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Need Help for Disneyland Trip

Disneyland: Visiting the original park for the first time ever.

From Thomas Crain
Posted May 27, 2011 at 2:40 PM
So, living in Florida, I basically grew up at WDW. However, it's always been my dream to visit the original DL. Luckily, my new in-laws are taking me and my wife for a late wedding gift.

To say I'm excited is an understatement.

As it stands, we'll be doing 2 and 1/2 days. The first day will be California Adventure for the first half, then transitioning over to the Kingdom for the second half. The second day will be all day Kingdom. The half day will see our group splitting up. My wife and her mother will go shopping while I and my father-in-law will be doing the 'Walk in Walt's Foot-steps' tour.

Other than that, I'm lost. Put me in any of the WDW parks, and I can guide you all day long, but when it comes to DL, I have no blinkin' idea what to ride first.

So, I need help. What's the best order to ride things. What shows are skippable? What's the best place for food? That kind of stuff.

Also, has anyone taken the "Walt" tour. The man is a personal hero of mine, so the chance to see things as he would have seen them (as well as to see the lobby of Club 33) is too tempting to pass up.

Thanks in advance.


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Nick Markham
Posted May 27, 2011 at 4:43 PM
Right place to ask! I know this resort like the back of my hand (;D) and with that, here is a guide you should follow:

Day 1: Disney's California Adventure

1. Arrive to the park 30 minutes prior opening.
2. Once open, head directly to Soarin' and ride.
3. After Soarin', head directly to Paradise pier and hit up California Screamin' followed by Toy Story Mania.
4. Finish up Paradise Pier with Mickey's Fun Wheel, Mickey's Silly Symphony Swings, and Goofy's Sky School.
5. Fast Pass Grizzly River Run and then have a lunch break.
6. Return to Grizzly River Run and ride.
7. Watch Muppet Vision 3D then ride Monster's Inc: Mike and Sulley to the Rescue.
8. FastPass Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror, then watch It's Tough To Be A Bug.
9.Return back to and ride Tower of Terror.
10.Head back to Paradise Pier to watch World of Color.

Day 2: Disneyland Park

1. Arrive to gates 30 minutes prior to opening.
2. Once open, head directly to and ride Space Mountain.
3. Next, ride Star Tours II.
4. Ride Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin.
5.From here head directly to Matterhorn Bobsleds to ride.
6. After you ride Matterhorn, make your way to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
7.Once you have ridden BTMR, fastpass Indiana Jones and then ride Pirates of the Caribbean.
8.Return back to and ride Indiana Jones.
9.FastPass Splash Mountain and then have a lunch break.
10.Return back to Splash Mountain for your Fast Pass.
11. After Splash Mountain, head through Fantasyland and hit up any of the rides there that you wish. I highly suggest It's A Small World as it is the original and most unique.
12. Fast Pass Roger Rabbit's Cartoon Spin and then go and meet Mickey (no Disneyland trip is complete without a visit with Mickey!).
14. Ride Roger Rabbit, then head back to Tomorrowland where you might want to reride Space Mountain or Star Tours, or even ride Nemo's Submarine Voyage if you wish.
15. Make your way to Rivers of America and watch Fantasmic!
16. Then head back over to the castle to watch the firework show right after Fantasmic@

Now, this plan is most likely to work and has had a nice success rate, but the Ride Times App for Android or iPhone can be your best friend. Have fun!

Anymore questions?

From Thomas Crain
Posted May 27, 2011 at 6:22 PM
Actually, another question popped into my head.

I plan to see Fantasmic (love the WDW version) but I think I can skip World Of Color (Just doesn't look that interesting.)

My question is; which Fireworks show does DL have now? My last trip to WDW last year was the Summer Nightastic, which in itself was a slight redo of the Magic, Music, and Mayhem show from the Pirate and Princess Party. If DL has Wishes or Fantasy in the Sky, I may pass as I have both soundtracks.

However, if it's still Remember... Dreams Come True... I might be more ready to camp out in front of the castle.

From Nick Markham
Posted May 27, 2011 at 7:55 PM
^You better not skip World of Color! It is easily the best nighttime show Disney has ever created. When people here its just a water show, they tend to look away. Well it is not just a water show. It is a show that features lasers, fire, and 100 foot tall water fountains.

The music and story is amazing, all of the vivid colors, and it is something that one can never, EVER, miss.

And as to the fireworks, it will either be the show Magical or Remember... Dreams Come True.

From AJ Hummel
Posted May 27, 2011 at 8:22 PM
I used to be an AP holder, and I still visit the parks at least once a year. Given that you are looking at doing 1/2 day at DCA and 1 & 1/2 days at Disneyland, I would do the following. This plan assumes that you would like to visit a majority of the attractions, including nearly all of the attractions rated 7 or higher on TPI.

