Differences from WDW?


We have been to WDW multiple times over the past 6 years and are now planning our first trip to DisneyLand in a few weeks.

What rides/attractions/shows are the same or very similar to their WDW partners? We want to save more time for the ones we can’t do or see at WDW.

What is absolutely CAN’T MISS? (including restaurants/snacks/other non-Disney attractions)

I will be traveling with my husband and two sons, 10 and 8.

Any other suggestions or comments are welcome and appreciated!


Nothing is an exact carbon copy, but attractions that are unique to Disneyland are the Nemo submarines, Matterhorn, Alice in Wonderland, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Storybook Land Canal Boats, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, Casey Jr. Circus Train, Indiana Jones Adventure, Tarzan’s Treehouse, Mickey’s Toontown, and currently the Enchanted Tiki Room (WDW’s will be redone like DL’s again). Autopia is similar to Tomorrowland Speedway at WDW, but the cars are one-seaters, and it’s more “normal road” than race track. I like it better. Also, though there is an It’s a Small World at WDW, DL’s is not-to-be-missed because it’s in a big white castle. Splash Mountain is also different at DL because it’s one person in front of another rather than side-by-side. Space Mountain at DL is much cooler and more intense than at WDW. I also recommend that you ride Pirates of the caribbean because it’s a little bit different in course - as is Haunted Mansion. The settings of the attractions vary, and it’s really interesting how in the theming (such as the color of the rock on DL’s Big Thunder Mountain verses WDW - this is no accident, but purposeful theming!).

If you have time, I really recommend that you try to do everything and compare notes. That was one of our favorite parts of our DL trip.


LMM is mostly right, but the cars at Disneyland Autopia are definitely two-seaters, not one. :happy: And they even have an “off-roading” section!

With boys 8 and 10… my 10 year old boy would tell you not to bother with Pinocchio or Alice in Wonderland, and that he’s embarrassed to be seen on Storybook Canals or Casey Jr (although he has suffered through them in the past).

I’d say go for Alice, skip the others.

Tarzan’s Treehouse = Meh.

Mr. Toad is just so bizarre, I think it’s not to be missed!

If you’re a fan, Disneyland’s Fantasmic makes WDW’s version look a little pathetic.

I think WDW’s Splash Mountain is just a little better, but not much, although I never noticed a difference in intensity (but that’s the sort of thing I would miss). I think there’s more whimsical theming on WDW’s Thunder Mountain compared to DL’s- the scenery and sets are more fun.

I don’t know what to say about Space Mountain. They’re both rides through space… but so different! DL’s is definitely better.

Toontown is fun if you’ve got the time to just poke around. I haven’t been on Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin in years; I don’t even remember what it’s like!

If you’re going to California Adventure, my speed junkie son would highly recommend California Screamin’. It’s just a roller coaster, but apparently pretty intense!

Tower of Terror in DCA is also different (and inferior) to the one in WDW.

You can’t miss the Pommes Frites at Cafe Orleans! YUM.

If you’re not staying on property, your VERY FIRST STOP needs to be FPs for Star Tours. They’re gone by 10:30am for the whole day, and the line can be several hours long.

How long are you staying, and where are you staying?


Oh, my bad - it was several years ago, and I remember driving it by myself! :laugh: :blush:


That’s because your feet can reach the pedals! :laugh: When I’m on the Autopia, I’m jammed up all sideways so I can press the accelerator but my kids can take the wheel.


My biggest like for Disneyland is the size. Both parks are right there within walking distance and they are less spread out. The downside to this is that it can seem crowded even when they are nowhere near capacity.


Looks like they’ve beat me to it. Although I’d add that if you are of the mind that you need to do everything that is different from WDW, I wouldn’t skip Storybook Land etc…
It really all depends on your family. I know the first time R2 and the boys visited DLR they wanted to do it all…even the usually “uncool” rides.

I strongly agree with Andrea about Fantasmic! Also, I feel the same about ToT. But…it’s still a must for us.

You said that you’ll be visiting in a few weeks so, depending on your dates, The Haunted Mansion may be down in order to get it ready for Haunted Mansion Holiday. I hope it is open when you are there. I really like how the Mansion fits in with the New Orleans Square theme.

