It wasn't like I wanted it that way- Disneyland worked out best because that was the day the park had the longest operating hours. We should have started with SFMM then moved on to San Diego, Knotts, DCA and Disneyland in that order.
If you never have been there before do SFMM I've recently been out to california 3 times in the last 3 years and this park rocks be prepared to walk very hilly they don't call it magic MOUNTAIN for nothing. Get there early and run and i mean run to X otherwise its easily a 2 to 3 hr wait after that the rest of the park is pretty much open. even though X is old the coaster is easily the most popular in the park. Tatsu is the next most ridden in the park but if you like some old school tech look no further then Ninja one of SFMM unsung heroes and this ride never has any lines probably because of the hill, it's big and steep!!!!!!! I love this park!! But if you've never been to Disneyland DO THAT at least one day I took my girlfriend and she couldn't get enough of it she wanted to spend the rest of the time there and we had three days in that place!!!! Disneyland is top notch even if you've been to WDW Disneyland is just different no other way to say it this park is just great!!!!
Disneyland and WDW's Magic Kingdom are two completely different parks that only appear the same. I favor Disneyland a little more because it has attractions that WDW doesn't have (Matterhorn) and others that are superior (Pirates) but WDW as an entire resort wins, hands-down.
Disneyland feels like a park designed by Walt Disney while Magic Kingdom feels like a park that was dreamed up by a bunch of corporare executives trying to channel their inner "Disney". Don't get me wrong, I love Magic Kingdom and I can appreciate the many improvements it features like wider midways- it makes sense when talking about pushing as many people as possible through the gates. Yet while MK feels like a bunch of good ideas, Disneyland feels like one perfect idea.
For me, the "Walt" clearly comes through at Disneyland with things like The Haunted Mansion, Pirates, Autopia and the Monorail. Those rides are soooooo much better than their counterparts in Florida. I also noticed less "visual intrusion" in California. Granted, Splash was closed when I went, but in Florida, you can see tops of buildings and backstage areas from several rides (Splash especially - always bugs me!!).
However, I like the scale of the park in Florida better. Everything is taller and has a better "scale" to it for me. Everything in Cali seems miniature. But, I love them both.
I don't attribute it to Walt so much as I do the fact that DL has had longer to evolve, and had to be more creative in how it did so thanks to space limitations. MK still is able to stick to the Master Plan, more or less, in part because of its sheer size, and in part because it is surrounded by a whole lot of nothing.
I'll be riding Mansion in FL in 85 days according to their website. :) I've heard it's just ok. But, we'll see. The main things I love about the Cali Mansion are the entry foyer, the dropping room, and the loading area. It just has WAY more detail in it than FL. FL's was definitely cheapened up. The same applies to Pirates. I mean, come on - one hill? Pffbbtt!!
I've been to DCA since ToT went in. I didn't notice it inside the parks though. I did notice the monstrous power lines and substation right outside of the Hyperion Theatre though. LOL!! Talk about a visual intrusion.
From Splash in Florida you can see Space Mountain and the Contemporary. When the new hideous DVC goes up, it will be even more visible. But, what bothers me most on Splash are the rooftops from Adventureland and the exhaust vents/trash bins you can see. They make me shake my head in "disgust" everytime we ride.
The hills in the Cali Pirates were necessary to drop under the berm to the second show building outside the confines of the original park.
It isn't quite as easy to go underground in Florida so I'm not sure why they would elevate or lower the building level just to have the hill element.
The situation was the same for Cali Mansion vs the Florida mansion. The stretching room serves as a real elevator in California but is a prop in Florida. I understand the stretching room has a much better appearance now in Florida.
I've been on Splash in Florida an awful lot of times and I can't say I've really noticed the "rooftops and trash cans". I guess I really wasn't looking for them. Maybe I was looking for any signs of "Flash Mountain" instead.
Seeing as the Magic Kingdom is an entire floor above grade, there's plenty of room to go "down". Also, Splash Mountain has TONS of ups and downs. The fact is, the versions in Florida were cheaper to construct. And, you put in "hill elements" because they're fun. Rides are supposed to be fun. More fun = more better. :)
I wasn't looking for the rooftop vents either. But, there they are. ha ha!
When you go into pirates you are going down, down, down in the queue. At the point of the "drop" you actually get to ground level and after you get off the ride. The boats go back "up" to get to the loading station.
The Magic Kingdom is not entirely above grade level. Most of it is...but not all. You go down stairs/ramps to get to the Jungle Cruise.
Most of the Splash structure is lower than ground level as is Pirates.