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.