Let the debate begin!
Are you talking Disneyland vs The Magic Kindom
Disneyland/California Adventure vs Magic Kingdom/Hollywood Studios/Epcot/Animal Kingdom/Typhoon Lagoon?
I think it's a big difference depending on that.
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.
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.
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.
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!)
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).
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?
But TH, as far as Fantasyland, you will win that one. The Fantasyland MK is getting in 2013 is pretty amazing.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney California Adventure
Universal's Islands of Adventure
Universal Studios Florida
Universal Studios Hollywood