When my dear husband had a business trip to Los Angeles my first thought was “We are going to DISNEYLAND!!!!!”  Outwardly I was slightly cooler.

Since my little man was a toddler I have wanted to take him to Cars Land in the Disney land park.  But it was hard for these east coasters to fit a trek to the West Coast in the schedule.  My kids aren’t fans of flying and it just never worked out.  But not in 2018, all the pieces fell into place.  A last minute conference reschedule landed us smack in the middle of Los Angeles and wonderfully close to Anaheim California.

The Logistics

We bought 2 day tickets to the Disney Parks which allowed one park a day.  This was the best choice for us because I wasn’t sure how much of the park was going to be repeat from Disney World where we had enjoyed our Annual Passholder days.  You can also add days to your tickets on or before the last day they are active.  So, we knew if the parks were awesome we had up to 4 days to spend at Disneyland.

Our hotel was the Embassy Suites Anaheim.  It is 1.5 miles from the park and we were able to use our reward points to get our hotel practically free. A bonus was the Disneyland booth in the lobby.  We were able to buy tickets and ask all our questions at the hotel allowing us to skip the ticket lines.  Super convenient.

Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel

Disneyland Good neighbor hotel

We chose not to rent a car but instead use Uber and Taxis to ferry us back and forth.  We spent less on transportation than it would have cost us to park the car at our hotel.  Uber was easier to get to the park and Taxis were easier for the return trip.

Unlike our Orlando vacations, we didn’t get to pick the dates for this trip.  The days had to be scheduled around a business trip.  The crowds were higher than we had hoped and the weather wasn’t quite cooperative.  Neither were a deal breaker but they were outside our normal parameters for a Disney vacation.

Downtown Disney

World of Disney Downtown Disney California

We walked Downtown Disney on our first day in town.  This is a tradition we brought with us from Orlando and it was a nice way to ease into the Southern California vibe.  The first big difference I noticed was the security. They have bag check here like they have at the Orlando Parks.  Last time I was at Disney Springs in Orlando they did not have this security check.

Everything in Orlando is bigger than its California counterpart, Downtown Disney included.   It didn’t take us long to walk the whole shopping center.  Shopping and getting a snack only took 2 hours.

The World of Disney store was a treat.  Apparently, California shares my love of coffee mugs.  So many…. so so many.

World of Disney Downtown Disney California

World of Disney Downtown Disney California

And if anyone wants to buy this Mary Poppins handbag for me, I will not complain.  Blue is one of my favorite colors.

World of Disney Downtown Disney California

If you have a dress loving Star Wars fan in the house, this skirt and sweater may be the perfect treat.

World of Disney Downtown Disney California

World of Disney Downtown Disney California

World of Disney Downtown Disney California

The Lego store is always a treat.  If you are familiar with the Orlando Disney Springs Lego Store you will see some old friends but there are some new stars here in California.

World of Disney Downtown Disney California

World of Disney Downtown Disney California

California Adventure park

California Adventure Park was our first park stop.  It was the last scheduled day for Paradise Pier to be open before its refurbishments and re-branding.  We didn’t want to miss this section.

It was just as wonderful as you would expect from a Disney property.  The kids loved Cars Land.  All the Cars movie  branded rides were great.  The Radiator Springs Racers was a hit.  We were lucky enough to have only a 35 minute wait and a fastpass ticket for later.

California Adventure Park Disneyland

California Adventure Park Disneyland

California Adventure Park Disneyland

Here we are waiting to ride Luigi’s Dancing Cars.

Notice the hearing protection my kids are wearing.  I am determined to make this a “thing”.  So many kids get worn out at theme parks and buffering all that excess noise make a world of difference.  If you get nothing else from my posts I still consider it a win.  Try it yourself and thank me by passing on word to someone else on how awesome cutting the noise makes theme park travel more fun.