Day 1:

Morning: Arrive at DCA well before opening. Decide if you want to see World of Color or not. If you do, go immediately to Grizzly River Run and grab a showpass. Note that you will need to return to DCA in the evening (I have not personally seen World of Color yet, so I don't know how it is).

Head to Paradise Pier. Ride (in order): Toy Story Midway Mania, California Screamin', The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure, Goofy's Sky School. Now, go back to Soarin' Over California and either wait in line or grab a FastPass. If you got a fastpass, you may occupy your time with the other Paradise Pier rides, Grizzly River Run, or Tower of Terror. You may also want to eat lunch at some point in here as well.

Afternoon: After lunch, use your Soarin' FastPass whenever you can. In addition, visit any other DCA rides you are interested in riding and see the Aladdin show. Once you have done everything you care to do, make your way over to Disneyland.

When you get to Disneyland, check the wait time board and grab a FastPass for either Indiana Jones Adventure or Splash Mountain (whichever has a longer wait). Spend the remainder of your day doing the attractions in Adventureland, Critter Country, Main Street U.S.A., and New Orleans Square ONLY! If you are seeing World of Color, you will have limited time in Disneyland. If not, this would be a good night to see the fireworks show. Usually, Remember...Dreams Come True plays from January until May and Magical runs from June to September (except Independence Day Week).

Day 2: Be at the park early. When the rope drops, grab a FastPass for Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, then head to Space Mountain. Ride Tomorrowland's other attractions while waiting for your FastPass. After experiencing Star Tours, head to Frontierland to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, then make your way to Fantasyland and do whatever you feel like doing here or in Toontown. Be sure to ride the Matterhorn Bobsleds and It's A Small World in Fantasyland, as well as Roger Rabbit's Car-Toon Spin in Toontown. It doesn't matter too much what order you visit the attractions in, and you can get lunch whenever you feel like.

Once you are done here, you are pretty much free to revisit your favorite attractions or try ones you skipped. You can also return to the parts of the park you visited the day before and re-ride those attractions if you wish, or return to DCA and re-ride stuff there. If you want to see Fantasmic, I recommend going to the later showing as it is usually less crowded.

I have no experience with the tour, so I cannot help you there. I have, however, heard that it is good if you are into Disney.

You should have a fun trip. Two days should be enough to do everything at both parks. DCA can be completed in a half day except on the most crowded of days, and I've been able to ride nearly every attraction at Disneyland in one full open-to-close day (two days, however, or a day and a half in your case, will allow you to go at a slower pace).

Enjoy your visit to the Disneyland Resort!

From Anthony Murphy
Posted May 28, 2011 at 7:46 AM
Here are my thoughts:

Do not skip World of Color, but instead, if it comes down to it, skip Fantasmic. Despite the arguements on the site, they are bascially the same show with a couple of tweaks.

As for getting around, if you know WDW, you should be able to travel around DLR. DL is almost an exact replica as MK (actually, the other way around). Both parks and Downtown Disney is about the size of DHS and EPCOT put together.

From Thomas Crain
Posted May 28, 2011 at 3:05 PM
Now see, Anthony, you're not the first person to say that the Florida and California Kingdoms are nearly the same. And while I can replace Liberty Square with New Orleans Square, there's just SO MANY DIFFERENT attractions that I simply can't picture it.

I mean, just seeing the Matterhorn is gonna throw me off geographically.

From Victoria Jurkowski
Posted May 28, 2011 at 4:51 PM
Don't skip world of color. But the fireworks show is basically the same as WDW so I'd skip that. fireworks are a good time to go on anything in tomorrowland or big thunder, splash, pirates, haunted mansion, and indiana jones. but its very difficult to move across the park and fantasyland is a nightmare to navigate and most of the stuff is closed. this is the same as MK WDW though so you probably can figure it out.

fantasmic is skippable since youre only there a few days and have seen the florida version but make sure you are on the side of the river that you want to be on before it starts because it is impossible to navigate the area.

i agree with all the ride plans above. pretty much picking a direction and going in a circle works well, hitting major attractions and grabbing fastpasses.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted May 29, 2011 at 8:37 PM
As for the similarites, both parks are set up in almost the same way (hub form). The only difference is Frontieerland and Liberty Square/New Orleans are switched. Fantasyland and Tomorrowland are bascially in the same spot along with Adventureland and Splash Mountain.

