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Disneyland Better Than Walt disney World?

Disneyland: You decide!

From Nick Markham
Posted May 14, 2011 at 1:28 PM
Robert seemed to have requested it in the Universal VS Disney World thread, so I just had to see what we all had to say. Walt Disney World has always been known to be larger than Disneyland, but does that necessarily make it better? If you compare the two, Disneyland actually matches up well atraction wise, plus it provides the same quality hotels all within walking distance, perhaps one of the biggest arguing chips against the sprawled out WDW.

Let the debate begin!


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Lauren Hayhurst
Posted May 14, 2011 at 1:33 PM
I've only ever been to WDW, but I'm desperate to go to the original Disneyland. I'll be interested to see what everyone has to say though, coz in my opinion WDW is surely impossible to beat!

From Mike Seary
Posted May 14, 2011 at 1:57 PM
Never been to DL, but I do know that to DL fans, a big plus is the fact that everything is pretty close together (that, and some superior versions of rides). The vastness and immersion of WDW, however, holds much of the appeal for me; seeing a freeway while waiting in line for a disney attraction just seems like it would kill some of the magic... nothing beats the morning view of the castle across 7 seas lagoon when you are getting ready to board the monorail. It's one of the most enchanting experiences for me.

From Andrew Carrieri
Posted May 14, 2011 at 4:11 PM
I think Disneyland is better if you are simply into rides, especially more thrilling ones--there are more of them in a more compact area at Disneyland, and the similar Magic Kingdom rides are often better at Disneyland. However, if you are into "exhibits"--World Showcase, themed dining, extras such as water parks and mini golf, and immersive hotels, moreso than rides, WDW is superior.

From Tyler Stover
Posted May 14, 2011 at 5:29 PM
I could write a book on the differences between WDW and the Disneyland resort, and the pros and cons of each, but I think it can all be boiled down to intimacy vs grandeur. Disneyland is great if you want a nice casual day where you can park hop at will, not have to plan as much, and experience a smaller, more personal setting. WDW is bigger and has more of just about everything. You'd want to take an extended vacation there. Disneyland does seem to receive better upkeep and bigger budgets for projects than Walt Disney World.

From Kurt Larson
Posted May 14, 2011 at 11:22 PM
Just one question to clarify, as I think it makes a huge difference...

Are you talking Disneyland vs The Magic Kindom

OR

Disneyland/California Adventure vs Magic Kingdom/Hollywood Studios/Epcot/Animal Kingdom/Typhoon Lagoon?

I think it's a big difference depending on that.

From rick stevens
Posted May 14, 2011 at 11:40 PM
Good clarification Kurt. I have never experienced WDW, but one of the wonderful parts of DL is that you pack so much into a relatively small area. The theming is fairly smooth and mathches well.

From Carrie Hood
Posted May 15, 2011 at 12:03 AM
Honestly, I've known people who have gone to both and they say WDW far outshines DLR. Mostly because DLR was what Walt Disney wanted but it wasn't done correctly, that is why we bought so much land in Central FL. So that the hotel and tourist trap issue couldn't pop up so close to the parks. Compared to DLR, WDW is remote and scenic since the closest anyone can get to an off property hotel is US 192 in Kissimmee or the 535/536 intersections of LBV (Not counting Hotel Plaza Blvd near Downtown Disney). 48 Square miles will give the seclusion that Walt wanted without the worry of what happened in DLR. Just look up the history of WDW and you'll see how land prices went skyward once it was found out Disney was buying up land. This is also noted records of Mr. Disney himself saying in Orlando he didn't want what happend to DLR to happen again, which is why the mass amount of land in Central Flordia was purchased...

And this has been my random history lesson.
I've never been to DLR (I utterly refuse to go anyplace my 4 tires can't carry me and/or a boat can float me to... so I haven't yet had enough to time off/money to go across country yet but I do plan to go soon. Meaning after later life college). However this is based on not only known history but friends who've moved from central FL to California and said as much to myself.

From Victoria Jurkowski
Posted May 15, 2011 at 4:01 AM
It really depends on your idea of a vacation. If you enjoy a week long vacation with more than just the theme park, then WDW is for you. You'll get even more out of your vacation if you are a good planner, at least deciding which days to theme park and which to relax beforehand. If you enjoy being able to do close to everything in one or a few days, then DLR is for you. You'll get even more out of it if you enjoy looking for details and learning the history of the place.

