I’m quite familiar with The Most Magical Place on Earth, but I have never been to The Happiest Place on Earth. I see a lot of things on paper that are similar, but then I see things that are very different.
What kind of things should I be on the lookout so I don’t smack my head on something that should be plainly obvious to a Disneyland vet? Is there anything so plainly similar, that it might trip me up as well?
I recommend starting with this thread. We do a comparison of rides at both parks and discuss other differences.
Also read the pinned Genie+ DLR thread cause there are differences. The biggest ones:
You can’t book your first LL (or ILL) until you are tapped into a park (this includes the taps at the monorail station), NOT 7am like at WDW (regardless of on-site / offsite status).
ILLs dispense sequentially like LLs at WDW, so you can’t pick a later time. You have to wait till the next available time advances to your preferred window. Thankfully most ILL attractions have near-immediate availability.
Hopping time is 11am. You can book a LL in the other park and it will automatically select the first available time after 11am even if the window hasn’t naturally advanced that far yet. In WDW they changed this so you have to wait till return times advance beyond hopping time (2pm on the east coast, for those reading this who aren’t familiar)
The primary on-site advantage is 30 minutes early entry at each park every day. This benefit is not offered to good neighbor hotels or special tickets as has been the case in the past. There are also dedicated entrances for GCH and PPH.
Most of the other rules are the same. Strategies are quite different because 1) there are fewer LL attractions in DL than in MK, and 2) since both parks are quite close, it is generally beneficial to hop and use Genie+ at both parks to churn through as many attractions as you can in one day.
Also note that standby waits are usually pretty short in the morning till 11am as locals start to trickle in. Evenings are generally busiest, in contrast to WDW.
Feel free to ask additional questions and I’ll do my best to answer!
They layout of Disneyland is similar but not exact to Magic Kingdom so your head will probably feel confused. You might think you know where something is and be wrong. LOL Use the map. However, Tomorrowland is the first land to the right of the hub and Adventureland is the first to the left just like MK. Frontierland is next just like MK after Adventureland but it curves around the Rivers of America on the right side and not the left as it does in Magic Kingdom (into the area you would think of as Liberty Square…that’d be Frontierland here). Fantasyland is directly behind the castle and touches Tomorrowland with Matterhorn and the Finding Nemo Submarines at their crossroads which are of course unique to Disneyland.
Also, just in general the west coast vibe is much more chill, Genie+/LL work much better and there are several rides with availability up till close. Follow it one day on the app before you go to get an idea of what runs out and what doesn’t if you are planning to use it. You cannot start booking anything from ILL to LL until your whole party taps in (but you can keep booking if you take a midday break away from the parks). For ILL, you get the times they have available, and you do NOT get to pick. Also, you get photopass with Genie+ so it’s a better investment though less rides have on-ride photos. Of the ones that do you have to manually enter the code into the app to get your photo. We took pics of the screen at the ride exit so I could enter the codes later.