Another year, another family vacation to plan! There are plenty of places to go on vacation, and all of them are great for their own reasons – but as a new year is upon us, maybe you should consider a new place to vacation? Maybe you’re a Walt Disney World pro who has never been to the Mouse on the other side – Disneyland in California that is! Disneyland is amazing for so many reasons – it’s the place where the Magic truly began – and it’s changed a lot over the years, expanding and re-vamping to fit the ever changing public’s needs and wants. They are doing some seriously amazing things there, and they are definitely worth checking out. Here are some reasons why you need to head to California for some sun, fun, and the Mouse this year:
Something Different: For those who frequent WDW, you’re in for a real treat when you head to Disneyland – the best way I can think to describe it is the same Magic, but on a smaller scale. For me, walking into Disneyland Park (aka the Magic Kingdom) and seeing the view of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is even more magical than seeing the same view at WDW – and the reason is because Disneyland truly is the land that Walt built – he had a say in every nail and bolt that was used, and he was there to welcome everyone on opening day. Some differences I noticed at Disneyland had to do a lot with the size limitations – it’s a LOT smaller than Walt Disney World, but it doesn’t have an overly crowded feeling which is nice. The queues for the rides are largely outside (probably because California weather tends to be just a bit better than Florida’s!), and it does have some different attractions and rides – check out the full list here
California Adventure Offers Unique Experiences: Disneyland offers two theme Parks, Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park – which was recently overhauled to bring in even more new rides and dining options! The idea behind the park itself is to pay tribute to those who founded and cultivated the state of California into the amazing place it is today – the natives, immigrants, entrepreneurs, entertainers – all of them had a part in the creation of the “Golden State”, and the park celebrates them all and their diversity. Take a bakery tour, experience California Screamin’ (a steel roller coaster located on Paradise Pier), ride King Triton’s Carousel, or take a spin on Mickey’s fun wheel (the Park’s giant Mickey-headed ferris wheel!). There are A Bug’s Life themed attractions, and plenty of dining options too – all of which feature California specialties. Speaking of dining…
Delicious New Dining Options To Explore: Ok, we all know that one of the best parts of WDW is the FOOD, and Disneyland has some truly exceptional dining spots too! Disneyland Park is home to the Jolly Holiday Bakery – with its Mary Poppins theme and bakery case full of mouth-watering items like cupcakes, tarts, cheesecake, brownies and more! For some New Orleans themed dishes like gumbo and Mickey shaped beignets, head over to Café Orleans, or enjoy a more formal sit down meal at Blue Bayou. While at Disney California Adventure, you can grab a (locally brewed!) beer at Bayside Brews, a quick meal at Pacific Wharf Café (which features fresh baked goods and an awesome waterside view!), or enjoy a relaxing sit down meal at Wine Country Trattoria – where you can enjoy Mediterranean cuisine created with fresh local ingredients and a large selection of Napa Valley wines
Cars Land: When Disney re-vamped California Adventure, one thing they added was the Cars Land section – which is themed after (you guessed it!) the Disney/Pixar Cars movies, and as you enter Radiator Springs you take a stroll down route 66 and right into the movie! You’ll see familiar movie landmarks like the Cozy Cone Motel, Flo’s V8 Café, and Mater’s Junkyard. Take a ride on the Radiator Springs Racers (Fastpass HIGHLY recommended for this one!), a scenic ride that ends with a thrilling car race, meet up with the Cars characters at the Cozy Cone, and enjoy some delicious comfort food at Flo’s. The opening of this section of the Park has caused quite a stir- and with good reason, its fun and entertaining for those of all ages!
There’s So Much Nearby To Explore: I mentioned how Disneyland can feel a bit smaller than its Florida counterpart, and that is because Disneyland is smack dab in the heart of Anaheim, and it’s not alone – there’s TONS of stuff nearby that is just a short walk/drive/shuttle away: Flight Deck Air Combat Center (an authentic military flight simulation center), Discovery Science Center (with over 100 interactive science exhibits!), Knott’s Berry Farm (an awesome theme park known for its rides and pies!), and Medieval Times (where you can travel back to the Middle Ages as you watch sword fights and jousting matches!). And those are just a FEW of the attractions nearby (they are all less than 10 miles away from Disneyland), there are plenty more, and if you plan on renting a car, then Los Angeles attractions are well within your reach too
Disneyland is a VERY different place compared to Walt Disney World, but to me the differences are what make it great – and they are what make me want to go back ASAP! I highly recommend you plan a family vacation to the West Coast and while you’re there, be sure to make plans to visit the original Happiest Place On Earth – Disneyland!