I do believe that DLR gets taken care of better than WDW, if only because it doesn't have to worry as much about funneling the crowds around the walls, or losing capacity due to closed rides. I think often times fixes in WDW are shortcutted to reopen the ride as quick as possible to get people out of the crowds. I also believe that DLR has more of a local park charm than WDW, which has giant resort charm. And personally I prefer day trips to having to plan an entire vacation. When I lived near DLR we would plan a day trip once a month, whereas now on the east coast we plan a week trip to WDW once a year. It's a lot harder to plan, with getting off school and work and finding a good week. And it's too few and far between.

From Nick Markham
Posted May 15, 2011 at 8:28 AM
Okay, for some responses:

Mike: You cannot see the freeway outside the park unless you ride the monorail, which actually travels outside the resort.

Andrew: Yes, there are more rides in a compact area, but you would never notice them being crammed in. Disney does a great job keeping the park seemingly spread out nicely.

Tyler: You are correct on some points, but there are a good number of people who could take say a week vacation to Disneyland Resort. Remember that the two parks in Disneyland have an answer to almost every attraction in WDW, and DL still has a nice Downtown Disney (maybe not as large as WDW's, but ESPN Zone makes up for that), and three hotels, include perhaps one of the best hotels in all of Disney, Disney's Grand Californian Resort and Spa.

Kurt: I have to compare Disneyland Resort to Walt Disney World Resort, because comparing Disneyland Park alone let alone its entire resort to Magic Kingdom would make Magic Kingdom look like a Six Flags.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted May 15, 2011 at 8:40 AM
If we are comparing both resorts, well, I am sorry DL folks, WDW is better!

Then again, WDW is, in my opinion, the best Theme park resort out there!

Still, DL is a good place to go and visit, but it is not as expansive of "stuff to do" as WDW. When you go to Disney World, you go to Disney World. When you go to Disneyland, you go to Disneyland.....and Universal Hollywood, a Dodgers Game, Venice Beach, Craig Ferguson Show, Knotsberry Farm, Grauman's Chinese Theater, etc (actual trip to Cali in 2010!)

From David L.
Posted May 15, 2011 at 10:33 AM
Nick, to say that Magic Kingdom is like a sixlfags park compared to Disneyland(or even the whole resort) doesn't make any sense. Magic Kingdom is bigger and has quite a few amazing attractions. Disneyland is better but not by much. Disneyland just has some better and unique rides(though MK also has some superior rides) and more nostalgia. MK has a nicer castle, a more spread out park, and many amazing rides.

As for the two places as a whole, I really like to get sucked into an environment like at Disneyworld. Disneyworld also has a much greater variety of hotels(The grand Californian is really nice, but being able to choose from so many just as good hotels is better in my opinion). WDW has a much greater variety of attractions and things to do. There is a much greater variety of places to shop and eat at WDW as well. WDW seems to win in about every way except the the compactness of Disneyland Resort(and some may like how Disney world is so spread out, I think a medium between the two resorts would be best).

From Nick Markham
Posted May 15, 2011 at 12:23 PM
^ Okay, maybe saying it is like Six Flags went a bit too far, but Disneyland is much nicer. Each of its versions of cloned rides in MK are far better (with maybe the exception of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, though that is still a close race). Let's break it up by land (if possible).

Main Street U.S.A.- I think Disneyland wins here ever since they brought back Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln.

Fantasyland- Disneyland so far, but Magic Kingdom will be winning here come 2013.

Adventureland- Disneyland wins in a near landslide. Magic Kingdom has Pirates Jungle Cruise, Magic Carpets, Tiki Room, and the tree house. Disneyland has Jungle Cruise (those clones tie), Tarzan's Treehouse (MK wins), Enchanted Tiki Room ( DL wins), and to top it all off, one of the most awesome Disney rides, Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. Plus, DL still has Piraqtes in another area, which also is a better version.

Frontierland/Critter Country- I put DL's Critter Country in with the Frontierland, as each sort of fit into each other, Critter Country just a break off mostly from Frontierland. DL wins here purely because it has Fantasmic, which better than DHS or not makes DL's Frontierland far better.

