Disneyland: where movies come to life

Disney's California Adventure park
*Disclosure: I received Disneyland media passes to facilitate this review. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Today it is a snowy, rainy day in Michigan, but exactly one week ago, I was in sunny Anaheim visiting Disneyland. I was fortunate to be able to go with fellow blogger Mandy, from The Romance Bookie, whom I had been talking with online for a long time but had never met in person, and her boyfriend, Vincent. I say this not only because they are awesome, but because they are Disneyland PROS - they have season passes and know the park inside and out.

This was my first trip to California and to Disneyland. I had been to Walt Disney World in Orlando multiple times with my parents when I was younger, and the last time was in 2006, so I wasn't sure what to expect with DL. It's a much smaller area of land but that turns out to be a good thing, because you're able to do both parks (California Adventure and Disneyland) in one day.

My mom and I at Disney World (Orlando), circa 1990s - check out Epcot at right

We started off at California Adventure and ran to get our FastPasses for World of Color first, the light and water show that DCA (Disney's California Adventure) does at the end of each night. It's advisable to get one of these otherwise you might be stuck on the sidelines with no place to view the show.

Disneyland FastPass
My FastPasses before I had to turn them in for rides/shows!

The first ride we went on was Soarin', which was pretty cool - it's a huge screen that makes you feel like you are flying (or soaring, in this case) through California. After that, we headed to the Tower of Terror (one of my favorite rides at WDW as well) and Screamin', which turned out to be another of my favorite rides - it's a great coaster that ended up surprising me, as it was comparable to Cedar Point's awesome coasters.

Mandy and I waiting in line for the Toy Story ride (DCA)

After about two to three hours at DCA, we headed over to Disneyland, which was the first part of the park built, back in the 1950s and '60s. We stopped at Town Hall first, to get me a "1st time visitor" pin and also make dinner reservations.

Clockwise: 1. Waiting for Pirates of the Caribbean ride, 2. Walking to
Disneyland, 3. Mr. Potato Head at the Toy Story ride, 4. Screamin' roller
coaster,5. On the jungle boat ride, 6. A Bug's Life area of DCA

Most of my favorite rides actually ended up being in DCA, except for Space Mountain, but Disneyland is much bigger than DCA, so if you can only go to one park, I would recommend Disneyland.

Disneyland tips from Yes/No Films

  • Make sure to get FastPasses for the rides you want - we did that for the Indiana Jones ride, the Racing ride at Cars Land (and otherwise it was a very long wait), Screamin', the World of Colors, and others, and as long as you plan ahead it works out nicely. The longest we waited for a ride was Space Mountain - it was a little over an hour.
  • I had been told to try the Dole Whip (see below) but it was a bit too pineapple-y for me - definitely interesting-tasting, though.
  • If you want to eat at one of the more popular sit down restaurants, such as the Blue Bayou (located inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride!), make reservations a few days ahead of time. The Bayou was completely booked so we had dinner at Cafe Orleans instead.
  • Do the more popular rides earlier in the day - later in the day, the park was more crowded than it had been when we first arrived.
  • If it's your first time there, make sure you get a map when you arrive (you should receive one when you enter the park) so you can see where everything is.
Clockwise: Toy Story ride (Disneyland, not DCA), Tower of
Terror, Haunted Mansion exterior, Dole Whip float
(pineapple juice + pineapple froyo)

I was so glad I got to experience Disneyland this trip, especially since I was inside for most of the rest of the week at my conference. The next time I am in Anaheim I also want to check out Downtown Disney, located between DCA and Disneyland - it has restaurants and shops, and doesn't charge admission. Parking is hourly but if you eat a meal there, most of the restaurants will pro-rate your parking for you.

                                                             Brave portion of World of Colors - fantastic show

Have you been to Disneyland before, and if you have not, do you want to go? If you have, what's your favorite ride or attraction there?

*People pictures courtesy of Mandy Reupsch (The Romance Bookie) since I tend to be camera-shy and/or not take many of them.

See below for more Disneyland and DCA pictures!


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