Disneyland & California Adventure Park
We went to the Disneyland Resorts mid-September while visiting Anaheim, California. It was the perfect time to go. It was considered an off-peak time in September, yet the weather is still excellent. It was only a 10 min walk from the door of our hotel room at the Howard Johnson to the security gate of the parks. One of the great things I loved about the parks is that it was much smaller than the ones in Orlando, which made it easier on the feet and a much less tiring day. It took us the full day to see both parks as well as Disney Downtown District from open to close with 2 hours break back to our hotel in between. We didn’t miss out out on a single ride we wanted to go on.
We purchased the Disney MaxPass, which costs only $15 for one account and makes reserving FastPass slots simple on the Disney Parks Mobile App. On top of it, it gives you the option to save all the photos from the rides as well as designated scenic areas where pro photographers take your pictures and save them digitally on the app for free. Remember when the only option of owning a photo of yourself on the rides was by purchasing a physical copy? Now it’s a thing of the past! It was so lovely having our pictures taken without doing a closeup selfie or asking a stranger if they could do us a favor. The photographers took a bunch of shots at each location, giving us directions on how to pose. They even had photos where we were looking at Mickey Minnie, which showed up on the picture digitally.
California Adventure Park
We started the day off by heading into California Adventure Park. Our first ride was in Cars Land at the Radiator Springs Racer. It was one of our favorite rides as it mimics a car race alongside another car and has incredibly scenic views of the American Southwest. All of Cars Land is unique. We felt completely transported into the film.
We headed over to Pixar Pier next, which was so pretty as we walked into the entrance. The way the Ferris wheel and roller coaster behind the Paradise Bay make a great view. We went to the Incredicoaster twice as it was my favorite ride of all time! It indeed was one of the smoothest rollercoasters.
Pixar Pal-A-Round Swinging was a great ride to go on if you need to sit for a bit with great views of the whole Park. All of Cars Land and some of Pixar Pier are unique to Disneyland, which you don’t find in Orlando.
The rides that are also in the Orlando Disneyworld are The Little Mermaid (Magic Kingdom) and Soarin’ Around the World (Epcot). There is also a similar version of The Tower of Terror (Hollywood Studios), but they transformed it into a Guardians of the Galaxy ride.
After our week discovering the Pacific Coast Highway, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, we were hyper-aware of all the little details that gave tribute to California in the Park, such as Grizzly Peak and Hollywood Land. The whole area of Grizzly Peak is dedicated to the great outdoors, such as Big Sur and Redwood trees.
California Adventure Park is smaller than Disneyland and can be completed in 3 hours if you use Fastpass to reserve timing slots.
Disneyland Downtown District is an excellent area for shopping and dining. We spent lunch at Splitsville, which is a bowling alley and restaurant in one. To get to Downtown District is easy, but you can also take trams to get from one end to the other.
Right across from California Adventure Park is the central Disneyland Park. There’s no need for shuttles or trams like Orlando; they are right next to each other.
They had Halloween/October decorations everywhere.
Main Street is very similar to Disneyworld, and the main castle is much smaller. It’s Sleeping Beauty’s Castle whereas in Orlando, it’s is Cinderella’s castle.
There are a few rides that are unique to Disneyland. One of them is the Matterhorn Bobsleds, a great fast ride that takes you up a big mountain. Another ride, which was one of our favorites was the Indiana Jones Adventure.
They have a section called New Orleans Square, which is very french inspired and a little dose of how it is at Epcot.
The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage was an incredible ride as it submerged us underwater in a submarine while we looked out the window with ocean bubbles floating by as they told the story of the film.
Some of the classic rides that you can also find in Orlando are the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Pirates of the Caribbean, it’s a small world, and Space Mountain, which is now Hyperspace Mountain – a Star Wars-themed ride.
Star Wars Galaxy Edge
As a fan of the Star Wars franchise, I was so incredibly excited to see the new Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge part of Disneyland. It went beyond our expectations. It felt as if we were in the city of Batuu. Every single thing we looked at had incredible details into the Star Wars universe.
At the time of our visit, there was only one open ride, which was the Millenium Falcon, Smuggler’s Run. Due to the area being brand new and busy, it didn’t accept FastPass reservations. We decided to use the Single Riders line in which we didn’t wait more than 10 minutes! The ride was lots of fun and incredibly interactive and is a must-do. In front of the ride is a life-sized Millenium Falcon.
We were unable to check out Oga’s Cantina, but we recommend making reservations in advance to get in there. Disneyland did a great job of having Star Wars performances happening all the time, as well as characters interactions such as Chewbacca, Kylo Ren, and many Stormtroopers casually walking around. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is 2nd ride that will be opening in Jan 2020.
In September, there are no fireworks on weekdays at night, only on weekends. Instead, they have a night-time Electrical Parade, which runs twice. I recommend viewing the later one as there is much more room to sit and see as most of the Park has emptied after the first parade. It was a fantastic night parade with bright lights and sounds.
Our day at Disneyland Resorts was a perfect one. It was an unforgettable experience. The smaller sizes of the parks, and the proximity of them to each other and our hotel was ideal. It was so easy to get around, and the crowds were not too overwhelming in September. If you are ever in Anaheim, we highly recommend spending a day or two at the Disneyland Resorts.