As someone who has spent a significant amount of time in Walt Disney World® Resort, I understood the size difference between Florida and California’s parks instantly upon entering the plaza that separates Disneyland® Park and Disney California Adventure® Park.
But despite it being smaller in number of parks, resorts and overall size, not once did it feel small. The proximity of everything Disneyland® Resort makes it feel intimate, like you’re immediately surrounded by a wall of excitement. Every time I turned, I found something new to discover, and it was all reachable in a matter of minutes.
That closeness gives Disneyland® Resort a feeling unlike any other theme park I’ve ever been to. It is a lot more laid back and slower paced than the excitable, high-energy Walt Disney World® Resort, and is just as unique and entertaining because of it.
Almost none of the matching attractions are 1:1 replicas, so an enormous part of the experience was seeing longtime favorites in new ways.
But on top of the excitement surrounding ride differences, the most exciting change from what has become known as my “home” park was the notion that I was stepping foot in Walt Disney’s original park. His ideas and innovations were strongest in Disneyland® Park, and while his personality clearly permeates Walt Disney World® Resort, no other vacation can quite capture the feeling of staring up at his old apartment, eating at the restaurants he once enjoyed and riding the earliest attractions he developed.
It was a feeling that followed every step, an unshakeable idea that presented itself at every attraction. Each time I turned, I saw Walt in something.
Disney’s California Adventure® is something totally different, and totally new. It shares elements of an older Disney’s Hollywood Studios® and Epcot®, but the carnival atmosphere of Pixar Pier adds an intangible feeling and atmosphere that is not replicated anywhere else.
Walt Disney’s original theme park and its neighbor, while seemingly similar, are a vastly different experience from Florida’s theme park, and one that is just as special.