Well the old Disneyland Traveler is getting ready to make his next trip to Disneyland in about 2 weeks. Will be there for about 5 days. It's been awhile so I can't say how much I'm looking forward to returning to my favorite place and seeing some old friends which I find with various rides and attractions. So here I am planning an itinerary in my head but in doing so I think about certain attractions that make Disneyland special. These are the rides and attractions the Walt Disney World wishes they had. Now before you WDW fans start jumping up and down and shaking your fist at me, maybe in a few weeks I'll write another post about the WDW attractions I wish Disneyland could have. It goes both ways.
Actually, there are more similarities that differences now as over the years as Disney has tried to make their U.S. parks more homogeneous. – the so-called One Disney initiative which comes down to economics. Running two parks that can share costs for everything from rides to soda cups is cheaper than have individual parks run separately. Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World have lost a little bit of the individual identity in recent years but still, there are enough differences that make a visit to either resort a unique Disney experience.
Walking into Disneyland and staring down Main St., I always feel like I've returned home. I'm sure regular visitor to the Magic Kingdom feel the same way. Both Main Streets are charming and welcoming. The Disneyland version of Main St. is smaller and doesn't have the broad shoulders of the MK version but the Disneyland's version saw it's Main St. put together and constructed under the watchful eye of Walt Disney who still has his apartment above the firehouse just as he left it. I love Main St. Disneyland right up until there is a time for parade or fireworks where it's intimacy works against wall to wall people which will send a claustrophobic person into a tizzy.
Let's exit Main St. and hook a left turn into Adventureland. Right off the bat, three is the Enchanted Tiki Room. Sure Disney World has a Tiki Room too but someone had the incredibly bright idea to change a classic and iconic show and put it under “new management”. Well, this June, Disneyland's Tiki Room celebrates it's 50th anniversary. It's the same show it always was and us Disneyland fans are just fine with that.
A little further down in Adventureland comes Indiana Jones Adventure, a favorite of many including my wife. Now those who are familiar with both Disneyland and WDW will tell you Indiana Jones Adventue is basically the same ride as Animal Kingdom's Dinosaur attraction with just a different theme. True, but Indiana Jones, for most people, trumps dinosaurs every time. WDW can keep the Indiana Jones stunt show (or all stunt shows for that matter) in this writer's opinion.
Next to Indiana Jones Adventure sits Pirates of the Caribbean. But Pirates is one of the attractions in both parks isn't it? Yep, but the Disneyland version is almost twice as long and takes the great ride and makes it a grand experience. Many people will tell you POTC in Disneyland is their favorite ride. How many fans of WDW will tell you the same thing about the Magic Kingdom's version of Pirates? Plus Disneyland's best public restaurant, the Blue Bayou, sits at the entrance of the ride in a remarkable setting. Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean was the last ride that Walt Disney saw constructed before his death. The man had a vision and delivered something very special. Too bad he never actually got to ride on it.
Now we move over to the Haunted Mansion, again an attraction replicated in both parks and are very, very similar on the inside. But….as they say….we get to the matter of holiday overlays. Come September through the beginning of January, Disneyland's Haunted Mansion becomes Haunted Mansion Holidays. Even Disneyland fans are split over this with the die-hard traditionalists shaking their heads every year when the overlay gets installed. As I've mentioned before, I'm a fan of the holiday version. The drab mansion gets infused with color and the way I look at – I get two rides for one. Not bad if you ask me. Along with the holiday overlay, Disneyland's Haunted Mansion is rich in urban legend beginning with the mystery of this Hatbox Ghost character.
I'm going to mention The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride. Does WDW wish the ride was in their park? Not this one. What would be nice if both Disneyland and Walt Disney World could get the version of Pooh that runs in Tokyo Disneyland and by all accounts is something very special. You can see videos of it on YouTube. And if you think about ride replication in various Disney Parks around the world, the two Tokyo Disney parks are a bit different. Disney does not own the Tokyo Disney but only licenses the characters and Disney park concept. Rides still come out of Walt Disney Imagineering but someone else's dime is paying for them so ride designers are a little more at liberty to reach for Blue Sky.
Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom fans still lament greatly about the removal of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride from their park. Why – I don't really know. It's a goofy ride that takes passengers of the manic frog on a trip to the gates of hell. ???? And all this happens in about a minute and a half. The appeal of this ride goes over my head. Mr. Toad and the Wind in the Willows source book are hardly iconic Disney characters so why people are so attached to it is a mystery to me anyway. Then again, it's one of those rides that fits snugly into the Fantasyland infrastructure so I guess it's a keeper.
