What’s the Deal with Disney’s California Parks?

in Disneyland Resort, Theme Parks

Some people would argue that nothing beats the original Disney Park. Disneyland Park opened in 1955 and was indeed the first of its kind. Decades before Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Walt Disney brought magic to Americans in this Anaheim, CA Park.

Guest with Pluto at Disney California Adventure
Credit: Disneyland Resort

Disneyland Park vs. Disney California Adventure Park

If you are wondering what Disney Park is in California, the answer is twofold. Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure are the Walt Disney Company’s Disney Parks in CA located in Anaheim, CA, near Los Angeles, CA. The location is also an approximately 6.5-hour drive from San Francisco, CA, or Sacramento, CA. Unfortunately, there is no “Fastpass” for the drive, but you could travel quickly from either major city to the Happiest Place On Earth by plane.

Disneyland Resort was the original theme Park; it was inspired by Walt Disney’s desire to create a place for families to have fun together.

Disneyland Park

If you want to narrow details between the two California Disney Parks, Inside the Magic can help!

Disneyland Park is chock full of history, being the oldest Disney Park in the World. It’s home to the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle. It comprises Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, STAR WARS: Galaxy’s Edge, Adventureland, Frontierland, New Orleans Square, Critter Country, Mickey’s Toontown, and Main Street, U.S.A.

This Park is home to classic attractions like “its a small world”, Pirates of the Caribbean, and new additions like STAR WARS: Rise of the Resistance. If you want the OG Disney experience, this is the Park for you.

Pirate skeleton scene from Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean attraction
Credit: Disney

One of my all-time favorite Disney characters still has a home at Disneyland Park decades after he left the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Flordia. I’m talking about none other than Mr. J. Thaddeus Toad. You can still enjoy this fun storybook (wild) ride that takes you into the story of the Wind and the Willows. You will be enthralled with this Park’s excellent entertainment, rides, and food.

pommes frites from cafe orlenas

Disneyland is unofficially considered to have the best food when compared to Walt Disney World. Many Disney foodies prefer the offerings of quick service and table service spots at Disneyland over the Walt Disney World options. From options like the Orleans Cafe to the Carnation Cafe, there are delicious options you will not find at Disney World Resort.

Disney California Adventure Park

California Adventure opened in 2001 and is home to many fantastic attractions. This Park is a Guest-pleaser for Avengers fans as it’s the home of the Avengers Campus. At California Adventure, you can experience thrill rides you will love and can hop attractions like the Incredicoaster or Soarin Around the World.


This Park is divided into seven lands with fun theming, rides, and food to enjoy. Buena Vista Street, Hollywood Land, Cars Land, Pacific Wharf, Pixar Pier, Paradise Gardens Park, and Grizzly Peak are each home to hidden details you will not want to miss.

Disney California Adventure Park Entrance
Credit: Disney

Thrill seekers will not want to miss Grizzly River Run or Guardians of the Galaxy– Mission: BREAKOUT! You can meet characters like Anna and Elsa or those classic Disney pals Micky Mouse and Minnie Mouse. If you want those immersive but less scary storybook rides, try The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Under the Sea Adventure or Monsters Inc. Mike and Sulley to the Rescue! Do not skip out on the yummy corndogs from Corn Dog Castle when it’s time to dine.


California Adventure wait times without using Disney Genie 🧞‍♂️ #californiaadventure #disneygenieplus #disneygenie🧞‍♂️ #disneylandwaittimes #SearchForWonderMom

♬ Toy Story: You’ve Got A Friend In Me – Geek Music

Changes and updates are always in the works at Disneyland and Disney World. In addition to other updates and expansions, both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort saw the close of Splash Mountain to make way for a new attraction, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, to open in 2024 at each Park. From the beginning, continuous innovation and change were a part of Walt Disney’s plan. Growing and changing means returning Guests will always have something new and fun to enjoy on their next Disney vacation.

splash mountain tiana
Credit: Disney

Of course, Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort aren’t the only places to get in touch with the Disney magic. There are fun Disney Parks outside the United States too. Disneyland Paris (initially named EuroDisney) opened in 1992 and is located in Paris, France; It is home to two Parks, Disneyland Paris and Parc Walt Disney Studios (also known as Walt Disney Studios Park).

If you are traveling to Asia, you can get your Disney fix in Tokyo, Japan, at Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySea. You can visit Shanghai Disneyland Park in Shanghai and in Hong Kong, you’ll experience the magic at Hong Kong Disneyland. Disney Resort options and plenty of Disney shopping and dining options are available at Parks around the globe.

tokyo disney resort mickey minnie pluto
Credit: Disney

Understanding how much things have changed since the 1955 opening of the original Disney Park and seeing the familiar threads of Disney magic in Parks worldwide is equally impressive. Sure, it all started with a mouse, but the magic of immersive Disney theme Parks began in California at Disneyland Resort.

in Disneyland Resort, Theme Parks

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