First time Disney'land' trip

As hard as it is to admit, especially as an ardent WDW visitor, I am making my first trip to Disneyland later this month. (I'm too old to reveal to anyone, outside of my family and this group, how amped I am to visit the Tiki Birds in their resplendent, mostly original form, and see Mr. Toad again after a long hiatus but that's another story.)

I have but one long glorious Friday to spend (please note I refuse to step foot into DCA) and I plan to book the 3 1/2 hour 'A Walk in Walt's Footsteps' tour. I wanted to ask the west coast members of the group and/or the DL fans here what would stand out to to a Disney music geek. So, to get to the point, what should I not miss?

X-S Tech

Active Member
Hmmm music wise, that's an interesting question. I would say do Alice in Wonderland- musically it's good and obviously unique to Disneyland. Space Mountain is worth the wait both in design and music (though nothing tops the Space Mountain queue music at WDW, but that's not what you asked). As much as I hate to suggest it, Innoventions could be interesting if only from a musical standpoint- Buddy Baker's arrangements of Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow are a highlight of that poor Tomorrowland. "Across the sea" plays as you exit the Nemo submarines, and it's light Jazzy tune actually feels very Tomorrowland-ish to me too.

Dr. Know

One of the selections played by the "Observatron" at the Tomorrowland is a nice snippet of music from the lamented Timekeeper attraction at EPCOT. I'll second X-S's recommendation of Space Mountain. The great musical score is an integral part of the experience. Have fun!
If you have such a short amount of time, you have to make it count. My suggestion is to prioritize doing everythig that is not available in WDW. Great music is everywhere. My list for you would include...

The Matterhorn (try a night ride)
Indiana Jones Temple of the Forbidden Eye
Casey Junior (Cool music there)
Storybookland Canel Boats
Alice in Wonderland
Pinocchio's Daring Adventure
Mr. Toad (For obvious reasons)
Monorail (It is so awesome to go swooping around the Matterhorn)
Tiki Room (Can't beat the original)
Pirate's Lair at Tom Sawyer Island
King Arthur Carousel (Totally different Music than at WDW)
Tarzan's Treehouse (If it's open)

Some duplicates you might want to check out becuase they are WAY better at Disneyland

Space Mountain (So great with the onboard soundtrack)
Pirates of the Carribean (Really, you owe it to yourself to see the much longer and better maintained version)
Haunted Mansion (better maintained with some new enhancements not found at WDW)

Now you'll probably WANT to do the NEMO SUBS. But that might kill your day. So unless you get lucky and are number one in line somehow, just pretend it isn't open.

Have a great time, it will go much to quickly!

X-S Tech

Active Member
Nemo's been down aroun an hour and a half at times lately so perhaps it won't totally monopolize your day.
As an East Coast Disney person all my life, I agree wholeheartedly that you HAVE to do Pirates, Space Mountain and Haunted Mansion - these 3 will erase that smug "But we have so much more land to work with in Florida than you do here - and what happened to your Castle?" look right off your face! :D

Have fun!


Active Member
As an East Coast Disney person all my life, I agree wholeheartedly that you HAVE to do Pirates, Space Mountain and Haunted Mansion - these 3 will erase that smug "But we have so much more land to work with in Florida than you do here - and what happened to your Castle?" look right off your face! :D

Have fun!

Not to mention ALL of Fantasyland...that really puts WDW's to shame.


New Member
Some other attractions that are different from their east coast counterparts;

it's a small world(the original version)
Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters(entirely new music)
Splash Mountain(different musical style)
Jungle Cruise(new scenes and well maintained)
The Snow White Grotto(to the right of the castle, hang around for the show)

If you want to ride Nemo, do it at park closing. The line is shortest then and you won't waste time that could be spent on attractions with shorter wait times. You won't regret waiting for it, it's a great ride. Just make sure that you are not on the last of the three subs as you dispatch. That one will not play "Beyond the Sea" due to time constraints.

I know you refuse to set foot in DCA but if for some reason you do be sure to check out;
Monsters Inc.
California Screamin'

Have fun!
And, Diego...climb on that carousel. Yes, you'll look like a geek (take your son as a beard) but you'll have the quintessential Disneyland experience.

Ah Bill, you are a softy at heart :D

Diego, Have a great day at the original. All the above recommendations are excellent.

You will enjoy the Tiki Room. Get a pineapple smoothie and sit down in the patio and watch the original pre-show!! If you have time, stop by the opera house on main street (on the right side after entering) and see the exhibit on early Disneyland. Lots of good info and models.

Rich T

Diego, there's lots of great advice here already. Here's my 2 cents:

In July, DL's probably going to be insanely crowded. Get there as early as possible, before the opening time if you can.

If you've got early entry, you're set, but if you can't get in till offical opening, my advice would be to head right for Fantasyland and spend some quality time there. Once Fantasyland gets crowded, it *stays* crowded, and will be shut down for a few hours in the evening because of the fireworks. Ride Toad, Pan, Casey Jr., the Canal Boats if you want a closer look at the Storybookland miniatures, Alice, and then hop on the Matterhorn (do try for a night ride on it later). If both sides are open, Fantasyland side boblsled track is smoother and better paced, Tomorrowland side is rougher and wilder.

Use fast pass for Space Mtn. and Indy.

When the park gets insanely crowded, do the Tiki Room and Pirates (super fast-moving line).

Plaza Inn's a good bet for decent food with little wait.

