To wrap up my Disneyland adventure, I’m sharing my final thoughts on the Dumbo Double Dare challenge, just as I did back in January when I ran the Disney World Half Marathon and shared my final musings on the experience. In case you’ve missed them, here are my posts on each day at Disneyland:
I really loved my first visit to Disneyland, where the Disney parks magic all began. I wasn’t sure what to expect before I arrived. Because I’d been to Walt Disney World many times, I had experienced Disney as a large, self-contained bubble with four different theme parks, dozens of resorts, hundreds of restaurants, and all that goes with them. I was told that Disneyland was smaller and less impressive, and even that when you rode the Dumbo ride you were flying over the parking lot. On the other hand, I also knew that it was the original, the place built by Walt Disney himself, and that this might make it special.
As it turns out, both views are accurate. Disneyland Park, California Adventure, and Downtown Disneyland, along with the three hotels, could all fit very comfortably into a small corner of the Disney World property. The city of Anaheim surrounds it, and you don’t feel like you are in a bubble because the world is right there. But I really enjoyed the experience, because even though one of the things I like about Disney is the way you can forget the real world for awhile, what I like even more is the feeling of being a carefree kid you can have while you’re there, and that was as true in California as in Florida.
I liked many of the rides unique to Disneyland Park or different than the Florida versions, particularly Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and the California editions of Pirates of the Caribbean and Big Thunder Mountain. I have to say I prefer Space Mountain in Florida, and I was underwhelmed by the Matterhorn Bobsleds. One thing that surprised me at first was the smaller footprint of Disneyland Park compared to the Magic Kingdom; it made the lands seem less contained when Dumbo was visible from Frontierland, but it was also easier to get around. And though it was smaller, the nighttime entertainment was just as spectacular as in Disney World.
I loved California Adventure, especially the nature theming of the Grizzly Peak area with the waterfalls and John Muir quotes, the awesome lighting of Cars Land in the evening and during the races, and the fun atmosphere of Paradise Pier. California Screamin’ was quite a coaster, Radiator Springs was fun (if not worth the wait many people have), and the swinging rides were probably my favorite at the end of a long day of running and touring. It was interesting to experience a Disney park unlike any I’d been to before. Although there are some similarities to Hollywood Studios, from the outside gates to the shows, the bulk of the park is very California and in a good way.
Finally, I think that eating with allergies was well done in California just as fueling gluten free was in Florida. I don’t think you can go wrong in either Disney if you need special accommodations! In both, the chefs came out to speak with me at both more formal restaurants and quick service counters, and personally prepared meals for me, and there were allergy free menus to give me actual options instead of just being limited to a few dishes.
Dumbo Double Dare Challenge
The 10K course was one of the best race courses I have run to date. I really loved how it took place almost entirely in or around Disneyland, and how you got to experience most of the parks while running through, as well as the final mile through Downtown Disney to the finish,
I also enjoyed the half marathon course. It was better than I expected, as I went in knowing that only the first four miles were in the parks. Those miles were fantastic as it worked well to start slow, taking advantage of the parks time for photo opportunities, and then to gain speed as I ran out into Anaheim and less scenic territory. But not for long – the classic cars leading to the Honda Center provided a great view from the road, and the lap around Angels Stadium was also a fun new experience.
Overall, I thought the Dumbo Double Dare was very well done. I liked how they made the course through the two theme parks a little different each day, so runners weren’t repeating the same route two days in a row. They also made sure to make the medals special, so you really felt a sense of accomplishment in wearing each one.
I enjoyed the chance to run with my cousin and my friend too – it’s always better when you’re running together.
Will I be back to run another Disneyland race? I can’t say for sure, but I liked doing this challenge so much that I would be happy to tackle it again – and Tinkerbell is my favorite Disney character, so, there’s that opportunity as well. Only time will tell!
What’s your take on Disneyland versus Walt Disney World?
Are you a fan of back to back race challenges?
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