One of the massive differences that Disneyland and Disney World have comes in terms of space. With this comes the differences in the amount of areas that each one controls, especially when it comes to hotels. Disneyland only has three hotels, while Disney World has 25 hotels to choose from. One of the reasons for this is because Disney owns so much land in Florida and does not own even half as much land here in California. One of the major problems that California has is the land when it comes to expansion and updating.
However, one of the first things that my roommate took me to see whenever we got down here was the three different hotels here in California. They're all so different, yet so great. Now, they don't impress me as much as the hotels in Florida do, but that's also because the theming is not as in your face as the hotels in Florida. While I'm very okay with this, I love the fact that Florida's hotels theming is very out there and in your face.
The three hotels out here in California are Paradise Pier, Grand California Hotel and Spa, and the Disneyland Hotel. My favorite had to be the Disneyland Hotel solely because of the fact of how beautiful it was. They had conception artwork and original pieces from each park in each of the three land based hotels: Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Adventureland. There are hidden Mickey's in the elevators, and there are beautiful pieces of art work in the halls.
In California, there are no really 'budget' hotels, like Florida has. Because like I've said earlier, there's not the room for it. If you don't want to spend nearly as much, you can always stay in non-Disney hotels, however you don't get the same experience that you would if you stay in a Disney hotel. It's a trade off, but it's always something to consider. I would always say to stay in a Disney hotel, but I know it's not always something that is feasible. Disney does an amazing job with their theming throughout and they definitely did an amazing job with their hotels here.
Recently, my roommate had to fly home out of the blue for a family emergency and although I was worried for her while she was away, I was also worried about how I was going to be as well. We live in a studio apartment, the two of us in one big apartment, and so this would be the first time that I would really be "on my own." I was nervous about coming home to an empty house, or really just spending time alone in our apartment.
My roommate leaving was probably one of the best things that happened to me this program. It taught me a lot about life, about myself as a person, and how I handle being alone. It actually taught me that I quite enjoy being alone. This is something that I've known for a while, but never really understood until now. I never knew if I could support myself, or just be okay with being by myself in the apartment. But I learned that I can.
This time when she left, she allowed me to use her car on a day to day basis to get to work, and it was the greatest godsend ever. I was getting to work on time, and driving to get groceries, and I even got In-n-Out. After not having a car for so long, it was nice to be in a situation where I could go where I wanted, when I wanted, if I wanted.
I liked being at home alone in our apartment because I knew if the mess was my mess. I knew if the dishes int he sinks were my dishes, and I knew that if I needed to use the restroom there wouldn't be anyone in it. It's nice to know that I am able to live on my own, if I wanted to, but I was also very glad whenever she came home as well.
When Lauren and Madison were in town visiting, one of the things that they really wanted to do was go on The Tower of Terror in Disney's California Adventure. Now, Disney World has the original ride which opened in 1994, and California Adventure's opened in 2004. We all adore Tower out in Hollywood Studios, so we figured that it would be the same/very similar to the one there. Though to be completely honest we didn't really have a clue what would happen.
The picture above is from the second time that we went on the ride because the first time we went on it, our faces were of hysteria/pure terror. Because we went in blind, and weren't really sure what to expect it was fun and terrifying at the same time. After we got off of the ride for the first time we were all kind of shakey and had to take a moment because we were like 'what did we just experience.'
One of the largest differences, that isn't really a spolier, is the fact that in Disney World, the ride takes you through the tower, and in Disneyland they do not. This is the biggest difference because we didn't really know what to expect because there wasn't any switching tracks. It's solely up and down. The other difference here is the queue line. The line inside the tower after you watch the video is absolutely terrifying here as well. I feel as if it's a lot creepier and a lot more ominous here.
Loading here is really different as well, because there is an upstairs and a downstairs. I still haven't quite figured out how it works just yet but basically depending on which side you go on depends on if you go upstairs or if you stay on the ground floor. It's the same loading type situation, I've been in both, and honestly it's very similar to the one in Hollywood Studios, there are just six loading stations. All in all, I can say Tower of Terror is one of my favorite ride at both parks and they're very well done in both parks as well.
One of my favorite memories so far on this program was having my roommate and best friend from my Florida program come and visit me here in California. Mads and Lauren had been talking with me about coming to California since the day that I got my acceptance letter into the program and decided to take it. Lauren grew up here in California so it was just like coming home for her. However, Mads had never been to the West Coast/California before.
The first thing that we did after picking up Mads and Lauren from the airport was going to In-n-Out. Lauren had eaten there before (but it had been a long time), and Mads had never been there. It was so fun to watch them order and eat it for the first time. It's crazy to think that a few weeks prior I was just having my first burger there.
After we all ate, we came back to my apartment and just talked for hours, like old times. It was great and we caught up on everything. Seeing them again was amazing, and it was like we hadn't missed a beat. We all went to sleep, exhausted from the previous day and ready for the next day. The next morning we woke up, around 9ish and after eating breakfast we headed out the door for a full day at Disneyland. We rode all the major rides in Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure between this day and the next. We tried to see Fantasmic (since World of Color was still under refurbishment at this time) but got rained out each time.
The second day, we did everything that we wanted to again, but only after sleeping in and talking all morning. I showed them our five minute firework show, which nobody was really impressed with, and I took them on Autopia, and showed them around. We were able to see almost everything that they wanted to (besides the rained out Fantasmic).
It was so wonderful just being able to show them around and act as a tour guide while they were here. I'm so blessed to have such great people in my life and can't believe that in just a few short months I'll be living with them again.
The concept of home, at least for me, changes on a daily basis. I get the questions "are you going home?" or "are you going home-home?" or "are you going back to Florida?" on a daily basis. People here are very curious of if I'm going to stay out here with the company (which I love), or if I'm going to return 'home'. This question is always hard for me because I never really have a good answer.
My concept of home changes for me depending on who I'm talking to at the time. If I'm talking to my best friends back in Florida, Tom and Sonya, I talk about home as Florida and I say 'actual home' when talking about Louisiana. For me, Louisiana will always be the original. It will always be the place where my heart lies. However, because of future plans (which I'll write about later) I always refer to Florida as home.
However, when I'm talking to people out here in California, I'll refer to Louisiana as home or my apartment as home. It's weird to think that you can say, oh I'm going home and people won't know how to take it because you're not from the state that you live in currently. Whenever I say I'm going home, people always question here if I mean to my apartment or Louisiana. So it's made me almost start second guessing things and saying "I'm going to my apartment" or "I'm going home (aka Louisiana)."
California is great, but it never really felt like home to me. It didn't when I got here, and it won't when I leave (probably). It's not home for me because I don't feel as if I can leave roots here. It's a place I'll always cherish, but it's not a place where I could see myself living forever. I've always really felt this way though. I never really even thought of the West Coast as a place that I could live forever. It's always been ideal to travel to/visit, but never to live permanently. The East Coast/South holds my heart and that's were I'll stay.