While planning my first trip to Disneyland, I looked at a number of guidebooks and resources online. However, the best one I found was probably Go West, Young Mouse: The Ultimate Disneyland Guide for the Experienced Walt Disney World Traveler, by Taylor Roberts. The subtitle of the book is “The ultimate Disneyland guide for the experienced Disney World traveler,” so I had a feeling it would be the perfect fit for me.
Because the intended audience is people that are already familiar with Disney World, it focuses a lot on comparing the similarities and differences of the two resorts. It also leaves out some of the more basic information about a Disney vacation that is the same on both coasts. This is nice because it saves time reading something that you already know. It still includes everything you would want from a guidebook – hotels, transportation, rides, dining, etc. – but it does so in a way that assumes you already know a bit about Disney.
When I read the book I had already booked my trip and hotel, so I mostly skimmed the first couple of chapters, though I imagine they would be very helpful to those in the early stages of planning. However, the highlight chapter for me was absolutely the ones about the two parks and the attractions in each. The format for how the attractions were discussed was unique and exactly what I was looking for. In each land he breaks it down into “unique attractions,” where he also lists what rides in WDW might be comparable, “familiar attractions,” those that exist in both parks but have been changed in some way, and “identical attractions”. The familiar and identical ones he also gives his recommendation on whether he thinks it’s something a WDW veteran should try to go to or skip. Plus, his descriptions of the attractions are very detailed, much better than most guidebooks I’ve come across.
Like many books there’s an overview of the restaurants, but added on at the end was another unique “bonus” a list of the 25 Disneyland foods you should try. It was great to see a highlight of some of the most popular Disneyland foods. Also, he doesn’t include anything that’s also available at Disney World (like a dole whip) so I appreciated that as well.
The end of the book has some other chapters that are nice as well, including a Disneyland bucket list and a list of other Disney related places to go in California. Some are right in the area and only a short ride away, while others are across the state if you’re looking to extend your trip.
Overall I thought this was one of the best guidebooks I’ve come across and was perfect for what I needed. I know I first heard about this book on a podcast (I believe it was Communicore Weekly) and I’m so glad that I did! I highly recommend it for anyone in my position who has been a Walt Disney World regular but is looking to go to Disneyland for the first time. And at only $5 for the e-book, it’s definitely worth it!