One of the great Disney debates is which park is better—Walt Disney World in Florida or Disneyland in California. I cannot pick a favorite of the two. Instead, I like to point out what is the same and, most of all, what is different between the two parks and let people choose for themselves.
One of the big differences between the two parks is the rides offered. Disneyland offers many unique, iconic rides not found at the newer East Coast park. Here are a few of the biggest different offerings found at Disneyland that I noticed.
The Matterhorn Bobsleds. The Matterhorn Bobsleds are probably the top iconic ride featured at Disneyland but not at Walt Disney World. A roller-coaster type ride, the Matterhorn features two similar but different tracks—one of the Fantasyland side of the ride, the other on the Tomorrowland side. The Bobslides were the first roller coaster ride at Disneyland and also the very first tubular steel roller coaster in the entire world.
Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. The Disneyland castle doesn’t seem as large as Cinderella’s castle in the Magic Kingdom, but it does have one advantage: it is interactive and guests are encouraged to explore the various rooms and passageways where 3D displays bring to life the Sleeping Beauty story.
Autopia. Although similar to the Indy speedway, Autopia offers a wider variety of cars and longer track. And don’t forget your official Autopia drivers’ license!
California Screamin’. Located at Disney’s California Adventure, California Screamin is built to look like an early twentieth century coaster. It holds over a mile and and 1/8 of track and twists around other attractions in Paradise Pier.
Mickey’s Fun Wheel. This was probably the most fun, whole family ride we did at Disneyland. It may look like an ordinary Ferris wheel, but being at Disney makes it magical. There are 8 traditional gondolas for guests to ride in, or you can choose one of the 16 non-mounted cars that slide along the track. (We chose those and it was quite interesting.)
Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. With rock climbing walls, rope bridges, and slides, this area is designed to let kids explore and earn their Wilderness Explorer Badge like Russell in Disney Pixar’s Up. It is a very welcome break for parents, too, as you can sit back and watch your kids explore. Our kids loved this area. Once you complete the tasks and earn your badges, you can join Russell for the Ahwahnee Camp Circle ceremony.
This summer, Disneyland will also get a whole new area not found at Disney World—Cars Land!!! Rides for this land are now featured on the Disneyland website so you can see what the ride is like and height requirements, etc.
Rachel is a Virginia native who now lives in Louisiana. She is married with two children, ages 5 and 3. After dreaming and wishing for several years, her family had their very first Disney vacations this year and are now addicted to researching and planning—whether for themselves or for others. They now plan to visit the parks at least once a year.