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Photo TR: Divv's First Visit To Disneyland!


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In June this year I was fortunate enough to go on a business trip that would take me to California. Now, never having visited the West Coast of the US, this was a very exciting prospect for me. I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of time to do all the touristy things that I really want to do in SoCal but there just wasn’t any way that I was visiting California and not making my first ever visit to Disneyland!

 

So luckily I was able to make a day in my schedule that would let me get up to Anaheim for the day and go on a whistlestop tour of both parks, led by none other than TPR’s living legend, Jeff Johnson! Now I will say that maybe my timing could have been better because this was the Sunday before Carsland opened so I only got to peer through the fences and see it but I’m not complaining seeing as this entire visit was a bonus on the back of a business trip for me! Plus, it was really great to catch up with Jeff who I hadn’t seen for a good few years. Jeff was an awesome tour guide, who made sure that I got to do everything I wanted to hit in both parks, and more!

 

Having visited Florida and Paris numerous times and being overawed and dumbstruck by the splendour of the Tokyo Disney Resort I was really interested to see how the original Disney park stacked up against it’s Magic Kingdom siblings. Well I can say that I really liked it, especially Disneyland itself! It doesn’t quite match the beauty of Paris, the scale of Florida or the sheer efficiency of Tokyo but its got charm. Loads of it. Plus, it’s not in Paris, which is a definite plus in my book. There are some great version of the rides here and some nice unique twists too. Overall I would say that I would rank Disneyland in California ahead of Paris, but behind both Florida and Tokyo. It does a lot of things great, but there’s also some things that were definitely improved upon in later iterations.

 

DCA, was a weird one for me. We didn’t spend a great deal of time in the park, and i didn’t feel like I needed to spend much more time here either. That said, Carsland opened mere days after my visit and what I could glimpse of it and what I’ve seen in photos since looks absolutely fantastic. I can’t wait to get back to get in there for real. The rides I did ride were pretty good for the most part. I really liked California Screamin’ and thought Little Mermaid was excellent as Fantasyland-style dark rides go. Tower of Terror is a lot of fun and only suffers if you try to compare it to the superior Florida ride system or the amazing Tokyo theme (Shiriki!). The park for the most part looks good, I would have loved to have seen the new Buena Vista street but unfortunately it was still boarded up when I was there.

 

But for me Disneyland itself is the real star of the resort and I was glad to spend the majority of the day there. California has what is by far my favourite version of Pirates and whilst it’s maybe not just as good as its Tokyo counterpart (smoke ring!), Indiana Jones is fantastic and remined me why I still proclaim the Tokyo DisneySea version as my favourite ride in the world!

 

Anyway, I’ll move onto some photos and give more opinions there. It only occurred to me on going through my pictures for this report taht I have no pictures of Jeff! Sorry Jeff! Really, an amazing tour guide who enabled me to have a really fun and memorable day! I’m really looking forward to getting back to California very soon!

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It's an early start for me at Oceanside Train Station in California and I'm super excited...

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Because after 28 years of personal existence I've FINALLY made it to Disneyland!!!

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My actual first words to Jeff when we get into the park "Oh my God, the castle REALLY is small!"

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My first ride at Disneyland was the Nemo submarine ride. I've heard a lot of people talk this down but I really liked it! Granted it was a short wait but I was really impressed with the projections and the ride was quite long.

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Mr Toad was a lot of fun. I can't remember ever riding the Florida version back in the day so it was all new to me! Gotta love visiting hell in a Disney park!

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I had ridden Roger Rabbit in Tokyo so I knew what to expect. The benefit of the California version for me was the lackof TPDave trying to spin the car into Oblivion.

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The new Monorail wraps look really cool!

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OMG, Disney Popcorn! Here's the "Regular" flavour cart.

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Sadly Matterhorn wasn't quite finished it's rehab on my visit but at least it looks good!

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So far my Disneyland visit is going very well!

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Space Mountain! The ride was a lot of fun, it was a crazier ride than I was expecting not sure which version of the ride is my favourite though. All I know is that it's NOT Paris!

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Next up was a trip on the train back to the entrance to the park. I liked the indoor sections but will make no reference to any potential Jeff Johnson relatives who we may have encountered during the journey, no I will not.

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Now it's time for a quick jaunt over the road to complete my collection of US Disney parks!

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Oh wow, here's the regular popcorn stand!

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Monsters Inc, while not as good as the awesome ride in Tokyo was certainly fun.

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I got to complete the world's collection of Tower of Terrors! My verdict: really good but not quite on the same level as Tokyo for theming or Florida for overall ride.

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The Bug's Life section was really cute. I think it's just nice to see that at least one place in Disney still remembers that movie exists!

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Ooh, this looks exciting!

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But sadly this was as close as I got to Carsland... Next time!

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Jeff made a great recommendation for lunch - clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. This was amazing!

