Disney World Vs. Disneyland

Disney World Vs. Disneyland-  So what’s the difference?  Why would I want to visit Disneyland if Disney World is so much larger?  Are there any popular attractions at Disneyland that aren’t at Disney World?  There is so much to learn about the Disney parks, especially for those of you who are unfimiliar with them.  The Disneyland resort is super small, 300 acres only allows so much room for expansion.  This resort consists of 3 hotels, 2 theme parks and a the Downtown Disney District.  Walt Disney World on the other hand consists of over 30,000 acres, 4 theme parks, 2 waterparks, a larger Downtown Disney, and dozens of hotels.  So why would anyone, especially people in the southern region of the US, who are closer to Walt Disney World, want to visit Disneyland?  First of all, there are many popular themeparks, in Southern California, like Knott’s Berry Farm, the oldest themepark in the country, Legoland California, which is not yet in Florida, but is scheduled to open in Florida in Fall of 2011, as well as another Universal and SeaWorld park, each offering attractions that can’t be found in Florida, or attractions that have the same name and theme but a different layout.  SoCal (Los Angeles & San Diego) offers the unique Hollywood attractions that are one of a kind to one of the best zoos in the country, the San Diego Zoo.  We live in the south and decided to try to visit Vegas and Disneyland in the same trip, but realized that SoCal offers more than enough to do.


Disney's Animal KIngdom


Taken at Disney’s Animal kIngdom in Orlando. Don’t expect to find any elephants roaming around Disneyland (that’s what the nearby San Diego Zoo is for)!


Disney Parks began in Anaheim, California with Disneyland (1955) (located in between LA and San Diego).  One of the differences that I found to be intriguing was the New Orleans Square themed area of the park.  While it didn’t offer any exciting, new, different attractions, it did have the ambiance and dining options that you could find in New Orleans.  The layout of the park is also a little different.  You will find some attractions in different areas of the park, than in the Magic Kingdom. Here is a list comparing what you can only see at Magic Kingdom to what you can only see at Disneyland Park.  Magic Kingdom ONLY:  Carousel of Progress, Cinderella Castle, Country Bear Jamboree, Goofy’s Barnstormer,  The Hall of Presidents, The Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management, SpectroMagic, Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse (similiar to Disneylands Tarzan’s Treehouse), Tomorrowland Transit Authority, Stitch’s Great Escape, and the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor.  Disneyland Park ONLY: Alice in Wonderland, Casey Jr. Circus Train, Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes, Soarn’ Over California, Fantasmic (Similar to the show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios), Gadget’s Go Coaster (similiar to Goofy’s Barnstormer), Honey I Shrunk the Audience (located in Epcot at WDW), Indiana Jones Adventure, Innoventions (located at EPCOT at WDW), Jolly Trolley, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Original Enchanted Tiki Room, Pinocchio’s Daring Adventure, Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin, Sailing Ship Columbia, Sleeping Beauty, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, Star Tours (located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios), Storybookland Canal Boats, Tarzan Treehouse, and the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.  I’ve visited Disney World more often, so there are a few attractions that I surprised me because they can only be found at Disneyland.  Mainly the Matterhorn Bobsleds, it’s a milder ride than Expedition Everest, but shows how a similiar concept can evolve when built many years earlier.  People of all ages love this ride, it’s fun, unlike a terrifying journey through Everest with a Yeti encounter, which takes you backwards.  The Indiana Jones Adventure was pretty fun as well, it reminded me of the Dinosoar ride at Epcot.  Another example of Disney doing what they do best, providing great medium thrill rides that are not too scary and not to light. See the original version of the Tiki room versus The Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management.  The Small World ride at Disneyland has been remodeled to include a variety of Disney characters, mixed through the ride, something you won’t find at the Magic Kingdom.  A lot more rides were indoor and outdoor than just mainly indoor at WDW.  By the way, more attractions are only located at Disneyland, making a greater impact on people who normally visit WDW.  You will find so many differences, from versions of rides to new rides, park layout, to different themed areas.  Definitely worth the long drive (or flight)!



The second park built in Anaheim is Disney’s California Adventure (2001).  I like to think of it as an exciting combination of animal kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and the classic theme park.  But out of the 6 major Disney parks in the US, Disney’s Califonia Adventure get’s the least number of annual visitors.  This is a Disney park, but it has many rides, especially in Paradise Pier, that could be found at your typical themepark, something guests to a Disney park are not looking for.  Unortunately, building the park on the cheap, will cost Disney more to refurbish attractions and add new attractions, but fortunately for park fans, we get to watch as new attractions are built and old attractions are remodeled in the new, $1 billion dollar makeover that the park recently completed, in 2012.

But before the makeover began, I really liked this theme park, typical or not.  Mickey’s Fun Wheel is a ferris wheel, California Screamin’ is the huge rollercoaster with high speeds and a loop, Golden Zephyr is a smaller ride that takes you on a rocket, Mulholland Madness is a wild mouse style ride with sharp turns, so all of the rides mentioned do have theming, but they aren’t the kind of rides that you would expect to find at a Disney park.  But on the other hand they are all fun rides that Americans have enjoyed at classic amusement parks for centuries and will experience for centuries to come.  So what, a few rides are lacking theming!  Many quality rides can be found here like Soarin’ Over California, similiar to Soarin’ at Epcot.  This is my favorite ride in the park.  In a few minutes, you will get the impression of actually flying over California, seeing the major cities, landmarks, natural attractions, etc. Get super wet on Grizzly River Run, similiar to Kali River Rapids at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue is a dark ride that is completely different from the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor at the Magic Kingdom.  Another plus for the park is the lower crowds, less people=shorter lines!  I have no idea, what so ever, why anyone, and I mean anyone would not visit Disney’s California Adventure!  It lives above and beyond it’s bad representation!  What are you waiting for, try something different!

“I’ve always said that there will never be another Disneyland, and I think it’s going to work out that way. But it will be the equivalent of Disneyland. We know the basic things that have family appeal. There are many ways that you can use those certain basic things and give them a new decor, a new treatment. This concept here will have to be something that is unique, so there is a distinction between Disneyland in California and whatever Disney does in Florida.”   -Walt Disney


Taylor Goldblatt

After years of research, travel, and dreams, I have created this website for people like you who want to experience the things that only America can offer. My passion is to explore and share America's greatest destinations and attractions. Follow me on Twitter @USCityTraveler for additional travel tips and ideas.

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