Are you wondering where you should spend your next vacation and are considering Disneyland vs Disney World? If so, this post is for you!
Read on to learn about the main differences between the two locations, including entertainment, cost, and accommodation, as well as some of their similarities.
Disneyland vs Disney World
You must be wondering how different the two places are if they’re both Disney parks and boat are owned by Walt Disney Company. Well, we’re here to tell you that the two are like the east and the south. This isn’t an exaggeration!
One of the biggest differences between Disneyland and Walt Disney World is their location. Disneyland is in California on the west coast, while Disney World is in Florida on the east coast. The closet airport to this Disney theme park is the Orlando International Airport.
Accordingly, if you live closer to one, you might base your decision on this to save time and money with shorter flights or a shorter drive.
If location is irrelevant to you, there are plenty more aspects to check.
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Between the two, Disney World is definitely the bigger option.
The Disneyland Resort consists of two parks (Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park), the Downtown Disney District, and three resorts. On the other hand, Disney World is comparable to the size of Manhattan, so the word “world” is not too far from an accurate description.
Disney World holds up around 40 square miles, in which you’ll find dozens of hotels, four theme parks, and two water parks.
The four Disney theme parks are Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.
Not to mention, there’s a Disney Springs dining district, where you can eat and shop. However, bear in mind that if you’re going to go to Disney World, you should definitely think about your transportation there.
At Disneyland, you can walk from the resorts to the parks. The same isn’t true for Disney World, where you’ll have to take an Uber, taxi, Disney transportation, a minivan, or get yourself a rental car. Speaking of which, let’s look at transportation in detail.
To set expectations correctly, neither one of these getaways is considered “budget-friendly.” Theme park tickets are generally pretty expensive. The costs between the two are quite comparable, but the overall experience is less costly at Disneyland.
A 4-day Park Hopper ticket at Disneyland is around 40% cheaper. However, when you bear in mind the fuller experience of Disney World, the price becomes quite relative.
Accommodation and Resorts
If you consider resorts, the cost depends on whether you stay at Disney-owned hotels or off-property options.
At Disney World, you can find plenty of on-property options (like the Grand Floridian Resort) that suit varying budgets, while Disneyland only offers three resorts, which are pretty pricey. These include the Disneyland Hotel, the Grand Californian Hotel, and Paradise Pier.
On the other hand, Disneyland has plenty of “good neighbor” hotels, which are Disney-approved and are close to the parks. These include Desert Palms, Doubletree or Embassy Suites by Hilton, Fairfield Inn, and Four Points by Sheraton.
All of these can be found in the Anaheim area, which is the closest you can stay in off-property hotels if you’re going to Disneyland.
These resorts are quite affordable and have lower price points than options you’ll find at Disney World. The best part is that the resorts are within walking distance from Disneyland parks, which isn’t the case when it comes to whatever options you’ll find at Disney World.
The thing is, you won’t be getting any Disney themes if you stay at those resorts, unlike the moderately-priced options you can find at Disney World.
The food experience is highly dependent on travelers. You can go extremely budget-conscience and bring your own food or do the counter service.
Contrarily, you can indulge in the high-end food that both Disney World and Disneyland offer at their restaurants. The fun part about this is the Disney-themed restaurants, which are more of an experience than anything else.
If food is an important part of your experience, Disney World would suit you better. They have so many incredible options with amazing chefs and service. You can also indulge in some high-end dining.
Contrarily, Disneyland does have a few high-end Disney-themed restaurants, but they aren’t as high-quality as what you’ll find at Disney World.
Still, you can plan your spending and travel cheaply at Disney World park, just like you can go all out on luxury when at Disneyland. So, it’s all a matter of how you budget.
Entertainment (Rides and Attractions)
It’s a given that you’ll find plenty to do at both locations, but if you’re thinking about a wider variety of options, Disney World takes the cake.
Both locations have plenty of the same attractions in both locations, including the Toy Story Midway Mania, Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and It’s a Small World. They both also have Star Wars lands.
Disneyland park is the most similar to the Disney World property Magic Kingdom. They both have a castle and share a lot of the same rides.
As for the unique options, Disneyland has Mission Breakout from Guardians of the Galaxy and Radiator Springs Racers. Disney World offers Pandora with its amazing ride and Toy Story Land.
The most distinctive difference is the “My Disney Experience App,” which is available for Disney World. Using the app, you can make fast passes up to 60 days before visiting the park. Well, as long as you’re staying at a Disney World resort, that is.
If you’re not, you can make fast passes 30 days before you’re at the location. You can modify or cancel your fast passes.
At Disneyland, not all the attractions have fast passes, and the ones that have the option obligate you to do it on the same day.
Not to mention, you have to purchase a “Max Pass” in order to be able to make those fast passes at all. So, not only do you miss out on planning ahead but you also have to pay more.
Each Disney park does have Lightning Lane and Genie Plus too.
Both Disneyland and Disney World have Halloween events, but they’re not quite the same. Disneyland has the Oogie Boogie Bash at California Adventure and Walt Disney World has Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in the Magic Kingdom.
Pros and Cons
Let’s take a quick recap of the pros and cons of each location to help you decide which one would suit you more.
- The entire place is walkable.
- Plenty of affordable accommodation options.
- Doesn’t need transportation.
- Generally less expensive than Disney World.
- Has great Disney-themed counter service food.
- Walt Disney has actually been there.
- Has fewer rides and attractions.
- Doesn’t have early fast passes and you have to pay for Max Pass.
- Doesn’t have water parks.
- Has only two parks.
- Has more attractions and rides.
- Offers both deluxe and moderate accommodation.
- Has fast passes that enable you to plan your trip 60 or 30 days ahead.
- Has more food experiences.
- Requires a means of transportation between its different parks as well as to and from your accommodation.
- Generally more expensive.
It’s apparent that Disney World is more costly than Disneyland overall. However, if you compare value for money, you’ll definitely be getting a lot more at Disney World.
Still, if it’s your first time going to Disney, you might be better off going to Disneyland first. You’ll enjoy the overall Disney experience without being overwhelmed by the options.
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