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Paradise Pier! A bit of a strange section, there's some really cool rides...

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...then there's weird crap like this.

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Seriously, I just don't get why there's a bog-standard wild mouse in a Disney park.

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This ride though, I really liked!

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California Screamin' was just a ton of fun, a really solid coaster.

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Yeah, I have to say I think this section of the park looks very nice and I like that it looks unlike any other Disney park.

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Yeah, there were passholder previews going on in Carsland today. I know, my timing could have been better but this was basically a free trip for me so I won't complain!

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While I didn't get into Carsland itself I did get to have a loom behind the scenes of it in the Blue Sky Cellar.

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Yeah, looks like a lot of fun.

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Based on recent reports I'm thinking I need to visit this place on my next visit too...

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But that's it from DCA, a fun park which was lacking a little bit for me. I've no doubt that flaw has been radically alleviated since this visit though.

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We've headed back over now until the land of almost non-existant inconsequential castles.

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OMG, I DO have a photo of Jeff! Here he is making a purchase at the elusive regular popcorn stand.

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Adventureland! Starting to get a little busy in the park now, good thing I had Jeff to help avoid any long lines.

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Yeah, yeah, Ace was in town. Annual shower day or something.

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Jungle Cruise was fun, for such an old ride I still think it holds up very well.

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My favourite ride in Disneyland? This. I absolutely loved this version of Pirates and it's certainly my favourite of the four.

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Haunted Mansion looks a lot different from the outside to its counterparts but the interior seemed fairly similar to me. No ba thing mind you since they're all awesome.

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No Splash Mountain for me today but it was interesting to see it with old style single file boats. The line was crazy long today.

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Winnie the Pooh was by far my favourite ride at Tokyo Disneyland, how would the California version stack up?

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Oh my God, it was pish. This makes the Florida version seem good! Not a patch on Tokyo's orgasmic Pooh ride!

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Oh no, a parade!

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Disneyland does some damn good corndogs!

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We stopped by the saloon to see a performance by Billy Hill and the Hillbillies. A very funny show and a nice break from rushing from ride to ride!

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Hidden Mickey!

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Big Thunder was excellent, as expected. I guess that's my Big Thunder Mountain collection kinda complete too now.

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OMG, OMG, the super rare regular popcorn stand!

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Indiana Jones had a crazy long line. Thanks to single rider and fast pass we didn't have to wait in this and got in a couple of rides. It's awesome.

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Yes, I am actually double the size of the castle.

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Back to Tomorrowland to close out the day.

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Space Mountain is certainly worthy of a re-ride in my view!

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And it all comes to an end with a viewing of Fantasmic. The show was excellent, and certainly superior to the Florida version. A great way to end my first ever visit to Disneyland!

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So that's how I popped my Disneyland cherry. Overall I loved it and I really want to get back very soon.

 

An extra huge thanks to Jeff who was a brilliant guide. He even welcomed me with a gift of Doritos in the morning! The guy knows his stuff about the park and his audience!

 

Thanks for reading!

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I am astounded by the variety of popcorn available at Disneyland! Well, they're workin' on it.

 

Did you get your corn dog from that van on Main Street? They are pretty damn good there.

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Is the hundreds of popcorn flavors at Disney in Japan something they started, or was random popcorn flavors already a popular thing?

 

Either way I don't understand why some other popcorn flavors aren't at least trialed over here to see if it could catch on.

 

As someone who has never been to a Disney park outside the US, I'm glad to hear that the US parks have some redeeming qualities, even if you thought that the parks outside the US are better.

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I am rather sad to say I have never been to a Disney park. Didn't ever really seem like something worth doing. This looks to prove me wrong. I need to visit and soon. Glad to see you enjoyed yourself and the diverse popcorn selection!

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Fantastic trip report Divv.

 

Being another UK boy that hasn't made it over to West coast yet, you've really inspired me to get my finger out. Its great to read your comparisons to Orlando and Paris as well. Good stuff.

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Great trip report Divv! I only got to spend about a half day between the two parks when I went, so there's still a lot I have to do. I'm going back to the West Coast in September with multiple days at DL, so this is TR is making me excited!

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I have always wondered why our parks here do not have the flavored popcorn like Tokyo. I think they are missing out by not putting a few stands around.

 

Nice report Divv.

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^ Ha ha, I'm working on it!

 

No World of Color?! Not even riding the Roller Skater?!

I DID get to ride the Roller Skater (c'mon, I was with Jeff Johnson there's no way I'm missing a credit like that!) but I gave World of Color a miss this time. My time in the resort really was limited and there were a lot of things I wanted to fit in. With the way the timing was working out I felt like it was a choice between World of Color and Fantasmic. Given what I know about what I've seen in the past and what I know of World of Color I'm really happy that I got to see Disneyland's version of Fantasmic! I'll be back for more soon, though.

 

Thanks for the kind replies everyone!

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