OH!! If you are in Adventuerland, and you feel a bit peckish, stop by Bengal Bar-B-Q!!! It’s the perfect spot for a little snack…or it can even be a meal…depending on your appetite. YUM!!!


I second the scale of the park. They fit nearly the same amount of rides and attractions as WDW into a space about the size of EPCOT. Everything is compact and small and easy to get to.

One of my kids favorite rides at DL is Monsters Inc in CA. I am still very surprised they have not included this ride in the WDW mix somewhere.


Love em!!! :wub: My wife and I order a serving of Pommes Frites, the spinach salad with goat cheese/rasberry vinegrette and a monte carlo sandwich. This is hands down our favorite meal at DL. The kids usually have devoured the Pommes Frites before we get our share, so we order another basket - with extra dipping sauce.


We are flying into Phoenix and arrive early on a Thursday morning. We’ll take the kids to get their picture in front of the capital and then drive to San Diego.

Friday - San Diego Zoo

Saturday - other San Diego attractions(USS Midway or Cabrillo National Monument or Balboa Park or something)/drive to DisneyLand

Sunday/Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday - three of the days for DL and DCA and one for other attractions (the tarpits or Channel Islands or Chinese Theatre or something)

Thursday drive toward Grand Canyon stopping at Joshua Tree National Park

Friday - Grand Canyon/spend night in Flagstaff

Saturday - head back to Phoenix stopping at several National Parks

Sunday - early morning flight home

We aren’t staying at a Disney hotel so we’ll plan to avoid early morning entry. We are great about getting to the parks at opening and staying all day when we are at WDW so hopefully the same will work at DL.

At some point, we’ll take the kids to the beach so they can at least dip their toes in the Pacific. I wanted to take them for a short trip down into Mexico but everyone keeps telling me not to chance it!

Oh, and my family will do all the rides that are new or different from WDW - even the ones for younger kids. I always point out Mr. Toad on Pooh at WDW so he will be a must for us at DL. I’m worried that we will need the fourth day for DL instead of other things that is why I was trying to eliminate anything that was the same or very similar to the WDW version.

Thanks for all the suggestions - keep them coming!


One of the things you don’t want to miss is definitely World of Color. In fact, I might leave a spot in your plans to see it twice, it’s really incredible. We’ve visited California twice, and we’ve watched it a few of the nights we’re there! But you’ll definitely want to be at DCA at opening to get your FastPasses for it. Also, as was mentioned earlier, their Fantasmic is really awesome as well :happy:


I assume by Mexico you mean Tijuana? Yeah…don’t bother. It’s neither a good representation of Mexico, nor is it safe. There is a lot of bad stuff going on there right now.

We took the boys to the La Brea tarpits and they really enjoyed it. You can do both that and the Chinese Theater(Hollywood) on the same day. The boys were so excited that they were finally gonna get to see Hollywood. Sadly, they were a bit disappointed. I tried to explain, prior to our visit, what it is really like, but they had their own idea. OH! If you do go the Chinese Theater, the Disney Soda Shop is right across the street:) It shouldn’t be to difficult to get a beach visit in. It’s only about 30 minutes from the Disneyland area:) Depending on the beach you want to visit…if you want Huntington Beach(my personal favorite:blush:) just head down Beach Blvd. and you’ll be there in no time. You could also head to Santa Monica Pier if you opt to do the L.A. touring thing.


Yeah. Hollywood = a bunch of tourists walking around a dirty stretch of very crowded street lined by gross touristy stores. I’d skip it! The only time I ever went down there were to see Disney movies open at El Capitan a week before their regular release date. They’d have shows before the movie, and movie stuff available for you to look at in the lobby and it was cool.

Mexico = NO. Not worth the chance of trouble.

Also… I’d follow Pep’s beach advice. I’ve spent plenty of time at Santa Monica beach and it’s… fine. Just fine. I don’t think the Pier is all that (again… touristy… I don’t really like touristy). You’d have a good time, but you could certainly have a better time somewhere else.

In Disney news, I don’t know that the early entry from the hotels makes that much difference to the experience of people who are staying off property.

