Disneyland Resort First Impressions

Disneyland
Disneyland

Instead of another comprehensive trip report from me on my recent Disneyland visit, I thought I’d do something different and interview my mom, Pam, on her first visit.

 

What was your overall first impression of Disneyland Resort?

It is a more detailed version of Walt Disney World. It is more compact. I liked it and think their Downtown Disney has a more homey feel. Disneyland has better places to eat than the Magic Kingdom.

What was your favorite show?

World of Color was reminiscent of a show called Dancing Waters from back in the 1950s that I enjoyed as a child. Aladdin in Disney California Adventure was great. My favorite characters were the Genie and the carpet. How a character without any lines can portray so much emotion in playing a carpet was amazing. I also really liked Mickey and the Magical Map in Disneyland. I loved the swing dancers on Saturday night at Disneyland too!

World of Color
World of Color

What was your favorite ride in each park?

In Disneyland, I liked Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. I thought it was a nice themed ride with attention to detail. It was a long, relaxing ride. At California Adventure I liked Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, Golden Zephyr and the non-swinging cars on Mickey’s Fun Wheel.

Which did you like better, Haunted Mansion Holiday or It’s A Small World Holiday?

Haunted Mansion Holiday
Haunted Mansion Holiday

That’s a tough one. I liked them both. The Haunted Mansion Holiday was really nice with the theming, but this brought such a change to the ride from the regular Haunted Mansion. The queues are also both so different from Walt Disney World. I enjoy the exteriors both, but really like the southern mansion style of the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. I think the theming at Haunted Mansion more immersive and complete than It’s A Small World.

What were some of your favorite food items or meals?

At California Adventure, definitely Carthay Circle. The Cozy Cone breakfast cone was good and a little different for a breakfast item. Churros were excellent. Those were always our go to snack. Bengal BBQ in Disneyland and Jolly Holiday Bakery were both places we visited twice. Flavored cokes from Coke Corner were great and brought back memories of working at a soda fountain in high school.

What were your favorite holiday decorations at Disneyland Resort?

World of Color Winter Dreams, It’s A Small World Holiday and the lights in Cars Land

What did you think about the Grand Californian?

It reminded me a lot of one of our favorite resorts at Walt Disney World, the Wilderness Lodge. It was bigger than I expected. We had a great meal at Napa Rose. It was a great location and nice that we could walk directly into the park from our resort.

What do you takeaway from the trip?

I was delightfully surprised. I thought it was just going to be a smaller version of Walt Disney World and thought I was going to be disappointed. The Cast Members really went out of their way to say Happy Birthday and your name. The theming was wonderful. I liked the more friendly village feeling to Downtown Disney. Also enjoyed Trader Sam’s theming and the holiday drinks at Disneyland Hotel.

Churro
Churro
Cars Land decorations
Cars Land decorations
Grand Californian lobby
Grand Californian lobby
Trader Sams
Trader Sams
Mickey, Minnie, Mom & me
Mickey, Minnie, Mom & me
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Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Returns Friday

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party returns this week to the Magic Kingdom on Friday. I am so looking forward to this special event as it is the kickoff for the holiday season in the parks for me. Separate tickets are required for admission to the party. The event takes place select nights in November and December and runs from 7pm to midnight. Advance tickets are available at a discount for most nights with a savings of $5 per ticket, and select dates also offer military, DVC and AP discounts.

I can’t wait to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party this Friday night for several reasons. One, the new Jingle Cruise is debuting. We rarely (if ever) get holiday overlays here at Walt Disney World and this is one I am excited about. I really enjoy the Jungle Cruise and its background music from the 1930s/40s is great. I hope they match that era of Christmas music in the queue as it is some of my favorite music. I think it will be especially cool to compare the Jingle Cruise here to the overlay in Disneyland in a few weeks.

My favorite part of the party by far is the Once Upon A Christmastime Parade. It takes place twice during the evening at 8:15 and 10:30pm and starts in Frontierland and ends on Main Street. If you get a chance, I highly recommend watching from Main Street with a view of Cinderella Castle. This makes for awesome pictures with the castle dream lights and the “snow” on Main Street. Seeing the characters all dressed up in their Christmas costumes is fantastic! It really makes it feel like Christmas to me during this parade ending with a certain jolly fellow.

Once Upon A Christmastime Parade
Once Upon A Christmastime Parade
Donald and Daisy
Donald and Daisy
Chip and Dale
Chip and Dale
Soldiers
Soldiers
Mickey, Minnie and Duffy
Mickey, Minnie and Duffy
Santa
Santa

Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season is a special fireworks show at 9:30pm on Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party nights. A new enhancement this year will feature the new to Walt Disney World Glow With The Show Ears that will change colors along with the fireworks. I have yet to see the ears here, but saw a small sampling last summer at Disney California Adventure during of World of Color, so I think it should be cool.

Holiday Wishes
Holiday Wishes
Holiday Wishes tree
Holiday Wishes tree
Holiday Wishes fan
Holiday Wishes fan
Lights
Lights
Castle Dream Lights
Castle Dream Lights
Main Street
Main Street

Also new this year will be a Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom card exclusive to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party featuring Huey, Dewey and Louie. As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve only played Sorcerer’s once, but I love collecting the cards, so I am looking forward to this special edition card. Of course another favorite aspect of the party is the included hot chocolate and cookies. There are also dance parties, stage shows and most attractions are open during the party.

What is your favorite part of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party? Will you be attending this year? Some of us will be there for the first party of the year on Friday, which is already sold out. If you’ll be there, come say hi!

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