Differences between Disneyland in CA and Magic Kingdom in FL?

February 15, 2023, 8:57 AM

What are the differences you notice, between Disneyland in CA and Magic Kingdom in FL? I’m about to visit the Magic Kingdom next month, after not being there in ages. I do go the Disneyland a few times a year. The big difference I remember is how you get there, with the boat in MK.

Replies (9)

February 15, 2023, 10:38 AM

I think the biggest shock is the shear size of MK compared to DL. Sleeping Beauty's Castle is miniscule compared to Cinderella's, and if you're creating an itinerary, it's important to build in that extra time it takes to walk from one attraction to another. DL also has a lot more attractions than MK, particularly thrill rides. MK is adding Tron, which will help, but in general, MK lacks the top end thrill rides that you find in DL.

I know it's blasphemous to say it, but IMHO, MK is highly overrated.

February 15, 2023, 10:50 AM

I can’t wait for Tron!

February 15, 2023, 11:11 AM

The layout is a bit different as I'm learning looking at Disneyland maps for a trip next month. The New Orleans Square/Critter Country section for example and of course stuff like Toontown and Galaxy's Edge. Overall, it's just how it seems smaller overall.

Also how a lot more of the line areas are out in the open rather than shaded/indoors like WDW, which can be trickier. It's a big mistake approaching DL like WDW but still fun.

February 15, 2023, 11:20 AM

I like the description, "The Magic Kingdom is half the park of Disneyland, crammed into twice the space."

February 15, 2023, 1:04 PM

The jarring part to me was always the Fantasyland difference. Magic Kingdom okay but then DL is the stunning, huge area with lavish buildings for each ride.

February 15, 2023, 1:35 PM

@MikeW - Completely agree. It's shocking that Disneyland can fit 2 Fantasyland dark rides into the space that MK uses for a single character meet and greet.

Edited: February 15, 2023, 4:24 PM

I could do a whole breakdown, but I'd say these are the most noteworthy differences...

-The layouts of both parks are similar, but there's a bit of rearrangement. Most notably, Frontierland at MK occupies the area covered by New Orleans Square and Critter Country at DL, and Liberty Square (a colonial themed area not present at DL) takes the spot of DL's Frontierland. As such, FL Thunder is where CA Splash stands, and FL Mansion is where CA Thunder is (approximately). The railroad stations are also in slightly different spots around the park in Florida, and there is no Tomorrowland station. Lastly, there's also no Galaxy's Edge or Toontown.
-Several attractions in Disneyland don't exist at Magic Kingdom, but are instead located at other WDW parks. In particular, all the Star Wars stuff is over at DHS, and Nemo is part of Epcot (as an omnimover instead of a submarine ride). Many of the smaller dark rides are also absent, as are Indy, Matterhorn, and Splash.
-Fantasyland is the most different of the lands between MK and DL. Florida retains Peter Pan, Small World, and the spinners, but also features Little Mermaid and Winnie the Pooh dark rides, two junior coasters, a 3D show, and numerous character meet and greets. It also has a larger and more impressive castle.
-Tomorrowland at MK has several attractions that have been decommissioned from DL's version, most notably Carousel of Progress and PeopleMover.
-MK has a lot more shows in the park than DL. Every area of the park has at least one show. Some formerly performed at Disneyland, while some are unique to the park.
-MK has a lot more full service restaurants than DL, and generally worse quick service options as well.
-The parade route is completely different. In FL it never enters Fantasyland, and instead winds through Frontierland and Liberty Square.
-Many attractions have larger and more elaborate queue lines than their CA counterparts. The rides themselves, however, tend to be abridged or dated by comparison (Mansion being the big exception).
-Crowd patterns are quite a bit different in Florida. The three longest lines at Magic Kingdom are typically (in order) Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan's Flight, and Jungle Cruise. Buzz, Pirates, and the meet and greets also tend to hold significantly longer queues than their California counterparts. Space, Mansion, and Thunder tend to be roughly the same on both coasts. Also, while peak days are fairly comparable, average days at MK feel more crowded than average days at DL.

February 19, 2023, 6:15 PM

LOVE this topic:

Disneyland Park is Walt’s park and the only park Walt Disney himself ever stepped foot in.

Magic Kingdom is more a tribute to Walt finished by his brother, Roy.

However, Florida’s castle is more than twice as tall as California’s. Florida’s Magic Kingdom is bigger than California’s, despite having less attractions.

California’s packs a lot into smaller spaces while Florida has a little too much space and less attractions.

California’s is also easier to get to as you can physically walk in from Downtown Disney. Florida’s you have to take the monorail from the ticket and transit center to enter the park, because Florida’s park is built on a second story above its utilidors.

Four rides from Disney’s Hollywood Studios are present in California’s Magic Kingdom- Star Tours, Rise of the Resistance, Millenium Falcon, and Runaway Railway. Also, Fantasmic is in California’s Magic Kingdom while Florida’s version of Fantasmic is also at Hollywood Studios.

California’s rides that are completely unique to its park are Matterhorn, Mr Toad’s Wild Ride, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Great Moments with Mr Lincoln, and the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.

Meanwhile, California also has the Pinocchio, Snow White, and Roger Rabbit dark rides, Indiana Jones Adventure, Splash Mountain, Storybook Land Canals, Casey Jr Circus train, and the rest of Mickey’s Toontown, which aren’t present in Walt Disney World, but do exist in international parks.

Two attractions from the Magic Kingdom in Florida are present at Disney California Adventure- the Little Mermaid and Mickey’s Philharmagic.

The attractions completely unique to Florida’s Magic Kingdom are the Carousel of Progress, PeopleMover, the Barnstormer, and Hall of Presidents.

Meanwhile, Florida also has the Country Bear Jamboree, Aladdin’s Flying Carpets, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and TRON, which exist at international parks but not in California.

Now for specifics- there’s no Toontown, New Orleans Square, Galaxy’s Edge, or Critter Country in Florida. But Florida does have Liberty Square, which doesn’t exist in California.

Florida’s Country Bear Jamboree and formerly, their Splash Mountain, are/ were in Frontierland. Their Pirates of the Caribbean is in Adventureland. Their Haunted Mansion is in Liberty Square. Their Winnie the Pooh ride is in Fantasyland. Their Little Mermaid, Philharmagic, Barnstormer, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, are also in Fantasyland in Florida.

Meanwhile, California has both its Pirates and Haunted Mansion in New Orleans Square. California has its Splash Mountain and Winnie the Pooh rides in Critter Country. Of course Galaxy’s Edge is at Hollywood Studios in Florida instead of the Magic Kingdom. California’s Fantasmic is in Frontierland. The Indiana Jones Adventure is located in Adventureland in California. The Matterhorn Bobsleds, Snow White’s Enchanted Wish, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, Mr Toad’s Wild Ride, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Storybook Land Canals and Casey Jr train are all in Fantasyland. Star Tours is in Tomorrowland. And of course, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Roger Rabbit rides are in Toontown in California.

February 22, 2023, 8:10 AM

The only real difference is that Magic Kingdom has a bow in her hair.

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