The Orange County Register asks: Is Disneyland better than Walt Disney World?
It's the go-to, let's-start-a-flame war question that "animates" Disney fans — which is better: Walt Disney World or Disneyland?
The correct answer is, of course, Tokyo Disney, but the Orange County Register asked me to address that question in its newspaper this morning, to mark the reopening of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland.
Thunder's been down for 14 months, and the result is spectacular, with an "explosive" new animated finale replacing the broken old earthquake scene. So we framed the WDW vs. DL question in the context of refurbishment: Which resort ends up doing the better job when it fixes up its rides?
It's all silliness, of course, but I'd like to thank the Register for inviting me to engage in this level of theme park geekitude on its front page. As a former newspaper reporter, it's refreshing to me to see a paper trying to throw some fun into the mix on a weekend like this.
Did they mean Disneyland Resort or just Disneyland? The real comparison is between resorts.
I am not qualified to vote. But I did just visit WDW last weekend and noticed a new soundtrack on Rockin Rollercoaster! Quite an expensive upgrade, no doubt!
As a resort than Disney World takes it just by the fact that it is so much bigger than the Disneyland Resort. Althought the fact that both Disneyland parks, Downtown Disney, and the hotels are all walking distance is really cool and a major win for Anaheim.
Having visited both I don't see how you can compare. Disneyland is a theme park, but when you leave the park you are in the clutter of Anaheim. While the magic is within the park, when you exit reality is immediate. Disneyworld is an all encompassing magical resort. When you leave the parks you are still surrounded by magic and beautiful resorts. To me Disneyland was like going to a State Fair and visiting Disneyworld is like attending a Worlds Fair.
Having always gone to WDW due to location, I eventually made it to DL a few years ago. I was amazed at how much I liked DL. The one thing I took away from it is that they are not better or worse. They are different. WDW is huge, spread out, and has tons and tons to offer. Face it: you go to Orlando to go to Disney. You might got to Universal for a few days, but you are there for WDW. As to DL: it is intimate. The park is very compact, and the little nooks and crannies have charm. Upon exiting pirates, you are actually steps from the Haunted Mansion. You also likely do not go to Southern California just for DL. The weather is also much nicer. If you put a gun to my head and forced me to pick, I might have to say WDW, but I think for true Disney fans, the best park is the one you can fly to cheapest.
do you have to ask Disneyland is the BEST!!!!!!
Wow! I'm surprised the comments have been so civil thus far. Usually this brings out the worst in Disneyphiles. (Then again there's only been 5 comments.)
Disneyland wins for me. But I go to Disney World more since it's closer. I love the feel at WDW.. being in an entire magical world. But having everything compacted into an intimate and walkable "Land" has it's own advantages. Currently I feel like Disneyland feels more magical...
I've been to both and planning now my 3rd trip to WDW. Even though WDW is great and it's an experience, something about DLR that has a charm about it..maybe it's history, Walts apartment? Knowing he was there? Idk. But one thing I do notice, DLR attention to detail surpasses WDW, and (sorry but) the cast members are so much nicer:/..please don't attack me!:(. Just an observation :)
I noticed that you like to throw in Tokyo Disney Resort whenever it comes to the Anaheim vs. Orlando question. Tokyo Disney Sea is definitely the best (Disney) theme park around. However when it comes to Tokyo Disneyland, I think that you are glorifying the park a little too much.
I think comparing Disneyland and WDW is like comparing apples to pomegranates. I think my sons will enjoy Disneyland more when they are older and our trips out that way will include more things to do in LA itself, with Disneyland being a fun day or two in the LA area. Disneyland has its own energy and feels more like Walt Disney and history. But it is a park to go to in a bigger area full of things to do. If we'd go out to Disneyland and came back, people would ask us what else we did in LA.
I was raised in Florida, and we have been visiting WDW multiple times a year since we moved here. I've never been to Disneyland, but I think they would win this one.
As someone who just recently visited Disneyland after years of touring WDW, I think it is a pilgrimage every theme park fan should make.
Disneyland has the exact same set up as Universal Orlando; two huge parking garages then some restaurants before two small parks side by side with three hotels that face the highway.
Going arround by car or bus to bridge huge distances between hotels, different parks or other facilities is not what i have in mind when it comes to dreamworld immersion. Disney started from scratch on flat land, and still they couldnt manage to build the facilities close to each other and link them with dreamworldish public transport.
When you compare the update of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad you are right. The one at DL is spectacular. Disney often plays the international guests card to not go all the way but as an international visitor I don't want to sit 10 hours in a plane to visit sub par versions of rides for what is promoted as a world class destination.
When you are comparing the resorts has a whole, WDW hands down. There is just soooo much more to do and see.
I have to say that I have never been to Florida. I think it is more of an Apples to Oranges (no pun intended), they are different parks. Disneyland is unique since it is the original. Disney World is the hope of Walt, given unlimited space, to a point. I think the true Walt vision would be a melding of Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
WDW is far superior to DL. Most people I talk to that say DL is better never can say exactly what it is that is better about DL. I think it is all nostalgia, they are two wonderful parks but seem to restricted and rushed. I feel like a big part of the theme park experience is the queue to the ride as well as the ride. DL queues were not at all on par with WDW or even Universal. Regardless they are both wonderful resorts but as long as DL came first it will always be the best to alot of people.
If you just look at the theme parks, Disneyland is much better. Disneyland is amazingly compact. You can see and do everything in one or two days, whereas the Magic Kingdom has attractions spread out to different secondary theme parks. Disneyland has superior versions of Small World, Haunted Mansion, Pirates, and the original Fantasyland dark rides. WDW hits back with better versions of Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain (not including Disneyland's BTM's new ending).
I think it comes down to how many days you're visiting the resort. 1-2 days is definitely Disneyland. Both theme Parks offer more attractions than the 4 wdw Parks, plus park hopping is very easy if you want to do that. 3 days or more favors WDW as their is simply more Parks to visit and other things to do outside of the Parks. Personally I never spend more than 2 days at a theme resort as I prefer to visit other attractions, not just one. For example my ideal vacation in Florida would be 2 days and 2 Parks at disneyworld. 1 or 2 Parks at universal. A visit to Busch gardens or seaworld and a few days at Clearwater. I agree with Robert, Tokyo Disneyland is the best theme park resort experience on the planet.
I have been to both resorts. Sorry, WDW is the better overall. Even when I was at Disneyland, they seemed to have an inferiority complex. I found it a little weird.
I think most people have hit it on the head here. If you are going for 2 to 4 days Disneyland is awesome, but if you are going for a week or even two weeks you can find plenty to do in Disney World. If you compare just rides I think both Disneyland and now even California Adventure are probably better parks then any one Disney World park but the 4 Disney World parks together are better than the 2 Disneyland parks together. Once you add in 2 water parks 20 some hotels and more restaurants than you can eat at in a year Disney World wins hands down.
At this point, it really doesn't matter which is "better." When Disney decided to make a political statement and stop all funding of The Boy Scouts, we decided to take our twice per year vacation at WDW someplace else. Why give our money to a business that tells us to go fly a kite?
Walt Disney World is just what it's name implies, a World.
I just visited Disneyland Resort for the first time two days ago. I loved the main hub, with the beautiful musical scores and the entrances to both parks across from one another. I love how it is similar to Universal Orlando in that everything is within walking distance. However, I did not like bus ride through all of the tacky hotels and strip malls to get from the parking lot to the the resort. That's where WDW has the upper hand, obviously. I did however think that Disneyland itself was far better than the Magic Kingdom.
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