We decided to visit Disneyland and California Adventure on our way back from Oahu. Our very first trip to Disneyland was a little less magical than we expected, but we made the most of it. The biggest challenges for us were the weather and our unfamiliarity with the parks. We experienced way more positives than negatives by the end of the day.
The food is much better.
We had heard the food was much better at Disneyland in comparison to Magic Kingdom in Orlando. Ryan and I were impressed with the quality. The food was significantly better than Magic Kingdom. We enjoyed breakfast croissants from Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe, churros from a stand, and pizza from Alien Planet Pizza.
Rain isn’t ideal.
I’m not sure how often it rains in Los Angeles, but it must not be that often. There is little to no drainage at the parks. We had heavy rain most of the day. Our clothes and shoes were soaked. It was also unusually cold and windy during our visit. It was difficult to find indoor seating at both parks. Several of the rides are outside and were closed. This is beyond Disney’s control, but I wanted to mention it in case you experienced less than ideal weather.
Limited quick service at Downtown Disney.
We decided to visit the parks after the holidays, so we didn’t necessarily plan as well as we usually do. We opted to choose dinner the night of our visit. Most of the restaurants at Downtown Disney are sit down versus quick service. The wait times were over sixty minutes at every restaurant we checked. Make sure you make reservations ahead of time. We prefer Disney Springs due to variety of dining and shopping options.
The classic rides are great.
The two of us thoroughly enjoyed the rides, especially the classics. Space Mountain, It’s a Small World, & Pirates of the Caribbean were way better in California than Florida. Space Mountain had been updated and was much smoother. I also felt the ride cars were much safer. It’s a Small World included Disney characters, and we enjoyed looking for characters throughout the ride. The Pirates of the Caribbean ride was nearly eight minutes longer. The story was also better from start to finish.
We enjoyed Disneyland’s version of the Finding Nemo ride, which was a rather lengthy submarine ride. Indiana Jones is an adventurous thrill ride through a cursed temple. I highly recommend grabbing a fast pass for it or planning to ride it later in the day. It was probably my second or third favorite ride.
Transportation is limited.
Ryan booked us a hotel less than a mile away from the park. We generally don’t mind walking, but we didn’t plan on a consistent downpour or being harassed on the streets. We walked that morning and rode a bus the second half of the day. The bus fare was $12 for the two of us. Not a major cost by any means, but it was disappointing that it appeared to be our only option since we weren’t staying onsite.
Fast passes…a debatable subject.
If you ask me, I think the fast pass experience is better at Disney World. I like being able to grab three passes months in advance. Once we’ve used those passes, we can select new ones the day off. At Disneyland, you select a fast pass upon entering the park. You then can grab additional fast passes throughout the day once you’ve used your pass or at designated times. I think I’m explaining that correctly. Ryan didn’t mind it, but I felt like we were constantly looking at the app. I also think the Disney World app is way better, and I think Ryan agrees with that statement.
Had it not rained, it would have been fantastic. We had a great time overall, but the rain was incredibly frustrating. I honestly wouldn’t go on a rainy day. Ryan and I highly recommend doing your homework before going, because there’s just so much to do and enjoy. We didn’t even make it to certain sections of the park. I think we ended up riding about eleven or twelve rides between the two parks. How long did we spend in the parks? Maybe eight hours total. If you’ve been thinking about visiting Disneyland, I think you should.
Check back next week for our thoughts on California Adventures.