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Gearing up for Disney100 - Disneyland Park

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

On October 16th, 1923, Walt Disney and his brother, Roy Disney, started the Walt Disney Company. Making this new year, 2023, the 100th year the Walt Disney Company has been in business! If you were watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve this past New Years Eve, you may have noticed a Disney theme and discovered it to be the start of the celebration of Disney's 100th year. However, Disneyland California plans on celebrating the Walt Disney Company's 100th year starting January 27th, with the other Disney parks beginning on different dates throughout the year.

What Disney100 fun can I expect to find at Disneyland California, starting January 27th?

Statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Park in California
- Lots of Disney100 merchandise for sure
- Tons of Disney100-inspired food and beverages
- The Grand Opening of Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway
- New nighttime shows for each park - Disneyland Park will have Wondrous Journeys, and Disney California Adventure Park will have World of Color - One

Later on in the year...

- A reimagined Adventureland Treehouse will open up on February 11th
- Mickey's renovated Toontown will reopen on March 8th

What regular Disney fun is there at Disneyland Park?

Disneyland Park Train Station behind a Floral Landscaping with a Mickey head on it and other frilly designs
The best way I can answer this for you is by sharing our experience and telling you the most noteworthy rides we went on at each land. Do not worry next week I will tell you more about Disney California Adventure Park!

Our Disneyland Park Experience

To Fast Pass or not to Fast Pass?

The back of Sleeping Beauty Castle with surrounding buildings for shops or rides
Last June, we celebrated our third wedding anniversary in California. It was our first time visiting California and Disneyland, and we were so excited! Before Genie +, Disneyland had a Max Pass that allowed you to purchase Fast Passes, unlike Disney World where it used to be free. So from the beginning planning stages of this trip, we had our mind set on purchasing the fast passes. However, when we went in June 2022, they had implemented Genie +. At that time, we paid $20 a person per day, and it helped us get through all the rides we wanted in the four days we were there, two days at each park. It also included Photo Pass, which in my opinion, made it a great deal! There are various Photo Pass opportunities and magic shots around the parks.
King Arthur Carrousel on the left and Peter Pan's Flight building to the right
We loved having the fast passes since our time was limited, and we wanted to hit all the high notes! However, we noticed that the wait times in Disneyland are usually way less than the wait times at Disney World. For example, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run was 35 minutes at Disneyland and 70 mins at Disney World when I checked the apps while at Disneyland. As I wrote this article, I checked the apps again and noticed Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance was 75 minutes in Disneyland and 130 minutes in Disney World. I have previously looked at the apps for time differences various times after our trip when I tell people about my observation, and it is a thing that happens quite frequently, if not almost daily.

My Favs

My favorite thrill ride at Disneyland Park was Indiana Jones Adventure in Adventureland. It is a ride we do not have at Disney World (DW), and although it can be compared to DINOSAUR at DW’s Animal Kingdom, it is a great, fun, and immersive ride - I truly felt like I was on the adventure with Indiana Jones! My favorite slow ride was Storybook Land Canal Boats in Fantasyland. This ride allows you to visit Storybook Land where they have mini versions of Agrabah, Arendelle, and other Storybook lands. It was so cute and detailed, and we had a great narrator throughout our journey - it's also a ride we do not have back on the East Coast. The COOLEST ride/experience at Disneyland is Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes in Critter Country. In this ride, you are physically canoeing in a ginormous canoe with like 20+/- people in the Rivers of America all around Tom Sawyer Island - talk about a workout!
Rivers of America surrounds Tom Sawyer Island and to the far right is the Mark Twain Riverboat

Thoughts on the Rest of the Lands

Main Street, U.S.A.

As soon as you enter the park, you pass under the Disneyland Railroad. This train ride takes you around the park with stations at New Orleans Square, Toontown, and Tomorrowland. We enjoyed this ride as it is scenic and historical, and one we haven’t had running at Disney World in a long time due to the construction of TRON.

Tomorrowland

I prefer Disneyland's Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters as the shooting mechanism is a bit different, and I think it does a better job recognizing a shot than the one in Disney World. We, unfortunately, did not get the chance to ride the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage as it was under refurbishment on our visit but it looks fascinating since you board an 'actual' submarine. Lastly, we preferred Disneyland's Space Mountain over Disney World's as it is not as dark, it had theming to it since we rode it during the Hyperspace Mountain overhaul, and overall is a smoother ride compared to DW's.

