Hi Everyone. I'm typing this from my hotel room after two days long days at Disneyland and DCA. My background: 25, first trip to Disneyworld was when I was 23, Been there four time since including my honeymoon. Wife and I made a quick trip out to the west coast to check out the other Disney parks. Also as background, even though I've only posted a couple times I've been reading all your posts everydays for the past few months....
Enough about me. Some general thoughts about Disneyland. Disneyland is certainly superior to the Magic Kingdom park for park, but I'm not sure I could honestly reccomend anyone except for a Disney nut, or a completist to pick a vacation to Disneyland over Disneyworld if they lived any distance away where they would have to fly to either location.
Disneyland Pirates, is easily the crowning jewel of the park. It's tough to describe how profoundly better it is than the Disneyworld version. Indiana Jones is also a spectacular E-ticket. The fireworks show is by far the best I've seen, surpassing illuminations at epcot which was my previous favorite. Space Mountain is excellent, Buzz light year is better than the MK version. Over at DCA Grizzly River Run is amazing, best raft ride probably in the world. Soarin's queue is better than epcots, which isn't saying much for either ride. Monsters Inc., was a great dark ride and better than i thought it would be. California Screamin is an extremely balanced and a very long ride. Dinner at the Vineyard Room was a great meal with great service.
Now for some not so positive things. The general makeup of the guests at the park was much different than I've seen at Disneyworld and much more like the six flags park we drive to from NY. Lots of teenagers cursing, crazy goth kids, line cutters, and not many people keeping with that overly positive, were in Disney so we should be extra nice to each other, mood. Some of the rides that I've read about being highly rated were a big dissapointment. The Matterhorn should be gutted (ala the space mountain redo) and something like Expedition Everest should go in its place. The track and ride are really terrible. Roger Rabbits cartoon spin should not be considered an e-ticket as most guidebooks rate it. I really enjoyed the bride effects on haunted mansion but it wasn't a considerably different ride than MK's. With all the talk about how superior Haunted Mansion is I expected more. Also the Blue Bayou is just not a good restaurant. Service, food, or even placement of tables on top of each other. One other thought, DCA is supposed to appeal to people that come and visit from other states, but coming from New York we felt we learned more about California driving down Route 5 and Route 1. Its too bad they went with California Adventure as a concept. Even though the park is visually stunning in many areas the concept really does fail the AP crowd as well as the out of state visitor.
I just wanted to give my thoughts. Feel free to flame me or agree. I've had a great two days and feel honored to visit the happiest place on earth.