Which is better, Disneyland or Walt Disney World?

That is a question I am frequently asked and until recently have always answered without question that Disneyland was better.

 

Why did I say that Disneyland was better?  The answer here is simple.  Over the years I have been to Disneyland more times than I can accurately remember.  We have been there before our son was born and after his birth.

 

In the past seven years we have been to Disneyland more than 12 times.  To me, Disneyland is 'home'.  I know that park and California Adventure like the back of my hand.  It is comforting to enter the gates and see Sleeping Beauty Castle.

 

People who have spent as much time at Walt Disney World as we have spent at Disneyland feels the same way, and will probably say that Disney World is better.

 

It wasn't until our trip in December of 2009 that this way of thinking changed.  During that trip, I kept a running tally of which park had the better ride when an attraction was offered at both Disneyland and Disney World.  This tally did not include attraction that one park has and the other one doesn't such as Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, or Indiana Jones, two attractions at Disneyland but not found at Walt Disney World.  Due to size alone there are many attractions that Walt Disney World has that Disneyland doesn't.  No, this was just a comparison of the same attractions.

 

In the Magic Kingdom alone there are several attractions at both parks:  Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, The Tiki Room, Peter Pan and more.  When the tally was done the winner was Walt Disney World.  This tally of course is simply our opinion.  We feel that Haunted Mansion is better at Walt Disney World, except for the fact that it doesn't have the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay.  All of our opinions on this matter will be in another article.

 

Keeping the running tally was interesting enough, but there are so many other attractions that simply can't be compared.  In fact, we realized that as a whole, you simply can't compare Walt Disney World to Disneyland.

 

These are two very distinct Disney Resorts, each with their faults and each with their absolute gems. One is not better than the other, or worse than the other.

 

We also came up with a few additional conclusions.  If you simply want to go for rides, go to the Disneyland Resort.  The size of the parks make is simple to ride every attraction offered in just a few days.  If you go for the shows, and this means parades, fireworks, stage shows and the like, then you would probably enjoy Walt Disney World more.  Disneyland has a few great shows, and some of the best fireworks you will ever see.  Walt Disney World has several incredible shows and some of the best fireworks you will ever see.  Food is better at Walt Disney World.  Transportation is better at Disneyland (you can simply use your feet to go between parks).

From now on when I am asked which park is better I will simply respond 'both'.  It really depends on what you want.  You will find that Disney magic on either coast.  And that about sums it up.  Disney Magic.  As long as you remember that, you are going to have a dream trip to either park.  Both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World are overflowing with Disney Magic.


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02/19/2012CarolDisneyworld was most definitely BETTER as there is so much more to do and see. Disneyworld was just excellent, my family loved it.
11/09/2011johnI have been to both DL and WDW at least 10 times. Here are my comparisons: Tomorrowland - much better at WDW, due to Tomorrowland Transit Authority and Carousel of Progress Fantasyland - much better at DL, due to Finding Nemo Submarines, Matterhorn, Alice in Wonderland, Storybookland, Case's Train, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride Adventureland - better at DL, due to Indiana Jones Adventure Epcot - only at WDW - Spaceship Earth, Mission Space, Test Track Animal Kingdom - only at WDW - Safari, Expedition Everest Attractions that DL and WDW both have: Pirates of the Caribbean - much better at DL - almost twice as long Haunted Mansion - better at WDW, except for Halloween through Christmas Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - bigger at WDW Splash Mountain - better themed at WDW It's a Small World - way better at DL Snow White's Scary Adventure - longer, and better, at DL Peter Pan's Flight - better at WDW and Fastpass is available Mad Tea Party - better at DL, because it is not covered Tower of Terror - better at WDW Other pluses for DL - walk to parks; stay off campus (cheaper); nearby restaurants; weather is usually great Other pluses for WDW - proximity to other theme park attractions
08/10/2011CeraThat was a good help but i really want like a pros and cons list to see there diffrences.
11/06/2010Low budget daveI agree. Two totally different experiences. I grew up in Orlando, so you know my default. I would add this... DW is BIG. I mean those Capital letters. If you enjoy splashing around in the pools, Dd an extra day to your trip and just take the resort busses from pool to pool. There are more than you can see in a single day, and kids like the pools more than the rides anyway. There is no easy way to get around, but the busses are free, and the resorts don't care which resort you are staying at. During the slow times, they don't care if you are a paid guest. Did I mention big? With a little work you can free places to park and free things to do. One day that my toddler enjoyed the most was when we drove up to the wilderness campground and just asked if we could look around. They let us into the pool area, and the playground, and we rode the boats from resort to resort.
07/14/2010RandyMy family and I live in Oklahoma and visit Disneyland as often as possible. We've thought about Disney World but always choose Disneyland. The number one reason is because the road trip to Anaheim is full of places we like to visit (Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, London Bridge, Petrified Forest, etc.) Nothing against the South , there just doesn't seem to be much between Oklahoma and Florida, that we're interested in. Another good reason is the great history involved with Disneyland. Disneyland was Walt Disney's baby. He created it, lived there occasionally and his influence is all over the place. To walk where Walt walked is great. I understand WDW is huge and a family would need more time there than at DL. Our last trip to Disneyland and California Adventure was five days and we still didn't cover everything.
03/30/2010BillSeems to me it depends on what you grew up with. I was born the same year Disney World opened and grew up going there. It will always hold a special place in my heart. But even objectively, I think it more "magical" in that it is set apart whereas Disneyland is right smack dab in the middle of Anaheim. There are also many more places to just get away and relax from the crowds, which you don't have at Disneyland. I admit I have only been to Disneyland once (in 05) and it was a real treat. I was amazed at how much they could cram into such a small space. If one were going with small children and had never been to either and everything else were equal, I would recommend Disneyland. On the other hand, if you have the time and resources, I think Disney World is the place to go. But again, if one has grown up going to one or the other, that one will always win out.
03/19/2010DavidI have to disagree because Walt Disney World doesn't and never will hold a candle to Disneyland. Disneyland has better rides for one thing. As far as the rides that they both have in common, Disneyland's version is better for almost every one of them.......including Haunted Mansion. Plus the layout, shows, fireworks, and characters are all better at the original. Really not even close when you take a close look at it. Plus Disneyland is where the history is. Walt Disney himself was there, which is a claim that WDW will never be able to make. There's also more of a magical feeling at Disneyland that is missing from WDW. Maybe the food is better overall at Walt Disney World, and that again is a maybe. But even if that's the case, I'll be happy to concede that part of the argument. As far as everything else is concerned, Disneyland in Anaheim is far better. It is, always has been, and always will be the best of the Disney parks. All of the others (no disrespect) try to be Disneyland but will never be.

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