Disneyland and Disney World are both very similar – but they are also very, very different! One of my favorite aspects of Disneyland is that there are attractions there that you can’t find at Disney World. Most of the attractions are the same with only slight differences to the track of the ride or the soundtrack. Things like Splash Mountain, Space Mountain and the Jungle Cruise are all pretty similar at both parks. However, there are a few attractions at the park that are exclusive to Disneyland – while you will likely have time to try them all, these are four that you absolutely CAN’T miss!
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Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
It’s a simple dark ride, but holds a special place in the hearts of many! Located in Fantasyland, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride USED to be at Walt Disney World as well. Sadly, it was closed to make way for the Winnie the Pooh attraction. The wait for this ride isn’t usually more than 10 or 15 minutes, and it’s fast loading. Once in your car, you follow Mr. Toad as he drives his way through the English countryside – and other, more sinister places! Many kids might not get the story, since it has to deal with an older Disney film. However you can’t deny that the goofy storyline of a toad with road rage isn’t entertaining. The absurdity of the ride makes it an instant classic and a ride you HAVE to try when you visit. The wait is so short, you can ride it multiple times!
It’s a Small World
You might be saying – “Wait, Lissy. It’s a Small World is at Walt Disney World too! Everyone knows that!” That’s true, but “It’s a Small World” at Disneyland was refurbished in 2008 and now includes dolls of Disney characters in the ride! That’s right – you can find Alice hanging out in England, Aladdin and Jasmine in the Middle East, and Woody from Toy Story in the newly added America section. You’ll have so much fun trying to find all the characters that you won’t even notice the song playing on repeat around you!
As an added bonus, this ride also has a holiday overlay that they put up during Christmastime. The outside of the ride is much more magical at Disneyland, since the ride is situated outside. It’s definitely worth a couple of pictures! Their wall is the perfect place to take an Instagram pic as well – and how cute would you look wearing this dress in front of it?
Just down the road in Fantasyland, you’ll find the towering Matterhorn mountain that houses a very unique roller coaster. A tamer version of Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom, this Switzerland themed ride based around the actual Matterhorn is a steel coaster that takes you through twists and turns in the mountain. Along the way, you dip through drops and come face to face with not one, but TWO abominable snowmen! The ride was refurbished in 2015 to give it a much needed update, and yes – these yetis DO move, unlike their Expedition Everest counterpart 😉
Even if you don’t want to ride the ride, you have to take a picture of the towering mountain – using forced perspective, the mountain looks much larger than it actually is, making it the FOURTH mountain of the park! Every once in a while, you can catch actual mountain climbers climbing up the sides as well! It makes you feel like you’re actually at the Alps – right in the middle of California!
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
The Submarine Voyage ride closed in both Disneyland and Disney World in the 90’s. However, the Disneyland version was given a second chance at life in the late 2000’s. The ride was re-themed around the hit movie “Finding Nemo” while still keeping the basic structure of the original ride and giving the subs a new paint job. You board a submarine, pick a window to look out of, and travel through classic scenes from the Pixar movie. Some of the scenes may be a bit scary (particularly the one featuring the angler fish) and if you’re claustrophobic, you might not be a huge fan of the subs.
The downsides to this ride are that it’s a bit of a wait since the ride loads VERY slowly, but still something worth checking out at least once! Especially if you’re a fan of the movie!
There are more attractions that are only found in Disneyland, and as I said above, some of the rides have differences to their WDW counterparts (the Pirates of the Caribbean is the most notable). Check out all the rides and see how they stack up to your Florida favorites!