Published: November 3, 2013 at 5:07 PM

Nice to see someone not rant that disneyland is far superior to Magic Kingdom! I really think both parks have a lot to offer in their own respects. You gave a fair comparison of both parks. I personally have always enjoyed magic kingdom more, though I love Disneyland! And I think New Fantasylans makes each park even more unique from eachother!

Published: November 3, 2013 at 8:10 PM

Having been to both parks many times (and I currently live in Florida, moving from Seattle last month, partly for WDW for my family), you made some very good points.

There are pluses and minuses to each park. It's hard to pick a favorite. One of my favorite things about the DL resort in general is the walkability between CA, DL, and Downtown DL and your hotel. You just CAN'T get that in WDW.

On the other hand, the vastness and amount to do in WDW is just unbeatable. You can do 3-5 days in DL.... you can do a MONTH in WDW. It's just night and day in terms of the overall experience of a true vacation adventure.

I look forward to part three!

Published: November 3, 2013 at 8:57 PM

Very well written! This trip report is like actually being there, and your joy for Disney magic really shines trough the report. You've captured that feeling. I have to disagree about Captain EO however, for those of us that were not alive in the 80's this is an awesome way to see a once defunct attraction come back to life. It's presented as an artifact of another time, it's very entertaining from that perspective.

Published: November 3, 2013 at 10:07 PM

I enjoyed reading about your visit, and your assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of Disneyland. I agree with 90 percent of your opinions, especially how congested the park feels when it starts to get crowded. The off-season for the park, which used to include October and most of November, is disappearing with promotions like Halloween Time and the winter Holiday season.

I can't agree that the Matterhorn Bobsleds are a waste of time--it may not be the most thrilling ride, but it's wonderfully themed, a favorite for families, and a historic roller coaster in its own right. The Pooh ride is much hated by those who remember its predecessor the Country Bear Jamboree, but those honey-shaped vehicles don't hop because they weren't designed to--the ride was done on the cheap.

About Mr. Lincoln--I have not seen the Hall of Presidents or the American Experience in Florida, but when I recently saw the Lincoln show at Disneyland after not having seen it for at least ten years, I thought it was uninspiring, not especially educational, and the animatronics were quite dated. I am a student of American history and the Civil War period, but I felt that the attraction captured none of the complexities of the man and the political leader, only the watered-down stereotypes.

Tad Daily

Published: November 4, 2013 at 4:27 AM

James...are you kidding me??? Not long enough!!!! :)

Actually...I like your writing..I admit to cringing at times when you describe the "what was not good" parts...lol..I will admit to wearing Disneyland-colored glasses.

But when i do allow myself to admit the truth...yeah...I know...its NOT perfect...but overall..it is still the Happiest Place on Earth!

I enjoy your style and look forward to part three...we stayed at the disneyland Hotel in march for a week and were curious about the Paradise Pier as a future place to lay our heads at night...I like the good neighbor hotels...but its Disney!!!! ;)

James Rao

Published: November 4, 2013 at 5:13 AM

Some great points, gang. I appreciate that we can agree to disagree and still get along!

- Why rant about the differences, when both DLR and WDW are amazing, magical places. It is fun to compare and contrast, but face it, folks won't be disappointed in either of Disney's US resorts!

- Yes, the closeness of the DLR resort cannot be matched at WDW. The best you can hope for is to stay within walking distance of one (Contemporary to MK), or two parks (Boardwalk and Beach Club to Epcot and DHS), but to be totally enclosed within all the magic the way visitors are at DLR is very cool. If you don't mind me being blasphemous for a moment, DLR has more in common with the set up at Universal Orlando than WDW. You can't beat good proximity!

- The Matterhorn may be a classic, but after one ride on it my wife was done. Said it gave her a headache, and she is a seasoned coaster veteran. Honestly, I have to admit the ride was more "Ouch" than "Yay" most of the time. The mountain itself is impressive, but the theming along the course is uninspired and dated, and the queue is 100% Six Flags. DAK's Expedition Everest, broken Yeti and all, is a MUCH better attraction. Look, I hate to pick at someone's favorite (and your opinion is every bit as valid as mine), but in this case I think the Matterhorn is not worth the trouble. I know it has its fans, and hey, I remember loving it back in 1981, but for me and mine it was a disappointment.