From Ryan Wathen
Posted May 30, 2011 at 4:29 PM
I disagree about World of Color. I saw this in December, from a good viewing area, and did not understand why everyone was so crazy about it. I am giving it another try this summer though, just to be sure I didn't miss something. I think Fantasmic is much better and more worth the wait!

From Tyler Stover
Posted May 31, 2011 at 7:18 PM
Ah I love these WDW vs DLR questions.

The first thing I want to say is of course, having a solid plan is great (that's why you're here on TPI after all) but at Disneyland it isn't as important to say "I'll be at this park this day and this other park on the next day". Disneyland and DCA are right across a plaza from each other. Smart planning will save you a lot of time and energy, but if have a fastpass in DCA coming up but want to catch a show in Disneyland just before that, you can easily do that.

I know I might catch some grief for this, but I'd say Haunted Mansion can be skipped. In my personal and humble opinion, Walt Disney World has the better version. Tower of Terror is likewise inferior to the WDW version. Pirates is the opposite. Disneyland's is definitely better. Space Mountain is a must as well, but be warned it will ruin the WDW version for you.

Matterhorn is certainly a signature Disneyland exclusive attraction and a great bit of history too, being the first steel tube track coaster.

From Robert Niles
Posted May 31, 2011 at 7:56 PM
I'll defend DL's Mansion simply for the fact that it allows you to walk through the front door of the Mansion, into the foyer as Walt himself intended, rather than slinking in through a basement side entrance, as you do in Florida.

Plus, you get to ride actual elevator stretch rooms, instead of standing on a still floor while the ceiling rises, as in Florida.

DL's Small World also blows WDW's away, even with the "Where's Waldo?" game of spot-the-Disney-characters.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted May 31, 2011 at 8:25 PM
One thing I enjoy about DL is the way the rides are set up. Unlike MK which has plenty of room for themed lines, Disneyland does not and gets pretty creative in lines and ride set up. Haunted Mansion is the best example.

From Tyler Stover
Posted June 1, 2011 at 8:02 AM
Ah but Robert, do you not find WDW's flooded Small World sets to be superior to Disneyland's exposed flume? I very respectfully disagree with you on this one. I will grant the DL Small World facade is much better.

I love WDW vs DL debates.

From Robert Niles
Posted June 1, 2011 at 10:42 AM
I like the flooded flume. But I like the longer, better maintained, and better "framed" show more.

From Tyler Stover
Posted June 1, 2011 at 4:44 PM
Thomas, what are your tastes and budget for meals? I can name a favorite for different price points and type of food and/or service. Do you want to only do quick counter service? Table service? Willing to go off property a small ways?

From Thomas Crain
Posted June 1, 2011 at 4:54 PM
For meals, I figure we'll do counter service for lunch and sit-down for dinner.

As to these DL/WDW debates...

Not skipping the Manison since I've dreamed of riding it since I was small.

Not skipping Small World, though I agree that the sunken WDW version is nicer.

Not skipping ToT, even though I know my beloved Florida version tops it in every way, shape, and form.

From Tyler Stover
Posted June 2, 2011 at 12:10 PM
For counter service Tomorrowland Terrace has a mahi mahi sandwich that is surprisingly OK, though it takes a little while to prepare. As a bonus, while eating at Tomorrowland Terrace you might catch a Jedi Training Academy show. Avoid the burgers at the Disneyland resort - they're pretty dry and bland. If you're willing to pay a bit more the buffeteria options like Rancho del Zocalo, French Market, and Riverbelle Terrace provide pretty good quick food.

Table Service - Blue Bayou has fantastic ambience and is probably worth it just to dine in such a themed setting with POTC boats floating right on by, but the food and service don't always match the price. Advanced reservations will almost certainly be neccessary. Cafe Orleans has the famous Monte Cristo and pomme frites. If you want a quieter, lighter experience the Carnation Cafe is tucked in the west side of main street and despite being right up front along main street this little table service restaurant is usually not extremely busy. The menu is pretty simple, but it could be a nice relaxing meal. Time it right and you can watch the new Soundsational Parade go by during your meal.

Other suggestions: Taste Pilots Grill in DCA was the best burger place in the Disneyland Resort, but the loss of the waffle fries lessens its lead. Still the variety of burgers (if you must have a Disney burger), other offerings, and the toppings bar makes it worth considering. In Downtown Disney I'm a fan of the ESPN zone, with a truly massive menu. If you're willing to spend good money, Catal is fantastic. If you can only spend a little, go for desert and get their ice-cream that is made on site. I think it might also be available at the attached quick service restaurant and/or Uva bar.

Definitely visit the Disneyland the Disney California Adventure pages here for restaurant ratings and reviews.

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