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  1. #1

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    How I fell in love with Disneyland

    For most of my life I was a Disney World nerd. As a kid I remember going to the park (and then parks) and having a brilliant time. When my wife and I got engaged we opted to do a Disney wedding at the Magic Kingdom Wedding Pavilion. And when we left we decided that we would come back as often as possible.

    In my mind Disney World was the place to beat. It must be better than Disneyland because, well, it was bigger! It was newer! It was WORLD! For most of my life I made that assumption and had little to no desire to see or experience Disneyland.

    Nearly 2 years ago an aerospace company in Southern California started courting me. They flew myself and my wife out from our home in Minnesota to interview. Being that this company is only about an hour away from the parks, we opted to make a visit.

    On my initial trip I decided to try out Disney's California Adventure since I had never done that park before. The interview had literally lasted all day so it was 7:00pm before we were able to make it out there. First thing we experienced was the Mickey and Friends parking structure. That was strange. Since it was so close to park closing there were no cast members there to guide us. We had no idea what we were doing or where we were going. The experience was awful. Finally we made it to a ticket booth. The park closed in an hour and we had to buy tickets at the full price. My wife thought I was crazy, but I wanted to experience this park. Or at least step through the gates.

    Lets not forget that 2 years ago California Adventure was under some pretty heavy construction. A good chunk of stuff was starting to get walled off, and we had no idea what we were doing. With only 1 hour to be in the park, somehow we managed to make it over to Hollywoodland, ride Monsters, and leave. My view of Disneyland remained unchanged: inferior.

    After a bunch of negotiations, 8 months later the aerospace company hired me and we moved out to Southern California. This offered us plenty of time to do the parks right. The day I landed my wife and I headed to Disneyland proper and spend the afternoon and evening there.

    Upon entering the park I was taken aback at how much smaller things were. Main street wasn't as tall, but somehow it was more inviting. The castle was much smaller. Tomorrowland was not a huge hike up and to the right, it was just right there! I very quickly started to realize that while the park was smaller, it still had all the stuff I wanted. Now I just didn't have to walk as far. BONUS!

    Then evening came and something unexpected happened. First we saw the fireworks show, "Remember... Dreams Come True". At first I was pretty impressed with the show. And then the hub locations around main street lit up with fireworks during the Haunted Mansion scene. My jaw hit the floor. Never had I seen a show like this as Disney World. They shot fire from the castle, had Tinkerbell fly over the castle not just from it... My brain exploded. This was the moment I started falling in love with the park.

    A few days later I was able to convinse my wife to watch Fantasmic!. We had both seen this show at Hollywood Studios and were less than impressed. We both assumed it was the same, but I wanted to try everything the park had to offer. At first it all appeared to be similar, until we hit Peter Pan. I had missed the ship sailing in from the side, so I jumped at the "cannon fire". Impressive. Then we hit the villan sequence. So much better than Hollywood Studios. All in all I was pretty impressed. That is, until we hit Maleficent. That whole sequence was just awesome. No silly strobing of the lights, no cheesy black dragon made out of torn un laundry scraps. What we had was a great dragon that seemingly comes out of nowhere and breaths fire! Once again my jaw hit the floor. While "Remember... Dreams Come True" made me fall in love with the park, Fantasmic! cemented that for me and made it absolute.

    Not too long after falling in love with Disneyland, which was like falling in love with Disney World all over again, we decided to move to Anaheim. We now live 1.8 miles away from the parks and can hear the fireworks at night. It is awesome. After a long day of dealing with some extremely complex issues, it is nice to get away to the parks and let the world of Disney take over.

    We still love Disney World and even spent our last anniversary there. We'll likely be going back again later this year. But for anyone who ever thought of Disneyland as a 2nd rate park, or just not worth the effort after you have seen Disney World... Hopefully my story will help you decide to at least give the park a chance. I can't imagine missing out on this beautiful park had I never actually gotten a job out here.
    Last edited by Bencredible; 10-11-2012 at 04:13 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: How I fell in love with Disneyland

    Great story
    Glad to hear you work at SpaceX

    Go visit my theme park website!!! http://kolbykonnection.com


  3. #3

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    Re: How I fell in love with Disneyland

    Never said the name of my employer

  4. #4

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    Re: How I fell in love with Disneyland

    A well written story! Two thumps up for you!

    Disneyland has that special magical feeling that Magic Kingdom at WDW does not have.

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  5. #5

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    Re: How I fell in love with Disneyland

    Spacex is in that city....

    Go visit my theme park website!!! http://kolbykonnection.com


  6. #6

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    Re: How I fell in love with Disneyland

    I think the parks are different. One is no more or less magical... Just a different kind of magic.

