It’s an age old debate: Disneyland vs Disney World. And, I won’t go into which park is best because I truly think they both have wonderful things to offer.
My heart belongs to Disneyland because I’m in love with the richness of history and nostalgia here. But, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t thoroughly impressed with Disney World during my visit last summer.
Today, I want to share 10 fun things to do at Disneyland that you cannot do at Disney World. This will likely appeal to those WDW fans that have strayed to the dark side and are planning to visit DLR. I hope, too, that it will strengthen the Disneyland fan’s pride in our park. There is so much to treasure here.
In no particular order:
In this article
- Walt Disney’s Apartment – Disneyland
- World of Color – California Adventure
- Indiana Jones Adventure – Disneyland
- Storybook Land Canal Boats – Disneyland
- Haunted Mansion Holiday & it’s a small world Holiday
- Matterhorn – Disneyland
- Cars Land – California Adventure
- Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, & Pinocchio’s Daring Journey – Disneyland
- Blue Bayou – Disneyland
- Anna & Elsa’s Boutique – Downtown Disney
Walt Disney’s Apartment – Disneyland
Walt kept an apartment on-site during the year long construction of Disneyland. It’s located above the Fire Department on Main Street and can be seen from the ground. The light in the window is always on, as a reminder of the great man who started the Disney empire. Tours are available to see this apartment and I write a lot more about it (and much more) in my Unique Disneyland post.
Other Walt-honoring treasures that you can find at Disneyland include:
- The bench he sat on in Griffith Park and dreamed up Disneyland can be found in the Opera House on Main Street.
- The Lilly Belle, which was created for his wife, is often pulled behind the Disneyland train and is available to the public for rides on a very select basis.
- Brick wall samples, which were laid out for Walt’s approval, can be found in the park.
- ^^^^All of these nods to Walt and more can be found in the Unique Disneyland post I mentioned above.
World of Color – California Adventure
World of Color is one of the greatest shows Disney has ever created and is loved by so many. I recommend incorporating a special dining event with it to get preferred viewing if your budget allows. You can find more on that in my Special Event Dining post.
Indiana Jones Adventure – Disneyland
Indiana Jones fans will be as impressed with the queue for this attraction as they are the ride itself. Pay attention to the details on the walls as you walk through.
This ride mirrors Dinosaur at Animal Kingdom in Disney World and uses the same vehicles. It’s fantastic.
Storybook Land Canal Boats – Disneyland
This charming ride takes you through a guided tour of so many Disney classics. The gentle boat ride maneuvers under another Disneyland-only attraction called Casey Jr’s Circus Train.
The landscaping is absolutely gorgeous. I prefer to enjoy this attraction during the day to see all of the succulents and other plants that make this attraction so pretty.
Disneyland and Disney World both get to enjoy The Jingle Cruise. Disneyland takes the holiday magic two steps further and decks out both Haunted Mansion and it’s a small world with holiday decor.
Haunted Mansion Holiday includes Jack Skellington and friends in a delightful rendition of the popular movie.
it’s a small world celebrates each land with its unique holiday traditions.
Matterhorn – Disneyland
The Matterhorn is often the first thing you see when approaching Disneyland. It opened in 1959 and has been through a variety of changes over the years including seating adjustments. It’s a fast moving, exciting ride with great views of the park from above.
And, it’s been a favorite in the park for decades. Glide through this icy mountain and be sure to watch out for the Abominable Snowman!
Cars Land – California Adventure
I don’t know where to start with Cars Land. It’s. Just. So. Good.
I’m not even a huge fan of the movies. But, walking through this land, you cannot help but become totally overwhelmed with the fantastic theming. Radiator Springs Racers (similar to Test Track in Epcot) is one of the best rides in both California parks, also. Don’t miss it.
And, if you’re wanting to ride it without a 2 hour wait, be sure to check my post on how to start your days at the parks.
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, & Pinocchio’s Daring Journey – Disneyland
So, Disneyland – to me – feels like a freakier version of Disney World. We like dark things at Disneyland and we love our dark rides. Four can be found behind Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and only one of these is present at Disney World.
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride – Why not take a ride through hell while you’re at Disneyland?
Snow White’s Scary Adventures – To me, this is the most frightening attraction in the park and I’m not kidding.
Pinocchio’s Daring Journey – Milder than the two previously mentioned, this attraction has an actual curse word thrown in at the end if you listen closely.
All three of these can be found (plus many more) on my post detailing those rides that might scare little ones. You’ve been warned.
Also, a tip: If you wait until after fireworks, all three of these attractions typically have a wait time of 5-10 minutes. Peter Pan, which rounds out the dark four behind the castle, will always have a long wait.
Blue Bayou – Disneyland
This iconic restaurant is what every restaurant should look like in Disneyland, in my humble opinion. And, in my dream world, men would still be in suits and ties and women would wear heels and pearls. Alas, humans insist on being comfortable. (The horror.)
Regardless of attire, Blue Bayou provides you with a step back in time so that you can dine where the “elite” used to dine and enjoy a fine meal in the middle of a theme park. I recommend – if you dine here – choosing the Fantasmic! package, which provides you with the absolute best seating for Disneyland’s most beloved show, Fantasmic!. More on that in my special dining event post.
A tip: Walk by Blue Bayou about 30 minutes prior to your reservation and request a “by the water” table. This restaurant is housed inside the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, so you can sit water front and see the boats go by if you plan ahead.
Anna & Elsa’s Boutique – Downtown Disney
Even though Frozen will come and go soon enough, we are lucky to have this little treasure of a makeover option that is much less expensive than the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. It’s located in Downtown Disney and offers every bit of Frozen magic your little one’s heart desires.
And, with the average price of $35 for the makeover (!!!!!!!), I highly recommend checking this out when you visit. Read my review and comparison to the BBB prior to visiting.
Before visiting California Adventure to see Anna and Elsa and enjoy the rest of Frozen Fun, absolutely know your strategy.
There you go! 10 things that are unique to Disneyland. I love them all and many more.
Leave me a comment if you have another to add.