Disneyland Rules, Disney World Drools

In short, Disneyland is my favorite Disney Park, Walt Disney World is my favorite resort.

In a longer more rambling fashion, Disney World is the resort of my childhood so I will freely admit that I am biased (something the author is not willing to admit) but here are the things that I love about Walt Disney World and miss when I am at Disneyland:

- Restaurants: A huge part of my Disney World trips has always been having at least one meal a day at a full-service restaurant. In addition to the options at Epcot, the resorts have some really fantastic restaurants. It is such a wonderful experience that is completely different from an experience you get at most amusement parks, and really helps break up your day. Disneyland does not have nearly as many nor as good a sit-down restaurants. While I agree that DL has better quick service locations, it’s just not the same experience I like sitting down for an hour and having my food served to me.

-My Magic+: Flame away Disney nerds but boy is it nice to have 3 fastpasses to start the day and be able to book them online for free with my ticket. I don’t really like that I will have to pay for this at Disneyland.

-Fireworks every night, and they hardly ever cancel for wind.

-The bubble, it is really incredible when you stay on site how you feel like you are in fantasyland

-Epcot: It is the anti-amusement park and is such a unique experience. Of course it’s an Americanized version of the countries, it was made by Americans for Americans, but it’s fun to pretend that you are visiting all those countries all in one day then get to watch Illuminations at the end of it. For visitors from those countries who feel that they are shallow representation of their country, I don’t understand what you were expecting, there is no way to adequately represent a culture of a country in such a small place. When I visit other countries I specifically avoid places that are trying to be a little slice of the USA in those countries, as I’m there to experience that country’s cultures and yes this includes amusement parks.

- Not having to deal with as many uber fans, I despise that I can’t ride the DL Haunted Mansion without at least 3 people impersonating the Ghost Host in the stretching room, it’s annoying as hell. I also do not enjoy listening to negative comments about how the company is ruining DL while waiting for night shows. It’s much more fun to be with a bunch of tourists who are super excited to see a show for the first time.

- Holiday Parties: Rage all you want about the extra expense but these are better at WDW. While I will give the slight edge to Halloween Screams over Hallowishes until the latter gets an upgrade to projections during the show Boo to You is the best parade at any Disney Park, and the Sanderson Sister show is amazing and like nothing at DL. Thanks to MVMCP, WDW has a better Christmas Parade and a way better Christmas Firework show, and while the Christmas party show is not as good as the Halloween one it’s something DL does not have.

- More Shows: The main animatronic shows, 3-D and daily shows at WDW are more numerous and mostly better than the offerings at DL

-Christmas at Disney World: Yes, I realize that DL actually decorates every land but Tomorrowland, and it’s a small world holiday and Haunted Mansion Holiday are amazing, but the decorations at the other parks and resorts are much better at WDW. Holiday Dreamlights is amazing. Not to mention, Christmas is a Christian Holiday and DL completely ignores that aspect of the holiday except during the first weekend in December. Due to this omission, the DL celebration seems very hollow and materialistic. Epcot’s holiday selection highlights this aspect in an amazing way not to mention the Let There Be Earth tag on Illuminations the best 3 minutes of fireworks I’ve ever seen.

-Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, Tower of Terror, the London portion of Peter Pan’s Flight, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Expedition Everest are all better than their counterpart at Disneyland. As for Space Mountain, I would argue that SM FL is a better roller coaster then SM DL, but SM DL is a better attraction because it simulates flying through space much better then SM FL.

And now for the Disneyland positives:

-Cost: It is so much cheaper for me to visit DL then WDW, because the Florida Resort is so big I really can’t ever imagine staying off site, but at DL I have plenty of offsite hotels nearby.

-Ease of getting around: Its really nice to be no further than 15 min from anywhere in the resort. Due to this I end up riding far more attractions and seeing more night shows on my days at DL then I do at WDW.

-Firework Quality: I haven’t seen Happily Ever After yet but with the exception of the Christmas shows every DL firework show has been better (and when it comes to the standard shows much, much better) then the WDW counterpart

-The Walt Factor: You feel his presence while in that park due to all the touches he put in place, it is really special.

- Electric Light Parades: DL has 2 of them, WDW has zero

- Rides: With the exception of the rides mentioned in the WDW section, every other ride is either an exact copy or a better version then the WDW counterpart.

-Spontaneity: This may seem hypocritical of me, and I really would not like it if WDW took away my ability to plan I would be upset, but a part of me does enjoy not having to plan my days 180 days in advance and just go with the flow.

- Weather: CA has much better weather then central FL.

Even though I think WDW resort is better then DL, when my 3 year old nephew from Illinois makes his first trip to a Disney park it will be to Disneyland. This is because I feel it is a much more manageable resort for young ones. He wont go to WDW until he is out of elementary school, I just think its too much for younger kids to truly enjoy it.

Last edited by Touchdown,

2022 Trips: WDW, Sea World San Diego & Orlando, CP, KI, BGW, Bay Beach, Canobie Lake, Universal Orlando

eightdotthree's avatar

She seems very aware of her bias and is happy to share the mistakes that she made in planning or the lack there of.

I completely agree with just about everything she said. I love Disneyland and prefer it in almost every way to Disney World.

Raven-Phile's avatar

Everyone knows I'm a huge Disney nerd. I absolutely LOVE WDW - Epcot is my favorite place in all the world... except maybe Disneyland.

Disneyland is a very, very, very close 2nd for me. So close, it's almost tied for my favorite.

Give me a choice to spend a week at either Magic Kingdom, or DL - and I will pick Disneyland 100% of the time

I had no childhood experience with either park, and was 30 the first time we went to WDW. My wife had been to both as a child as a benefit of having family that lived near both. If it wasn't for her love of Disney I would have never gone that first time. We've done WDW 2 or 3 times a year on average over the last 10+ years, so we might have a certain comfort level with the Orlando parks.

A couple of years ago we did a DL trip. I won't go thru bullet by bullet for all our thoughts, because most of them have already been expressed above.

If they have some kind of magic for directly traffic inside the park (controlling the mobs as Jetsetter put it), we didn't witness it. Being physically smaller, we found it difficult with the crowd levels. We were there on a Monday and Tuesday in early November, but school was out, a bunch of businesses must have been closed, and it felt like a mid-summer Saturday at CP or what I imagine Christmas to New Years being like at WDW.

Sure, it was neat to see the differences, and we found it cool to see the Christmas overlay on Haunted Mansion and It's a Small World. Other than Cars Land, there is nothing from our 2 days at DL that left an impression of wow, this is so much better than WDW.

We had a great time, but all agreed DL was a once and done for us unless they added something incredible that wasn't also done at WDW.

After 2 days at DL, we spent our last day in LA at Knott's. My wife hasn't enjoyed most amusement park rides since about the time our daughter was born (over 20 years ago), and hasn't been to an amusement park in a decade now, save for that trip. I'm sure the difference in crowds had something to do with it, but she enjoyed Knott's more than DL. D23 confiscated our pixie-dust as we attempted to leave town.

As for Walt's touch..... eh, isn't the Magic Kingdom effectively a do-over because of the lessons Walt learned from DL?

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