So we can discuss it's a small world. The ride is what is it is, love it or hate it. What makes the Disneyland version special over the WDW version is the Mary Blair facade which boarders on a work of art. And when the facade is lit up at during the Christmas season, well it's one of the best sites in all of Disneyland.
see also: Hungry? 3 Best Disneyland Treats
Also in Fantasyland, I'll make quick mention of the Matterhorn Bobsleds, one of Disneyland's signature attractions and one of the first steel tubed roller coasters built. Yes, I know about Expedition Everest which is kind of similar but on a much more grander and adventurous scale. Everest is the better ride – much better in fact -but there is something iconic about Disneyland's Matterhorn.
I don't know if frequent WDW visitor's miss their ToonTown ripped out in the Fantasyland expansion. I know I wouldn't miss it if they ripped out the Disneyland version of ToonTown whose initial whimsy and charm has slowly eroded over the years. ToonTown can go – the Roger Rabbits Cartoon Spin attraction can stay. It is probably the best traditional dark ride in both Disneyland and DCA. It's certainly one of the longest in duration. And with all the talk of Next-Gen queue lines, the standby line to get into Roger Rabbit is almost worth skipping the fastpass. Outside of probably Star Tours, Roger Rabbit probably has Disneyland's best queue. The ride is fun and often overlooked at just how great it is.
see also: WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF TOONTOWN?
Disneyland's Tomorrowland is in the view of many, a thematic mess ranging from Pixar characters to Star Wars to Space Mountain with many weird attraction twists in between. But of some of these attractions are great and the best of them already live somewhere in Walt Disney World (Space Mountain and Star Tours).
There currently isn't anything in Disneyland's Tomorrowland that WDW wants or needs for that matter. But it's in the future where it gets a little murky. And it has to do with that dreaded word “Marvel”. In about 2 weeks, the first real Marvel presence will come to Disneyland in the form of a display Iron Man suits and some virtual technology that can put guests in the glimmering hardware. The Iron Man display sets up shop in Tomorrowland's highly under utilized Innoventions building. Disneyland is free to do with whatever they want with Marvel characters and it won't be long until the announcement comes for an E-Ticket Marvel attraction (perhaps even a 3rd gate?). Not every fan of Disneyland wants a Marvel superhero presence in their mark. I do. But the simple fact is that with WDW, Marvel is off the table due to the licensing agreements that were in place for Universal and Islands of Adventure before Disney bought Marvel. Marvel characters in Disney Parks is strictly a west coast thing when it comes to the U.S. parks.
In Disney California Adventure, outside of Cars Land which may eventually be replicated in WDW if some of the internet rumors are true, the best of DCA's rides already exist in somewhere in the confines of WDW – the Tower of Terror, Soarin', Grizzly River Run, Toy Story Mania, and now The Little Mermaid. What WDW doesn't have is Aladdin – a spectacular Broadway type show that has been entertaining packed performances for about 10 years. Disney seems to be infatuated with the 20 – 25 minute mark with most of their shows. Aladdin comes in at about 50 wonderfully entertaining minutes and is something not to be missed.
ALADDIN SPECTACULAR TURNS 10 YEARS OLD——ALSO, THE FLYING CARPET RETURNS TO THE SHOW!
Speaking of shows, there is the World of Color sending up plumes of brightly colored water up to 200 feet nightly in Paradise Bay. EPCOT has its Illuminations but World of Color is something completely different, more Las Vegas than Disney except for the animation projections. It's worth the sometimes standing for hours to get a good view.
It's probably 5 years now, but Disney California Adventure thankfully exiled their Pixar parade – Block Party Bash to WDW. What came in it's place was Pixar's Play Parade. The two parades share similiar themes but Pixar's Play Parade is flat out more parade type fun and less of the interactive type of entertainment of Block Party Bash. If you like parades, you will love the Pixar Play Parade pure and simple.
So that's about it. I'll make mention of California Screamin's before I sign off. California Screamin' is a great roller coaster ride, fast and smooth. Does WDW want a ride like this? Nah, as great a roller coaster Screamin' is, there is absolutely nothing Disney about it. Even the mouse ears that accentuated the loop once upon a time were removed. The queue to get on the ride is something Disney should flat out be ashamed of. I love the ride, but it could exist in any theme park anywhere and probably does since it's an off the shelf ride purchased from a European ride builder.
It seems like maybe their are about a dozen rides and attraction in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure (not including Cars Land) that I'm sure WDW would welcome with open arms. There may be a few more that have just crossed my mind – Alice in Wonderland, a classic Disney dark ride that features an elevation change and an open air section. There's the monorail – more ride than transportation in Disneyland. The Mark VII versions that run around the Disneyland Resort flat out look better than Disney World monorails and if you are a 5 year old boy, you may think it's the best ride in the park. When I revisit this topic down the road, I'm sure I'll come up with at least a dozen rides and attractions that live in WDW that I wish were in Disneyland. Turn about is fair play as they say….