Thursday, August 13, 2020

Disneyland Duplicates

I don't know about you, but whenever someone asks me my favorite ride at Disneyland, I have a really hard time choosing! It might be Space Mountain one day, Jungle Cruise the next. And I think it's because they're all so very different. 

So what happens when the rides/experiences at Disneyland are so very similar. Is it easier to choose a favorite? Let's look at these "Disneyland Duplicates" and figure out which is better. You ready? 

Dumbo vs Astro Oribtor


Where They're the Same:
  • They're both flying rides that you can control with a lever.
  • They both have very long, very slowly moving lines.
  • They're both better to ride first thing in the morning if you'd like to wait less than 45 minutes.
Where Dumbo is Better:
  • It's much cuter. Who can resist Dumbo's sweet face???
  • The new queue area gets you out of the sun making it much more manageable on a hot day.
  • Music - hands down.
  • Sitting side by side rather than front to back makes getting in and out a little easier. (Related story: I once rode Astro Orbitor with my son, who was 2 at the time, while pregnant! Getting in was ok but I felt like I needed a crane to get out. But these are the things we deal with when our little sweeties ask to ride with us, am I right?)
Where Astro Orbitor is Better:
  • Its much higher - better for the thrill seekers in your group!
  • Fun to ride during fireworks, it's a pretty unique view.

My Verdict:

I'm going to vote Dumbo the winner here. Better atmosphere and more history.

Star Tours vs Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run


Where they're the same:

  • Both are flight simulators.
  • Obviously, they're both Star Wars themed.

Where Star Tours is better:

  • You don't need to practice or worry about not being good at a certain job to enjoy this ride. Just sit down and enjoy.
  • Much better if you have a more limited amount of time and don't want to worry about getting your job right or who else you're riding with.

Where Smuggler's Run is better:

  • The queue area and atmosphere are next level! Even though there's a lot going on in the Star Tours queue, this is pretty fantastic.
  • If you know what you're doing or don't mind mess ups, it's pretty cool to be controlling the Millennium Falcon!
My Verdict:

Smuggler's Run is very fun and very cool, don't get me wrong. But I'm just not sure it's always worth the added stress of who's sitting where, does your pilot know what he's doing, this isn't working out the way I wanted. So I'm going with Star Tours.

Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer's Island vs Redwood Creek Challenge Trail


Where they're the same:

  • Both are great places for kids to run around and get out that excess energy they've built up standing still in long lines.
  • Both have fun things to climb and explore.
  • Both have a theme on top of a theme...seriously. Pirate's Lair is an overlay to Tom Sawyer's Island with minimal theming added to make it a little more relevant. The Challenge Trail added the Wilderness Explorers from Up because DCA has slowly been changing the California theming because, let's face it, it's weird.

Where Pirate's Lair is better:

  • Pirate's Lair has the history. Seriously, Walt Disney did most of the designing of that island himself. Check out the story here.
  • Going back and forth on the rafts can be a lot of fun (if you're not in a hurry and you aren't sensitive to loud noises).

Where Redwood Challenge Trail is better:

  • It's bigger, so there's more to explore. 
  • It's more like playground flooring, so it's cleaner for your kids to run around on and to fall on.
  • Because there's no rafts back and forth, it's much easier to come and go. 
  • The spaces are bigger (It's a bit hard for me to get through those caves on the island sometimes, and I'm VERY short!) so it's a little more whole-family friendly.

My Verdict:

Even though I absolutely LOVE the history behind Pirate's Lair, I'd rather spend my time at the Challenge Trail, and so would my kids. It's a must-do for us every visit.

King Arthur's Carousel vs Jessie's Critter Carousel


Where they're the same:

  • They're both carousels...duh.

Where King Arthur's is better:

  • I absolutely love the music on this carousel and how you can hear it throughout that whole section of Fantasyland.
  • Every horse is a "leaping horse," which was what Walt liked best.
  • The horse with a gold tooth was Lilian Disney's favorite.
  • There's no better feeling than scoring a ride on Jingles.

Where Jessie's is better:

  • It's the perfect thing for younger kids to do while the older parts of your group are on Incredicoaster.
  • The animals are pretty adorable and I like the way they match up with the animal "prizes" on Toy Story Midway Mania.

My Verdict:

This one goes to King Arthur's Carousel, hands down. You can't fight the history or theming. 

Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters vs Toy Story Midway Mania


Where they're the same:

  • They're both interactive game style rides.
  • They're both based on the same movie. 
  • They're both crazy fun.

Where Buzz Lightyear is better:

  • The line is usually much shorter than Midway Mania.
  • My arms don't feel like they're about to fall off by the end of the ride (Midway Mania is a workout!)
  • It's usually very easy to get a Fastpass (and if you're not there on a super crowded day, I've noticed you can often get a Fastpass that's ready sooner than waiting in the Stand-by line).
  • Free pictures!!!
  • I love seeing my initials on the scoreboard, even if I don't get to see them too often. 

Where Midway Mania is better:

  • There are a lot of hidden targets you can learn about and try for, making the game a bit different each time. 
  • Mr. Potatohead in the queue is super fun to interact with!
  • It's easier to see where your shots are going so you can adjust your aim.
  • I love the competitive factor of showing you the best score all day and the best score in your vehicle.

My Verdict:

This is a super tough one. This is actually the last part I'm writing - I had to come back to it because I just couldn't decide. I'm going with Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters! Toy Story is more technologically advanced, but with the lines and how quickly they run out of Fastpasses, I only go on it once per trip (3-4 days). I can get on Buzz *at least* once a day and have a blast every time. (See what I did there? Blast???)

Corn Dogs from the Red Wagon vs Corn Dogs from the Stage Door Cafe

Where they're the same:

  • Both have absolutely delicious hand-dipped corn dogs!
  • Both are fairly slow to get your food.

Where the Red Wagon is better:

  • Better for on the go. Grab corn dogs on your way somewhere else or for someone in your group who wants a different lunch or dinner than everyone else. 

Where the Stage Door is better:

  • Two words: Mobile ordering! Lines can get pretty long, although there are a few of them. But mobile ordering has been a total game changer over the last year or so. 
  • It comes with French fries instead of a bag of chips, which is tastier and is a little more fun than the same bag of chips you can get at home.
  • Two more words: dipping sauces!

My verdict:

The Stage Door has better sides and quicker lines. The corn dogs are the same, but the Stage Door is an easier experience.

Gibson Girl Ice Cream vs Ghirardelli's Ice Cream

Where they're the same: 

  • Delicious ice cream scoops and sundaes.
  • Lots of great options.

Where Gibson Girl is better:

  • The freshly made waffle cones can't be beat!
  • It feels unique, with it's perfect spot in the middle of Main Street. You can't get that feeling anywhere else.
  • If you're lucky, they have Fantasia ice cream! It's amazingly delicious. 

Where Ghirardelli's is better:

  • There are a LOT of options of some pretty cool sundaes.
  • Chocolate samples when you come in the door! My kids call it "secret chocolate" and ask for it any time we're even slightly nearby.

My Verdict:

Gibson Girl wins for me because of it's great atmosphere. I'd much rather be on Main Street listening to the sounds and, if it's nighttime, watching the lights. I'm from San Francisco so Ghirardelli just isn't quite as special to me.

What do you think? Do you agree with our verdicts? Let us know how we did!