    Disneyland has this wonderment about it that Disney World does not have.
    Disney World has this size and awesomeness about it that Disneyland does not have.

    It works well for each park. I personally tend to lean towards Disneyland now, but I would never turn down a free trip to either

    Time to check out Paris, Toyko, etc!

    -B

  7. #7

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    Re: How I fell in love with Disneyland

    I went to Disney World first, and that was way back in 1997. I made it back for three more vacations before I finally planned a trip to Disneyland. I guess I always figured that Disney World was closer. I guess I also figured that I'd never get to Disneyland. I do remember reading the Birnbaum guidebook probably about a year before that planned first trip. I think if Disneyland hadn't had their special 50th celebration, I probably never would have made that first visit. I definitely wouldn't be posting here at MiceChat today.

    It was the 50th celebration of Disneyland that prompted my friend Jennifer to want to take her kids to Disneyland to experience the event. She had made one prior trip out there, and had a great time. I was invited along for the trip to Disneyland, and I was ecstatic. I would finally see the park, I thought I never would. The park I saw on television as a kid.

    It was immediate love for me, from my very first walk through the turnstiles. Hey just entering the Esplanade, blew me away.
    My Next WDW Vacation is Aug 18, 2014 - Aug 23, 2014
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  8. #8

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    Re: How I fell in love with Disneyland

    I moved from So Cal to FL. Been a fan of Disneyland and DCA growing up all my life and always thought the bigger thing was better. After moving out here to FL and visiting WDW for the first time, I wasn't impressed at all with Magic Kingdom. The park, the way it was flooded with thousands of adults and kids from every corner of the world was interesting, but it wasn't for me. Everything felt superficial and the cast members smiled a lot of the time because they were paid to smile. Disneyland and DCA has a small town feel to it, and after having been there so many times, you really see the difference in the cast members. Some of them have been there forever and live a couple blocks away in Anaheim. The people are mostly all from So Cal and its kind of a gem that we all treasure. The families I see in WDW, the majority speaking are not from Orlando and are visiting from other areas of the world. Its a special trip for them because they've planned it and in a sense they are on a true vacation. At Disneyland and DCA, you have the majority of people I believe that are from the So Cal area or a much greater proportion. For many of these locals that have the annual pass and have been to the parks many times, it isn't such a big deal to ride every ride and do everything possible. I don't feel the touristy vibe I get at WDW. A lot of people come back to Disneyland not because they haven't gone on every ride, but because they enjoy and appreciate the careful attention to detail; the little things that make the ambiance and experience of being at the theme park that much greater. The way I can explain it is kind of like moving to the big city which has its beauty, but then coming home and appreciating your hometown.

    If you haven't seen World of Color at DCA, it will change your life. Its the single and greatest attraction in all the parks combined; I'm convinced at this point if I had to do 1 thing and only 1 thing, that would be it. Give me a choice and its not even a question, Disneyland Resorts is infinitely a better experience then WDW any day of the week.

  9. #9

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    Re: How I fell in love with Disneyland

    nice comparisons. thanks for sharing. Its nice to see WDWers see the uniqueness of Disneyland and make it their home park. Not in a "Muhaha" kind of way but more in a "you get it" kinda way.

  10. #10

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    Re: How I fell in love with Disneyland

    There's nothing wrong with "not getting it". My husband stays home when I travel to Disneyland, and he enjoyed that very first trip that we both made to Disney World in 1997.

    I enjoy hearing recollections that people have of how Disneyland and Disney World took over their hearts.
    My Next WDW Vacation is Aug 18, 2014 - Aug 23, 2014
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  11. #11

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    Re: How I fell in love with Disneyland

    Quote Originally Posted by Bencredible View Post
    Never said the name of my employer
    Northrup Grumman?

    ...and just a little bit of pixie dust!
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  12. #12

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    Re: How I fell in love with Disneyland

    what i'm getting out of this forum is that there is really something truly special about disneyland.

  13. #13

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    Re: How I fell in love with Disneyland

    Quote Originally Posted by magicaldisney77 View Post
    what i'm getting out of this forum is that there is really something truly special about disneyland.
    ......and if you have never been there, you have come to the best site on the web to help you discover the magic.
    My Next WDW Vacation is Aug 18, 2014 - Aug 23, 2014
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    Re: How I fell in love with Disneyland

    Only yourself can provide your own imagination when riding an attraction/ride.

    It never gets old!

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  15. #15

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    Re: How I fell in love with Disneyland

    Wow that was a great read!

    Yes, I love Disneyland. I love that I am a kid again and can be a kid with my kid. I spoil him so much. I have yet to get out to Orlando but it is on my bucket list.

    But that was a wonderful story, thanks

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