There is no place quite like DIsneyland. When you think about all of Disney's resorts worldwide, Disneyland is the only one that Walt actually set foot in. There's something to be said about this. It just feels different compared to Walt Disney World. Smaller? Yes. But, it has a vitality and energy that you can't get anywhere else.
Mom and I visited on a Thursday in mid June. It wasn't packed, but had we not taken advantage of the single rider lines, we would have missed half of the attractions on our to-do list. We could have leveraged Fast Pass, but having driven in from the Inland Empire with tons of traffic, we arrived too late to really capitalize on it. Two single-day park hoppers ran us $300+. And no, a Walt Disney World Annual Pass does no good here!
We first stopped by Disney's California Adventure (DCA). It's a cross between Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's BoardWalk (but with rides). I visited DCA about fifteen years prior to this visit, and I honestly didn't think much of the place. That has changed! Car's Land is a master course in theming. It's like all of the quintessential parts of Route 66 somehow teamed up and settled in Anaheim. The Cozy Cone Motel is what I love so much about DIsney. Where else can you buy macaroni and cheese served in a cone made of bread? It's called Cone Queso, and it's one of the best things I've ever eaten. Not far down is Radiator Springs Racers— a 20x-more fun and engaging ride than its cousin in Epcot called Test Track. Next, we hit Grizzly River Run wherein you navigate two plunges and some strong currents in a circular, eight-person raft. It's similar to Kali River Rapids in Disney's Animal Kingdom in that you either leave very, very soaked or bone dry (there is no in-between). We then made the obligatory trek to the Tower of Terror— a somewhat stripped down version of the original in Disney's Hollywood Studios, but exhilarating nevertheless. We then made it over to Paradise Pier where we rode Goofy's Sky School (similar to Primeval Whirl in Animal Kingdom) and Silly Symphony Swings. We also ate at the Cove Bar. I'm not much of a drinker, but apparently this place has a secret drinks menu. Neat stuff. We tried their vaunted Lobster Nachos, and while tasty, we didn't get as much lobster as some of the vloggers on YouTube. Next time, I'm bringing a camera.
We then made the short walk to Disneyland Park. This is where it all began. Walking down Main Street USA, you can't help but feel like you're being transported to a place where all of your dreams do come true. We did too much to name everything in this post. Culinary-wise, the skewers at Bengal Barbecue are tender and tastefully affordable. The fried chicken dinner at the Plaza Inn is both wholesome and mouth-watering (perhaps the best deal we found all day). We did sample the 60th anniversary cupcake, and yes, it was good too. Mom and I were able to hit our favorite, the Enchanted Tiki Room. We also braved the single-rider line for Indiana Jones, and it was well worth it— I wish Dinosaur at Animal Kingdom was this fun. We also jumped on the Haunted Mansion, the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and Storybook Land Canal Boats.
I'm not going to say that Disneyland Resort is better the Walt Disney World. They are two entirely different beasts! I think some get caught up in the comparison game because both parks have similar attractions; however, that's missing the forest for the trees. Disneyland Resort boasts many traditions, attractions, and culinary delights that World does not have, and vice-versa. I come to this conclusion: Walt Disney World has quality and QUANTITY. Disneyland had QUALITY and quantity. There's a pride in DIsneyland that's palpable.