden Show or Star Wars Weekends, but rather a larger focus celebrating as seasonal period. As an example, the park has transformed two of its most popular attractions for the past decade or more, and third very popular attraction has received special treatment for the past two years as well. Halloween Time is a name that has been given to the September - October months where the Halloween and fall decorations overtake both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. There is no name given to the Christmas period between mid-November and early January - but the decorations in both parks are astounding - every land gets transformed, with decorations befitting the theme and feel of the specific land. Add the magical "snow fall" on Main Street, U.S.A., the winter lights layering to Sleeping Beauty Castle and the myriad smells and sounds of the season - and the Disneyland Resort just sparkles and glows throughout the last few months of the year in an extra-special magical way.


It's a Small World Holiday typically runs from shortly before Thanksgiving until the first week of January, and wows guests year after year. The entire exterior facade is covered in hundreds of thousands of sparkling, colored lights. The interior is transformed as well, demonstrating how the various parts of the world celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa and New Year's - and the famous song, the one that either drives people happy or crazy - gets in on the act as well, with very fun holiday modifications. Both Jingle Bells and Deck the Halls are interwoven in such a fun way, the IASW song is competely and remarkably different. This is a MUST DO attraction if you are at the Disneyland Resort any time during late-November through very early January.







Haunted Mansion Holiday is another extremely popular seasonal overlay modifying the classic attraction from just before Labor Day through the first week of January. The entire attraction, both outside and in, is overrun by Jack Skellington and friends from the Tim Burton film "The Nightmare Before Christmas", showing what happens when two holidays collide. While the Mansion retains a whole lot of its typical other-worldly charm, this seasonal overlay is remarkably different and fun too. This too is a MUST DO attraction if you are at the Disneyland Resort any time during the last 4 months of the year. (It can also now be seen at Tokyo Disneyland, if you venture to Japan anytime soon).






Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy is another seasonal overlay not to be missed. (I haven't personally experienced this one yet, but hope to in 2011). It runs from September through October during the Halloween Time seasonal transformation period, and includes various in-ride projections and a special soundtrack.


How Many Days Do you Need at the Disneyland Resort?
When comparing the two resorts side by side, most WDW Vets would probably claim that they would only need 2, maybe 3 days to be able to see it all. While this isn't entirely my opinion, it is fairly close. Depending on the time of year selected for travel, and the distance you are traveling from I would recommend at least 3 if not 4 days in order to fully enjoy and appreciate the Disneyland Resort - the parks, Downtown Disney, and the hotel amenities - for most of the year. A stay of this length would provide ample opportunities to be able to "do it all", as well as take repeat spins on your favorite attractions. During the busiest times (late December especially) plan on waiting more, seeing/doing less on any given day, so you might need 5 or even 6 depending on HOW crowded it is. (As a point of reference, my family "enjoyed" the peakest of peak crowds in December 2010, so much in fact, that the day we had primarily chosen to spend inside Disneyland was their highest capacity crowd in the park's history, with ticket sales stopped before 10am. The park has a capacity of about 82,000, and it had been exceeded. All told we were able to enjoy about 6 attractions that day as the lines and waits for everything from the restrooms to the counter service locations for lunch were incredibly long. POTC had a nearly 3 hour wait (and then it broke down while we were on it and we were stuck in the jail scene for more than 35 minutes... thank goodness the soundtrack was turned off after 20 minutes).

Remember too that Disneyland is located in the heart of Southern California and the actitivies, events and attractions abound nearby. Many are just as short drive away. The next post details a wide-array of interesting and diverse attractions found throughout Southern California that could very easily be tacked on to a Disneyland stay, using a rental car and the Disneyland Resort as your "home base". Southern California is home to hundreds of miles of fantastic beaches, several of which are just a short 15-30 minute drive from the resort, and the waters of the Pacific Ocean are warm and enjoyable most of the year.
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SOLO Adventures: WDW Jun '10 / Triple Whammy WDW Family Trip-Jan'10 / SOLO Adventures: DL Nov/Dec'09 / Father/Sons Adventure May'09
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DISNEYLAND: Way too many to possibly count! I grew up 30 mins. from DL. Former CM. AP holder for 20 yrs. Premier Pass AP. All 3 DL Resorts and numerous off-site hotels.
WDW: 58 trips on & off-site, including DVC, Deluxe, Moderate & Value - in 18 different WDW resorts & numerous off-site resorts. AP holder for 5 yrs. Premier Pass AP holder.
AULANI: 1 so far. More to come though, & definitely looking forward to returning!

