Do you have to make a decision between Disneyland or Disney World?
Here are 5 key differences between Disneyland and Disney World to help you decide:
Location – how far do you need to travel?
How far do you have to travel and can you drive or fly? Disneyland is in Anaheim, California in the suburbs of Los Angeles and Disney World is in Orlando, Florida. They are both easy to get to whether you drive or fly. Disney provides shuttles to the resorts from the airport. If budget is an issue which it usually is for Disney vacations, which location is the best deal for you to get to?
How much time are you going to spend on your vacation?
3 days or less – go to Disneyland
4 days or more – go to Disney World
Why? Disneyworld is very spread out and takes longer to get to places throughout the resort. There are four parks and a good rule of thumb is one park per day. You have to wait for transportation to be able to transfer you from hotels and parks. Disneyland is quaint and compact. You have the two parks, Disneyland and California Disney Adventure are side by side and can park hop all day long if you so choose.
Where do you want to stay?
Disney World resorts are definitely very big and grand. You have a variety from value that compare in pricing to a Hilton or Marriott to a Moderate value to Deluxe value. The Value resorts are nice and you get the benefits of staying at a Disney resort. The Moderate gives you more for your money (slides at the pools, for example). With the Deluxe resorts, you are going to feel pampered and they are gorgeous. There are also many hotels off site that are located within a few minutes of Disneyworld as well. (You just don’t get the Disney customer service or perks like Early Entry).
For Disneyland, the hotels are much smaller and you don’t have the flair of a big resort feel. You have three choices: Paradise Pier, Disneyland Hotel, and Grand Californian. We have stayed several times at all three of these. Based on your budget, they are all fabulous. There are also many offsite hotels (Good Neighbor Hotels) that surround Disneyland that are good as well. My favorite is the Anabella as it’s tucked away across the street, nice property, clean, and walking distance to the parks.
Here is the main thing that really separates the two parks: Disney World you have to take transportation everywhere you go and Disneyland you are walking distance and basically never leave until your departure.
What are your top priorities for in the parks?
Rides? Characters? Shows? Parades? Food?
Disney World definitely has more to do, but you won’t begin to see it all anyways. Disneyland has much to offer as well and you can spend four or five days there and still miss things. In other words, in one trip, you probably won’t get to do it all, so you need to prioritize what is most important for you.
Disneyworld has four parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. Disneyland has two parks: the original Disneyland and California Disney Adventure. If you want all the classic rides and are a Cars fan – Disneyland. If you are a Foodie – Disneyworld. My favorite show of all is World of Color and can only be seen at Disney California Adventure. The Electrical Parade just moved back to Disneyland as well. Disney World parks have more shows to watch. When it comes to characters, it’s going to be hit or miss depending on who you want to see. Disneyworld has more variety and more characters for sure spread out among the four parks.
Do you plan on time outside the parks?
Are you going for just the parks or will you have down time or days without park tickets? Disneyland has Downtown Disney with some nighttime entertainment (usually local musicians), shopping and restaurants. Beaches are within 30-40 minute drive. If you go during the warmer months, pool time is always fun, too. You could stay at Disney World and never go to the parks with so much to do there. There are the waterparks, golf, miniature golf, Disney Springs (bowling, restaurants, shopping, entertainment), horseback riding, archery, bike riding, boating, and many trials for walking or running.
What destination did you decide?
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