After experiencing as many attractions that are not at Walt Disney World as we could, our second goal was to try out the attractions that are the same/similar to those at Disney World.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
We thought that Disneyland's version was way better.
Not only was it less jerky, but the scenes and theming surpassed World's. I especially liked the explosion tunnel. If we had the time, we would have ridden it again (I can't wait to ride Disneyland Paris' version someday, as it is supposed to be the absolute best version).
It's a Small World
Sorry, just by reading this, you probably have the song stuck in your head now.
Another attraction we liked more at Disneyland, mainly because it appeared more well loved and well maintained. Also the outside facade and loading area are gorgeous, whimsical pieces of art. Disneyland's version truly captures the attractions' global peace spirit. It just seemed to shine.
On our last trip to Disney World, Small World looked pretty shabby. I will say though that I still like my Disney World hippos more.
Pirates of the Caribbean
I know that most people hail Disneyland's version of Pirates to be superior, but I felt like it was a wash. I certainly appreciated the float past Blue Bayou, and the double drops, but the rest didn't feel any more spectacular than what World's version achieves.
This however could be nostalgia talking. After Peter Pan (which was closed for refurbishment during this trip), Pirates is the attraction that still holds bright in my memory from my very first trip to Disney World.
Two things make Disneyland's train a standout. One, tiered, sideways facing seats (not every train there has them, so be on the lookout for one that does).
You don't have to stare at the back of someone's heads, and you don't have to lean over your neighbor to get a good view of the scenery. Everything is right in front of your eyes.
Two, the super fun dioramas. If you don't have time to do a full train loop, make sure to hop on at Tomorrowland and ride the train to Main Street. You can feel the breath of Walt as you chug past the Grand Canyon and the dinosaurs that once dazzled folks at The World's Fair.
I love Space Mountain...can you tell?
We loved it so much, we got off and got a fast pass to ride it again.
I know that almost everyone says that Space Mountain in Disneyland is way better. It's smoother, faster, and you get to ride side by side in a more traditional coaster car.
For me, it is a tie. I love both versions. The Disneyland version is less jerky and more thrilling, but I love the old school retro feel of Disney World's, and maybe it's just the six year old in me talking, but I like the cars in Disney World better. They are more like a rocket, making you feel as though you are really rocketing through space.
In Disney World, we have been spoiled by very short lines, so we were surprised by the long wait in a boring, sweaty queue at Disneyland. The best part however about waiting in line, was the wonderfully friendly Disneyland goers.
One group was nice enough to trade photo taking with us.
I had a lovely time chatting with a little Snow White in front of us.
She was a big Studio Ghibli fan, so she loved my t-shirt. We had a nice conversation about our favorite Ghibli characters before entering the mansion.
For this match up, Disney World's Haunted Mansion wins without a doubt (and not just because it's my favorite dark ride). Disneyland's version felt more like a scaled down version of Disney World's, or, more accurately, Disney World's is a better, expanded version of Disneyland's. From the queue, to the graveyard scene, everything is just extra special at Disney World's Haunted Mansion. Of course it's still a fun, amazing attraction no matter the park you ride it in.
Enchanted Tiki Room
I'm a sucker for catchy tunes, so I love the Enchanted Tiki Room. It was great to be able to experience the original, and the waiting area is a big part of the appeal at Disneyland's version.
Sadly, we didn't get the almost required Dole Whip or Dole Float. At Disneyland, you pass the Dole stand as you enter the waiting area, and everyone seemed to be enjoying their tropical, frosty treats, but it was the second to last attraction we did before dinner, and we needed all of our stomach space for our feast. Hopefully the next time we will do it right.
It's hard not to love Disneyland's version more, if just for the fact that it is the original, and something that had Walt's input. What I liked most about Disneyland's version was the audience. In Disney World, I feel sometimes that people get in, and then are chomping at the bit for the show to be over so they can zip off to the next thing. In Disneyland, there was a sort of reverence for Tiki Room, and there was a sing-a-long aspect, which I was all for. Let's all sing like the birdies sing-tweet-tweet-tweet-tweet- tweet.....
I heeded all of the warnings about not riding the monorail from Downtown Disney into the park first thing. The monorail drops you off in Tomorrowland, so you don't get that walking down Main Street, sucking in a breath at the first sight of the castle experience, that most people like to have, especially on their first visit. We chose to ride the monorail when leaving the park.
It was the monorail ride of sadness, given that we didn't want to leave.
Though you could argue that any ride on a monorail is a fun time, riding the monorail at Disney World is a grander experience. Everything you pass, fills you with excitement and anticipation. In Disneyland, you are mostly passing by and looking at the backs of buildings, or parking lots.
Obviously, there are things we did not get to do. Overall however, I think we did a pretty bang up job of squeezing in as much as we could. We lamented saying goodbye to Disneyland, and did wish that we had planned three or four days, instead of just two, but at least we had the chance to be charmed by, and to fall in love with Disneyland.