I just returned from a great trip (2 weeks ago) to the Disneyland resort. I went with 2 close friends for 5 days. We all live here in Orlando and we were very excited, of course, to see the original park. We spent the first 2 days at Disneyland and I fell in love with the place. It is hard to not compare parks because they contain the same formula. But also they both feel so different to me (it was a weird sensation…but kinda cool too!). I personally think Disneyland is generally more magical than our Magic Kingdom. Something struck me about the way it felt so packed with stuff in every inch of space…I liked that element very much. We just went to our Magic Kingdom here in WDW yesterday. We actually had a great time talking about the differences and it made me appreciate a few things about our park I never had before (but only a few). We stayed for our fireworks and we all commented on how we missed the awesome version of Wishes that DL has. It is far superior to ours. And I found myself yesterday looking towards the teacups from the hub longing to see the Matterhorn (my personal fave). On the third day of our Anaheim trip we went to California Adventure. I went there with an open mind and a bit excited. I had read a couple of negative articles about it, but I was determined to see it with a fresh and open mind. I did pretty well…until I got past the entry area (where the sun fountain is?) I liked that area a lot and thought, hey…this isn’t so bad! It’s kind of pretty! But as we took a right and headed past the aviation themed area and on around the river rapids ride…I got a sinking feeling. It was feeling sort of bland to me (I didn’t want to admit it). But on we went into the back amusement area. Then I actually could not say anything for a little while; I was so stunned by what I saw. I tried to separate the previous 2 days from my viewpoint. All my brain kept saying was, “were still on Disney property, right?” We made a complete loop up into the Studios area. By the way, we hit all the biggies along the way (Soarin’, Mulholland Madness, TOT, Cal. Screamin’, Monsters Inc, The Aladdin show and we ate lunch in the vast, barren wharf-like area).
I really did try to like the place, honest. But in retrospect, I don’t think it was great (and that is my own conclusion). I kept thinking that the theme was lacking some spark of originality. And while I understand the theme of “California”, it still felt really disjointed to me. I sort of felt like I was sometimes at a really nice outdoor shopping mall, or back in Orlando at the MGM Studios, or at a Six Flags park. None of those feelings were what I had expected to feel while I was at the Disneyland Resort. We finished out the rest of the evening back across the way at Disneyland (and also our last 2 days). We received Dream Fastpasses on day 4, the DCA Fastpasses went unused as none of us wanted to leave Disneyland (we felt we could see most of that stuff across the way back home in Orlando).
I felt kind of sad that Disneyland’s detail, creativity and magic was not reflected by it’s new counterpart. It would make more sense if DCA were here in Orlando in some ways: (A California them seems exotic here on the East coast, plus we have so much more room [and tourists] to risk on a so-so park…people will go to anything Disney opens out here it seems!)
With land being so scarce there in Anaheim, it seems to me that they would have wanted to do something that was going to really blow the industry and the Disneylander’s expectations out of the water. Anyway, I’m glad there will always be Disneyland. I don’t know when I’ll get to go back…but I will be going back. But I might wait for the 50th anniversary of DCA to hit that park again. Maybe there will be something worth seeing there by then.