Today’s post comes from Nicole Siscaretti, who blogs Disney at SparklyEverAfter.com and enjoys photographing Disney Parks. She lives in Orlando and loves having Walt Disney World in her backyard. You can find her as @SparklyNicole on Twitter & Instagram. Enjoy her unique take on Disneyland!

I first visited Disneyland in 2011. My eyes were filled with wonder as I explored a new, or new to me, Disney. Living in Orlando has given me the wonderful opportunity to explore every corner of Walt Disney World, and visiting the original Disney Park took me for quite a spin. Here are five things that surprised me about Disneyland:

  • Great Food Selection | Grabbing a meal on a whim at Disneyland? There are endless options that are all delicious and budget-friendly: Mexican, lots of soups, many different sandwiches, kabobs, gumbo, corn dogs, fried chicken, meat loaf, pasta, and more. We spent two weeks at Disneyland, only dined at four places that took reservations and really enjoyed the all the different options. If you’re grabbing what’s considered a quick service meal at Walt Disney World the menu usually consists of burgers, pizza, and chicken nuggets, so I was delighted to see a delicious array to choose from at Disneyland. It’s also fantastic to be able to get a dining reservation for any restaurant the week before your trip! Some Walt Disney World restaurants are only available if booked months in advance.
  • So Many Rides | Disneyland feels like a little toy box of magic, crammed to the top with fun. I couldn’t believe the number of rides in Fantasyland alone. The space itself is smaller, but so well designed.
  • Seeing Legends | Many times I’ve gone to Disneyland at a time when an event was going on that would bring Disney Legends around. With just the two parks, and Disneyland being the most popular by far, it’s easy to run into people on Main Street U.S.A. On my most recent trip I saw Tony Baxter leaving the park one night and Bob Gurr touring a couple around Main Street one morning.
  • How Much it Changes | For its 60th anniversary, Disneyland is beaming with decor around every corner and showing off three new nighttime shows. It has seasonal overlays like when The Nightmare Before Christmas takes over Haunted Mansion and when It’s a Small World gets dressed up for Christmas. You’d actually have to plan to see Disneyland in its normal state.
  • People Act Differently | If someone bumped me they almost always said excuse me. I felt like more people smiled at strangers and held doors. I think because it’s filled with local folks and there isn’t that I’m-rushing-to-do-everything-get-outta-my-way mentality I come across often at Walt Disney World. Most importantly, the Cast Members at Disneyland have a tangible amount of pride and excitement. They truly make you feel like a guest. These people make it a place you want to visit again and again.

See 5 Things That Surprised Me About Walt Disney World by Danielle here.

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