Last edited by stopher1; 05-28-2011 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:15 PM   #6
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Other Attractions to Include in a Disneyland / Southern California Vacation (Use Disneyland as your "Home Base" and Explore!)

While Disneyland is a phenomenal place in and of itself, there really is so much to see and experience in Southern California. Here's just a partial list of points of interest that are all just a 2 hour or less drive from the park.

  • Knott's Berry Farm
  • Universal Studios Hollywood
  • Hollywood itself - with the famed Graumann's Chinese Theatre, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, tours and other tinseltown history
  • Legoland
  • Sea World
  • San Diego Zoo
  • San Diego Wild Animal Park
  • Los Angeles Zoo
  • Six Flags Magic Mountain
  • Nearby water parks include Raging Waters, Wild Rivers, Knott's Soak City & Six Flags Hurricane Harbour
  • Aquarium of the Pacific
  • Griffith Park & Observatory (see where Walt used to take his daughter's on Saturday afternoons)
  • Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
  • Queen Mary
  • Los Angeles Farmers Market, Olvera Street & Chinatown
  • Huntington Beach - Surf City, U.S.A!
  • Malibu, Laguna, Newport, Dana Point, San Clemente, Venice and a myriad of other excellent beaches & beach communities
  • Ocean Piers at Santa Monica, Huntington, Seal Beach, Newport Beach, San Clemente and many more...
  • Getty Museum
  • LA County Museum of Science & Industry
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Discovery Science Center
  • Walt Disney Concert Hall / Los Angeles County Music Center
  • Huntington Library and Gardens
  • Rose Bowl
  • Ronald Reagan Presidental Library
  • Richard Nixon Presidential Library
  • NBC / Sony Pictures / Warner Bros / Paramount Studios tours
  • Hollywood Bowl
  • The historic Missions from California's earliest settlements... Mission San Juan Capistrano is famous for the return of the swallows each spring - there are 18 in total - 7 of those are all a 2 hour or less drive from Disneyland
  • Catalina Island
  • Whale watching
  • Palm Springs & terrific golf
  • Sands dunes at Anza Borrego Desert State Park (as seen in Soarin'!)
  • Wintertime skiing at Big Bear, Mountain High, Mt. Baldy and other local mountains
  • The Walt Disney Family Museum (San Francisco)
  • and, and, and...

...more to come soon ...
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SOLO Adventures: WDW Jun '10 / Triple Whammy WDW Family Trip-Jan'10 / SOLO Adventures: DL Nov/Dec'09 / Father/Sons Adventure May'09
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DISNEYLAND: Way too many to possibly count! I grew up 30 mins. from DL. Former CM. AP holder for 20 yrs. Premier Pass AP. All 3 DL Resorts and numerous off-site hotels.
WDW: 58 trips on & off-site, including DVC, Deluxe, Moderate & Value - in 18 different WDW resorts & numerous off-site resorts. AP holder for 5 yrs. Premier Pass AP holder.
AULANI: 1 so far. More to come though, & definitely looking forward to returning!

Last edited by stopher1; 05-19-2011 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:20 PM   #7
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How 'bout using one o' 'dem 'served spots to introduce us newbies to Dining at Disneyland?

(how country hick'ish of me).
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twokids0204 View Post
How 'bout using one o' 'dem 'served spots to introduce us newbies to Dining at Disneyland?

(how country hick'ish of me).
I'm working on it. It'll take me a day or two - but I plan on having a whale of a lot of info up.
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SOLO Adventures: WDW Jun '10 / Triple Whammy WDW Family Trip-Jan'10 / SOLO Adventures: DL Nov/Dec'09 / Father/Sons Adventure May'09
My 13,000th Post My 12,000th Post My 10,000th Post

DISNEYLAND: Way too many to possibly count! I grew up 30 mins. from DL. Former CM. AP holder for 20 yrs. Premier Pass AP. All 3 DL Resorts and numerous off-site hotels.
WDW: 58 trips on & off-site, including DVC, Deluxe, Moderate & Value - in 18 different WDW resorts & numerous off-site resorts. AP holder for 5 yrs. Premier Pass AP holder.
AULANI: 1 so far. More to come though, & definitely looking forward to returning!
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Old 05-11-2011, 07:44 AM   #9
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Some Images from Disneyland



























































