Disneyland and Walt Disney World – so similar, so different

Welcome to part 1 of Dad goes to Disneyland – the Mini-Series. Today I want to talk about how Disneyland and Walt Disney World are so similar but so different.

The very first thing I noticed when I stepped through the gates of Disneyland was a sense of deja vu. It was like going back to a house you lived in when you were a kid. Everything was familiar but different, and it all seemed smaller.

Sleeping Beauty Castle was smaller, but still cool - Photo by Mike Billick

Sleeping Beauty Castle was smaller, but still cool – Photo by Mike Billick

When I got over the deja vu, it hit me how small everything was. Starting with the Sleeping Beauty Castle. I’m so used to how Cinderella Castle dominates the view down Main Street. Sleeping Beauty Castle is nice. It’s pretty. But it just doesn’t dominate like Cinderella Castle. I’m sure back in Walt’s day it was something very special, and it’s really cool, but when you compare it to Cinderella Castle, it’s a small letdown.

The same was true of Main Street USA. The buildings are really short. I know that when Disneyland was built things were different,

That’s what I noticed when I walked down Main Street USA in Disneyland for the first time. Look there’s the Emporium… oops it has a different name. Hey, Casey’s… nope it’s something else. It was all so familiar, but so different.

We started our day in Fantasyland because I think that’s what Walt envisioned. Walk down Main Street, through the castle and right to Fantasyland.

I’ve got a lot to say about Fantasyland. We’ll talk about that in a couple of days, but while Fantasyland at Disneyland is nothing like its Orlando counterpart, it was still very familiar. The Tea Cups, the Carousel, Mr. Toad, Snow White, Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, etc. It felt like old home week.

Yeah, most of these are different or gone from WDW, but it was very familiar.

Space Mountain, 20,000 Leagues Under… oops that’s something else, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, the monorail (very different), Buzz Lightyear (different), Splash Mountain, Jungle Cruise, and on and on. It was all very familiar. I even got a Dole Whip and a Lobster Roll, a spicy Lobster Roll.

But… where is Tomorrowland Transit Authority,

Even the layout was familiar. Tomorrowland was in the right place, Frontierland, Adventureland, Fantasyland were all right where they should be.

Yep, Disneyland was very familiar, but it was very different. Some of the rides were very different. I had a really hard time with those little guns at Buzz Lightyear, but all-in-all Disneyland was very familiar to home.

Then we went to Disney’s California Adventure. Oh, boy. We’ll talk about that next time.

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  1. Pingback: Review: The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit (2015) - Dad Guide to WDW - The Blog

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