Disclosure: I received complimentary park tickets to research my “Must do Disneyland Attractions for WDW Fans.” All opinions are my own.
I just returned from my first trip to Disneyland since 2005. I was amazed about how much has changed since I’ve been, but the classic Disneyland attractions still remain. Disneyland has never lost sight of Walt’s vision and that’s what makes it such a special spot to visit. Now that we live in Atlanta and take multiple Disney World trips yearly, I was wondering if Disneyland wouldn’t feel as special to me anymore. I’m happy to report that I was wrong.
Everyone debates which is better: Disneyland or Disney World? I don’t think you can compare them though. Disneyland is full of attractions, sights and treats that are unique to that park alone. You can’t experience these things anywhere else and they hold plenty of history that any Walt Disney fan can appreciate. After all, you’re walking in Walt’s steps when you visit Disneyland.
I’ve created this list of Must Do Disneyland Attractions for WDW Fans that encompasses everything unique to Disneyland. If you’re visiting Disneyland for the first time or a WDW guest switching coasts, this is the list for you!
Must Do Disneyland for WDW Fans
Walt Disney’s Apartment
Did you know that Walt kept an apartment, on Disneyland property, during the construction? It still remains today, above the fire department on Main Street. It’s no longer open to guests, but you can take the Walk Through Walt’s Footsteps tour and see the Dream Suite where he housed his personal guests. It’s a reminder of Walt’s legacy.
The Lilly Belle
This one is far more exclusive for guests to experience. The Lilly Belle was created by Walt, for his wife, and it’s occasionally pulled behind the Disneyland train for the public to ride. If you’re fortunate enough to take a ride on the Lilly Belle, then you have some major bragging rights.
Indiana Jones Adventure
This ride’s vehicles may remind you of Disney World’s Dinosaur ride, at Animal Kingdom. It’s exclusive to Disneyland and pays homage to the classic Indiana Jones films. Riders can appreciate the details that can be seen from the queue and throughout the attraction.
The Haunted Mansion and It’s a Small World – Holiday Season
Disneyland takes holiday magic to the next level with special overlays for the Haunted Mansion and It’s a Small World. Haunted Mansion Holiday includes Jack Skellington and friends in a delightful rendition of the popular movie. It’s a small world celebrates each land with its unique holiday traditions.
Don’t forget to ask a Cast Member about the Pet Cemetery at the Haunted Mansion too!
Opening in 1959, it was one of Disney’s first coasters. It’s fast moving and fun with excellent views of the park. You can’t miss the snowy mountain when you’re walking through Disneyland. Be careful though, I hear an abominable snowman lives there. Don’t forget to grab a Matterhorn Macaroon at Edelweiss Snacks for the perfect Instagram worthy photo.
New Orleans Square
Disney World fans may wonder what the difference between the Magic Kingdom, on the East Coast, and Disneyland is. Your short and sweet answer: New Orleans Square. Take steps back in time and see the most romantic side of the park. It’s where Pirates of the Caribbean, shops and restaurants are located. You can sip a Disneyland Mint Julep or dine where the “elite” used to eat when visiting the park – The Blue Bayou. You can even book the Fantastic! Dining Package at the Blue Bayou.
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
This is one of the most scary kid’s rides – not kidding. You take a ride through Hell on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. It can be found directly behind Sleeping Beauty’s Castle on the right. It’s awfully fun and even more scary.
Find Disneyland’s Little Man
Legend states that Patrick Begorra lived in the orange orchard that existed prior to Disneyland’s existence. Donald and Mickey told Patrick of their plans to build the park. Discussion ensued and a flight to the studios even occurred to show Patrick all that was ahead.
After his resistance, Patrick finally encouraged the park as long as he could keep a tiny home in the park. They offered him the castle. He declined and kept his home a secret, coming out only at night. Isn’t that neat?
Now you can find Patrick’s home in Adventureland and it’s so cute! Look at the Indiana Jones entrance in the root of trees. Be sure to buy the Golden Book, with the story, on Amazon (affiliate link).
Meet and Greet a Character
Disneyland character meet and greets are far different from Disney World’s. The characters seem to interact with the guests more freely and they are scattered around the park. You can say they just “pop up” compared to the rigorous lines at WDW. Experience the difference and take a photo with a character.
There are so many special things that are unique to Disneyland and Disney keeps bringing more magic that is unique to the West Coast. If you’ve never taken a trip to Disneyland, it’s a must do experience. You’ll see a little deeper into Walt’s vision and appreciate the history of Disney.
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