Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursdays with Mel... Disneyland vs Disney World.

Now that I have returned from the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, people are constantly asking me which one is better. Alas, there is no good answer to that question. In some aspects, the Disney experience is so similar, while in others the differences are so vast.

But, if you love Disney, then you'll love both Disneyland & Walt Disney World. But just for argument's sake, I'll point out some similarities & differences, and I'll also point out where each park gets it better, all from a mom's point of view.

Difference 1: The parks at Disneyland are within walking distance of each other. They sit directly across from one another. When you finish with one park, you stroll over to the next. I am so used to the complex transportation system at Walt Disney World, that it was so refreshing to be able to simply walk between parks, Downtown Disney & the hotels.

Walk the central plaza to get from park to park!

Difference 2No double strollers for rent at the Disneyland Resort. We found that out the hard way, when my sister-in-law wanted to rent a stroller for her boys. So come prepared if you have more than two little ones in tow.

Difference 3: Pirates of the Caribbean and it's a small world are both better and longer at Disneyland. It was like seeing the "director's cut", with Walt being the ultimate director. And the drops on Pirates were awesome!

Similarity 1: Most of your slow-mo rides like Peter Pan, Pooh, etc are pretty much the same. My kids have outgrown them, though we did ride a few when the lines were short. One difference is that Disneyland Park & DCA have slow-mo rides for Pinnochio, Alice in Wonderland and Monsters Inc.

Similarity 2: Town Hall at Disneyland looks like a carbon copy of it's sister in Magic Kingdom, or do I have that backwards? I usually visit Town Hall several times during my day, usually to check the lost & found (see my accompanying post on The Disney Lifestyle Blog) or to write a commendation on an extraordinary Disney Cast Member - which I highly recommend you do each trip. The two look so alike, I almost forgot where I was.

Similarity 3: If you are a fan of the old Toon Towne at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, never fear, the one in Disneyland Park is strikingly similar. The Gadget Go Coaster is quite similar to the Goofy's Barnstormer. Guests meet Mickey in his house rather than the Judge's Tent. There is also a junior thrill ride based on the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit. I recommend using the FastPass as it is worth riding, but since my kids have no clue who Roger Rabbit is, it's just not worth a long wait.

And just for little tykes:

While Disney's California Adventure excels in thrills, little ones can find lots to do at DCA too. "a bug's land" is a pint-sized paradise just for preschoolers and their families. Rides, attractions and play areas make for the perfect oasis on a busy day. DCA also has two 3-D adventures familiar to WDW travelers - "It's Tough to be a Bug" and "Muppet Vision 3-D."

So.... who gets it better.

When it comes to the FastPass system, Walt Disney World is the hands down winner. Fewer attractions at Disneyland offer a FastPass option.

For walkability, Disneyland takes the prize. I loved being able to hop myself between the parks without waiting for a bus.

So, folks: There a pros and cons to each park. But at some point I had to stop comparing the two and just enjoy the Disney magic. Like I said, if you love Disney, then you'll love both Disneyland and Walt Disney World!


  1. Great info! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Even more now I want to go to DLR - need to wait for Carsland, but we're SO going! Great post, as always Mel! ~Jenn

  3. Love the compare/contrast mode-
    I'm now a follower!! :DM

  4. Both resorts are truly different, but the Disney magic is always the same!

  5. I am looking forward to the day we venture out to Disneyland. We have only been to WDW, but I hope to change that at some time in the future. I loved reading the compare and contrast! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Great post, and I think that's a very fair comparison. I think you guys are lucky that you still have the Peoplemover though!! :(

  7. I loved reading about the differences between the 2, I definitely want to go to Disneyland and experience there Pirates since it is longer, didn't know that.But DL sounds great. thanks again I just read it on the Reedy Creek Blog.