Disneyland vs. Disney World

Disneyland vs. Disney World

So one of the biggest conversations in Disney parks is the comparison of Disneyland to Disney World. So many people have opinions and now that I’ve visited Disney World I can finally see the difference between the two parks. I will say I LOVE both parks for different reasons. So I won’t be saying one is better than the other, but pointing out the pros and cons in both. Also, Disnyland is my home park so I do spend a lot more time there. But other than that, I feel like I got the gist of WDW. So let’s begin!

Size

Does bigger really mean better? I don’t think so. One of Disney World’s selling points can also be one of the least promising. Let’s be honest, Disney World is too big for its own good. It’s impossible to get everything done in one trip. I feel like everyone looks down at Disneyland for being so small, but I think that has its perks. It has a more homey feel and you can get the whole park done in a day. I do like that Disney World has a bit more offerings (Disney Springs is the best), but the size isn’t everything.

Cast members

I briefly mentioned this in my trip recap, but throughout my trip I saw a big difference between cast members from Disney World to Disneyland. I don’t think CMs at WDW were rude, they just seemed really indifferent. Like, you’re at Disney, enjoy the magic! I saw CMs at Animal Kingdom texting in front of guests and many in stores just sitting looking bored. We also encountered a certain performer who broke character integrity AT THE PARK. I give Disneyland CMs the point here because I feel like they add a personal magical touch and always seem to be upbeat. I know there’s always bad apples, but I thought it was a crazy contrast.

Quality

I’ve heard people say that Disneyland has better food but I actually think they’re the same. Although Disneyland has more food options, in my opinion. I had food at the Mexico pavilion at Epcot and actually thought it was way better than Rancho De Zocalo. But overall, from merch to rides, I really didn’t think there was a difference in quality in between the two.

Options

For being bigger, I actually didn’t think WDW had that many options. Also, I’m an entertainment girl so I wish Magic Kingdom had something like Magical Map. But at the same time, Disneyland is pretty limited. I feel like they both have what the other needs, if that makes sense. I think Magic Kingdom is wide and has space but it really didn’t have more or less than Disneyland.

Rides

Hands down, Disneyland’s Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean are way better. Disney World’s Splash Mountain is definitely crazier and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was the funnest. Also, Expedition Everest is probably my favorite ride ever. Other than that, I didn’t ride other rides that are in both parks. Big Thunder Mountain was down for refurb at WDW and I didn’t ride Jungle Cruise. So I can’t compare those to Disneyland. But I say both have good rides in their own way so it’s enough. We have California Screamin’, WDW still has the PeopleMover. 

People

There’s definitely a lot more tourists at Disney World than at Disneyland. Disneyland has way more locals and passholders. But what’s interesting is that guests at Disney World are much more respectful and courteous. At Disneyland everything feels like a race. I’ve seen so many run and push just to be in front for World of Color or be next in line for a ride. I went to Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom and people actually walked to Mine Train. No one at WDW pushed and got angry when they tried to get a last-minute spot for the parade. It was such a difference!

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Keep in mind my a lot were my impressions of WDW over the 4 days I was there. I am going back so maybe things change! But overall, I don’t think one park is better than the other. I feel like they’re both great in their own way and are fun to experience. What do you think? Do you agree on some points or disagree?

Follow:
  • I love reading Disneyland/WDW comparisons. I’m obviously partial to Disneyland since it’s my home park, but I am jealous of all the options at WDW. I also think that having a lot of locals at Disneyland can be a pain in the butt since we all feel like we know everything about the parks (and we can be quite obnoxious). But I cannot believe that a performer broke character!!! That’s insane and I feel like that would never happen at Disneyland!

  • I really enjoyed reading this! I’ve spent years learning as much as I could about Disney World because it’s always been a dream to go there (I will FINALLY be going for my Disneymoon in July) but I also REALLY want to visit Disneyland because it seems so quaint and magical.

    La Belle Sirene

  • I know Magic Kingdom doesn’t have a set show like Disneyland, but did you happen to catch any of the shows at Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios? The two at Animal Kingdom are some of my absolute favorite things in the parks!

  • Chrissa – Physical Kitchness

    Love these recaps! I’ve been to both, but never really thought about the differences. I love Epcot in WDW, but now I live just a few hours from Disneyland so I am sure we’ll be frequenting it often, once my boys are just a tad older 😉

  • I’ve been to both but never really looked to compare similarities and differences. This is fun to read!

  • Lisa

    I grew up going to Disneyland quite a bit because my family is from California. I love it. I went to Disney World on my honeymoon. I love both, I haven’t done close to everything at Disney World and my husband hasn’t been to Disneyland yet so I need to go back to both. 🙂 I think Disney World is maybe better if you want a long Disney trip and Disneyland for a shorter and more affordable trip.

  • Yeah! At Disney World you definitely need to go there for a longer vacation. Maybe since I’m at Disneyland every week my pass pays off but Disneyland’s hotels are more expensive (probably since there’s only 3) and our tickets are literally a dollar more than WDW which I thought was funny! You definitely need to go back to both!

  • I didn’t get to watch Nemo and I was so bummed! I did watch Festival of the Lion King but I thought it was okay. I think I expected something different! I will say that I love that Magic Kingdom has fireworks for everything!

  • Same here! The whole time I kept defending Disneyland! That’s true about the locals here, I saw a man once grill a cast member for not knowing Walt’s birthday year and I was just like why? I was so shocked at that! We were around people too. It was crazy!

  • Yay I’m so excited for you! It will be fun! I feel like I’m going to be partial to Disneyland because it’s my home park (lol) so you should definitely visit it! We have things like Walt’s apartment and of course, the original rides he worked on!

  • this is great! i have never been to DL but i totally agree with you that for as big as DW is there’s not a ton of options or variety. i feel like DW is geared more towards little kids and DL to adults? i could be wrong. i know a ton of people who go to DL though and love it.