The Disneyland Resort is located in Anaheim, California. It is home to the original Disneyland Park, which opened on July 17, 1955, a favorite among visitors to Southern California from all over the world for well over half a century. It was joined in 2001 by a sister park, Disney California Adventure, which is a stylized recreation and celebration of California’s rich history and culture.
The Disneyland Resort is divided into two separate theme parks, three hotels, and a shopping and entertainment district. The first park is the original Disney theme park Disneyland, which opened on July 17, 1955. Its sister park Disney California Adventure, which opened in February 2001, is located across the entry plaza on the former site of Disneyland’s parking lot. Both parks are divided into “lands”, or themes. At the western end of the entry plaza is Downtown Disney, the shopping and entertainment district. The three hotels are located at the west end of Downtown Disney.
The main difference between the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World is that in Anaheim, there are many non-Disney hotels, restaurants and shops just a short distance from the park’s main entrance. Walt Disney personally disliked how Disneyland was immediately surrounded and blocked in by non-Disney development not long after opening. He was careful to buy an enormous amount of land for his next theme park project in Florida, which he then laid out on a much larger scale. Thus, Walt Disney World is sprawling, while Disneyland is jam-packed.
Disneyland’s rides are generally considered classic well-themed dark rides (e.g. Pirates of the Caribbean) with the occasional thrill ride (e.g. Space Mountain), while California Adventure’s rides are more thrill-oriented (e.g. California Screamin’) with some some family-style rides (e.g. Soarin’ Over California). The Cast Members (employees) in all sections of the park are widely known to be very friendly and helpful. The attention to detail throughout the parks is extraordinary; however, most Cast Members will not know the history behind the details, but many books and other information regarding this can be found in the park.
The two biggest problems with the Disneyland Resort as a whole are crowds and price. However, with careful planning, both can be avoided. The easiest way is to plan your trip around times that most passes are “Blacked Out”, or barred from entry.
Disneyland is one of the most visited theme parks in the world (with 15.98 million visits in 2010, based on the TEA/ERA figures, second only to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World), so the parks can be pretty crowded, especially during the weekends, Summer, and Winter holidays, which leads to long lines for the most popular attractions. However, if you visit in the late Winter or early Spring, off-season lines can be short, especially during the weekdays. Disney California Adventure has fewer attractions but still has long lines, although not as long as Disneyland’s attractions.
Eating outside the parks is quite possible due to the close vicinity of several restaurants to the park and the benefit of hand-stamp and re-entry. Stick to just snacks and maybe one meal in the park, and you can save some cash.