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Disneyland vs Disney World

How often do people get the chance to compare Disneyland vs Disney World by being there within the same few weeks? I know there are many who never get the opportunity to visit either park. Growing up in Maryland, I didn’t go to Disney World until I was about 18!  Living on the East coast all my life, I had never been to California at all. We happen to live just 90 minutes from Disney World now, so we go as often as we can. As my husband does business with the credit union for Disney employees, he had an opportunity to visit Disneyland last year, and we were able to tag along. We had a blast! Just about a month ago, he needed to visit Anaheim again, we were able to go with him again. This time we were able to see more of the park, visit California Adventure, and even hang out with some new friends in Club 1901. It was one of the best vacations we have ever had!Disneyland vs Disney World

I started thinking, what could I tell people who live in the middle of the country, or out of the US, about how to decide which park to visit? They both really do have a special magic. But they are very different.

Disneyland vs Disney World

To start with, Disneyland is much smaller than Disney World. Disney World is huge! It is harder to cover The Magic Kingdom alone at Disney World than it is to see all of Disneyland. Does that mean Disney World is a better choice? That depends on whether you like the classic features of Disneyland, whether you have a very young child or elderly person with you, and whether you want to see all the other fabulous parks in Disney World. Remember, Disneyland only has The Magic Kingdom and California Adventure. Disney World has The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. In addition, in Orlando there are many resort hotels, other theme parks like SeaWorld, and generally more to do outside of Disney World that is really close by.  As far as crowds go, the lines are shorter in Disneyland and it is definitely less crowded.

Disneyland vs Disney World

Another factor to consider is the weather when you are planning to go. Orlando is very hot in the middle of the summer. I live 90 minutes south of Disney World, but as I live closer to the Gulf, it is actually cooler. There is no breeze at Disney World in the middle of July! On the other hand, we went to Disneyland in June this year and it was delightful.

You also may want to check out what is going on during the time you are traveling. There are huge events at both parks throughout the year, like the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival and Star Wars Weekend, both in Orlando, or the New Orleans Bayou Bash and Mardi Gras at Disneyland. Both also have holiday events, like a Halloween party and Christmas festivities. By the way, D23, The Ultimate Disney Fan Event, is only in Anaheim.

Disneyland vs Disney World

Of course, where you live is going to play a huge factor as to which park you visit. However, for those of you who live in the middle, out of the country, or just want a comparison, I hope this is helpful.

Now for my Top 10 Favorite Features of Disneyland vs Disney World!

Top 10 Favorite Features of Disneyland:

  1. It’s Classic
  2. Radiator Springs
  3. Cars Ride at Radiator Springs
  4. Walk in Walt’s Footsteps Tour
  5. Toon Town
  6. World of Color
  7. The Aladdin Show (Must see!)
  8. Paradise Pier
  9. It’s A Small World (at both, but we liked Disneyland better)
  10. Matterhorn Ride

Top 10 Favorite Features of Disney World

  1. Safari at Animal Kindgom
  2. The Lion King Show
  3. New Fantasyland
  4. Shopping in Epcot World Showcase
  5. Mitsukoshi, the Japanese store in Japan at Epcot
  6. Hollywood Studios
  7. Cinderella’s Castle
  8. Three Caballeros Ride
  9. Storybook Circus
  10. Eating in Epcot World Showcase

As you can see, our favorites had no rhyme or reason. These are simply the activities that we don’t miss when we go to the parks, again, and again, and again. We never miss eating in Epcot. We always visit Mitsukoshi. We always take a picture in front of the castle! It is magnificent!

Disneyland vs Disney World

I hope you have the opportunity to visit at least one of the Disney Parks. No kids? No worries! It really is for everyone of every age! We ran into my husbands Aunt & Uncle celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary at Disney World! They were on their way to Tower of Terror! If you haven’t been yet, put it at the top of your bucket list. 

What is your favorite attraction at Disneyland or Disney World?

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  1. Pirates of the Caribbean is our favorite! My husband proposed in front of the ride in Florida so it’s very special to us, but we still like the ride in California better!

    I also HATE It’s a Small World at Disney World but love it at Disneyland.

    We like Disney World better because there’s just so much more to do (and New Fantasyland is AWESOME!) but we do like the occasional visits to Disney Land since my husband grew up 30 minutes from there.

    We’re just two Disney fanatics so whichever park we go to really doesn’t matter as long as we’re soaking up the magic. 🙂

    1. We’re fanatics, too, Teresa! I agree, both are magical! My girls would agree about the Small World ride. And the lines at Disneyland are so much better for that ride! I think the wait is usually well over an hour in Orlando, but so short at Disneyland. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts!

  2. I’ve been to both but not in the same year even. I remember the 20,000 Leagues Submarine ride at the “Land and The Tower of Terror (which I’d never go on ever again) at the “World.

    1. Is that still there, Lisa? I don’t think I’ve seen that one! I haven’t done Tower of Terror either. I’m chicken! Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts!

      1. No – they took out 20,000 Leagues several years ago. Tower of Terror is my 7 year old son’s favorite, so although I don’t LOVE it, I got to ride it FOUR times this past March.

  3. My favorite attraction is Hollywood Studios. Having grown up in Florida I have a sentimental attachment to Disney World remembering the first time I visited just weeks after opening and the many, many return trips with my kids (and now planning our first trip next year with grandchildren!) Now we live in California so I occasionally go to Disneyland. It is great to be able to cover all the ground in a day but in some ways it doesn’t have the same magical feeling. Maybe it’s the difference between being on vacation and just heading to an amusement park for the day.
    Still, a day at either Disneyland or Disney World is better than a day almost any where else!

    1. I feel like they are both magical, Mo! Yes, a day at either is better than a day almost anywhere else! Well said! Thanks for visiting!