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Christopher DW DS (18) DS (15) DD (10) BICOASTAL SOLO Adventure: Nov/Dec'10 / Daddy-Daughter Adventure: AKV Sep'10
SOLO Adventures: WDW Jun '10 / Triple Whammy WDW Family Trip-Jan'10 / SOLO Adventures: DL Nov/Dec'09 / Father/Sons Adventure May'09
My 13,000th Post My 12,000th Post My 10,000th Post

DISNEYLAND: Way too many to possibly count! I grew up 30 mins. from DL. Former CM. AP holder for 20 yrs. Premier Pass AP. All 3 DL Resorts and numerous off-site hotels.
WDW: 58 trips on & off-site, including DVC, Deluxe, Moderate & Value - in 18 different WDW resorts & numerous off-site resorts. AP holder for 5 yrs. Premier Pass AP holder.
AULANI: 1 so far. More to come though, & definitely looking forward to returning!

Last edited by stopher1; 05-19-2011 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:21 AM   #10
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Thanks for putting this resource here Stopher. I don't know when I'll get a chance to head to the West Coast park, but it is definitely a bucket list destination. It will be great to have this thread to see some of the differences and similarities between the parks and get some planning info.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:33 AM   #11
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Add me to the list of folks who are excited to watch this thread develop. I looked very seriously at making our next Disney trip a Disneyland trip, because travel costs from KC were looking to be about the same either way. That changed when I found a cheaper "workaround" to get us to WDW, but I did enough research when I was considering it that I think that DLR is going to be on the vacation agenda eventually! <--- thumb
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Old 05-11-2011, 01:53 PM   #12
stopher1

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Add me to the list of folks who are excited to watch this thread develop. I looked very seriously at making our next Disney trip a Disneyland trip, because travel costs from KC were looking to be about the same either way. That changed when I found a cheaper "workaround" to get us to WDW, but I did enough research when I was considering it that I think that DLR is going to be on the vacation agenda eventually! <--- thumb


And you could certainly play up going west in that you really want your DD to be able to see "her" land at DCA!
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Old 05-11-2011, 04:09 PM   #13
Grooovertoo
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Big! Huge fan of the Land. Love Cali even though I'm a native Coloradoan. Where else can you get an E Ticket ride by just sitting in the DL Hotel when an earthquake rumbles by.

To this day I still have not been able to find a better Monte Cristo and Pommes Frites then the Cafe Orleans, they are simpley the best.

The ease and convinence of DLR goes without saying, to be able to roll out in the morning (staying OP) and to just walk right down to it all is like none other. And to me, I find that the CM's go above and beyond from the hotel to the people checking you in. I've had nothing but great experiences there.
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Old 05-11-2011, 04:26 PM   #14
AJRitz
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Originally Posted by stopher1 View Post


And you could certainly play up going west in that you really want your DD to be able to see "her" land at DCA!
Funny thing about that.
(And she'd probably kill me if she knew I was posting this story).
The nickname "The Bug" has nothing to do with insects. When DD8 was an infant and toddler, she had chronic colds (and we now know that she was allergic to the dog too). She just constantly had crud coming out of her nose. "Bug" was actually an abbreviation of "booger," said in the voice that Rudy Huxtable used to use to introduce her friend Bud. The chronic colds/allergies finally cleared up, but the nickname stuck. (No pun intended).
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Old 05-11-2011, 04:46 PM   #15
prattpak
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Originally Posted by AJRitz View Post
Funny thing about that.
(And she'd probably kill me if she knew I was posting this story).
The nickname "The Bug" has nothing to do with insects. When DD8 was an infant and toddler, she had chronic colds (and we now know that she was allergic to the dog too). She just constantly had crud coming out of her nose. "Bug" was actually an abbreviation of "booger," said in the voice that Rudy Huxtable used to use to introduce her friend Bud. The chronic colds/allergies finally cleared up, but the nickname stuck. (No pun intended).
Libbys is "Bob the Booger" and yes it has its own theme music set to the tone of "Bob the Builder". The kids made it up! True story
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