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Disney and more specifically Walt Disney World has been an integral part of my life.  What began humbly as one man’s dream turned into the vision of happiness that we all are lucky to share in today.  So when the opportunity arose to visit Disneyland as part of a larger trip to Disney’s D23 Expo, I felt honored to step inside the cathedral of magic that Walt Disney built.

The anticipation of what I might see, feel and even taste as I strolled through the park for the first time continuously mounted as the months, weeks and days counted down for what I knew would be a life-changing trip.  Certainly Disney World has spoiled me but Disneyland represents something greater than itself.  And in this special trip report, it is my hope that I can share with you not just my first trip to Disneyland but also the love and hope it shines onto our world.

No stopping at anytime, especially the 13th Floor! On a more serious note, if this were Disney World I’d be inside Disney World. Already getting a sense of the scale of the Disneyland property even at this point.

Ahhh the back side of water, oops! I mean Cars Land!

Not exactly the scale of our entryways in Orlando but it will do.

Disney’s California Adventure lookin’ mighty nice with the new (or borrowed) facade.

But DCA will have to wait, because we are in Disneyland!

I’m starting to think Disneyland has quite the character.

Not just any type of character…but The Queen of Hearts!

And if you can stand the grin she will gladly grant you her autograph…

Walt’s Apartment Window…a full salute from Da Mouse…honored to step inside your vision for happiness.

OMG, there is soo much to take in, it’s all familiar and yet so vastly different…

You mean you can actually run the Main Street Vehicles? Disneyland, I am beginning to fall in love.

Ok ok, the rumors are true, the castle is small but it is also picturesque.

Kinda like these flowers and train station, sorry new camera…new wannabe pro photographer.

Sure its 8AM and a little overcast but still just perfect.

All Smiles In Disneyland…

Wow Matterhorn Bobsleds!!! Too bad it is down for refurbishment 🙁 Awww shucks looks like I have to come back to Disneyland now 😉

Here you can see just how close everything is to “the hub” in Disneyland vs Disney World.

Speechless…

A special message indeed.

Tomorrowland’s Entrance looks really cool…

I liked the castle but I wish it had more details…that was my only gripe.

The Matterhorn is a sight to see from almost every spot in the park…

Partners…

Finally…part of the Disneyland history.

Taking pictures of everything…(I later would find out at D23 Expo that this area is set to be reworked into an expanded Fantasyland)

Frontierland! So many choices…where to begin our journey?!

Wow…Ok Adventureland it is. The tiki torches made this decision far easier, that and Indiana Jones!

Just really love how this blends into this area…

…but the Jungle Cruise will have to wait. I don’t think I’ve been this excited to ride something in a long, long time!

Adventure awaits!

Everything is detailed in this queue…

Actually it is probably the best queue in Disney that I have seen…

Snakes, why did it have to be snakes 😉

I wish I had more time to take pictures of this truly amazing queue. First you pass through ruins with covered and uncovered patches of rock.  Then you wind down through some caves with spikes and skeletons abound, all leading to an archeological dig site. It’s impressive and all of that before the ride!

…and what a ride it is, but now it is time for breakfast with a view!

River Belle Terrace was a grand spot for breakfast. Not only do they make fresh poured Mickey pancakes, they also have this perfect view to watch as guests begin to stroll into the park.

Of course…

…there is also the Mark Twain!

It really is a breathtaking moment as the Mark Twain begins the journey along Rivers of America.

One More…

Time for the original Pirates!

Oh, but wait these guys are good!

Pirates of the Caribbean & Disney’s Dream Suite

Arrrr….

Very different feeling than the one back in Florida…

I can’t begin to describe how much better this version of Pirates of the Caribbean is then the one in Florida. I loved Pirates before but this version is hands down more awesome! The way the attraction builds anticipation before you jump into the action of the ride is simply beautiful storytelling that you have to experience for yourself to understand.

Blackbeard projection…

I just wish I could ride this again and again…

Back out onto New Orleans Square…

Pretty Isn’t It?

It really has tremendous character….

Tons of theming, kinda reminded me of being in Epcot’s World Showcase because of the detail.

This train station is as simple as it is spectacular!

I wish MK had the amount of trees and shade that Disneyland has…it makes for special views.

See, I told you the train station was one of a kind.

Click Here For Part 2 Of This Trip Report!