Toontown- DL won this one even when their was Mickey's Country Fair, and now that that is gone, it automatically wins. Roger Rabbit's Cartoon Spin is very fun, unique, and creative.

Tomorrowland-Disneyland for sure. WDW has Space Mountain, which while larger than Disneylands, Disney takes that one easily, with a better layout, better effects, and on-board music. The two Buzz Lightyear's sort of tie, as they are basically the same, just as the Autotopia's do. And then it is here that Disneyland wins. Magic Kingdom has Carousel of Progress, a nice piece of history, but not the most exciting attraction , Stitch's Great Escape, a very sad attraction, and Monster's Inc Comedy Laugh Floor, decent, but not amazing. Disneyland, meanwhile, has Matterhorn, Finding Nemo's Submarine Voyage, Captain EO, and Star Tours.

Liberty Square/New Orleans Square- New Orleans Square easily, as in the end, it is Hall of Presidents versus Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Sure, the other three parks make up for any attractions MK doesn't have the DL has, but if we are debating between MK and DL, DL wins. Now imagine if we pitted Magic Kingdom versus the entire Disneyland Resort?

From Victoria Jurkowski
Posted May 17, 2011 at 7:07 AM
All very valid points. also, I think the fact that this is categorized under Disneyland speaks to something =]

From Tony Perkins
Posted May 17, 2011 at 6:00 PM
DLR by far, it's simply more intimate and has better rides and attractions (Fantasmic! is much better in the Rivers of America at DL with a full-size Peter Pan pirate boat scene and inclusion of the Mark Twain riverboat over WDW's puny and inorganic version). Disneyland was built by the man Walt himself and you can feel his guiding hand when you're in the park. WDW just feels like an under-maintenanced copy of the original by comparison.

From Thomas Caselli
Posted May 17, 2011 at 9:25 PM
Disneyland is more intimate if you like that. But as someone else said Walt did not like what happened around Disneyland so he purchased a lot of property in Florida. WDW is amazing and anywhere in WDW you will feel like you are a million miles from anywhere else. The only reason that Walt wasn't there when WDW was built was that he died before it would happen and I think that Walt's brother did a darn good job overseeing construction of WDW.

From TH Creative
Posted May 18, 2011 at 9:56 AM
Ya gonna pose this question again after the new Fantasyland drops at MK?

From Michael Ortiz
Posted May 18, 2011 at 1:51 PM
Well I have visited both Parks and If I was to compare Disneyland with the Magic Kingdom I would have to say Disneyland is much better. I was a little disappointed when I visited the Magic Kingdom. All of the rides seem slightly shorter in length compared to Disneyland. The layout of Disneyland I think it is nicer and more intimate and easy to get around. However I loved visiting the Water Parks in Disneyworld. If Disney ever plans on building a third them park and decides to make it into a water park they would have something really great on there hands. All Disney Parks are a work in progress and are constantly changing and growing so I am sure they would fix there problem areas and make them fantastic.

From Caroline Davis
Posted May 19, 2011 at 9:21 AM
The actual Disneyland park is nicer than Magic Kingdom. But Disney World has Epcot and Animal Kingdom which are both so impressive. And Disney world isn't just a theme park destination, there's so much to do outside of the core four theme parks it is unreal. Just visiting all the onsite hotels could fill up an entire vacation!

From Thomas Caselli
Posted May 19, 2011 at 11:32 AM
Caroline, I couldn't have said it better myself. WDW is A LOT more then just theme parks.

From TH Creative
Posted May 19, 2011 at 5:55 PM
I have visited both parks as well and ... the Magic Kingdom is gonna BLOW THE DOORS off of Disneyland again after the new Fantasyland opens in Florida.

From Nick Markham
Posted May 20, 2011 at 6:25 AM
^I hate to argue with TH, but Space Mountain at WDW is just sad in comparison to Disneylands. In fact, I think the entire Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom fails in comparison with Disneyland's. Then add the fact that Disneyland is the original and you just can't beat it.

But TH, as far as Fantasyland, you will win that one. The Fantasyland MK is getting in 2013 is pretty amazing.

From Kurt Larson
Posted May 20, 2011 at 1:47 PM
Ok, well for my money... and I've been to both in the last year, it's Disneyland.

Nick's comparisons fit into my thinking.