California Adventure Park Disneyland

An unexpected bonus was the “a bug’s land”.  We enjoyed all these little carnival type rides and the wait times were minimal.   We played games on the midway winning ourselves some souvenirs.  Grizzly river rapids was fun and exciting.

The line for Guardians of the Galaxy was as long as expected.  We were in line first thing that morning before the park opened and I was in disbelief when my kids chickened out right before the ride.  They new it was an old Tower of Terror and they clearly remembered the screams you could hear from anywhere in the Hollywood Studio’s park in Orlando.  Oh well, there is always next time.  This line was at least a quarter mile long.

California Adventure Park Disneyland

Disneyland Park

Our second day brought us to the iconic Disneyland Park.  There is no denying it is a smaller older sister of Disney Worlds Magic Kingdom. The layout is almost completely identical.  In fact, I didn’t need a map to navigate between the lands.   Many of the same rides you would find in Disney World were here though some were from parks other than Magic Kingdom.  If you have ever been to the Magic Kingdom, you can see the similarities in these pictures.

Disneyland Anaheim California

Disneyland Anaheim California

We loved Big Thunder Mountain and the Winnie the Pooh ride.

Disneyland Anaheim California

Lunch was at the River Belle Terrace. It was a lovely sit down restaurant.  The food was good and it was nice to be out of the wind and rain for a bit. We got the Chicken Sandwich and the Kids Menu ribs.

Disneyland Anaheim California

Disneyland Anaheim California

The New Orleans Square was a new section for us and my Louisiana roots enjoyed spending time in this little rendition of Royal Street.  I am a sucker for cast iron railings.  And the shops were full of goodies.

Disneyland Anaheim California

Disneyland Anaheim California

We had a great day.  The only damper was the rain.  It rained all day. Like, all day.  It was a slow soaking drizzle.  I barely got any pictures and now that I think of it I don’t know if I have any of the kids. But that is par for the course for us at Disney anyway.  It’s such a breakneck speed of ride after ride there isn’t much time to get the kids (or Momma) to slow down and take a photo.

So which is better Disneyland or Disney World?

This would really depend on your family.  Would you prefer the intimate feel of Disneyland?  Everything is close together. Both parks and Downtown Disney are touching.  Or would you weight it based on the quality and quantity of rides? Disneyland had fewer rides but they are all well done.  Do you love the festivals and shows at Disney World?  Disneyland is fun but they don’t have the space to have the bigger festivals that adorn Epcot and the other Orlando parks.

Honestly they are both great and I am glad we have made it to both the Anaheim and Orlando Parks.

Our family consensus is Disneyland is better than Magic Kingdom.  If you can believe it, there is even more detail to be found in this majestic little park.  Yes it is smaller but richer in feeling.  Many of the rides were near duplicates between the parks but we tended to like the Disneyland version better.  That being said Disneyland only won by a nose so I wouldn’t break the bank to skip Magic Kingdom if you are based on the East Coast like us.

Overall, Disney World won hands down over the California trio of Disneyland, California Adventure Park, and Downtown Disney.  It is just so much bigger and has so much more to offer.  The four parks at Disney World plus Disney Springs just couldn’t be beat.  I love the four theme parks and the variety of rides each one has.

Disneyland does earn a Repeat Visit Award from Your Travel Secret.  If we are over this way again, I will squeeze in a day to enjoy a little more Disneyland Magic.

Shanda Smith
A Wife, Mother, horseback riding, RV-ing, travel enthusiast always looking for the next adventure. As the Matriarch of a homeschooling family of four we keep our suitcases packed and our atlas handy. Join us on our adventures. With Love and Coffee, Shanda

9 Comments

  1. Interesting. Living now in Florida I have always been curious about how different is World Disney World from Disneyland. I thought about visiting it when they did RunDisney in CA, but they canceled that so I stopped thinking about it. However, if it feels smaller and maybe less crowded than it’s counterpart, it might be worth considering if around the area.

    1. I would still love to go back to Disneyland for a couple of days. It was a wonderful sacrifice to make!! Happy Travels.

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