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Three Awesome Attractions You Can Only Do At Disneyland

There are two types of people in the world, those that think all Disney parks are all the same, and those that think every Disney parks is a totally unique experience. I’m here to tell you that you’re both right, and both wrong. Many Disney parks have some similarities, like every single castle park has a castle, and every park in every country has some version of the Dumbo ride.  But even in those cases the castles in each castle park is different than the other, the castle in Hong Kong is tiny compared to the massive castle in Shanghai. The Dumbo ride in the Magic Kingdom is actually two Dumbo rides while the others are just one. 

There are also the uniquely themed parks. Animal Kingdom, Epcot, California Adventure and Tokyo Disney Sea have totally unique themes unlike any other Disney park. When you step into those parks you would imagine that all of their attractions would be totally different than other parks, but you’d actually be wrong. Some of these unique parks borrow rides from other parks. 

It’s all kind of confusing, while all of the Disney parks have something unique, be it theme or attractions, many also share things, like some themes and many attractions too. It might be what makes theme parks like Disney so interesting to some fans. You can have a certain amount of comfort at a different park knowing that certain attractions are there, but there will also be something unique to experience as well. 

So I’ve decided to look at these similarities and some of the differences too. I’m starting with the differences, and I’m starting at the park that started it all, Disneyland in California. I’ve decided to look at attractions that are unique to each park, and Disneyland actually has a few. Keep in mind that I’m not including shows, and for an attraction to be unique it has to be fairly different from anything else at any Disney park. For example, each Pirates of the Caribbean ride is actually different than the other, however the basic premise is the same (apologies to Shanghai Disney as their Pirates is mind blowing). So to make this list the ride has to be unlike anything else available in any Disney park.

I decided to start with Disneyland because it was the first Disney park, so at one point each and every ride at this park was unique. That means that most of the rides at Disneyland have either been copied and sent to other parks, or in a few instances were built later based on another popular attraction at another Disney park. Since this is the original park, many of the rides are considered classic Disney attractions and therefore when you’re building a new Disney park it’s likely you’d want to consider copying some of these attractions. Rides like It’s a Small World, Space Mountain and even the trains are classic Disney, and it makes sense to put them all over the world (maybe later I’ll make a list of surprising Disneyland attractions that aren’t in every Disney park).

Because of this, I could only find 3 attractions that are truly unique to Disneyland, and of the three, two used to be in other parks but have since closed. The only one attraction that I could find at Disneyland that has never been at any other Disney park is the Matterhorn Bobsleds. The Bobsleds opened a few years after the park opened, however most would consider them a Disneyland classic attraction.

  • Matterhorn Bobsleds

The Matterhorn is one of the pioneering roller coasters as it’s considered to be the first steel roller coaster in the world. It was a huge step in the innovation of roller coasters, but that might also be why it’s never been repeated. As a first of its kind, it has a few flaws, most notably it’s not really a smooth ride. Many consider it the ride to break backs, and because of this some people consider it a great ride to see but not to ride. The Matterhorn also almost didn’t make this list, as Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom is fairly similar to this ride. It’s an adventure through a mountain where you meet up with a Yeti. It’s certainly possible, or probable that the Matterhorn inspired Expedition Everest, but I feel like they’re different enough to keep both of them on this list.

  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage would not have made this list 30 years ago. Back then the Magic Kingdom also had a submarine ride. Some might argue that the ride at Magic Kingdom was better than the one at Disneyland, an upgrade. Some would also black list me for saying that publicly. However, as it stands there’s no need to compare as the ride at Magic Kingdom was removed in 1994.

The Submarine Voyage in Disneyland has undergone many changes since it opened. When it first opened it featured a bevy of actual mermaids (not animatronics but people dressed as mermaids) swimming in the water. It also focused more on the classic Nemo Submarine from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and not the Pixar movie. The addition of Nemo and friends came about after Finding Nemo came out. This isn’t the only underwater ride featuring Nemo and friends, but it’s so much different than The Seas with Nemo and Friends at Epcot that it’s safe to put it on this list.

  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

This last ride on this list might be hanging on by a thread, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. I say this because the story of Mr Toad isn’t one that’s known to younger audiences. It’s also a ride that used to be available at Magic Kingdom as well, but that has since shut down. The ride itself is not very modern, but the story is original and to many it is a classic Disney ride. 

Unfortunately, with Disney wanting to upgrade rides with new characters, it’s very possible that this ride could be shut down at any moment. Fortunately, the ride isn’t based on a story that’s controversial, like Splash Mountain, so there isn’t a direct reason to shut it down. However, space at Disneyland is a little more limited, and one day it’s very possible that it will be your list ride on this wacky car.

When I first started this list I wasn’t sure if I could even find one ride exclusive to Disneyland. 40 years ago this list might have been limited to just one ride. It’s possible that the classic rides at Disneyland have a bit more staying power as this park is the first. In some ways this park stands as a bit of a museum to classic Disney rides, but it’s not to say that Disney doesn’t update this park. The updates are a mixed blessing as they can mean you’re getting something brand new, but it might also mean that a classic might be going away to make room.