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Which Disney Resort Should I Visit? Disneyland vs Walt Disney World

Differences between Disneyland and Walt Disney World

Disneyland and Walt Disney World are the most popular Disney resort destinations. Disneyland is located in California, while Walt Disney World is in Florida. Each resort offers unique attractions and experiences, making it challenging to choose between them. Let's explore the key differences and similarities between the two to help you decide which best suits your preferences.

A large statue of Buzz Lightyear outside at a theme park
Toy Story Land

Location and Size of Disneyland

Disneyland Resort is located in Anaheim, California, and covers 500 acres. Although smaller than Walt Disney World, it is just as magical and very special as it is the only Disney theme park that Walt Disney designed and visited. Disneyland opened on June 4th, 1959, and has been a treasured theme park for both international and domestic visitors.

Attractions and Rides at Disneyland

Disneyland's attractions and rides are known for their classic charm and storytelling and are a perfect testament to Walt Disney's creativity. Guests can choose to visit Disneyland or Disney California Adventure theme parks. The latter was a newer addition in 2001, featuring attractions from popular Pixar and Marvel movies. Here are some highlights you can expect at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park:

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Sail through a thrilling pirate adventure and one of the most beloved classic rides.

  • Space Mountain: Blast off on a high-speed space journey on this unforgettable roller coaster.

  • Haunted Mansion: Take a spooky tour of this eerie manor with secrets and many active ghosts waiting for your visit.

  • It's a Small World: Cruise through a musical celebration of global unity where you can view beautiful dolls and their handcrafted cultural outfits.

  • Radiator Springs Racers: This is a must-ride for all Cars fans. Get ready for a fun and racing adventure through Radiator Springs, where you can see some of your favorite characters from the movies.

  • Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT! - Once Tower of Terror, this drop-sequence attraction takes guests on a mission in space to help the Guardians of the Galaxy.

  • The Incredicoaster: This beautiful steel roller-coaster is one of Disney California Adventure's iconic landmarks. With max speeds of 55 mph, you may just feel like Dash from the movies.

A ride with cups
Mad Tea Party

Dining Options at Disneyland

When it comes to dining at Disneyland, you can enjoy a variety of food options ranging from quick bites to fine dining experiences. Disneyland offers restaurants, food stands, and snack carts throughout the park, catering to different tastes and preferences. Additionally, you can savor Disney-themed treats and indulge in unique dining experiences such as character dining, where you can meet your favorite Disney characters while enjoying a meal.

The Downtown Disney District is one of my favorite places to visit at Disneyland for great dining experiences. This vibrant restaurant and shopping area features over 10 restaurants of various cuisines and stores to find the perfect Disney merchandise to commemorate your trip.

Accommodation Choices at Disneyland

Disneyland offers a variety of accommodation choices, from budget-friendly options like Pixar Place Hotel to luxurious resorts like Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa. Staying on-site at one of the Disneyland Resort hotels comes with benefits such as early park access and proximity to the parks. Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa offers the most upscale experience, while the Disneyland Hotel provides a classic Disney feel. If you're looking for a new yet affordable option, Pixar Place Hotel might be the right choice for you.

Location and Size of Disney World

Disney World is located in Orlando, Florida, and is spread across over 27,000 acres. It includes two water parks and four theme parks: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Disney's Animal Kingdom. Each park has its iconic attractions, themed lands, and entertainment options. The resort's vast size allows for a diverse range of experiences that don't all have to be achieved within a day.

Attractions and Rides at Disney World

Walt Disney World is home to four theme parks, each offering a unique experience. Here, you can immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Disney characters at Magic Kingdom, explore different cultures at Epcot, experience the magic of movies at Disney's Hollywood Studios, and get up close with exotic animals at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Some of the must-visit attractions and rides at Walt Disney World include:

  • Space Mountain - Similar to the attraction at Disneyland, Walt Disney World's version is slightly different in that it has two tracks, Alpha and Omega, compared to Disneyland's one. Although 2 mph slower than the Disneyland version, Walt Disney World's Space Mountain is just as fun and still feels like a blast into space.

  • Avatar Flight of Passage - Calling all Avatar fans! Avatar Flight of Passage is an attraction like no other. This 3D simulator makes you feel as though you are flying on a banshee.

  • Tower of Terror - No trip to Disney's Hollywood Studios is complete without riding the Tower of Terror (or at least admiring it from afar). Step inside this spooky elevator for a terrifying drop sequence experience.

  • Expedition Everest - Expedition Everest is one of my favorite attractions. This outdoor roller coaster takes you on a hiking expedition high into the Himalayas, where you will encounter a Yeti!

Each park's attractions cater to different interests, ensuring there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Red Rock formation at night
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Dining Options at Disney World

Disney World offers a wide range of dining options for visitors to enjoy during their stay. From casual snacks to fine dining experiences, there is something for every taste bud. You can choose from various themed restaurants, character dining experiences, and quick-service eateries scattered throughout the parks and resorts. Be sure to make advanced dining reservations for popular restaurants, especially if you have specific places in mind. Look out for unique dining experiences like the famous character breakfasts and international cuisine showcases.

Similar to the Downtown Disney District in Disneyland, Walt Disney World has Disney Springs, which features several restaurants and retail stores for fun shopping and dining experiences.

Accommodation Choices at Walt Disney World

When staying at Walt Disney World, you can choose from a variety of accommodation options to suit your preferences and budget. The resort offers a range of choices, from budget-friendly value resorts to luxurious deluxe resorts, as well as moderate resorts that strike a balance between price and amenities. Whether you prefer themed rooms, convenient transportation options, or exclusive perks like early park access, there is a resort for every type of guest at Walt Disney World.

Which Disney Resort to Choose

When deciding between Disneyland and Walt Disney World, it ultimately boils down to your preferences and priorities. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Disneyland is smaller and more compact, making it easier to navigate, while Walt Disney World is vast and offers more diverse attractions.

  • If you plan to experience attractions during your visit, view the Walt Disney World and Disneyland lists online in advance of your trip to ensure rides will be open. Although both resorts are unique, the attractions at Magic Kingdom are the closest to mirroring the rides at Disney Land.

  • If you're short on time or looking for a quick getaway, Disneyland might be the better choice due to its size.

  • On the other hand, if you want a more immersive and extended Disney experience, Walt Disney World's multiple parks and resorts might be the way to go.

  • Consider your budget, as Disneyland may be more budget-friendly for a shorter trip, while Walt Disney World offers more options for accommodations and ticket packages.

In the end, choose the Disney resort that aligns with what you value most in a theme park vacation experience. Contact us to help you plan your next magical vacation!


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