Fantasyland

Detailed exterior of It's a Small World ride at Disneyland Park
Fantasyland is full of rides, and many have been there since the start of Disneyland Park i.e., Casey Jr. Circus Train, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, and Alice in Wonderland, to name a few. The Matterhorn Bobsleds were a nice rollercoaster ride that we do not have in DW, so it was a good experience, but in my opinion, it was a one-and-done type of ride. The exterior of It’s a Small World is so breathtaking and full of detail in every inch – it blows DW’s It’s a Small World exterior out of the water, although their interiors are about the same. The other cool thing we saw outside of It’s a Small World’s façade was the Encanto Projection Show where they played and projected the famous “We Don’t Talk about Bruno” song from the movie Encanto. I watched it about 5 times in our 2 days there – so good! Lastly, along the side of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, we saw an entrance that allowed us to walk through the story of Sleeping Beauty – it was a nice hidden secret for their castle.

Frontierland

Train car from Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - It's the Wildest Ride in the Wilderness!
My favorite ride at Disney World's Magic Kingdom is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. They had one at Disneyland, and it was just as good! It did not make my top pick for Disneyland just because we have a similar one here on the East Coast. The Mark Twain Riverboat in Disneyland hosts special guests throughout the different voyages, unlike at Disney World. Moreover, that was something else we witnessed at the California parks. Various characters would roam around and interact with the guest unlike at DW where there are designated areas/locations where you meet characters, and if you see them walking, it’s because they have to “run an errand and will be back out soon.” It was pretty neat - we felt we met more characters in Disneyland than in Disney World!

Adventureland

Adventureland was home to Tarzan’s Treehouse; however, currently, it is under refurbishment and will return as Adventureland Treehouse, inspired by Walt Disney’s Swiss Family Robinson as it is in Disney World. It is a walkable experience, so make sure to hydrate yourself before going up.

New Orleans Square

Haunted Mansion in New Orleans Square at Disneyland Park
Similar to It’s a Small World, the Haunted Mansion’s exterior is superior in Disneyland than in Disney World. The Mansion itself looks bigger, or at least it is the illusion, and it is so detailed and fits perfectly in New Orleans Square. Moreover, we enjoyed Tom Sawyer Island more in Disneyland than Disney World as it is bigger and has a lot of nooks and crannies to the island making it more enjoyable, and you feel like a Pirate searching for fun and finding it in more than one spot! Non-ride related: we loved the Beignets and caramel sauce at Mint Julep Bar in New Orleans Square. They are delicious and Mickey-shaped!

Critter Country

DLT! with Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is similar to the one in DW, but the ride vehicles are different. Moreover, it is a nice kid-friendly ride for the kids or the adult kids who love Winnie the Pooh! By the looks of it, Splash Mountain's theming at the moment is similar to the one in Disney World’s currently. However, when we went in June, it was still too cold for us to go on the ride.

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge with the Millennium Falcon
The rides at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge are astonishing, but they are about the same as the ones in Disney World. If you have not been on the rides on the East Coast, I highly recommend going on them at Disneyland. However, even if you have been on them, I recommend going here as the lines are typically shorter at Disneyland than at Disney World, as previously mentioned.

Mickey's Towntoon - Re-opening in March 2023

I believe Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway will be similar to the one in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. However, it is such a great, cute ride, and the only ones that are about Mickey & Minnie, that it should be a requirement!

Hot Dog, it is time to get ready to celebrate Disney100!

As avid Disney fanatics, we at Dale, Let's Travel! are stoked to celebrate Disney100. We hope to make our way over to the West Coast again this year to partake in the festivities; however, we cannot wait for the celebration to make its way to the East Coast! Make sure to subscribe to our website to be one of the first to know what adventure we are up to next!

Are you planning on visiting Disneyland Park for Disney100? Make sure to let us know in the comments below. When you go, make sure to share your experience on social media and tag us on our Dale, Let's Travel! pages. Speaking of social media... don't forget to follow us! 😊


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*This article is not sponsored by Disney, any of the above-mentioned items, or their affiliates.*
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