Disneyland vs Disney World, lets talk about it! Last year when my husband and I debated which popular Disney theme park we wanted to visit as a family he argued for Disneyland–The one he grew up visiting, and I lobbied for Walt Disney World. –The one I visited once as a child. With four parks vs just two it had to be better right? Wrong.
People who have been to both parks say it’s like comparing apples to oranges and it’s true. Having visited both popular Disney theme park resorts within five months I have a several differences to share about Disneyland vs Disney World and some may surprise you.
I started out with a small list but it kept growing and growing and I wound up with 10 reasons to consider one over the other. And I also am sharing some important amusement park safety tips to keep in mind when you visit either!
While there we met up with De Su Mama and her adorable kiddos for some Disneyland fun, so those are the sweet faces joining us in some of the photos ahead.
1. There are just as many rides. Ok, so I’m not 100% sure about this, but in what I’ve read, the numbers add up to about the same at Disney World (4 parks) vs Disneyland (2 parks). The rides are closer together at Disneyland, and there are several that you won’t find at Walt Disney World. It’s a Small World seemed even more magical at Disneyland with really cool sneaky character appearances.
2. At Disneyland Resort EVERYTHING is close. And it ROCKS. I didn’t even bother with park hoppers at Disney World because we’d have to pack up the stroller, wait for a monorail, and re-enter the parks over and over. At Disneyland (and Disney California Adventure) one day we literally went back and forth at least six times like it was nothing. Running from character greeting to ride, to lunch back and forth across parks. You can actually easily park hop at Disneyland where as for us, it wasn’t worth it to even try at Walt Disney World.
I took a quick video between one trip because I was so amazed.
3. Less princesses at Disneyland BUT They’re EVERYWHERE. In just two days Lil’ J met just about every princess at Disneyland, but all 13 (14 including Sophia) of the princesses aren’t even there. Pocahontas is only at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, and Jasmine and Mulan are easily greeted at Epcot. At Disneyland Pocahontas and Mulan didn’t have greetings while we were there, and I’m not sure where Merida was either. However we saw ALL of the other ones just walking around all the time. Belle, Tiana, Aurora, were out near the front of the park. We also saw Mickey and Minnie and their pals all over. Captain Hook just strolled right up to us. It seemed a lot easier to meet the characters at Disneyland.
4. More tourists at Walt Disney World and locals at Disneyland. So comparing visiting Disney World in the off-season of February, and Disneyland in the dead of the summer, it seemed like Disney World is the more crowded of the two. BUT goodness, Disneyland gets PACKED at night. It’s right in the middle of heavily populated California where many people have season passes and drive in after work to have some hot chocolate and watch fireworks. I felt like many people were heading home early to rest from WDW in the evening, but at Disneyland the party was just getting started.
5. California has better weather. I didn’t even check for rain before we went because California just has such great weather. It’s not as hot and it’s less humid.
6. Less planning required for Disneyland. I LOVE planning for vacations so it was weird booking dining reservations without a problem, and not needing to schedule fastpasses for rides a month or two in advance. We even got a Bippity Boppity Boutique reservation no problem a day before at Disneyland.
7. More restaurant options at Disney World. There’s no Cinderella’s Castle to dine at in Disneyland however there is Ariel’s Grotto which is fabulous, and you’ll meet 5 princesses while eating there.
8. Cars Land! Only at Disneyland (well, on the Disney California Adventure side). The Radiator Springs Racers ride is incredible. And if you or your kids like Cars, they’ll love this place. It’s seriously right out of the movie. There’s also Bugs Land which Lil’ J absolutely loved. She met flick and rode her favorite ride… The spinning Lady Bugs (which made me want to barf). And Toonstown, which looks like it’s straight out of a cartoon.
9. Pin trading is cool at either one. I was under the impression that pin trading wasn’t a thing at Disneyland but it is! Sadly we left our lanyards and pins at home, but we saw many cast members wearing pins we could have traded with.
10. Walt Disney was there. I watched a 2-hour documentary about Walt Disney before going to Disneyland and it truly made me appreciate the visit that much more. Walt really wanted to create a place where parents could ride with their kids, and he succeeded. Disneyland is the one park he lived to walk through and there’s something about that that makes it especially magical.
Bottom line: Both were so much fun and great for families. I’d have to say Disneyland seemed easier to navigate for pure distance sake, which I LOVE for my younger kids and it’s totally worth considering when deciding on a Disney vacation (I used to think Walt Disney World was the only real option).
Walt Disney World is fantastic if you have time to spend and visit all of the various parks, and without strollers, is a piece of cake to navigate. It feels more secluded and like you’re really in a magical little world.
Going forward for my family I think we’ll visit Disneyland for budget-friendly trips 5 days or shorter. and Disney World for trips longer than 5 days.
In December I’ll be able to throw Disney Cruise Line into this comparison.
If you’re planning a theme park visit soon with your family make sure you take a moment to read some amusement park safety tips, especially during the crowded and busy season. It was just Lil’ J and I on this trip but goodness, had I brought her brother he would have been strapped in a stroller or possibly on a toddler leash (the kind I said I’d never use) to keep him close and safe.
Check out some important theme park safety tips that the Allstate Information Team has to share:
- At either park you’re going to do a lot of walking (don’t forget your fitbit like I did!), so make sure you wear good shoes.
- Stay hydrated and avoid sugary or alcoholic drinks.
- Wear lightweight clothing and find shade when you can.
- Lather up with sunscreen. Don’t forget to reapply throughout the day.
- Always pay attention to the ride guidelines.
Have you been to more than one Disney Park? Which was your favorite?
This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. As the nation’s largest publicly held insurance company, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most–but to guiding people to live the Good Life, every day.
I’ll be sharing the adorable Princess Aurora photos we took at the castle next week!