You should plan to go immediately to the FP line for Star Tours when you get to DL. (It will be long. But not as long as the actual line for Star Tours. The FP machines are past Star Tours and across the “street” just past Buzz Lightyear.

For DCA, yes, if you want WOC passes, go get them immediately, and I suspect that you won’t have a problem getting the first show. DO remember that if you sit close, you’ll get wet! (They’ll make several announcements about this. Believe them.)

One thing they seem to have started doing at DCA opening is letting people line up for Toy Story Mania, and then taking them over there in an orderly fashion before the actual park opening- I think it was about 15 minutes early. I wonder if that’s a new policy, or if it’s just because DCA is SO INCREDIBLY HARD TO NAVIGATE with all of the construction walls. (Hopefully, they’ve moved them a bit by this point- but two weeks ago, the only thing you could do is circumnavigate the park- and if you went the wrong way, too bad for you, you had to make the whole loop by the time you’d realized your mistake.)

Also, make sure you hit Little Mermaid very early- the line is very manageable during the first hour/ hour and a half.

The Aladdin show is a LOT of fun!

Do follow Pep’s advice and hit Bengal BBQ. I’m in love with the bacon-wrapped asparagus (that, the Pommes Frites, and the Chocolate Chip Supreme Cookie, usually purchased from the store outside the Pooh ride, are my MUST HAVE Disneyland foods) and I always wonder why I never make something similar for myself at home!

Have fun! Ask more questions! :happy:


Yes!! To all of the above!! My mouth is watering just thinking of all the yummy that Bengal BBQ has to offer. :happy: And those Pommes Frites at Cafe Orleans:wub: I just love that sweets store near the Pooh ride…can’t ever get out of there without some sort of treat:happy:

I am shocked that I forgot to suggest the Aladdin Show:blink: We always enjoy this and it’s such a nice break on a hot day.


Avoid Mexico and anywhere near it for that matter. It’s not a matter anymore of if it is interesting. It is dangerous! As far as Hollywood, we love it. Yes it is touristy but if you have never been you should always visit once and the Disney Soda fountain is the best! Just make sure you go after. If you like Italian beef I would try to swing by Philippe’s for lunch. http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CB0QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.philippes.com%2F&rct=j&q=phillippes&ei=VvcdTvOMCIHr0gHgydG1Bw&usg=AFQjCNG58Hudo_HD4dRcVDMu2kKybIRj3A&sig2=cd64rvq3m1jQyrj-KIrl5g&cad=rja Just try to make the trip between 10 and 2. Trying to get back to the Anaheim area during rush hour is a nightmare. :eek:

Also if you are a steak person Steakhouse 55 in the Disneyland Hotel cannot be beat.


I’ve never even considered going to DisneyLand, but this thread is making me reconsider it for a vacation for future trips. Thanks for sharing everyone … you’ve definitely made me change my perspective.


Failed to mention that I would do the things away from Disney on Sunday. That is the best day traffic-wise at least we have seen that on our trips.


I only meant to avoid it because we would be an hour later in getting in than all the resort guests and I thought it would mean longer lines for us. At WDW it works for us to be there at park opening and get some rides rode and fastpasses pulled before the masses wake up!

Thanks for all the great info!


Great point! Thanks for mentioning it!


[QUOTE=Janice419;1083104]I only meant to avoid it because we would be an hour later in getting in than all the resort guests and I thought it would mean longer lines for us. At WDW it works for us to be there at park opening and get some rides rode and fastpasses pulled before the masses wake up!

Thanks for all the great info![/QUOTE]

I’m a rope drop girl/collector of FPs, so I totally understand!

Early entry really only makes a difference in Fantasyland, specifically for Peter Pan and Dumbo. Peter Pan is always a long mess of a line! On Thursday, I take it you’re planning for DCA? If not, then plan to hit the left side of DL park first, and the early entry people shouldn’t make any difference for you at all.

Pooh in Disneyland is different (and seriously inferior) to WDW, so there aren’t the lines that you get in WDW for it. (And it’s not even in Fantasyland, it’s back in Critter Country by Splash Mountain.)