My fiance and I are kind of Disney dorks, so we noticed extremely small differences and ultimately think Disneyland's intimacy just makes it more magical. Sometimes WDW felt a little too strip mall-esque for us.

Not to say it wasn't awesome! It was. Very much so.

And even in picking DL, I have to say that WDW's castle really does blow away DL. It's how an actual fairy tale castle should be.

Epic. Huge. Scary. The castle is amazing.

But if I could encapusulate it into one view... at WDW I was very cognizant that I was at a theme park spending loads of money (with tram rides, various entrances, and the non-stop billboards, hotels, etc)

Once I get into DLand, I'm totally transported.

That's my take.

From TH Creative
Posted May 20, 2011 at 5:51 PM
Nick Markham writes: "I hate to argue with TH, but Space Mountain at WDW is just sad in comparison to Disneylands."

I Respond: You're out of your mind. The low sides on the MK trains are key. When you get to the top of the first lift, if you are in the front seat at MKSM you are KING OF THE WORLD!

From Anthony Murphy
Posted May 21, 2011 at 7:40 AM
Disneyland and Disney World (aka Magic Kingdom) are almost exactly the same.

The reason why DL is interesting and worthwile is because it is the only park in all Disney Parks that was designed by the man himself, Walt Disney. It was also the first park to try the modern theme park concept.

As for feeling like I am in a theme park, Disneyland will always feel like a theme park to me and not a total sensory experince as Disney World. I really believe if Walt Disney knew that he had a hit, he wouldn't have built it the way he did.

However, I wonder if people's opinions are based upon which one they go to more often or the first park that they went to.

From TH Creative
Posted May 21, 2011 at 10:08 AM
Big Murph: The reason why DL is interesting and worthwile is because it is the only park in all Disney Parks that was designed by the man himself, Walt Disney.

I Respond: What makes you think that WED was not involved in the design of the Magic Kingdom? I mean among the most well-known photos of Mr. Disney was of him standing (holding a pointer) in front of a large "map" (area development concept) of WDW. He made visits to the site. I would have to contend you are not correct.

From Nick Markham
Posted May 21, 2011 at 11:19 AM
The reason Disneyland draws so much attention is because of its atmosphere. The park is small and packed with rides, but you would never notice how close the rides get to each other. The layout of Disneyland is not completely compact but made in a way that you could get through the entire park without too much walking.

Walt Disney World just seems extremely large and commercially driven, but Disneyland is more like a nice adventure.

Sure it is neat to escape to Walt Disney World being away from the large cities, but there is just something about Disneyland that gives it an edge, at least in my head at this point in time.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted May 22, 2011 at 9:53 AM
Per TH:

Yes, WED was involved, but Walt Disney was not physically there creating the park. If that were the case, I am pretty sure EPCOT would have happened first.

I guess my beef with DL is that it is too small. I mean thats somewhat nice, but you can see out of the park in many areas which ruins the magic a bit.

I am also a sucker for lines! The themed lines at WDW are some of DIsney's bests! Case in point: Tower of Terror.

From TH Creative
Posted May 22, 2011 at 1:26 PM
AM: Yes, WED was involved, but Walt Disney was not physically there creating the park. If that were the case, I am pretty sure EPCOT would have happened first.

Me: I disagree with that contention. He made site visits. He gave direction. No he wasn't there when the substantial construction had commenced, but (at the very least) he gave direction in the blue-sky phase. He participated in the selection of initial attractions, and frankly I've never heard anyone claim he wanted EPCOT to go first. Please correct me if I am wrong.

From Formula 40
Posted May 22, 2011 at 1:44 PM
I think what Murph is trying to say is that the mystique of WED is at DL since he was actually there to see the park COMPLETED (Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe he even had an apartment there.)

From TH Creative
Posted May 23, 2011 at 9:54 AM
Wait .... Anthony Murphy has an apartment at Disneyland?!

From Joseph Catlett
Posted May 23, 2011 at 10:01 AM
Yes, Anthony has an apartment at Disneyland. Its located in the upper floors of the Jungle Cruise Queue building. Its decorated tastefully in a modern Hippo motif.

From Formula 40
Posted May 23, 2011 at 10:19 AM
No, Walt Disney had an apartment...did I word that wrong?
http://www.disunplugged.com/2009/06/24/a-look-inside-walt-disneys-apartment/

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