At Night, even though the rest of Fantasyland will be crowded, Pinocchio and Snow White are walk-ons. People tend to forget they're there. Toad and Pan are always crowded. Alice varies.

Even though it's lost a couple of features lately, Toontown's worth checking out if you have time and are a fan of classic Mickey cartoons. Roger Rabbit's worth riding if the line's not too bad, or if you can fastpass it.

Have a fantastic time!

X-S Tech

Active Member
The best news Diego is that Disneyland is not insanely crowded this year. Especially during the week, but even on the weekends, the park is very slow lately. You may still have to wait for the obvious stuff, like Space Mountain and Nemo, but there shouldn't be record crowds unless something changes.
As always, I am very grateful to all of you for your assistance. I called yesterday to ask about availability for the "A Walk in Walt's Footsteps" next Friday which begins at either 9am and ends at 12:30pm or 2:30pm - 5pm. Park hours are 8am-12midnight and, according to the cast member who assisted me, Main St. should open at 7:30am with a rope drop at 8am.

This is where I ask for some additional advice: Should I book the 9am or 2:30pm tour? As I have an hour before the early tour I could conduct a commando style 45 minute tour of Fantasyland, with the intention of coming back later in the day. The CM indicated the tour "should" include two fast pass tickets of my choice and I could use them for Space Mountain and the Submarine ride. Alternatively, I could tour during the busiest (and hottest) part of the day, which seems like a better deal to me, and get quite a few items under my belt before the afternoon tour. Thoughts? Thanks!
Take the afternoon tour. That's when Disneyland will be really busy. In the morning you can get way more done. The afternoon tour will definitely give you more QUALITY time with park.


The CM indicated the tour "should" include two fast pass tickets of my choice and I could use them for Space Mountain and the Submarine ride.

Do the subs have fastpass? I was under the impression that they didn't.

Rich T

Last I heard, Nemo is a no-fastpass ride.

Diego, I'd take the afternoon tour. Use the fastpasses for Space Mtn. and Indy (or two trips on Space Mtn. if Indy's standby wait is reasonable) :)

Notice how no one's recommending Splash Mtn. except for the different music style? It's a great, awesome ride, but the WDW version is definitely better. Big Thunder's almost the same-just amazingly crammed into a tight space!

BTW, if the Disney Gallery above Pirates is open, check it out: It's about to go away forever. :(
Lots and lots of great music is played in there--Of course, there is no CD available. Great place to get incredible park concept art printed out, though!

When you get back, please tell us about your visit: It's alway fun to hear a first-timer's thoughts!
Well, thanks largely to the responses of daliseurat, X-S, Bill, Dr. Know, mpdb6, narkspud, and Rich T., I had a wonderful experience at the original 'Happiest Place on Earth' this past Friday. As X-S indicated, there wasn't much of a crowd in the morning but it did become a bit close for comfort by the time for fireworks arrived. In case anyone's wondering, I was able to drink in every last attraction mentioned with the exception of Nemo; I decided to hit Fantasyland first and by the time I was done the queue had a waiting time of more than two hours. The only downside to my visit were the relatively short queues for everything else; I had little time to listen! Thanks again to everyone who made my first trip to DL a memorable one.
I'm still chewing on that question. (Lots of blog material, in time.) What I do know, without a doubt, is that it was exceptionally wonderful to be at Disneyland; the park that all others measure against. It was a treat to be in the same physical place as so many Disney employees and guests have been and to experience something familiar except in a new place.

My favorite differences right now? New Orleans Square, which was magnificent in concept and execution, and an outdoor Fantasyland unlike anything I expected. (Alice was wonderful!) The differences I didn't care for? The separation from 'reality' and 'Magic Kingdom' is a much thinner line at Disneyland than it is at Disney World. I'm sure the sheer space restraints are to blame but I was also exposed to much more machinery, backsides of buildings, and non-story telling objects than I expected to see. Lastly, I was horribly disappointed in Tomorrowland, and while words fail right now to adequately address this let me say it was a study in contrast. It appeared very constricted space wise but there was nothing there; it was full of lights but everything looked like dull; I kept looking around the corner of every building waiting to find another attraction or side street or something. I think that's it - it left me wanting more. (The only other land to make me feel somewhat similar was Critter Country.)

I loved the chance to see the grand exterior of 'Small World', to annoy those around me by reciting and singing the entire show in 'The Enchanted Tiki Room' (twice), to find out the jokes are just as bad on DL's 'Jungle Cruise', and to see the interior of Club 33. Even more exciting was to hear the sounds in person and not just through the recordings. It brought a huge smile to my face to sit at the Mint Julep Bar and hear the telegraphy clicks and clacks just next to me at the New Orleans Square Railroad Station, to see, hear, and experience 'Pirates of the Caribbean', and to watch and listen to Ernie McLean play the guitar.

So, to wrap up; I loved most of the differences and lamented some.
I do agree about Tommorrowland. I dislike INNOVENTIONS, the OBSERVATRON, the lack of the peoplemover. And ASTRO ORBITOR being plunked down at the entrance instead of up high where it belongs is just silly. I do like DL BUZZ and SPACEMOUNTAIN better. And you have to admit, seeing the MONORAIL and those subs moving about is a major plus.

NEW ORLEANS SQUARE is my favorite place. I also love FANTASMIC being performed right there, and in my opinion a far superior show. I was much happier several years back when I could see the MAIN STREET ELECTRICAL PARADE and FANTASMIC twice in one night along with the fireworks. For me that was bliss.