Congratulations on your acceptance into the Disneyland DCP program!
If you’ve never been to California – or only went as a child years ago with your folks – you’re in for a remarkable 5 months here!
But, you might have gotten some false impressions about California from the movies or TV.
It never rains in California. FALSE!
Completely untrue! Sure, there are been stretches of time where it doesn’t rain in the winter months and yes, there may have been a drought in California recently. However, when it rains, it pours, even in California! Not too long ago in fact, there was a hurricane that torrentially poured all over sunny Southern California.
The beach is “in your backyard”. FALSE!
We love the beaches in California, absolutely…Laguna Beach (favorite!), Santa Monica, Huntington Beach, Ocean Beach…but the beaches aren’t ‘close’ to Disneyland. It takes roughly 30 – 45+ minutes to reach your favorite beach destination, longer with traffic! Then, you’ve got parking to worry about, with locals and tourists alike fighting for the limited parking spots. We’ve met many an unkind and bitchy meter maid!
You can spend ALL DAY at the parks. FALSE!
Where it takes a week – or more – to everything at all the theme parks at WDW, Disneyland Resort only has two parks: Disneyland (which is like the Magic Kingdom at WDW) and California Adventure (which is kind of like Hollywood Studios).
Disneyland is a lot smaller than Magic Kingdom — 85 acres as opposed to 107 acres. You’ll especially notice the size difference when walking down Main Street and in the castle hub area — Disneyland seems like its one-half to two-thirds the size of MK. And the two castle’s – Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella Castle – just do not compare to each other in size! The Sleeping Beauty Castle is only 77 feet tall. If you’re used to seeing Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella Castle it’s quite a disappointment — it’s just so… SMALL. The Cinderella Castle is almost 3x as big at 189 feet tall and very grand and “fairytale”. It dominates Main Street USA at MK. Sleeping Beauty Castle, not so much.
You will spend your off days exploring California. FALSE!
Even though you’ll only be scheduled for around 30 hours a week during most of your program, everything in California is so far away!
California is big – really, really big. If you were to drive the length of the state along Interstate 5 going from north to south, it would take you an estimated 15 hours, with little or no traffic, from Oregon to Mexico. At the end of your road trip, you’d have driven nearly 800 miles!
And, gas prices in California are some of the most expensive in the US, especially in LA. Driving anywhere is such a hassle between the traffic and fuel costs.
It’s a short drive from Disneyland to LA. FALSE!
If you were to map out and calculate a drive to or from Disneyland to any location in the greater Los Angeles area, it would tell you that you’re approximately in for a 30 – 45 minute drive…IF THERE WASN’T TRAFFIC! Traffic in California is no joke and you shouldn’t treat it as such. A short drive ANYWHERE will turn into 1 – 2 hours in no time!
(adapted from the Disney Internships and Programs Blog)
We’ve written a book about our year working at Disney: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale.
Available now on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle. Published by Theme Park Press.