Countdown to Disneyland: Same But Different

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Disneyland might be the original park, but the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World is MY original park.  I have attachments to so many attractions and experiences there. So I am excited and a bit skeptical to visit some of my favorite attractions in Disneyland.  Will they live up to the versions I know and love?  Will I end up liking them more than my originals??  Oh the guilt!

Here are some of the “same, but different” attractions in Disneyland I’m looking forward to experiencing:

Pirates of the Caribbean


It’s pretty unanimous that the Disneyland version of Pirate blows the WDW version out of the water (get it…).  The bayou, two drops, a longer ride…how can that NOT be better!  This is one of my all time favorite attractions and it’s B’s favorite as well, so I’m sure we’ll experience this one numerous times!  My only fear is that I will be very disappointed with the WDW version going forward…

Haunted Mansion


The stretching room goes down instead of up?!?!  Can’t wait to experience that!  I’m sure there probably isn’t much of a difference, but it’s still pretty cool to this Disney nerd.  I’m also excited to see the New Orleans style mansion and see how it differs.  However, I’m nervous that it will be closed as they get ready for the Nightmare Before Christmas holiday overlay because I heard that it happens around this time.  Does anyone know the dates on that??  Please Disney…hold off until after I’m there!!!

It’s a Small World

it's a small world

While this isn’t one of my favorite attractions (that song REALLY gets on my nerves!), I’m really looking forward to experiencing this in Disneyland.  I love how you actually board the attraction outside here!  It seems to add such a unique experience.  I’m also looking forward to seeing the addition of the Disney characters on the ride.  Why didn’t they do this in WDW?  They seem to be incorporated perfectly!

Space Mountain

Photo Source

Similar to Pirates, I’ve heard that the Disneyland Space Mountain is out of this world compared to WDW (get it again…I’m just cracking myself up over here!).  Not only is the ride smoother, but I LOVE that you get to sit next to the people you’re with instead of behind them.  Hopefully that also makes the cars easier to get into…the WDW vehicles are horribly awkward!

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Look how young we are!
Look how young we are!

Ok I’m not thrilled about this version and I know it’s not in Disneyland Park or the Magic Kingdom, but I need to add it to my list.  I’ve heard that the Tower in WDW is MUCH better, but since it is my favorite attraction, I need to experience the differences.  Honestly, I’m expecting to be disappointed by this one and then appreciate MY version even more 🙂

Other same but different attractions I’m really looking forward to are:

  • Jungle Cruise
  • The Enchanted Tiki Room (with a Dole Whip!)
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin

Am I missing anything?  What is your favorite same but different attraction in Disneyland or Walt Disney World?

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  • Ahhh, I’ve been meaning to write a post like this for awhile now!!! Pirates is a hundred times better at Disneyland, most definitely. And Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters (Disneyland) is also way way WAY better than Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (WDW). And Disneyland’s it’s small world façade is absolutely tops. Otherwise, I think I prefer WDW’s version of everything else. Tower of Terror is definitely better at Hollywood Studios, and I’m in that minority that prefers Disney World’s Space Mountain.

    • Yay…I’m so glad to hear this and that for the most part you agree 🙂 I just find the ride vehicles on Space Mt in WDW so damn uncomfortable!

  • I’m actually thinking about doing the half in 2014 (for a Coast to Coast, of course), so I’m looking forward to experiencing what you’ll be experiencing shortly. That said, not to be Debbie Downer, but I think HM will be closed (from what I’ve read) to prep for it’s Nightmare Before Christmas makeover for the Halloween season.

    What excites me, though, is that DL still has Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, one of my favorites from childhood…at WDW, Mr. Toad turned into Winnie the Pooh…a great ride that my daughter loved as a little one…but it’s not Mr. Toad!

    • That’s what I feared…meh 🙁
      I LOVE Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and miss it so much at WDW. That is one of the things I seriously miss and can’t wait to experience it again.

  • One of the other differences is the fireworks. Tinkerbell at DL is much better, and sometimes Dumbo makes an appearance.

  • My favorite ride is Tom Sawyer Island – and the DL version rocks! More opportunites for climbing and crawling. Granted, some of the stuff we did as kids in the 60’s is now off-limits.

    And the train that goes around the park – you’ll be in for a surprise between Tomorrowland and Main Street stations.

    Mr. Toad also rocks, as does Alice in Wonderland. You’ll be amazed at how much stuff they fit into a comparatively small park.

  • Disneyland’s Pirates is better than WDW’s, but that doesn’t mean WDW’s is bad. The queue is longer (and much more interesting) and WDW has mermaids!

    Yes, both Haunted Mansions are different. But, I personally think Disneyland’s Nightmare Before Christmas version is better than the original (and I thought that even before I had ever seen NBC!)

    It goes without saying that Disneyland’s Small World is 100 times better! It is really fun to play, “spot the character” and Small World Holiday is magical!

    Finally, while DCA’s Tower of Terror is different, the WDW version rules! In fact, it’s my favorite ride in all WDW!

    What is my favorite ride in all Disneyland? Splash Mountain! It reminds me of America Sings, which I really miss. (Think Country Bear Jamboree meets Carousel of Progress.)

    Don’t get too hung up on the differences between Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom and you are sure to have a magical time!

  • I’m visiting Disneyland for the first time in August too! And I’ll be rolling my first runDisney 5k. 🙂 I’m really looking forward to experiencing the original Pirates of the Caribbean.

  • Ha, I’m scared in the opposite direction – I’m worried the Haunted Mansion will be closed in January when I’m there for Tink so that they can REMOVE the Nightmare Before Christmas stuff. Here’s hoping we hit the timing right!

    Totally feel ya about the Space Mountain cars at WDW – I simply cannot get out gracefully.

    One you didn’t mention because it only kinda counts – Mr. Toad! I remember riding it a loooooong time ago at WDW and although I don’t remember it well enough to make an accurate assessment of the similarities (or lack thereof) I’m exciting to see how much matches with my hazy memories. I want to say we ended up in hell? How risque! 😉

    • Oh right…that might be the case for Tink as well! Ugh…

      I LOVE LOVE LOVE Mr. Toad and I am beyond excited to experience this attraction again!!

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