- As for the Pooh vehicles not hopping, I specifically asked a cast member about it, and she told me, "Yes, they hop, but sometimes they are stubborn." Now, if she lied to me, then any misinformation in my report is on her!

- Finally, my family's unbridled enthusiasm towards Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is more focused on the unflinching patriotism of the attraction than its factual recording of historical events (although I did not notice anything wrong with the history presented in the show). And we also appreciated the message of hope provided in Abe's final speech. In this day and age of cynicism and revisionist history, it is nice for an attraction to focus on the hope of this nation rather than its sometimes grim reality. Finally, the animatronic Lincoln is top notch... perhaps you saw the show before its somewhat recent upgrade?

Anyway, the views expressed throughout this report are not intended to be a statement of rightness, or correctness, or certainty, just one family's opinion of a wonderful resort destination. The Rao Family does not mean to offend or incite, only to entertain and educate (except in the case of TPI expert and woefully slow author TH Creative, who I love to both offend and incite). ;)

Anon Mouse

Published: November 4, 2013 at 8:59 AM

I do recommend buying the Dole pineapple swirl in the Tiki Room side. Not only is the line shorter, you also get to sit in the shade. By the time the outside queue works its way up, you already have seen the show and exiting the theater. It is just a better experience.

The issue of Disneyland having better maintenance isn't a matter of having all the rides running. The overall maintenance is better and WDW doesn't nearly have the same amount of rides as Disneyland. We do have to temper our expectations since we are still dealing with a Disney organization that tries very hard to have similar systems on both sides. The better maintenance can not overcome organizational inertia.

Ian Robinson

Published: November 4, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Good report but if you think Captain EO is "quite possibly the worst attraction currently in existence at any Disney park" you should do Disneyland Paris for your next compare & contrast article and try the Studios Tram Tour. It makes Captain EO look like Harry Potter.
James Rao

Published: November 4, 2013 at 12:45 PM

Wow Ian.... what you wrote just scares me. No wonder the Paris parks are always struggling to make a profit.

And Anon, I am not clear what you mean with your statement "having better maintenance isn't a matter of having all the rides running". I would think there is a direct correlation. But I may just be misunderstanding your point.

Look, I think the Disney parks are beautiful. And, with the exception of glaring problems like the inanimationic Yeti at Everest, I think Disney does a fantastic job of maintaining things. I only mentioned maintenance at all because it is so often compared between the two coasts, and personally, I do not think Land is doing any better at maintaining things than World. Both coasts do a terrific job, IMHO.

Rob Pastor

Published: November 4, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Looking forward to the next report. Your writing is so interesting that I definately hope your next report is long & in depth. When the subject is so well done, there is no such thing as too long. Thanks for all the work & thought you've put into these articles.
James Rao

Published: November 4, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Thank you, Rob, for your very kind and gracious words.
Anon Mouse

Published: November 4, 2013 at 1:27 PM

"But I may just be misunderstanding your point."

Of course since you didn't read the following sentence where I said "The overall maintenance is better and WDW doesn't nearly have the same amount of rides as Disneyland."

A failed ride here and there tells you little of the overall failure of rides and the overall maintenance of the parks is better at Disneyland. You just had an unlucky day.

Published: November 4, 2013 at 3:36 PM

I think what anon meant is that rides don't always go down for maintenance issues. Usually it's actually a guest issue, either a lost item in the track or someone moves too slowly, etc. Also, the beehicles in Disneyland's pooh ride don't bounce with Tigger, they dip and roll throughout the entire ride in the same pattern.
James Rao

Published: November 4, 2013 at 4:39 PM

It was more like an unlucky week, Anon. And I assure you that I read every word of your post. I like to read.

As for the beevehicles and the reasons for the 101s, anon poster, I appreciate your input, but can only go by what the cast members told me (beevehicles "do hop but are stubborn" and "this attraction is down due to mechanical issues"). Any misinformation on these points is on those cast members, not me!

