Disneyland Planning for Disney World veterans

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Disneyland Planning for Disney World veterans

When I first started planning my upcoming California trip, I expected myself to be completely overwhelmed.  Not only did I pick up the Imagineering Field Guide to Disneyland but also the  Disneyland Passporter, newest Birnbaum guide, as well as Fodor’s Los Angeles with Disneyland & Orange CountyKnopf Maguide to L.A, and Charles Ridgeway’s Spinning Disney’s World on my Nook.  I have an arsenal of planning material and Disneyland history.

After thoroughly reading through all of the information I picked up, I realized… this planning overload came from my perspective of what there is to expect at Walt Disney World.  For all my planning purposes, it seems, Disneyland Resort’s two theme parks (which are located side by side) are the equivalent size-wise of Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World.  And I marvel at what I get done monorailing between Magic Kingdom and Epcot (which is gigantic compared to California Adventure), there is so much to be said for being able just to walk between two parks! While my intention with our California trip is to spend time with the Pacific Ocean and visit the Hollywood/LA landmarks as well, this will not be as hard as originally planned.  We even changed up our reservations to include only 2-day park tickets.

I will be sure to report back on Disneyland from a Disney World addict’s perspective this summer but for now, here are some helpful tips I have come across for Disney World veterans heading out to the west coast.

1.  Dining Reservations are much more relaxed– most eateries do not even take reservations.  You can reserve seating at many Downtown Disney & hotel restaurants as well as park restaurants Blue Bayou, Ariel’s Grotto, and the Vineyard Room by calling 714-781-3463.  Do not expect to hear the phrase “180+10” when planning your meals at Disneyland parks!

2.  There are only 3 “on-property” hotels: Grand Californian, Disneyland Hotel, and Paradise Pier.  There are quite a few “good neighbor” hotels which in some cases are more centrally located in relation to other southern California attractions and offer great deals.  You can still book through Disney Travel Company and stay at these hotels.  The Disneyland website has a complete list of good neighbor hotels.

3. You can create an all-inclusive Southern California trip through your Disney reservation.  You can add local attraction tickets to your Disneyland reservation which include: Universal Studios, Sea World, Knott’s Berry Farm, Legoland, Medieval Times, San Diego Zoo & Safari Park, Aquarium of the Pacific, LA/Hollywood Tour, San Diego Tour, and/or a tour of the OC.  These can be added to your vacation package through the Disneyland reservation system and included in your package price.

4.  There is no such thing as Disney’s Magical Express at Disneyland.  You can pay for airport transfers to and from your hotel but they are not a free and your baggage will not magically appear in your room.

5.  This is where it all began – While many people going from being a Disney World fan to visiting Disneyland for the first time report back things like “it is much smaller than I expected” or “I could hear road noise, its not like being in the Disney World bubble” I think it is important to keep in mind both when planning and visiting: this is where it all began.  Walt Disney worked in that apartment over the firehouse and walked down Main Street.  And that feeling when you glimpse Sleeping Beauty castle, shouldn’t be of disappointment that imagineers hadn’t perfected forced perspective yet, it should be awe in the history of Disney Parks staring right at you!


Disneyland Planning for Disney World veterans


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2 thoughts on “Disneyland Planning for Disney World veterans

  1. “And that feeling when you glimpse Sleeping Beauty castle, shouldn’t be of disappointment that imagineers hadn’t perfected forced perspective yet, it should be awe in the history of Disney Parks staring right at you!”

    Thank you!!! That is one of the (if not THE) biggest reasons I want to take my family to Disneyland.

  2. Just got back from Disney Land – there is something very special about these parks. I love being able to move between the parks so easily. Don’t forget Downtown Disney – – also much smaller, however very enjoyable.

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