Disneyland vs Disney World Which is Better? 10 Reasons to Consider One Over the Other

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. 

Disneyland vs Disney World: A quick comparison about the differences between the two theme parks.
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.

Disneyland vs Walt Disney World: A quick comparison about the differences between the two theme parks.

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.

Downtown Disney is also just right around the corner. No need to get on a ferry ride, plus shuttle plus…etc etc. Getting between parks with kids is SO much simpler at Disneyland. Not only that but there are several inexpensive hotels within walking distance (literally across the street). You won’t find that at Disney World.

Disneyland vs Walt Disney World: A quick comparison about the differences between the two theme parks.

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.

Disneyland vs Walt Disney World: A quick comparison about the differences between the two theme parks.

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.

Disneyland vs Walt Disney World: A quick comparison about the differences between the two theme parks.

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.

Disneyland vs Walt Disney World: A quick comparison about the differences between the two theme parks.

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.

Disneyland vs Walt Disney World

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.

Disneyland vs Walt Disney World: A quick comparison about the differences between the two theme parks.

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.

Disneyland vs Walt Disney World: A quick comparison about the differences between the two theme parks. Cars Land Dress

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.

amusement park safety tips

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.

Disneyland vs Walt Disney World: A quick comparison about the differences between the two theme parks.

I’ll be sharing the adorable Princess Aurora photos we took at the castle next week!

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We have been to Disneyland twice in the last two years and I LOVE it!
However we are going to go to DisneyWorld this January so I will find out first hand what park we love the best 🙂
Love your pictures…brought back such fun memories.

Tamara says:

I cannot get over the cuteness of your little ones! And that Doc McStuffins outfit!
You make great points. We’ve only been to Disney World because we’re on the east coast and we go to FL every winter. (we live in New England and it’s crucial to escape winter at least once)
I like the idea of not getting park hopper passes. (big pain) And also of the princesses milling around. At Disney World you can only see them if you’re really lucky or if you plan to see them at a princess meal or standing on line.
Also, the weather is better in CA. I used to live there. We go to Disney World in January so even 80 was a stretch once. It’s usually around 65 or so.
But I can’t stand heat and I know it’s awful this time of year. You couldn’t pay me to go there.

Jeanine says:

I can’t wait to get there one day, to either one! I think they both look amazing and would be so much fun!

My family grew up loving disney. though I have never been to the California location, i can tell you that the Disney Cruise Experience have been my favorite.

Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says:

I’ve been to both and Disney World, hands down, is better. There’s not even a comparison.

Lorane says:

Aww … this was such a beautiful post .. I love Disneyland .. such a wonderful place for all age groups

I’ve been to both parks and even though there is many things at DisneyLand I love and I would totally go again. For me Disney World has my heart and soul and will always win hands down no matter what.

Laura funk says:

Disneyland is so much better for little kids and but Disneyworld is where it is at

ashlie says:

I love this so much. Growing up going to Disneyland, as a kid, and now an annual pass holder, I Loved it even more after my trip to WDW. It was fun, and there were stuff we liked about WDW, but you caught all the same things we noticed. I hated taking the tram, to a boat to a bus, to the monorail… just to enter WDW (ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration). Also Small World is much more magical at Disneyland. The exterior alone is a work of art. And knowing that Disneyland was Walts vision, his masterpiece, somehow makes it more exciting to me!!

Carol Bryant says:

Thanks for the comparison and I was just reading the comments. I never been to either but now feel equipped as to where to go.

Rosey says:

I have heard the California has amazing weather. We get a lot of rain here in Florida, esp. this time of year, but I love it anyway. 🙂 I’d love to visit Cali

We visited Disney World two years ago and definitely plan to go again soon! It was an amazing family vacation and we made some great memories. I’ll be curious to hear what you think about the Disney Cruise Line!

Milena says:

I haven’t been to either place so this information is quite helpful! Thanks!

I have been to Disney World several times since we only live a few hours away. I have never been to Disneyland. It would be neat to go there to see the differences, Disney World is much bigger and more to do from what I have been told.

Tonya C says:

Thanks for the comparison! We have taken the kids to Disneyland but not DisneyWorld yet, but plan to soon!

Beth H says:

Very interesting read! My husband grew up in Florida, so we know his preference. I, on the other hand, have never been to any Disney parks, so I confess fully to being excited for my son to get a tooouch older so that we can drag him out there. I’m actually super interested in Universal Studios because I badly want to go to Harry Potter World. Badly.

Erin Marie says:

By toddler leash, you meant “child development lead” right? 🙂

I’ve only been to DL and loved it. The thought of 4 parks at WDW stresses me out, plus the pre-planning. I get stressed with vacations already.

We’ve never been to Disney Land and would love to be able to visit one day. We just choose the east coast because it’s so much easier to get to!

Kerri says:

We have been to Disney World. One of these days I will have to make it out to DisneyLand. I love that it is smaller.

Kristin says:

We have annual passes to Disney World and love it so so much!

Chantil says:

I grew up in socal and had annual passes and loved going to Disney Land! I have so many child hood memories there. Thanks so much for the fun facts, I now have 2 lil ones of my own and would love to take them to see the magicalness of the place!

Dodge says:

Thanks for this write up! Very helpful, and your daughters are so cute. Just wondering… which park do you think is better for a pregnant mom with a 2-year-old? Less walking sounds better. Are there more pregnancy-friendly rides or shows at Disneyland?

Sidra says:

We just got back from Disney world and my kids did not like it on some days they wanted to leave the park by noon. We have also been to Disneyland and they love it.

Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is fundamental and everything. But think about if you added some great images or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and video clips, this blog could certainly be one of the greatest in its niche. Fantastic blog!

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget


I'm a former journalist, and lifelong creator striving to make the world a better place. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day by cherishing our individuality and celebrating our differences.

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