Published: November 4, 2013 at 6:21 PM

Wow excellent report! The last time we were at DL was in 2006, so this makes me really want to go back! We didn't get to ride Pirates then because they had just completed the Jack Sparrow addition and there was like a 4 and half wait for it. Not knowing how good it was, we didn't wait. Bummer!
James Rao

Published: November 4, 2013 at 9:14 PM

4.5 hours is too long to wait for ANY attraction. You made the right choice, my friend! Just ride Pirates first the next time you visit Disneyland!
Hubert Wong

Published: November 5, 2013 at 8:40 AM

James, you seem to be reading all the comments, and if you're serious that you like to read, I might suggest this article from the blog Passport to Dreams Old & New about some of the differences between Disneyland and Disney World's Magic Kingdom, particularly how part of Disneyland's "charm" and "intimacy" are due to the themes of the park being juxtaposed with very little transition between the lands. A little academic, but very thought-provoking. http://passport2dreams.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-awkward-transitions-of-disneyland.html

Published: November 5, 2013 at 9:59 AM

Glad to see some love for Storybook Land Canal boats! It's a must-do on my family's trips (which is easy because there is rarely a wait). Charming, unique, relaxing, and one of the few attractions which is constantly updated.
James Rao

Published: November 5, 2013 at 6:12 PM

@Hubert Interesting article and some great points. Thank you for sharing. I love both resorts, Land and World and agree with the author of that blog (and most fans) that both mutually coexist nicely together. Overall, if I had to chose one or the other (which thankfully I do not), I prefer WDW simply because, IMHO, it handles crowds much better than DLR. But I am very happy to be at either resort.

Published: November 6, 2013 at 6:44 PM

Tokyo's Haunted Mansion is WDW's Original Mansion before any updates and does a superior version of the Holiday Overlay. Mystic Manor, Pooh's Hunny Hunt, Monsters, Inc. Ride and Go Seek, and virtually everything at Tokyo DisneySea including their superior version of Indiana Jones Adventure also show Disney's capabilities. I would Studio Tram Tour, Animagique, and Armageddon in Paris as well as Stitch's Great Escape and the current Journey Into Imagination in Orlando to be worse than Captain EO, and you forgot to mention Indiana Jones, Matterhorn, and Radiator Springs Racers consistently go 101 3-4 times every day. The parks in Tokyo and Hong Kong are IMHO superior to the parks in Anaheim and Orlando, and definitely to that lame excuse for a Disney Resort in Paris. Also, try eating at Blue Bayou instead of Cafe Orleans if you go back.
James Rao

Published: November 6, 2013 at 9:48 PM

@anon poster

- Appreciate your insights as a world wide Disney traveler. Thanks for sharing.

- I have heard that Indiana Jones, Matterhorn, and Radiator Springs Racers do go 101 a lot, but that downtime was not an issue the week we were there. I think RSR went down once for about an hour. But the other two, I never noticed any downtime.

- Maybe I should have written that Captain EO is the worst Disney attraction my family has ever visited. Because we will hold fast to that opinion. Even the kids were like, "What the heck was that, Dad?" I just shook my head and said, "I know, I know." And as much as I dislike the Stitch attraction at MK, it is light years ahead of the dated kitsch of EO. To be honest, I probably would not have liked EO even when it was new and now it just looks and feels really, really, really old.

- As for the Blue Bayou, I almost pulled the trigger on that reservation, but it came down to cost. I simply could not afford it. The price would have been almost double what we paid at Cafe Orleans, and we would not have been able to get those wonderful Pommes Frites. Granted the atmosphere of the Blue Bayou cannot be beat, but the budget was what it was. Like you said, maybe next time.

Published: November 7, 2013 at 4:07 PM

I also visited Disneyland recently after a 16 year absence. I haven't been to Florida since 1998, but I visited Tokyo and Hong Kong in 2010 when I studied abroad.

I had a great time, but absolutely agree that the park is can seem extremely claustrophobic because of the crowds and the smaller park (Hong Kong, also small, was somewhat similar). And with all of the gushing about how much better the maintenance was over Florida, and seeing how much people trashed MK's Splash Mountain's issues, I found several animatronics in the finale scene broken on CA for the entire trip. I get the impression that the difference is largely exaggerated.

Finally, while I can't say that I would choose Hong Kong over Anaheim, Tokyo was certainly fresh in my mind and while I loved Disneyland, it was no Tokyo, IMO. That was, honestly, the only thing wrong with the park.