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Should You Go to Disneyland or California Adventure First?

If you’re planning a trip to the Disneyland Resort, one of the most obvious questions you’ll need to answer is, which park should I visit first?

Many people prefer to visit Disneyland Park first and then California Adventure. The reasoning behind this idea is that Disneyland Park was the original, so guests should see it first. However, the order in which you should visit the parks mostly depends on preference. 

Should I Go to Disneyland or California Adventure First?

Front exterior view of the castle at Disneyland California

As stated above, which park you should visit first really just depends on preference. 

But, most people, myself included, believe that Disneyland Park is the best to see first. 

Personally, I think Disneyland Park is the best to go to first because it throws you into the Disney experience immediately. 

I mean, California Adventure is a great park, but Disneyland provides guests with an immersive encounter that’s nearly impossible to match. 

Disneyland was Walt’s park, and he definitely had an eye for building parks in a way that makes you feel like you’ve landed on a different planet. 

And while California Adventure is pretty impressive, it just doesn’t beat the feeling of awe you get when you step into Disneyland. 

Additionally, there is a popular idea that you should visit Disneyland first because it was the first park Disney built at the resort. 

The idea is to experience the original before heading for the newer model. 

Really, I have to say I like this viewpoint because there is a sort of logic to visiting the parks in the order that Disney built them. 

But, I would like to introduce a counterpoint that I have seen some people bring up. 

Basically, the belief is that since Disneyland is the more immersive park, you should visit California Adventure first so that you can build up to the experience of Disneyland. 

And while this wouldn’t be my personal suggestion, I can definitely understand it. 

What’s the Difference Between Disneyland and California Adventure?

View from across a body of water of Disneyland California

Well, the answer to this question is that there is a huge difference and not much of a difference at all. 

I know that sounds like an odd statement, but let me explain. 

On the surface, Disneyland and California Adventure are rather similar. 

They both have pretty much the same kinds of rides, restaurants, and shops. 

Plus, in both, you will get the full Disney experience, with characters that walk around the park and the history of Walt Disney. 

Disneyland and California Adventure also have themed areas that almost mirror each other in the way that Disney has laid them out. 

If you pay attention, though, there are some big differences between the two parks. 

For one, Disneyland offers a more traditional Disney experience that is similar to Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. 

Many of the areas in Disneyland definitely have a more retro, 1950s feel than anywhere in California Adventure. 

For example, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland have an atmosphere that is more akin to the older Disney aesthetics. 

Meanwhile, California Adventure opened in 2001, compared to Disneyland’s original opening almost 50 years prior, and it’s easy to tell that California Adventure is newer. 

The difference mainly comes down to the fact that California Adventure houses places like Pixar Pier and Avengers Campus, neither of which were part of the original Disney company. 

And finally, probably the biggest distinction between the two comes down to the themes you’ll find in each, which I’ll explain more about below. 

Which Disneyland Park Is Best For…

In this section, I will go over which Disneyland park is best for different groups of people so that you can decide which park you and your family will want to visit first. 


If you’re looking for rides for small kids, Disneyland Park has a larger quantity of rides made for toddlers. 

Some of the rides in Disneyland Park that toddlers often really love include Dumbo and It’s a Small World. 

But, you shouldn’t disregard California Adventure, especially if your child really adores the characters and movies that you can find represented there. 

For example, at California Adventure, you can discover some of the characters and merchandise for movies that are popular among young kids, such as Spider-Man, Inside Out, and Toy Story. 

Thrill Seekers 

For those who want to experience rides that bump them around and fling them to new heights, Disneyland Park is also probably the best. 

Disneyland Park has some of the most famous Disney thrill rides, such as Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, and Space Mountain. 

But, California Adventure does have a good bit of its own scary rides. 

For example, in California Adventure, you can try out the Incredicoaster, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout, and Goofy’s Sky School. 

Marvel Fans 

The Avengers Campus at Disneyland

If you are a Marvel fan, California Adventure is definitely the park for you. 

With the new Avengers Campus, you can see characters such as:

  • Capitan America
  • Spider-Man 
  • Black Widow 
  • Thor 
  • Loki 
  • Captain Marvel 
  • Black Panther 
  • Groot 
  • Gamora

There are also, of course, Marvel-related attractions, like:

  • WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure – A game where you have to help Spider-Man stop his malfunctioning Spider-Bots before they destroy Avengers Campus. 
  • Guardians of the Galaxy’s Mission: Breakout – A thrilling ride with big drops bound to get your adrenaline pumping. 
  • Ancient Sanctum – This attraction gives you a chance to explore the ancient sanctum and meet Doctor Strange. 
  • Avengers Headquarters – Here, you can watch a live-action show that stars all your favorite Marvel characters. 

Star Wars Fans 

No Star Wars lover will want to miss Galaxy’s Edge, located in the back of Disneyland Park. 

It’s here that you will get to meet Star Wars characters, such as Chewbacca, Kylo Ren, R2-D2, and the Stormtroopers. 

You’ll also have a chance to jump in the Millennium Falcon and fight against the First Order. 

Afterward, you can try your hand at designing and building your own lightsaber and droid at Savi’s Workshop and the Droid Depot. 

Then, relax with some of Luke Skywalker’s famous blue milk while you explore the merchandise at Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities and First Order Cargo. 


Did you know that Disney parks are some of the most popular places for wedding proposals?

Although Disneyland Paris and Florida’s Magic Kingdom are the top picks, lots of people pop the question in Disneyland Park, often in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle. 

Thus, Disneyland Park is my top pick for couples, even those who aren’t ready to get down on one knee or who already did a long time ago. 

And even though the Sleeping Beauty Castle and Snow White’s Grotto are the most romantic places in the park, there are other areas of Disneyland where couples can share a special moment. 

For instance, if you want a quiet meal, you can head to the Hungry Bear Restaurant or Blue Bayou. 

Or, if you’re looking for a lovely place to take some great photos, why not try the Court des Anges in New Orleans Square. 


Overall, there really isn’t a clear answer to which park you should visit first, even though most people agree that Disneyland Park ought to be your initial stop. 

However, which park you should experience first primarily depends on your own personal preference.