Disney has incredible resorts across the world, and two of them happen to be in the United States. Disneyland entices travelers in Anaheim, California with classic rides and colorful characters, while Disney World in Orlando, Florida gives vacationers gorgeous resorts and trendy treats.
Both resorts are full of incredible attractions and fun, but which is better? That's what we're here to dive into now. Hold on tightly to those Mickey ears; It's time to whirl through the best of Disneyland and Disney World.
10 Disneyland: It’s Original
What Disneyland lacks in size, it makes up for in nostalgia. California’s first Disney park is the original one, opening up in 1955, around 16 years before Disney World became a reality.
Disneyland is the park Walt first created to enjoy with his daughters, and it has a history to prove it. Though the park has cycled through many changes over the years, it is arguably the more iconic of the two.
9 Disney World: It's So Much Bigger
One of the most noticeable differences between Disney World and Disneyland is the size. While Disneyland is positioned over 100 acres, Disney World owns 25,000 acres of land.
Walt himself said that building parks in Florida would allow Disney to have no boundaries, a luxury that wasn't given to them due to the space constraints of California. All this room means there are four theme parks instead of two, over 25 resorts instead of three, and five golf courses instead of zero.
8 Disneyland: Shorter Wait Times
Although you’ll be waiting in long lines at both the Florida and California resorts if you go during peak season or on holidays, lines tend to be slightly longer at Disney World. This is due to the large number of visitors (around 52 million) that cycle through the park every year. Disneyland has less than half that amount of guests, meaning that the crowds are more noticeable at Disney World, despite the great size disparity between the two.
Disney World does have the benefit of FastPass+, which allows guests to reserve three rides before you get there, but this likely slows down the regular lines even more.
7 Disney World: Expansive Dining Options
Disneyland boasts its fair share of incredible restaurants and snacks, certainly. It’s just that Disney World has more options.
As Disney World has four theme parks — with one dedicated to countries around the world — the themed-food options are far more expansive there. Disney World also features various festivals at Epcot year-round, with each bringing its own special cuisine. Disneyland has food events of its own, but not quite as many.
6 Both: Crazy Themed Lands
Though Disney World and Disneyland share certain themed park areas including Fantasyland, Frontierland, and Tomorrowland, the Florida and California resorts also have special lands that are located only in their respective parks.
Disneyland’s California Adventure theme park, for example, is home to Hollywood Land, Cars Land, and Grizzly Peak. Disney World, on the other hand, is home to Avatar Land, Toy Story Land, and Future World. The resort with the better lands is subjective and is best based on each individual guest's favorite franchises. However, both parks do contain the new Galaxy’s Edge land, so Star Wars fans will win either way.
5 Disneyland: Easier To Get Around
The one benefit to being smaller is that Disneyland, unlike Disney World, is walkable. It’s easy to park hop between Disney’s California Adventure and Disneyland, whereas jumping between The Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios requires a car ride.
Disney World provides lots of transportation options, but it takes a lot longer to get around. The boats, the monorail, and the busses all tack on several minutes to your commute. Walking at Disneyland does not.
4 Disney World: Beautiful Resorts
As aforementioned, Disney World is a resort paradise. While Disneyland’s on-property resorts are pretty, there are only three, and their themes are fairly basic. Disney World’s resorts, on the other hand, are jammed with restaurants, activities, and beautifully, magically designed locations.
You can brave the wild camping-style at Disney’s Fort Wilderness, watch giraffes from your balcony at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, take a drawing class at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, or check out the wonders of Disney’s Polynesian Resort. The options are unlimited.
3 Disneyland: Better Weather
California’s weather is a giant step up from Florida’s inconsistency. As we said, Disney World is almost always hot. Additionally, Florida thunderstorms occur at random for a couple of hours each day throughout the summer, so outdoor rides are likely to get closed down at some point and guests will want to have an umbrella handy.
Disneyland isn’t known for rain. It’s consistently warm, not hot, so the long afternoons are rarely as humid and brutal as those as Disney World. This makes the weather a lot less complicated and a lot more welcome.
2 Disney World: Water Parks
Florida is hot year-round with the exception of a few freak weeks in December and January. Therefore, the on-site water parks aren’t just refreshing — they’re required.
Disney World offers two water parks to its guests: Typhoon Lagoon — which is themed after a storm-swept resort — and Blizzard Beach — which is inspired by a melting ski lodge. Each offers fun rides and slides and is perfect for those wanting to take a break from all the business of park hopping.
1 Both: One-Of-A-Kind Rides
Last but not least, both Disney World and Disneyland offer one-of-a-kind rides that are exclusive to their resorts. Disneyland offers Indiana Jones Adventure, Matterhorn, and Radiator Springs Racers, whereas Disney World has Dinosaur, Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster, and Spaceship Earth.
Both Disney resorts are incredible and offer unique charms of their own. However, it’s up to you to decide which one is the best. Ultimately, the important thing to remember is this: it's Disney, so it's really impossible to go wrong.