Hello and happy Wednesday! In today’s blog post I am breaking down a bunch of the differences between Disneyland Resort (DLR) in Anaheim, California and Walt Disney World Resort (WDW) in Orlando, Florida! If you’re trying to figure out where to go, this post is for you! To avoid a super long post (it’s still pretty lengthy) I’ll be breaking down the differences by bullet points. Okay, let’s jump in!
- Disneyland Resort has 2 parks: Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, plus a Downtown Disney shopping area
- Disneyland was built with existing businesses surrounding the parks
- Walt Disney World Resort has 4 parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, plus the Disney Springs shopping area and 2 water parks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach
- Walt Disney World was purchased as a huge plot of land, which isn’t even close to being filled!
- Attractions in both locations: Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Pirates of the Caribbean, It’s A Small World, Peter Pan’s Flight, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid and even more!
- Attractions only in Disneyland Resort: Indiana Jones Adventure, The IncrediCoaster, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Alice in Wonderland, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Storyland Canal Boats, Radiator Springs Racers, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT!, and more!
- Attractions only in Walt Disney World: Expedition Everest, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Carousel of Progress, Test Track, Dinosaur, Mission: Space, Tower of Terror, Rock’n’Rollercoster and so much more!
- if you are going to a resort that you haven’t been to before, give priority to attractions that are unique, but also make sure to try out the rides that exist on both coasts too!
- I found there were tons of food options in Disneyland Resort!
- with 4 parks and more, Walt Disney World absolutely has more dining options
- WDW has more cuisine options, just in World Showcase in Epcot alone
- Disneyland has lots of Cajun options especially in New Orleans Square
- At Disneyland you can make dining reservations 60 days in advance
- At Walt Disney World you can make dining reservations 180 days in advance
- DLR has 3 on site options: The Grand Californian, Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier Hotel
- WDW has over 25 on site hotel options in three levels: Deluxe, Moderate and Value. Some deluxe resorts are within walking distance to the parks
- DLR is surrounded by off-site hotels, many of which are in walking distance to the parks
- WDW also has a lot of off-site options located near Disney Springs
- DLR still uses paper Fastpasses, which the option of adding MaxPass for $15/day using the Disneyland App
- WDW uses the My Disney Experience App, where guests make 3 FastPass+ selections per day (60 days in advance if staying on site, 30 days in advance if not)
distance between parks
- Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure are walking distance from each other (a HUGE benefit)
- Walt Disney World parks require transportation between any parks. However you can walk from some resorts to the parks.
- DLR- beacuse the parks are walking distance, no transportation is needed! There are shuttles for hotels that are farther away
- WDW- transportation methods include bus, boat, monorail (and soon to be gondola). Check out the video at the bottom of the post if you’d like to know what transportation you can get from where!
- at Disneyland, there’s a special Halloween Party, plus a Food & Wine Festival at Disney California Adventure
- at Walt Disney World, there are both Halloween and Christmas Parties at Magic Kingdom, plus the Festival of the Arts, Flower & Garden Festival, and Food & Wine Festival at Epcot
- At DLR, you can take part in Early Morning Magic at Disneyland Park when buying a 3 or more day park pass, or by staying at a Disney resort. Early Morning Magic is only available at Disney California Adventure for Disney Resort Hotel guests.
- at WDW, Extra Magic Hours are scheduled in the mornings or evenings every day at a different park for Disney Resort Hotel guests. If you are staying on site, take advantage of these hours! If not, avoid the park with extra magic hours if possible, because it will be busy!
- at Disneyland Resort, you can see a fireworks show at Disneyland Park (like Remember… Dreams Come True but one is not currently showing), plus Fantastic! And at Disney California Adventure, you can see World of Color.
- The only parade currently running at Disneyland is Mickey’s Soundsational Parade
- at Walt Disney World, you can see Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot, Fantastic! at Hollywood Studios (but slightly different than the show at Disneyland), and Rivers of Light at Animal Kingdom
- at Making Kingdom, you can also see the Festival of Fantasy Parade
Suggested length of time to spend
- at Disneyland, I would suggest spending 3-5 days between the two parks, and I think with 5 days you can see everything. In 3 days (using MaxPass), I saw pretty much everything I wanted to see!
- at Walt Disney World, I would suggest spending at least 7 days. And you’re not going to see everything in a week. Not even close!
If I had to pick one place to visit, it would be Walt Disney World. That in no way means that I didn’t love Disneyland! It’s just easier for me to get to, and I have been going to Walt Disney World since I was a kid and it hold a lot of special memories for me! Plus, I got engaged there!
Should I visit both?
If you are a Disney fan, yes! It was really fun to visit a new-to-me park, and especially with it being Disneyland. It was always a place I’d wanted to visit, and I never really thought I would get a chance to see it. But walking in Walt’s footsteps was amazing, and I was so happy I was able to visit Disneyland.
If you’d like to hear more about the differences between Disneyland resort and Walt Disney World Resort, check out the video below!
What’s your favourite thing that is in one resort but not the other? Let me know in the comments below!
Thank you so much for joining me today!